Holy yes-more-please, SPX rocked us. Jacq Cohen, Gary Groth and I traversed across the country for one of the single best comic books shows that exists. We knew it was going to be quite the fun time when we boarded the plane and saw Joseph Remnant. A small favor to stranger later and he was TRAPPED between us for 4+ hours.
SPX is that magical place where we stay in the same hotel as the convention so you run into people all the time. We found a Ben Catmull by the elevators right away! Maybe he was haunting the place (NOT COOL, BEN)
Early morning rise and shine, all the books were out in their deliciously intimidating stacks including all sexy color Peanuts Every Sunday.
Speaking of Peanuts, kids are attracted to it like a magnet. Yes!
Sketching Guantanamo also debuted at SPX and Janet Hamlin, the military tribunal artist for the last seven years showed upwith some new sketches. This book is very important, not just to Janet or us but to the United States as a form of public record.
Peter Bagge signs some books for fans! (photo by Meredith Rizzo)
Zak Sally took a break behind our booth to do some sweet sketches.
The last thing to do at a con after packing up some unsold books and labeling boxes is EAT COOKIES. SPX social media coordinator and crazy busy man, Michael David Thomas, is the stuff fucking dreams are made of my friends.
I'm so pissed I forgot to show off my '90s HIP HOP socks to Ed while he was signing Hip Hop Family Tree. See those smiley faces and peace signs? The kind of socks you keep for the rest of your life! Eden Miller, Ignatz organizer, also showed off her own foot related fashion---an Ignatz tattoo pulled right from the pages of Herriman's comic!
Back on the plane ride home, Jacq took a photo of me working on comics.
We had SUCH a great time at SPX, thank you so much to Warren Bernard, Michael David Thomas, Dan Stafford, Eden Miller, Sam Marx and the many, many, many other staffers and volunteers who made the show rock. Our bags are already packed for next year.
If you're lucky enough to be in Seattle this weekend, don't miss the Bumbershoot Arts Festival. One of many highlights will be Fantagraphics Follies, an evening of eclectic entertainment featuring some of the country's most creative cartoonists, writers, artists, and musicians.
The show begins with Jim Woodring demonstrating his prowess with a giant pen. Over the course of the program, Jim will produce a drawing on paper that publisher Gary Groth procured from none other than Ralph Steadman! We'll check in on Jim's progress throughout the evening. Ellen Forney will show a clip of a new animation and talk about her sensational book Marbles. Eroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh present multimedia performances and reveal plans for their upcoming Short Run small press festival.
The evening concludes in awesome fashion as Danny Bland reprises Jack Kerouac's famous 1959 appearance on the Steve Allen Show. The notorious beat poet read from On the Road accompanied by Allen's piano improvisation. Bland will read from his new novel, In Case We Die, set in Seattle's grunge era. He'll be joined by Steve Fisk on piano, who is ideally suited to the task, having recorded the 1992 Sub Pop album Prison with legendary Seattle poet Jesse Bernstein.
The one-hour production starts at 6:00 PM this Saturday, August 31 at the Leo K. Theater, followed by a signing in the lobby. The next day in the same venue at 4:00 PM, catch Ellen Forney interviewing cartoonist-blogger Allie Brosh with opening act Bella Rowland-Reid, 14-year-old daughter of Fantagraphics curator and Follies host Larry Reid. Then there's Death Cab For Cutie, Gary Numan, MGMT, Crystal Castles, Icona Pop, The Breeders, Mark Pickeral, Redd Kross, Superchunk, The Joy Formidable, Marc Maron, The Zombies, Reggie Watts, and dozens more! Too much Fun! (Oh yeah, them too.)
Our cartoonists and creators are not only available in print form but LIVE IN PERSON on panels, talking about things they're all about and answering questions (which we know you're all about). Check 'em out and rest those tootsies, you'll be walking on them allll weekend long. Click on these wonder-links if you're wondering about our new books debuting and when people will be signing at our table.
