Cartoonist, animator and story teller Dash Shaw's animated music video for band Sigur Ros entitled "Seraph" will be shown at next year's Sundance Film Festival. This six and half minute film will appear in the animated short section of the festival. For those of you not attending, feel free to watch it here from home in your jam-jams.
If you are one of the fortunate thousands who enjoy untangling the enigmatic images that fill Jim Woodring's comics and drawings, Problematic is just the book for you to put under your pillow and dream on.
Woodring is a devotee of the pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook and has filled at least one per month since 2004. Quick concept sketches, figure studies, self-challenges, finished drawings, revenge portraits and caricatures, scene tryouts... everything goes into these idea batteries.
Problematic provides the adventurous viewer with a bounty of unfiltered, hand-captured glimpses of life by an artist that Publishers Weekly called "a modern master of hallucinatory cartoon fables." Lots of this material re-emerges in the form of pictures and storylines but much of it is just too baffling to be harnessed for any practical use. Of course, these untamable notions are the best and most interesting ones; and there are plenty of them here in the 300-page brick of Problematic.
Problematic is a rollicking amalgam of reportage (i.e. the man who blew his arm off), speculative anatomy, fancy women, make-a-face games, picture-puzzles, gags, riffs and burlesques. Catalogue and exhibition simultaneously, Problematic is your best bet for a brief, energizing stroll in a distinctively enjoyable neighborhood.
"When most people try to employ dream logic in their work they fail miserably but Jim [Woodring] is great at it. The closest thing to a peer he might have is David Lynch but even that's a stretch. Jim Woodring is the only Jim Woodring and no one has done what he does except for him." – Nicholas Gazin, Vice
A guided video tour of the book with Jim Woodring:
In a cheeky cameo, cartoonist Rich Tommaso magically appears next to FOX news reporter Denise Dillon when she grabs a copy of The Cavalier Mr. Thompson off the bookshelf. Tommaso has a better chance "of writing a NY Times Best Seller than winning the Powerball," currently at $500,000,000. While we distribute Tommaso's lastest graphic novel and have published a few NY TimesBest Sellers, we cannot guarantee that a photogenic creator will appear next to you the next time you thumb through their work in a public space. But be warned: they might.
7 Miles a Second is the story of legendary artist David Wojnarowicz, written during the last years before his AIDS-related death in 1992. Artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook unsentimentally depict Wojnarowicz's childhood of hustling on the streets of Manhattan, through his adulthood living with AIDS, and his anger at the indifference of government and health agencies. A primal scream of a graphic novel, 7 Miles a Second blends the stark reality of Lower East Side street life with a psychedelic delirium that artfully conveys Wojnarowicz's sense of rage, urgency, mortality and a refusal to be silent.
Originally published as a comic book in 1996 by DC's Vertigo Comics, 7 Miles a Second was an instant critical success and has become a cult classic amongst fans of literary and art comics, just as Wojnarowicz's influence and reputation have widened in the larger art world. This new edition finally presents the artwork as it was intended: oversized, and with Van Cook's elegant watercolors restored. It also includes several new pages created for this edition.
"Revolutionary.... a runaway, over-the-top circus... An excursion into areas few, if any, comics creators have tread." – Jim Steranko
"Seven Miles a Second veers between an almost unbearably gritty naturalism and the incendiary heat of surrealist hallucination." – The New Yorker
"A revelatory work of art." – Art in America
"A cult classic... both a celebration of the unlimited potential of the comic book form, and a perfect melding of inspiring, iconoclastic imaginations." – Jim Jarmusch
The setting: A boys' boarding school in Germany, sometime in the mid-20th Century. One winter day, fourteen year-old Thomas Werner falls from a lonely pedestrian overpass to his death, immediately after sending a single, brief letter to another boy at the school:
To Juli, one last time. This is my love. This is the sound of my heart. Surely you must understand.
Thus begins Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas — one of the most compelling and enigmatic manga graphic novels ever created, and a pioneer in the popular boys'-romance "shounen-ai" genre. Thomas's death (was it an accident? Suicide? Or even murder?) immediately throws the school into turmoil, while his letter sets off a chain of emotional upheaval both for the recipient and an ever-expanding circle of friends, family, and teachers, as secrets are revealed and shared. And then a new boy who looks exactly like Thomas shows up at school…
Unabashedly romantic and emotionally complex, The Heart of Thomas features an unusual, richly imagined setting and a cast of memorable characters. This timeless masterpiece is now finally available to American readers.
