Lunch Break 1.4.2011

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Lunch Break is a short round-up of favorite webcomics appearing here each weekday at noon. Here’s something for you to enjoy over your lunch break or whenever. The premise is simple: it’s another day on the internet. Here’s a new or forgotten comic that seems interesting. Have something to recommend? Email us:

  1. Harvey Pekar Tribute by Dean Haspiel // December 2010
  2. Eight Days a Week, is Not Enough by Andrew Lorenzi // November 1, 2007
  3. Mom’s Eulogy by Paul Abbamondi // December 27, 2010
  4. Untitled by Michael Deforge // January 2, 2011
  5. Archery by Sara Edward-Corbett // date unknown

Sarah Morean

KGB Bar Comix Reading 11/30/08

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It was standing room only on Sunday night—or kneeling, rather, as audience members contorted bodies around the projector’s beam cutting through the center of the room. The consensus, it seems, amongst nearly everyone packed into KGB Bar on Manhattan’s East 4th st. was that the bi-annual comics event had finally outgrown its old home amongst the strangely homey décor of Soviet-era Russian memorabilia lining the walls.

Over the years the event has become one of the best-loved in the New York indie comics scene, hosted by Tom Hart twice-yearly—on Easter Sunday and the Sunday following Thanksgiving, the latter of which happily boasts the tagline, ‘Come digest that tryptophan with comix!’

Despite said poultry-induced sluggishness, widespread jetlag, the stormy weather, and the innate desire to spend the bulk  of the weekend on the business end of a treadmill, the turnout seems to perpetual increase, year after year, thanks in no small part to the consistently stellar lineup of comics artists reading their work alongside panels projected large on a bedsheet pulled taut along the front wall of the bar.

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Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 3 [of 3]

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[Art by Frank Cammuso]

Before his reinventing himself as a children’s book author through Toon Book properties like Otto’s Orange Day with Frank Cammuso and the Dean Haspiel collaboration, Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever, Jay Lynch was a driving force in the Chicago’s underground comics movement of the early-70s, publishing Bijou Funnies, which brought the comics world pioneering works by the likes of Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, and, of course, Lynch himself.

In the interim years, Lynch has worked on a wide range of projects, both comics and not, including the Spiegelman-created Wacky Packages series for Topps, and its successor, The Garbage Pail Kids. The artist also contributed to Mad, shortly after the return of counter-culture cartooning legend, Harvey Kurtzman.

In this final part of out interview with Lynch, we discuss working on Mad, whether today’s children’s books are a bit too safe these days, and the battle to stay afloat financially.

[Part One] [Part Two]
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Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 2 [of 3]

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His latest work, a collaboration with Act-I-Vater, Dean Haspiel, is hardly Jay Lynch’s first foray into the world of children’s entertainment. The book, Mo & Jo Fighting Together Forever, is Lynch’s second for Francoise Mouly’s Toon Books imprint. It’s also the latest in a long line of output aimed at children, including Garbage Pail Kids packs, My Little Pony sticker books, and lyrics for kids songs—a far cry from the latter day output of many of his late-60s underground comics contemporaries.

In this second part of our interview with the artist, we discuss the state of children’s books, X-men’s sales figures, and why his days drawing Duckman comics will also make him think of OJ.

[Part One]

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Interview: Jay Lynch Pt. 1

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Jay Lynch was there at the beginning. As the head of Bijou Funnies, he published some of the most significant underground pioneers of the late-60s, including folks like Robert Crumb, Skip Williamson, Art Spiegelman, and Justin Green, while gaining notoriety in his own right as an artist in his own right, thanks to titles like Nard ‘n’ Pat.

With that in mind, the context for our conversation feels a touch strange. When I call him at his home in upstate New York, the artist is eager to speak about his latest work, Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever, a collaboration with Act-I-Vate artist, Dean Haspiel. It’s Lynch’s second book for young children under the Toon Books umbrella.

The connection between Lynch’s early career and his current children’s work is rather rather easily unpacked, however. Toon Books head (and New Yorker art director) Francoise Mouly approached Lynch to join the fold of her soon-to-be launched publishing house three years ago. The collaboration eventually resulted in Otto’s Orange Day, release by the company, earlier this year.

But Otto was hardly Lynch’s first work for children, the artist having spent a significant portion of his career working on contract for Topps—works like Wacky Packs and The Garbage Pail Kids—alongside fellow underground legend (and Mouly’s husband), Art Spiegelman.

We spoke to Lynch about Spiegelman, superheroes, and his days spent slaving away at in the My Little Pony mines.

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The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel

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The Alcoholic
By Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel

Admission is, of course, the first step on the road to recovery. Where penning a graphic novel on the subject falls amongst list of steps, however, is a bit tougher to say. As plenty of past autobiographical comics have shown us in the past, the process can be incredibly cathartic, a prolonged session of sequential art therapy.

With a thinly veiled protagonist named Jonathan A., novelist Jonathan Ames, makes no bones as to the autobiographical nature of his first graphic novel, in spite of the fairly tongue-in-cheek insistence on the book’s back cover that the character “bears only a coincidental resemblance to [his creator].”

Still, catharsis seems to be far from the primary purpose for the existence of The Alcoholic. Ames, for his part, appears to have decidedly less selfish reasons for having penned the book. Confronting demons takes something of a backseat to the author’s desire to creating an engaging, interesting book, a fact in part clear from the author’s almost film noir-esque framing of his story.

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While You Were Out: Dispatches from Beyond SDCC 2008

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Chalk it up to the sophomore jinx, but the Second Annual Astoria Comic Con isn’t going quite so well as I had hoped. Sure there will be naysayers who insist that it has something to do with the fact that once again I stubbornly insisted on holding it the same weekend as the San Diego Comic Con. And then there’s the fact that I didn’t advertise or really mention it to anybody. And, of course, nitpickers will likely point out that I held the thing in my tiny backyard in Astoria, Queens.

Honestly, though, I think the whole thing is just a matter of building proper buzz, and that sort of thing takes at least three years of unsuccessful backyard conventions to build. Maybe next year J. Scott Campbell will return my phone calls…

We’ve still got another day-and-a-half to turn this whole thing around. And believe me, once word gets out about those discount-priced hugs, attendees will be fleeing the San Diego convention center like rats from a sinking Watchmen sneak previewing ship. At least it didn’t rain this year–yet…

In the meantime, we put out the word to some of our cartoonist pals and asked them why the hell they weren’t at SDCC either, this weekend. Check out responses from Jeff Smith, Evan Dorkin, Renee French, Tony Millionaire, Tom Hart, and many, many more, after the jump.

Bonus: almost certainly the most adorable picture in the history of The Hatch.

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