Recent hire, RJ Casey, hails from the town of Chicago but has been out Seattle-way for awhile as an editorial intern working with editor Kristy Valenti and is now working at Fantagraphics on foreign rights and FU Press. Please welcome RJ into our weird fold as we ask him a few questions.
What other jobs/experiences have you had in comics? What's your background in (non-comics?)
I started a small publishing behemoth with Eric Roesner called Yeti Press. We've been wheelin' and dealin' comics, graphic novels, and anthologies since 2011. I also taught elementary school for five years in the suburbs of Chicago. All this after I double majored in English and education at Hope College in Michigan.
What was the first comic you read?
Silver Surfer #54 was the first comic I ever read, but I use the word "read" loosely. It was more like scanning the pages for action before I could decipher the words. The Silver Surfer and Rhino fought in a zoo!
What was the first comic that made you want to write, react, something?
Artists like Dylan Horrocks and Roger Langridge always make me laugh and think, but I'm going to take it back to Bone by Jeff Smith. I was a struggling student in early grades and I learned how to read, quite literally, from Bone. I still reread it at least once a year.
Given the recent holiday, we are happy to highlight some employees we are most thankful to have joined Team Fanta this year. They'ved added much to the hivemind. May I introduce (or reintroduce) Marc J. Palm, local cartoonist and manning one of the customer service desks like you wouldn't be-lieve. If you've been in Seattle for a bit, you've no doubt seen a Marc Palm art show or perhaps some of his art advertising a Scarecrew Video show.
1-What other jobs/experiences have you had in comics? I've never worked professionally in comics until now I suppose. Although I've been self-publishing zines and mini comics for 20 years. With that I've done a very small amount of distribution and festival tabling.
2- What was the first comic you read? It was probably Garfield in the papers. But the first comic I think I owned was a super oversized coloring book version of a Spider-man comic from the 80's with Doc Ock.
3 - What was the first comic that made you want to write, react, something? I cannot think of a single comic that was a catalyst. Ever since I saw comics in general, I liked the comic format and wanted to make comics. They just make the most sense to me. Word books are not as exciting for someone as visual as I am and animation can be so limited in the quality of the artwork.
4- What can you recommend to Fanta readers? It's so easy to be overwhelmed by the amount and variety of comics available. I'd say, just follow your eyes and ears. If something looks cool to you or sounds like it has things that interests you, check it out. I explore organically. I like recommendations, but I figure if it's really for me we'll cross paths sooner or later and those times are when I'll appreciate it the most. Don't be pressured to read something you're not into. You cannot force yourself to enjoy something you are not ready for.
5- Weirdest Fanta experience so far? Weirdest time is when I first visited the Fanta office back in 2002? After my friend and I figured out which house it was, I got up the nerve to go and visit the next day. I had asked my friend if I should bring beer or cookies or something. He said "no". So I didn't. I dared to knock on the front door and I walked in after hearing a muffled "come in". Gary was at a desk in the front room and there was another desk next to the door.
Everyone looked at me like "who the hell are you?" I awkwardly said some stuff about how I was a fan and new to the city. Gary told me, "Well, there's no tour or anything". I asked about work and they said that maybe there was something at the warehouse. Years later at SPX, I told Gary the story and he said that if I would have brought beer I would have gotten the tour. AH!! I knew it!
6-Your favorite way to wind down? Drawing is of course the best thing for that. I cannot escape more than when I do draw. But, I'm a real simple Seattle guy, so I like to rent a movie fromScarecrow Video, drink cheap beer and smoke pot.
(Marc, right most, drawing with Eric Reynolds, Max Clotfelter, James Stanton, Simon Hanselmann and more)
7- Your favorite drink? drip coffee with a little cream
8-What projects do you have ahead of you outside of your job? I'm the organizer of the INTRUDER comics newpaperhere in Seattle. So, I'm either working on my comic for the next issue, waiting for contributors to send me work or plotting our next release party.
9-What's the best part of comic conventions? I'll go to cons with expectations to sell stuff, but that's not really the important part. It's more communal for me. It can be like going to a family reunion and seeing what everyone has been up to over the last year. It's also nice to meet folks in person that I've only known virtually or only through their work.
10-What's your favorite place in Seattle for food or public place? I like cheap eats and comfy places. I enjoy Cafe Racerbest. They've got food, beer and coffee. It's got a great multi level/room layout. There's a big table for groups to meet or draw at. It's just so lived in and full of interesting things that I feel at home.
