Comics Alternative Kickstarter: Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady

Historically Conscious

On the current Kickstarter episode, Derek talks with comics legend Denis Kitchen about Madness in Crowds: The Teeming Mind of Harrison Cady, the latest campaign from Beehive Books, in association with Denis.

Madness in Crowds will be a large-format hardcover art book — a towering 10″ x 14″ and with 176+ pages — collecting the works of the definitive early 20th-century illustrator and cartoonist Harrison Cady (1877–1970).

So, who was Harrison Cady? As Denis and company describes the artist:

Over the course of a 70 year professional career, he created countless overflowing worlds, bustling with life and energy and detail and chaos. His illustrations were generous, abundant, warm and humane. There was never another artist like him. He specialized in frenzied crowd scenes, in which each tiny character came armed with their own distinct personality and a sense of humor that projected off the page. He especially loved animals and insects, spawning and exploring vast eco-systems of creeping crawlers with human affectations: beetle ballerinas, ladybugs in spats and umbrellas, fiddle-playing mosquitos. A committed political progressive, Cady frequently made cartoons about women’s suffrage, injustice and the exploitation of the working classes. In his long and productive career, he laid an endless array of visual feasts out for the eyes of readers and art-appreciators all over the world. But, as is too often the case with illustrators and cartoon artists, his work faded from memory very quickly once his career ended. Though there remains a loyal cadre of fans and collectors, trading old tear-sheets and  weathered magazine clippings, his name is largely unknown by modern lovers of illustration, cartooning and graphic art.

As Denis tells Derek, this is an absolute must for any serious student of illustration and cartoon art. Not only are Cady’s visuals absolutely stunning, but this is sure to be a highly sought-after collectable in the years to come. What other reasons do you need to support this Kickstarter campaign? Head on over to their page and back Madness in Crowds!

Cover and Sample Art

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Talking with Denis Kitchen for Will Eisner Week 2018

Time Codes:

  • 00:00:26 – Introduction
  • 00:02:37 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:05 – Interview with Denis Kitchen
  • 01:10:35 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:35 – Contact us

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Where There’s a Will…

We’re in the middle of Will Eisner Week 2018, and over the past several years The Comics Alternative has offered special episodes to celebrate the annual event. This year is no exception. On this episode, Derek is pleased to have back on the podcast Denis Kitchen, this time discussing his relationship with the comics legend, his history with him as a publisher and businessman, and his first-hand accounts of the various career moves  Will Eisner experienced beginning in the 1970s. Along the way Denis talks with Derek about his first encounters with Eisner, how Kitchen Sink Comics helped to introduce The Spirit to a whole new generation, Eisner’s evolution as a graphic novelist, and his experiences in working with Eisner as both an editor and as an agent.

 

 

Comics Alternative Interviews: Denis Kitchen

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:24 – Introduction
  • 00:02:42 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:01 – Interview with Denis Kitchen
  • 01:09:50 – Wrap up
  • 01:11:09 – Contact us

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Working on (and with) the Masters

Andy and Derek are happy to have Denis Kitchen back on The Comics Alternative. On his previous appearance surrounded Will Eisner Week 2015, but this time, he discusses the Will Eisner centennial as well as his work on the Essential Kurtzman volumes. Earlier this year Dark Horse Books, through the Kitchen Sink Books imprint, published Will Eisner: The Centennial Celebration: 1917-2017, a dual English-French album based on recent exhibitions at Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême and the Society of Illustrators in New York. Denis served as one of the curators of those exhibits, as well as one of the authors of the catalogue. He talks with the guys about his experiences helping to pull everything together for the exhibitions and working with John Lind (his Kitchen Sink Books colleague) on the centennial volume. Derek and Andy also ask him about his work on the Essential Kurtzman library, also published through Dark Horse and its Kitchen Sink Books imprint. They get the lowdown on the first two works in the series, Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book and Trump: The Complete Collection, as well as what we might expect in future volumes. The Two Guys also ask Denis about future projects from him, as not only an editor, but as an artist. He’s a little close-to-the-vest with the specifics, but nonetheless suggests that important news is to come.

Denis Kitchen – “Day I Met Will Eisner” (2005)

 

 

Comics Alternative, Episode 223: Reviews of Trump: The Complete Collection, The Few #1, and Gumballs #1

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Bad Trump, Good Trump

Time Codes:

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This week the Two Guys with PhDs start off by getting political. While some listeners might not like it when Andy and Derek become polemical on the podcast, the guys just had to speak out about the brouhaha surrounding Congressman John Lewis’s recent comments on Trump’s illegitimacy. The Two Guys stand with Representative Lewis, a man of courage, honor, and action. And it’s heartening that copies of March are selling out all over the place!

