The Pennsylvania Center for the Book is thrilled to present Jim Woodring with the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize for his graphic novel, Fran. Woodring will be 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library at Penn State. As described by the jury, "Hypnotic and subliminal while entertaining and compelling, ‘Fran's' dream world is at once familiar and unsettling, a conduit to mental states that, in many ways, only the graphic novel can achieve. Woodring's work poses a refreshing change from the trend towards wordy graphic memoir, entreating the reader to reckon with a world whose language we cannot capture in our own."
So you too can be transported to the Unifactor to visit Frank, Fran, Pupshaw and Pushpaw during Woodring's talk and acceptance speech. For more information about the PA Center for the Book and past winners, visit their site. The Paterno Library is located along intercampus road Curtin Rd and N. Allen Street. Grab your own copy of Fran today!
Joyce Farmer of Special Exits had the pleasure to announce Woodring as the recipient of this year's award. Sponsored by Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize is presented annually to the best graphic novel, fiction or non-fiction, published in the previous calendar year by a living U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident. A prize of $2,500, the two volume set of Ward's six novels published by the Library of America, and a suitable commemorative will be presented to 2014 winner, Jim Woodring, for his book "Fran."
For more information about Woodring's presentation or if you have questions about the physical access provided or need to make arrangements for special accommodations at the Penn State site, contact Caroline Wermuth at
Paterno Library (at the intersection of Curtin Rd and N. Allen St) University Park, PA 16802
Meanwhile, Simon Hanselmann's Megahex is still on the list, two weeks in a row, making it one 'hot fortnight' for the people at the funny papers. So the lesson? 2014 loves anthropomorphic characters, be they child-appropriate or not. Pick up a copy of these two great to hold, even better to read graphic novels today!
On Saturday night, founder and co-publisher Gary Groth received the Genius Award in Literature from Seattle alt-weekly paper, The Stranger. (Photo above by Kelly O. of The Stranger). His competition was fierce but the force of the movement he created when he founded Fantagraphics with Mike Catron and soldiered on with Kim Thompson created a form of comics so prevalent. Paul Constant interviews Groth yet again after the event on comics at the Stranger's Slog: "Pop culture has become so stupefyingly banal that it's caught up with comics. It's kind of terrifying when you think about it," states Groth in reference to the multiple superhero movies, TV shows and comics popping up from here as far as the eye can see. Picture below by Short Run.
Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds was present at the Stranger Awards and commented, "It was a great night for Fantagraphics and for Seattle, and even though Gary's been completely insufferable since Saturday night, going on and on about 'genius this' and 'genius that,' blah blah blah, we're extremely proud of the big lug."
Eric, Kelly O. and Gary
Yes, indeed, we are so proud of Gary and happy to be a part of the everchanging landscape of comics, graphic novels and just damn good storytelling. VIVA COMICS and VIVA GROTH!
Congratulations are in order for Simon Hanselmann because his book MEGAHEXjust showed up on the New York Times Best Sellers' list sandwiched inbetween Bryan Lee O'Malley and Jules Feiffer. Grab a copy from your local comic shop, bookstore, our online store or your local library. Trade weed for it, do what you have to do to read it because not ONLY is it a best seller but it is almost sold out!
The description is also too perfect in it's simplicity. "Meet Megg. She's a witch and has a black cat named Mogg. She is also depressed and addicted to drugs." This sweeter-than-the-real-thing book has to be seen to be believed but check out what everyone is saying about it.
"...not only do I find Megg, Mogg, Owl et al bloody funny at times in that first half, as the book wore on I found myself becoming more and more absorbed and fascinated by the darkness, the progression of the comedy into misery and despair, handled really well by Hanselmann." - Richard Bruton, Forbidden Planet
"Every page is beautiful. Every joke is funny. Every character is a complete asshole. The book itself is a nice chunky hardcover with some good heft and a cover design that is made to resemble a DVD box set of a TV show." - Nick Gazin, VICE
This week we celebrate Peter Bagge, one of our cartoonists who has been drawing comics for 35 years. He was recognized on Monday by the United States Artists Fellows as a 2014 USA Rockefeller Fellow of Literature! The U.S.A. program is a "grant-making organization funded by philanthropic foundations and individuals to support creativity. The 16 women and 18 men were [chosen] by experts in their fields and were among 116 nominated artists living in the United States." Bagge also received $50,000!
2014 has been a banner year with the release of Bagge's HATE collection Buddy Buys a Dump and Fantagraphics will soon be rolling out another title from the cartoonist as well. Raise a glass and make a toast to Peter Bagge! You're number one, indeed.
