Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Like Comicon, but with Books...

Last Saturday, we attended the LA Times Festival of Books. We've gone the last three years, but this was the first time that I actually attended one of the "Conversations with..."

I went to see Chip Kidd. He's been my favorite graphic designer for a while. I think I first saw his work in the Batman Animated book from a while ago. It isn't just your run-of-the-mill survey of the show. It's clearly aimed at those who are interested in how a show is made, and puts the reader behind the scenes. It's filled with beautiful photos of artwork, as opposed to reproducing the art, they reproduce the context. It's one thing to be able to see the art, but it's another to see the stray pencil marks and the texture of the paper.

I went to get a sense of his personality. His work, to me, has a subversive sense of humor to it. In school, it seemed like the prevailing attitude of working designers was one of a kind of snobbish disdain for poor or obvious design. I gambled and wanted to find out if one of my heroes also shared this view. Gladly, he seemed more down to earth than I could have guessed. It turns out that he originally wanted to work in animation or comics, but realised he didn't have the talent, so he kind of backed into graphic design. Over the years, as he has gained more clout, he's been able to involve himself in cartoon/comics-related projects.

Later, I blew some money at the Hi De Ho Comics booth, sadly the only comics offering at the festival. I got the new Acme Novelty Library and Rocketo. I'm working through Rocketo first and I'm saving Acme until a time I'm feeling better about myself.

Fighting traffic on the way back from UCLA, I spotted Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. I had remembered that they had opened a store in the Westside a few years ago, but never made the trip. The store was decent, though half of it was kind of a Planet Hollywood-style display for the various Kevin Smith projects, or even friends (they had Ben Affleck's Daredevil costume). Pros: Good selection of trades and friendly employees. Cons: No back issues, monitors play a loop of moments from Smith's movies, which I understand, but then makes me think the store is less about comics and more about Smith.


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