"Just a heads up that I’ve created an all-new online shop which features my books, prints, original art, etc., all in one place. Check it out here. This is the ONLY place I am offering original artwork for sale online, and the inventory will change from time to time as I dig up more originals and stuff to sell," says Johnny Ryan on his blog. So go do that!
It was a mad, Mad afternoon when Robin McConnell, MK Reed and I dropped into the Mad Office. Assistant Art Director and comics consumer Ryan Flanders reluctantly fell for my charms and agreed to a tour even though their deadline loomed large a few days later (hey, we don't want to impede a dying medium, right?). Even the guards had a cute shtick that took 5 minutes of my life and a humorless person would have left. Luckily, that's not me.
Ryan started off the tour by showing us his first office at MAD, it's near the door, pretty cold but looks a bit similar to mine at Fantagraphics.
The MADtropolitan Museum of Art showed off some of the best and brightest of recent hilarious paintings, complete in their gold gilded plastic frames melted down from the plastic noses and vintage glasses frames of the cancelled shows The Real Housewives of Jersey and Williamsburg.
The props display case was amazing from Gutrot which I've definitely drank and Spy vs Spy toilet paper. Photoshop ain't got nothing on printed, folded and glued cardboard.
Everyone else in the office was just as charming, waiting for the day their piles of tchotchkies bury them. Art Director (and a cartoonist himself) Sam Viviano showed off some amazing original artwork and Sculpey sculptures created for photo-shoots. Check out that DREW FRIEDMAN drawing over Ryan's shoulder.
One of my favorite props was an actual headstone used as a support structure in the office created for a back cover thanks to a Feldstein/Gaines joke.
Ryan's new office turned out to be a nightmare, so well organized I made a mental note to courier him a spring-loaded box of trash upon my return home.
Like any good office the mail room is actually where all the good stuff is located (at Fantagraphics, our fridge is in there). Snuggled among packing materials and one hell of a cutting board are sexy flat files full of Al Jaffee, Tom Bunk — EVEN a Tom Fowler, internet friend.
LOOK at this Al Jaffee fold-in drawing. My dream is to have one printed SOMEDAY, SOMEHOW instead of lamely attaching my fold-in to the magazine and tricking my friends into thinking it was actually printed in the magazine.
Jewish Batman, you slay me. That utility belt must have some tasty kosher deserts near the back. (by Al Jaffee)
One beautiful Jack Davis drawing that was REJECTED from the magazine (or Davis decided to redraw) blew me away. The best part was the tattoo "My Mom Loves Me" is infinitely better than Mother tattoos of the world.
In gorgeous ink and the now-illegal duoshade/duotone. Please place your drinks down, Fantagraphics and MAD magazine are not responsible for your spittle shorting out your keyboard.
Despite the slow decline of the magazine industry, MAD magazine has lived on, able to pay cartoonists for their work (wow-za!) and maintain a staff. By raising prices and creating a Mad reading app, they stay current and accessible. MAD's first audience may be a bit gray in the face now as they celebrate their 60th anniversary but continue to wow audiences. As a kid, I didn't have much access to the magazines but my grandmother would buy any books at any yard, church or library sale. Three rooms in their house were lined with built-in-books shelves and in the ‘humor' or comic sections lay the trade paperback editions of MAD (often with the cover ripped off). Ryan was kind enough to explain that most of those were unused comics and many have not been reprinted to this day due to copyright ambiguity. Sounds like something for a legal intern to help them figure out.
As long as parents send kids care packages at camp, people stay overnight in the hospital and Hollywood makes bottom-feeder television and convoluted movies, MAD will reign supreme. Thanks again to Ryan Flanders for the tour, Robin McConnell for some of the photos (there are MILLIONS more here) and MK Reed for the company.
The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998 – 2008 featured at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on November 24.
Much like the language of comix, visual poetry employs imagery to supplement the written word. This ocular form of discourse is the subject of a new book, The Last Vispo Anthology, edited by Northwest literary artists Nico Vassilakis and Crag Hill. Their work will be feted with an exhibition, readings, and music performance at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, November 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.
The reception will feature short readings by contributors James Yeary, Donato Mancini, Robert Mittenthal, Joseph Keppler and Gustave Morin, as well as editors Hill and Vassilakis. The exhibition will include 15 prints from the anthology. Musical entertainment will be provided by Lori Goldston (former Nirvana and Earth cellist, and recent Stranger “Genius Award” recipient) performing with former Black Cat Orchestra band mate Kyle Hanson. This event marks the departure to New York of editor Nico Vassilakis, a longtime Fantagraphics employee and fixture in Seattle’s cultural community. Admission is always free.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle’s vibrant Georgetown industrial arts corridor. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
The Last Vispo Anthology exhibition, book signing and readings featuring music by Lori Goldston and Kyle Hanson.
Saturday, November 24, 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Exhibition continues through December 6. Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery 1201 S. Vale St. Seattle,WA 206.658.0110 Open daily 11:30 – 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM
Stop the presses! Making good on a pre-election promise, Steven Weissman has brought Barack Hussein Obama back for a second term — though not "in person" yet, as it were — with all new strips at What Things Do. Thanks to everybody who voted to re-elect the President for helping to make this possible.
Serialized since December 2002 in Comic Beam Magazine, Shimura Takako's beautiful take on adolescence and growing up Wandering Son is celebrating its 10th year in Japan. With complex characters who discover they enjoy identifying as a different gender than their own, the story slowly evolves as Nitori and Takatsuki gain confidence. A quiet story that resonates deep with anyone who has felt different or been teased for seeming not manly or girly enough. Matt Thorn and Fantagraphics first made Wandering Son accessible in English in 2011 but we're speeding up the process! Volume 4 comes out at the beginning of the new year, followed by Volume 5 in June. Six will shortly follow, hopefully in time for the holidays.
