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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nipper in Africa

Journalist Brad Mackay writes about his recent trip to Addis Ababa, where he gave this lucky boy a copy of Nipper.

I like how the book wins out over the TV set (Brad, we know this is staged, but I'd still like to believe he really did turn his back on the TV).

Doug Wright's wordless comics are especially relevant to kids anywhere in the world, although I imagine this boy is likely even more intrigued (baffled?) by the winter strips featuring snowball fights.

OK, you've done your work Brad. Now please keep him on the mailing list and send him the next volume, 1965-1966.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dan & Seth visited Montreal, and now we're all in a funk.

Was it really just a week ago that Dan and Seth visited Montreal. Sigh. Yes.

Wait a minute. That's not Dan and Seth, that's Julia and Julien at the sound check.

Oh there they are, backstage. Seth didn't find my "I only like living cartoonists" story funny. Dan did, though.

A 350+ crowd assembles outside.

Pascal and Rebecca arrive!

Backstage, more mugging for the camera with Jessica and Tracy.

The evening officially begins with the Chief delivering a great introduction on what Dan and Seth have each brought to the medium the past 25 years.

And the event begins, and as written about here, here and here, the "conversation" between Dan and Seth was fabulous. It was intimate, funny, personal and didn't venture into the usual straight chronological territory of most moderated discussions. My favorite part was when they reminisced about how in the old days being a "pro" at a convention was a huge deal, and now today how everyone is a pro. They spoke for over an hour!

And of course then they signed for much longer than they spoke. Look at that line! Dan commented the next day that every person said they were an "art student at Concordia," sounds about right.

The boys were troopers.

Dan and Seth didn't fly out the next day until 4:00, so we were able to spend some QT with them. First stop was the Canadian Centre for Architecture as their "Modernism in Miniature" seemed too perfect to not bring Seth to!

After that we headed over to the McGill campus for their annual used book fair, each of the fellas bought a book.

And we ended the day having a full staff lunch with Pascal Girard and Joe Ollmann! That's a lot of pizzas! (Note to self to move the recycling bin before taking a shot, sheesh!)

Seth tells a joke and has us all in stitches.

Tracy says "Too far, Seth"!

That look on Seth's face looks like disapproval, but that is his "this passes the muster" face.

And that's Dan's "your office is incredible" face.

What is Seth pointing out to Tom, Julia, Julien and Fiona?

Oh, you know, just the original artwork to Lynda Barry's masterpiece CRUDDY.

Smiles! That's what I want to see! Smiles! After this, I took Seth and Dan to catch their flight to Toronto. Our Montreal store has been opened for exactly four years to the month, an anniversary made more special with being able to host Dan and Seth, with all of our wonderful customers in attendance. Thanks to our customers, and most of all thanks to Seth and Dan for being the consummate professionals, good friends, and for being two of the most talented cartoonists of our era. It couldn't have gone better. Thank you.

Zombies Don't Sleep But....

but it looks like Brian Ralph's DAYBREAK is a sleeper hit. Not only did it make a showing on the New York Times Graphic Novel Bestseller list, he spoke to New York Magazine about what to do about the zombie apocalypse, it's received multiple high profile praise from the press. Let's begin:

"We're discussing the zombie apocalypse so much these days that I'd like to bring up one recent zombie book I truly love: Brian Ralph's Daybreak...It just might become your annual Halloween read."–Whitney Matheson, USA Today's Pop Candy.

