Friday, October 7, 2016
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Friday, September 2, 2016
The final remaining stock of Sir Alfred No. 3 is described as "lightly damaged" and offered at a discount on the website of Fantagraphics.
I love this expression, "lightly damaged." Isn't everyone? What it also means is the undamaged books are now gone--souled out. With a thousand already in the ether, a second printing is asking for too much trouble.
Since Alvin's death, he's been in many dreams; in one, he was showing me a non-existent graffiti spray paint mural he did on Vermont near Santa Monica Boulevard in my old neighborhood. As we were crossing the street, a fleet of military aircraft swooped down at a 45 degree angle into the pavement and passed through us the way ghosts do. On the corner near the bus stop, there was a felled squirming cow covered in afterbirth.
I then started binge watching Kurt Cobain suicide conspiracy movies on Netflix, comforted by their distracting ability to explain "what really happened" because there is not going to be a way to know.
Recently there was a fire in Santa Clarita, and although it was not so near where Alvin is buried, I started to wonder what the temperature would be like under the ground and whether it might be stuffy wearing a suit inside a padded coffin when there are flames overhead.
So buy today, argh. I feel mostly like sleeping for a good while, but I am so indebted to Fantagraphics and John Porcellino for agreeing to make the books available for purchase.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 2:21 PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
This review luckily coincided with the San Diego Comic Convention, where the book was for sale.
It looks increasingly like Sir Alfred No. 3 will sell out.
There are no plans for a second printing, so order today, etc.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca discuss Sir Alfred No. 3 on the podcast "Comic Books Are Burning in Hell." I believe the title is meant to be salutary, in the same sense one might say, "Those twelve bars by Drake are fire." I actually don't know if Drake is fire or not.
I'm very flattered to be the subject of this broadcast.
Normally on their podcast they are joined by Chris Mautner, who may have recused himself because he recently weighed in on Sir Alfred No. 3 with a review in The Comics Journal.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 9:10 AM
Monday, June 6, 2016
|Having the time of my life|
I feel like I do better with the written word, but instead fate has presented my second podcast interview.
This time it’s the show with the ironic misnomer "Inkstuds." It was host Robin McConnell’s inspired idea to have me interviewed instead by Roman Muradov.
Roman is a great cartoonist whose work for me has echoes of midcentury modernist art. He's, like, I don't know, a fauve painter, but one who has also assimilated someone like Syd Hoff? He combines that with an elevated wordplay, arguably that of an amused and/or appalled emigre?
It often occurred to me I should’ve been interviewing him. He has a new book coming out called Jacob Bladders; the sample art I’ve seen looks great.
He also has a book coming out in France, “Aujourd’hui, demain, hier,” I’m curious to see.
He’s also an extremely erudite fellow, to the point where I often felt like one of the scientists confronted with Cliff Robertson’s Charly at full apex. Whenever I say, “Oh, okay,” in the interview after he mentions an author like, say, César Aira, chances are I may be aware of who he’s talking about, but haven’t read the book in question.
(I was lucky he didn’t push me about my non-fiction reading habits, or I’d have to admit checking out Rod Stewart’s autobiography.)
Last I heard, Sir Alfred No. 3 is now past half gone. Order now [Space echo].
Fellow Blog Flume inmate Ken Parille puts Sir Alfred No. 3 under the electron microscope.
Chris Anthony Diaz publishes an interview on ComicsWorkbook we did way back in the halcyon days of 2014.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 11:02 AM
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
|"Diploma" shades purchased at Target for $3.00.|
Listen to me drone here.
The hosts are Ticket Stub publisher/cartoonist Rina Ayuyang and cartoonist Thien Pham.
They have entertaining good cop/bad cop chemistry.
Josh Frankel also checks in at the top to discuss new releases.
In other news, here's a page from Mujeres Celebres No. 69, Grace Kelly, published in 1966 in Mexico:
My Spanish is bad enough that I thought, "Cool, a comic called Dead Celebrities!"