Joe Kubert sealed his reputation as one of the greatest American comicbook cartoonists of all time with the four-color adventures of Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, Enemy Ace, and Tarzan, all done for DC Comics during the 1960s and 1970s (themselves already the subject of archival editions)... but he had been working in comics since the 1940s. In fact, young Kubert produced an exciting, significant body of work as a freelance artist for a variety of comic book publishers in the postwar era, in a glorious variety of non-super hero genres: horror, crime, science fiction, western, romance, humor, and more.
For the first time, 33 of the best of these stories have been collected in one full-color volume, with a special emphasis on horror and crime. The Kubert work in this book is that of a burgeoning talent attacking the work with tremendous panache, and in the process, developing a style that became one of the most distinctive in the medium.
Since these stories were written and drawn in the pre-Comics Code era, they are more thrilling, violent and sexy (by contemporary standards) than much of his later, Code-constrained work. And just the titles of the comic books from which these stories are taken are wonderfully evocative of a bygone era of four-color fun: Cowpuncher, Abbott and Costello Comics, Three Stooges, Eerie, Planet Comics, Meet Miss Pepper, Strange Terrors, Green Hornet Comics, Whack, Jesse James, Out of This World, Crime Does Not Pay, Weird Thrillers, Police Lineup, and Hollywood Confessions.
As with Fantagraphics’ acclaimed Steve Ditko and Bill Everett Archives series, Weird Horrors and Daring Adventures boasts state-of-the-art restoration and retouching, and an extensive set of historical notes and an essay by the book’s editor Bill Schelly, author of the Art of Joe Kubert art book and Man of Rock Kubert biography.
Uncle Jim takes you on a narrated tour through his upcoming book Problematic: Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2012 (due next month) and shows off a few of the original Moleskine notebooks from which the drawings in the book were taken, describing it all in his inimitable style. Hey, this means I don't have to shoot the usual preview video of the book — although in a bit of a switcheroo, Jim has loaned us 4 of his sketchbooks for us to shoot and upload video of those (they're just sitting around in my living room right now, no big deal, PLOTZ), so stay tuned for that!
Jack Jackson loved American history and creating comics. He combined these into a single vocation and created a legacy of historical graphic novels that has never been equaled.
Jackson is credited with creating what many consider the first underground comic, God Nose, in 1964. He co-founded Rip-Off Press in 1969, and made some of the most scathing satirical comics about contemporary America ever seen. But, Jackson was a Texan, and in the 1970s he returned to his roots and began writing and drawing short historical comics about Texas history. He then went on to produce six graphic novels chronicling 19th century Western history focusing on his beloved Texas and the Plains Indians. Fantagraphics, which published Los Tejanos originally in 1981, is proud to bring his graphic histories back into print in a series of three volumes, each reprinting two of his long narratives.
The first volume features Los Tejanos, which Fantagraphics published as a solo book in 1981, and Lost Cause (1998) — chronicling Texas history before and after the Civil War.
Los Tejanos is the story of the Texas-Mexican conflict between 1835 and 1875 as seen through the eyes of tejano (literally Texan of Mexican, as distinct from anglo, heritage) Juan Seguín. It is through Seguín, a pivotal and tragic figure, that Jackson humanizes Texas’ fight for independence and provides a human scale for this vast and complex story.
Lost Cause documents the violent reaction to Reconstruction by Texans. As Jackson wrote, “Texas reaped a bitter harvest from the War Between the States. Part of this dark legacy was the great unrest that plagued the beaten but unbowed populace.” The tensions caused by Reconstruction are told through the Taylor-Sutton feud, which raged across South Texas, embracing two generations and causing untold grief, and the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, who swept across Texas killing Carpetbaggers, Federal soldiers, and Indians.
Jackson’s work is as known for its rigorous research — he became as good an historian as he was a cartoonist — as well as its chiseled, raw-boned visual approach, reproducing the time and place with an uncanny verisimilitude.
This edition includes an essay by and interview with Jackson about the controversy Lost Cause generated, and an introduction by the novelist Ron Hansen.
It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments. Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.
Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism — and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.
Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably "The New," a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. "The New" is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.
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