"What could have been a storytelling stunt by writer/artist Brian Ralph is instead a storytelling tour de force by turns creepy and poignant...One of the best books of the year."–Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly

"[DAYBREAK] a fresh look at the comics medium and a story that ascends above the genre trappings. Great book."–Jeremy Nisen, Under The Radar

"Daybreak is an antidote to the grim, ultra-violent fare that passes for zombie literature. It’s post-apocalyptic, yes, but it’s an intelligent take on a genre that, funny enough, often lacks brains."–Mark Medley, National Post

"Ralph’s first-person approach is brilliantly cruel, locking us into the point of view of someone who says nothing and thinks nothing."–Noel Murray, AV Club

"Daybreak is fantastic. Ralph is all show and never tell, not bothering to “solve” the zombie plague or waste any space with long-winded exposition. The last two pages will leave you checking the locks on your bedroom door."–Alex Carr, Omnivoracious

"Daybreak is a rock-solid read, and many horror comics would do well to learn from its example."–Cyriaque Lamar, io9

Kate Beaton at the IFOA this weekend!

Dear Torontonians,

Did you know Kate Beaton would be in your fair city this weekend? You didn’t? Well, never fear, you can still buy tickets online for her IFOA talks, and if you hurry, you can hear her on CBC Radio's Q today at 10 am.

On Saturday October 29th at 4 pm in the Brigantine Room, she’ll be in conversation with Patricia Marx (staff writer for the New Yorker, former writer for Saturday Night Life, and the first woman elected to the Harvard Lampoon). Their talk is hosted by Globe and Mail reporter Siri AgrellBuy tickets here.

On Sunday, October 30th, also at 4 pm, but in the Studio Theatre, Kate will be reading from her work alongside Ken Babstock (Methodist Hatchet), Rodge Glass (Dougie’s War: A Soldier’s Story), and Joshua Knelman (Hot Art).  Danielle Groen, senior writer at The Grid, is hosting. Buy tickets here.

Kate Beaton on CBC Q with Jian Ghomeshi Today!

Kate Beaton is on CBC Q with Jian Ghomeshi today at 10:30 AM EST, tune in! Audio should be available online, will post!
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vote For Louis Riel in Canada Reads!

Here's your chance to make a difference! Vote for the first Canadian graphic novel to turn the medium on its head in Canada and become the country's frist graphic novel bestseller, as well invigorate the biographical comic genre around the world. Vote for the book that made people around the world understand just who is Canada's folk hero -- Louis Riel!


Polls close Sunday at midnight!

Lynda! Barry! Woot! Woot!

Lynda Barry is in the NY Times Magazine, plugged on the front of the website! Because we all need a little Lynda Barry magic right now. And Dan Kois Provides a "Lynda Barry Starter Kit" of what books you should read here.

Interns are awesome -- Swedish edition! {slash food blog edition.}

Goodbye, Clara! It seems like only one month ago that you came into our lives and now you head back to New York to live in that house that is like some sort of grubby Brooklyn version of Midnight in Paris. Farewell. {All food prepared by D+Q employees in their immaculate kitchens. We were going to get wine to celebrate Lynda's NYT magazine profile but come on people it's not a Friday over here.}

D+Q Employees of Yesteryear, PT 2

Former store employee Matt Shane (along with his BFF/soul sister Jim Holyoak) has an ongoing drawing installation up at the Musée d'Art Contemporain here in Montreal, up until early January. Matt left D+Q a few years ago to pursue an MFA at Concordia, and now, two years (?) later, he's in the Quebec Triennial! Congratulations!

(Jim and Matt on a chair)


Just in time for Lynda's new book BLABBER BLABBER BLABBER which will be in stores next week, Dan Kois profiles Lynda for the New York Times Magazine this Sunday. Kois visits one of Lynda's creative workshops, interviews not only Lynda but her students. It's great piece into what makes someone as singular as Lynda tick; what she asks of students; how she praises them and what Lynda gets out of the classes, which may be of interest to students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison next Spring where Lynda will be an artist in residence.

Also: good bits about Bill Keane and Jonathan Franzen. Franzen? Read on people and be sure to buy BLABBER next week. The world is so lucky to have Lynda Barry in our midst. From everyone at D+Q, Lynda, you are the best badass in the whole world and don't ever forget it!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where Are They Now. D+Q employees of yesteryear.

