“The Lengths” is a graphic novel about addiction, published by Soaring Penguin Press. The title refers to the lenghts to which a young man, Eddie, will go to feed his desire. Howard Hardiman has written and drawn a graphic novel about a youth out of control and in conflict. It is a very rough story about a rough subject that Hardiman navigates quite well. His character, Eddie, is a 24-year-old art school drop out who is gay and unsure about what he wants. He may want a relationship but he is also attracted to what he gets from his role as Ford, an escort. It’s a pretty lurid and gritty premise. Something like this could easily fall apart, as can happen with any story that deals with sex. But sex is only part of what Hardiman has to talk about. And to create some distance to better address and understand the content, he represents all his characters as dogs. It may seem odd at first, but it turns out to be a wonderful narrative device.
Tag Archives: Art
Pick up your copy of the new collection of work by cartoonist Farel Dalrymple, Delusional: The Graphic and Sequential Work of Farel Dalrymple. It has been my honor to have interviewed him and review his work. I have great admiration for him and can easily look back to many highlights in his growing career including working for Marvel Comics on the special Omega The Unknown project with writer Jonathan Lethem. You can order this gorgeous 232-page hardcover from the publisher, Adhouse Books, here.
Editor’s Note: Percy’s & Co. is a shining example of how old and new can come together. Percy’s & Co. is not some cute name that a marketing team came up with. It refers to Percy Sankey who built the building in 1893 to house his dry goods business. The Sankey building has mostly housed liquor purveyors of one form or another. Even when it was a dry goods business, there was a speakeasy in the back room.
Percy’s & Co. might be mistaken by tourists as a business going back over a hundred years. It’s actually brand new but it’s not brash. Just some local kids providing unique cocktails and working with local growers. Percy’s & Co. offers apothecary inspired cocktails. As its website states, these drinks feature “infused spirits, fresh purees, and beneficial tinctures.”
Thankfully, here’s a place that looks like it has a bright future because it bothered to take a careful look at the past. Visit Percy’s & Co. here.
Review: THE BLACK FEATHER FALLS Book One (of four), by Ellen Lindner, published by Soaring Penguin Press
Ellen Lindner has a wonderful way with prose and composition. Her intricate artwork and distinctive voice give life to her latest creation, “The Black Feather Falls.” This is a webcomic told in four parts, which you can view at ACT-I-VATE here. The first part is now collected and will be published by Soaring Penguin Press.
The beauty of Lindner’s work is on many levels, not the least of which is her dynamic composition. We begin with the main character, Tina Swift, juxtaposed by her striking view of two pyramids that act as visual and symbolic thrust. They lead us to more energetic play with geometry of body language and setting.
Take a closer look at Tina Swift. On Page 2, we see her face is a crisp collection of lines and angles with a few accenting curves. We take in the rest of the page: in the first panel, we see a typewriter rendered to the last detail acting as a still life accompanied by Tina’s sharply rendered hands. The last panel caps off with another view of those pyramids. In the span of time that we’ve read the first two pages, we already know a mighty adventure is about to be retold.
And, by Page 3, we have entered a new world. Tina is an American abroad. She’s in 1920s London. As engaging as Lindner’s artwork, her prose charms you and immerses you in the customs and logic of another time. Lindner was an American abroad herself and you sense a loving attention to her past home byway of this murder mystery. It’s as if Lindner travelled back in time and is reporting to us her observations with a fresh vitality. She provides a somewhat similar treatment of Brooklyn in the early 1960s for her work, “Undertow.” The writing for this story is quite fun and feels in step with such British writers of the time as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and the Mitford sisters.
Our team of brash young American, Tina Swift, and young British spinster, Miss McInteer, are delightful as polar opposites that manage to attract. They do have quite a compelling murder mystery to solve that apparently will turn into another cold case if not for them. All the elements are in place for a delicious read.
You can read the latest installments of The Black Feather Falls at ACT-I-VATE here. Be sure to pick up the first collection of The Black Feather Falls from Soaring Penguin Press and look for updates here. And do visit Ellen Lindner at her site here.
Puck Magazine, an impressive collection of some of the leading comix artists and much more, launches its crowd funding campaign today. This is truly an international collection. If you are a fan of offbeat humor and you’d like a taste of it from around the world, then this is for you. Join the campaign here. It runs from November 26, 2013 thru January 4, 2014.
