The we'll-need-to-iron-these-papers Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Interview: Everything is coming up Barnaby this week. On the Westfield Comics, writer Philip Nel and Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds (both editors of the upcoming Barnaby collections) dish on this popular but hard-to-find strip comic by Crockett Johnson. Reynolds states, "If Peanuts was the Beatles, Barnaby was the Velvet Underground." Nel continues, "Yeah. Schulz read Barnaby. Bill Keane read it. Dan Clowes, Spiegelman, and Chris Ware are all fans of it. . . It was a strip the culturally influential loved. So it's important and influential, but it's not something that many people have read because it's not been available or hard to find."
• Review:Scripp News mentions the Barnaby book while conducting a concise account of creator Crockett Johnson's life: "Once a hugely popular comic strip, whose fans included columnist Dorothy Parker, jazz great Duke Ellington and actor W.C. Fields, 'Barnaby' now has been all but forgotten, except by comics aficionados.
• Interview: Creator Gabriella Giandelli of Interiorae was interviewed onSequential Highway by Will Scott. When asked if she sees the world a bit surreal, Giandelli said, "I try to focus on aspects of life related to the magical, the irrational. Life is hard; I place my hopes in finding all the things in the world that seem to be less harsh, less sad. I’m interested in the spirituality of many aspects of life."
• Plug: Chris Mautner mentioned in Food or Comics? on Robot 6 that he'd splurge and spend more than the $30 allotment for Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter. ". . . if my comic shop should happen to get an early copy, I’d definitely splurge on Dal Tokyo, Gary Panter’s wonderful sci-fi/punk comic strip, now lovingly collected by Fantagraphics."
• Plug: Dan Nadel of The Comics Journal boasts about Cartoon Utopia, "Ron [Regé] is one of our very best cartoonists and it’s been too long since we’ve had new material from him."
• Plug:Forbidden Planet gets excited about The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, "It combines a great two colour fine-lined cartoon style, with the era and genre invoking a Darwyn Cooke Parker feel. . .it looks fantastic -lively and humorous. It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about an upcoming book after July’s deluge, so I’ll definitely be grabbing a copy."
• Plug:The Hypo's Noah Van Sciver and comics legend John Porcellino had a boy's night out and just went wild at the pottery painting place in Denver. Purchase your own special Van Sciver or Porcellino porcelain mugs, vases or clocks here.
• Plug: Another drink inspired by Love and Rockets Ghost of Hoppers was created and featured at the Rye on Market in Louisville, KY today. Recipe by bartender Scott Kirkpatrick:
2 oz. Pampero Aniversario Rum (or another aged dark rum) .5 oz Cynar .5 oz Agave Nectar .25 oz Ruby Port 3 dashes blood orange bitters
-combine ingredients in a mixing glass -add ice and stir vigorously -strain into a double glass filled with ice -express and orange peel onto the cocktail and use as garnish
Don’t miss Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, May 5. Fantagraphics is offering two stellar titles for comics enthusiasts of all ages: Donald Duck Family Comics by Carl Barks and Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley. The first 50 visitors to Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle will also receive a coveted copy of Unseen Peanuts from 2007. No matter where you live, get out and show some love to your local comics shops.
Don’t miss Free Comic Book Day at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle. On Saturday, May 5, the Georgetown shop will be giving away free copies of specially produced comic books by master cartoonists like Carl Barks, Crockett Johnson and, while supplies last, the coveted Unseen Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.
Celebrating its 10th year in 2012, the annual Free Comic Book Day promotion is a national effort on the part of publishers and retailers to attract new readers to the medium as well as show appreciation to loyal customers.
Seattle-based Fantagraphics Books offers two new titles for Free Comic Book Day this year, appealing to readers of all ages. Donald Duck Family Comics features 34 pages of full color comics by the great Carl Barks. Join Donald, his nephews, Uncle Scrooge and others on amazing adventures in some of the most acclaimed comics ever created. Also in store is Barnaby and Mr. O’Malley by Crockett Johnson. This rollicking strip follows the tyke Barnaby and his mischievous fairy godfather Mr. O’Malley. These wonderful cartoons will soon be collected in a handsome edition by Fantagraphics Books.
The first 50 customers at Fantagraphics Bookstore on May 5 will receive a free copy of Unseen Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. This delightful edition serves as both an introduction to the classic strip and a treasury of fascinating oddities designed to appeal to even the most fervent Peanuts fans. First issued by Fantagraphics Books for Free Comic Book Day five years ago, Unseen Peanuts became an instant collectible.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale St. (at Airport Way S.) in the heart of Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
• List: Chris Mautner's list of "12 Comics to Look Forward to in 2012" at Robot 6 includes our first volume of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby: "Johnson’s wonderful, vastly underrated comic strip about a little boy and his underperforming fairy godfather is finally, finally being collected. Can’t wait."
The Silver Comic Books for Free Comic Book Day 2012 were announced today and we're pleased to be able to reveal that we'll be bringing you TWO wonderful all-ages titles! (We don't have cover art to show you yet (the ones on the FCBD website are just placeholders) but we'll be sure to post 'em here as soon as we can.)
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck Family Comics
Three amazingly adventurous, thrillingly stupendous, wonderfully wondrous comics by one of the greatest cartoonists of all time, Carl Barks! CARL BARKS! The biggest name in cartoons, second to only Walt Disney! Find out what happens to Donald, Daisy, Uncle Scrooge, Gyro Gearloose, and the Nephews in these extremely entertaining and wonderfully told full-color comics!
Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby Sampler
Before Harold and the Purple Crayon there was Barnaby. Created by Crockett Johnson, Barnaby ran in newspapers for over ten years (1942-52). Its subtle ironies and playful allusions won many passionate readers as they followed the adventures of 5-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his cigar-chomping fairy godfather, Jackeen J. O'Malley.
Last week, Philip Nel -- my co-editor on our forthcoming Barnaby series , announced that his long-awaited bio of Barnaby (and Harold and the Purple Crayon) creator Crockett Johnson and his wife Ruth Krauss (the towering figure of children's lit responsible for such classics as The Carrot Seed, A Hole is to Dig, I Can Fly and so many others) finally has a title.
Nel's bio of Johnson & Krauss will be published next June by the University Press of Mississippi , and we're aiming to release our own Barnaby Vol. 1 simultaneously. It's going to be a great summer for Johnson fans.
Philip Nel, co-editor of our forthcoming collections of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby, has revealed details about the first volume of the series (coming in June 2012) by posting the relevant pages from our Spring-Summer 2012 catalog on his blog. (Note that the cover design shown is not Daniel Clowes's actual design for the book.)
We're still planning on revealing more info about our complete Spring/Summer 2012 lineup in the near future — stay tuned!
Catching up on several days' worth of Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List/Plugs: In an article titled "Fantagraphics: The Greatest American Comics Publisher," GUY.com's Rob Gonsalves says "What the Criterion Collection is to DVDs, Fantagraphics is to comics. Any self-respecting collection of graphic novels, any library public or personal, needs to sport at least one Fantagraphics book," and recommends a nicely idiosyncratic top-20 list of our publications which includes some of our more obscure releases
• Review: "While there definitely were some hardships, Clemente’s life was as unique and joyful as his persona and ball playing skills were, and Wilfred Santiago’s 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente reflects this uniqueness and joy through its own unique retelling of Clemente’s life. [...] The simple joy conveyed in this book is universally appealing... Baseball is a game that is full of life and story, and every year the game blooms in the spring with the trees and flowers of the season. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente celebrates life, and new life, as much as it does baseball." – Andy Frisk, Comic Book Bin
• Interview: Pittsburgh City Paper's David Davis, who says "In his new graphic novel 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, the author of 2002's In My Darkest Hour uses Clemente's life to explore issues on and off the diamond. These include the thorny politics of Puerto Rico (statehood or commonwealth status?) as well as the racism Clemente faced in America as a dark-skinned Latino. The result is both a superhero cartoon and a lyrical time-machine, rendered in the regal black-gold-and-white of the Bucs' uni," has a brief Q&A with Wilfred Santiago: "I began my career working on superhero cartoons. That's the look I wanted to get -- somewhere between a cartoon and a painting. I wanted to get the camera right there with him and you're experiencing the action up close."
• Review: "Slavishly documenting and lavishly illustrating through band flyers and set lists and rare record sides and marvelous photography, along with first-person textual accounts, this strange, excited dialogue between misfits in America through bands, venues, zines, and lives and how it was all done punk and how punk was done. [...] Taking Punk to the Masses’ gallant bridging of universal punk history with our own in Ecotopia is a reason to celebrate. Your eyes can gnaw on decades of delicious artwork while you read and watch stories you may have heard of, but after this, will never forget." – Chris Estey, The KEXP Blog
• Review: "In Hate Annual #9, Buddy returns to Seattle to meet the dysfunctional family of his wife Lisa who he has never met despite having been with Lisa for close to 20 years. In a tension-filled 72 hours, Buddy is subjected to senile parents, criminals, and drug addicts. Each page is filled with the sardonic humor and high drama that are staples of Bagge's work. [...] Read this issue slowly because once you're done laughing your head off, you are sure to be sad that you'll have to wait another year to check in with one of the best characters of alternative comics." – Rip Ransley, Stray Riffs
• Review: "The particular fascination in this early work [The Arctic Marauder] is seeing one of the unique individual styles in cartooning at a formative stage. [...] As for the subject matter: It’s an example of parody that continues on when the thing parodied has long faded away. [...] Part of the appeal is feeling superior to an earlier age, and another part is being engaged in the traces of the earlier form embedded in the parody, which you would normally feel yourself too sophisticated to enjoy." – R. Fiore, The Comics Journal
• Plug: "At once a parody and a tribute to late 19th, early 20th century mystery/adventure Jules Verne-esque fiction, this gorgeous one-shot [The Arctic Marauder] is masterfully drawn scratchboard style, as to echo the woodcuts of the era. The result is sumptuous, and look at those elegant art-nouveau panels! [...] Fans of concentrated mysteries, steam-operated machines, dramatic adventures and over-the-top vilains should be all over this!" – 211 Bernard (Librairie Drawn & Quarterly)
• Review: "With Woodring’s skill, I never found myself confused, at least, more than you’re supposed to be. I’ve never read a statement by Woodring saying this, but I always got the impression he wanted you to work for the meaning behind his stories. Even if it’s not the case, I highly enjoy the process. In one graphic novel [Weathercraft], I got what I think may have been a love story, a treatise on spiritual enlightenment and sometimes just a whole lot of fun." – Joe Keatinge, Joe Keatinge's Comics & Stories
• Review: "Weathercraft... [is a]nother volume of nightmarishly beautiful wordless comics by the remarkable Mr. Woodring. Even for those accustomed to his work, there is page after page that makes you say, 'I’ve never seen anything like that before!' And then hide under your bed." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
• Interview:Book By Its Cover's Jen Rothman, who says "Ray Fenwick has created yet another masterpiece. His second book, Mascots, hit shelves in the beginning of this year and it’s quite a beauty. It’s filled with his signature style that mixes ornate hand lettering and imagery, creating amusing little narratives," has a Q&A with Ray: "I thought of the idea of mascots because they’re these outrageous, often ridiculous figures, but they’re symbolic of something else. The thing they’re there to represent isn’t ridiculous at all. I thought that was similar in a lot of ways to the work in the book."
• Interview:One Two One Two Microphone Check has a cultural Q&A with our own Kim Thompson: "There is no movie I love but would be embarrassed to talk about in a serious, intellectual conversation, because if I love it, it is worth talking about by definition. (I concede this could be taken as arrogant.) That said, I am mildly embarrassed at how much I actually love Love, Actually."
• Interview: Alex Dueben's great interview with Daniel Clowes at Comic Book Resources touches on Dan's design work for our upcoming series of Crockett Johnson's Barnaby collections: "It's probably the best written comic strip of all time. The artwork is disarmingly simple. It's the kind of thing that I would normally not be attracted to. He uses typography instead of hand lettering and very simple diagrammatic drawings, yet they are perfect, and work beautifully in a way that anything added to it would detract from it. My goal with the design of the book is to follow his very severe minimal design style and try to live up to that."
• Interview: At TCJ.com, Sean T. Collins also talks to Clowes: "I was always baffled that people who liked mainstream comics seemed to really gravitate towards [Eightball #22]. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was about that one, specifically, that made them like that so much."
• Commentary:Tim Kreider pens an essay on the state of the cartooning industry for TCJ.com: "When you’re young, it’s exciting and fun just to have your work published in the local alternative weekly, or posted online, “liked” and commented on and linked to; but eventually you turn forty and realize you’ve given away a career’s worth of labor for nothing. What’s happening in comics now is what happened in the music industry in the last decade and what’ll happen to publishing in the next. Soon Don DeLillo will be peddling T-shirts too."
• Commentary:Robot 6 polled Gilbert Hernandez for their weekly "What Are You Reading?" feature: "The new comics I always enjoy are by R. Crumb, Dan Clowes, Richard Sala and Charles Burns. I haven’t seen Burns’ and Sala’s new books yet but I did read The Bible by Crumb, which I found tedious only because of the subject matter and Wilson by Clowes. That was hard to get through because the protagonist is so supremely hateful. Well executed, though."
Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter has the scoop: Fantagraphics will begin publishing Crockett Johnson's BARNABY in April 2012, almost 70 years to the day that the strip premiered in the leftist newspaper PM. Yours truly will edit the series, in close coordination with Philip Nel, whose biography of Johnson, The Purple Crayon And A Hole To Dig: The Lives Of Crockett Johnson And Ruth Krauss, will be published by the University Press Of Mississippi the same month. The series will be designed by none other than massive Barnaby fan and master cartoonist Daniel Clowes. Nel will provide essays for each volume, and each volume will feature an introduction from a rotating cast of Barnaby superfans.
This is a dream come true for us at Fantagraphics; Barnaby has literally been at the top of our wish list (or mine, personally, at least) for over a decade. The series will collect the strip's original run of dailies (, from April 1942 through February 1952, including the Ted Ferro and Jack Morley run from January 1946 to September 1947, for which Johnson consulted on before coming back to the strip for good until it's end in 1952.
To learn more about Johnson and Barnaby, check out Philip Nel's fantastic Crockett Johnson site here. Nel also has a wonderful blog where he routinely features Johnson and Barnaby; he posted his own excited announcement about the series here. What can I say? We are all EXCITED, I tell you!
UPDATE: I should mention that we are, as of now, looking for the best possible reproductions of the first two years of Barnaby, specifically April 1942 thru December 1943. If you are a collector with high quality tearsheets from this period (or later) and would like to be involved with Barnaby's production, drop me a line at reynolds [at] fantagraphics [dot] com.
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