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Monday, May 30, 2011

Ladies and Gentleman! HARK! A VAGRANT!

Very exciting! Kate just finalized the cover for her book this Fall HARK! A VAGRANT, in stores in October! How gorgeous is this cover!
Saturday, May 28, 2011

I blame Inu Yasha

Not Popeye, Moomin, or Krazy and Ignatz for all those pregnant teens. {Still from the "Cleondra" (pictured) episode of MTV's Sixteen and Pregnant.}
Friday, May 27, 2011

Holy Smokes! Buy a piece of original JIMMY CORRIGAN art by Chris Ware!

Talk about a rare opportunity! It seems that Mr. Ware has graciously donated a piece of original artwork from the acclaimed "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth", to benefit the Intercultural Montessori Language School in Oak Park, Illinois. And not only that, Chris will sign and personalize it to the lucky winning bidder. The ebay auction is going on for nine days and right now it is already at $809.

Last Chance...

to win a copy of Constructive Abandonment!!!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Matty's on Fire

Oh, wait? Was I not supposed to mess with his name? Matt Forsythe spent all last winter slaving away illustrating a kids' book, My Name is Elizabeth!, about a little gal who likes her name just how it is. It debuted with a splash at BookExpo America, where Kirkus Reviews named it one of the top 26 books at BEA. But you can read all this on Mattrick's blog, where you can also see more images from the book. The colour is incredible, contrasting perfectly with his sensual stitched lines.

Congratulations, Matt. Now stop celebrating and get back to work on Jinchalo. I've got interns queued up to start scanning that thing.

Do I really need to remind you about Leanne's column?

Well, it is here and it is beautiful.

"The Single Most Cosmopolitan Cartoonist I’ve Ever Met"

TCJ has posted this wonderful interview with R.O Blechman by Jeet Heer. Of course it doesn't hurt that it begins by talking up our beloved chief and Blechman's Talking Lines, but it also goes on to provide a fascinating portrait of twentieth century art, illustration and animation including mentions of James Thurber, Gene Deitch, Maurice Sendak, The New Yorker, McCarthy, etc, etc, etc.

HEER: I don’t know how familiar you are with Drawn & Quarterly, but their other books are all very nice physical objects. I think that’s where Chris Oliveros really distinguished himself.


HEER: All the books by Seth and many other cartoonists are all really beautiful objects.

BLECHMAN: But my experience with him is that he is a first-rate editor. He was very involved in the selection of pieces, and sometimes he did things that I would never think of. For example, the very last piece in the book I thought would be “Georgie.” Which is a dark piece. So Chris thought, “Hey, let’s bring the reader up a little bit” so he thought to include…

HEER: “Looking in the Mirror”?

BLECHMAN:: Yes, it’s nice, because number one, it’s autobiographical. And number two, there’s a little humor and lightness which God knows the reader would like [Heer laughs] after having gone through the harrowing adventure of this poor dog.

HEER: Yeah, that’s right.

BLECHMAN: It’s typical of how Chris has been very instrumental in the shaping of this book.

HEER: Yes. I totally agree. It’s interesting. There’s another magazine that was doing a profile of Drawn & Quarterly and of Chris. I told the interviewer that Chris really sort of harkens back to the older style of editors who really creates a list and really does a lot just in terms of selecting stuff and by editing his list. He reminds me of James Laughlin who did New Directions.

BLECHMAN:: Oh, wow.

HEER: You know, like that sort of publisher.

BLECHMAN: My hero. I love New Directions. I was about to say, I think Chris is the Maxwell Perkins of the graphic novel industry. He, again, was extraordinarily helpful and I must say, I resisted this cover because I thought it was so Steinbergian. But I’m so glad that, finally, it was produced. It only happened because I couldn’t come up with my own design. I love to do design work, but I couldn’t think of anything better than that.

Hey, John P does another great tour diary (this time CANADA!!)

You should really go here and read all four parts. I swear John knows Montreal better than I do.

Ron Rege on the TeeVee

Okay, well, it's not actually Ron but it's Ron's artwork as set design on bandmate Becky Stark's new Readymade tv show. Oh, and who is that with Becky with his own little Ron Rege hand-lettered sign? Why just the greatest character actor since Karl Malden!! That's who!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The NY Times Reviews PAYING FOR IT

Oh boy where do we begin with this awesome review of PAYING FOR IT in today's New York Times? Maybe with "it delivers a series of moral and cerebral and horndog thwacks. It will stick in your mind and perhaps in your craw. It’s a real if squeamish-making work of art."

