For dumb boring reasons not worth explaining, the archive here was kaput for awhile. It's fixed now, images and all.
A lot of new stuff in this week-new movies, jason miles original art, shoboo shoboo hand made sweaters, new comics, art books and fiction, and best of all lots and lots of mini comics and zines from all over the world.
the site will be updated with some of this stuff soon, until then, come by. we're waiting.
UPDATE: The book section of the site has been updated with books from Ware, Murakami, Slim, Pinchhbeck, Huizenga, and more.
The zine section is next!

posted by sammy at 4:55 AM

The one page is the only page.

The one page comic is a hard format to work in, maybe second only to the single panel cartoon. But when it works, it's the best sort of comic. The first impulse is to do a gag when given the task. The mind automatically conjures up something simple because its just 'one page', and comics only take a couple seconds to read anyway, so both reader and cartoonist often think ONE PAGER=SLIGHT. And of course, that impulse is well earned because gags only need a page at most, and the best funny cartoonists do their best work on one pager's. In fact a whole page for set up/punchline is probably too much space. But the page unit is perfect because it has clearly defined limitations to work with. You have to be precise. You may have too many ideas which lead to not enough space, so you have to combine things, edit, and really pick and choose what you want to have in the strip. Which, though may be painful at the time, will make the comic better. And best of all, the reader doesn't expect much because its just a page. I really think a strip that's good at 10 pages will often read better and be more satisfying as a page (either with the same amount of panels but drawn smaller, or by condensing ideas to fewer panels).
There is also the element of nuance and subtlety that can make something much more powerful, emotionally, if placed in a packed page of information as opposed to alone on the page (not all great one pagers follow this, but from here on out I am talking about a certain type of one page strip). Because you make the emotional moment smaller (both literally and figuretively), you allow the reader to reach a little deeper for it. It's like that old screenwriting thing " the audience cries when the characters do not"-emotionally you keep the scene constricted which make the reader get in to the experience more.

Brian chippendale is the master of filling the page with story and letting the emotional weight creep up on you. I was reading Ninja #4 (the whole series recently collected and released in the oversized Ninja collection from Picture Box), and that comic is just jammed with panels/information. It's a funny comic, satiric and goofy. Its also got things like inter-dimensional portals and monsters and giant pyramids and talking animals. The pace is non stop. And as you get into the flow of reading it you barely stop at each panel. Amongst this crazy strip, he put in a scene where one character sees another who is carrying a severed arm. He asks him about the limb, and he responds that the arm is all that remains of his love. Mind you this guy has a skull for a face and the scene moves 180 degrees in the next panel and its one interaction amongst hundreds. But it's a powerful moment that stays with you and is affecting because you dont expect it and its fleeting-The arm is literally what remains of his love and it also represents his love-a severed arm. and Chippendale moves on quickly because the strip moves on and the strip represents the world and the world moves on so no one cares and you only hear about it for one panel because other things are more important.
It's not a one page strip, but you get the idea. It's the use of space and getting the most out of it and still making it visually beautiful so it doesn't feel crammed (unless thats the visual beauty like with chippendale whose pages often have more white space then black).

I have been thinking about all this stuff a lot lately and then I saw chris ware's comic for the New Yorker online supplement. and its everything that I find exciting about the one page format done right both in idea and execution. It's focused on an idea and each panel/moment works at showing another aspect of that idea, little tangents and connections all bouncing off each other as oppsed to one short scene being milked. Which gives it a nice feeling of real life randomness. He keeps it moving forward, some of it funny, other parts more heartfelt and some of it tragic in an everyday sort of way. It's not trying to force you into anything (which of course is the best way of forcing). Ware is such a master of the form, the actual nuts and bolts of cartooning, he wraps you in the world of the strip better than anyone in that way of holding your attention and feeling the physical space within the story, he doesn't need to make it 'big'.
He uses the comic strip as memory in the subject matter, in the layout-with scenes out of order, echoing mirroring throughout, and a panel order that allows the reader to decide in which way they read the strip, a sort of free association. And of course, he makes it about memory by using the simple age old cartooning technique of having no panel borders which often signify a dream or memory or past tense.
I am struck dumb.
In order of appreance, the excellent one pagers above: J. Bradley Johnson, frank king, Ron Rege, jr, Brian Chippendale, Chris Ware.