The Wandering Son anime is available to watch for free at Anime News Network if you want a taste of the graphic novels. The beautiful watercolor-style of Takako is reflected in the treatment of the anime. Young middle-school students often openly describe what they want to learn throughout the school year, offer ways to help each other become the person they want to be in a refreshingly ernest way. The graphic novels are a to-die-for with pristine design and gorgeous Takako full-color character introductions. Sign up for a subscrption of Volumes 4-6 or check out your local library today! And eat a delicious cupcake to celebrate Wandering Son!
This is what our table looked like for most of the day. It was very busy, just like SPX so we barely left the table for pictures, let alone peeing or eating (one of those could solve the other, you decide the order).
WHOA, did you just catch a glimpse of an advance copy of Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas in that bottom right corner (pictured above)?! Cartoonist Jose-Luis Olivares and a calvacade of others flipped through the 500+ page masterpiece, ready to read it as soon as it was available for purchase.
The enigmatic and rarely-seen Josh Simmons appeared out of a subway mist much to his fans appreciation. Many fans stopped by to crack wise with the dark master while he signed The Furry Trap, including fellow cartoonists Dean Haspiel, Joe Infurnari and Nick Abadzis.
The intensity in this guy's face as he hands Gary Panter his copy ofDal Tokyo cannot be beat.
Intern Anna and I were watching said Panter fan to make sure he never put on THAT murder face, you know, that one Josh Simmons draws a lot:
Olivier Schrauwen stopped by as well to sign The Man Who Grew His Beard but left his pencil case full of pens so thank you for the gift (ha ha, don’t worry we’ll take care of them).
Writer and CBR reporter, Alex Dueben, grabs one of the last copies of Heads or Tails.
Art Spiegelman blew smoke quaintly into my face and Josh Simmons’ on the search for Lilli Carré, whom he couldn’t get enough of. That empty space on the wooden table between them is where her giant stack of Heads or Tails was before it sold out.
Chris Ware came to see how the show was going for Fantagraphics and to escape the hotbox upstairs. We gabbed about the printmaking department at the University of Texas, our shared alma mater, and Civil War reenactment. I think I spot a Nate Doyle to the left of him too.
We caught up with future Fantagraphics creator and Oily Comics entrepreneur Charles Forsman pictured here with brother Tobey and cartoonist Melissa Mendes hanging out at Bergen Street Comics.
As the hands of the humid clock ticked past 7, we thanked our lucky stars for being a part of Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. Here is Josh Simmons, intern Anna Pederson and me ready for some yum-yums wrapped in bacon.
Brooklyn, Gabe, Dan and Bill: thank you all so much for your gorgeous hospitality and smiles. Thank you, Robin McConnell for providing some photos. See you all next year!
Scarecrow Video is one of those local landmarks that makes me proud to live here: it's the largest independent video store in the country, and is known for their amazing collection of rare, out-of-print oddness. Their vast catalog was scoured by the editors of our (now out-of-print itself) collection Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film, with help from employees of the store.
Local cartoonist (and Scarecrow employee) Marc Palm curated the show, inviting over 30 artists to contribute their renditions of video box art, including our own Larry Reid, manager and curator of the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery!
That's Larry's box in the center, featuring a shout-out to Carl Barks's Donald Duck! (Sorry the photo is blurry! Larry's box was high up on the wall, and I was literally on tip-toe trying to take a photo of it!)
Lots of local artists are featured in the show, including David Lasky, whose box is in the center of that pic above.
I would totally watch "Twin Peaks: The Animated Series."
VHS Art New Wave will be on display at Scarecrow Video [ 5030 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle ] through Tuesday, November 20th! Plus, all the boxes are being sold via silent auction, with proceeds going to benefit Scarecrow and its ever-growing library that is already 150,000 titles strong. Go check it out, and then check out some videos, why dontcha!
Both The Last Vispo and Jesse's solo book dirty semiotics (Broken Jaw Press, 2011) will be featured in an exhibit at the Cape Breton University Art Gallery. At the opening reception, Jesse Patrick Ferguson will present a short talk on the history of visual/concrete poetry and his own practice in particular.
This event runs from 4:00-5:00 PM, and is free to attend (donations to the gallery welcome). Light refreshments will be served. This event is co-sponsored by CBU's Department of Languages and Letters.
If you can't make it to the opening reception, you'll still have until January 18, 2013 to view the exhibition! Cape Breton University is located at 1250 Grand Lake Road in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments. Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.
Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism — and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.
Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably "The New," a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. "The New" is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.
One of Seattle’s most celebrated artists, Ellen Forney, will discuss her courageous new graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me at the Seattle Public Library central branch on Saturday at 7:00 PM. Her slide presentation in the Microsoft Auditorium will be followed by a book signing. Copies will available at the event. Admission is free.
Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me, from Penguin Books’ Gotham imprint, chronicles Forney’s experience with bipolar disorder in the context of her career in comix. She documents her symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment with both sensitivity and humor.
Forney has 3 previous comix collections from Fantagraphics Books and is a newly anointed Stranger “Genius.” Her collaboration with Sherman Alexie on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was honored with a National Book Award in 2007. Beyond these and other accomplishments, Ellen follows in the tradition of Lynda Barry, Tom Robbins, Kurt Cobain and other notable artists in cleverly communicating regional sensibilities to the rest of the nation. To preview the event, Forney will appear on Seattle's KUOW public radio to talk with reporter Marcie Sillman this morning, Thursday Nov. 8th, at 9:45 a.m.
Please join us this Saturday, November 10 at 7:00 PM at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, as this extraordinary artist unveils her remarkable new book. Presented by Seattle Public Library Foundation and Fantagraphics Bookstore.
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