But enough of the bad Trump. The guys find more serious another entity of that name, this one orchestrated by the legendary Harvey Kurtzman. Trump: The Complete Collection is the second volume in Dark Horse’s Essential Kurtzman series. This beautiful hardbound edition collects the only two issues of Trump ever published, as well as the many never-before reproduced illustrations from what would have been the third issue of the magazine, had Hugh Hefner not pulled the plug. Both Andy and Derek appreciate the collection — especially Denis Kitchen’s outstanding essay and annotations! — and while some of the humor appears dated (or even falls flat at times), this text stands out as an indispensable historical contribution.

After that Derek and Andy check out two recent #1 issues, Sean Lewis and Hayden Sherman’s The Few (Image Comics) and Erin Nations’s Gumballs (Top Shelf/IDW Publishing). The former is a leisurely paced and extra-long issue centered around a future where the United States is now a fractured territory due to water scarcities (at least the guys think this is the series’ premise). Sherman’s art stands out here. And Gumballs is a single-creator anthology that’s a mix of autobiographical sketches, character portraits, and poignant cultural observations. The guys look forward to seeing what transpires in both of these series.

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Comics Alternative Special: A Roundtable Discussion on Will Eisner Week with Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacher

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Will Eisner in Perspective

Kitchen-Schumacher

On this special episode of The Comics Alternative, Andy and Derek kick off Will Eisner Week by having as their guests on the show Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacher. Denis is an underground comix legend as well the force behind Kitchen Sink Press, and he was a close friend, business associate, and former publisher of Eisner. Michael is an author whose biography, Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics, was released by Bloomsbury in 2010. The Two Guys talk with them about the comics of Will Eisner, the artist’s impact and innovations, and the person behind the legend. They discuss with Denis his recollections of his relationship with Eisner, explore the impact of the underground comix movement on the artist’s career, and hear anecdotes about Eisner’s aesthetic philosophy and business practices. Derek and Andy also talk with Michael about his experiences researching Eisner, his papers, and former associates, and they learn about his efforts in chronicling Eisner’s life. The result is an engaging conversation that not only celebrates the artist, but also honors the man who was Will Eisner.

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Comics Alternative Podcast Episode 83: Reviews of The Best of Comix Book, Insect Bath #1, and Cosplayers #1

A REAL Alternative Show

ComixBookIt’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for another regular episode of The Comics Alternative! This week, Andy and Derek really strut their alternative creds by focusing on three titles that keenly define “alternative.” First, they discuss the recent Dark Horse/Kitchen Sink book, The Best of Comix Book. This is a collection of comics culled from the original five-issue run of Comix Book, Marvel’s ill-fated attempt to partner with the underground comix movement of the early 1970s. The project was originally initiated by Stan “The Man” Lee and edited by underground maverick, Denis Kitchen. This recent collection features the work of such major underground comix figures as Justin Green, Trina Robbins, Kim Deitch, S. InsectBathClay Wilson, Skip Williamson, Lee Marrs, Joel Beck, Art Spiegelman, and Sharon Rudahl, and it includes a wonderful historical essay by James Vance. The Two Guys discuss the various pieces that are collected, comment on some of the artists represented here, and even speculate on why certain comics from the original run were included in this collection and why others were not.

Next, Derek and Andy turn their attention to two new single issues from Fantagraphics: Insect Bath #1 and Cosplayers #1. Edited by Jason T. Miles, Insect Bath is an anthology of comics that could be called contemporary manifestations of the “underground.” In this way, the book transitions well from Comix Book, in that it very much carries on in the tradition of the Cosplayers1underground, although with much more of a minicomics feel (and minicomics themselves are arguably the legitimate offspring of comix). The guys feel that the pieces included in this first issue of Insect Bath are hit or miss, but they are more excited about Dash Shaw’s Cosplayers. This is the first of a series — how many issues might there be? — where Shaw brings his experimental approach to a study of pop culture fandom. As Andy points out, Cosplayers feels much like a Daniel Clowes story, a far cry from what we saw last year in Shaw’s unconventional 3 New Stories and New School. There’s a lot packed into this episode, so plug in your earbuds and let’s get it on!

This episode’s incidental music is brought to us by
The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds Sessions

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