posted by sammy at 7:44 PM


Is it a bad move stealing images off other blogs? I took the above images from the excellent movie site The House Next Door. and I guess if it feels bad, it probably is. But I can't help it, those Saul Bass title grabs are too awesome. As an aside, the house next door blog is certainly the best blog of collected film (and tv) criticism I have ever come across and you should check it out. So maybe my stealing images from them is balanced out by talking about them and you'll check it out? maybe? Eh.
I dont have much to say about Bass. I dont know that much, but as an excuse to put up some beautiful stills, here are some random facts about this great versatile designer, director, and artist.
-worked as a corporate designer and did 'branding' for Warner Bros, AT&T, Exxon, Bell Telephone, United Airlines, Minolta.

-pretty much created the title design for movies single handedly: first with Carmen Jones, then on to such classics as The Man With The Golden Arm, It's Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Vertigo, The Seven Year Itch, Bonjour Tristesse, The Big Knife, North by Northwest, Around The World in Eighty Days(his work here is more like a cartoon short), and many others.
Martin Scorsese once described Bass' approach as creating: "an emblematic image, instantly recognisable and immediately tied to the film".
Hubba Hubba:

-Besides the cool titles he did for Psycho, Bass also directed the scene Hitchcock is most famous for, Janet Leigh in the shower being murdered. Yeah, the whole thing-he storyboarded it, shot it, and edited it.

It seems like many people want to dispute it, but Hitchcock himself never did. Bass doesn't do that familiar director thing of trying to hog all good ideas associated with anything they did, and mentions collaborators a lot in interviews. He seems less insecure and dickish than most people in his field, probably because he rarely worked center stage.

-He made a couple of short films, the last of which, Why Man Creates, won a 1968 Oscar! I wonderif any are available on tape or dvd, I would love to see these.
-He directed only one full length movie, the abstract Phase IV, about killer ants. I think made in 1974. A really weird movie, definitely one of the strangest mainstream movies since 2001. It starts out fairly linear but by the midway point, it seems like bass is more interested in these super close up shots of ants underground fighting each other than he is in mustached scientists in the desert. Its a great movie and worth seeing. Of course it was a super flop on release.
It's maybe worth noting that the titles to his feature are deliberately super no frills especially compared to his other efforts.
After that he just kept doing more work in titles and graphic design, which is too bad, because Phase IV is a great movie.

-Designed the poster for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
(I couldn't find this poster online to save my life-sorry)

-Died in 1996 a year after doing the credit sequence for Casino:

Thats all I got.

posted by sammy at 4:55 AM

E.C. Segar in the family house

Popeye vol. 1 'I yam what I yam' by E.C. Segar, published by Fantagraphics books.
Oversized, hardcover, in color, the first year of one of the raddest comics ever made. For those of you that checked out the Masters of American cartooning show at the Hammer last march, you probably saw some of the originals from this and know what a sight they were. Segar's drawings always have a manic energy no matter how badly printed or shrunk down, but to see them at actual size, what is striking is how composed they are in their chaos. Every line seems delibrately placed, making him less like a George Herriman and more like a Frank King. A real clarity that can get a bit lost when reading it in something like this:

So the timing for this new collection is perfect. It's not printed at the size it was initially drawn for, but it still looks pretty great.
And designer Jacob Covey has done his best work here. Fantagraphics books have never ever looked as good as they do since Covey joined them. and on top of all that, the cover is a die cut:

above image stolen from Fantagraphics Flog blog.

posted by sammy at 12:03 AM

Louise Brooks had her birthday the other day...

...on the 14th, but I was too busy to mention it. and I am too busy still to go into it much now (apologies to the lack of substantial posts lately by the way, back on track soon with the long winded egocentric ramblers, I promise), but she was great in the few movies she did and I highly recommend her memoir LULU IN HOLLYWOOD, which I am going to get copies of in the store. Criterion is releasing a super fancy deluxe edition of her most famous movie, Pandora's Box in a couple weeks, so if you haven't seen it, nows the time.

