The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

February 7, 2017
by Dan
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Chris Ware on George Herriman and Krazy Kat

The New York Review of Books has an essay by cartoonist Chris Ware on George Herriman the creator Krazy Kat, one of the most beautiful, poetic and inventive comic strips ever created:     Krazy Kat has been described as a parable of love, … Continue reading

February 8, 2016
by Dan
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The Making of Daniel Clowes

Roberto Ito profiles cartoonist Daniel Clowes, whose new graphic novel Patience is published by Fantagraphics in April, for The California Sunday Magazine, : At the heart of Patience are questions posed within every time-travel story: If I could go back in … Continue reading

March 20, 2015
by Dan
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Emory Liu on Design at Fantagraphics

At Sequart, designer Emory Liu talks about working at Seattle comics publisher Fantagraphics: My first start in the design world came through designing / screen printing posters, and doing album artwork for bands. I played in a bunch of bands, and … Continue reading

January 22, 2015
by Dan
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We Were Not Made For This World

Directed by Colin West McDonald, We Were Not Made For This World is a short science fiction film based on the comic strip of the same name by cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier about a robot searching for his creator: ‘We Were Not … Continue reading

March 20, 2014
by Dan
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Jacob Covey: Pirates in the Heartland

Designer Jacob Covey recently posted a short essay on his personal Facebook page about his cover design for Pirates in the Heartland, the first volume of Patrick Rosenkranz’s biography of underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson. I asked Jacob if I … Continue reading

September 16, 2013
by Dan
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Remembering Kim Thompson

Kim Thompson, co-publisher of Fantagraphics, passed away on June 19th at the age of 56. Even though I briefly worked with the folks from Fantagraphics 5 or 6 years ago, I am sad to say that I never had the … Continue reading

September 3, 2013
by Dan
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Forward, Fantagraphics!

Seattle Weekly profiles local independent publisher Fantagraphics: Fantagraphics was founded in 1976 to launch The Comics Journal, a very opinionated annal of the trade that made Groth and Thompson high-profile critics of their industry. As both editors and writers for the Journal, … Continue reading

March 3, 2013
by Dan
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Nancy and the Messy Shelves

Who doesn’t like tidy shelves? I do have a strange and peculiar love of Ernie Bushmiller’s ‘Nancy’ comic strips, especially when odd panels are taken out of context, but Fantagraphics are doing a great job of collecting them properly into … Continue reading

December 23, 2012
by Dan
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Hooray for Christmas

Happy holidays! Nancy Likes Christmas has just been published by Fantagraphics. (via the awesome Nancy is Happy).

May 23, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Krazy Kriticism — Sarah Boxer on George Herriman’s long-running newspaper comic strip Krazy Kat, at the LA Review of Books: [E]ven 95 years ago the truth was as loud and clear as a pair of clapping mitten rocks rising up … Continue reading

May 11, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

It Will All Be Over Before You Know It… — A six-page, six-chapter comic by the brilliant Richard Sala (a must for fans of Edward Gorey, I’d say). Something Lost — Edmund de Waal, ceramicist and author of The Hare with Amber … Continue reading

November 25, 2011
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Jacob Covey’s stunning cover for Nancy Is Happy: Complete Dailies 1943-1945 due in March 2012 from Fantagraphics. Anxiety and Time — Adam Roberts, author of By Light Alone, on science fiction at The Browser: The common belief that SF is … Continue reading

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