Filmmaker Helene Christensen took it upon herself to create this marvelous short video about Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, largely shot back in February during our Jack Davis tribute exhibit. Its primary star is, of course, our own Larry Reid, with additional interviews with Gary Groth, Jim Woodring, Frank Santoro and others, and there's also a clip of Jack Davis's video chat at the tribute exhibit opening. Lots more familiar faces make appearances too — maybe you're in it!
The newest addition to our marketing staff, Jen Vaughn, underwent her baptism by fire at this past weekend's MoCCA Fest, and she writes about her experience for her freelance writing gig at The Beat (whose Heidi MacDonald took the photo of Jen above). What's it like to "graduate" from having your own table as a self-publisher to being behind the table for a big, fancy-pants publisher like us? Jen's got the perspective, with photos a-plenty (ooo, Daniel Johnston!).
We had a swell time at the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland this past weekend and the big news for us there was that Jaime Hernandez received the Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Cartoonist! Festival special guest and our longtime pal Stan Sakai picked up the award for Best Letterer, and our newest hire, Jen Vaughn, shares the award for Best Anthology as co-editor of Lies Grown-ups Told Me. Congrats to all!
The Emerald City Pinball Party at Shorty's on Saturday was a blast! Celebrity guests galore and great fun for everyone. We held a pinball competition for awesome prizes from hostJim Woodring, including a backglass from the Frank pinball machine currently in development. In an effort to level the playing field - (so to speak) - the lowest scores determined the winners! Worst prize went to cartoonist Anthony Leano.
Here's Jim with artist Camille Rose Garcia, who stopped by following a fabulous signing at neighboring Roq la Rue gallery. While chatting with Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds, they discovered that they grew up a few blocks from each other in Huntington Beach and graduated a year apart from the same high school!
Fantagraphics office manager Stephanie Hayes, cartoonist Kelly Froh, and ace publicist Jacq Cohen add some glamour to the bash.
The great Shannon Wheeler dropped in for libations and a game of pinball. (He was far too good to win any prizes.)
It is with a heavy heart that we must report that Dale Yarger, a beloved and influential figure on the Seattle alternative-press and design scene with whom we had the pleasure of working for a number of years in the 1990s (he was Fantagraphics' senior designer for the first half of the decade, as well as on a later occasion), has passed away after a long, courageous battle with cancer.
Dale was a man of uncommon skill, grace, and sweetness and his premature departure leaves a hole in the world and in our hearts. Our sympathy goes out to all the people who knew and loved Dale, of which which there are -- as you can tell from the steady stream of updates to this Facebook tribute page to Dale -- many.
• Paris, France: Joost Swarte debuts an art show at the Bienvenue à la Galerie Martel, and will be in attendance signing copies of Is That All There Is? (or as it is known in France, Total Swarte). More information about this event is coming to the FLOG soon!
Saturday, March 10th
• Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of local arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective.” This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). (more info)
• Review: "...[C]urrent fans of the [Zippy] strip are in for a surprise, a shock, and, ultimately, a major treat, when they pick up Griffith's new career retrospective, Lost and Found: Comics 1969-2003... The journey from these energy-packed, overstuffed, unpolished early comics to the elegant masterwork of the present is a journey greater than that of Gary Trudeau with Doonesbury or Charles Schultz with Peanuts.... His early reign as an oversexed adolescent-minded wiseacre gives way to a long golden afternoon of wry and wistful philosophizing, with frequent salient eruptions of deserved ire and malice toward all!" – Paul Di Filippo, The Barnes & Noble Review
• Interview: At Literary Kicks, Alan Bisbort talks to Bill Griffith about his career-spanning collection Lost and Found: "When I put this new collection together, Fantagraphics had been trying to get me to do this book for about ten years. When they first suggested it, they wanted some of the early, pre-Zippy work, along with the other non-Zippy work of more recent years. But I told them at first that 'that stuff has got to be hidden. Maybe when I’m dead someone can bring it out' but then over a period of time I grew to accept my arc, so to speak, whatever my arc is."
