Sammy Harkham reveals on the Family blog that his comic book series Crickets “has been cancelled due to changes made by the major comics distributor that effectively made it impossible to continue in the comic book format.” In the announcement Harkham links to Tom Spurgeon’s reporting about Diamond Comic Distributors‘ recent increase in minimum order threshholds.
Drawn and Quarterly published the first two issues of Harkham’s series. Harkham indicates that the projected third issue “will come out in some [DIY] form in the next couple months…after that, I dont know exactly.” Harkham is also the editor of the Kramers Ergot anthology series, published by Buenaventura Press.
On the Jewcy website and under the headline “Sammy Harkham: Genius,” Paul Buhle writes a lengthy appreciation of Sammy Harkham as both cartoonist and editor. Regarding Kramers Ergot, Buhle writes: “Among the things to appreciate is that Harkham is so determined to make his own way and bring out the same impulse in other artists… He’s drawn to those who are drawn to their own genius.” Buhle singles out Harkham’s story “Lubavitch, Ukraine 1876” from Kramers Ergot 6 for particular praise:
Again, the art is very straightforward, so much so that it looks effortless, although it hardly can be that. It achieves its purpose: a real glimpse into shtetl life long gone, without harping on the Holocaust that will come in a couple generations, or how emigrants to the United States will escape that fate with their descendents, in short all the heavy weight that artists of every kind have loaded upon the shtetl especially since Fiddler on the Roof and Shoah (but also long before).
Buhle is the author/editor of several comics related books, including the recently published Jews and American Comics and the forthcoming The Art of Harvey Kurtzman, co-authored with Denis Kitchen.
David Lasky has announced on Facebook that his long-in-progress graphic novel about the Carter Family will be published by Abrams. Lasky writes:
On Friday the 8th (8/8/08 as it turned out), I signed my first major publishing contract. The project is a graphic novel biography of the Carter Family. This week I will begin work on the book with collaborator Frank Young. This is something Frank and I have been working towards for a few years now… It’s Abrams that gave us the green light. As it was Abrams that published “The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics” (one of my favorite books of all time), I am very happy to be with them.
Abrams recently announced a new comics-related imprint. A portion of Lasky’s full-color story was published in 2003’s Kramers Ergot 4, which Buenaventura Press will return to print in a new hardcover edition this fall.
Editor Sammy Harkham has posted the cover for Kramers Ergot 7 to the Family blog along with an announcement that the book is at the printer and is due in November.
Harkham previously described the forthcoming issue in an interview with the City Pages:
“You’ve seen that Little Nemo book?” he asks, hands spreading reflexively to encompass the famous, full-page scope of Winsor McKay’s [sic] early-20th-century newspaper strip. “Issue number seven is going to be like that. Big—big—16 by 21! Every artist gets three pages. That’s it. But with that assignment, an artist is going to make work that wouldn’t exist otherwise.”
Amazon’s listing notes that the 96-page book will include work from more than fifty artists and includes the following partial list of contributors: Stéphane Blanquet, Mat Brinkman, Daniel Clowes, Al Columbia, Kim Deitch, C.F., Jaime Hernandez, Anders Nilsen, Paper Rad, Anna Sommer, Joost Swarte, Adrian Tomine, Carol Tyler, and Chris Ware. Kramers Ergot is published by Buenaventura Press.