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Category >> staff

Miles does Ditko
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve Ditkostaff 22 Apr 2009 11:46 AM

On the Covered blog, our own Jason T. Miles takes a crack at a 1990s Steve Ditko monster comic. Click through for the whole thing:

Ditko covered by Miles

Nico Vassilakis in NYC; new book
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staff 8 Apr 2009 11:09 AM

Fantagraphics warehouse manager and poet-in-residence Nico Vassilakis passes along the following info and links -- if you're in NYC, go on out and meet the man:

reading st marks - april 24th 10pm

my visual poetry show in chelsea - april 16th - may 9th

Nico Vassilakis

and a new book of poems coming out - Disparate Magnets

Nico Vassilakis - Disparate Magnets

Daily links: 3/25/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim LaneSupermenstaffRobert CrumbreviewsPeanutsPaul HornschemeierMomeLeah HayesIvan BrunettiCarol Tyler 25 Mar 2009 2:17 PM

• Review: Entertainment Weekly gives Supermen! an A-, saying "Supermen!, this anthology lovingly assembled by Greg Sadowski, makes the case that these earliest endeavors by the future creators of masterworks like The Spirit, Captain America, and Plastic Man were more than crude throat-clearings — they were unfiltered manifestations 
of psyche, lousy with erotic charge and questionable politics."

• Review: Graphic Novel Reporter on Abandoned Cars by Tim Lane: "Abandoned Cars doesn’t arrive at a clear-cut solution to the American Myth, but Lane’s effort to understand it for himself is beautifully presented... every last detail of the book seems perfectly devised by Lane to bring the stories together and make the reader join the inner dialogue on the subject of the Great American Mythological Drama. It is a brilliant debut."

• Review: Andrew Wheeler says Mome Vol. 11 is "a solid, interesting anthology"; following up with Mome Vol. 12, says "I expect anybody who likes 'alternative' cartooning at all will find something to enjoy here"; and finds Funeral of the Heart by Leah Hayes not to his taste

• Preview: Philadelphia Weekly's "Spring Books Roundup" looks at You'll Never Know Book 1: A Good and Decent Man by C. Tyler ("luscious") and The Complete Crumb Comics Vol. 4

• Profile: The Daily Eastern News previews Ivan Brunetti's visit to the Eastern Illinois University campus

• Things to see (and buy if you're filthy rich): The Daily Cartoonist reports that the original art for the April 1, 1973 Sunday Peanuts is up for auction. Go bid, or save yourself a few thou by collecting the strip in The Complete Peanuts 1972-1973, coming this Fall

• Things to see: Thomas from Paul Hornschemeier's Mother, Come Home, rendered in embroidery

• Things to see: Look upon the bookshelves of Eric Reynolds and weep... WEEP

BETTER LATE: San Diego 2008! part two
Written by Jason Miles | Filed under staffMark ToddKim DeitchJohnny RyanEsther Pearl WatsonBlake Bell 16 Mar 2009 4:56 PM

Fantagraphics Warehouse strongman, Ajax salutes the Comic-Con and my camera. This was the second year Ajax worked Comic-Con and our second year without the riffraff crowd lingering around our booth and shoplifting our shit. Coincidence?

 

The Sultan of Shit, Johnny Ryan at the Buenaventura booth. I just read New Character Parade #2 and laffed alot. You should buy it so you can laff alot too.

Strange & Stranger scribe, Blake Bell mugs for the camera.

The AMAZING Kim Deitch personalizes a copy of Shadowland for a fan. There's not much more I can write about Deitch. He's the greatest! I really enjoyed and strongly recommend the simultaneous reading of Deitch's Pictorama and The Comics Journal #296. Very rewarding.  

Unlovable author-extraordinaire, Esther Pearl Watson and Bad Ass Mark Todd at their booth with a Popple !?

New from Fantagraphics' poet laureate
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staff 16 Mar 2009 11:27 AM

staReduction by Nico Vassilakis

Our own Nico Vassilakis has a new packet of visual poetry ephemera titled staReduction out from Bookthug of Canada consisting of deconstructed alphabet sketches and an accompanying essay booklet. Do check it out if you like interesting things. Only 8 bucks (not sure if that's CDN or US).

The secret life of a Fantagraphics Bookstore employee
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staffFantagraphics Bookstore 11 Mar 2009 5:29 PM

Fantagraphics Bookstore employee Janice Headley

A couple of weeks ago, Wired.com profiled nine different comic store employees, including Gary Panter's daughter Olive. However, their feature focused solely on stores either in New York or the Bay Area, bypassing the Emerald City and our very own fine establishment, the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Therefore, we've taken it upon ourselves to spotlight an employee from our store (whom you might also meet staffing our booth at various conventions across the country), using the same basic questions Wired used for their interviews. Wired.com, you're welcome.

Name: Janice Headley
Store: Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
Age: 32
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Lives in: Seattle, Washington
Background: Also runs the arts-n-crafts website copacetique.com (currently on hiatus), and works in the Programming Department at KEXP.ORG

If you could be any comic book character, who would it be?
Pupshaw. My best friend would be a kitty, and I'd have a loyal, awesome admirer to romp with. Sounds good to me! Plus, I could make an army of tiny me's spring from my mouth and attack my enemies. Cutest. Death. Ever.

Which title has fallen farthest from grace?
Hmmm... I'm gonna get SO much crap for this, but for me personally, I'm gonna have to say Popeye. You see, for me, it all comes down to the Whiffle Hen. In Volume One, I was entranced by the Whiffle Hen. I eagerly turned page after page, wondering, "Where's the Whiffle Hen?" But in Volume Two? No Whiffle Hen. Forget about Volume Three. Nope. Totally off the Popeye wagon here.

