Archive for January, 2009

Yokoyama Amazes


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Read Comments (2)

A Brit adrift in Japan has reported back to me. Mr. Jon Chandler, a fine cartoonist in his own right, sent me a link to these unbelievable photos he took of Yuichi Yokoyama doing a live painting demonstration a few days ago. Follow the link and pick your jaw off the floor. Thanks, Jon.

Labels: ,

A Healthy Selection


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Read Comments (6)

Richard Gehr casts his eyes to the gutter this week in the Village Voice and finds (besides Tim’s own Gorey find) Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby. He notes that “By depicting human behavior at its worst, Nemoto recalibrates the limits of what we can bear to consider on a page of comics.” Damn straight. I have to admit, aside from my own publisher-like needs, as a critic I feel like Monster Men was criminally overlooked in 2008. With the release of this book and Hanakuma’s Tokyo Zombie we’ve gotten our first North American look at two of the seminal alternative Japanese graphics novels of the last 20 years. There have been anthologies, but never full length works. It’s a funny thing — but perhaps not unexpected — as though Jimbo and Black Hole were released in another language and more or less ignored. What do these two books say about the form? And lurking in the background is that both emerge from King Terry‘s formulation of Heta-Uma as a valid way to make comics — that this bad/good style is arguably a dominant one in the Japanese underground is worthy of notice. Terry, in fact, has packaged both artists works, and designed the North American Nemoto book as well. As far as I can tell, he’s exerted an influence similar to that of Art Spiegelman (editor/packager/mentor) on the Raw generation. I hope there’s room for more material, but I wonder if the sales will make it feasible. They’re not easy reads (well, Hanakuma is easier than Nemoto, but still…) Remember, there’s a trove of material corresponding to our own 30-odd year history of alternative comics, and a tiny, tiny fraction of it has been shown here. I imagine Top Shelf’s Ax anthology will help remedy that, and of course the mighty D&Q continues to shine light on unseen parts of Manga history. Anyhow, all of this is to say that I’d selfishly love to see an article about all of this by a writer far better informed than I am. So, get on it already!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Comics Comics 3 Now Available as a Free Download!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Read Comments (4)

Yes, that’s right, you can now download our third issue for free over on the right sidebar. (And the print version of it is currently available on sale for over half off at the PictureBox site.)

If you forgot, this is the issue that includes:

*Sammy Harkham‘s interview with Guy Davis (and their collaboration on the cover)

*The legendary Kim Deitch explaining the Meaning of Life

*Dan picking bones with the Masters of American Comics show

*David Heatley and Lauren R. Weinstein in conversation (they also collaborated on a brand-new oversize drawing)

*The long-awaited (by me) conclusion to my article on Steve Gerber

*The beloved Joe McCulloch on Mutt and Jeff

*An illustrated list from Renée French

*An amazing back cover by Marc Bell

*Plus about a million other things. At the time, Tom Spurgeon called it our best issue. All your friends have been reading this over and over again for more than a year! Don’t miss out!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ray Yoshida 1930-2009


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Read Comments (8)
Ray Yoshida: “Comic Book Specimen – #2 – Right Profile,” 1968
Ray Yoshida: “After an hour,” 1968

I got a rather sad email this afternoon. Ray Yoshida, a crucial figure in the birth of the Hairy Who and their colleagues in mid-late 1960s Chicago art, passed away a few days ago after a sustained illness. He was 78. As an instructor at the Art Institute, Yoshida taught the likes of Roger Brown and Christina Ramberg, and was an older contemporary and champion of Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, and Karl Wirsum, among others. He is credited with being a force for cohesion amongst the artists of the time, as well as an early supporter. His own work, beautifully redered paintings that bring figuration close to pattern-making and abstraction, and luminous, jigsaw puzzle-like collages, is also extremely powerful and important. I never met Yoshida, to my regret, but he was spoken of warmly by Nutt and Nilsson, and his New York gallerist, Adam Baumgold. He is the second crucial figure from that period to pass in recent months. Don Baum, who first exhibited the Hairy Who at the Hyde Park Art Center, died a few months back. Baum, an artist and curator, was an important early champion of the work. I visited him in 2005 and recorded a long interview. He was a very sweet, and sharp man, surrounded by the work of the artists he so loved. I’m grateful to have met him. In any case, all of this reminds me how much I love the work of that period, and how still under-researched it remains. My condolences to the Yoshida family, and, belatedly, to the Baum family.

Labels: , , , , ,

In a Sentimental Mood


Friday, January 9, 2009

Read Comments (3)

This somewhat obscure Edward Gorey book will probably be all over the comics internet by noon, so if you want to disdainfully inform your computer “friends” that you’ve already seen it, check it out now. [UPDATE: The old link went down; a new link is here.]

[Via a little bird.]

