The pure magic of Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” comic strip defies easy description. It appeared in newspapers around the country and galvanized thought among the thoughtful. His strange and beautiful comic strip was, in its day, “Doonesbury,” “The Simpsons,” and “The Jon Stewart Show” all rolled into one, times ten. Its satirical bite was so effective that newspapers would opt for either the innocent joke version or go for the political version of the comic strip. Has Walt Kelly been relegated to the margins? That is where many an odd genius will dwell only to be rediscovered. Thanks to Fantagraphics Books, the Pogo comic strips are getting their due.
Tag Archives: Art
To label the works of Jane Austen as a 200-year-old franchise is like plucking the wings off a butterfly, isn’t it? Well, it was said, without too much irony, at one panel discussion at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Sure, there was some irony, since we’re all comedians now with impeccable timing, but the intent was to strategize on how to get the most out of Austen. And what would Jane Austen have to say about this? Producers would be interested to know, especially if she could pitch to them a new show. Franchises just aren’t what they used to be. Original content is scarce.
Lucy Knisley is a wonderfully observant cartoonist. There wasn’t anything quite like her comics journal, “French Milk,” when it was first published in 2007, and it has grown in stature ever since. It’s a fun read, first of all. It’s also a gentle push forward in what the comics medium is capable of. Knisley has created a number of other works with that same personal quality. Her more recent notable work is “Relish,” published by First Second in 2013. In this work, the narrative is tighter and the drawing more refined in keeping with the book’s structured theme. For this interview, there is some comparison of these two works and some thoughts on what lies ahead for comics.
We begin with thoughts on M.F. Fisher, a master at storytelling that made a fine mix of memoir and writing on food. Fisher’s first published book was “Serve it Forth,” in 1937. And, like the title implies, the pages within contain words that express an uncanny zest for life, and food. Nowadays, it seems like we’re all foodies. But only a few can claim to be standard-bearers to Fisher to any degree. I started thinking about that in terms of what Knisley is doing and that is where our conversation takes off.
Any number of people, places, and things stick in our memory and we wonder sometimes what it all means. In Bryan Lee O’Malley’s new graphic novel, “Seconds,” we have a character, Katie, who wonders and wishes about her life constantly. She’s 29-years-old and on the brink of something new in her life but she’s very uncertain about the future. And then, one fateful night, a little goblin girl sits atop her dresser offering some relief from all her worries.
Eleanor Davis and Esther Pearl Watson at Fantagraphics Bookstore this Sunday, Part of Georgetown Art Attack, July 12-13, 2014
For those of you in Seattle, this is a very interesting weekend. For fans of rising cartoonist talent, Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is the place to be this Sunday, July 13 from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. It will be your chance to meet Eleanor Davis and Esther Pearl Watson. This is part of Georgetown Art Attack weekend, July 12-13, 2014.
The Girl in the Cafe and an Ionized Environment
Art and fiction by Henry Chamberlain
She sat at her regular table on the second floor of her favorite cafe. It was the same old crowd. It was a steamy summer day. She had the whole world before her. There was the Space Needle right out the window to keep her company. She made herself comfortable. She wiggled her toes. Someone was overheard saying, “An ionized environment really helps.”
Here is a minicomic I recently completed that features Smith Tower, a Seattle landmark celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In this comic, Smith Tower is a character in its own right. We follow a number of characters who are searching for answers. Among the searchers, two main characters emerge. We can’t be sure how these two are connected but, as fate would have it, their paths become inextricably linked. Whether that is cause for celebration or concern, remains a mystery. For fun, let me wax on for a bit on this new work, minicomics, and the art process.
There is a stark beauty to be found in the 320 pages of this full-color special collection of comics, “World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014,” published by PM Press and set for release this July. I call it a stark beauty for good reason. I think it is the most economical way to express the urgency and the severity of the issues being confronted. It’s also a quick way to say that this is thoughtful and vital art that you’ll find in this collection of some of the best work to appear in the semi-annual anthology, “World War 3 Illustrated.”