Which has risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of suck-itude?
Any comic out there that wants to adopt a Whiffle Hen...

How long have you worked in a comic store? How did you start?
I guess it's been something like a year and a half now? I took over for the awesome Ms. Rhea Patton, wife of also-awesome Eric Reynolds, who used to work the Sunday shift until she got pregnant with the lovely lil' Miss Clementine. As the spouse of a Fantagraphics employee myself, the application process was surprisingly simple.

What are the best and worst parts about working in a comic store?
Best: Getting to talk to customers about comics. What can I say, I love dorking out with fellow enthusiasts. It feels great introducing someone to a new artist, or telling them about new books coming out, and then watching them freak out with excitement. That rules. Also, our bookstore shares its space with Georgetown Records, so I get to spend my shifts listening to obscure 60's garage rock.

Worst: The customers who spend three hours in the Eros corner, staring at me creepily, and then they leave without buying a thing. Quit it.

What's the least nerdy thing about you?
Everything about me is nerdy. Everything.

Biggest pet peeve about customers?
When they talk down to me because I'm a girl. It's such a sucky stereotype that comics are a "guy" thing. With amazing artists like Ellen Forney, Miss Lasko Gross, Megan Kelso, Esther Pearl Watson, Renee French, Leah Hayes... Do I even need to go on? Jeez, aren't we past that yet?

What's the worst misconception about comic books and their fans?
Besides the misconception that comics are a "guy" thing? That we don't get any sex. Let the recent Fanta baby boom put that misconception to rest!

Why is there such a big crossover between comic book fans and tech junkies?
Is there? I don't know if that's necessarily true in our world. Sometimes when I try to tell customers to check out our website, they shake their heads and frown. I think there's still a large number of comic book fans who prefer the good ol' fashioned storefront.

Do you have any anecdotes about working in a comic store?
This really precocious kid came in once, maybe 9 or 10 years old. He looked up at me wide-eyed and said, "These aren't normal comics, are they? These comics are... are..." He scrunched up his face, like he was trying to find the right word from last week's vocab test. And then looked back up, beaming with pride, and said, "These comics are revolutionary!" Awwwww! So right you are, kid.


































The Politics of Stupid, indeed!
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under staffmisc 4 Mar 2009 7:56 AM

SusanPower1.jpg

Back in those heady 1990s, the guys at our warehouse seemingly had a lot of time on their hands. To wit: these tapes, which have been semi-legendary in inner-Fanta circles for years. Former warehouse staffer Dave Holmes -- also the front man in the legendary Seattle band The Fall-Outs -- routinely entertained his fellow warehouse coworkers with prank phone calls to local radio talk show host Susan Powter. Somehow, Susan never seemed to catch on to the joke. Dave always used the names of his fellow coworkers for the calls, and even adopts a fairly impressive Australian accent when he calls in as "Martin" -- a nod to our Aussie warehouse asst. mgr. Martin Bland (also one of Seattle's best drummers, for bands like Monkeywrench, Bloodloss and Lubricated Goat, not to mention his amazing sound experiments). I haven't heard these tapes in years but listening again now, they're as funny as ever.

He draws good, too
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staff 18 Feb 2009 12:09 PM

Moon Knight No. 15 covered by Eric Reynolds

On the Covered blog, our own Eric Reynolds takes on Moon Knight vintage 1982.

Comics of Note 2008
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staffRobert GoodinRenee FrenchLilli CarréLaura ParkKevin Huizenga 23 Jan 2009 11:49 PM

Here are some thoughts on last year's comics that I would like to share with you. I don't dare call this a "Best Of" list -- these are merely some comics that I read and that stand out to me, excluding Fantagraphics releases because it's my job to love them all equally, though you'll find some stuff from Fanta folks in here. Listed more or less alphabetically:

Against Pain by Ron Rege Jr. (D&Q) - A nice hefty slab of Ron's unique vision. I'm always compelled by Ron's stuff and it's great to have this much of it in one place.

Capacity by Theo Ellsworth (Secret Acres) - A warm, cleverly constructed, visually stunning tour through the artist's amazingly fertile creative imagination. Ellsworth synthesizes his mind-bogglingly detailed fantastical world-building with autobiography in a really natural and satisfying way without seeming like a crazy person, which is quite a feat.

Dead Ringer by Jason T. Miles (La Mano) - A big, haunting slab of swampy beauty, mortality, cartoon gore, poetry and lovely chipboard. Morbid, funny, sublime, and lowbrow all at once. I get to sit next to this guy at work.

Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper by Kevin Huizenga (Buenaventura) - Huizenga makes an experimental comic and the result is pure, distilled, uncut, unadulterated Comics Fun. Nifty!

The Man Who Loved Breasts by Robert Goodin (Top Shelf) - Like a master class in expressive cartooning. Just look at George Olavatia's face from panel to panel, for Pete's sake.

Trubble Club (online and self-published mini) - Cute, weird, gross, sad, funny jam comics from over a dozen participants (including Laura Park and Lilli Carré). Almost every panel goes in a delightfully unexpected direction.

Welcome to the Dahl House by Ken Dahl (Microcosm) - His story in Papercutter hooked me on his acerbic worldview and crackerjack cartooning. This is mostly earlier stuff and as such a little rougher but it brings you up to where the greatness is.

Renee French's blog - I look forward to Renee's daily drawings more than anything else in my RSS feeds. I especially love her lo-fi cameraphone (?) doodle snapshots and she occasionally flat out blows my mind.

Our staff poet
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under staff 29 Dec 2008 12:13 PM

Text Loses Time - Nico Vassilakis

As part of a series highlighting Seattle poets, The Stranger features the work of Nico Vassilakis, who daylights as Fantagraphics' warehouse manager. (Above, Nico's most recent book, Text Loses Time.)


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