Thursday, July 18th
12:30pm Spotlight On: Gene Deitch Comic-Con special guest Gene Deitch is a legendary cartoonist, animator, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, and creator of Tom Terrific. Join him for a tour thru his 70-year career, including his years directing cartoons for UPA and Weston Woods, as well as creating the comic strip Terr'ble Thompson and crossing paths with everyone from Pete Seeger and John Lee Hooker to Maurice Sendak and Jules Feiffer. Moderated by animation historian Jerry Beck and famed movie critic and author-and Comic-Con special guest-Leonard Maltin! Thursday July 18, 2013 12:30pm - 1:30pm Room 8
12:30pm Dave McKean: Blue Tree
Tree roots as neural networks, the lunacy of Luna, the creation of wolves, the cooking of compost and glimpses of Sandman -- all this and more in an interview panel with artist/writer/musician/director/Mac worrier Dave McKean. Thursday July 18, 2013 12:30pm - 1:30pm Room 4
6:00PM Anything that Loves: Comics Beyond Gay or Straight
In the last 20 years, lesbian and gay people have made great strides toward better representation in pop culture. The road for people who are bisexual, who have fluid sexuality and gender, or who otherwise fall outside of "gay" and "straight" has been much rockier. (Ironically, they are often met with the strongest mistrust and resistance from gay people.) The new comics anthology Anything That Loves assembles 30 creators to delve into the complex world of nonbinary sexuality and hopes to expose some myths, offer some new insights, and bring together an often-splintered LGBT community in a new way. Moderator Charles "Zan" Christensen and contributors to this anthology discuss the origins of the project, why it's important, and the challenges of being a bisexual storyteller. How can bisexual creators resist pressure from both straight and gay communities to put them in categories that don't truly fit? And how can creators effectively reach out to queer potential readers in a way that doesn't alienate straight ones? Find out the answers to these questions and many more! With Ellen Forney (Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me), Lena H. Chandhok (Pony Tale), Josh Trujillo (The Provider), Kevin Boze (The Virgin Project), Randall Kirby (BOP! Comics), and Tara Madison Avery (Dirtheads).
6:30pm Indie Comics Marketing and PR 101
Need tips on how to market your comic and yourself to voracious fans and the comic industry at large? Have questions on the best way to do PR? Then this panel is for you! Some of the best and brightest in comics today bring you a roundtable discussion, revealing all the secrets of doing effective marketing and PR to get your comic noticed. Join moderator Chip Mosher (comiXology's PR and marketing maven), J. K. Parkin (from Comic Book Resources and the Eisner Award-nominated blog Robot 6), and Fantagraphics Books's marketing and PR team Jacq Cohen (director of publicity and promotions) and Jen Vaughn (marketing and outreach coordinator) for an inspiring and wide-ranging discussion you won't want to miss! Thursday July 18, 2013 6:30pm - 7:30pm Room 8
Friday, July 19th
11:00am Spotlight on Ellen Forney
Cartoonist Ellen Forney presents her New York Times bestselling graphic memoir, Marbles: Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me, a darkly funny chronicle of her struggle with bipolar disorder. Nominated for a 2013 Eisner Award, "Marbles isn't just a great story; it's proof that artists don't have to be tortured to be brilliant. 'A'" -- Entertainment Weekly. Friday July 19, 2013 11:00am - 12:00pm Room 9
1:00pm Humor in Graphic Novels
From Star Wars's little princess to marbles and depression, from jetpacks and goliaths to dirty dumb eyes, writer/artists Jeffrey Brown (Vader's Little Princess), Ellen Forney (Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me,), Tom Gauld (You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack), and Lisa Hanawalt (My Dirty Dumb Eyes) have the entire spectrum of humor-gag cartoons, self-deprecation, irony, to name just a few- covered in their graphic novels. Moderated by Andrew Farago (Cartoon Art Museum). Friday July 19, 2013 1:00pm - 2:00pm Room 9
2:00pm A Tribute to Kim Thompson of Fantagraphics Books
Gary Groth, Eric Reynolds, and Mike Catron of Fantagraphics Books are joined by Dark Horse's Diana Schutz and Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez to celebrate the life and career of Kim Thompson, whose legacy as co-publisher of Fantagraphics and bande dessinée's greatest ambassador in America spanned five decades.
Friday July 19, 2013 2:00pm - 3:00pm Room 25ABC
3:00pm Snoopy: A Retrospective Paige Braddock (creative director, Schulz Creative Associates; creator, Jane's World), Lex Fajardo (managing editor, kaboom Peanuts; creator, Kid Beowulf), Gary Groth (co-founder, Fantagraphics) and Nat Gertler (writer, The Peanuts Collection and kaboom Peanuts; publisher, About Comics) discuss Snoopy: astronaut, beagle scout, novelist, flying ace, and much-misunderstood pet of Charlie Brown ("If I only had a normal dog"). Celebrate this unique character who debuted in papers on October 4, 1950, created by Charles M. Schulz. Snoopy began his career walking on all fours, and over the next 50 years practically stole the show from his fellow Peanuts cast members. Moderated by, Damian Holbrook (senior writer at TV Guide magazine whose Spirit Animal is Snoopy). Friday July 19, 2013 3:00pm - 4:00pm Room 28DE
Saturday, July 20th
1:00pm Celebrating 10 Years of Prism Comics
In 2003, a new champion appeared on the comics scene, determined to make the industry a better place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender comics creators and readers. The nonprofit Prism Comics was founded by a small group of comics fans to provide a network for LGBTQ comics professionals and fans through their website, events, and convention appearances. Prism Comics has grown and now supports the next generation of creators through The Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. And diversity in the comics industry has grown as well. Where once LGBTQ comics and characters were marginalized, now they are frequently stepping into the spotlight. ModeratorJustin Hall (No Straight Lines, Glamazonia, Prism advisory board) and panelists Ted Abenheim (president, Prism Comics), Tara Madison Avery (Dirtheads, Prism board), Andy Mangels (co-founder, Prism Comics) Paige Braddock (Jane's World, Prism advisory board), Charles "Zan" Christensen (co-founder, Prism Comics; Northwest Press), Roger Klorese (Prism board), Jon Macy (Teleny and Camille, Prism Queer Press Grant chairperson) offer a look back at where Prism Comics started, celebrate how far they've come, and a peek into the future of where the queer comics scene might be headed. Saturday July 20, 2013 1:00pm - 2:00pm Room 28DE
2:30 Adventure Time Encyclopedia
A conversation moderated by Kent Osborne (head of story, Adventure Time) with Martin Olson (voice actor, The Lord of Evil), and Olivia Olson (voice actor, Marceline The Vampire Queen) about their new book from Abrams, The Adventure Time Encyclopedia, including a slide show and a dramatic reading from the book. Surprises may include a terrifying appearance by Hunson Abadeer himself, a music video from the Nightosphere, and Olivia singing with special surprise guests (like Tony Millionaire). Audience participation is encouraged for maximum chance of survival! Saturday July 20, 2013 2:30pm - 3:30pm Room 8
3:15 Vertigo: The Sandman 25th Anniversary and Beyond!
This year Vertigo's flagship title The Sandman returns to comics in an all-new series written by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman)! Join Neil for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of this timeless series and an exclusive look at what is in store for the Lord of the Dreaming with Neil and his past and future legendary collaborators, Dave McKean, Sam Kieth, Todd Klein, and J. H. Williams III. Saturday July 20, 2013 3:15pm - 4:15pm Room 6DE
3:30pm Fantagraphics and Drawn & Quarterly Preview
North America boasts the world's two leading comic book companies that have defined the literary genre for comics. Seattle's Fantagraphics and Montreal's Drawn & Quarterly present their fall and winter lists of works from the world's best cartoonists, perhaps even with a few surprises and giveaways! Saturday July 20, 2013 3:30pm - 4:30pm Room 26AB
5:30pm Gays in Comix XXVI
Whether it's the high-flying world of capes, spandex, and gravity-defying breasts or wondrously down-to-earth slice-of-life, the LGBTQ presence in comics has evolved beyond inclusion and visibility. Moderators Roger Klorese (Prism Comics Board) and Paige Braddock (Jane's World) explore the next level of authentic LGBTQ storytelling with panelists Shannon Walters (Kaboom), Eisner Award nominee Justin Hall (No Straight Lines), Leia Weathington (The Legend of Bold Riley), Shena Wolf (Uclick/Universal Press Syndicate), Sina Grace (Li'l Depressed Boy; Not My Bag), and others to be announced. The panel will be followed by the annual Prism Comics Gays Comic Fan Mixer and Silent Auction hosted by and benefiting Prism Comics, the nonprofit organization that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered comics, creators, and readers. Saturday July 20, 2013 5:30pm - 7:00pm Room 6A
7:00pm From Comic Book King to FIne Artist: Extraordinaire: A Chat with Robert Williams
Join friends and colleagues of a true underground comix heavyweight and accomplished fine artist,Robert Williams (ZAP Comix). Panelists include William Stout (illustrator, Wizards), Gwynned Vitello (president, Juxtapoz and Thrasher), Karl Meyer (president, Gentle Giant Studios), and Eric Reynolds (Fantagraphics). Robert will take us though his incredible journey from ZAP Comix, his work with Big Daddy Roth, all the way to his current exploits in the heady realm of fine art. Moderated by Vitello. Saturday July 20, 2013 7:00pm - 8:00pm Room 4
We love all of our books but are especially happy for the creators of the Eisner-nominated books. You can vote until June 12 online. If you haven't read all of them, check 'em out individually or via our list!