Former librairie D+Q director Rory Seydel, now part of Pat Jordache on the fashion pages of New York Magazine. (lower left)

Former production staffer Claire Boucher, forever known in the office as "the intern who floated down the Mississippi on a boat called 'Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron'" now is better known as Grimes and interviewed here.

Calling Paris Hilton, Jillian Tamaki has your number.

At the Hairpin.

Dear Jillian Tamaki,

I eagerly await the day you answer my email about doing a needlepoint cover for my Gilmore Girls/Joan of Arcadia (not "slash", come on, people!!) fan-fic novel. Until that time I will enjoy these wonderful Penguin Threads covers you've made. Sincerely, Tom Devlin.

Seth to get his actual award this week! All things Seth.

Seth shared with Time.com his five favorite things.

The Toronto Star checked in the Guelph cartoonist to see how he's handling the fame from the Harbourfront Award he won, but the actual ceremony will be this Friday.

Time Out New York states about The Great Northern Brotherhood: "Seth fills his nine-panel grids with charm and warmth; the tone, which at first seems slight, reveals itself to be gently, enchantingly evocative."

Publishers Weekly states in a starred review: "By the time Seth threatens to pull the rug out from under you, he has you convinced that such a golden era of popular success and imagination could have existed; more important, he convinces you that it should have. "

BANG! D+Q Lands Two Books on the NY Times Graphic Novel Bestseller list.

We have been so busy, we haven't had time to celebrate that on last weeks' New York Times Graphic Novel Bestseller List, we had two titles! Woot woot! Hark a Vagrant at #3 and The Death-Ray at #4. Congrats Kate and Dan! job well done.

I went to Iowa for a Comics Conference, not a convention.

I went to the University of Iowa in early October for the Comics, Creativity and Culture Conference and had a great time.

The conference was co-organized by Dr. Ana Merino, a friend of almost everyone in alternative comics, and a friend I hadn't seen in person in about 8 years. Here she is with one of her many fabulous dress coats.

Ana with the sweetest and smartest guy in comics, Jeet Heer. And here's the thing about this conference. I saw people I haven't seen in years, as well as people I may have seen more recently but haven't ever spent more than five haggard minutes with shouting across a table at a busy loud convention, Jeet included.

Case in point: Dr. Charles Hatfield. Charles adopts all of our books, writes about our comics, but I have never spoken to him outside of San Diego Comicon ever. Behind him is John P.

Besides seeing people, one of the reasons why I was excited to go to Iowa City was to visit the evergreen bookstore Prairie Lights.

It did not disappoint, here is the display for the visiting authors, right in the middle of the store.

A face-out, not spine-out, graphic novel section? What the heck?

Now, I have been in enough bookstores to know that a face-out well-organized thoughtful graphic novel section is the work of what we call "a comics mole." After introducing myself to the staff, I find out that the comics guy at Prairie Lights is Terry Cain, who kindly told me that Paying For It sells well there. Umm, glad to hear it!

But back to the conference, the first thing I did was head over so I could see the panel with “Comics Pedagogy: Teaching the Making of Comics” featuring Jessica Abel, James Sturm and John Porcellino. It was a well thought-out panel as each participant brought a different perspective to teaching comics.

James hams it up by drawing. Hey, shake what your momma gave ya is what I always say.

Can we talk about Sturm for a second? This man is amazing. He gave me a run-down of his what he's up to list, and it was more insane than that time in the San Diego Airport he told me that he wanted to start a comics school that was the equivalent of the Iowa Writers Workshop, full circle anyone? Also this photo is by Phoebe Gloeckner. Say whaaaat?

Yes, that's right, one of the most enigmatic and charming people in comics, Phoebe Gloeckner, was there. Sadly, though, she arrived and left before the weekend started. Luckily, it just barely timed out that she was able to meet Joe Sacco, whom she had never met before. Phoebe and I did have time to go shopping together though.

And the three of us were able to have lunch and it was love at first sight for Joe and Phoebe.

