Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
I’d imagine Mad magazine artist Jack Davis isn’t the first thing you think of when Valentine’s Day rolls around. But in ’50s and ’60s, he produced a stunning set of Valentine’s Day cards that would make Hallmark blush. And now comics publisher Fantagraphics is honoring those with a holiday-timed exhibition featuring Davis’ work along with other artists inspired by it.
Set to kick off Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, the exhibition will include works by Peter Bagge, Johnny Ryan, Jim Woodring, Matthew Southworth and others. Davis himself will appear live via Skype at 6:30 p.m. Saturday from his home in Georgia. The exhibit itself is set to run through March 7, so even if you miss opening night you have a chance to see this unique collection of heart-themed art.
So if you’re Seattle-based and looking for something special for your loved one, consider swinging by Fanta’s bookstore. While you’re there, the surrounding district is hosting a number of visual and performing arts presentations as part of Georgetown Art Attack.
Awards | The gold medal for Best Graphic Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival went to Guy Delisle for Jerusalem, and the jury awarded a Special Prize to Jim Woodring for his Congress of the Animals. Veteran French creator Jean-Claude Denis was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, so he will preside over next year’s festival, as Art Spiegelman did this year. Two manga won awards as well: Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story won the Intergenerational Award, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical A Drifting Life received the World Outlook Award. The Heritage Award went to Glenat’s edition of Carl Barks’ Donald Duck. [Paris Match]
Bad as things can get, there is solace to be found in the fact that we do not live in the cold-blooded realm of the swiftly mutating amphibian.
—Master cartoonist Jim Woodring (Weathercraft, Congress of the Animals, The Frank Book) looks on the bright side. And indeed, in a time when influential comics creators are tearing the internet apart with every digitized utterance, it’s nice to find something on which we can all agree. I would prefer not to be a frog-man getting trampled to death by a frog-horse — I am the 99 percent.
This aphorism and the accompanying image above were posted to Woodring’s blog under the title “NIGHTMARISH SKETCH,” and who are we to argue about that characterization?
He’s debuted stunning, moving original graphic novels two years in a row (Weathercraft, one of the year’s best books, in 2010, and The Congress of the Animals this year), while his compendium The Frank Book has recently returned to print. But Jim Woodring is not one to rest on his laurels where his funny-animal protagonist Frank is concerned. Lately he’s been posting breathtaking images like the one you see above to his blog on a surprisingly regular basis. They appear to show Frank up to his old mischievous tricks, and to augur another Frank book on the horizon. Check them out here and here, and marvel that a cartoonist of Woodring’s caliber is tossing these things out there for free like it ain’t no thing.
SPX, or the Small Press Expo, returns to the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Md. this weekend.
The show’s special guests include Roz Chast, Jim Woodring, Diane Noomin, Jim Rugg, Ann Telnaes, Chester Brown, Johnny Ryan, Craig Thompson and Matthew Thurber, and fans who attend will also have the opportunity to meet and/or hear from Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen, Jessica Abel, Sarah Glidden, Alex Robinson, Brian Ralph, Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz, just to name a few. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that our own Chris Mautner will be attending and conducting a Q&A with Johnny Ryan on Saturday, so be sure to tell him hi for us.
Cartoonist Hans Rickheit is a busy man. He’s maintaining not one but two ongoing webcomics, Ectopiary and Cochlea & Eustachia, both of which are much beloved here at Robot 6. And in a few short weeks’ time he’ll be launching an art show alongside Colin Panetta and Mark Velard at the Greenfield Art Salon in Greenfield, Massachusetts, starting on Aug. 5. How does he keep going? Well, I’d imagine effusive praise from one of the greatest living cartoonists might help — and that’s precisely what Rickheit got in the above letter from Frank creator and Congress of the Animals author Jim Woodring. Woodring, an intrepid chronicler of the underbrain in his own right, clearly recognized a kindred spirit in Rickheit when the younger cartoonist sent him a copy of his elaborate and powerful Fantagraphics graphic novel The Squirrel Machine. If I got a letter half as kind and complimentary from one of my idols, I’d dine out on it for months, man.