What follows is an informative essay on the Apocalypse, the history of alternative comics, and how that relates to Puck Magazine:
Welcome to the Apocalypse
Historically speaking, the Apocalypse is always now. By that I mean that at every period in human history, someone somewhere was certain that the world was about to end. Whether it was the author of the Biblical “Book of Revelation” (or “Revelation to John”) — surely one of the most mischievous tracts ever written — or some Vedic bard predicting the Kali Yuga, or urban street corner prophets ranting that “The End is Nigh,” the human imagination has repeatedly fixated on the end of the universe and the end of life as we know it.
It is not difficult to figure out why this is. At some undetermined point in time, for each of us, the universe will end. Death awaits us all, whether in a sudden accident or heart attack, or in a long lingering illness. That this is so seems like a monstrous joke, and so we repress the thought or, for many of us, we project it upon the world at large, finding solace in the thought that if we must die, so must everyone else, preferably all at the same time.
And yet, life goes on. Every prophecy of the End Times is, in some sense, a false prophecy. Predicted dates come and go, and true believers’ expectations fizzle out, only to be succeeded by new expectations which will eventually fizzle out as well.
Much of this apocalyptic fervor has been driven by religion, especially fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, which share similar scenarios of a Final Judgment. But there are no lack of secular apocalypses to choose from: catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, the end of Capitalism (a particularly elusive apocalypse), an impending police state, and the list goes on.
All of which brings us to the volume you hold in your hands, a smorgasboard of personal apocalypses conjured up by a stellar crew of cartoonists from around the world. For most comic artists, apocalypse looms as the rent comes due at the end of each month, so this theme was one that the assembled artists could really get their teeth into. As you will discover, some took the challenge lightly, producing humorous strips (including the inevitable Mother In Law joke), while others dove into full-fledged horror and paranoia.
The result is a well-balanced collection of unique visions that you will not find anywhere else. The locations change from strip to strip, usually manifesting the apocalypse in the artists’ own locales. If you’ve ever dreamed of making an Around the World Tour, but know you never will, this volume is a suitable substitute, albeit with rather more demons, cannibals, black holes, and Avenging Angels than you would likely encounter in hopping from country to country.
Sadly, I am told that this is likely the last PUCK volume for years to come, so it represents an apocalypse of sorts for the whole PUCK enterprise. PUCK’s staff has beat all odds in uniting cartoonists from numerous countries in its group projects that are done for the love of free and uncensored cartooning.
The Underground Comix movement was launched in the U.S. during the Sixties and spread its influence to England, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Italy (among others), in the following decades. PUCK has been one of the most energetic recent manifestations of the underground impulse and Ivan and the rest of the PUCK gang deserve a round of applause for keeping the torch held high.
The Apocalypse is always now. Enjoy it while you can.
Jay Kinney was a participant in the Underground Comix movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He edited and co-edited Young Lust, Occult Laff-Parade, Cover-up Lowdown, and Anarchy Comics, and contributed to many others.
He has since been a magazine publisher, book author, and antiquarian bookseller. Recently published is: Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press), a retrospective anthology of the hard-to-find four originals issues, plus never before published strips and sketchbook pages.
Caption for Mavrides-Kinney Armageddon panels…
The “End Times” erupt in “Armageddon Outtahere” by Paul Mavrides and Jay Kinney in Anarchy Comics #4. This story and all others from the comic series can be found in Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press).
Press release follows:
Editor’s Note: While any place of quality is welcome in the Ballard hub, we have a soft spot for any business that finds a way to authentically integrate itself within the culture. The Noble Fir is a fine example of thinking locally. It is a tavern with an eye, a mind, and a heart, to being part of the community. You’re looking for something unique and refreshing? You want to feel like you’re really still in Ballard? Then visit The Noble Fir.
Maybe a place like The Noble Fir would have seemed just a bit too luxurious in the past. Maybe. But then again, Seattle has maintained a long love affair with microbrewies and can boast at having some of the best in the world.
Why not have that level of excellence, and even elegance, amid the industrial and mechanical fixtures of old Ballard?
What we all wish to avoid is The Planet Hollywood treatment. If a place has no real connection to anywhere, then it contributes to diminishing that place. Not to put down Planet Hollywood but I think you know what I mean. So, yeah, The Noble Fir, and other fine establishments like it, are what we want to see: something that enhances the character of Ballard and actually fits.
