Category Archives: Art books

Book Review: ‘Art & Sole: A Spectacular Selection of More Than 150 Fantasy Art Shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Collection’ by Jane Gershon Weitzman

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David, a new assistant at Comics Grinder marched right into the offices of CG. He had a rather sheepish grin on his face. I wasn’t sure what to make of his quick familiarity. Like past friends of CG, he had a treat for us to consider. But he wasn’t going to give it up until he gave me a little grief. “Alright then,” David said, “you have a thing for feet, don’t you?”

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Design, Fashion, Feet

Is There an Ontologist in the House? A Review of ‘The Book of Trees’ by Manuel Lima

"Tree of Consanguinity," 1471, by Loyset Liedet (1420-79)

“Tree of Consanguinity,” 1471, by Loyset Liedet (1420-79)

Roy came in late to the Comics Grinder offices and dropped off his latest offering. He smiled his wry little smile and said, “You and your ontology issues!”

What about my ontology issues? When did I tell him?

Issues about ontology don’t get discussed much outside of certain circles. Stray away from these rarefied circles that are invested in such discussion and you could go years, maybe a whole lifetime, without ever needing to concern yourself ever again with that tiresome chit chat often foisted upon someone who enjoys reading by someone who fancies themselves no mere book lover but someone superior, someone who regularly uses the word, ontology!

This type most likely wears a beret, or perhaps a cloak, maybe nurtures an odd facial expression, or sports a baffling attempt at an English accent. Where are the true believers, sans the affectation, that make me want to go back to thoughts of ontology? Well, how about Manuel Lima? Yeah, how about Manuel Lima!

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Data, Design, Infographics, Information

Interview: FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY: Brad Bernstein, director and writer; Rick Cikowski, lead editor and lead animator

"Doctor Strangelove"  Movie Poster. Artwork by Tomi Ungerer.

“Doctor Strangelove” Movie Poster. Artwork by Tomi Ungerer.

FAR OUT ISN’T FAR ENOUGH: THE TOMI UNGERER STORY is a masterfully created documentary that will hit you on many levels. It is eligible for an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and deserves that level of recognition for being so careful to detail with its subject, artist Tomi Ungerer.

I had the honor of speaking with both Brad Bernstein, the film’s director and writer, and Rick Cikowski, the film’s lead editor and lead animator. Both men expressed their love for Tomi Ungerer and provide insight into the making of this impressive documentary, distributed by First Run Features.

For me, I can appreciate what happened to Tomi Ungerer when I look at the iconic poster he created for “Doctor Strangelove.” That poster, much like his “Black Power, White Power” poster are forever part of one’s psyche. And yet, in America, Ungerer’s work in children’s books is not widely known today. That work is just as powerful and was just as well known in its day, as anything else he has created. Thanks to Phaidon, we have many of his great works being reprinted in the United States. But, for decades, it was as if he’d been wiped out of memory in America. How could that be? That is a big part of the fascinating story that unfolds in this documentary.

Tomi Ungerer is a great talent and, for a man who has had a lifelong battle with fear, he is a most courageous man. For someone who grew up under the horror of the Nazis, and went on to conquer the world of illustration in its heydey in New York City, that alone is remarkable. But going that far out, wasn’t far enough for Ungerer.

“Far Out Isn’t Far Enough” brings together a seamless narrative boiling down numerous hours of interviews with Tomi Ungerer, Jules Feiffer, the late great Maurice Sendak, as well as other notable figures like art director and critic Steven Heller. Throughout the film you are treated to very deftly purposed animation that strikes the right cord, whether humorous or somber.

As Brad Bernstein explains, the initial attraction to Tomi Ungerer was his spirited expressions like, “Far Out Isn’t Far Enough.” That really says it all. Ungerer is a man who speaks his mind and does it quite well. His life and work are a testament to a strong will and this documentary honors that spirit very well.

