MAD Magazine, as we used to know it, is gone. However, what we still have is to be treasured. Due to a number of factors, it just became unsustainable to maintain the magazine. So, the idea now is to keep to a pared-down schedule that showcases various work from the past. It leaves room for some exceptions too like the amazing new cover art by visionary cartoonist Jim Woodring for the current issue. I just got my copy in the mail as part of my subscription. You can too by visiting MAD Magazine.
Alfred E. Neuman is the fictitious mascot and cover boy of MAD. Alfred’s first appearance was on a 1954 MAD paperback collection and on the actual magazine starting with Mad #21 (March 1955). Woodring pays homage to Alfred and all things MAD by having Alfred in the role of Zoltan the fortune teller. The fortune is a wry reference to MAD’s legendary fold-in back cover gags: “The Secret to Longevity is Not Folding In.” And, most fitting of all, is a 100th happy birthday wish to one of MAD’s greatest cartoonists: Al Jaffee, a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years, the longest run ever, including his trademark feature, the Mad Fold-in.
Back in December of last year, Jim Woodring let his friends on social media know just what he thought about getting to do a MAD Magazine cover:
“If anyone in a position to know had told me when I was a boy that I would one day do a cover for MAD magazine I would have died of self-satisfaction right on the spot. Issue #19, due out March 2021 from DC comics.”
Each issue of MAD is thoughtfully curated following a theme. The theme for this current issue is The Future:
MAD #19 – MAD PREDICTS THE FUTURE
Gaze into the wonders of tomorrow, courtesy of yesterday’s MAD! It’s our far-flung future issue, in which we look back at the shape of things to come, including parodies of time traveling sci-fi flicks “Back to the Future” and “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.” Plus, MAD examines prognosticators like astrology, palm reading, and, just for good measure, a little MAD E.S.P with birthday boy Al Jaffee for his 100th year on this planet, and some new outta this world art by Tom Richmond! We predict there will be a new Fold-In by Johnny Sampson too! Materializing in stores APR. 13th!
Get your copy by visiting MAD Magazine right here.
For those of you who follow the independent comics scene, you know that comic arts festivals are its lifeblood. And Short Run is essential. If you are in Seattle, come down to see Short Run at Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center on Halloween. The event is free and runs from 11 am -6 pm.
Be sure to keep up with Short Run as they will have other events planned beginning on Wednesday, October 28th. And, keep in mind that since this is taking place on Halloween, there will be plenty of treats for the kids.
I am thrilled to be a part of Short Run and I am excited to join in on all the fun. There will be more updates as we get closer to the main event and there will be a recap once the festivities have wrapped up for another year. For now, mark your calendar and plan on joining us at Short Run.
Miss Lasko-Gross has been creating comics since high school. A collection celebrating 20 years of her work, “Miss Lasko-Gross: Some Short Stories 1994-2014,” is available on comiXology. She has been published by Fantagraphics Books, A MESS OF EVERYTHING and the YALSA nominated ESCAPE FROM “SPECIAL.” Now, Lasko-Gross embarks on another storytelling adventure, HENNI, published by Z2 Comics, a new series of stories about rebellion.
HENNI is a young female in a fanciful world. She is an anthropomorphic character, a cat-like creature. In the same spirit as Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Jim Woodring, this is a strange, yet familiar world that Lasko-Gross has created. It’s a place that demands obedience and will not tolerate any questions. Well, Henni has a lot of questions to ask. She tries to maintain a low profile but she also knows that there’s a whole other world beyond her homeland’s gates and she is going to venture out. She does. And so Henni’s adventure begins.
It was a pleasure to get to chat with Lasko-Gross. We begin with thoughts on how her past work flows into her current work. We discuss the process of making comics. We talk about what it’s like to work alongside a spouse who is also an accomplished cartoonist, her husband, Kevin Colden (FISHTOWN; I RULE THE NIGHT). We also talk about her inclusion in the traveling exhibit, “Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women.” And we talk about working with the boutique graphic novel publisher, Z2.
Listen to the podcast interview right here:
“Henni” is a 168-page graphic novel and will be available in comic shops on January 6, 2015 and in bookstores on January 20. For more details, you’ll definitely want to visit Z2 Comics right here. Formerly known as Zip Comics, the newly launched Z2 Comics is run by Josh Frankel and is the place to find some of the most exciting comics available, including the work of Paul Pope and Dean Haspiel.
