Jim is a brand-new collection of Woodring's earliest comics work, which was originally produced as zines in the early 1980s until Fantagraphics cofounder Gary Groth fell in love with his work and became his lifelong publisher. This isn't a stack of embarrassing juvenalia; the quality of work is very high, but if you stare at the pages for a while, you'll notice a bit of uncharacteristic uncertainty resonating through the ink. In an interview with Woodring, he admits that "it is hard to go back to your old work," but he's overall "thrilled" to review his earliest comics. "I was stunned by how authentic [the work in Jim] is to me today," he says. The book "had this symbolic power, and I can feel it rising up in me again" while reading it. Keen eyes can spot a faulty bit of crosshatched shading, or a messy silhouette that Woodring would never sign his name to now, but for the most part, this is fully realized work produced by the hand of a man who is entirely confident about what he's trying to communicate.
Gary's acerbic rage-writings of the 80s and 90s are referenced in the article by Paul Constant. Constant asked Gary if he was less angry now but since Fantagraphics started making the comics he wanted to read and are at most bookstores...Constant wrote it best. "that there was always more work to do, but it was clear to everyone that, yes, the century-long fight for the soul of American comics is over, and Gary Groth won."
On October 18, The Stranger will throw a huge, drunken party for all 15 finalists at the Moore Theatre (tickets here), with the Seattle Rock Orchestra and other live performances, and five of the finalists (one from each category) will go home with $5,000 each, no strings attached.
PublisherGary Groth was the happy recipient of a chocolate cake this week as alt-weekly paper, The Stranger, let him know he is on a very short list of nominees for the Genius Award in Seattle. Gary's up against some fierce local competition in the literature category but he's held a guiding light for Fantagraphics and comics long enough for us to know he's a genius (read: crazy, mad genius). Fantagraphics' cartoonists Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney have had the privilege of being on the short list as well (Woodring won!) so Gary will have some good company no matter what.
To find out who the genius is you'll have to grab the summer issue of A&P-out June 11-to find out. The Stranger plans on hosting a series of interviews with Genius Award finalists at the Frye Art Museum in August and September, and the Genius Awards are October 18 at the Moore Theatre. They've promised other amazing performers and the Seattle Rock Orchestra! For free!
Call it a Love Hate relationship: Visitors to the Fantagraphics booth #207 at this weekend's sold-out Emerald City Comicon in Seattle will be the first in the country to get copies of Buddy Buys a Dump. The third volume of Peter Bagge's Buddy Bradley stories includes the Hate Annual adventures with a new 20-page conclusion. Come see.
Ellen Forney and David Lasky will sign at our booth today at 4:30 following their informative panel discussion on health care in the comix community. Don't miss the panel on Fantagraphics' future on Saturday at 1:00 PM in room TCC 301 with panelists Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, Michael Catron and Kristy Valenti moderated by Paul Constant of The Stranger. (Check out this week's issue for Constant's panel preview.) This fascinating discussion will continue after the panel when the editors drop by our booth. Then meet the editor of Simon and Kirby's Young Romance series, Michel Gagné, at 3:00 PM.
Don't miss the booth appearance by Stan Sakai on Sunday at 11:00 AM. He'll be signing the first seven volumes of Usagi Yojimbo collections — a spectacular series brought to print by the late Kim Thompson. Here's a chance to meet one of America's most extraordinary artists. We'll have some seasonal Usagi treats in store for adoring fans.
The Stranger, one of our local alt-weeklies that shares many ties with Fantagraphics throughout the ages ran a tribute to Kim Thompson written by former employee Robert Boyd. Giving context to the comics world as the more commercial spoke the art world wheel, Boyd touches on Kim's job as a creative enabler and rabid music fan.
"Kim encouraged and cajoled many cartoonists to produce art they never otherwise would have dreamed possible. I imagine that if Fantagraphics had not been there in 1982, Jaime Hernandez might have gone on to a successful, respectable career as a penciller for Marvel and DC."
Come to Fantagraphics Bookstore this Saturday as we welcome Brian Ralph on a rare visit to the Northwest. He'll present his new book Reggie-12 with a slide show, signing and reception. In a preview of the event, Paul Constant of The Stranger writes, "It's not for kids, but it feels as fizzy as a Saturday morning cartoon, in the best way possible. If you were raised on Astro Boy or Godzilla movies, you'll love the fuck out of this book."
Brian will also sign copies of his alternative zombie adventure Daybreak, hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "A storytelling tour de force," and the wordless mystery Cave-In. Drop by and meet this wonderful artist Saturday, September 7 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Complimentary refreshments and great company provided. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's colorful Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Visitors to the festivities at Fantagraphics Bookstore's 6th anniversary gala on Saturday are in for a treat. In addition to celebrating 30 years of Love & Rockets with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, and music by cartoonist Geneviève Castrée's Ô Paon, we have a stellar line up of special guests in store. Dutch artist Femke Hiemstra (pictured above) is in town for a show at Roq la Rue with Blab cover artist Ryan Heshka. They'll attend the party with Roq la Rue proprietor Kirsten Anderson (who is also celebrating her birthday that night.) Peter Bagge will also be there. Look for his work upstairs at the One Night Stand group show. Our resident Stranger geniuses Jim Woodring and Ellen Forney will be around. While you're there, pick up a copy of Ellen's sensational new graphic memoir Marbles. I'm sure she'll sign one for you. Start your holiday season in style this Saturday, December 8 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Ho, ho, ho!
Fantagraphics Bookstore and Georgetown Records are pleased to announce a sensational series of music, comix, and literary events for the remainder of this year. Don't miss a minute!
On Friday, November 2, David Lasky and Noah Van Sciver appear for a joint exhibition and book signing from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Musical entertainment will be provided by K recording artist Dennis Driscoll, who promises to cover some Carter Family material. The following Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM, newly christened "Stranger Genius" Ellen Forney will present her courageous new graphic memoir, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me in the Microsoft Auditorium of the Seattle Public Library Central Branch. On Saturday, November 24 at 6:00 PM, we host a book launch party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by longtime Fantagraphics staffer Nico Vassilakis. The evening features readings by many contributors and music by another "Stranger Genius" honoree Lori Goldsten (former Earth and Nirvana cellist), joined by former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. On Saturday, December 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore commemorates its 6th anniversary in style with Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez celebrating 30 years of Love & Rockets. Special guest artist and musician Geneviève Castrée will perform for the occasion. The series concludes on Sunday, December 30 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM with Nathan Bulmer signing Eat More Bikes collection from Koyama Press. All events are all ages and free. Make plans to move to Seattle now.
Congratulations to Ellen Forney for her prestigious Stranger Genius Award in literature announced last Saturday evening at the Moore Theater in Seattle. She joins 2010 genius Jim Woodring as Fantagraphics affiliates so honored. Don't miss Ellen's presentation of her courageous new graphic memior Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me on Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library central branch, sponsored by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.