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.
Is Larrybear comics' new Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Nah, she's far too mellow. You'll fall in love with her all over again in the second volume of Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature, at the printer now for availability in late June. This installment finds her having further adventures in the city and being courted by a flower-faced fella, and takes some looks back at her childhood and adolescence. And of course her walking, talking menagerie of musical instruments is along for the ride again.
Critics called Vol. 1 "a treat," "cute and sad and familiar," "phenomenal," "irresistible," "a triumph," "such a pleasure" and "a joy from cover to cover." And we think Vol. 2 is even better! Point your majestic peepers at our 15-page excerpt, and pre-order this book right here.
Saturday, April 6th // 1:00 - 2:00 PM Guest of Honor Bill Griffith in conversation with Paul Di Filippo [in the Programming Room in the Lower Level]
Where will all these wonderful books and artists be, you might be wondering? Why, tables B64, B65, C80, C81 -- right in front as you walk through the main entrance! (See a bigger version of this map here.) Our PR/Marketing duo of Jacq & Jen will be happy to see you at MoCCA!
The tallest seedlings of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:ForeWord looks at Dash Shaw's New School. "Like its predecessors, New School is unlike everything else out there.…It’s a startling, yet aptly mundane vision of one man’s future, made all the more believable by Shaw’s expressive, cartoony drawings and generally solid scripting…ultimately, it’s an entertaining and thoughtful graphic novel," writes Bill Baker.
• Review:Paraphilia Magazine covers the two Malcolm McNeill books about his collaborations with William S. Burroughs. "Observed While Falling is an invaluable addition to the library of any Burroughs fan…Having shed light on a previously dark corner of the Burroughs legacy, will hopefully provide vital research material for critical analysis of this gravely neglected work produced during a largely overlooked period in his career," writes Edward S. Robinson. The Lost Art of Ah Pook enchants, "Mc Neill’s images – they’re more than mere illustrations – are rich, complex, and often very strange indeed. Disturbed and disturbing…Mc Neill’s large-form images are remarkable works of art…throughout the quality of Mc Neill’s draftsmanship is of a rare standard."
• Review:Comics Worth Reading recommends Pogo Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Walt Kelly. "These upscale volumes collecting the classic Pogo comic strip are archival quality, beautifully reproduced and a pleasure to look upon…Pogo is well-loved for a reason. The strips are beautifully drawn and keenly observent of human nature."
• Interview (audio):Janet Hamlin is interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio show, The Current, about working on Sketching Guantanamo and being at the courtroom trials. "What I'm working on that day is determined by whatever activity is in court…"
• Review (audio): Brian Heater is a guest on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn and brings up Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. Heater gabs, "…the iconic underground cartoonist of the 90s, anything depicted a slacker or the grunge era was probably by Bagge. Other Stuff has an overly cartoony look that is nicely juxtaposed by true-to-life stories…"
• Interview (video):Ed Piskor is interviewed by Jared Gardner during his Columbus Museum of Art Residency and speaks on his life through comics and Hip Hop Family Tree. "I grew up in just a hip hop environment, my house was the nucleus between three parks in town you could go to any given one and see some hip hop going on, rudimentary stuff …a few slabs of linoleum and a boombox," answered Piskor.
• Review:ConSequential reviewed The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver recently. "Van Sciver’s depiction is sufficiently sympathetic as to make the reader really root for him as he struggles against rival suitors, Mary’s family and his own anxious temperament. …the fact that it’s endearing, engaging and an all-round good read should make it your kind of thing as well," writes Lucy Boyes.
• Plug:Our Man in Boston profiles David Wojnarowicz and 7 Miles a Second. "Artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook vividly depict David Wojnarowicz’s life and struggles in a much improved edition…" says Robert Birnbaum.
• Review:Grovel reads Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski. "Anyone that likes the exploration of ideas, particularly the relationship between humanity, geography, architecture and technology, might get a kick out of reading something different, especially presented in such an unusual form," writes Andy Shaw.
