•Interview: Christopher Irving questions the ineffable Pete Bagge on his vast body of work on NYC Graphic. Bagge says, "With the style of work that I do, I like it to look on the surface like it’s shallow and stupid, but when you read it, the context is really sweet. . ." Christopher Irving reports: "Part of what makes Pete Bagge such an effective writer is his ability to tap into personal experiences that are universal. . . being jilted by a lover, getting angry at traffic, or trying to hide something from your parents."
•Review: Tom Spurgeon sits down for a good read with God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls on The Comics Reporter: "It's only when you try to unpack the story that you realize what a graceful and economical storyteller Jaime Hernandez has become no matter what genre he might choose to utilize."
•Review: On the Spandexless Reads, Josh Simmons' newest work gets a thorough once-over. Shawn Starr on horror book, The Furry Trap: "The Furry Trap is what your parents warned you about. It’s what Fredric Wertham warned America about. . . Simmons takes the normal, the stale, and adds an “edge” like none other, taking the tropes of each genre to the edge of a sharp cliff and then hurling them off so he can re-examine their splattered remains."
•Review: In a one-two punch by Tucker Stone, both Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes and Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man are reviewed on comiXology. Stone continues on about Carl Barks' work: "Everything I could want out of a comic is there--it's funny, gorgeous, and I'd make a smoke alarm wait just so I could read it in one sitting. . . I'm not blind to the fact that the stories were created with the intent of engaging with children, in fact, I have to wonder how much of what I perceive to be their greatness stems from that basic restriction."
•Plug:Stumptown Trade Review enjoys the book based on Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker's experiment, Significant Objects: "The experiment, in short, was a smash hit. The Significant Objects book features 100 moving, absurd, surprising, and always entertaining stories from the project’s three volumes."
We've written too many obituaries on Flog already this year. I'm saddened to contribute another. We learned this morning that Josep Maria Berenguer, founder of the legendary Spanish comics publishing house Ediciones La Cúpula , passed away last night after a battle with lung cancer. We have lost a friend here at Fantagraphics, and a colleague with whom we've had a very fruitful relationship with for over 20 years.
I first met Josep Maria Berenguer in, I believe, 1995 or 1996 on a trip to Barcelona with my good pal Peter Bagge . We were there for the Barcelona Comics Festival as guests of the Festival and La Cúpula, along with Aline Crumb and Tanino Liberatore, amongst others.
It was the first time in Spain for both Pete and I. La Cúpula had just begun publishing HATE, under the title ODIO , with savvy translations by a young editor/writer named Hernán Migoya and lettering by a talented cartoonist, Nono Kadaver (both of whom have become two of my best friends over the succeeding years; yet another reason to be grateful to Sr. Berenguer). We were treated like royalty and it was a trip I'll never forget. Pete and I have routinely fantasized about moving to Spain over the years since that trip.
Josep Maria was one of the most charismatic and generous hosts I've ever known. He was a natural storyteller, funny, politically incorrect, but also incredibly charming. Not in a typically macho, latin way, he was much more refined. He was an ex-hippie radical with a worldly air about him.
He clearly relished his role as a key countercultural figure in post-Franco Spain, founding the groundbreaking El Vibora and La Cúpula in 1979 (less than four years after the end of Francoist Spain). He greatly admired the irreverence of the first wave of American underground cartoonists, especially R. Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, and published both early on, as well as Robert Williams, Spain Rodriguez, and others. Over the years he published just about every notable American cartoonist you can think of: Bagge, Clowes, Hernandez, Burns, Tomine, etc. I think it would be hard to overestimate his role in raising the prominence of underground comics in Spain.
This decade, I was lucky if I saw Josep Maria even once every couple of years, but when I did, I relished it. In Barcelona, he took me to one of his favorite jazz clubs, and to his beautiful home that the company was named for (a kind of geodesic dome that "La Cúpula" refers to). We ate Moroccan food in Granada, Spain. We drank cheap beers at the infamous Picadilly in San Diego during Comic-Con. The last time I saw him, a couple summers ago, we had sushi together in New York City. He always had great stories, and a warmth to him that made you forget it had been a few years since you saw him last.
Rest in peace, old friend, and long live La Cúpula.
Photo: That's Josep Maria Berenguer on the far left, hosting (from left to right) Tanino Liberatore, Sra. Berenguer, Ana Forcada, myself, Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Peter Bagge at his home ("La Cúpula") in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Christian Coudurés.
