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.
I came to shop.
Seriously, I was just about as excited for this past weekend’s MoCCA festival as I’ve ever been for any comic convention. And it wasn’t because of the guests or the panels or even getting to see so many of my friends and colleagues — it was because of the comics. The best thing about a small-press show is your ability to dig into the tables and come away with enough treasures to keep you reading happily for weeks. Proceeding from the top left of the picture above in as logical a fashion as I can manage, here’s a rundown of my personal treasure trove…
Jim and Frank creator Jim Woodring, comics’ master of dark psychedelia, has posted a selection of drawings from his moleskine notebook to his blog, and they are pretty much mindshattering. I seriously don’t even know where to begin, other than to say that the images above may be the least strange in the batch.
If that’s not enough, you can always take a look at our exclusive preview of Woodring’s upcoming graphic novel Weathercraft, which hits this spring from Fantagraphics.
Here’s another one I was excited to receive this week, a preview of Jim Woodring’s first full-length graphic novel, Weathercraft, due in April from Fantagraphics. You can a few more details on the book provided by the publisher and see more pages after the jump.