Barack Hussein Obama by Weissman; The Cartoon Utopia by Regé (both books published by Fantagraphics)
L.A.-based graphic novelists Steven Weissman (Yikes!) and Ron Regé, Jr. (Against Pain and the band Lavender Diamond) will discuss and sign their respective graphic novels, Barack Hussein Obama and The Cartoon Utopia.
"Steven Weissman is a cartoonist who is so good, so funny, and so original that he doesn't have to be serious to be taken seriously." —Jaime Hernandez
"To me, Ron Regé is unquestionably one of 'the greats.'" —Chris Ware
Steven Knight Weissman, at various times known as "Steve," "Ribs," and "Weissman" (but never "Stevie Knight," as one potential employer threatened to call him in 1987), was born in California on June 4, 1968. He won the Harvey Kurtzman Award for "Best New Talent" in 1998 with his acclaimed, ongoing series, Yikes. He's written and drawn comics for Marvel Entertainment, Nickelodeon Magazine and, most TRIUMPHANTLY, Fantagraphics Books. He currently lives in the Los Angeles' "Little Armenia" neighborhood with his wife, Charissa, and their son, Charles.
Ron Regé, Jr. was born in 1969 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. His first book, Skibber Bee-Bye, was published by in 2000 and has also authored the books Against Pain and The Awake Field. His comics and drawings have appeared in hundreds of zines and comics anthologies. Illustration clients have included Nike, Sony, Tylenol, HP, McSweeney’s, Vice, The New York Times, and Canada’s National Post. Ron currently lives in Los Angeles. His current project The Cartoon Utopia began in early 2008 as a series of 60 small drawings, but has expanded to include larger drawings, and longer comics pieces, including those presented here. Drawings from The Cartoon Utopia have been presented as solo gallery shows in Los Angeles, Montreal, Richmond VA, and Austin TX.
What does it mean to live in America today? If you know there's no right
answer to that question, you'll want to read Barack Hussein Obama -- a
book about you; about your country, your family, your president. Barack
Hussein Obama is not a graphic novel. It's neither a biography nor an
experiment, but a whole, fully realized parallel America, a dada-esque,
surrealistic satirical vision that is no more cockeyed than the real
thing, its weirdness no more weird, its vision of the world no more
terrifying. The zombieesque simulacra of Joe Biden and Hillary and Newt
and Obama wander, if not exactly through the corridors of power, through
an America they made and have to live in, like it or not. American
cartoonist Steven Weissman takes from the lives of the leaders of the
free world, his friends, his family, his sworn enemies, and gives them a
new life that is both withering and oblique, devastating and
contemplative, chaotic and pellucid. Before you lose your will to vote,
read Barack Hussein Obama.
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Ron Reg, Jr. is a very unusual yet accomplished storyteller whose work has a passionate moral, idealistic core that sets him apart from his peers. The Cartoon Utopia is his Magnum Opus, a unique work of comic art that, in the words of its author, "focuses on ideas that I've become intrigued by that stem from magical, alchemical, ancient ideas & mystery schools." It's part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto. Reg 's work exudes psychedelia, outsider rawness, and pure cartoonish joy. In The Cartoon Utopia, "Utopians" of the future world are attempting to send messages through consciousness, outside of the constricts of time as we understand it. They live in a world of advanced collective consciousness and want to help us understand how to achieve what they have accomplished. They get together to perform this task in a way that evolved out of our current system of consuming information and entertainment. In other words, the opposite of television. Instead, these messages appear in the form of art, music and storytelling.