If you were to list the five most important cartoonists in the history of comics, the chances are good Robert Crumb would be on the list. If you were to list the five most important editor/publishers in the history of comics, the chances are good Gary Groth of Fantagraphics would be on that list. For a lot of people, they’d each be at the top. So if you are a comics reader and you can think of a better way to spend your afternoon than reading a 13,000 word interview with Crumb by Groth for The Comics Journal, then please, become my personal planner, because your life must be freaking awesome.
Creators | With the announcement that Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios is back in business, former Extreme Studios employee and current Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson reflects on his time with the studio. “From 1992-1998, Extreme Studios was more or less my life. Youngblood, Supreme, Brigade, Bloodstrike, Team Youngblood, New Men, Prophet, Youngblood: Strikefile, Bloodpool, Glory… We put out a lot of comics, and for the most part everyone involved was incredibly young. Rob and I were amongst the oldest at 25. So many of the artists involved in various aspects of production were just out of their teens, and that made the work as frustrating as it was fun. But looking back, the main thing I remember about that time is Rob wanted to share his success with people who loved comics and wanted to make a living in the business as much as he had.” [It Sparkles!]
Webcomics | A Distant Soil creator Colleen Doran, who began serializing the comic online in 2009, notes “my bottom line is up significantly, and my online audience is ten times higher than when I started the five day a week online serialization of A Distant Soil 2.5 years ago.” She also shares advice she received when she started the endeavor that hasn’t worked for her. [A Distant Soil]
Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]
Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]
Creators | Robert Crumb has decided not to attend Graphic 2011, an arts festival scheduled for Aug. 20-21 at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Crumb told The Australian he withdrew from his headline appearance because of an article in the Australian newspaper The Telegraph that called him “a self-confessed sex pervert.”
“It’s a very, very disappointing situation,” Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “There were a legion of people eagerly anticipating his visit and the Graphic team and Sydney Opera House had been working for months to pull together the shows he was involved with and to supply an enjoyable first visit to Australia for him. I sincerely doubt that he will ever make it to Australia now. It’s a very sad day, but I’m still excited and looking forward to the rest of the great shows happening at Graphic next weekend.” [The Australian]
Retailers | Birmingham, England comics shop Nostalgia and Comics was damaged during the riots of the past few days; no one was injured, but the windows were broken. [The Forbidden Planet blog]
As was revealed during today’s Fantagraphics panel at San Diego, the Seattle-based company plans to publish The Complete Zap Comix. The book, which will collect every issue of the seminal underground comics series to date, is tentatively scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012. It will be a hardbound, two-volume slipcase, similar to their collections of Harvey Kurtzman’s Humbug magazine and Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe series.
One of the most influential comics ever published, the first two issues of Zap were created entirely by Robert Crumb, who then invited other artists to contribute, including Spain Rodriguez, the late Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Victor Moscoso, Gilbert Shelton and Robert Williams. The series quickly not only catapulted Crumb and the other artists to stardom (or a relative stardom at any rate), it quickly became seen as one of the more prominent symbols of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, along with LSD, rock music and head shops (where issues were usually sold). While it was not the first underground comic, it was viewed by many both inside and outside the counterculture movement as the lodestone for the underground comics scene, and its existence and influence directly led to the development of the alternative comics scene in the 1980s and 1990s.
Fantagraphics was kind enough to share today’s revelation with Robot 6 prior to the start of the San Diego con, and we took the opportunity to talk to publisher Gary Groth about the project, its origins and the comic’s significance.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, the first pick this week would be the relaunched Dark Horse Presents #1 (Dark Horse, $7.99). As a reader of the title in all its previous incarnations, I have a love for the format but also a desire to see them improve on it; editor Mike Richardson seems to have the right mix of big names and up-and-comers to make this work. Second up would be DMZ #64 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99), and this issue is the final issue in the “Free States Rising” arc and the first real sit-down between Matty and Zee in ages. Third would be Rick Remender’s covert ops squad Uncanny X-Force #8 (Marvel, $3.99). At first glance I question why I like this so much, but when I think about it, it becomes easy: I enjoy Remender’s storytelling, the artists they’ve had and the fearless nature to dig up some classic concepts from early 90s X-Men comics and general Marvel U stuff.
If I found $30 in my pocket instead of $15, I’d double back and pick up a pair of Invincibles: Invincible #79 (Image, $2.99) and Invincible Iron Man #503 (Marvel, $3.99). I really enjoy what these two teams are doing: carving out long expanding story-arcs that can only happen with long-term teams like these two have been fortunate enough to have. Third would be Jason Aaron and Daniel Acuna’s Wolverine #8 (Marvel, $3.99); although Daniel Acuna is known as a more glossy artist akin to Ed McGuinness meets Alex Ross, I think he really bucks that with the story arc he’s working on here. Lastly would be Avengers #12 (Marvel, $3.99) -– it really blows my mind that Bendis and Romita can do such a throw-back classic Avengers story and still keep the high sales going. I’m not complaining -– I love these stories as much as I love Avengers comics of lore, but they never sold this well.
