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!
• Seattle, WA: Join us at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for the book release party for The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by Northwest literary artists Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Their work will be feted with an exhibition, readings, and a musical performance from Lori Goldston (former Nirvana and Earth cellist, and recent Stranger “Genius Award” recipient) performing with former Black Cat Orchestra bandmate Kyle Hanson. (more info)
The strongest umbrella in the wind of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Paul Constant of The Stranger looks at The Last Vispo: Visual Poetry 1998-2008, edited by Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. "As an art book, it demands hours of investigation. . . For those linguistic pioneers looking to find the future of fiction, this could be one of the most informative poetry anthologies to be published in the new millennium."
• Review:NPR's My Guilty Pleasure looks at the Jacques Tardi graphics novels of Adèle Blanc-Sec who is "young writer with the brains of Sherlock Holmes, the body of Angelina Jolie and the stoic fortitude of the Marlboro Man." Rosecrans Baldwin states, "The books are part adventure comic, part hardboiled fiction. They're terrific whodunits that conjure up all the precise atmospheric detail of, say, a Georges Simenon novel, but with twice the plot."
• Review:Blacklung by Chris Wright gets reviewed on Nerds of a Feather. Philippe Duhart says, "Wright’s genius is further evident in his ability to use these aberrant cartoonish characterizations to convey human emotion, particularly terror. Wright’s portrayal of violence is stark and chilling – despite or perhaps because of his singular style. . . Black Lung worked on all counts. Plus, pirates."
• Review (video):Kapow Comics down in Australia reviews Chris Wright's Blacklung. Al states "this is a complicated book with musings on philosophy, literature, mortality and especially, religion has a big focus." Sonya says, "Every single character changes in this story, their journey changes them . . . [Blacklung] prayed on my mind. It lingers with you."
• Review: Glen David Gold looks at Flannery O'Connor: The Cartoons edited by Kelly Gerald in the LA Review of Books. In an attempt to see how the bread is made, Gold, "Cartooning was O'Connor's first artistic passion. . . . An article in the local paper and a pile of rejection slips from The New Yorker indicate how serious she was. . . not an early blush of Flannery the fiction writer at work. But I'd still recommend it to the curious. Come at it without expecting same genius, but look at it because it's an extreme close up of biography."
• Review:Publishers Weekly looks at Jack Jackson's Los Tejanos and Lost Causes. "Comics’ current vogue for nonfiction was pioneered in these two works from the late underground comix founding father Jackson, who died in 2006. Jackson brought an R. Crumb–style crosshatching and love of facial grotesquery to these two densely researched historical graphic novels."
• Plug:Publishers Weekly and Ada Price show a sneak peak of The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. Enjoy 14 pages of pure genius but don't forget to read each one right to left! We're talking manga here.
• Review: Rob Clough of The Comics Journal enjoys The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver."he’s made a fairly significant leap as both a draftsman and a storyteller in a relatively short period of time . . . Van Sciver’s greatest achievement in this book is his storytelling restraint. He lets his cross-hatching gets across the grime . . He wants to show the reader a different side of the Lincoln we grew up reading about in the history books, but also wants the reader to connect this younger man to the future president."
• Review:Fantasy Literature takes a peek at Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley and Ruth Arnell is in love. "the charming ink illustrations have a piquant charming quality that match the story wonderfully. . . Linda Medley has written a gentle feminist fairy tale comic book that truly deserves to have a wider audience."
• Review: Sonia Harris of Comics Book Resources reads Black Hole by Charles Burns all in one sitting, one evening. "Reading Black Hole all at once in a nice, tidy bundle, it is impossible to experience what Black Hole was for all those years while it was slowly seeping out, issue by issue. . . it is visceral poetry, a true expression of the medium with imagery and words working together to create the most intimate impact. Black Hole is beautiful and terrible, it is a treasure."
Who says Halloween is the scariest holiday? When you can't bear the sight of dirty dishes and leftovers, when the parents have worn your last nerve, or when you can't seem to button your jeans anymore, it's time to head to the Horror Hangover in Vancouver, BC!
(Yeah, I know Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving in October -- it's been a helluva hangover.)
This group show was curated by Robin McConnell of Inkstuds, who explains, "Horror Hangover is a chance for cartoonists to work on some conceptual ideas for visions of times mostly terrible, some exhausting, with a couple of positive examples." Sounds perfect for the holidays to me!
The opening reception is this Friday, November 23rd, from 7:00 to 11:00 PM, and your last chance to see it is on Saturday, November 24th from Noon to 6:00 PM. Hot Art Wet City's Pop-Up Gallery is located at 752 E. Broadway.
• Seattle, WA: It's your last chance to see our exhibit The Horror: from the EC Comics Libraryat the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! I wrote myself a note about this in my calendar that just read "The Horror Ends," which cracked up my friend who saw it out of this context. (more info)
Thursday, November 1st
• Seattle, WA: Our own Jason T. Miles is just one of many awesome local artists in the show Handbound: Exploring the Process of Short Run Small Press Fest Exhibitors at SOIL Gallery. This group show explores the creative process of exhibiting book artists through a combination of original art, sketches, ephemera and books. It's high-brow, low-brow and everything in between. Reception is from 5:00-8:00 PM, and the show runs through December 1st. (more info)