Unless you happen to be in the inner circle of Fantagraphics you might not know that our publisher's son, Conrad Groth, spent the summer interning at MAD Magazine in NYC. In the latest issue of MAD, they wrote a little thank you to Conrad (on the left) and the other summer intern. He's working his way up, up, up! We're happy to have Conrad back on the West Coast though, with the knowledge he gained over the summer.
We told you about some shows opening in the last few weeks and NOW we have some sweet photographic proof, c'mon, you believed us, right?! Above, M.K. Brown stands outside of the Cartoon Art Museum at Saa Francisco, CA. Her show runs from August 30th until February 15th, 2015. It collects comics and single panel gag cartoons featured in her collection Stranger Than Life (published by Fantagraphics!).
Bill Griffiths of Zippy the Pinhead lists the things he looks for in an amazing cartoonist on the CAM site. "- Chronicles the times we live in, but does so in a way that doesn't 'date.' - Juxtaposition, juxtaposition, juxtaposition. - Makes the personal universal, makes the universal personal."
Meanwhile, Jacques Boyreau of Portable Grindhouse,Sexytime and nowSuperTrash just had a month long installation at the PNCA in Portland. On a panel for the high-and-low-art show, Boyreau (second from the left) articulates how we are all creators and purveyors of trash art. The low brow or pop culture of today maybe the only thing that stands the test of time after many tomorrows. Jacques will be appearing at Elliott Bay Books this Sunday at 3pm with a presentation about SuperTrash and signing copies of this assault on your senses.
Did you know you still have 13 hours left to pick out some spooky titles from our Halloween sale?! Details on all the titles for sale until MIDNIGHT PST tonight! With all that extra money you'll be able to make a wicked costume for your kiddos or self. Oh no...did you forget to make a costume for Scooter? Just a little black paint and sharpie and you can whip up a great Charlie Brown in no time (costume and kid by freelance editor Shawna Gore).
Swee'Pea from Popeye is also another easy one (costume and kid by Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds)
In one of the cooler videos to hit the internet lately, comics enthusiast and scholar Allen Rubenstein created a video of the 1000 Greatest Comics of all Time AND set it to "Wipe Out" by the Sufaris (so already won a place in our hearts). At home on Comics Juice, Rubenstein's video contains some great heavyweights like Maus, Blankets and bunch of Fantagraphics' titles from Nancy by Ernie Bushmiller to the newer Eisner-nominated Good Dogby Graham Chaffee.
Think you were able to see all the comics, like the Fanta-ones? Check the list and see if you won this game! And is there anything more beautiful than the patterns and rhythms created by the fast-scrolling book covers? I think not.
If you're a geek, like hip hop and have ever been on the Internet, chances are you've heard of Adam WarRock. Having made his unique brand of pop cultural indie hip hop, the emcee has rapped about everything from Downton Abbey to Ron Swanson in his three years of releasing free music to the Internet. Fantagraphics and Michael Kupperman donated some comics from Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 just for you if you donate to his donation drive. If you've ever been to a Kupperman/WarRock version of the Crimestoppers show, you know the magic they possess dressing up and rapping as Albert Einstein and Mark Twain.
From the press release: Through July 3, Adam WarRock is having his Third Annual Donation Drive. Not only a chance to give back for all the free music he's released, donors of any amount will receive: a new album, a live video concert, and a digital comics package that includes comics and more from Michael Kupperman as well as Oni Press, MonkeyBrain, Nedroid, Atomic Robo and more.
Adam and I go waaaayyy back professionally. We hosted the 2010 Nerdlinger Awards together pre-SPX at Atomic Books and I designed his first set of shirt. Here Euge (center) and I are handing Fantagraphics' cartoonist Drew Weing his Nerdlinger award for Best High Seas Adventure, Unpronouncable Name or something silly like that (the awards are beers, people). So for fun, music and Kupperman comics, donate to a worthy cause.
Most Seattlelites recognize the cartoons of Steven Weissman since he's been drawing I, Anonymous for the Seattle Stranger for quite awhile. In this weekly letter column, he pens the diatribes of the angry, bitter, self-loathing and oblivious. Last month's was a favorite of mine, a huge fan of the C-word, handled with the utmost care (see above). Weissman's love of duotone, gray shading and dot-matrix-heavy shading makes his drawings perfect for print and they look hella fine on the web too. Weissman was sweet enough to answer some questions about how he approaches the weekly illustrations.
Q: Do the letters appear on your doorstep in a huge sack just steeped in vitriol?
A: [Art Director] Aaron Huffman sends me a letter sometime between Wednesday and Friday each week after Stranger associate editor David Schmader or some shadowy 'they' pick the letters.