Congratulations are in order for Eleanor Davis because for the THIRD week in a row, her new collection How to Be Happy is on the New York Times Best Sellers' list. This gorgeous book has to be seen to be believed but check out what everyone is saying about it. Grab a copy from your local comic shop, bookstore, our online store or your local library.
"Though Davis' tales can be wildly different in look and narrative, they are united by themes of yearning, of characters searching for the thing that will make their lives better." -Carolina A. Miranda, LA Times
"That's Davis' sensibility. In her roundabout way, she dramatizes not the prospect of happiness, but the promise of it. Her natural territory is found in all the funny and tragic effects of that promise." - Etelka Lehoczky, NPR
"This collection of short stories about people desperately trying to suppress or embrace or just somehow deal with all the difficult emotions careening around in their brain just underscores what those who have seen Davis' work in scattered anthologies already suspected: that she is a tremendous talent, and one of the smartest voices working in comics today." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"What's most noticeable when the stories are laid up against one another is her varied visual approach, adapting her style to best fit the material...The success of this collection suggests that short pieces are likely Davis' métier, but what's here is so accomplished that it's natural to hope for a book-length work next time out." -Gordon Flagg, Booklist
The Small Press Expo and Ignatz award nominating committee listed it's list of nominees for this year's awards. For those attending the show on Saturday and Sunday, September 13-14th please make sure to vote on Saturday! Whom should you vote for? Well, your favorite comics of course but here are some *cough cough* suggestions!
This year's nominees were picked by casting some runestones, encircling all the books with a blood circle and then chanted at by judges Darryl Ayo, Austin English, Melissa Mendes, Thien Pham and Whit Taylor. Congrats to our other Fanta cartoonists nominated for their other works like Simon Hanselmann and Noah Van Sciver. Both of the guys will be at SPX as well, Simon's debuting Megahex so be sure to stop by the Fantagraphics' booth. Just check for the glitter cannons.
It was bound to happen with 32 years of comics in the making. On Friday at the Eisner Awards Ceremony, the two cartoonists Fantagraphics has grown up with received their due. In the category of Best Writer/Artist, Jaime Hernandeznbsp;received an Eisner for his work on Love and Rockets to be followed quickly by Gilbert Hernandez for his standalone story "Untitled" in Love and Rockets: New Stories #6 (page 59 for those of you at home).
Gilbert gave a touching speech and we even snapped a photo of his notes. Jaime juggled his Eisner a bit, speechless yet very endearing.
AND Félicitations are due to Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney!
The Eisner for Best U.S. Edition of International Material has been awarded to Goddamn This WarCreated 15 years after the completion of his Eisner Award-winning World War I masterwork It Was the War of the Trenches, Tardi's Goddamn This War! is a brand new, wholly individual graphic novel that serves as a companion piece to Trenches, but can be read entirely on its own. Told with gritty insight, wit, and despair-sharing Trenches sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude-this book is not to be missed.
Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds accepted the awards on behalf of Tardi, Verney and the late great translater and our publisher Kim Thompson. This was one of the last books Kim worked on from start to finish and Reynolds put it best when he said that Kim wanted to show the world the best European comics/bande dessinee possible.
"A mix of evocative, geometric watercolors and fluid pen-and-ink cartoons, How to Be Happy tells stories of sad people, lonely people, strong people, confident people, all trying to find a tiny bit of happiness in life…Davis’ clever and sometimes jaw-droppingly beautiful artwork makes those stories feel real." – Dan Kois, Slate Book Review
"The use of Adam and Eve’s human bodies to communicate to one another, to seek the bliss that’s coming, to lift that weight, is the image Davis wants us to leave with. No moral, no punchline, no muted epiphany — discarded along with all the other distractions, they leave only Edenic bliss behind." – Sean T. Collins, The Comics Journal
"A valuable gem to add to any collection focusing on independent comics and alternative storytelling with its avant-garde narrative voice, classical art style, and brilliantly paced sense of adventure" – Alger C. Newberry III, Library Journal
"Wood (1927-1981) conceived of witzend as a haven where he and his peers could publish personal work and burst the chains of mainstream comics. Though 'personal,' it must be said, often meant drawing generously endowed women flaunting bared breasts." – Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"It felt like a fan publication, but was produced by professionals. It appeared at the dawn of underground comix, but featured standard genre material, including a (great) Wood jungle hero named "Animan." And, most significantly, it had a philosophy that proved problematic, though intriguing." – Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune
Exposing the seamy underside of Martin Goodman's publishing empire, this never-before-told history of Goodman's pulps and scandal sheets and the Marvel artists who worked for them is chock full of unseen art. Blake Bell is also the editor for our sumptuous Steve Ditko Archives. Congrats!