With characters and settings removed from everyday reality, Miss Lasko-Gross has set out with “Henni,” published by Z2 Comics, to tell a fable about faith in a most stripped down manner. Henni, our main character, like all the rest of the characters, is some sort of feline creature. She lives in something like a grim version of a Dr. Seuss world. The rules of society are cut and dry: obey and don’t ask questions. And, by all means, especially if you’re a female, follow orders. Your eye is directed to a graphic novel with a distinctive focus in a pared down surreal landscape.
You too will believe in all sorts of urban legends and myths once you’ve entered the world of comics genius Farel Dalrymple. Is “comics genius” too grand a thing to say about Dalrymple? Well, you need to trust me on this if you’re new to his work. There are so many beautiful and whimsical works of art and comics that he’s created that he’s earned a place of honor. He’s won a number of awards. His art is so compelling and energetic that Marvel Comics had him team up with esteemed writer Jonathan Lethem on a very special story, “Omega: The Unknown.”
Farel Dalrymple has been mining a certain fanciful strain of comics. Much in the way that Jim Woodring has tapped into his own unique hallucinatory vision, so has Dalrymple. It’s a world that respects the magic of childhood. It’s a world that is willing to take risks, is not afraid of being silly or odd, and is always seeking out those things that seem just out of reach.
“Delusional” is the book to get this holiday season or any season. It is a 232-page hardcover, priced at $24.95. Visit of friends at AdHouse Books.
If you want a graphic novel you can become hypnotized by, then look no further than Jim Woodring’s latest, “Fran.”
Without question, Jim Woodring is one of our greatest cartoonists. What he creates is right in the thick of what we all dream for in the world of graphic novels. He reaches that ideal of one creator with a singular vision. The world of Frank and Fran is Woodring’s surreal take on early animation.
Whether intended or not, those cartoons from the silent movie era pack a surreal wallop. Woodring has been conjuring up his own special magic for quite some time. He’s at the point where his creations have established, and even surpassed, the object of their homage.
In this latest book, Woodring delivers an extended romp that finds Fran and Frank on their wildest and most dangerous adventure yet.
As Comics Grinder dutifully continues to review books, the pile of options can get high, but never so high as to not acknowledge Jim Woodring and the mighty publishing house that is Fantagraphics Books.
This has been a challenging year for Fantagraphics with the loss of its cofounder, Kim Thompson. But fans love this publisher so much that they provide their support when needed. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that will allow for getting back on track, we can expect Fantagraphics to continue to publish the great work they do. “Fran” is emblematic of that work.
“Short Run” is a gathering of small press in Seattle with some added attractions this year. There’s the main event, the Short Run Small Press Festival at Washington Hall on Saturday, November 30, 2013. But, for those who want more, there’s plenty more starting with an event on November 1. Check out the Short Run website for details here.
It is always a delight to talk with fellow cartoonist and friend, Marc Palm. In this interview from Stumptown Comics Fest, in Portland last weekend (April 27-28), we joke around a bit, although both of us were pretty weary by then, as the festivities were drawing to a close that Sunday. Among the various places you can find Marc, try HERE.
Marc Palm is a cartoonist based out of Seattle. He is involved with the ongoing comics anthology, INTRUDER. And Mr. Palm will be busy this Saturday, Free Comic Book Day, over at Fantagraphics Bookstore in support of FREAK COMIC BOOK, a Fantagraphics mini that he’s a contributor in. So, if you’re in the Seattle area, you’re going to be busy too checking out your favorite local comics shops including, of course, Fantagraphics Bookstore.
From the Press Release:
“Fantagraphics Bookstore will issue an exclusive 16-page Freak Comic Book mini featuring a stellar cast of local alternative artists. Edited by Intruder contributor Marc Palm, the book includes new works by Max Clotfelter, Kelly Froh, Eroyn Franklin, Tom Van Deusen, Ben Horak, Darin Shuler, David Lasky, Aidan Fitzgerald, Pat Moriarity, John Ohannesian, Max Badger, and James Stanton. As May 4 is also Star Wars Day – (“May the Fourth Be With You”) – the mini concludes with touching tributes to Yoda by Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney, Jim Woodring, and Kazimir Stzrepek. Freak Comic Book is limited to 100 copies. Many of the contributing artists will be in attendance to sign their work.” FBI informant — with Max Badger Woodring, Jim Woodring, James Stanton, Peter Bagge, Ellen Forney – Cartoonist and Kazimir Strzepek at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery.