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Video of the day: Matt Groening and Lynda Barry

Groening and Barry recite a rather amusing Life in Hell cartoon in this clip (via Mike Lynch).

Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: A publishing news round-up

Sample Nancy strip

Sample Nancy strip

• Eric Reynolds has posted the official press release regarding Fantagraphics plans to publish Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy:

According to Co-Publisher Gary Groth, who inked the deal, Fantagraphics has contracted to publish the first 24 years of Nancy dailies, beginning in 1938 (when Nancy took over the strip from its former star, Fritzi Ritz) through 1961. “If the demand is there,” Groth noted, “we will of course want to continue into the 1960s and beyond, if for no other reason than to run all those great ‘hippie’ Nancy episodes. But we’ll cross that bridge in 2016 when we finish publishing the books we’ve contracted for.”

Kim Thompson will be editing the series. Each volume will contain four years worth of dallies and be designed by Jacob Covey. The books will be 8″ x 8″ in flexibound format and retail for $29.99. Daniel Clowes will pen the introduction to the first volume. There’s lots more info to discover in the link, including the news that Fanta will print an expanded version of Mark Newgarden and Paul Karasik’s seminal 1988 essay, “How to Read Nancy” next spring.

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Talking Comics with Tim: Nate Powell

Swallow Me Whole

Swallow Me Whole

Nate Powell‘s Swallow Me Whole is a graphic novel that demands and warrants repeated readings. Released by Top Shelf last year, the publisher describes it as “a love story carried by rolling fog, terminal illness, hallucination, apophenia, insect armies, secrets held, unshakeable faith, and the search for a master pattern to make sense of one’s unraveling.” My thanks to Powell for this email interview and his level of candor.

Tim O’Shea: What motivated you to start self-publishing mini-comics at the age of 14?

Nate Powell: Well, I’d been drawing comics with a few friends for a couple of years already. We had many issues of a comic series mapped out, and a friend’s uncle suggested that we finish up each issue and self-publish it. We didn’t really know what that entailed, but soon discovered a few neglected copy machines around town and in my dad’s office. We made 100 copies of the first comic, and they all sold in about two months; we’d never anticipated recovering our expenses, or anyone actually BUYING the books, to be honest. We just wanted to have a comic too, and found the most accessible way to make them. At this time I was already into the punk subculture and had been exposed to people who made zines and released records in much the same manner, but it was not until a few years later when I started writing zines and putting out records that I saw the inherent connections between these two realms of DIY entrepreneurship.

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Talking Comics with Tim: Esther Pearl Watson

Unlovable Vol. 1

Unlovable Vol. 1

Esther Pearl Watson‘s Unlovable Vol. 1 features an artistic style that reminds me of Lynda Barry. Clearly I’m not the first to see the similarity (and in fact Barry offers words of praise for the book). As described by Fantagraphics: “Loosely based on a teenager’s diary from the 1980s found in a gas-station bathroom, Unlovable details the sometimes ordinary, sometimes humiliating, often poignant and frequently hilarious exploits of underdog Tammy Pierce … In the epic saga that is Unlovable, Tammy finds herself dealing with: tampons, teasing, crushes, The Smiths, tube socks, facial hair, lice, celibacy, fantasy dream proms, gym showers, skid marks, a secret admirer, prank calls, backstabbers, winter ball, barfing, narcs, breakdancing, hot wheels, glamour shots, roller coasters, Halloween costumes, boogers, boys, boy crazy feelings, biker babes, and even some butt cracks. Tammy’s life isn’t pretty, but it is endlessly charming and hilarious.

Originally (and still) serialized in Bust magazine, Unlovable includes over 100 new pages created just for this edition, which is handsomely packaged in a unique hot pink hardcover format with sparkly blue glitter that would make Tammy proud.”

One great thing I learned in this interview is that this is only the first volume of Unlovable. Next year on Valentine’s Day will mark the release of the second volume. Volume 1 covers from fall of 1988 to 1989 and Volume 2 is set in 1989. Be sure to visit the book’s page on Fantagraphics, for another of its great Flickr videos, allowing one to “flip” through the book virtually. And in a literal sense, Fantagraphics has a 20-page preview of the 416-page Volume 1.

Tim O’Shea: I have to know–”I walked around with a red lollipop stuck to my butt”–was that a direct quote from the found diary that inspired Unlovable or a total (incredibly hilarious) creation of your mind?

Esther Pearl Watson: Well…I made that up.

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