Comics

RIP Gary Arlington, underground comix hero (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: This just in from Ron Turner: "Hello Friends.  There will be a memorial for Gary this coming Tuesday at 11 AM at 225 Berry St. off 4th, very near the Giants ballpark and the Cal Train station.  Hope to see you there.  It is a modern Senior Center where Gary made his home. Bring stories and memories to share."

Just got word from Last Gasp Press founder Ron Turner that comics legend Gary Edson Arlington has passed away at age 75. In 1968, he opened what is considered the first comic book store in the United States, San Francisco Comic Book Company, which galvanized the hotbed Bay Area underground comix scene (and helped house his enormous collection, too).

As Art Spiegelman told the Chronicle in 2012, on the occasion of the publication of "I Am Not of this Planet," a book of Arlington's colorful artwork published by Last Gasp:

"San Francisco was the capitol of comix culture in the '60s and early '70s; and Gary Arlington's hole-in-the-wall shop was, for me, the capitol of San Francisco."

He was truly a fascinating character who supported local comics and art until the end, and influenced pop culture exponentially. 

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Nothing could be more super duper than 'So Super Duper'

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On Saturday evening in the Castro at 7pm, quite possibly one of the gayest things ever will occur, as queer comics artist Brian Andersen debuts his colorful new teen-friendly, straight-friendly, unabashedly queer So Super Duper volume, which stars "a little gay empathic hero (he can read emotions) named Psyche who doesn't quite know he's gay yet – even though it's painfully obvious to everyone around him."

It is so cute. And gloriously upping the pink quotient at the book launch, nationally televised diva Jason Brock will be hitting some high notes (he basically ruled the Bike Music Festival a few weeks back). Comics, superheroes, man-divas: It's a gaysplosion.

I asked the infectiously smiley Brian to talk a little about the So Super Duper's inspiration, and he had some very interesting things to say about being a proud femme-y gay guy in a world of macho stereotypes. 

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HOT PINK LIST 2013: COMICS GEEKS

Our annual tribute to queers who grabbed our attention and held it

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It's been a big year for queer comics. A movie based on a lesbian comic book, Blue is the Warmest Color, swept the top prizes at Cannes. The first textbook history of queer comics No Straight Lines was released by local hero Justin Hall, and snagged the Lambda Literary Award for Best Anthology. Heck, even Green Lantern went queer in "Earth Two," and there was a gay wedding in Archie's hometown, Riverdale. Read more »

Triumph of queer comics: Justin Hall wins Lambda, 'Adèle' takes Cannes

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Two cool, queer graphic surprises, just in time for Pride month. First, local comics hero, Califormia College of the Arts professor, and frequent SFBG contributor (not to mention out-of-the-closet Batman lover) Justin Hall took the 2013 Lambda Award for Best Anthology yesterday with his groundbreaking historical queer comics survey No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Fantagraphics Books).

This a huge deal, as this is the first time a comics anthology has won. (A graphic novel by Oakland's Jon Macy, Teleny and Camille, won for Best Erotic Novel in 2011, also a first.)

Hall told me right after his win:

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The World's Best Artist©: Getting weird with Mitch O'Connell

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Can you guess which of the 290 pages of Mitch Connell's jampacked new, puffy-covered-like-cheap-tablecloth art anthology he is most proud of? It is not the vaguely seedy Hanna Barbera art, commissions all for Warner Brothers that were never utilized commercially. It's not the illustrations for porno mags, the public works benches in Chicago, several Newsweek covers, untold numbers of event flyers, or his late-1980s pop art aerial views of reclining women hoisting hot dogs.

It's the crazy shit he drew after he discovered his wife had been chronically cheating on him. You thought the rest of it was wacky! Read more »

The comic formally known as 'The Iron Chink'

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It's a symbol of the atrocities suffered by Chinese Americans on this continent: a lumbering machine that stripped thousands of their livelihood and was even named for the epithet used against them, the Iron Chink.

For Escape To Gold Mountain graphic novelist and community activist David H.T. Wong, who will read from the book at a Sun/11 event in Berkeley's Eastwind Books, the 1903 invention of the mechanized fish gutting machine that stole cannery jobs from Asian immigrants -- who already had to fight racism to find jobs at all -- made the perfect title for his historical graphic novel. 

But, and perhaps this is a sign of the historical progression that Wong converted into panels for us in his graphic novel, things just don't get named the c-word anymore.  Read more »

Listen to the comic! Save CCSF, vote yes on Prop A

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San Franciscans were bummed when, this summer, it looked for a second like we'd lose our only community college. And we weren't the only ones who would have been affected -- City College of San Francisco isn't just the biggest school in the city, it's the biggest school in the entire state, providing vital job training, family development classes, continuing education, and a springboard into four-year university for undergrads. 

The folks at Mission Mini-Comix sent us this comic stating the case for Prop A, which would ensure that CCSF gets the funds it needs to keep educating us. (You can check it out in its full glory on their website, or snag one of the free mini-books they've been handing out around town. Read more »

Best bets for indie comic inspiration at APE

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We cried wet, hot, nerdy tears when Wonder Con moved south to Anaheim this year -- but then wiped them away with the hem of our Bat Girl and Wonder Woman-printed flouncy skirt when we remembered that the Alternative Press Expo (APE) was, as ever, on its way to the Concourse Exhibition Center.

The alt-comic gathering descends with a swish of self-published zinery Sat/13 and Sun/14, and with it, passels of adorable, print-oriented babes who read. Read more »

Image Comic Expo showcases new stars and the old guard

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Comic cons serve a variety of functions. They can be press junkets, costume parties, swap meets, social retreats, even museums. Comics writer Warren Ellis has a habit of referring to San Diego’s huge Comic Con as “nerd prom,” which perfectly captures the glow of excitement for mass socialization in funny costumes. By contrast, this year’s Image Comic Expo was more like a nerd Sadie Hawkins dance – a deliberate reversal of the standard hierarchy, where creator-owned books are championed over the widely beloved DC and Marvel franchises that sometimes seem to oversaturate the comics market. It was also a little less garish and hectic than some larger cons, but the sense of community and pride was still richly evident. Read more »

Riding the 'Dark Wave': Jay Howell comes home for a zine release

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Jay Howell may have left us for the palm trees in Silverlake, but that doesn’t mean that he’s gone forever. 

You may know Howell for his zine Punks Git Cut, his drawings of people with neon faces on vintage book pages, or as that really tall guy you always used to see in the coffeeshop. Upon moving to sunny (and smoggy) Los Angeles, Howell has gotten a car, finished up doing the character development for Bob’s Burgers, and is currently working as the art director for a show on Nickelodeon. He returns to San Francisco on Sat/18 for an art show at Fecal Face Dot Gallery to celebrate the release of his new zine The Dark Wave -- a 50-page comic book about the lead singer of a death metal band and his existential journey to the ocean. Read more »