• List:USA Today's pop culture maven Whitney Matheson starts counting down her People of the Year at Pop Candy, with Jim Woodring kicking things off at #100 ("This year the artist constructed a seven-foot-long fountain pen that even Lloyd Dobler would be proud to own") and Leslie Stein coming in at #78 ("She had me at the talking guitar: The Brooklyn-based cartoonist's Eye of the Majestic Creatureprovided a joyous reading experience")
• List (Audio): Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3 are among the books discussed by Inkstuds host Robin McConnell and his guests Tim Hodler, Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca for his "Best of 2011 with the Critics" episode
• List: Librairie Drawn & Quarterly's Jade names her Top 5 Books of 2011 on the 211 Bernard blog: "Thirty years after the first Love and Rockets issue, the Hernandez Brothers continue to impress with some of their best work to date in Love and Rockets: New Stories #4. Both brothers produce storylines that are absolutely amazing... I can’t even begin to imagine what these guys will come up with next."
• Review:The Seattle Times' Mary Ann Gwinn looks at Pogo Vol. 1 and the "Playing Possum" exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery: "Kelly had an uneasy relationship with the newspapers that ran the strip. Though Pogo was hilarious, it could also be extremely pointed. Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid says the Hoover strips, featuring a bulldog with an uncanny resemblance to the FBI director, aggravated Hoover no end. 'He was driven to distraction' by the notion that the strips had hidden messages embedded in them, says Reid. 'He had cryptographers trying to decipher swamp talk.'"
• Review: At Artdish, Gary Faigin also looks at "Playing Possum": "Kelly was both famous and honored in his lifetime (over 50 collections of Pogo were published, and the strip appeared in most major newspapers), but just enough time has passed since his demise in 1973 that many people, younger ones especially, are not familiar with his work. While that’s a good reason to celebrate the Pogo show and book launch at the Fantagraphics Gallery this month, an even better reason is the opportunity to be reminded how fresh, lively, and relevant his work is, decades after it first appeared."
• Review: "These are deeply strange short stories [in The Man Who Grew His Beard], centered on ideas and effects I’m not sure I’d have come up with even with the proverbial infinite number of monkeys at my disposal; even in this short-story-saturated alternative comics climate, there’s nothing else like his gestalt of finely calibrated nonsense. It’s good to see that comics can do things you’d never think to ask of them in the first place." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
• Review: "Although Barks didn’t create Donald Duck, it is his interpretation that probably resides in most people’s memories.... Donald in the animated shorts was a hot-headed buffoon. Barks’ Donald was an actor called upon to play whatever role Barks needed: from exasperated parent to worldly adventurer. It was Barks’ duck comics that spurred my early interest in sequential storytelling, and probably my love of reading in general." Norman Cook, Axolotlburg News
• Review: "Love & Rockets is the only series that I don't mind purchasing and repurchasing in multiple editions... I like the way that Jaime Hernandez's stories read in different configurations. Approaching his little slices of life through flashback or in different sequences lets little details, the sort of which most readers probably miss the first time around, take new shapes and new levels of importance. I really love these paperback editions... As ever, there's just a tiny hint of extra-normal fantasy at work in the stories [in Penny Century], just enough for readers to accept that there's something very strange over the horizon or in Izzy's psyche, but never enough to overwhelm the wonderful, human reality of these beloved characters. Highly recommended for older readers." – Grant Goggans, The Hipster Dad's Bookshelf (via The Comics Reporter)
In a year-long wind-up to the end of all time (according to the Mayan calendar), Elysian Brewing Company and Fantagraphics Books, both of Seattle, are planning a series of twelve beers, issued on the 21st of each month in 2012 and featuring label artwork by Charles Burns. Taken from Burns's weirdly apocalyptic work Black Hole, the labels will adorn Elysian's "Twelve Beers of the Apocalypse," featuring the creativity and unusual ingredients for which its brewing team is known. What twelve beers would you brew (and drink) if you knew they would be your last?
First up in January is NIBIRU, named for the mysterious planet X supposedly on a collision course toward Earth. The Elysian / Fantagraphics Nibiru will be a Belgian-style Tripel, flavored with an infusion of yerba maté. Combining the tasty esters of Belgian yeast and the compelling tea-like flavors of the South American herb mixture, the beer will weigh in at around 7.6% alcohol by volume (ABV). A mixture of German Northern Brewer, Czech Saaz and American Amarillo hops round out the uniqueness of the first beer of the Apocalypse. Oddly enough there's another apocalyptic-themed Nibiru out there: a super volcano currently burbling most dangerously beneath Yellowstone National Park. It too is scheduled to end life as we know it very very soon.
February 21 will usher in RAPTURE, an ale of opulent proportions flavored with heather tips. Unlike the various Rapture events predicted by pseudoscientists and alarmist evangelicals, the beer will be very real and frankly delicious, combining the floral fragrance and slight bite of high country heather with Northwest Glacier hops in another 7% ABV beer. FALLOUT follows in March, right around the time of the vernal equinox. Fallout will be a pale ale made with green cardamom.
As Earth's last year unfolds, other beers will appear as if by dangerous magic. Persimmons, chilies, raisins, blood oranges, rosemary and other herbs will be integrated into ales, lagers and Belgian styles using the finest local and imported ingredients. These limited brews will be available in bottles and draft and at select bars and bottle shops. We will celebrate as they are released — on the 21st of every month in 2012 — with events at one or the other of Elysian's three Seattle pubs and at Fantagraphics headquarters in the Georgetown neighborhood. Once they're gone, these beers will never be brewed again. Then again, come December 21, that will be the least of our worries.
Drew Friedman's heavenly new portrait of Swedish wrestler-turned-thespian Tor Johnson is now available as a limited-edition fine art print from Drew Friedman Fine Art Prints. Who wouldn't want Tor's floating head decorating their home? No one worth knowing, that's who.
Hummina hummina... Gary Panter has created a line of limited edition products for Pharmacy Boardshop with artwork on the theme of the Federal Reserve Bank, including this amazing skate deck, t-shirts and socks — SOCKS! — being released November 25. Passed along by our art director emeritus Jacob Covey, who found it via Dangerous Minds.
We're doing a special cross-promotion with our colleagues at Americaware, producers of fine t-shirts (and now hoodies!) featuring artwork by Northwest comics legends Peter Bagge, Jim Blanchard, Basil Wolverton and Jim Woodring. With every order you make with us you'll get a $5 coupon to use on an Americaware order, and with every Americaware order you'll get a 20% off coupon to use when ordering from us! You could get into an endless loop of savings! I personally have several Americaware shirts and lemme tell ya, they are niiiiice.
Well, whether or not you wear underwear is really more of a personal decision, but you can now get yourself a snazzy tee featuring artwork from long-running Harvey-award-nominated comic Underworld by Kaz!
And to celebrate the opening of their shop, all tees are discounted for the first week only. We're not entirely sure when this offer expires, so click over there today!
Jim Woodring has recently relaunched his official website with a completely new design and architecture. You can browse galleries of his artwork and comics; download and share various media; purchase artwork, prints, toys, signed-and-drawn-in books (such as below), and other merch in the revamped Jimland Novelties store; and more. So much to explore! So much to enjoy! So much to buy! And that new layout is so clean and inviting. 'At's-a good website! (Update: I just noticed there's a semi-secret adventure starring Pupshaw & Pushpaw as you explore the site — pay attention!) (Updated again to credit Plexipixel with the excellent new design.)
These are all hand-printed by Yee-Haw Industrial Letterpress of Knoxville, and as the Jim Flora website promises, they are guaranteed to include your birthday, as well as those of your family and friends!