• Review: "Wandering Son... is a measured, sensible and sensitive series... Part of Wandering Son's hook is a distanced view at discomfort with one's own body. The manga is written to evoke the feeling of being ill at ease in one's own skin, such that everyone who has went through puberty can sympathize with these characters, regardless of their own relationship with sexual identity issues. I'm not so sure how particularly, generally appealing the prospect of reliving those feeling may be, but that sort of identification is a crucial part of what makes Wandering Son a superlatively fascinating manga.... Though it may or may not be an effective mirror to our own lives, it has its reader thinking about everything, both small and significant, [that] shape[s] us. As a result, Wandering Son proves to be deeply involving in an unconventional way." – Scott Green, Ain't It Cool News
• Review: "[The Life and Death of Fritz the Cat]'s beautifully drawn, even the earliest material. Fritz’s face is as expressive as all get-out, though you may be surprised at how dainty Crumb’s line is mid-period. One thing, however, remains consistent throughout and once more it’s Winston who hits the juvenile nail on its dream-addled, sex-obsessed head. 'Oh you’re such a child! Such a self-centred, egotistical child!'" – Stephen L. Holland, Page 45
• Review: "I believe that the Drunken Dream collection of stories lays the groundwork for measuring all of the wonderful components of girls’ comics. It’s a heck of a yardstick, I’ll tell you that.... It’s impossible to read through these panels and not feel your own life in them — and that’s why Hagio is such a brilliant writer. Shoujo manga is all about feelings, and Hagio is the master of feelings. The Queen of Feelings. THE EMPRESS OF FEELINGS.... I had never heard of the 24 Year Group before reading this anthology, but I feel like my life has been dramatically enriched by this collection. I want to buy three copies of it so that I can loan 2 to new people and have a back up loan copy for the eventual time when one of them gets stolen." – NOVI Magazine
• Commentary: At The Creators Project, Emerson Rosenthal talks to our own Larry Reid for an article on "the rise of DIY publishing and the revival of the printed word": "'The "Great Recession" forced us to get better with design if anything […] what you’re getting is a better looking book, more sustainable, and cheaper on the shelf. If anything, it’s a better product,' says Reid. 'At the same time, the self-bound ‘zine is definitely on the rebound.'"
We're super bummed to soon be saying goodbye to our longtime junior designer, Alexa Koenings, who is moving on to new challenges at the end of this month after several years of great work for us. We don't want her to go, but dammit, she's made up her mind.
One thing this means: WE'RE HIRING. We are currently accepting applications for the Junior Designer position. This is a full-time, salaried position in our office (telecommuters need not apply). If you don't currently live in Seattle, you must be willing to relocate.
• Strong layout and typography sensibilities. • Detail oriented-- both in your design work and in your ability to track change requests and stay on top of deadlines. • Thorough InDesign and Photoshop knowledge required. Any other programs are a plus. • Work well independently as well as with the various personalities of editors, artists, and authors, taking in and utilizing feedback. • Ability to design interesting, unique solutions that respect and adhere to the vision of the artists we package.
The primary role as a Junior Designer will be doing book production and design, but you will also design ads (print and web), postcards, posters, etc. You will need to be a nimble designer, capable of solutions on a quick turnaround and able to maintain a steady workload. You will be responsible for sending press ready files to printers, so pre-press skills are a plus.
The right candidate could be anyone with a solid design sense and a passion for doing good work. Knowledge of comics is helpful but it needn't be an obsession.
Interested parties email resumé and samples (or links to same) to Eric Reynolds: reynolds [at] fantagraphics [dot com]. Serious inquiries only, please!
And, congrats again to Alexa, who will be missed (and who hopefully won't mind me stealing this pic from her facebook page):
We are overjoyed to welcome two prodigal sons back to the Fantagraphics fold: Mike Catron (pictured), who co-founded Fantagraphics with Gary Groth in 1976, rejoins us as an editor, and O.G. staffer Preston White returns to our art department.
The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon has all the scoop, and he also talked with Mike about what his new position entails and what he's been up to in the meantime: "So all of a sudden, the original four of us are together again, like the fabled Musketeers. (Everyone does know there were four, right?) The stars, after all these years, finally aligned once more. Call it the new Age of Aquarius for Fantagraphics." He also reveals his first major editorial project for us, a book which hasn't been revealed or reported elsewhere! Truly your must-read for the day.