You can listen to the interview with Brad Bernstein and Rick Cikowski by clicking the link below:

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And, as the say, tell your friends and spread the word about this documentary. You can visit the official site here and also follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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Filed under 1960s, Art, Art books, Children's Books, Design, Documentaries, Erotica, Illustration, movies, pop culture, Protest, Social Commentary, Tomi Ungerer

COMIC-CON 2013: ‘The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song’ Wins Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Comic in Tie-Win

David Lasky Accepting the Eisner Award. Photo by Jacq Cohen

David Lasky Accepting the Eisner Award. Photo by Jacq Cohen

“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” is a very special book dear to my heart. You can read my review of it here. So, to learn that it won an Eisner Award last night at Comic-Con is great news. It shared the honors with another wonderful book, “Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller”

I highlight this from The Washington Post:

The night’s other tie was in the Best Reality-Based Work category, with Joseph Lambert (“Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller”; Center for Cartoon Studies/Disney Hyperion) and Frank M. Young and David Lasky (“The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song”; Abrams ComicArts) sharing the award.

David Lasky accepted the Eisner award. Co-creator Frank Young was not able to be present. So, good for them! You can check out “The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song” here. And you can check out “Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller” here.

You can check out a recap on the Eisner Awards here.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2013, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, David Lasky, Eisner Awards, Frank M. Young

Review: ‘Legends of the Blues’ by William Stout

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You may know more names in blues than you think. There’s Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters, to name a few. And, if those names don’t ring a bell, well, that’s alright. This collection featuring 100 profiles of all-time great blues musicians, big names or not, will give you a look at the big picture.

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William Stout has picked up where R. Crumb left off some years back in creating “trading card” portraits of blues legends. This has led to this beautiful and intriguing book published by Abrams ComicArts, “Legends of the Blues,” complete with Bonus CD! Here you have a very accessible guide to American blues with each portrait interconnected with the other. Each profile has an exquisitely drawn portrait, biography, and recommended songs attached to each performer.

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Read the profile of B.B. King and learn how the electric guitar made its way into blues, ushering in rock ‘n’ roll. It was thanks to T-Bone Walker, the first blues musician to use an electric guitar. That fact is just as fascinating as viewing Michael J. Fox, as Marty McFly, in “Back To The Future,” accidentally inventing rock ‘n’ roll. Read further and you learn about how King nearly lost a beloved acoustic guitar to a fire that started from a fight over a woman named, Lucille. As a reminder to never fight over a woman, each of King’s Gibson guitars has been given the name, Lucille.

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The stories here range from the tragic to the comical. Many are stories of lost childhood, like Billie Holiday; scrambling to carve out a career, like Robert Johnson; and ultimately finding fame fleeting and cruel, like Bessie Smith. And there are no end to interesting facts. One fine example is the story of Robert Petway. His claim to fame was his song, “Catfish Blues.” It was reworked by Muddy Waters and retitled, “Rollin Stone,” the namesake to one of England’s greatest rock bands of all time. As for Petway, the authorship of his hit song has been questioned and it is still unclear as to when he was born and when he died! Such is the life of a blues musician.

“Legends of the Blues” is a 224-page hardcover, with CD, priced at $19.95 U.S., published by Abrams ComicArts. You can find your copy here.

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Filed under Abrams ComicArts, Art, Art books, Blues, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Illustration, Music, Rock 'n' Roll

VIZ MEDIA: NEW AND RECENT RELEASES, APRIL 2013

Here is a quick look at some assorted new an recent VIZ Media releases: Naoki Urasawa’s 21ST CENTURY BOYS; Mizuki Sakakibara’s TIGER & BUNNY; Toh Enjoe’s SELF-REFERENCE ENGINE; Sakyo Komatsu’s VIRUS; Takehiko Inoue’s INOUE MEETS GAUDI.

VIZ Media has got you covered in more ways than you might think: manga, anime, books, video, all faithfully translated into English. You will find something for everyone: from a study on Japan today and its future to the latest Naruto. Check it out at VIZ Media here.

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Filed under animation, Anime, Art, Art books, Books, comic books, Comics, graphic novels, Japan, Manga, pop culture, Sci-Fi, science fiction, VIZ Media

Paul Pope’s ONE TRICK RIP-OFF/DEEP CUTS

One Trick Rip Off Paul Pope 2013

Paul Pope. Can’t get enough of his super quirky comics. And this one will have you compelled to raise the roof, scream naked down the streets, or whatever your pleasure. “The One Trick Rip-Off/Deep Cuts” collects much of the master’s crazy magic from the ’90s. The main plot here is about a couple of crazy lovers who have hatched the ultimate bank heist sort of thing. Will it work? Who cares?! It’s all about the journey. This one rolls out January 29, 2013. You can get yours here.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comics, graphic novels, Paul Pope