Well, it's always about the love with Joe. That's the little known thing about the acclaimed war journalist. I've known this guy since my first few months at DC Comics, and I will always adore him! He knows how to make a lady feel special! Comics fellows take note!

After lunch, we were just barely able to get a photo of Phoebe with Gilbert, Jaime and Gary, all of whom she hadn't seen in years. I guess Phoebe had something important to do like attend her brother's wedding so that she couldn't stay the weekend. Until Brooklyn, Phoebe, until Brooklyn.

OK, maybe I'm jaded but when they said it was time to go see the comics exhibit, I wasn't that enthused. Hey I'm married to Tom, I work with Tom, and our home (and life) is brimming with comics art, and I've seen a lot of comics exhibits.

I WAS WRONG! It was a complete overview of comics from the early 20th century through now.

None of the medium's major milestones were missed.

I know what you are thinking: this all seems pretty fancy, so why did they invite me? For the panel “Preservation and Presentation: The Art and Business of Comics Publishing” with me, Gary Groth and Craig Yoe. The thing about Gary is that I always enjoy being on a panel with him. And another thing about Gary, he likes his cartoonists living and dead, whereas Craig likes them dead, and I like them living. Oh you had to be there. Sidenote: I have decided to start a Gary Groth tumblr page in hopes that one day a bad photo of Gary may be posted to it. Not only does Gary not age, it's utterly impossible to get a bad photo of Gary.

Here's, another thing about Iowa. I was able to attend the programming. Not stuck slinging books behind ye olde booth. I have never seen Joe speak before. He was great, but of course! Spoke to a full house who hung on his every word.

After Joe's event, we stopped by the local comics shop Daydream Comics to meet the staff. Kidding.

We really stopped by Daydream so Jaime and Gilbert could check out the new 52. Not kidding.

I guess better Wonder Woman than that neverending kerfuffle we'll never stop hearing about. OMG! DC Comics hates women! Yawn. Tell me something I didn't know firsthand.

Daydream has a door that they let "pros" draw on.

James visited the day before and drew Green Arrow Or Green Hornet Or Green Lantern. I know, 4 years of being a superhero publicist and NOTHING retained!

Yeah, it was a pretty awesome trip for all involved.

If I were to say that Friday night ended in my hotel room and that Gary, Jaime and Joe all got kicked out by security would that sound scandalous? (See what I mean about Gary? Flawless!) Yes? It does sound scandalous? Well then it didn't happen. And there's no video, so don't ask.

OK, how do you follow up the standing room only Friday night headliner with Joe Sacco? Oh, just have Dr. Corey Creekmur (conference co-organizer and exhibit co-curator) do possibly the best job ever in moderating a conversation with the Hernandez Brothers. Seriously, I would pay to have Corey fly with my authors on tour to moderate every conversation. Meanwhile, the brothers were no slouches either, being warm, funny, honest and open.

Here's another co-organizer the charming friends-at-first-sight Professor Rachel Williams with Luis Humberto Crosthwaite.

Here's Ana with Los Bros.

After the event, we were able to unwind. Supposedly this is the moment that Jeet and Gary spoke about Clint Eastwood. Supposedly. (See what I mean about Gary? The Curious Case of Gary Groth...)

Oh to be a fly on that brick wall.

My last lucid memory of Saturday night was of Dr. Bart Beatty (another person I had never been able to talk longer than five minutes to). Dr. Craig Fischer, Dr. Charles Hatfield and Jeet politely listen to Bart expound on this theory of hmmm, what was it again? The mafia? The Comics Code? And Marilyn Monroe? And probably some Rockefeller US and Standard Oil thrown in. Just joking (not), whatever they were talking about was probably just too smart for me. God bless them. And damn you never can take a bad photo Gary Groth.

So just how great was this visit? Well, I think the fact that I got bumped up to first class was wholly indicative of what a first class event this was. Thank you to all of my hosts at the University of Iowa and fellow guests, I very much enjoyed your company and conversation. Until we meet again.


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