Still no sure which to read? Heidi MacDonald, Cal Reid and company discuss the nominations on the Publishers Weekly podcast. Meanwhile, Chris Sims, Matt D. Wilson and more of War Rocket Ajax discuss the nominations, although I'm not sure how long the podcast will be up at this link.
Some of the nominations gather in our mail room. See you in JULY!
MoCCA was a BLAST, as usual. PR Director, Jacq Cohen, and I showed up early on Friday to set up the table. People couldn't wait for Saturday, clumping around the new books. Our two newest EC Comics Library releases featuring Al Williamson and Jack Davis' work are creating a heartbreakingly beautiful rainbow.
One side of the set-up table!
Friday night was Dash Shaw's opening for his New School art exhibition and 30th birthday at Desert Island. His fianceé (sorry, ladies and germs) made a cake that was uber-delicious. Below, Dash talks about his new comics.
Party hardy, Gabrielle Bell is talking to Ariel Shrag (!) in the left-hand corner.
A gentleman was purchasing Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez at Desert Island so we had to compliment him on his exquisite taste. Lo and behold, Tony (or so he says) showed up at MoCCA the next day ready to buy more quality comics, this time Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley. My mom would be so proud that I'm still somewhat polite!
I ran into a familiar face, cartoonist and animation intern Andrew Greenstone, who was more than willing to hang out and shot the shit---I mean, talk business.
If I ever become a comic book store owner, I hope I'm as cool as Gabe Fowler. The red print was a Desert Island exclusive!
Cartoonist Charles Burns showed up to hang out with friends and look at comics. I never ever tire of that man's company, but he did mention some people are reticent to eat with him because of what he draws in his comics. FOOLS, I say! Also, Evan Dorkin makes Chris Duffy guffaw in the background. Doesn't "Griffith, Dorkin, Duffy and Burns" sound like an amazing lawfirm? Like possibly corrupt but they probably have a pastry chef on staff to appease their clients?
Also signing at MoCCA was Kim Deitch, whose new book The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is coming out soon and is haunting, to put it mildly. Deitch brought his original pages which fans poured over. James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook made their Fantagraphics signing debut for 7 Miles a Second, the moving comic written by David Wojnarowicz. The book has one of those covers that is both oblique and arresting (Jacq adds up some quick math on the right). While I did not stop a child from picking up the book, I did tell a parent or two it had adult material in it. One of my favorite sells of the weekend was selling Prison Pit Book Two to a 14 year old kid whose mom seemed dubious until I brought up the philosophy behind the book. The teen gave me a giant wink as he left, he might not get it still.
Van Cook discussed innovative printing techniques from their travels and non-profit advice while James would sketch in signed copies of the book.
Recently, Alex Dueben talked to Romberger for Comic Book Resources and stopped to meet them in person.
Next up was Leslie and Dash! Local cartoonist Leslie Stein is also in a pretty crazy fun band, Prince Rupert's Drops. If you live in the New York area, check them out. The rest of us will just live via our headphones or listening to their tracks on the recent AudioFemme interview. Leslie signed my old copy of Eye of the Majestic Creatureand we talked about second book that's coming out this fall! I heard some comments from other cartoonists that they feel weird about asking fellow toonies to sign their books but I don't give a humdinkle about that. Make it FANCY for me.