•Review:MetroPulse checks out the EC Library Comics from Wallace Wood and Harvey Kurtzman. "EC had no fear of getting political, long before comics 'grew up.'…Fantagraphics’ EC Comics Library is a must-own for anyone who considers themselves a serious comics fan."Corpse on the Imjin! is "Thoroughly researched and meticulously detailed, Kurtzman’s stories are grim stuff in an era when most Americans believed their country could do no wrong… Grade-school boys reading these dark tales at the time must have had their minds completely blown." Meanwhile, Wally Wood's Came the Dawn! "The tales here are mostly crowd-pleasers with the sort of twist endings that would later become a Twilight Zone trademark."
• Review:Everything is an Afterthought by Kevin Avery is examined in Caught by the River. Andy Childs says, "it becomes apparent that when the history of rock’n'roll is ever written as it should be then he, Nelson, will take his place as a pivotal and hugely influential figure…Kevin Avery does a masterly job in re-constructing Paul Nelson’s reputation and after the enthusiastic critique in the first half of the book the examples of his work in the second half do not disappoint at all."
Yes, some artists do still send in their original artwork for scanning — case in point, Leslie Stein, who shipped us her lovely pages for Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2, all neatly organized in three portfolio binders which are safely ensconced in our flat files (nestled alongside those bundles of Barnaby clippings) awaiting their turn on the scanner. Looks like we're well on track for the book's scheduled release in August! Since critics (correctly) called Vol. 1 "a treat," "phenomenal," "great," "a joy from cover to cover," "irresistible," "a triumph," "such a pleasure" and "one of the best graphic novels of the year," it's safe to call this one "eagerly anticipated."
The sing-song-i-est new Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Drawn Blog features a review of Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama. Dustin Harbin says, "[the comics] seem less humorous and more like the slow aggregation of a large portrait, maybe not of the man, but of the time the man is living in."
• Review:The Comics Reporter confirms that Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter is THE book to buy this week. Tom Spurgeon states, "This is really the only book you need this week . . . I've been wanting to read a collected version of Gary Panter's strip for a time longer than all about a dozen personal relationships I currently have."
• Plug: Lots of book lust on the Collected Comics Library for the EC Library editions coming out soon featuring work from like Came the Dawn by Wally Wood,Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman and future reprints from Al Williamson and Jack Davis. Chris Marshall says, "EC Archives are Dead! Long Live the EC Library!"
• Plug: The sweet people over at Robot 6 on Comic Book Resources started flipping through Previews and flipped out over some of our new releases. John Parkin on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks: "Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking." Graeme McMillan on The Love and Rockets Reader: From Hoppers to Palomar by Marc Sobel: "As a latecomer to this classic series, I’m looking forward to Marc Sobel’s look back at the first three decades of the work of Los Bros Hernandez to help me get caught up on what I missed the first time around and really need to get in collected edition. I suspect this may end up being an expensive project."
"Keith or Steve," Mome Vol. 22, by Nick Drnaso: • Outstanding Story
In addition to these nominees with our logo on them, Leslie Stein's self-published Eye of the Majestic Creature was nominated for Outstanding Series (Vol. 1 collection, with our logo on it, out now; Vol. 2 out next year) and Noah Van Sciver's The Death of Elijah Lovejoy, which ties in to his debut graphic novel The Hypo, was nominated for Outstanding Mini-Comic! Additional congrats to Kevin Huizenga for sharing another nom with Dan Zettwoch and to Gabrielle Bell & Anders Nilsen for their respective noms. Winners will be announced on Saturday, September 14 at SPX.
The newest (and one old one*) Online Commentaries & Diversions:
•Review:The Hypo by Noah Van Sciver gets theBoing-Boingtreatment. Brian Heater states,"The Hypo's relatively limited scope afford the cartoonist the ability to approach the historical giant as a human, offering an empathetic examination of a troubled individual destined for greatness."
•Review: Heidi MacDonald is excited about The Hypo as well. On The Beat she thinks,"This could be one of the sleeper books of the fall."
•Review:NPR gives Jaime Hernandez's God and Science the run-around and Glen Weldon states, ". . .a book that gleefully grafts a gee-whiz superhuman sensibility onto a set of nuanced, all-too-human relationships. Within its breezily charming pages, the pointless battle between capes-lovers and capes-haters subsides: detente at last."
•Review: The Tearoom of Despair reviews Love and Rockets #28 from a loooong time ago because as Bob Temuka says it is "the perfect comic."
•Plug:The Huffington Post uses some panels from Love and Rockets story "100 Rooms" to illustrate making art in New York and Daniel Maidman says "it changed my life."
•Plug: Graeme McMillan of Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources is adding Gilbert Herandez's graphic novel Julio's Day to his buy list for October. ". . . this never-collected Gilbert Hernandez strip from the second series of L&R is one of those things that goes on my 'Want' list almost as soon as I discovered it existed."
•Plug: Old Spock drawing by Jaime Hernandez on Comics Alliance in Best Art Ever (This Week) by Andy Khouri.
•Interview:Brokelyn interviews three indie cartoonists on 'making it' and sacrifices. Eye of the Majestic Creature's Leslie Stein tells Brad Pearson, "I love drawing New York; it provides so many details for street scenes, from all the shops and people to seemingly insignificant things like takeout menus shoved in doorways and gum spots on the cement. The energy of New York is very inspiring. Everyone is here for a reason; everyone is creative."
•Review:CBR recently found the original Mark of the Bat, Josh Simmons' made before it was compiled in The Furry Trap. Matt Seneca states". . . the violence here is far from entertaining. It hits like real violence does, as something that shouldn’t be happening, and by forcing the audience to recognize it as such, it casts our gaze back from Simmons’ bootleg onto all the “real” Batman comics we’ve read. . .The proof is here: comics isn’t about “creating IP” or “managing franchises,” and it never will be. It’s about making as bold a statement as you possibly can with nothing more than ink and paper."
•Plug:The Comics Reporter talks about the state of our interns, L&R and Tom Spurgeon is rather obsessed about Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter: "It seems like that we should be freaking out about this a little bit. I used to dream about reading that work. Granted, I don't have much of a dream life, but Dal Tokyo is basically out."
•Review:Out.Com can't stop talking about No Straight Lines. Jerry Portwood says "You won't find erotic comics or manga, so don't even start. But you will find everything from 'lesbian underground comix, to gay newspaper strips, to bi punk zines, to trans webcomics, and dealing with everything from coming out, to marriage equality, to the AIDS epidemic, to hilarious dance styles, and bad choices for a one-night stand'."
•Commentary:Projects of Design posted photos and recipes for their Significant Objects drinks from the release party. "It was only fitting that we fête the culmination of the Significant Objects project by honoring the supposed junk items that were raw material for this experiment. Faculty member Emilie Baltz invited three mixologists to have their own hand in creating drinkable odes to some of the items found in the book."
* Did you figure out the older review? Winners receive smug sense of self-worth!
The most delicious comic-con ever debuts this weekend, Saturday, June 16th and Sunday, June 17th... Introducing CAKE: the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago’s rich legacy as home to many of underground and alternative comics’ most talented artists!
While Fantagraphics won't be tabling there ourselves (sob!), many of our wonderful artists will be there, as featured guests, panelists, exhibitors, or probably just walkin' around somewhere.
And check out these panels with our Fantagraphics artists! Why, it's the icing on the... okay, I'll stop:
• Crude and Rude: Comics and Vulgarity: featuring Ivan Brunetti , Lisa Hanawalt, Hellen Jo and Onsmith, moderated by Josh Reinwald and Justin Rosenberg (Sponsored by Quimby’s Bookstore)
• Jeffrey Brown Makes a Minicomic: Jeffrey Brown makes a minicomic in 1 hour!