Jay Kinney on ANARCHY COMICS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

AnarchyTests

Mike Dooley of Print Magazine’s Imprint blog has posted an overview of a recent collection of Anarchy Comics, a legendary underground battle cry in comix. We have had (still have?) the Occupy Movement. The call to rebellion has been fueled in various ways over the years. For a punk look at the world, you can turn to Anarchy Comics. Here is Mr. Dooley’s post for your consideration.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Comics, Comix, Design, Michael Dooley, Print Magazine

BUILDING STORIES Review

For those unfamiliar with the literary magazine “McSweeney’s” and its elaborate packaging of its issues into boxes containing various precocious printed items, “Building Stories,” the new collected work of cartoonist, Chris Ware, will really bowl you over. But the audience for this is precisely those readers who are already intimately familiar with Dave Eggers, Ira Glass, Chuck Klosterman and so on. How do you relate with an audience as jaded and self-aware as you are? You keep calm, and know you will dazzle them. Ware delivers solid stories here for the most discriminating connoisseur. “Building Stories,” after all, is a celebration of Chris Ware, of work that has, indeed, appeared in such elite and wonderful publications as “McSweeney’s.” You can consider this collection of the best of a decade’s worth of work as a “McSweeney’s” on steroids.

A lion roars. A dog barks. A bear growls. But a human, all too often…whines. At least that’s what we get in the world of Chris Ware. There are no obvious acts of heroism, nor flights of fancy, nor moments of sheer unqualified joy to be found among his characters. Perhaps such scenes exist but restrained and subtle. And that is part of the point of why Chris Ware does what he does. The world is not a “happy” place and he will show you why. He does not go for the acknowledged hero but focuses on all those lives lived in quiet desperation. He doesn’t want to go with quantity over quality either. No, he favors a select group of well-read and upwardly mobile lives that are lived quietly in desperation and desperately quiet. If Chris Ware has any heroes, they are the likes of Dorothy Parker, Edward Hopper and, of course, Dylan Thomas.

We get such a delicious selection of despondent characters that, whenever there is a glimmer of hope, it seems rather jarring, too out of place. There’s the youngish couple slipping into middle-age who resent each other. There’s the woman who must come to grips with a life wasted in the care of an indifferent mother. There’s that same mother who has spent her whole life in the care of a boarding house. There’s the actual boarding house that is as neurotic as any Ware creation! And then there is the woman with an amputated leg who perseveres through this melancholic landscape and even finds a fairly good soul mate. No one in this world is giddy with silly happiness, not even a simple little bumblebee. For him, Ware has saddled him with a monumental existential crisis!

The packaging of pamphlets, books and magazines is quite beautiful and, dare I say, a joy to read. The only quibble, and this won’t be new for regular Ware readers, is that the type, at times, is so darn small. It feels downright antisocial to do that! Even with the best of eyes, there are some segments that require a magnifying glass! It is what it is. But, ultimately, it’s a good enough trade off for some spectacular artwork, as in his architectural renderings. Built upon one intricate brushstroke after another, the houses, their interiors and exteriors, are built, like Chris Ware’s characters and stories, with great care, with empathy, and with compassion.

“Building Stories” is, just as the box describes, “14 distinctively discrete books, booklets, magazines, newspapers and pamphlets.” It is a decade’s worth of work as seen in the pages of “The New Yorker,” “The New York Times,” and “McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern,” as they call themselves in the most elevated of company. This amazing collection is listed at $50 US. Visit the Random House Pantheon site for more details here.

If you happen to be in Toronto tonight, do stop by and see Chris Ware, Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine, all together to support their recent publications and to support the printed word! Details follow:

TONIGHT!