Or as pointed out by Jeet Heer to Dan Nadel, this gem: "the women tend to look lovely, while Mr. Brown — with his tight, unsmiling mouth; bald head; and long, thin body — resembles a praying mantis with testicles" which turns the tables on the dehumanizing criticism we have heard.

Or, how about how the review ends with a comparison of Chester Brown to philosopher Martha Nussbaum? Are you still reading this blog post? Why go read the review!

And for anyone needing a recap, here's a recap on PAYING FOR IT:

"Trust us when we say you’ve never seen a graphic novel quite like cartoonist Chester Brown’s PAYING FOR IT."—Angela Ashman, VILLAGE VOICE

"Best book I read: I just read Chester Brown's new graphic novel, PAYING FOR IT, in which he recounts his experiences paying for sex. I'm not sure what I learned, but it's a compelling read,"—Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY's Pop Candy

"Brown's latest work is a fascinating"—Mark Frauenfelder, BOING BOING

"PAYING FOR IT is, at its cool, affectless heart, an argument for a deeply unpopular position, and as such it seems destined to become one of the most controversial memoirs of the year, graphic or otherwise. [...] It's never less than absorbing to note the way an excellent and deeply thoughtful cartoonist like Brown frames his assertions and employs his skill at visual storytelling to argue his point."—Glen Weldon, NPR's Monkey See

"PAYING FOR IT: A Comic-Strip Memoir About Being a John is garnering international attention, both for its provocative subject matter, but also for the sensitive and thoughtful way it is explored."—Jian Gomeshi, CBC Q

"There is a commendable honesty [in PAYING FOR IT], to be sure: a kind of downbeat, detached naturalism."—Naomi Fry, THE COMICS JOURNAL

"Off-puttingly great."—NEW YORK MAGAZINE

"It is a testament to Brown’s accomplishment as a cartoonist that such heady stuff remains compelling reading, each thought progressing mathematically to the next. "—Sean Rogers, THE WALRUS

"One could argue that PAYING FOR IT is a very good book about prostitution but an amazing work about adult friendships and turning 40... Chester Brown remains now and forever a magnificent cartoonist, and in PAYING FOR IT his comics should make all sorts of readers from all sorts of points of view consider arguments they may never have given the time of day otherwise."—Tom Spurgeon,THE COMICS REPORTER

"Chester Brown is a cartoonist I’ve followed, with admiration and occasional perplexity, for two decades now....The tone [of PAYING FOR IT] is tantalizingly intimate and detached."—Ed Park, The TORONTO STANDARD

"Ultimately, a polemic's job is to make a case to a reader, and Paying does."—Paul Constant, THE STRANGER

"Smart, unflinchingly honest, frequently funny, occasionally charming – and chock-full of nudity."—James Adams, GLOBE AND MAIL

"Chester Brown is unusually candid about his experiences in the Toronto sex industry, which he chronicles in a darkly humorous and painfully honest new graphic memoir, PAYING FOR IT. The 50-year-old is one of the world’s foremost cartoonists, and Paying For It is among the most anticipated comics of the year."—Mark Medley, NATIONAL POST

"First and foremost, it’s an exploration and justification of prostitution as a logical option between consenting adults. But it also plays out as a tricky tale of unromantic love: a heartfelt argument against the ingrained cultural trappings of romance, and a fierce defence of the often overlooked joys of other forms of love (such as platonic, filial, interpersonal)."—Brad Mackay, GLOBE & MAIL

"PAYING FOR IT, cartoonist Chester Brown's memoir in comic strips about being a john, is — well, asking for it. The word controversial doesn't begin to describe this remarkably frank...book. [A] body-and-soul-baring memoir that is sure to stimulate strong reactions."—Heller McAlpin, NPR's Book We Like

"Brown’s subject is inherently fascinating—who’s not a little curious about other people’s sex lives?—and his cartooning skills are as sharp as ever. "—Noel Murray, THE ONION AV Club

"Unexpected humour extends to Brown's hooking-related discussions with his friends and exes, which form the memoir's philosophical heart."—Chris Randle, NATIONAL POST

"Any readers who thought they had stumbled on simply an offbeat chronicler of Canadian history are in for a big surprise indeed when they see Brown's follow-up."—Ian McGillis, THE GAZETTE

"A compelling look into one man's history of employing prostitutes as a replacement for romantic love, this graphic novel is sure to create controversy."—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"[A]restrained yet revelatory account of an intelligent but emotionally stunted man defiantly rejecting societal norms. Likely to be as controversial as it is fascinating."—Gordon Flagg, BOOKLIST