Labels: , ,

(ozzy voice) “ALL RIIIGHT NOW!”


Friday, January 9, 2009

Read Comments (11)

Gary Panter, punk rocker no more. Me and Ray Sohn are determined to turn him into a metalhead, so we’re blasting live Black Sabbath really fuggin’ loud all day long while we bust out his mural here at the Taubman Museum in Roanoke, VA. We finally finished the underpainting. Tomorrow and beyond the rest of it will take shape. Stay tooned.

Labels: , ,

If Ya All Alone, Pick Up the Phone


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Read Comments (2)

Matt [Groening] and I totally dug each other from the very first, though from a distance—because I thought he was really square and I believe he thought (rightly) that I was an excitable and intense hippy. Once he became editor of our school paper, I used to write the most insane letters to the editor I could think of, signing any kind of name to them, and he would print them. He probably knew who they were from, but I liked thinking he had no idea.

I used to love dropping in at the paper to stare at him because he looked like the straightest guy on the whole campus. This was in 1976 at a hippie college in Olympia, Washington.

He actually wore a shirt and pants. A shirt with buttons and actual pants.

That’s Lynda Barry talking, in an interview published in issues 54 and 55 of The New-York Ghost. I’d post PDFs of the issues, but I’m not sure it’s kosher. But you can get free copies by going to the Ghost site and asking, I think. (At least issue 55. Don’t get mad at me if I’m wrong, please.) It’s worth it for Barry fans. Only a few paragraphs of Don Quixote stuff before it gets good.

Labels: , ,

Clean Up Crew


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Read Comments (3)

Sorry for the holiday drop in posting. If you missed us, Eric Reynolds graciously volunteered to fill in for Frank over at the Fantagraphics blog the other day.

Until we get back up to speed—which shouldn’t take more than a month or three—here’s a bunch of random stuff that needs posting before I forget about it.

1. The percentage of Comics Comics readers who don’t also follow the Comics Reporter probably approaches zero, but it would still feel a little odd not to note that Tom Spurgeon included Dan in his annual series of holiday interviews this year. You can read that discussion here.

2. Tom also interviewed the ultimate love-him-or-hate-him comics critic, Abhay Khosla (I kind of love him myself, at least when I’m in the right mood). It’s a good enough interview that I would’ve been tempted to link to it in any case, but he says enough nice and/or interesting things about PictureBox, and Comics Comics in particular, that my hand was more or less forced. I feel like maybe I should be offended by his comparison of us to “foodies”, but I’m having a hard time working up any indignation. Is Dan’s repeated praise of Howard Chaykin’s Photoshop skills on Punisher War Journal really an example of a gourmand’s taste? Seems more like a rationalized junk-food addiction to me. (And I like Chaykin.) I guess I’m trying to say I’m not sure we really deserve such credit. I mean, maybe sometimes, but usually we’re probably closer to A Hamburger Today than Gourmet. (I have no point. And on top of that, I don’t know what I’m talking about. This is really just an excuse to think about the Bacon Hamburger Fatty Melt.)

3. The always thoughtful Rob Clough, who may be the comics-internet polar-opposite of Abhay Khosla (at least in terms of temperament), also recently praised Comics Comics 4, and with almost embarrassing enthusiasm and kindness. This only goes to show the awe-inspiringly broad appeal of CC. Still, his review is worth reading if only it convinces a few more people to check out the great and under-appreciated Mineshaft, the other magazine he considers.

4. Finally, I’m not about to start linking to a bunch of year-end best of 2008 lists (if you really like those things, then Dick Hyacinth has you covered), but Tucker Stone’s top ten at comiXology is the first place I’ve seen an extended take on one of the year’s other most under-discussed gems, Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby, and it’s worth pointing out for that reason alone.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

“Incentivize the People and Monetize Shit”


Monday, January 5, 2009

Read Comments (4)

Yes, that’s right, we’re all about that. And etc. Frank gets really mad when I post promotional stuff here, which makes me want to do it even more. Anyhow, I can do whatever I want now because Frank is in Roanoke, VA helping Gary Panter paint a giant mural in a museum. He’s probably only thinking about comics 90% of the time, as opposed to his usual 99.9999%. Phew. Anyhow, I will include some non-promo shit here in the form of promised commentary on recent additions to my nightstand: Captain America: America First, Madman #12, Little Orphan Annie Vol. 1, Bat-Manga, and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. Why do I keep returning to Chaykin to such diminished returns? I dunno. I’m sure it has something to do with that damn photoshop he uses so well — weilding it like a blunt instrument. Anyhow, the real reason for this post is to announce to all you art buying types that, for (almost) the first time ever, C.F. is selling some comics pages. It’s the complete story from The Ganzfeld 4, later reprinted in Chris Ware’s edition of Best American Comics. The pages are here. Email to reserve them. Go get ’em.

Labels: , , , ,