Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
In the spirit of the Halloween season, Fantagraphics has compiled a weeklong sale on more than 25 of its horror titles discounted from 25 percent to 30 percent.
As with all of the Fantagraphics holdings, it’s an eclectic mix with a variety of gems for folks to consider. Consider the Jacob Covey-curated Beasts! Book 1, with work from more than 80 artists. As ROBOT 6’s Michael May noted in his 2010 review, “He [Covey] didn’t edit the book; he curated it like a museum exhibition. The book’s Introduction further reinforces that notion. It reads like a program, with a definition of cryptozoology and notes about the artists, the creatures they selected, and the approach the curator took in putting the collection together. It also shares interesting facts, points out easily missed elements of the book’s design, and even suggests the best way for ‘the enthusiastic reader’ to experience what’s to come. In other words, it’s not only a program; it’s a tour guide.”
Ahead of this weekend’s Small Press Expo, Fantagraphics has launched of a micro imprint devoted to publishing limited editions of quirky or “off-kilter” books by established creators and relative unknowns, as well as archival work by significant cartoonist, that might not fare as well in the traditional marketplace.
In the words of the press release, Fantagraphics Underground Press (aka FU Press) will release limited runs of between 100 to 500 copies that appeal “to a smaller, more rarefied readership.” The books and print projects will be sold at comics festivals and at select stores in North America.
FU Press will debut Saturday at SPX with Jonah Kinigstein’s The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Tower of Babel in the “Art” World, an 80-page oversized collection of political cartoons, and a 144-page compilation of Jason Karns’ Fukitor.
Future projects include portfolios by Richard Sala and Guy Colwell, and a reprint of George Metzger’s Beyond Time and Again.
Read the full press release below:
Although Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.
That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.
“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”
Sacred Heart is set in a small town where all the adults have mysteriously disappeared and the teenagers rule. The situation is not total anarchy, and that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting — order has broken down in some ways but not in others. It’s been running online for a number of years, but Suburbia is completely redrawing the comic and Fantagraphics will publish it in a single volume— although the cartoonist says there will be more to come.
ROBOT 6 spoke with Suburbia about Sacred Heart and how it has evolved so far.
Brigid Alverson: Sacred Heart is about a town that seems to be full of high-school kids but no adults or younger children. Can you give us an idea about what’s going on?
In the first draft (the one that’s online) it’s kind of a secret, but in the final print version it’s more clear that their parents left almost four years ago and promised to return in about four years’ time.
The Mary Sue landed the exclusive that First Second will publish Lucy Knisley’s Something New, a graphic novel about the cartoonist’s wedding. She’s a bit in front of things this time, as the wedding is still three months away, but it sounds like Knisley is going to make it interesting:
Lest you mistake Eleanor Davis‘ new collection How to be Happy for a self-help book, she spells out everything in the opening pages. It won’t help a depressed person become less depressed, but Davis does recommend two books that benefited her — a situation we briefly discussed.
I’ve long had an affinity for the Athens, Georgia-based storyteller, whom I first interviewed in 2011. That affection is partly because we live in the same state, but also because her work often strikes me as the comics equivalent of an interpretive dance. I have no other way to describe the core response that her work elicits from me. I look repeatedly at some of the pages in this collection and still find something new each time.
Book Expo America is the annual trade show where publishers promote their upcoming books to retailers and librarians. BEA is all about books, but comics and graphic novels are a growing presence. Diamond had a dedicated area, as it has in previous years, several comics publishers had their own booths, and several of the big publishers featured graphic novels alongside their other titles, most notably Hachette, which gave quite a bit of space to Yen Press.
I spent Friday at the show looking at which books the publishers were drawing the most attention to. Here’s a very subjective account of what I saw.
Kid stuff! Children’s and YA graphic novels have been hot for a couple of years, and the news that Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters is getting a 200,000 copy initial print run got a lot of buzz. Of course, the BEA crowd has been on board with her work for a while, and they lined up in droves for her book signing. The same was true of Jeff Kinney, who was signing copies of The Wimpy Kid School Planner at the Abrams booth; the crowd just kept on coming. And the staff at the BOOM! Studios table were hustling as attendees grabbed copies of their Adventure Time and Bravest Warrior collections as well as their third original Peanuts graphic novel, Peanuts: The Beagle Has Landed, which takes Snoopy to the moon.
I can’t think of a better way to close out the day than with an adaptation of the Spike Lee-directed 1990 Levi’s commercial featuring a young Rob Liefeld, as drawn by Ed Piskor … channeling Rob Liefeld.
It’s an excerpt from Hip Hop Family Tree Vols. 1-2: 1975-1983 Box Set, which collects the first two volumes of Piskor’s bestselling chronicle of the history of hip hop, originally serialized on BoingBoing. It’s due in November from Fantagraphics, which describes it as “the ’90s-est.” You don’t get much more ’90s than that Levi’s commercial.
Check out the full strip at BoingBoing, and watch the original TV ad below.
Described in the press release as “Sex and the City but with adorable, ex-wrestler hairy gay men,” the series follows the adventures of Oaf, a former wrestler and multiple cat owner who falls for Eiffel, the lead singer of a black metal band called Ejaculoid. With five issues published so far (in addition to various minis) Wuvable Oaf has been compared to Love and Rockets and Scott Pilgrim.