"PAYING FOR IT remains a compelling, even occasionally hilarious book. It’s a difficult work in some respects in that while there is material here that will encourage serious, healthy debate."—Chris Mautner, COMIC BOOK RESOURCES

"PAYING FOR IT, which features a number of sometimes heated conversations between Brown and his friends about prostitution, as well as a series of exhaustive, informative appendices, is very much a didactic book. That's not a slander—its didacticism is one of the book's strongest attributes. And, once read, I can't think of a single reason why any thoughtful person would dismiss it, regardless of how firm their feelings are on the subject."—Josef Bruan, VUE WEEKLY

"PAYING FOR IT is unflinching in its honesty (and adult content), and yet once the voyeuristic allure wanes, what remains is a frank, convincing look at a lifestyle that few readers will recognize."—Alex Carr, OMNIVORACIOUS

"Above all else, PAYING FOR IT is brilliant Chester Brown autobiography, absolutely, completely honest. And in that honesty comes a great deal of humour. Brown is tentative, nervous and so completely socially inept that it’s actually funny."—FORBIDDEN PLANET

"[PAYING FOR IT ] is a startling, honest memoir examining Brown's scrupulously reasoned decision to reject the entire notion of romantic love and employ prostitutes to satisfy his sexual needs."—Randall King, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

And more:
TORO MAGAZINE with William Morassutti

NATIONAL POST with Mark Medley

ONION A.V. CLUB with Noel Murray

MACLEANS with Nicolas Kohler

CHICAGO READER reviewed by Noah Berlatsky


MONTREAL MIRROR with Matthew Hays



TORONTO STAR with Vit Wagner

BOING BOING with Mark Frauenfelder (audio)

WFMU's TOO MUCH INFORMATION with Benjamen Walker (audio)


XTRA TORONTO with Jonathan Valelly

THE DAILY by Zach Baron

And let me leave with these two gems, with Fanny Kiefer of Vancouver's Studio 4 asking the hard questions to Chester:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Oh, for Cripes Sake!!

I like to think that this is a classic example of how little most people care about comics. What is the number one Graphic Novel on Amazon right now? Why it is the AUDIO BOOK for Stieg Larsson's latest book. Wheeee!! Sorry, Chester. Sob.

A look at The Wrong Place and interview with Brecht Evens

Over at TCJ.com, Sophie Yanow comes through with a pretty thorough look at Brecht Evens and The Wrong Place. And then she corners him and grills him about the life of an enfant terrible. Well, not exactly. It's a great interview, yes, indeed. Sophie asks the good questions and Brecht is a thoughtful interviewee.

Someone please buy me...

these Big Questions trading cards!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


And our friend Jeff Hamada over at Booooooom! (one of my favourite art blogs) has some to give away!

MTV has some videos of your favorite artists!

Brecht (sitting in the rafters of the Armory during this years' MOCCA) tells us how he arrived at his current atyle.

Vanessa (at WonderCon) reacts well to my forgetting to tell her MTV was coming by.

Pascal charms everyone with that delightful accent of his.

Joe has a lot of information to pack in.

Sniff, Goodbye, Me Lassie (Big Questions HC edition)

Do they say "lassie" in Ireland? Oh, who knows. I'm safe on this one. Today is Julie's last day interning here. What is she doing? Scanning the intro to Lynda Barry's next book, Everything, for one. What else? Oh, she is just holding BIG QUESTIONS (special limited hardcover edition). Finally I got a pic of the spine. Look at that thing!! IT-IS-THICK!
Friday, May 20, 2011

BIG QUESTIONS hc stops by Le Pickup

Anders, when you come back to Montreal you must stop by Le Pickup for the veggie pulled pork. Amazing. I defy you to be able to tell the difference from the real thing. Okay, okay. We've sung the praises before. Enough, I say. So we stopped by the other day to pick up some sammiches for Chris' b-day celebration and co-owner/operator Penny kindly modeled BIG QUESTIONS for us! Thanks, Penny. People this book is limited to 1000 copies and it's coming your way in July/August. Don't worry there will also be an affordable softcover version.

Big Questions hc at Phonopolis

Let's stop by Phonopolis and visit our pal Nathan Gage. Phonopolis is the new and used record store right next to the Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore. I just sold some Smiths 12-inches and Pussy Galore rekkids there the other day so you should hustle on over.