CHARLES BURNS – ADRIAN TOMINE – CHRIS WARE
Debut their new graphic novels in Toronto
“THE HIVE” – “NEW YORK DRAWINGS” – “BUILDING STORIES”
at a special event in honour of The Beguiling’s 25th anniversaryFeaturing iconic Canadian graphic novelist Seth as guest moderator.
Monday, November 12th, 2012, @ 8:30pm
The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor Street West
Admission $10 or free with advance purchase of debuting book at The Beguiling
A BEGUILING 25TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT

 

TORONTOPrepare to welcome three of the most respected graphic novel creators in the world, as Charles Burns (Black Hole), Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve), and Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library) visit Toronto TONIGHT to debut their new books. These three contemporaries and friends will each show an all-new audio/visual presentation based on their new works. Then, iconic Canadian graphic novelist Seth will lead all three creators in a rousing discussion of their work and history, including audience participation. This is the centerpiece autumn event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of venerable Toronto comics and alternative culture shop The Beguiling, at the nearby newly renovated Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor St. W.) in the heart of the Annex neighborhood.

Sure to be the talk of the literary world this fall and winter, these three new releases blur the lines between ‘traditional’ graphic novels, illustration, and the publishing avant-garde!

  • Charles Burns’ stunning follow-up to 2010’s bestselling X’ed Out is The Hive. It takes readers further into the recesses of the diseased world of X’ed Out, shattering the boundaries between comics and the people who read them.
  • Adrian Tomine’s New York Drawings collects over a decade of the comics, illustrations, and covers produced by the artist for publishing institution The New Yorker, alongside a number of other rare and uncollected pieces in a lavish oversized hard cover.
  • Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth has been hailed as a modern literary masterpiece, and Building Stories is Ware’s first and much-anticipated graphic novel length follow-up. Ware experiments further with form and medium: the story is a literal box. Beautifully presented as variously formatted and sized comics, graphic novels, newspapers and pamphlets, the ensemble creates a fascinating and compelling portrait of a seemingly ordinary young woman, and the building where she lives.

All three of these compelling arguments for the necessary survival of the printed word will be on sale at The Beguiling and at the event.

Admission to the 25th anniversary event is $10, but admissions tickets are free (while supplies last) with every advance purchase of any of the above new books at The Beguiling. Tickets MAY still be available at The Beguiling!

Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, and Charles Burns’ Toronto book event is the centerpiece of a half-dozen events occurring this fall, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of venerable comic book and alternative culture store The Beguiling. Events with local, Canadian, and international graphic novelists will continue throughout the fall, adding vibrancy and texture to the city’s literary events calendar. Visit www.beguiling.com for more information on upcoming events.

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Filed under Art, Art books, Chris Ware, Comics, Comics Reviews, graphic novels, Pantheon, Random House

SHORT RUN: Seattle Indie Comics and the Start of a New Seattle Tradition

Curators Eroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh, pictured above, did it again with the second annual Short Run Small Press Fest. Held at The Vera Project in Seattle Center, Small Run was an awesome gathering of artists and writers: comics, zines art books, animation, independent talent from the Northwest that you just know is good. What follows is a sampling of what Short Run was like this year.

As a cartoonist, I definitely felt at home with this crowd. The Vera Project is a cozy venue for this event providing an intimate yet ample space, the size of a higher end club or restaurant. At times, it got a bit crowded but nothing to worry about, especially if you’ve gone to any convention-type setting. Here, you’re talking a laid back vibe that will see you through very nicely.

For me, Short Run already is quintessential Seattle, bringing together the unique creative spirit of this area. It is on track to becoming a new Seattle tradition.

Randy Wood, pictured above, was one of a number of stellar talent at Short Run this year. Here he is showing off one of his collected books of his “Kitties!” comic strip.

Here is a copy of “The Intruder,” a free newspaper full of local comics talent.

Stefan Gruber was here this year, along with other animators. This is a flipbook of his entitled, “Tiger Wave,” based on a dream. Check out Mr. Gruber and Seattle Experimental Animation Team.

Breanne Boland has a new comic out, “Drawing Bitchface,” a guide on how to make the most of putting on a proper, “bitchface.”

Aron Nels Steinke had his new collection out, “Big Plans,” published by Bridge City Comics. “Mr. Fox” is one of his self-published gems.

The Vera Project is a fascinating place with much to offer like its silkscreen classes and use of its silkscreen studio! Here is Eric Carnell, who helps to keep things moving along at The Vera Project’s silkscreen studio.

Cartoonist Nicole Georges provides much needed advice.

A great time had by all. See you next year at Short Run.

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Filed under Art books, Comics, Comix, Eroyn Franklin, Indie, Kelly Froh, Seattle, Short Run Small Press Fest, Zines