Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Comic Book Day

If you're anywhere near Ann Arbor on Free Comic Book Day (May 2nd), stop by Vault of Midnight and say hello. I'll be signing books, selling some odds and ends I'll be dragging out of the archives, and trying to remember where I got those great pancakes last time I was in town.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

All and Sundry Catalog Preview

A peek at the aforeposted All and Sundry collection (which will debut this summer at San Diego Comic-Con) is available in the down-loadable PDF of Fantagraphics Fall 2009 catalog. I've been diligently scanning dozens of sketchbooks over the past few weeks and will post a couple previews of the book sometime over the interim months: until then, there's this.

Eva Speer and the Gorgeous Amorphous

While in Portland installing my show at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, I was fortunate enough to see several of Eva Speer's amazing paintings and have wanted to recommend them here ever since. While the paintings and multimedia pieces are beautiful in small preview form, they're breathtaking when viewed in person. If you're in Portland, stop by the gallery and see if you can't pester Charles into showing you some of her work. It will be well worth the effort.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cubism in Underwear, With Dog

Thanks to Emily for passing along this online collection of great Picasso photographs, taken by David Douglas Duncan.

The portrait of Picasso seated in the rocking chair was on the walls of my college dorm room and first apartment, and is still in a drawer somewhere in my studio. And Duncan's Picasso Paints a Portrait has long been one of my favorite books showing an artist's process. It was a great pleasure revisiting these and seeing photos from this session that I'd never seen before.

Irish Men Mangling Names

If you want to hear two hilarious, just-exited-the-pub-with-exuberance Irish blokes talk about the recent re-release of Mother, Come Home (as well as a great dissection of comics based on The Muppet Show and The Twilight Zone), then make your way over to The Comic Cast podcast. You can download the podcast or listen online.

Frankly, these two could talk about the ingredients of asphalt and make it an enjoyable show.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Run Screaming From This Man (Both of Him)

No overdubbed Kirk poots can compete with this wingnut (1:08 is where the atrocity comes to fruition). Courtesy the ingenious Robert Popper, by way of the purveyors of the amazing blog youruddyguys.

(And lest your life be empty of the essentials, Youruddyguys also brings us the greatest bread/jazzercise video ever made:)

Your Monday Kirk Fart

Have a wonderful start to your week by letting science fiction characters relieve their gassy poems in your head holes.

Remember: the colon is God's french horn.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Death Comes to The Future

I'm a bit embarrassed to have learned about these guys via (the informative but usually musically sedate) Fresh Air, but I'll take good music any way I can get it. Proto-punk act Death has got to be one of the best bands history forgot, as evidenced by their unearthed tracks compiled by the Drag City release "For the Whole World to See".

Give a listen to their song "You're a Prisoner" and tell me this 1971 band wasn't ahead of their time. (Hint: you're wrong.)

(And for more about the band and how their musical body was exhumed, get yourself to this New York Times article.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Return of The Elephant Screening

If you're anywhere near Brown University this Saturday, stop in for a screening of director Max Grey's short film adaptation of Return of the Elephant as part of the Ivy Film Festival. The film is showing in the 10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. block of that day's scheduling. For more information about the films being shown and purchasing tickets, visit the festival's site.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The State Among Us

I would ask if this is a hoax, but given that you can now watch episodes on MTV's site, I'm assuming this is real. The State, one of the greatest sketch shows ever made, is finally making its way onto discs, into homes, and warping another generation of minds.

July 14th, 2009. There is hope after all. (Thanks to Emily for sending me the news, and making it a brighter day.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Society of Yonlu

I've been waiting to talk about this album until it hit stores. That day is finally here, so:

When I was approached last year to draw the album artwork for this, I'll admit that my initial interest stemmed from it (the album) being released on the David Byrne-founded label Luaka Bop. But it was the music that guaranteed my involvement: this is easily one of the best albums I've heard in years. The depth and maturity of these songs is staggering, and that they were produced by a boy in his middle teen years is humbling to anyone who's ever attempted to craft decent music. Almost no one is this good at this age.

The story behind Yonlu is a tragic loss: these songs are all that is left of the young musician. He committed suicide shortly after most of the songs were recorded. His work was excavated from his computer by his father, who released the album in Brazil. And now, this achingly beautiful collection has made its way here.

I would recommend this album wholeheartedly if I hadn't been involved with it at all. In fact, it is only because I feel so strongly about the album that I worked on it in the first place.

Before purchasing, feel free to go to the Yonlu page on Luaka Bop's site, where you can listen to tracks and see some of the artwork floating around, animated from the 16-page booklet I drew for the album (a sample of which is below).

Then do yourself a massive favor and purchase this album. Right now. Then buy it for a friend.

Everytime at the Same Place

Thanks to a link via Boing Boing, I've been admiring the work of photographer Peter Funch, who takes pictures at a single location over a period of time, then digitally composites figures (of a certain theme) from those various times. A simple concept with gorgeous results.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Super (Busy) Friends: Part 5

And finally in this multi-part thread: Anders Nilsen has a show – "Dirt and Grass" – opening this week at Home Gallery in Chicago. If you'll be in the area, be sure to visit the show: you're unlikely to find original art better than Anders'.

