It is a pleasure to chat about comics, especially with someone as well-versed on the subject as Bill Kartalopoulos. For this interview, the occasion is the 2014 volume of “The Best American Comics,” which Bill takes over as the new series editor. I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him about his thoughts on the term, “alternative comics,” since he led an interesting panel discussion on that topic at SPX back in 2012 entitled, “Life After Alternative Comics.” This was a way to frame the conversation.
Bill Kartalopoulos is a great observer of, and participant in, today’s comics scene. Part of his impressive resume includes being the program coordinator for the Small Press Expo as well as the program director for the MoCCA Arts Festival. Both of these events are essential barometers of prevailing trends. So, if Bill suggests that alternative comics are dead, I listen. Of course, he doesn’t really suggest that, at least not as you might think. But, let me continue…
Filed under Alternative Comics, Art Spiegelman, Bill Kartalopoulos, Comics, Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Independent Comics, Indie, MoCCA Arts Festival, New York City, SPX, The Best American Comics
Daniel Stope is a well-intentioned young man from the country who has dreams of becoming a professional artist. Of course, one of the best places to foster, as well as dash, such ambitions is going to an art school. In can be honey or vinegar, depending upon numerous factors. Jamie Coe explores the honey and vinegar of art school in his debut graphic novel, “Art Schooled,” published by Nobrow Press.
Welcome to Hipsterville: SUGAR SKULL by Charles Burns
Welcome to hipsterville. If there is something that is both scary and fascinating to observe (like a train wreck) it is the activity of a hipster. Charles Burns completes his ode to the lives of hipsters gone terribly wrong in the final part of his Nitnit trilogy, “Sugar Skull.” Outside of a Stephen King novel, this new book by Burns offers up plenty to be creeped out over. Think of it as “Carrie” for the Gen X set.
“A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” is now available at Comics Dungeon in Seattle. It is a collection of comics, short works and one long form work, all about people searching for something: clues, treasure, the meaning of life. It holds up well, even invites, multiple readings. It is offbeat and alternative in the best sense of those terms. Let’s say that, if you enjoy the weird, intense, and quirky world of Charles Burns, then you will find a lot to enjoy in this book, my first book collecting some of my best work in comics.
George Pérez hits a home run with “Sirens,” his new creator-owned comic published by Boom! Studios. Striking from various times and places, Pérez delivers a story that looks every bit as good as his landmark work on such titles as Wonder Woman and Scarlet Witch. This new six-issue run has got it all. We begin in Iceland in 1104 and a ragtag group of Norsemen marauders have grown impatient with Fanisha, a mysterious mystic, who had promised them a treasure to be had at a legendary cave. Little do they know, Fanisha has plans of her own.
Lucy Knisley snatches from the ether bits of ephemeral conversation and other momentary pleasures to present to us, “An Age of License,” her latest travelogue graphic novel. We are swept up by a whirlwind European adventure as we follow Knisley on an all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime in September of 2011. As opportunities arise, one must try to choose wisely. And so we see how Knisley fares, after some pre-travel jitters (it happens to the best of us) and she is off and running. Knisley has a clean line in the service of a direct and crisp narrative. It is a pleasure to see her continue to evolve as an autobiographical artist.
H.R. Giger homage in Elephantmen #59
This is an interesting time to drop in on “Elephantmen,” with its tribute to ALIEN designer H.R. Giger, who passed away earlier this year. This is apparently not your typical issue of this comic which finds, according to Image Comics, that “Hip Flask learns that no one is safe now.” That said, it looks like it fits right in with the spirit of this masterfully oddball comic: story by Richard Starkings; art by Axel Medellin; cover by Boo Cook.
Here is a quick conversation with Farel Dalrymple just as he was setting up to fly out to Bethesda, Maryland for the annual Small Press Expo.
He will be there in support of his new graphic novel, “The Wrenchies.” We talk a bit about the dream logic and overall feeling of spontaneity and exuberance found throughout the pages of this most remarkable book.
I have followed many an artist’s career and this is clearly Farel Dalrymple’s time. With The Wrenchies, he has brought together elements he’s been working with over years into a masterful panorama.
If you’re in or near Bethesda this weekend, you will definitely want to visit SPX. And, if you’re in the DC area, visit Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse that Sunday, at 5 p.m., for a panel discussion discussing graphic novels with a crossover appeal between young adults and adults moderated by Heidi MacDonald. The featured cartoonists are Farel Dalrymple; Gareth Hinds (Romeo & Juliet); and Jim Rugg (Street Angel).
Click the link below to listen to the podcast interview:
You can find Farel Dalrymple right here.
From PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra
The expanded fictional universe of Alien and Predator kicks off with the first issue of the Dark Horse Comics massive crossover series, “Prometheus: Fire and Stone,” continuing after the events of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. The combined talent of writer Paul Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra provide an immersive and cinematic experience throughout this comic. We begin with a perfect plot device: Clara, one of the crew members, is in charge of a video documentary that provides us with various introductions.
This is the new crew sent out to see what happened to the old crew that went out to explore a most lonely and mysterious moon known as LV-223. It is definitely known to be mineral-rich so there’s one motivation to seek it out. But it could very well hold the key to unlocking the secrets of all creation. A relatively esoteric notion and quite possibly a deadly one.
Farel Dalrymple has distinguished alienated youth to a high level with his comics. There is that distinctive deadpan stare from a young person confronting some great threat. We never know for sure what that young person is thinking. Are they afraid? Most likely. But putting on a good poker face will help. In “The Wrenchies,” Dalrymple’s much anticipated new graphic novel, he offers up another side of the Apocalypse filled with kids who are fighting the good fight. And then he takes it a step further, and step further after that, to deliver a robust and mature work for all to enjoy. This is Dalrymple’s moment, his skills coming together to say it all in one big book worthy of, you name it, Dr. Seuss, Ray Bradbury, the Beatles, the Ramones, really, name a creative genius you love and this book ranks right up there.