A flock of rock stars descended on Fantagraphics Bookstore yesterday following a video shoot for the forthcoming Sub Pop Silver Jubilee celebrating 25 years of the storied Seattle record label. From left: producer and musician Jack Endino, Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, brother TAD Doyle, and (former Fantagraphics staffer) Mudhoney front man Mark Arm.
Mark your calendars - and make hotel reservations - for Saturday, July 13 when Sub Pop presents 15 bands on two stages of free, all-ages entertainment right outside our bookstore. Inside the store, Fantagraphics curator Larry Reid is teaming with Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt for an exhibition focusing on the formative years of the Sub Pop phenomenon, including seminal works from cartoonists that would later become legends in their own right. This event also marks the world premiere of Danny Bland's highly anticipated first novel In Case We Die, from the world's greatest pop culture publisher. Time your summer vacation accordingly.
• Vancouver, BC: Our awesome Marketing/PR/Outreach Fiend Jen Vaughn will be on an Inkstuds panel at the Vancouver Art Gallery, discussing art and tradition of comics, as well as reflecting on their own work. (As she puts it, "I'm very stoked to be talking about periods/menstruation inside a place called VAG." Haw!) She'll be joined by fellow artists Emily Carroll and Brandon Graham, with your host Robin McConnell. This event is free for museum members, and for non-members, Tuesday night are "Pay What You Can," so don't miss this! (more info)
Kim Thompson has been my partner at Fantagraphics Books for 35 years. He's contributed vastly and selflessly to this company and to the comics medium and worked closely with countless fine artists over that time. This is a tough announcement to make, but everyone who knows Kim knows he's a fighter and we remain optimistic that he'll get through this and report back to work, where he belongs, doing what he loves.
– Gary Groth
I'm sure that by now a number of people in the comics field who deal with me on a regular or semi-regular basis have noticed that I've been responding more spottily. This is because of ongoing health issues for the past month, which earlier this week resolved themselves in a diagnosis of lung cancer.
This is still very early in the diagnosis, so I have no way of knowing the severity of my condition. I'm relatively young and (otherwise) in good health, and my hospital is top-flight, so I'm hopeful and confident that we will soon have the specifics narrowed down, set me up with a course of treatment, proceed, and lick this thing.
It is quite possible that as treatment gets underway I'll be able to come back in and pick up some aspects of my job, maybe even quite soon. However, in the interests of keeping things rolling as smoothly as I can, I've transferred all my ongoing projects onto other members of the Fantagraphics team. So if you're expecting something from me, contact Gary Groth, Eric Reyolds, or Jason Miles and they can hook you up with whoever you need. If there are things that only I know and can deal with, lay it out for them and they'll contact me.
On behalf of Kim, we would like to encourage anyone who would like to reach out to him to feel free to send mail to him c/o Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or email.
The best looping GIF of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Publishers Weekly gives a Starred Review to Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein. "Krigstein’s stories are sometimes epic and sprawling, sometimes compressed and confined…His mastery of chiaroscuro, and his dramatic composition and layout, applied across a very wide range of subject matter, are what make this gorgeous collection so essential."
• Review:The AV Club also shows extreme love for the comics of B. Krigstein in his new collection Messages in a Bottle. Noel Murray writes, "Krigstein treated each assignment as a chance to put theory into practice, and even among EC’s formidable roster of stylists, Krigstein stands out as one for whom the words around the pictures almost don’t matter, because the art’s so mesmerizing that it’s hard to pay attention to anything else…"
• Review: The Advocate warms up to the reading of Gilbert Hernandez's Julio's Day. Jacob Anderson-Minshall writes "Hernandez is able to illustrate that those events had a global reach and dramatically impacted the lives of everyone — including the people in Julio’s life…A remarkable accomplishment that is likely to find its way on numerous Best of 2013 lists and garner Hernandez more well deserved awards and accolades, Julio’s Day is, at its heart, a gay story."
• Plug:Philip Nel plugs our latest volume of The Comics Journal #302 and it's interview -- the last interview-- with children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. "Above all, in reading Groth’s interview, it’s great to hear Maurice’s voice — his salty, funny, grumpy, insightful, irascible voice — just one last time."