I'll be there gawking at his drawing like everyone else, and wondering how he had the time to put together his amazing individually-spraypainted books that were sent out with his invitations (and will be available at the opening).

Super (Busy) Friends: Part 4

Fellow Omega the Unknown graduate and longtime Pop Gun War proprietor Farel Dalrymple is featured this month on MySpace Dark Horse Presents, and, highlighting that fact, Comic Book Resources has a nice interview/article about Farel featuring a few images from the strip.

Stop in and give it a read (along with a short Joseph Lambert strip (whose work routinely impresses me)).

Super (Busy) Friends: Part 3

My friend and fellow Fantagraphics artist Leah Hayes will be touring through France at the end of April with her band Scary Mansion , so if you're a resident or find yourself sauntering through Basse-Normandie or the like, be sure to catch her act. Leah's is not a voice to miss. And her books and drawings are just as good.

Thanks to Eric at Fantagraphics for posting all the tour's specifics.

Super (Busy) Friends: Part 2

My buddy Jeff Zwirek has some adorable and insanely low-priced paintings of Star Wars characters (the real Star Wars movies, not those three trainwrecks that were barfed out later).

Greedo's my personal favorite, but at $15 a piece, you can pick up most of the cast.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Super (Busy) Friends: Part 1

It's often difficult for me to keep up with the various doings of my friends, especially given their (humbling) output. So, in light of recent links piling up, over the next day or so I'm doing a brief run through of sights/events of which you should avail yourself, at your earliest convenience. I vouch for each personally, though they all vouch for themselves with quality.

Now then, buddy plug number 1:

Count me jealous that my best pal in the world John Huston got to interview Thomas Lennon of the venerable and much-missed State and the always deliciously screwy Reno 911. You can read the interview on John's blog, which is a reliable source for quips, lunch, and that dying rarity called journalism.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Alien Landscapes

Emily just sent me a link to this gathering of gorgeous covers from the 1970's by Kazuaki Saito.

Beautiful. Thanks, Emily.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your Tuesday Tressy

I'm back in Chicago, back at the art board, and trying to scrub my brain of this trainwreck. Tressy, you've scarred me with that vacuum skull of yours.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Emerald City, Final Night

Today I'll spend the day with the various spandex and light saber adorned crowds of Emerald City Comicon, and will then retreat to the world of the Fantagraphics Bookstore, to sign books alongside the inimitable Stan Sakai and Jaime Hernandez. If you're in the Seattle area, I'll hope to see you at one event or another for the final night in this sprint of a northwest excursion.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Inkstuds, Insect Porn, and Vancouver's Economy

Thanks to everyone who braved the soggy Portland weather for the opening last night. It was a pleasure meeting you and seeing those that I don't see nearly often enough.

Today I (along with my as-of-yet-not-frightened-of-comics girlfriend) will head northward to Vancouver, to give a slideshow/reading at Lucky's.

Last night, through the wonder of pre-recording, I was both at the opening in Portland and on the airwaves in Vancouver, on the venerable Inkstuds radio show. You can listen to the conversation I had with host Robin McConnell (ranging from porn comics to Spiderman's costume to Fletcher Hanks to the economic crisis to Buck Rogers) on the Inkstuds site.

(I didn't realize I had made the same beaver pelt joke in this interview that I did on Guttersnipe. What a comedic faux pas (though in my defense this really was a running joke when I was working for a Canadian printing company, so it's an old standard for me).)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Opening Tonight: Art, Books, and Prints Galore

Tonight is the opening reception for Cloistered in Crowds at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art, featuring dozens of pages and covers from my books and various projects over the last seven years. I'll be there signing copies of the new hardbound edition of Mother, Come Home and trying to justify all the dejected characters on the surrounding paper.

We'll also have on hand the (above) signed and numbered, 14 x 14", five-color limited edition silkscreen produced for the show. The print's been pre-ordered online at a decent clip, so if you're not going to be at the show and want one, I'd highly recommend ordering now:

Click here to order the print via paypal.

While the gallery owner and installer were putting the show up, I signed and numbered these, and I have to say this is the nicest print in which I've ever had a hand. (A tip of the hat to Kristen Thiele who painstakingly registered and screened the design.)

If you're in Portland or the surrounding area, I'll hope to see you at the opening. If you're in Vancouver or Seattle, I'll see you in the next couple of days. Put on your best slacks and monocle.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Few Recent Ramblings

For the aforeposted gallery show and Pacific Northwest tour, I fielded the questions of The Oregonian and Guttersnipe. Steve Duin's piece for the Oregonian took more of the form of a career trajectory overview, Guttersnipe's more of my ramblings on pop junk. Take your pick. Guttersnipe's interview is in two parts: part one is here and part two is here.

I apologize to anyone offended by my offhand remarks on beaver pelts.

Setting Up the Cloistered

Here are a few before and after pictures of Charles (the gallery owner) and Mark (installation guru) setting up "Cloistered in Crowds," opening tomorrow at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. It probably speaks poorly of me that the most interesting aspect of the installation process was seeing the vinyl lettering applied to the wall (something I would have butchered horribly). But to anyone else the show will be, I hope, more exciting than the lettering.