Courtesy of Comics Alliance comes this short video of that R. Crumb figurine I mentioned last week. And hey, it does come with a big-boned female fantasy figure! And Fritz the Cat too! How about that.
For the past eight years, Seattle-based artist Michael Leavitt has created a series of sculpted figures of famous artists and entertainers like Andy Warhol, David Byrne, David Lynch and so forth. Now he’s made one of comics legend and Bible adapter Robert Crumb:
This fully articulated wood-carved sculpture was commissioned by an out-of-state collector. Before it ships off to the private collection, the piece will be put on public display at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for one night only during the reception for Gahan Wilson on Saturday, February 13. If you can’t make it then, you can view Leavitt’s recent work, including collaborations with Fantagraphics friend Charles Krafft, at Stolen Space Gallery in London May 13 through May 30.
Click on the link to see another shot of the statue hawking his wares at a table. Large-bottomed Amazonian sexual fantasy figure is presumably not included.
Like a train eager to meet its next destination, What Are You Reading chugs along into the new year without ever once looking back. Our guest this week is the ridiculously prolific cartoonist, critic and blogger Shaenon Garrity (who can also be found here). In addition to her latest comic Skin Horse, you can read her regular reviews at The Comics Journal and she has a regular column over at Comixology.
But if you want to know what Shaenon’s reading this week, you’ll have to click on the link below.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
With everyone and their uncle sounding off about his new adaptation of the Book of Genesis, I thought it might be a good time to look at the work and career of Robert Crumb, and offer an introductory entryway for those who up till now have been hesitant to dip their toes in his water (so to speak).
Papercraft dolls seem to be all the rage these days, a supposition the great Toy-A-Day blog upholds by creating this great Mr. Natural papercraft doll that you can download as a .pdf and put together yourself. Can Devil Girl and Snoid dolls be far behind? (via)
Looking for a good snowboarding jacket? Want to wear something that shows your reverence for the underground comics movement? Or at least for Mr. Natural? Then behold: Burton has just the thing for you:
Check out the print by cartoonist Robert Crumb. A prominent figure in the 60s and 70s counter culture, Crumb is world-renowned for his subversive voice and controversial artwork. We’re only producing 500 pieces in this print, and shipping it in a black bag so you can look sketchy when taking it to the register. Beyond that, the Burton Restricted Dyer Jacket keeps riders like Mikey Rencz and Mark Sollors dry and warm when rooping around the British Columbian backcountry with the help of a hopped up DRYRIDE Durashell™ 2L fabric and strategically placed expedition weight Thermacore™ insulation.
I have no idea what that last sentence means, but I assume it translates as “keeps you warm.” The whole thing costs between $250-$270, depending on how much Thermacore you stuff it with I suppose (found via Mike Lynch).
The Book of Genesis Illustrated
by Robert Crumb
WW Norton, 224 pages $24.95.
It’s a pretty safe bet that whatever book you pictured in your feverish little brain when you heard the phrase “Robert Crumb adapts Genesis” will never match, or perhaps even compare to, the actual product. When surrounded by as much anticipation and hype as this book has been, (virtually every blogger on the block has declared this the de facto “book of the year,” or at least the “book they’re most looking forward to”) there is bound to be some disappointment.
That’s especially true if what you were expecting was anything more than the all-too-literal, note-for note interpretation that Crumb has ultimately produced (indeed, except for a phrase here and there, he seems to have left the sacred text intact). If you were hoping to see some sort of sly, satirical take on the Bible, sorry, but that’s not here. If you were expecting googly eyes and big feet, go elsewhere. There is the occasional bit of flop sweat, but otherwise, Crumb keeps his cartoony vibe in check. There’s not so much as an ounce of irony to be found.
If you don’t have a Facebook account (and I don’t necessarily blame you if you don’t) you’ve been missing the wonderful photos that Carol Hernandez — wife of Gilbert Hernandez — has been posting of the Los Bros. on the Love and Rockets Fan Page. It’s full of great blow-your-mind yesteryear pics like the one above, (from left) Sergio Aragones, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Gilbert Hernandez and Robert Crumb at the Anglouleme festival in France, circa 1990. Also included: pics of Michelle Shocked, Russ Myer and Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham.
Well bust my buttons, if it isn’t time for another round of What Are You Reading, where we talk about all the comics, books and other reading matter we’re currently engrossed in. Our guest this week is High Moon co-creator and writer David Gallaher, who’s been blogging with us at Robot 6 all this past week.
David has quite a list of titles to pour over, so let’s get to it. Click on the link below to get started.