Dash signed the spine of many a Bottomless Belly Button and cover of 3 New Stories for eager fans. Those gorgeous red prints (you can only see a quarter of it) are available from Desert Island if you are looking for something for the Shaw fan who 'has it all.'
Given our close proximity to the stairs to the bathroom, there wasn't much chance for wondering down aisles or buying comics. I really wanted to read L. Nichols' Flocks and she was helpful enough to COME TO ME with her Square for my plastic purchase.
Tucker Stone, of TCJ and Bergen Street Comics, came by to get Gary's signature on a copy of The Comics Journal. Pretty cute, right?
Jacq and me with two of our debut books by Ulli Lust and Gilbert Hernandez! Photo by Dre Grigoropol.
Hung with bossman Gary Groth, Dash, Leslie and Jacq one night.
Charles Forsman was out and about with his Oily Comics micropublishing outfit. Chuck's comic, The End of the Fucking World, will be out this July from Fantagraphics in one single beautiful book. I'm so excited about that. We in no way support NCIS.
Chuck and I go way back, we used to work at the same graphic novel library together in Vermont. A photo from 2009:
Speaking of libraries, the next day Tom Spurgeon and I visited Columbia University's Butler Library and Rare Book room, led around by enthusiastic librarian Karen Green. It was so very cool to see our books with library binding but they've also perfected a myler binding so we don't lose those cool spine designs. Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button and Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo.
Kim, I didn't forget about you, the library has a lot of Jacques Tardi books. Some were checked out, which is even better than finding them at the library.
A grand place I hope to visit again. Thanks to Anelle Miller and her trusty band of volunteers for the enjoyable convention, Gary and Jacq for booth help plus a few of these photos. Lastly, another one of my favorite moments of the week was selling Dungeon Quest Book One to a gentleman on Saturday who came back Sunday to buy the other two after reading the first in one sitting. It was a cherry on top of an awesome convention.
The longest, unabridged edition of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: The Village Voice is almost hospitalized while reading Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2. "Kupperman heaps absurdity upon absurdity…The result is a jubilant rococo, the strips all thrilling ornamentation…No exaggeration: I coughed hot soup out of my nose while reading the new hardbound volume of deadpan dadaist Michael Kupperman…" states Alan Scherstuhl.
• Review: Comic Book Resources looks at Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2 by Michael Kupperman. Brian Cronin loves the Moon 69 story. "The devolution of the ads as the story continues might be my favorite part…The second collection of Kupperman’s individual Thrizzle issues JUST came out and it includes [Moon 69]! So go buy it, dammit!"
• Review:Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 2byMichael Kuppermanshines at The AV Club. "Kupperman's work only gets funnier when read in bulk... Kupperman's comics take pre-existing popular culture-TV shows, advertising, other comics-and tweak them just a little until they become hilariously absurd," states Noel Murray.
• Review: Glen Weldon reviews The Comics Journal #302 on New Republic, exclusively the Maurice Sendak interview conducted by Gary Groth. "Why on earth would I want to read 100 pages of caustic carping? Because Sendak is funny. Deeply, passionately so. Read in full, Sendak’s zingers lose their venom and evince a sincere and surprising warmth. He comes off as bitter, but not embittered—a fine distinction, perhaps, but a real one."
• Plug:USA Today's Pop Candy mentions TCJ #302. "This week I've been reading the wonderful (and massive) issue No. 302, which contains a huge Maurice Sendak tribute as well as his final interview"
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles like The Comics Journal #302, edited by Gary Groth, Kristy Valenti and Michael Dean. "Probably my favorite single issue magazine of 2013, it is actually a freakily-elevated edition of the long-running only-trustable trade magazine devoted to comics…it gives us a chance to sample the gamut of an ever-evolving and surprisingly inspiring art-form."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP reviews our newest book of music criticism The Grammar of Rockby Alexander Theroux. "Ripping through this hilarious rage on banality and unexpected pleasures I thought, they don’t make writers like this anymore…Drop that boring band biography and fetch this, if only for the mountains of lists of rarely-heard missing gems he has sampled and tasted beforehand for you."