• Double Vision: Comics and Animation: with a Q&A featuring Jo Dery, Jim Trainor, Amy Lockhart and Marc Bell, presented by the Eyeworks Animation Festival (Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart)
• Start a Micropress: featuring Sarah Becan, Austin English, Jesjit Gill, Annie Koyama, Greg Means and Caroline Paquita, moderated by Zak Sally
• Comics In Chicago: The Past 10 Years (Sponsored by the Chicago Independent Radio Project - CHIRP): featuring Ezra Claytan Daniels, Lyra Hill, Paul Hornschemeier, Robin Hustle and Jeremy Tinder, moderated by Edie Fake;
• Queer Communities, Queer Anthologies: featuring Justin Hall, Robert Kirby and Annie Murphy, moderated by Noah Berlatsky (Sponsored by Little Heart, a Comic Anthology for Marriage Equality)
• Violent Line: Mark-Making and Meaning: featuring Anya Davidson, Charles Forsman, Patrick Kyle, Grant Reynolds, Conor Stetchschulte, Lale Westvind and Mickey Zacchilli, moderated by Noel Freibert
• Real Life: A Roundatable on Women and Graphic Autobiography: featuring Rina Ayuyang, Lucy Knisley, Keiler Roberts, Marian Runk, Leslie Stein, Julia Wertz
CAKE will be held at the Columbia College of Chicago's Ludington Building [ 1104 S. Wabash (8th Floor) ] from 11 AM to 6 PM. It is free and open to the public. Go, and give our artists a hug and your money.
Fantagraphics is heading over to the mighty 2012 MoCCA Fest this weekend, with so much awesomeness in store for you all! Visit us this Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th at the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City!
First off, take a look at all the debuts we're bringing! Many of these books won't be in stores for several more months, and copies are limited, so make our table your first stop:
Find all of this, and even more, at the Fantagraphics booth, located at our usual spot at #J1, J2, K1, K2:
And hey! Check out these panels!
Saturday, April 28th
12:15 pm // With Nicolas Mahler and Tom Gauld: Brian Heater interviews two artists; Tom Gauld of Scotland, and Nicolas Mahler of Austria. (Room B)
1:15 pm // Checklist for a New Comic: A Guide to Getting Started: In this brief seminar, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden will walk you through the many considerations you should keep in mind when you embark on a new comic of any kind. Abel and Madden will help you strategize and come up with a working plan for your next project, and will cover: creative block and coming up with ideas; choosing a format and platform that makes sense; setting goals and scheduling your time so that you can reach them; finding an audience and looking for collaborators and/or publishers. So bring some paper and be ready to take notes on your next big (or small) project! (Room B)
3:15 pm // Hans Rickheit in Conversation: Brian Heater takes on Hans Rickheit -- musician, performance artist, cartoonist. (Room B)
3:15 pm // A Nordic Roundtable with Fredrik Strömberg (SE), Peter Madsen (DK), Kaisa Leka (FI), Bendik Kaltenborn (NO) and Mattias Elftorp: The comics culture of northern Europe is brimming with energy, talent and innovation, among other things visible in the new anthology Kolor Klimax from Fantagraphics. Come and meet some of the Nordic artists present at MoCCA. (Room A)
5:15 pm // Carousel with Michael Kupperman, Domitille Collardey, Shannon Wheeler, Leslie Stein, Lauren Weinstein and R. Sikoryak: Live comics brought to life by cartoonists and a team of talented voice actors. With voices by Julie Klausner, Dave Hill, Scott Adsit. (Room A)
Sunday, April 29th
2:00 pm // A Discussion with Josh Neufeld and Shannon Wheeler: These two creators interview one another about their work in comics, especially as it relates to their approaches to documenting tragedy on the Gulf Coast. (Room B)
Be sure to drop by tables #J1, J2, K1, K2 to say hi to Jacq, Kristy, who is making her MoCCA debut, and Jen, the latest addition to the Fantagraphics Marketing team! See you at MoCCA!
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