Big Questions goes for a stroll

Oh, here the Big Questions Hardcover is with Billy Mavreas and Emilie O'Brien at their store/gallery Monastiraki. Go here if you are ever in Montreal people. Right now Billy has a great showing of his giant "erased"/"smudged" pencil drawings. My favorite Billy art so far.

Looks like I need to take some pictures showing just how thick this book is. Soon. And some previews can be seen here.

Big Question Hardcover

So we got a single bound edition of the Big Questions Hardcover in the office today so I thought I would take it out into the world. Show it around. Introduce it to the neighborhood. And while we were out, guess who we ran into--Alec Longstreth! What?!?! When he saw how thick the book is he broke down sobbing and said "I'll never get rid of this beard!!"

Cleaning Day

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where the magic happened

On a drizzly day last Saturday, Tom Devlin, John Porcellino, and I accompanied Chester Brown back to Chateauguay, the suburb just outside of Montreal where he grew up. It's always a funny feeling revisiting a childhood home, but it's an added bonus when that home and the surrounding neighborhood happen to have been the setting for Chester's classic books The Playboy, I Never Liked You, and the title story in The Little Man.

Here's Chester in front of his house in The Playboy and below 40 years later...

Oh, if they only knew... If the current occupants of the house happened to be peering through their curtains at that moment, they may have recognized Chester from the article that ran in the local paper that morning. Tee hee.

As Chester tells it, the houses and buildings in The Playboy were drawn from memory. Here's the church where Chester first gets the idea of buying Playboy....

And speaking of, we visited the strip mall at least a mile away from his house where Chester drove his bike to buy that first Playboy.

The original store is long gone, but we all stopped for lunch at a restaurant at the far end of the mall that is still around (although it looks like everything was "updated" around 1986 or so).

Here, the failed Libertarian candidate talks to us at length about his belief that all schooling, on any level, is pointless and that society would be better off if people just apprenticed for employment. Tom and John P give each other bemused looks as they both try to figure out how to steer the conversation back to comics.

Chester took us to another mall, a place where he used to go to each week to buy comic books. That store is also gone, but Chester took us to the spot where it all happened.

Tom tried to take the same photo a minute later, but the mall security guard quickly put a quash on it.

Visiting Chester's elementary school, down the road from his house...

The same school circa 1970, from The Little Man.

The combination of all the comics talk and a visit to the suburbs brought back a flood of memories for both Tom and John P.

Here they both commiserate about the pre-"direct market" days where the only place you could buy comics was at your local convenience store. Tom: "They had X-Men #99 and #101, but they never bothered ordering #100. And once you missed #100, there was no way back then that you could get your hands on it." John P nods in agreement.

Here's the Mercier Bridge...

The scene, a few decades earlier, of where Chester's mom had this frank talk with her boys...

Later that evening, Chester is on stage and in the spotlight at the D+Q store...

...where he has a SRO crowd in the palm of his hands, listening to every word.

Seattle, meet Chester Brown

Pull on your polar fleeces and break out your umbrellas, Seattle; it's time to go see Chester Brown at Elliott Bay! (all right, well, in a few hours)

This event is not-to-be-missed! Not only has it been a number of years since Chester was out there, but his presentation is wonderful. Our event was so packed that we had to turn away people at the door, and Chester was getting a laugh a minute. Most interesting, though, might have been the Q+A section, during which Chester treated all the questions with equal candor, thoughtfulness and humour. Here are the deets:

May 19th, 8:00 pm
The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue

Also, can I just take a minute to talk about how much I love Elliott Bay? When I lived in Victoria, I used to visit Seattle in no small part so that I could go there and marvel at its breadth of subject and well-curated book selection. I bought the first issue of The Believer there long after I'd lost all hope of ever owning it. So, go! Watch Chester and buy your out-of-print McSweeney's publications!

I love that Jeet Heer (AS A FRIEND!)

Jeet has some great notes on Paying For It over at TCJ.com. I like these "notes" features of Jeet's where we see him work out some ideas for later pieces. I daresay it might be my favorite writing of his.

The downside of this piece though is that I can't get the image of Jeet cuddling out of my mind. Thanks, Chester. I blame you!! I don't want to imagine anyone in comics cuddling!! Only cast members from Battlestar Galactica.

Oh, wait, the real reason I brought this up? Jeet has a handy link to Chester's zombie comic from a couple of years ago. I never read this and am happy to find it all in one place.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Step up, Lars!