• Review: Pop Matters has to tune into The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. John L. Murphy writes, "Naturally, the fun of The Grammar of Rock lies in its acerbic prose as well as its aesthetic insight…You’ll either laugh or you won’t. I laughed."
• Review:Washington Independent Review of Books also looks at Alexander Theroux's The Grammar of Rock. "Reading Alexander Theroux’s The Grammar of Rock is like hitching a ride with a suspiciously awake truck driver who talks endlessly for hours…All in all, this book is a very cold love letter," says DJ Randy Cepuch.
• Plug: Wired runs 10 sketches by Janet Hamlin featured in her upcoming book,Sketching Guantanamo. Hamlin remembers sketching Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "He would turn and pose — a deliberate turn, facing me, holding very steady."
• Review:Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez gets reviewed on on The AV Club. "Julio's Day(Fantagraphics) is as much about what's not on the page as what is...Fashions, mores, and technologies change; but desires and disappointments do not," writes Noel Murray.
• Review:Nerds of a Feather give an outstanding rating and review a recent reprint of Jack Jackson's work. Philippe Duhart writes, "Los Tejanos and Lost Cause are the products of serious historical research, and as such they are clear exhibitions of comics' potential as a viable media for academic and journalistic work…I appreciate that Johnson sticks with the perspective of the “losers” -- Juan Seguin's struggles against racism following Texas’ rebellion and Texan Confederates' struggle to regain a sense of honor following the defeat of their cause."
• Review:Fingers on Blast reads Linda Medley's Castle Waiting Vol. 1. "The tales weave their way together seamlessly thanks to Medley's art. There is no simple way to describe it, but to say it draws you ever deeper into the story."
• Revew: Chris Estey of KEXP writes on some of our new titles Peter Bagge's Other Stuffwhich" features Bagge doing some sharp-witted journalism (on comedy festivals, especially) and historical stories…it is an electric, howlingly funny, bona-fide classic mangle of manic music history, prickly satire, and perfectly rendered cartooning."
• Review:Novi Magazine picks apart feminist storytelling in Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas. "While Thomas depicts male characters, Hagio codes femininity into every element of the story, with every effort towards drawing in her assumedly female audience…" writes Dan Morrill.
•Review:BookDragon plugs The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. "…it’s certainly proved its lasting effects. Never mind the rockets, sometimes turbulent feelings can take you much, much further…" writes Terry Hong.
• Plug:Comics Forge is looking foward to The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert as much as we are! "This was one of the trend setting 1960’s comics that you will see echoed worldwide during that time and when this style of pop art was raging as the most important thing since sex was invented…It looks like it is going to be a beautiful book, like most of the books that Fantagraphics puts out, you can feel the love."
• Review:Scoop covers Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tiger by Roy Crane in one hell of a history lesson on newspaper and adventure comics. "Buz Sawyer may be the peak of the adventure strip as a genre…Crane’s ability to walk a fine line between hyper-realism while still incorporating an easy to read and understand style places him among the greats in comic history," says Mark Squirek.
• Review:Scoop covers Mort Meskin's Out of the Shadows. "He is so skilled at body language that without reading a single word you can see the kid’s enthusiasm for his grandfather’s story grow across the first three panels,"writes Mark Squirek.
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Tom Kacyznski about his books. Kacyznski says, "There's an easy willingness to imagine the collapse of everything instead of small changes in the political system that could fix a lot of the problems that we're having. Those kinds of themes interest me."
• Review:Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski gets a look-see on B-Sides & Rarities. Elizabeth Simins writes, "Kaczynski’s style involves a pretty dedicated commitment to setting scenes with lyrical descriptions as much as imagery, which is something I associate with the space between “regular” fiction and comics…You should read it."
• Review:Grovel reviews The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver. "It’s a surprising but fascinating insight into the psyche of a man that outsiders would normally assume to be a sort of political superhuman, but Sciver adds depth and soul to the two-dimensional image of the man with half a beard and a top hat," penned Andy Shaw.
