He is angry because Salman Rushdie uses Twitter, and nowadays people can buy books on the Internet, and the Home Depot, and he had to go to Germany one time, and also some women exist who have not had sex with him.
During our three-week-plus blogging absence, one of the events we failed to note was the demise of one of the unsung pop-culture greats, Samuel W. Petrucci. A logo and packaging designer, he worked on everything from the Charleston Chew candy wrapper to a Lassie lunch box. But he’s best known for the logo and box art on the original G.I. Joe dolls, often using himself as a model for Joe’s face. His daughter Lisa Petrucci is a prominent local “pop surrealist” painter and co-owner of Something Weird Video.
charter construction via ronald holden, cornichon.org
Gosh, has it really been more than three weeks since I’ve done this? Time flies when you’re desperately looking for paying work (i.e., absolutely not “for the exposure”).
We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.
satoshi kon's 'paprika' (2006); via film.com
…The success of the avant-garde marks its failure. This is not news. We’ve been domesticated, no matter how fantastic and provocative we might be, into just one niche culture among many. We’re fun, and good, and even progressive, but all the rest of it is fantasy.
tacoma news tribune
…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.
the reason stick at blogspot
Known for decades as a cranky reactionary political commentator, you might find it hard to believe he’d started as a Seattle Times art and theater reviewer.
There, and later as managing editor at the P-I, he regularly advocated for the “fine arts” as a civilizing force, a means toward furthering the region’s progress from frontier outpost to respectable conservative community.
When the Seattle World’s Fair ended, Guzzo famously editorialized that the fair grounds (to become Seattle Center) should be devoted entirely toward arts/cultural pursuits. He specifically did not want any amusement-park rides there. He lived to see them finally removed.
One of Guzzo’s closest allies in this education-and-uplifting ideology was Dixy Lee Ray, who ran the Pacific Science Center. He later worked for Ray at the Atomic Energy Commission and during her one term as Washington Governor.
After Ray was primaried out of a re-election bid in 1980, Guzzo became a regular commentator on KIRO-TV. That’s where, in 1986, he delivered a blistering attack against greasy-haired, anti-social punk rockers. (The motivation was the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance, which Guzzo supported.)
In response, a local hardcore combo called the Dehumanizers released a blistering attack on him, in the form of a 45 entitled “Kill Lou Guzzo” (which began with a sample of Guzzo’s original commentary). Guzzo sued the band and its record-label owner David Portnow. Portnow responded by pressing more copies.
After retiring from KIRO at the end of the 1980s, Guzzo started a “voice of reason” website and self-published several books.
When you tell someone with depression that they should maybe try harder to be happy, it’s essentially like telling a diabetic that they could totally make an adequate amount of insulin if they just concentrated a little harder.
chris luckhardt via seriouslyforreal.com
A big batch-O-randomness today, catching up after several days without it.
To start, there’s yet another indie “webisode” series made here in Seattle. It’s called The Coffee Table. It’s a simple scifi comedy, in which some dudes n’ dudettes are propelled into another dimension by the titular table, which turns out to be “an ancient alien artifact.”
Elsewhere in randomosity:
lynn emmert via fantagraphics.com
I swear I’m gonna have thoughts about the end of the Egyptian Theater and other things soon. But there’s only one story for me for today.
Kim Thompson, co-owner and co-publisher of Fantagraphics Books and The Comics Journal, died Wednesday morning, less than four months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
The Danish-born Thompson grew up loving both European and American comics, from crude superhero fare to slick French graphic albums. He came to the U.S. at age 21 and immediately became friends with Gary Groth, who’d started The Comics Journal with Mike Catron as a teenager. When Catron moved on to DC Comics, Thompson became Groth’s partner at the Journal. By the early 1980s, they’d branched out from reviewing comics into publishing their own.
By 1989 they moved their already substantial operation from the L.A. suburbs to Seattle.
I came to know, and work for, them soon after that.
In the office, Thompson played the “good cop” role. Where Groth was a demanding taskmaster and a hard-nosed boss (at least back then), Thompson was more easygoing and soft-spoken. He still had the same painstaking care as Groth for putting out the best comics and books possible, and for getting the most production value out of an in-house design shop run (at that time) on bobby pins and baling wire (and top talent, such as the late graphics ace Dale Yarger).
Thompson could also hold his own in making deals with comics creators, distributors, and retailers, and with the mainstream media. He famously told the Village Voice, “[L]et’s face it. If you’re a shop that has any claim to carrying alternative comics and you’re not carrying [Daniel Clowes's] Eightball or [Chris Ware's] Acme Novelty Library, that’s stupid.”
Eventually, Thompson got to make his books’ physical aspects as slick and professional as the content of the art within them, expanding from magazines and trade paperbacks into hardcovers and slipcase box sets.
Groth and Thompson’s books won awards in and out of the comics/graphic-novel niche. With recognition came clout, the kind of clout that got them the reprint rights to Peanuts, Donald Duck, and many other classics.
Their original publications, from Daniel Clowes’s Ghost World to Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Gorazde, continually redefined the range of stories and moods the medium could convey. Comics were more than (as the tired cliché went) “not just for kids anymore.” They were a true art form; and, thanks partly to Fantagraphics and its stable of creators, the “mainstream” audience began to recognize this.
As the book trade roiled at the “disrupting” influence of e-books and chain bookstores’ rise and fall, Fantagraphics continued to grow. Its beautiful hardcover packaging helped readers to see its titles as art works in themselves, things people wanted to own as physical, tangible objects.
Thompson’s legacy, besides the many great cartoonists whose work he helped assemble, promote, and nurture, could be this packaging.
In it, he showed the rest of the (print) book industry how to stay in demand.