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)
Short Run runs (heh) from 10:30 AM - 5:30 PM. A little advice, if I may: get there early! There is so much to do and see at Short Run, and this year's fest is even bigger, if you can believe it!
There's nearly 100 small press exhibitors offering their comics, zines, and art books, from $.50 to $50.00! Plus, enjoy local animation screening all day, featuring Seattle Experimental Animation Team (SEAT), Reel Grrls, and other independent filmmakers. Exhibitors will be showing off all the ways they blend genres, such as advice expert Nicole Georges, writer/professional barber Zach Mandeville who will be giving free haircuts, and puppet master Erin Tanner. You can participate in live silk-screening where you can screen print a comic drawn by local artists or print one of our designs onto clothes you bring yourself. And like last year, there will be another decadent bake sale with donated goodies from Macrina Bakery, Grand Central Bakery, The Bang Bang Cafe, Stumptown Coffee, and our exhibitors and supporters!
Thank you to everyone who came by our booth this past weekend at APE: the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, CA! Look at how happy you made our Marketing Director, Mike Baehr! We hope we were able to make you guys happy, too, with all our amazing debuts and wonderful guests.
Our good pal Daniel Clowes made an unofficial appearance, and braved the crowds for a visit with The Hernandez Bros! I think that lady to the right just realized who cut in front of her in line...
Jim Woodring delighted fans with sketches of his iconic characters, and he somehow did it with just a cheapie ballpoint pen! (His usual drawing pen decided to give up the ghost right before signings began.)
The great Mark Kalesniko was all-smiles as he signed copies of his books for fans! Mark also brought both an electronic slideshow and some originals, which was a wonderful lesson in cartooning for everyone who stopped by.
We didn't manage to snap a pic of the elusive Tim Hensley, but he was at APE, debuting his Ticket Stub collection with Rina Ayuyang's Yam Books! And, good lord, can I tell you people, it is a thing of freakin' beauty. Get one, seriously.
Speaking of elusive, the rumors were true: Zak Sally did make an unexpected secret appearance at the show! He snuck away before I could take a photo, though!
While I visited with Fanta-friends Tom Neely and Emily Nilsson of Sparkplug Comics, Mike had to contend with that line you see in the upper-righthand corner of this pic for the Love and Rockets signing! Yikes, sorry, Mike!
A quick run back to our own booth, and I was able to catch the adorable Brett Warnock of Top Shelf kanoodling with Rich Koslowski across the aisle!!!
Going through our photos, I was surprised that neither Mike nor I snapped any pictures of my birthday-buddy Tom Devlin of Drawn & Quarterly. (We both turned a year older on Saturday of the show.) But his v-neck sweater really did look great with the collared-shirt. Happy birthday, dear Tom!
Yay, that was fun! Let's do it again next year, San Francisco!
Waffle days are BACK at Fantagraphics thanks to a hearty group of staffers: Stephanie, Jacq, Kristy, Steph O. and Jen. The waffles proceeded, of course, a staff meeting because we like our sweet AND sour here.
Featuring delicious chicken and some heart-shaped vegan waffles, we chowed down with the regular condiments too like Nutella, peanut butter, fruit, whipped cream and good ol' Vermont maple syrup. Ian nibbles in anticipation of that perfect golden brown waffle.
Emory and Tony talk turkey (bacon).
Grillmasters Jen and Jacq.
Interns were not locked in the basement as per our usual when free food is around so they frolicked wielding doughy forks and wearing happy grins. WAFFLES ARE BACK.
(Beautiful waffle pic by Steph Haynes. There is no grunge appropriate Instagram filter, yet.)
No, actually, I have to say it was the BEST SDCC EVER! And here's a buncha reasons why:
• In honor of Eisner-winner Tom Spurgeon, I'm gonna write this FLOG post in bullet point, Comics Reporter-style. As our own Steven Weissmansaid on Twitter, Tom was everyone's Comic-Con crush this year. Getting to hang out with him was definitely one of my highlights, and I was delighted to hear stories of the olden days of Fantagraphics, sigh. God, we're so boring and nice now.