Q: What is your process like for a weekly drawing based on someone else's ideas?
A: I've usually scanned the letter once by Friday. I'll print it out on Sunday night, underline key phrases and make a couple of sketches. By Monday morning, I have a pretty clear idea of what I'm drawing.
Sometimes the Seattle-specific letters can be puzzling (I'm in Los Angeles), but I can only think of one where I was completely stumped, and all I remember about that one is my solution being some guy eating a toaster waffle.
Q: Have you ever been contacted by the people who wrote the letters or the ones who figured out they were the subject?
A: I've sold drawings to people related to the letters before. They make great gifts for friends recovering from messy breakups (35% of I, Anonymous letters are breakups). Original art is also a great way to say "I'm sorry I gave you V.D."
BAM, BeerAndMovie Fest, returns for its 4th year in the Portland market. Sponsored exclusively by Ninkasi Brewing and Fantagraphics Books, BAM takes place April 5-11 at the Academy Theater, and April 5-May 2 at the Laurelhurst Theater. Sexy Time editor Jacques Boyreau tells you why you need to be there:
With BAM (BeerAndMovie) in its 4th year, can BAB (BeerAndBook) be far off? Let's hope it ain't! If the alignment design (by Olga Lopata) between Fantagraphics Books and Ninkasi Brewing that adorns our marquee is any omen, expect BAB soon.
Back to BAM...as the info posits, we got some cool movies ready to go. Speaking to the mosh of BAM, what fest has ever existed that so neatly connected ANNIE HALL with THE DUELLISTS (portraits of obsession); or HARD BOILED with PATHS OF GLORY (studies of body counts); or WHERE EAGLES DARE with STARSHIP TROOPERS (paragons of WW2 fetish); or ROAD HOUSE with KELLY'S HEROES (macho magical realism meets feminine absurdity). Yes it is so---BAM occupies the most potentially integrated, schizoidal zone of Pop Rep Cinema known to man or venue...Zoinx! All you need do is recall that in our first year we paired BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA with ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING.
The Academy series comprises 4 titles showing every day, April 5-11: ANNIE HALL (1977), STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997), ROAD HOUSE (1989), and HARD BOILED (1992). All Academy titles are on 35mm film.
The Laurelhurst series runs 4 consecutive weeks, with each title playing for the whole week: April 5-11 WHERE EAGLES DARE (1968), April 12-18 PATHS OF GLORY (1957), April 19-25 KELLY'S HEROES(1970), April 26-May 2 THE DUELLISTS (1977). All Laurelhurst titles are digital prints.
So sit your butts in some seats for sweet films and win some Fantagraphics books while you're there! Brew Views says "it’s still a great excuse to gather with a group of friends, the Swayze and some giant bugs for a beer—or six." There's even an art contest called "Interpreting Patrick Swayze" going on during the fest. Wanna draw the Swaze? You can turn in your art in the theater during any show or email it directly to
. Here are some of early entries:
Tim Colley captures the Road House homoeroticism between Swayze's "Dalton" character and the mysteriously named "Jimmy" (played by Marshall R. Teague).
Tim Colley channels The Swayze in sensitive black and white.
Colley goes "meta" with this Swayze-as-tat piece.
Academy Theater 7818 SE Stark Street Portland, OR 97215 503.252.0500
Laurelhurst Theater 2735 East Burnside Street Portland, OR 97214 503.232.5511
Bizarre Magazine recently ran an article by Stephen Daultrey featuring some primo "JUICY" posters from our arty porn poster book Sexytime, edited by Jacques Boyreau and Peter Van Horne. Seeking to celebrate "the age of trashy porn with tales of enemas, garage lube, balcony wanking" and Sexytime, Daultrey and Boyreau's words effectively magic a nostalgia within the reader that I didn't think possible.
The 1960s brought on such a world that "Grindhouse movie producers had begun competing about who could up the filth factor," Boyreau points out. This pushed the crazitude of poster art to a higher level, porny and punny. Think enemas, pumps and dumps.
Daultrey laments the availibility of VHS tapes and internet porn meant a lessening need for "suggestive and sometimes absurd posters [that] made the films even more trendy and often operated as standalone works of art that were almost entirely autonomous from the fuck films they promoted."
But that's the beauty of the posters seen in Sexytime says Boyreau, "They activated their own post-porn, personal narratives. They're much like how Impressionist paintings or religious, symbolic paintings can induce visionary relationships between body and soul."
To read more, pick up the next Bizarre Magazine for the full article and buy a copy of Sexytime. That one at the library has at least '69 holds' on it and is smelling a wee bit ripe.