THREE BRILLIANT ART STARS SHINE ON CONSECUTIVE SATURDAYS IN MAY AT FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKSTORE & GALLERY!
Jordan Crane on May 10, Peter Bagge on May 17, and SHAG on May 24
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery springs into action in May with a succession of events featuring three of the country’s most celebrated cartoonists and remarkable illustrators. The public of all ages is invited to join us in an exciting series of exhibitions featuring Jordan Crane on May 10, Peter Bagge on May 17, and SHAG on May 24.
Los Angles artist Jordan Crane’s evocative and bittersweet meditations on the human condition in comics and illustration have gained him an enthusiastic following among art aficionados of all ages. His economical narrative observations have been published by Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books, including two issues of the comic book series Uptight, and graphic novels The Last Lonely Saturday and The Clouds Above, recently issued in trade paperback. His exhibition opening Saturday, May 10 includes exquisite limited edition prints and original artwork from his comics. The reception, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, serves as the after-party for exhibitors and guests of the Emerald City Comicon, where Crane is among the featured artists. The opening also coincides with the lively Georgetown Second Saturday Art Attack, featuring art, music and more at over 30 locations throughout the enchanting Georgetown neighborhood.
Seattle’s Peter Bagge is one of the most accomplished and admired cartoonists in the world. On Saturday, May 17 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore will host the launch party for a line of skateboards and related product produced by Seattle-based Manik Skateboards. On display will be the debut of skateboard decks drawn from the pages of his landmark comic HATE. Bagge’s grunge-era imagery is ideally suited to the skateboarding subculture. At once hilarious and poignant, Bagge’s work of this era went beyond satire, and helped fashion both the attitudes and aesthetics of Seattle’s only significant indigenous youth movement. In the opinion of Fantagraphics Books’ resident curator Larry Reid, “Peter Bagge’s HATE is the most fully conceived and executed comic book series ever published.” These delightful boards remain as funny and compelling as his comics of the 1990s.
SHAG (Josh Agle), of Santa Ana, CA, is the Andy Warhol of the new millennium. His distinctive artwork is characterized by a deceptively simple fluid line quality and contemporary interpretations of mid-century Americana. His work is simultaneously fresh and familiar, drawing on oddities of American popular culture both past and present. SHAG’s imagery resonates with audiences worldwide, and over the course of the last decade he has become a cottage industry – certainly one of the most prolific and successful artists working today. For good reason. The exhibition opening and book signing on Saturday, May 24 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM will feature work from his new book, SHAG: A to Z, published by Fantagraphics Books, natch. The book is comprised of 26 original paintings corresponding to the letters of the alphabet. Each piece is accompanied by a short verse extolling the pleasures of a hedonistic lifestyle and the virtues of overindulgence. Join us in welcoming this extraordinary artist.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle’s Georgetown district. Open daily, 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: 206.658.0110. A selection of imagery in a variety of formats is available for publication. For additional information, please contact Larry Reid.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
Jordan Crane Book signing and art show Saturday, May 10, 6:00 – 9:00 PM (Emerald City Comicon after-party) Exhibition continues through May 21
Peter Bagge Manik Skateboard launch party Saturday, May 17, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
SHAG: A to Z Book signing and art show Saturday, May 24, 6:00 – 9:00 PM Exhibition continues through June 25
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale Street. (at Airport Way S.) Seattle, WA 98108 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM
Fantagraphics was in full effect at the 2008 Stumptown Comics Fest. Your humble reporter was only there for Saturday of the two-day event, but had a smashing time (and went 200% over budget buying comics, art & t-shirts — yikes). Here's a brief video clip of our table:
Paul Karasik sends along photos and reports from last weekend's event in Brooklyn:
Well, it happened. Karasik and Newgarden in the same place at the same time. Tears of joy were wept by those in attendance. Tears of sorrow were wept for those who were not. An exhibit of Garbage Pail Kids rejects and Fletcher Hanks' student work remains on display at Desert Island in Williamsburg, a very fine book store.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery’s resident curator Larry Reid presented a very engaging and informative slide lecture on the topic “WEIRDOS: Seattle’s Alternative Comics Culture in the Context of R. Crumb’s Underground” at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle last night. Stay tuned — we'll be adapting Larry's presentation into an online feature here on the website in the near future.