• Speaking of Tom, his brother Whit wins for "Best T-Shirt of Comic-Con": an Ivan Brunetti-illustrated tee for the band... Sex Fist. Yup.
• Although, on the way to dinner Saturday night, someone stopped me to tell me my Eightball tee was the "Best T-Shirt of Comic-Con," and yeah, I kinda love my Eightball tee. It was an honor to wear some of Dale Yarger's old Fantagraphics t-shirts from the '90s to the convention.
• It's always a thrill when Matt Groening comes by to visit, but especially this year, 'cause we got to geek out over the new Gary Panter book Dal Tokyo together! Matt even shared a few secrets from when he and Panter worked at the L.A. Weekly together, oooh!!!
• After five long years of attending Comic-Con, Mike and I finally managed to make it to a Venture Brothers panel! That has nothing to do with anything, but our own Stephen DeStefano used to do storyboards for them, so there's your "comix tie-in."
• I always love getting to visit with all our guest artists, but especially Miss Natalia Hernandez, who shares my love of Giant Robot, nail polish, Chi's Sweet Home, and more. I'm thinkin' next year, I'm organizing a SDCC manicure outing for us.
• Speaking of Giant Robot, somehow I managed to karaoke with Martin & Greg Wong 'til 3:00 AM and not lose my voice. [ Photo by one of my bestest friends, Susie Ghahremani. Comic-Con would not have been as awesome without her. <3 ]
• THANK YOU to the customer who kindly gave me a Snickers bar on the last day of the show! Yes, you were right, I did need it!
• And on that note, at the risk of sounding corny, I have to say, one of my show highlights is always getting to meet you, our customers, our readers, our mutual fans. Look, I'm just a comic nerd like the rest of you. If you wanna geek out over Sublife and Thrizzle or whatever, come find me. You're all so nice, and smart, and fun to talk to, and you make going to shows my favorite part of working at Fantagraphics.
• My one bummer of SDCC was that it was the last one for Drawn & Quarterly's Jessica Campbell, who I will miss terribly! I thought we were gonna grow old together, side by side in Aisle 1700 of the San Diego Convention Hall, but sadly, she is moving on to saner things. Good-bye, my dear Jessica. You and I will make it to Tijuana someday. [ Photo of me, Jessica, and James Kochalka swiped from the D&Q blog; snapped by the lovely Peggy Burns ]
• And finally, a special shout-out to my partner-in-crime, Mike Baehr. Somehow, you make late nights unpacking, and then later re-packing, books fun. <3
Diana Schutz of Dark Horse visits with Mario & Gilbert while Jaime keeps his nose to the grindstone. Citizen Rex sequel, anyone?
Steven Weissman & Jon Vermilyea compare notes on strap-fondling techniques. Hey, there's Zack Carlson partially visible over Steven's shoulder — a special shout-out to Zack for his good spirit and volunteerism this week. (Zack also made one of the most amazing Comic-Con purchases I've ever heard about: a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair.)
Young Romance is a real page-turner, as editor Michel Gagné demonstrates.
Eric and Tom Spurgeon yak it up while D&Q's Tom Devlin ponders the unspeakable and Janice looks on.
Scott McCloud looks happy to have found some (mc)clouds in Johnny Gruelle's Mr. Twee Deedle (shut up, I'm tired).
Comic-Con Sundays are always too hectic for much picture-taking:
Old friend Roger Langridge popped by and sketched the Great Gonzo for Clem Reynolds, to papa Eric's delight.
Thanks to the thousands of folks who visited our booth this year (especially those who spent their money in it), Comic-Con staff & volunteers, our wonderful artists, our kick-ass staff, all of our pals & colleagues... another humdinger of a year! I'm off for a week of R&R so I'll catch you all next week.