• Review: Neal Wyatt of the Library Journal looks at the new books coming out this year from Fantagraphics. "Browsing the Fantagraphics spring catalog underscores the myriad of styles and literary approaches that graphic novelists and artists explore—be it Anders Nilsen’s near metaphorical images or Dash Shaw’s crowded and kaleidoscopic landscapes." He singles out Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch, Lost Cat by Jason, New School by Dash Shaw ("Known for his frenetic and inventive artwork…") and The End by Anders Nilson.
• Plug: The Austin Public Library highlighted two of our books on their blog. On Jordan Crane's The Last Lonely Saturday, Betsey Blanche described as "The artwork is simple – drawn in mostly red and yellow – but full and effective." They also pulled out Lilli Carré's The Lagoon: "It’s another haunting but beautiful book about a family, mysteries, and the power of legends."
• Review:The Comicbook Pusherman looks at 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago. "…as a comic it absolutely crackles. The art is stunning. Santiago clearly captures baseball's (and Clemente's) unique energy and the Americas of the '50s and '60s and most distinctly the Puerto Rico of the 30s and 40s," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
As a recent thank you to Publisher Kim Thompson and editor Kristy Valenti (and more) for moving offices, I hatched up a scheme to paint the library door in our basement. If you haven't visited the Fantagraphics office recently, the lovely 70s shag carpet was ripped up awhile ago leaving the basement aesthetics a bit similar to that of a cattle kill floor. NO LONGER!
Inspired by Guy Peellaert's smashingly neon art in Jodelle, Office Manager Steph Rivers and I pulled out the carbon paper to adapt the drawing to our door. Also called graphite paper and available at art or architecture stores, it is an invaluable tool for mural making or large scale painting projects.
And then we let the Vitamin-C-infused paint hit the door. Now our library door matches the library door in Jodelle! Steph on the left as I sneakily took a photo.
The finished product may have worked too well. Now everyone at the office wants a new door. Maybe a Graham Chaffee one or Johnny Ryan....
Now time to paint all the book spines to match the ones in this library. Mwuhahahaha!
• Seattle, WA: Comics collective Intruder will be launching the fifth volume of their quarterly newspaper at Cairo, featuring a cover by our very own Tony Ong, with comics inside by staffer Jason T. Miles, freelancer David Lasky, and former staffer Alexa Koenings! (more info)
So for the next month or so people will tell you all the reasons why you should read The Comics Journal #302. It has the last interview with Maurice Sendak, an amazing How to Draw section with Roy Crane and his ghost artist (it's worth at least one semester of comic book school credit), a tribute to Dylan Williams, an extensive interview with Jacques Tardi, a new Joe Sacco comic, a Percy Crosby examination and so much more. But I'm here to tell you how you could use TCJ 302 to sweat. At 672 pages, this tome is not just a brick of knowledge, it's a heavy-ass brick of knowledge.
While the matte cover could potentially soak up a lot of sweat, wrist bands and occasionally toweling yourself will keep your TCJ 302 fighting fit.
The single arm row is a great workout for your back. Kneeling over a chair or bench, place one knee and hand on it. Hold TCJ 302 in other arm fully extended towards the ground. With your back parallel to the ground, slowly bring the book up to your midsection and then return to the starting position. Remember to keep your back still as you shakily lift up TCJ 302.
Now the triceps are a problem area for most Americans. Standing completely straight, feet planted firmly hip-width apart on the floor, start with your TCJ 302 in your hand extended straight up in the air. Using not gravity or momentum but your own muscles, bend your elbow and slowly bring your forearm behind your head. If you do this move too fast, you might get a papercut on your ear as the pages flip around a bit. Make sure not to move your elbow or upper arm. Then return your arm to the fully extended position. Feel free to place your free hand on your hip or wrap it around your face to cradle your elbow to ensure it doesn't dip down during the rep.