I had originally bought issue number 76, but Alfred Hitchcock wasn't in it:
Posted by Tim Hensley at 10:56 AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The final Pigeon Press publication Sir Alfred No. 3 is now available for purchase on the website of Fantagraphics:
and through John Porcellino's Spit and a Half distribution arm:
Or it can likely be found in a few select comic shops soon enough.
Thanks to Manuel and Josie Buenaventura for facilitating the distribution and John P. and Fantagraphics for taking the book on.
Also thanks to Chris Anthony Diaz and Thien Pham who physically transported the boxes from Alvin's to UPS. Chris sent me this in-transit cell phone photo, which calmed my nerves a bit:
Thanks to everyone I spoke with who offered their help or took interest in the proceedings.
In other news, Tippi Hedren is on the cover of Life After 50 magazine this month:
Posted by Tim Hensley at 5:24 AM
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Alvin was absurdly generous. I’m writing this in a room filled with stuff he gave me: comics, magazines, letterpress prints, original art, obscure minicomics, button collections, cartoon masks, European exhibition catalogs, foreign editions of books by cartoonists we liked, and so much more. When Alvin travelled, he must have been thinking “What would Ken want?” Then he got it. His gifts frequently arrived unannounced.
Once, when he attended a conference featuring a dizzying, never-to-be-repeated line-up of cartoonists (Crumb, Barry, Clowes, Ware, Bechdel, Brunetti, Panter, Sacco, Burns, Spiegelman, Gloeckner, Green, Tyler, Katchor, Seth), Alvin got every one of them to sign a program for me. It arrived unannounced.
|A gift from Alvin with a note.|
Alvin had the softest voice of anyone I ever knew. When we’d talk on the phone, I had to press it as hard as I could against my ear; and even then I often couldn’t hear him. It seemed a perversely perfect, Alvin-like irony that someone so soft-spoken would choose to live with two screaming birds, who frequently turned our phone conversations into farces.
Collaborating with Alvin was a real joy, though it wasn’t always easy (a habitually disappearing phantom can test any collaboration). I was happy to help him in any way I could. I’d talk with him about projects, write press releases, edit comic books, touch-up website copy, and write text that appeared on Buenaventura Press and Pigeon Press comics. Writing wasn’t Alvin’s strength, but collaborating was. When I’d put together some copy I thought was pretty good, he was always able to make it better, to get it to say just what it needed to say. I felt lucky to play a part in the forward-thinking art he released.
|Me, Alvin, and Daniel Clowes at SPX 2012.|
Posted by Ken Parille at 3:01 PM
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
At The Comics Reporter, Daniel Clowes offers a remembrance of Alvin Buenaventura.
Other recent posts found about Alvin: Jonathan Barli, Anders Nilsen.
And here is Alvin's obituary by Chris Mautner and Joe McCulloch in the The Comics Journal.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 4:09 PM
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Early Friday morning, I received an email from my friend Rina informing me Alvin Buenaventura had passed away. She had no specifics about what happened.
I later got a phone call from Alvin’s friend Dylan, who informed me what I was hoping was some kind of elaborate hoax was true.
The previous evening I had received a package with the final comp copies of the comic book Sir Alfred No. 3 that we had just finished. There was no note. There were also some uncropped front cover prints he had wanted me to sign and send back to use as an incentive for initial orders of the book.
We had recently been through the usual round of emails and phone conversations resulting from the production process.
He was overworked on many other things besides our project and generally mentioned some health problems, both physical and mental.
He described having some autoimmune issues he said were making it difficult for him to use his hands? Severe arthritis? He said he was taking some kind of medication with unpleasant side effects?
Another time he apologized for being out of contact by saying he had a breakdown. He didn’t seem willing to go into any more details.
He had also got back from a trip to Hawaii and told me he had thought about not coming back.
But the things people always say after a suicide were true as well. His last email was upbeat about the mylar sleeves arriving. Things were looking up, he seemed so pleased, all those usual things.