These sort of ponderings take time but we have plenty of that. And, once a good mood is set, perhaps with a fine ale, in a good place, we can settle in and find all sorts of stories to tell.
Brian Epstein was in search of greatness. He found it with a ragtag band in a little basement club. These lads from Liverpool were not just any ragtag band. Brian Epstein was an expert on pop music and knew right away that The Beatles were special and could use his help. And so Brian embarks upon his true calling which is faithfully retold in the graphic novel, “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” published by Dark Horse Comics, for their imprint, M Press.
To be a homosexual in England in the 1960s could land you in prison. And to be Jewish could put your life at risk during a time of great anti-Semitism. Brian was both and very much aware of the danger. However, he wasn’t someone to be pushed around with either. The script by Vivek J. Tiwary, a Broadway producer and avid Beatles fan, gives us a portrait of a determined young man who is very passionate about music and style. But it’s not just a passion, it’s a way of life: You can conquer the world if you look the part. This worldview is essential and part of what Brian will instill in The Beatles. Just like a well dressed matador wows the cheering crowds, so the well dressed image of The Beatles will wow the world.
The artwork by Andrew Robinson (Star Wars, Batman), with contributions by Kyle Baker (Plastic Man, Why I Hate Saturn), transports us back quite nicely to the good cheer and irreverence of the young band led by the young old soul Epstein. We see Epstein go from running the family business, the record store, Nems, to managing The Beatles. By sheer determination, Epstein continues on course believing in the band’s potential more than the band had ever dared dreamed themselves. Andrew Robinson has a deft touch with facial expression and body language. His engaging character development brings the lads and their magnificent manager to full life.
The challenge in writing such a book was starting out with a relatively small amount of information on the subject. Of course, any true Beatles fan or serious scholar of pop culture knows that Brian Epstein was The Beatles manager–but not much more. What Vivek does is pretty amazing. It’s not impossible, no doubt, but it’s an ambitious goal to take any compelling figure and tell their story. It has been a project that Vivek has been building up for some twenty years, beginning as a youth fascinated with the entertainment business and evolving as simply a love for the man himself. This tribute to Brian Epstein is spot on and will inspire.
Told in three parts, this story unfolds at a fast pace. Given the roller coaster of events, that rings true. In only six years, from 1961 to 1967, Epstein took a promising, but unknown, band and did as he vowed he’d do, made them bigger than Elvis. Along the way, we have time for some fascinating extended scenes that give us insights into what it was like for Epstein, both personal and professional. We come to see just how painfully lonely he was. And we see him navigating some unusual business dealings. The scenes with Colonel Parker and with Ed Sullivan are interesting. And to think it all came to an end for Brian Epstein at the age of 32. The Beatles would only last another couple of years after his death. But, that end was just one end. The music lives on. And, with this book, the story of Brian Epstein lives on in this compelling work.
“The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story” is a 144-page hardcover, priced at $19.99, and available as of November 19, 2013. Visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics here. And be sure to visit The Fifth Beatle website here.
Editor’s Note: Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen is one of Ballard’s new hot spots which features tasty barbecue, catfish, and assorted specialty drinks and fine whiskies. Visit them here.
Ballard Comics comes out each Monday here at Comics Grinder.
One of the great writers for “The Twilight Zone,” Richard Matheson, passed away this year. As we observe that fateful date in Dallas, November 22, 1963, I think of how one man created art out of the processing of his emotions from that event. You might find this to be a surprise but “Duel,” the short story about a man fighting for his life against a demonic semi-trailer truck, that went on to become Steven Spielberg’s first major movie, has its origins in the Kennedy assassination. It’s not a direct link. It’s more based on a significantly deep dark feeling of despair and dread.
Patrick Moote is a talented young man who thought he had a big problem. He thought his penis was too small. So, he goes on a journey of self-discovery and we get to go along with him in the documentary, “Unhung Hero,” which releases on DVD and iTunes on December 10, 2013. Does size matter? On a logical level, of course not. But director Brian Spitz and actor/comedian Patrick Moote are on a quest to explore the deep insecurities we all face in a crass and overstimulated world glutted with porn and unrealistic expectations.