The book, collecting Wuvable Oaf #0-4, will cost $29.99 and be available in March 2015.
Wanting to learn more about the collection and Luce’s work in general, I chatted with with the artist over a Google doc the other evening about Oaf, how he got into comics, his background as a painter, and the perils of being stereotyped.
Chris Mautner: Give me a little bit of your background. How old are you, where are you from and how did you first become interested in making comics?
Ed Luce: I’m 38, so I kind of came to comics a little later than most. I spent the better part of 12 years painting and drawing in a more fine arts context. I was also a college art professor during that time.
Fantagraphics has unveiled the Hip Hop Family Tree Vols. 1-2: 1975-1983 Box Set, complete with two new covers by creator Ed Piskor (one side of the slipcase pays homage to EC Comics, the other to 1960s DC).
And if that weren’t enough, it comes with the exclusive bonus Hip Hop Family Tree #300 “Milestone, Variant, Limited, Ashcan Edition!” In the words of the publisher, “Foil-stamped cover! Rob Liefeld! It’s the ’90s-est.”
On sale in November for $59.99, the box set collects the first two volumes of Piskor’s bestselling chronicle of the history of hip hop, originally serialized on BoingBoing.
The first 112-page volume covers 1975 to 1981, with appearances from the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Russell Simmons, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring. The second volume moves on to ’82-’83, with Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Beastie Boys and more.
What if you woke up one morning and completely forgot how to do your job? That would be bad, especially if your job is butchering animals. Courtesy of our friends at Fantagraphics, we’re pleased to share a preview of The Amateurs, the debut graphic novella by Conor Stechschulte. I should warn you that the preview is NSFW, as it’s a bit gruesome.
In honor of the 10th issue of Intruder, a quarterly comics paper available for free around Seattle, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will host an art exhibit featuring the work of Intruder contributors.
The exhibit will kick off with an opening this Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m., where comic books, graphic novels and zines by the individual creators will be available for purchase. In addition, Lori Goldston, the cellist who played with Nirvana in their famous Nirvana: Unplugged performance, and Kyle Hanson will provide “atmospheric music” during the party. The event is free to the public with adult beverages supplied by Seattle’s Hilliard’s Beer.
To mark the digital debut of Peter Bagge’s Hate and Dame Darcy’s Meat Cake, Fantagraphics Books and comiXology are offering the first issues of both series for free for a limited time.
First published in 1990, Hate chronicles the life of Bagge’s longtime protagonist Buddy Bradley, a malcontent who comes of age in the Seattle grunge scene before moving back to suburban New Jersey and his dysfunctional family. One of the bestselling alternative comics of the ’90s, Hate ran for 30 issues; Bagge resurrected the title in 2000 for a series of Hate Annuals. A Hate follow-up, Buddy Buys a Dump, is planned for release in June.
Published by Fantagraphics since 1993, Darcy’s Meat Cake delves into a neo-Victorian world of humor, romance and frequently tragic fairy tales featuring such characters as Effluvia the Mermaid, the roguish roué Wax Wolf, Igpay the Pig-Latin pig and Stregapez, who speaks by dispensing Pez-like tablets through a hole in her throat.
“Debuting Hate and Meat Cake digitally on comiXology marks a new era for these historic Fantagraphics titles,” Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds said in a statement. “Although the trade paperbacks collecting these works are perennial classics, this marks the first time that the single issues of these generation-defining classics have been widely available in well over a decade. Now with comiXology’s help, readers around the world will be able to experience them anew and discover just what makes these books so timelessly great.”
Emerald City Comicon may not come with the metric ton of announcements that Comic-Con International does, but in a way it’s all the better for it. Comics still feel as if they’re front and center just where I like them, and the announcements have more charm because they aren’t screaming to be heard over the din of film and television rollouts.
One year, I’ll get up to Seattle to experience the event firsthand, but in the meantime, I get to absorb all the news and photos like everyone else, as they’re posted online. ECCC even streamed all of its panels on flipon.tv. Anything that happened in Room 301 is free for anyone to watch. Everything else can be purchased with a full archive pass for $14.95. Or if, you don’t want to sit through hours of panel footage, there’s CBR’s coverage or, heck, try Google or something.
A number of announcements jumped out as particularly noteworthy, so let’s run through The 6 Best Things from ECCC. And from my count, Dark Horse won Emerald City. Your miles may vary though, so post your favorites in the comments.
Normally, when we talk about art – which, of course, is different from mere entertainment – we like to phrase it in rarefied terms. We tend to want our art to focus on the examination or discussion of high-minded ideals like truth, beauty, justice, wisdom, or the existence of a sentient spiritual being and subsequent afterlife. Stuff like that. We want our movies, music and books to be concerned with the ethereal world, and not so much with the physical one, especially unpleasant or embarrassing tasks like defecating or sexual congress. Being reminded that only a thin layer of skin holds in all those slimy organs, blood and other icky stuff keeps us from musing on what special snowflakes we all are (not to mention the horror of our own eventual death).
When we do acknowledge that stuff, it tends to be in the form of “low” comedy or horror films, where jokes about going to the bathroom, violence, lustful urges and other aspects of our daily physical lives that make us uncomfortable, can be digested more easily because we often exhibit it in as loud and gross a manner as possible.
But delving knee-deep into viscera and body fluids doesn’t ipso facto mean you have to forego subtlety, nuance or poetry. Take Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit series for example.