Tag Archive for 'Uncivilized Books'

Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1 Back In Print!

While digging through my originals (available for sale here: batch 1 and batch 2, more soon!) I found a bunch of original unused letterpress covers for Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1! That means I can bring a small edition of these back into print! It’s been sold out for close to two years. I don’t know how many times people have asked me about it at shows. I’m happy to make more! I should be able to get about 40-50 copies made from these. Did I already mention they’re letterpress? It’s the fourth ever comic published on Uncivilized Books! Go get ‘em!

Oh, and the original art from this issues’ key story, ‘Ransom Strange,’ is available here: page 1 & page 2.

CAKE 2013

I’ll be at CAKE in Chicago this weekend. I’ll be there running the Uncivilized Books table and signing Beta Testing the Apocalypse at the Fantagraphics table. Uncivilized Books is debuting four (4) (!!) books at the show:

We’ll also have copies of our recent releases by Michael DeForge and Dash Shaw, as well as the  Eisner nominated Post York!!

I will also be showing previews of my upcoming Trans Terra and… Twin Cities Noir where I have an all new 10 page comic (more on that later). It’s going to be an intense weekend! See you all there!

Beta Testing Civilization

BETA TESTING CIVILIZATION

TOM KACZYNSKI

ZAK SALLY . VINCENT STALL . DAN WIEKEN . DEREK VAN GIESON . PETER WARTMAN

You’re invited to celebrate, with cartoonist / publisher Tom Kaczynski, the release of his book Beta Testing the Apocalypse (Fantagraphics) and the unveiling of the Uncivilized Books’ Five Year Plan. He also invited the entire Twin Cities Uncivilized Books artist roster. We know you won’t mind. Many copies of Beta Testing The Apocalypse have been specially released from the bunker and a commemorative red ink will be used in authorizing your copies. After the event, there will be mandatory fun at the Downtown Grumpy’s.

THURSDAY JANUARY, 24. 2013
5 TO 7 PM

BIG BRAIN COMICS
1027 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415 (612) 338-4390

beta-testing-the-apocalypse-by-tom-kaczynski

Comics Reporter Interview

I can’t believe this never got posted on my blog. I’m my own worst enemy! If you haven’t already seen it, I was interviewed by Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter. Tom’s questions tended to broader than usual and it felt like looking of my whole comics trajectory from a birds-eye point of view. It was fun conversation. Here’s a sample:

SPURGEON: There’s an anxiety present in a lot of your stories. It seems like the kind of deliberate planning you talk about would be a comfort to a lot of people, that these things are planned. So I find the anxiousness curious. The fact that these thoughts are more arbitrary, or might reflect not-friendly impulses, is that maybe the source of the anxiety?

imageKACZYNSKI: I think the knowledge is comforting, but the anxiety… it’s not even my anxiety but a general anxiety that in the US has been palpable since at least 9/11. There was an apocalyptic mindset. Things are falling apart. Things are coming to a head. There’s a clash of civilizations going on. With the financial crisis, capitalism is cracking, and what does that all mean? I feel like I’m tapping into a little bit of that general anxiety.

Personally I’m interested in utopias as well. That’s something I’m going to be more visible in my other book, the Trans Terra book that’s going to be coming out next year. There’s all this anxiety, and it’s very apocalyptic, and it feels like most people would prefer to see it all crumble as opposed to doing a few small things here and there to make things better. It’s more of a frustration for me more than anxiety. It does come out in the comics as an anxiety. I think it’s difficult to talk about. In the comics, especially the MOME stuff, they’re more literary in that I’m trying to get into the mindset of certain characters and people and how they would react to things where they don’t know there’s an underlying structure.

SPURGEON: Your comics are more focused on the mindset than the breakaway from the structured norm. There is a false apocalypse — you’re not as interested in seeing things fall down as exploring the mindset that believe that things are about to.

KACZYNSKI: Yeah, that’s partly why the book is called Beta-Testing The Apocalypse. [laughter] It’s not the actual apocalypse. We’re feeling it out. It’s hard to say exactly. It’s more like the anxiety of the apocalypse than the apocalypse itself. There’s a whole post-apocalyptic genre, and that’s something I used to be into, but I feel it’s more interesting to find out how it came about. What happens before the apocalypse? Right before it. What needs to happen to society for that to happen. I don’t know if you’ve read Jared Diamond‘s work — the scientist that wrote Guns, Germs and Steel. He also wrote a book about collapses of civilizations. That’s another interest of mine — ancient civilizations, and trying to imagine ourselves as a civilization that could end. How that could come about, and what mind set we’d need to get into to release and let go and let the whole thing crumble.

Read the rest here.

The Comics Journal Interview

I was interviewed over at The Comics Journal. We talked a lot about a variety of topics: Beta Testing the Apocalypse, Trans Terra, what’s new at Uncivilized Books, Marxism, crime fiction, the art of indexing and more! Here’s a taste:

Now, your upcoming Trans Terrabook is basically a collection of the four minicomics?