Hitting stores now is our SIXTH volume of our best selling Moomin series. I think these books caught us all by surprise--even longtime fans of Tove's chapter books didn't expect the strips to be so well done. And they really are a blast.
Initially, we only planned to do the five volume Tove set but as time went on and we received more and more requests to continue into the Lars books we thought, "well, we should read these Lars strips and see what everyone is talking about." And you know what, they really are great comics too. Has there ever been an instance of a family member taking over a comic strip and doing a solid job of it? Not the typical story behind legacy strips at all. But Lars' strips really are fun. They are kind of more adventure focused than Tove's but lack none of her satirical and iconoclastic edge. I do think his first couple of strips he did with Tove showed him getting a handle on how to write a comic but by the time he takes over writing and drawing in volume 6, he's really got it together.
More great comics out in the world!

PAYING FOR IT launches in Vancouver tonight!

This is tonight!! At 7 pm!! Hurry on down to the Vancouver Public Library to see Chester's amazing presentation. The launch for Paying for It will take place in the Alice MacKay room on the lower level of the Central Library.

He'll be reading from Paying for It, answering questions, and signing books. I've seen Chester in action and y'all are in for a treat: he's incredibly patient, friendly, and easygoing, with thoughtful responses to all sorts of questions.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kevin Huizenga and Frank King

Kevin Huizenga never ceases to amaze me. Somehow his work always manages to tie together seemingly disparate elements into a cohesive tapestry of insight with emotional and intellectual resonance.

He also manages to subtly include references that only become apparent later. For instance, I had no idea that his page in Kramer's 7 and Ganges 3 were tributes to Frank King. You can read all about it on his blog.

Ever Wonder...

Who maintains Neil Farber and Michael Dumontier's huge archive?

Monday, May 16, 2011

At last: The Death-Ray!

It's Monday; it's raining; it's incredibly windy; my umbrella was in one piece when I left my house this morning--now it's in two; and for some reason the AC is blasting in the office. There was nothing good about today. NOTHING. Then ye old FedEx delivery man (who is a spitting image of my father) walked in and everything changed. Inside his blessed box was something we've all been waiting eagerly to grasp between our icy--literally and figuratively--fingers: Dan Clowes's The Death-Ray! Voila:

We all know Clowes is a genius, and nowhere does this show more than in The Death-Ray. The Fall 2011 hardcover features spot-varnish, and some pretty 'dope' endpapers/front matter which you'll have to wait to see yourselves. In the meantime, don't forget this stunning spread:

And here's awesome intern Jules holding a copy. She's been here for months now but for some reason she hadn't made the blog yet. (Sorry, Jules! It was an honest mistake!) The cool thing about Jules (amongst many) is that she's Irish. It's nice having an accent around the office (and it might be why she got the job). Jules: Please keep on saying crazy things I've never heard before and will never fully understand.

Back on track: The Death-Ray will hit stores this October, so don't get too excited yet. Watch this space for more details as we get closer to the release date.

And I'm off now to have a hot bath in the bathroom sink. I'm sure I'll fit.

Edit: Here's a great photo set (via the Comics Reporter) of Clowes's exhibit at Fumetto.

Happy Birthday Chester Brown! (You've done it again!)

Today is Chester's birthday and for those of you in Vancouver you can check him out today on Studio 4 on Shaw TV. He has two more tour stops this week, Wednesday in Vancouver at the VPL and then Thursday in Seattle at Elliott Bay. Chester was in Montreal this past weekend and spoke to a SRO crowd at the Librairie over 100 people, and signed books until midnight. I have to say, that his slide show is a do not miss presentation that adds a whole new dynamic to the book. So anyone in the NW, I would say to you: DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SEE CHESTER DO HIS SLIDE SHOW.

And the debate is raging on about PAYING FOR ITon NPR's facebook page from their Friday afternoon post of a review of the book, 400 "likes" and close to 400 comments! The book spent most of the weekend as the #1 graphic novel on a certain e-retailer. Never one to pander and always only answering to himself, it would appear that Chester has take the graphic auto-bio genre and turned it on its head, confirming his status as one of comics' true iconoclasts.
Saturday, May 14, 2011

SPX in Stockholm

Man, I am so jealous of Trevor, Vanessa, Gabrielle, Eric, Dash, Brett, and Chris. Off to Stockholm for a comic convention while I drove 25 hours round trip to T-dot. Okay, TCAF was awesome. Next year, Stockholm!! I'm coming for you!

Vanessa has a nice photoset up on Flickr. Check it!!


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