• Review:Comic Pusher enjoys their read of Chris Wright's new book: "In Black Lung Wright presents a world of ceaseless violence and pain, his reflectively brutal cartooning interwoven with elegiac prose, with the very syntax of comic storytelling breaking down under the memory and transformative agony of loss and obsession," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
• Plug: Jade at D&Q Bookstore digs into Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me by R. Crumb. "The extraordinary title is only matched by the incredible insight into the iconoclast’s mind and the ultra-snazzy portrait of an early Crumb on the cover, sporting a corduroy jacket and tie…A definite must-read for any Crumb fan."
• Review:The Comics Journal digs Black is the Color by Julia Gfrörer. Sean T. Collins writes, "Gfrörer’s most moving comic to date, Black Is the Color eroticizes suffering not to glamorize it, but to endure it."
• Interview: Robin McConnell interviews Julia Gfrörer about her webcomic and soon-to-be-in-print book,Black is the Color on Inkstuds.
• Review: Comics Bulletin loves Charles Forsman's The End of the Fucking World. Geoffrey Lapid writes "Instead of allowing you to step back and look at James and Alyssa through wistful adult hindsight, Forsman's fluid and subdued linework take us right into those moments that you only understand when you're 17 years-old, proudly oblivious and doomed…James and Alyssa feel like real, substantial characters rather than simple broad strokes alluding to a deeper history."
• Interview: Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jackie Mantey for Columbus Alive during his Ohio art residency and on Hip Hop Family Tree. "The purity of intent is something that’s important to me with anything I come across," Piskor believes.
• Interview: Kelli Korducki interviews Jaime Hernandez on behalf of Hazlitt about Love and Rockets. Jaime answers, "I like the way women react to situations. Guys in a certain situation mostly try to keep it cool, keep their cover, keep things in control. With a lot of women I know, you get eight different reactions to a situation."
• Review: Jon Longhi looks at Spain Rodriguez in Having a Book Moment.Cruisin' with the Hound, a recent collection, is "it's all gang fights, hot rods, teenage mayhem and its wonderfully entertaining and beautifully illustrated."
The first peak of sun of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Noah Berlatsky on Slate reviews 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "That feared and desired encounter is in part the collision of comics and art—but it's also, and emphatically, the intermingling of queer and straight…7 Miles a Second still represents a road largely avoided…even if 7 Miles a Second never went mainstream, this new edition remains a stirring reminder that everything pushed to the side isn't gone."
• Review:Full Page Bleed and Tom Murphy read 7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, and Marguerite Van Cook. "Like David Wojnarowicz's vision of himself, this is a volume that has an impossible amount of energy and emotion packed into its slim dimensions. It's a blistering book that, having been revived by Fantagraphics in the format it deserves, should now take its rightful place in the comics/graphic memoir canon."
• Review: The North Adams Transcript blog reviewed Delphine by Richard Sala. "Prince Charming’s journey is creepy and jarring, and the trappings of the likes of the Grimm Brothers take on a heightened presentation that becomes more personal than you would ever expect them to be," John Seven.
• Plug:The D&Q bookstore is ready to read prose book The Grammar of Rock by Alexander Theroux. Jade writes, "Cliché lyrics, diva meltdowns, and inarticulate diction are all up for close examination in Theroux’s comprehensive exploration of language in pop, rock, jazz, folk, soul, and yes, even rap (Ghostface Killah!)."
• Plug:LAMBDA announces nominees for awards and includes Justin Hall's No Straight Lines. Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. More information here!
• Review:The Savage Critic looks at Gilbert Hernandez's Love from the Shadows. "It’s the work of a comics master tearing into the stained brown paper parcel of his unconscious, and finding a piping hot slurry composed of decades of pop culture detritus."
• Plug:The Daily Optimist shows off a few panels of Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller. Dan Wagstaff writes, "I do have a strange and peculiar love of Ernie Bushmiller’s ‘Nancy’ comic strips… Fantagraphics are doing a great job of collecting them properly into books (designed by Jacob Covey)."
• Plug: Tom Heintjes on Cartoonician gives a short and concise history of Fritzi Ritz aka Aunt Fritzi from Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. She was the star of her own strip before that created by Larry Whittington. "A young cartoonist named Ernie Bushmiller took the reins and went with his strength: the simple gags that would forever earn both the scorn and admiration of millions of comics fans."