In general though, most of our conversations were more about stuff like moire patterns on a dot screen, final trim size, file corrections…
Alvin sometimes reminded me of the type of manic/depressive I had read about in Kay Jamison’s book Touched With Fire. He also sometimes reminded me of a Hollywood agent with his Swifty Lazar type glasses and that kind of gifted orientation toward creative personalities.
He was a secretive person who often seemed at odds with himself, a great source of his creativity.
The photos you see of him looking through a loupe on press are indicative of his focus. I asked him about the loupe, and he said it had filters so you could look at just cyan, magenta or yellow at a high magnification. I never knew anyone could do that or be willing to. If you look at even his most low-key books, you will see that kind of attention to the simple matter of the plate hitting the paper.
Because the size of my book meant the pages could not be ganged together, he did 22 press checks. Who does that? I wouldn’t have.
On the other side, he could be erratic. You could talk to him on the phone and the line would go dead, and he wouldn’t call back. There’d be odd absences in contact. He could be cold when he felt slighted, and you’d never quite know why. He was a man of indomitable alliances and longstanding grudges. I grew to not be so thrown by these things as we progressed. It’s even some of the things we had in common.
I do not know the fate of my comic, which I imagine is sitting in a bunch of boxes in Alvin’s place somewhere. It will depend on the disposition of his estate. I hope people get to see what a bang-up job he did on it.
Often in his emails he told me that working on my book meant a lot to him; I sure hope so.
I hope working on my project didn’t cause him any more stress than anyone usually encounters in the sometimes perilous compact of putting a book together.
I’m also remembering, among so many other memories which could fill many other posts, Alvin, after receiving my files, asking for “first refusal” of my next book in his business-like way…
My condolences to his friends and family.
Posted by Tim Hensley at 4:19 PM
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Is Ware judging this scenario, or is he simply setting up a scene/series of ideas for our contemplation and enjoyment? If judgment is involved at all, might he have mixed feeling about the scene?
1. The discarded dolls are an imitative form (users pretend to be a care-giver, mother).
2. The ball near the image’s center (like the swing set) represents a non-imitative, less restrictive kind of play (in other words, it’s not programming kids for adult roles).
3. Minecraft represents both something imitative and more open-ended than what the dolls represent. Is Ware making a statement about a "hierarchy of play?" Maybe, but I doubt it. Ware doesn't seem like a "statement artist."
The yellow ball, which occupies an image's place of prominence (the center), does look a little lonely, though. (Note that the pink/red girl might be stepping on a ball.) Ware's work often communicates 'the pathos of objects': things can carry more emotional weight -- can even seem to 'feel' -- more than people do. At the risk of overstating things, there may be a 'spiritual materialism' at work here. This room is a curated collection -- and careful artistic rendering -- of objects that appear to have the kind of talismanic power that things have for children (and for nostalgic adults.) (Ware's work is kind of like that of the cartoonist Seth in this way; both show a lifelong collector's devotion to things.)
* What about gender and technology? Girls leaving dolls behind them to invent worlds? They appear to have just been playing tea and cake while dressing the dolls; cups are knocked over and three of the dolls’ four shoes are off. The girls seem to have left this play-world in a hurry . . . There’s a real sense of chaos toward the bottom of the image that’s replaced by an impression of order as we move up into the space of technology. Maybe Ware endorses their implicit ‘rejection of gender roles’ and the technology gender gap? (The cover is a male-free zone, with girls, girl-surrogates (female dolls), and girl avatars.) Or perhaps he's just documenting, with a kind of objectivity. something he's witnessed.
On the topic of matching colors: in a balancing design gesture, the partially-shown lamp on the left shares the two-color scheme of the outfit on the girl on the right, just as the colors of the partially-shown doll on the right -- atop the bookshelf -- resemble the outfit of the girl on the left. There's what appears to a skirt at the bottom/center of the image; it's blue and red, with the blue part 'gesturing' toward the blue girl and the red part toward the red girl. Some of this mirroring seems to be related to how Minecraft can be played.
Another odd detail: a shrub visible through the window is blue (you can have blue trees in Minecraft.)
Posted by Ken Parille at 2:57 PM