It’s the four original Trans mini-comics, plus a bunch of new material that wraps up that whole train of thought… or train wreck of thought or something. [Laughter.]

Those books seem to be part of a tradition in comics you don’t see that often any more—the kind of free-flowing rant or essay comics with the cartoonist walking around and acting as the narrator, like Clowes used to do, and Crumb and Peter Bagge. Were you consciously engaging with that tradition?

All those guys are big influences on me. I wasn’t consciously trying to do that, but when I’m looking back, I’m like, “Oh, yeah, well, duh, they were doing similar things.”[Hodler laughs.] I maybe get a little bit more overtly intellectual on mine —where I quote actual books and people — whereas they were a little bit more casual with their pontificating or whatever. [Laughter.] What I was doing originally with the Trans books… basically the first book was a kind of panicked, “I need to do something for the first MoCCA festival!” And I just kind of regurgitated all this stuff I was thinking about at that time very quickly. I got a pretty good response to it, and I was like, “Well, I might as well follow up, ‘cause I didn’t really finish my train of thought on the first one,” and I just kept going with that. Each book is more and more carefully thought out. I’ve been searching very slowly… hopefully when this book is out, I will have found something resembling a coherent thesis. [Laughter.]

The first three you did pretty close together?

Yeah, the first three were pretty close. I think they all came out within a year, year and a half. In the middle of that I got the opportunity to contribute to Mome, so that derailed the production on the Transbooks for a long time. I always thought of these Trans books as a little bit more casual, little bit more off-the-cuff, but the more I got into it, the more fascinated I got with using comics to explicate ideas. The more Mome stuff I was doing, the more I wanted to go back to the Trans comics and do more of that kind of work.

Did you ever consider doing that kind of thing for Mome?

I didn’t think it would fit. I thought about it, but I got in this very specific groove for Mome, that was a little bit Ballardian, a little bit science-fiction, and I just wanted to keep that going. If Mome had continued past issue 22, I may have done more of that kind of work in the future, but yeah, in Mome I wanted to keep a certain… a different level of work… a different kind of me. [Laughs.]

A Polish author you briefly mention in one of the minis, Witold Gombrowicz, wrote a novel—which I haven’t read—called Trans-Atlantyk, and I was wondering: Does that have anything to do with the titles of those minis?

No and yes. [Laughter.] I had read pretty much everything that Gombrowicz had written way before I didTrans Alaska. I read Trans-Atlantyk but it’s something that I had forgotten, and it wasn’t a conscious influence at first. When I did the Trans Alaska book, the title actually came last. I didn’t know what it was gonna be, so I was like “part of it is set in Alaska, so I’m just gonna call it Trans Alaska.” I decided to keep the “Trans” for the other books. I was writing about Atlantis in the third book, and I remembered that Gombrowicz did Trans-Atlantyk. I ended up calling the third book Trans-Atlantis. It wasn’t a specific reference, but more of a happy coincidence. But Gombrowicz definitely influenced me quite a bit, he’s one of my favorite authors. Just in terms of how he writes and more importantly his diaries. He was an émigré author, he left Poland at the beginning of World War II, and ended up living in Argentina for many years. If you read his diaries, it’s all about being a Polish person in the New World and his struggles with that. That was really important for me when I was younger. I identified with that kind of struggle.

I’ve meant to read him for a long time.

Ferdydurke, his first novel, is amazing I think.

Check out the rest here.

True Swamp No. 2

True Swamp No. 2 by Jon Lewis

Meanwhile… at my little comix label Uncivilized Books… we’ve got the new True Swamp mini-comic!

San Diego Diary

San Diego Diary by Gabrielle Bell

Lot’s of Gabrielle Bell happenings over at my mini-comics-label Uncivilized Books:

TCAF

I’m about to hop in a car with Zak Sally and drive to Toronto for TCAF. Please come to check out some new mini-comics from me, Gabrielle Bell, Jon Lewis and Dan Wieken (Me & Zak will be camped out at table 116).

On Sunday I’m also going to be participating in a panel on Print Culture (1:15 – 2:00). The panel will be moderated by Zak and will also include John Porcellino and Dylan Williams! See you in Toronto!

Uncivilized Books News

Adalbert Arcane

A few new things happening at Uncivilized Books:

  • All books are available again. The shortages that happened due to the Brooklyn Festival and the holidays are a thing of the past. Anyone who has been waiting to get their books: Thank You! You should be getting them very soon.
  • The Uncivilized Books site had a small update. It now has a blog run by Adalbert Arcane (pictured above).
  • Last but not least. The Booke of Logos mentioned a couple of days ago is now available on the Uncivilized Books site.

Guttural Visions: The Pictures

guttural visions

The Guttural Visions show was pretty fun. A few pictures were taken. Take a look.