• Interview: The Comics Reporter and Tom Spurgeon interviews Publisher Gary Groth: "I can look at most books and come up with a pretty accurate estimate as to how it will sell. Occasionally I'm wrong."
• Plug: Fantagraphics fan and friend, JT Dockery has a fundraising campaign/pre-order for his Despair book which features art from Chris Wright and Julia Gfrörer. I hope they are on a ship.
• Plug: Sam Costello at Full Stop lists The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman as one of the most anticipated books of 2013. "While there’s certainly violence and horror here, Forsman handles the subject as a character study, not a lurid glorification, making James sympathetic and his deeds all the more monstrous."
• Review: Michael May reviews Mr. Twee Deedle by Johnny Gruelle on School Library Journal. In reference to Good Comics for Kids, "There’s plenty for children to enjoy in the collection, but parents and educators will be even more rewarded. Not only by the history and context that Marschall provides, but by the sheer sweetness and transportive beauty of the illustrations as well. Each of the full-page, full-color strips is something not only to linger over, but to revisit often."
• Review: The Weekly Crisis looks at West Coast Blues by Jacques Tardi. "The narrative is almost a ‘dark twin’ of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest as George is forced to adapt and go on the run as the forces arrayed against him close in."
• Plug:Jessica Abel posted some cool ideas on visual scripting and laying out your ideas she learned from Alison Bechdel.
The best looping GIF of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review: Publishers Weekly gives a Starred Review to Messages in a Bottle by B. Krigstein. "Krigstein’s stories are sometimes epic and sprawling, sometimes compressed and confined…His mastery of chiaroscuro, and his dramatic composition and layout, applied across a very wide range of subject matter, are what make this gorgeous collection so essential."
• Review:The AV Club also shows extreme love for the comics of B. Krigstein in his new collection Messages in a Bottle. Noel Murray writes, "Krigstein treated each assignment as a chance to put theory into practice, and even among EC’s formidable roster of stylists, Krigstein stands out as one for whom the words around the pictures almost don’t matter, because the art’s so mesmerizing that it’s hard to pay attention to anything else…"
• Review: The Advocate warms up to the reading of Gilbert Hernandez's Julio's Day. Jacob Anderson-Minshall writes "Hernandez is able to illustrate that those events had a global reach and dramatically impacted the lives of everyone — including the people in Julio’s life…A remarkable accomplishment that is likely to find its way on numerous Best of 2013 lists and garner Hernandez more well deserved awards and accolades, Julio’s Day is, at its heart, a gay story."
• Plug:Philip Nel plugs our latest volume of The Comics Journal #302 and it's interview -- the last interview-- with children's book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. "Above all, in reading Groth’s interview, it’s great to hear Maurice’s voice — his salty, funny, grumpy, insightful, irascible voice — just one last time."
• Review: Neal Wyatt of the Library Journal looks at the new books coming out this year from Fantagraphics. "Browsing the Fantagraphics spring catalog underscores the myriad of styles and literary approaches that graphic novelists and artists explore—be it Anders Nilsen’s near metaphorical images or Dash Shaw’s crowded and kaleidoscopic landscapes." He singles out Good Dog by Graham Chaffee, The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch, Lost Cat by Jason, New School by Dash Shaw ("Known for his frenetic and inventive artwork…") and The End by Anders Nilson.
• Plug: The Austin Public Library highlighted two of our books on their blog. On Jordan Crane's The Last Lonely Saturday, Betsey Blanche described as "The artwork is simple – drawn in mostly red and yellow – but full and effective." They also pulled out Lilli Carré's The Lagoon: "It’s another haunting but beautiful book about a family, mysteries, and the power of legends."
• Review:The Comicbook Pusherman looks at 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente by Wilfred Santiago. "…as a comic it absolutely crackles. The art is stunning. Santiago clearly captures baseball's (and Clemente's) unique energy and the Americas of the '50s and '60s and most distinctly the Puerto Rico of the 30s and 40s," says Jeffrey O. Gustafson.
The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.
This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.
Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.
Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.
Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.
The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.