Retailing | Although the 14th volume of The Walking Dead wasn’t released until June 21, it still managed to secure the No. 2 spot on BookScan’s list of graphic novels sold in bookstores that month, behind the 51st volume of Naruto. It’s the ninth consecutive month that at least one volume of the horror series has appeared in the BookScan Top 20, a run that began as marketing geared up for the AMC television adaptation. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Darwyn Cooke has announced that the release of Parker: The Martini Edition will be postponed for a few months, and takes full responsibility for the delay. The book is now scheduled to debut at the Long Beach Comic Con in October [Almost Darwyn Cooke’s Blog]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller looks at the history of comics numbering, which he traces back to dime novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries: “Comics are anomalous in American magazine publishing because most comics don’t use volume numbers and issue numbers that roll over ever year; rather, the numbers keep on going. In that, our numbering is much like that used for the cheap, disposable fiction of the earlier days.” [The Comichron]
Broadway | Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the retooled $75 million Broadway musical, took in $1.7 million for the week ending this past Sunday, which is above the $1.2 million the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable. The amount made it the No. 3 musical for the week, after Wicked and The Lion King. [Associated Press]
Legal | Robert Corn-Revere, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s general counsel, discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. EMA, which sought to ban the sale of violent video games to minors. He notes that the court drew upon the history of comic book censorship in reaching its conclusion to reject the ban: “Citing the amicus brief filed by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, it noted the crusade against comics led by Dr. Frederic Wertham and observed that it was inconsistent with our constitutional traditions. The Court traced the history of censorship that targeted various media directed toward the young and held that restricting depictions of violence could not be justified under established principles of First Amendment law.” [CBLDF]
Although I stopped watching the show on a regular basis a few seasons back, I try not to miss the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode every year that for some reason is typically shown the Sunday after Halloween. I also try not to miss Bongo’s Treehouse of Horror comic special, which seems to go out of its way every year to recruit an interesting array of contributors. The last couple of years have featured everyone from cat and transforming robot cartoonist Jeffrey Brown to Lemmy of Motorhead.
This year is no different, as it features stories by Go-Go/Lady Robotika‘s Jane Wiedlin, Zander Cannon and Gene Ha of Top Ten fame and indie artist Jim Woodring. I’ll be sure to add this to my buy list when it comes out Sept. 28.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15:
I’d surround myself with good-humored, good-natured comics. Sometimes you just gotta do that. My stack would include Veronica #207 ($2.99), which launches the new Kevin Keller miniseries; Donald Duck #367 ($3.99), with a rework of a classic Carl Barks story; Space Warped ($3.99), kaboom’s new Star Wars parody comic (I probably won’t get half the jokes, but it looks like it’s worth checking out); and Love and Capes Ever After #5 ($3.99), just because Love and Capes is such a charming comic. I may be poor, but at least I’ll be happy.
Finalists and winners are selected by panels of three judges composed of published authors who specialize in each genre or category. The winners will be presented April 29 in a ceremony at the Chandler Auditorium in Los Angeles as a prelude to the 16th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
The finalists in the graphic novel category are:
• Adam Hines, Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One (AdHouse Books)
• Dash Shaw, Bodyworld (Pantheon)
• Karl Stevens, The Lodger (KSA Publishing)
• C. Tyler, You’ll Never Know, Book Two: Collateral Damage (Fantagraphics)
• Jim Woodring, Weathercraft (Fantagraphics)
For the full list of finalists in all categories, visit the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes website.
Renowned cartoonist and illustrator Jim Woodring is working on an auspicious project and he needs your help.
Woodring is constructing a giant steel pen and penholder in order to learn and demonstrate this piece of ancient technology through a series of performances. If he reaches his $4,500 goal, he will construct this pen and actually learn to use it for a series of public performances where he will ink large graphic drawings on 3′ x 5′ sheets of Bristol board. For more information, visit this website.
Good Lord, I sort of wish I hadn’t seen Vacon Sartirani’s “Mickey Mouse Against the Worms,” a monstrous mash-up of Mickey, Minnie, and gelatinous creatures out of Jim Woodring/H.P. Lovecraft/Stephen King’s “The Mist.” According to Sartirani, the piece is something of a racial allegory, which if my rudimentary Italian is any indication only makes it more troubling. You can check out the English translation at the link, provided you don’t much value your sanity and soul. And you can see more of Sartirani’s work at his website.
by Daniel Clowes
Drawn and Quarterly, 80 pages, $21.95
by Jim Woodring
Fantagraphics Books, 104 pages, $19.99
Here we have two of the more notable and anticipated graphic novel releases of this year. Though at first glance the two don’t seem to have much in common, they do have some similarities. Both come from artists who came to help define the alt-comix movement in the late 1980s and ’90s and their work during that period was seen by many as sterling examples of the sort of Art with a capital A that the medium was capable of producing. Both have also laid relatively low in recent years, pursing projects in other mediums like film, illustration, performance art and toy-making, occasionally returning to comics through the side door (Woodring in the pages of Mome, Clowes with his Mister Wonderful serial in the New York Times). And, while it doesn’t have nearly as much significance as some would like to think it has, this also marks the first time both authors have attempted to publish their work in the “done in one” graphic novel book format rather than serialize it over a lengthy period of time in the more traditional pamphlet format (indeed, this is likely the longest story Woodring has done yet).
Both also begin with the letter W.
His latest book Weathercraft just came out last week, but already Frank cartoonist Jim Woodring’s next graphic novel is making me deeply uncomfortable. Woodring is showing off images from and inspired by his forthcoming The Congress of the Animals on his own blog and over at the Fantagraphics blog, and they’re among the creepiest things I’ve ever seen him do. And if you’ve read the excellent Weathercraft, an early contender for book of the year, you know that’s pretty damn creepy.