Now, some of you think you can just read TCJ 302 on the bus or in bed without any training or conditioning. Unless you want a repeat of the late 90s-2000s "Harry Pottered Nose" or to generations before that "Unabridged Les Mis" we suggest you read sitting upright until you've conditioned your forearms to proper reading strength. Be alert and well-hydrated while reading.
Now don't think I've forgotten about cardio! Run your usual one mile, three miles, sprints or what have you, but while holding TCJ 302 and imagining Maurice Sendak's mischievous beasts breathing down your neck. For added horror, run while holding the TCJ 302 above your head.
Some of you might be cartoonists yourselves who have a love of history, the craft and critical analysis. Bully for you! This excersize will whip your arm into shape. Strap TCJ 302 onto your drawing arm and work on your 1000 pages of bad comics until the good ones show up (per Dave Sim's advice). Soon you'll be one-arm push upping your way to glorious two-page spreads and switching from nib to brush to tech pen with the greatest of ease.
Just an FYI that we did indeed join another social media outlet for your enjoyment. Find us on Instagram as 'Fantagraphics' for more photos of your favorite books getting made, panels galore and my new favorite game 'count the razor blades found on the office floor.' While we can guarantee no brunch photos — unless someone makes us that Cannibal Fuckface waffle iron we've been wanting, we've got some mangy cats who love to pose with our books. Well anyway, it'll be some no filter fun and we can't wait to see how many of you like our photos from your workplace elevators and bathrooms. Follow Barnaby's advice and double-time it today.
Seattle is once again the center of the alternative comix universe with shows opening all over town this weekend. On Friday, January 11 at Roq la Rue from 6:00 to 9:00 PM is the post-apocalyptic group show "I'll Love You Til The End Of The World" featuring Fantagraphics favorites Camille Rose Garcia and Scott Musgrove. The same evening you'll find "Friends" at Cairo, featuring Intruder artists Max Clotfelter, Darin Shuler, Aidan Fitzgerald, Tom Van Deusen, Marc J. Palm, David Lasky, Nikki Burch, Ben Horak, Jason T. Miles, Tim Miller, James Stranton, Kazimir Strzepek and Alexa Kristine Koenings. (The future of alternative comix now.)
The comix action moves to Georgetown on Saturday evening, with a show of "Paintoons" by John Ohannesian at the One Night Stand Gallery (located directly above Fantagraphics Bookstore.) John has been busy in recent months as a Fantagraphics freelancer faithfully restoring classic strips like Nancy, Buz Sawyer, and Popeye for your reading pleasure. It'll be interesting to see how this exercise informs his cartoon paintings. Across the street at LxWxH Gallery is Bette Burgoyne's "Forest," a 30-foot narrative scroll drawing. And, of course, don't miss the Problematic reception with Jim Woodring at our bookstore. Lots of great surprises await.
We'd like to thank everyone involved in making 2012 a spectacular success at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery. Gifted artists, authors, musicians, and curators coalesced to create a stimulating cultural atmosphere at the space.
Thanks to artists Peter Bagge, Gabrielle Bell, Jeffrey Brown, Nathan Bulmer, Charles Burns, Art Chantry, Jack Davis, Michael Dougan, Ellen Forney, Camille Rose Garcia, Ruth Hayes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Tom Kaczynski, David Lasky, Tony Millionaire, Gary Panter, Joe Sacco, Noah Van Sciver, Chris Ware, and Jim Woodring; authors Jim Demonakos, Susan Kirtley, Mark Long, Pat Thomas,and Nico Vassilakos; musicians Geneviève Castrée, Zachary David, Dennis Driscoll, Lori Goldston, Kyle Hanson,and Molly Nilsson; guest curators J. Michael Catron, Max Clotfelter, Michel Gagne, Ben Horak, Cathy Hillenbrand, Tim Miller, Kristy Valenti,and Jen Vaughn; bookstore interns Lillian Beatty and Lillian Morloch; bookstore staff Janice Headley and Russ Battaglia, as well as our retail partners at Georgetown Records.
Most of all we want to thank you - our wonderful patrons - for your enthusiasm and support over the past six years. Cheers!