Fantagraphics is rockin' the convention scene from coast to coast this coming weekend, and you can also find us at the 9th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon! Drop by the Oregon Convention Center this Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th!
You can find us at Booth 101, right near the entrance to the lobby, panels, workshops, and registration!
And many of our fine Fantagraphics artists will be featured in panels this year! Go check 'em out!
Saturday, April 28th
2:00-2:45 pm // WILD MAN: A Confluence of Art, Science and History:T Edward Bak's natural history-oriented graphic novel-biography, WILD MAN: The Strange Journey and Fantastic Account of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller was serialized from 2009-2011 in the Fantagraphics comics anthology MOME. The artist has conducted his own research throughout SE Alaska and the Aleutian archipelago, as well as St. Petersburg (Russian Federation) where he recently delivered presentations of his work for this ongoing project. Mr. Bak will relate his travel experiences, share WILD MAN artwork, relate the challenges of his process and research, and discuss his recent collaboration with writer Sarah Mirk on the Oregon History Comics project, "Voices from Celilo Falls", which further explores his interest in North Pacific natural history. (Room B111)
1:00-1:45 pm // Frank Santoro's Comic Book Layout Workshop: Frank Santoro (Cold Heat, The Comics Journal) will present a Layout Workshop for comic book makers via Skype. Borrowing lessons from his Correspondence Course, Frank will lead an informal talk and workshop which will revolve around formats available to makers in 2012 - and how comics composed for print might be translated to the web. (Room B113)
1:00-1:45 pm // Spotlight on Peter Bagge:Best known for his comic-book series Hate, which helped to define the grunge generation, and his recent contributions to Reason magazine, Peter Bagge is always willing to confront hard-hitting societal issues with intelligence, wit, and funny bone intact. Join us for a conversation with the multiple Harvey and Eagle Award-winning cartoonist, whose newest series, Reset, has just been launched in the Dark Horse Originals line. Moderated by Ryan Alexander-Tanner. (Room B114)
2:00-2:45 pm // Of Rabbits and Ronin: Spotlight on Stan Sakai: World-renowned cartoonist Stan Sakai has been writing, drawing, and even hand-lettering his beloved rabbit samurai series Usagi Yojimbo for twenty-seven years and counting. Join Sakai for a discussion of Usagi's history and future, as well as demonstrations and all-ages audience participation! Moderated by Usagi series editor, Diana Schutz. (Room B114)
Sunday, April 29th
4:00-4:45 pm // Making History: What do a Victorian robot, theology scholar, and rabbit ronin have in common? They're the stars of three very different stories in historical settings: Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel; Family Man; and Usagi Yojimbo. Join their creators -- Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett, Dylan Meconis, and Stan Sakai -- for a lively discussion of history and storytelling. (Room B114)
2:00-2:45 pm // The New Underground:Frank Santoro referred to the current independent comics scene as a dawn of a new "Golden Age". There is a theory that if you go deep enough underground you hit the actual main stream. This generation is equally fluent in zines and Tumblr accounts; genre exploration and abstract art; printing process and independent distribution. Join panelists Chris Cilla, Max Clotfelter, Farel Dalrymple, Julia Gfrorer, Jack Hayden, Jason Miles, Jesse Moynihan, Emily Nilsson, Zack Soto, Angie Wang and Malachi Ward for a roundtable discussion on the future of underground comics. (Room B116)
Join them Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd at the Hynes Convention Center [ 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA ].
And on Sunday, see Al in the panel Legends of Mad Magazine! The "Usual Gang of Idiots" reunite to reminisce about the creation of MAD, the most influential humor magazine of the 20th century. Al Feldstein and Paul Coker Jr join Al Jaffee for this rare event at 11:00 AM in Panel Room 102.
Fantagraphics is thrilled to announce that Peter Bagge will be a special guest at the 9th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland!
Join us on Saturday, April 29th and Sunday, April 30th at the Oregon Convention Center [ 777 NE ML King Blvd. ]. Tickets are on sale now, so don't miss out! And stay tuned to the FLOG for more details about our Stumptown weekend.