I attended David Hajdu's excellent event at Town Hall last night, which featured (or so I gathered) a significantly different lecture from those given on the rest of his book tour. The lecture was to promote The 10 Cent Plague, Hajdu's excellent history of the crackdown on horror and crime comics of the 1950s, which promoted the Kefauver Senate Subcommittee hearings on juvenile deliquency and led to the formation of the Comics Code Authority.
This event was put on by Nextbook, a non-profit organization that serves as a locus for Jewish literature, culture, and ideas; as such, Hajdu tailored his Town Hall event to how the creators of the era of The 10 Cent Plague employed comics to express their Jewish experience. For the evening's talk, Hajdu culled exclusively from interviews he conducted for the book that discussed Jewish identity but didn't make it into the final draft. So it was a night of bonus tracks, basically, which was great. He shared anecdotes from Will Eisner, Al Jaffee, Bob Oksner, Arnold Drake, Harry Lampert, Al Feldstein and many others.
But the highlight was a rare film short Hajdu was generous enough to share, a piece of propaganda he obtained from the Library of Congress and filmed in the 1950s to promote the idea that comic books cause juvenile deliquency. Specifically (but not limited to), torture. I wish I could have shot the whole clip, but my digital camera can only film for about two minutes before running out of space.
The film only gets better after these first two minutes, which are mostly introductory. It later becomes a dramatization of a group of suburban adolescents, all boys, happily hanging out in the woods, reading and trading comic books. The voice-over paints a more grim picture (I'm paraphrasing):
"Look at these children. When I was a boy, we too gathered in gangs like this, but it was to roast potatoes or learn skills and build things, like a raft to put in the river. Never did we just sit around READING. And what are they reading?"
Well, you can imagine. Tales of "sexual depravity, adultery, murder, etc." The sheer trauma of reading such pernicious filth turns the boys into a raving mob of sadists who con a younger boy into the woods, tie him to a tree, gag him, hold lit matches centimeters from his head and hair while slapping him around and punching knives into the tree he's bound to, and laughing in a way that makes me think Heath Ledger might have studied this film as research for the new Batman movie. It was like A Clockwork Orange starring the Little Rascals.
Which is to say it was fantastic. I almost bought into it, it was so good. I might have thought going in that knives and matches contributed more to juvenile delinquency than comics, but screw that notion.
Anyway, here's the clip. Thanks much to Mr. Hajdu for sharing with us. Buy his book (even though we didn't even publish it), it's good. It even has a killer Charles Burns cover. Now excuse me, I need to go roast some potatoes.
... haven't been to enough comics events in Seattle lately, I'm participating in this at Hugo House tonight:
The Hugo House InPrint Series presents:
Why Publish With an Independent or Small Press? An Evening with Northwest Independent Press Publishers
Tuesday, April 15th, 2008, 7:00 - 9:00 Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave. Seattle Admission $3 members/$5 non-members
Why Publish With an Independent or Small Press?
The Northwest features a handful of excellent independent press publishers who are producing interesting work and attracting positive critical attention and awards.
Tonight editors and publishers from several publishers will be on hand to explain the advantages of publishing with an independent small press and how to go about it. Our speakers will cover the editing and business side of small press, from queries and pitches to editorial preferences and distribution.
Small press publishers can serve audiences that aren't normally served by larger publishers who can only publish very commercial work, allowing them to get away from publishing only work that appeals to the largest common denominator of readers. Once books have been published and received positive reviews, they often attract the attention of larger publishers for broader distribution. All of your questions will be answered and you'll come away with valuable information and contacts for publishing.
Black Heron Press: Jerry Gold, publisher and editor-in-chief
Chin Music Press: Bruce Rutledge, journalist and author
Fantagraphics: Eric Reynolds, editor
Aqueduct Press: L. Timmel Duchamp, author, publisher and editor
Payseur and Schmidt: Jacob McMurray, publisher
Wood Works Press: Paul Hunter, publisher and editor
The InPrint Series is a quarterly forum designed to connect writers with agents, publishers and publishing industry experts. The mission of Richard Hugo House is to build a vital learning community that develops and sustains practicing writers doing essential work. (206) 322-7030 www.hugohouse.org