But she did a bunch of great movies, rent Beggars of Life and Diary of a Lost Girl. Both are amazing. You will watch these then get upset that you've never seen them before, then get annoyed that nobody is talking about Brooks enough and then you're wandering around old used bookstores in small towns looking for old photographs in boxes under tables. It all starts here!

Ivan Brunetti did an incredibly poignant one page strip about Brooks published in Schizo 4. That whole issue is pretty amazing by the way. Comprised of short one page comics that range from biographies of people such as Satie and Kjerkegaard to autobiography dwelling on the day to day of brunetti's life, the issue works as one piece, with each part working off the strips around it, creating an amazingly complex picture of the artist and his life. It's an intense read and quite sad at times-its written in such a way that you know the feelings are genuine. It's the real deal, and few other writers can get across utter dispair and hopelessness as well as whats done here. That is also what makes the moments of contentment or warmth hit like they should (there is a wordless strip in the issue thats laid out to resemble a cross section of his house that is a favorite of mine-not only of brunetti's work but ever). And of course, it's continually funny in many different ways. Brunetti is a master of the cheap laff, the vulgar, the fart joke, but he is also incredible at humor that emerges from the characters and situations and above all else, the absurdity of life. below is a small jpeg of the Kjerkegaard strip:

Anyhow, if you haven't read it your really missing out. Y'knowl, just stand at our magazine rack and read it next time you come in. It's so beautiful as an object, I bet you'll buy it.
Happy birthday Lulu!

(P.S. I am having a real fucking hard time lately getting images on this blog!)

posted by sammy at 1:50 AM

Suspiria trading cards!

Oh how the world changes.....

posted by sammy at 4:06 AM

New Rekkids!

A bunch of records are arriving Monday at the store-more Italian soundtracks, some super early Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Blue Cheer, Stanley Bros, Albert Ayler and others, but am particularly happy that we will now be carrying the following Family Favorites:

Dock Boggs-Country Blues
From the collection of John Fahey comes these remastered recordings previously only available on out of print 78's. Recorded when he was a young man, Boggs sounds much younger and his playing is much faster than on the Alan Lomax collection solo disc which was recorded when Boggs was already quite old (not that that record isn't gold-it is, but this is exciting because not only does it mean more Boggs, but a different Boggs). Beautifully designed package with double clear LP's, silver ink on heavy gatefolded covers, and a 12 x 12 in depth booklet. From Revanant.
(man does that scan look like shit....I'll try to scan a copy later so you can get a better idea of how great this is)

Twink-Think Pink.
Reissue on 180 gram vinyl of the great 1970 solo project from the drummer of english psych rock band The Pink faeries. I remember before hearing this, someone trying to describe it-"prog, country, sorta blues-y y'know, pyschedelic, folksey, do you like creedence? its like seventies rock, but...." I laughed because it sounded ridiculous, but that discription sorta holds....and except for one track, its great.

Patty Waters-College Tour
a real vocal innovator, Waters has a scary and beautiful voice and in her super short musical career she collaborated wih Mingus and Bill Evans, but her best work is her avante garde experimental work with Ran Blake and Burton Green. this record is intense intense intense.

Shades of joy-The Music of El Topo
The Soundtrack to the Jodowrosky classic on 180 gram imported from Italy!

American Primitives, Vol. 1: Raw Pre-War Gospel
Beautiful packaged 26 track collection of gospel and blues songs recorded among a variety of "race" labels between 1926 and 1936. Comes with Detailed liner notes provided for each track, along with an essay by John Fahey. Great stuff by Charley Patton, Bukka White, and Blind Roosevelt Graves, and many others. Apparently, '26 to '36 are the years to beat for amazing music.

Black Sabbath-Club Sonderauflage
Or maybe it was 1970. A fan made compilation available only to German BS fan club members (I am imaginig a wood panelled t.v. room with six 14 year olds with fat mullets, jean jackets without sleeves, short legs and acne). Super nice packaging and on 180 gram vinyl.

posted by sammy at 3:51 PM

New member

we don't know much about him yet, except he came to our attention last thursday at 10:45am, doesn't have a name (yet) and he works the night shift.

posted by sammy at 2:28 AM

Pierre Bonnard.

posted by sammy at 2:02 AM