We like the way the Cottesloe Theatre (the smallest of the 3 stages in London's National Theatre) labels their rechargable batteries with the names of Love and Rockets, Hate, Angry Youth Comix and Ghost World characters. Instagram photo (via Twitter) by Mike Winship, who informs us "Sadly, Maggie & Luba have been lost to the great battery dump in the sky*... (*ground)."
• Review: "Any new work from Norwegian cartoonist Jason is worthy of a comics fan’s full attention, but the new, all-original short-story collection Athos in America is one of the best books of Jason’s career, which automatically makes it one of the best books of this year." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "...Joost Swarte... brought a nose-thumbing avant-garde sensibility to 'ligne claire' style Eurocomics in the ’70s and ’80s, even before he landed stories in the seminal art-comics anthology Raw. Is That All There Is? collects nearly 150 pages of Swarte’s most groundbreaking work... With his architectural sense of design and his punk-rock attitude, Swarte fused craft and nihilistic flippancy in stories about adventurers, harlots, musicians, and scientists, creating true 'modern art.'" – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "About all that was missing from Blake Bell’s 2010 Bill Everett biography Fire & Waterwas extended samples of Everett’s artist’s actual comics. Bell now remedies that by serving as editor on Amazing Mysteries: The Bill Everett Archives Vol. 1... These publications rode the superhero wave initiated by the companies that would later become DC and Marvel, and while they didn’t withstand the test of time, they’re still a kick to read, buoyed by their no-nonsense action plots and by Everett’s propensity for drawing narrow figures poised to commit acts of violence." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
• Review: "This collection is the ultimate love letter to all those 1960s kid comic books, but with a modern twist.... Each person is a well-defined character with strong flaws and backgrounds. With so much diversity, there is bound to be at least one character you will like.... If you are looking for a kid-friendly book with some charm, go ahead and pick [Yeah!] up." – Kevin Brown, City Book Review
• Profile:Steve Appleford of the Los Angeles Times (via a few of their suburban affiliates like the Glendale News Press) visits Tony Millionaire in his garage studio: "In his introduction to 500 Portraits, Millionaire writes that life experience has taught him that 85% of all people are 'bogus' or worse. In the garage, he describes himself as misanthropic, but admits his drawings often suggest otherwise. 'As it turns out, you can tell by looking at these portraits, I obviously love people — even the [jerks]. Hitler's done very lovingly,' he says. 'I think it's nice to have the juxtaposition of my disgust for humanity mixed with my obvious love for humanity. You can't draw like that if you really hate something.'"
• Profile: The Ottawa Citizen's Bruce Deachman catches up with Dave Cooper: "'There are different facets of my creative mind,' he says. 'I feel I need a lot of contrast, so I have all these things happening, but they’re all necessary to make me feel satisfied. It’s got to be this big pot happening, with everything boiling at once. It’s therapy for me,' he adds. 'I don’t see ever wanting to retire from the thing that I love to death.'" There's a short video, too, which Dave has posted on his blog
• Plug:Robot 6's Brigid Alverson is partway through Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals: "Woodring’s art has a real solidity to it and like the best surrealists, he creates unreal shapes and figures that seem real—he has figured out how to make new bodily orifices that mimic the old and yet are totally different. Like visions in a dream, they are convincing and false at the same time."
"Jason teams up with Fabien Vehlmann to craft a dark comedy about someone following a mysterious map in a bottle to and island where something strange is happening. The premise itself is a spoiler, as it’s a laugh-out-loud moment when the reader finds out what is going on. Jason’s work is as stellar as ever, just with a lot more dialogue this time around."
"Safe Area Goražde wasn’t a new book in 2011, but the special edition it got last year was enough to earn it a spot on this list. Joe Sacco reigns as the preeminent comics journalist, and Safe Area Goražde is another great reason why."
• Paris, France: Joost Swarte debuts an art show at the Bienvenue à la Galerie Martel, and will be in attendance signing copies of Is That All There Is? (or as it is known in France, Total Swarte). More information about this event is coming to the FLOG soon!
Saturday, March 10th
• Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates the legacy of local arts activist Cathy Hillenbrand with “Real Comet Press: A Retrospective.” This exhibition features art, graphics and book works by regional artists nurtured by Real Comet Press including Lynda Barry, Michael Dougan, Art Chantry, and Ruth Hayes, among others. A limited number of out-of-print Real Comet Press titles will be available for sale (including the iconic Lynda Barry poster “Poodle with a Mohawk”). (more info)
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