Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Over 30 years ago, circa 1980, I was friends with a guy named Len.  We were in seventh grade.  Len introduced me to a comic book series called "X-Men", and its most recent issues, 141 and 142.  These happened to be (imho) two of the best superhero comics ever made.  It was a magical time. Thanks to Len, I became hooked on comics, and would remain (with one short break) hooked for life. 

Jump to 2012 (the far-flung future!), and though our lives have long since taken different paths, Len and I are now Facebook friends. Today he sent me a photo of his dad reading "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"...

Things have come full-cirle. The circle can and will be unbroken.  Thanks, Len, for sharing your comics with me back in the day, and for sharing my comics with your father today.

Here's to good friends!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Praise From Comics Critic Rob Clough for The Carter Family Graphic Novel

Rob Clough is a compelling writer about comics and art, and in his in-depth interview with Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter website, he says the following about Don't Forget This Song:

Thanks, Rob!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rave Review from Washington D.C.!

Michael Taube wrote a very thoughtful, intelligent assessment of our book in the Washington (D.C.) Times. It's perhaps my favorite piece written on the book to date. It was a nice holiday gift, and you can read it HERE if you're so inclined. Below is a screen shot of the start of the review. Thank you, Mr. Taube, and happy holidays to you all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Brain Pickings Best

I am thrilled to relay the news that "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song" has been named one of the year's best graphic novels by the electronic media treasure chest called Brain Pickings

Our book was ranked #3, just behind "Building Stories" and "The Graphic Canon."

I'm doubly excited because I was a contributor to Russ Kick's exhaustive "Graphic Canon Vol. 2", which got the #1 spot on Brain Pickings' list.  The series is a collection of literary adaptations, and the bulk of Vol. 2 comes mainly from the prolific 19th century.  I drew a 3-page adaptation of Lord Byron's "She Walks in Beauty," drawn while also working on "The Carter Family," but in a completely different style...


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Birthday A.P. Carter!

On this day in 1891 Alvin Pleasant Carter was born. A. P. Carter was one of the most influential music makers of the 20th century. He left a mark as large and pervasive as Lennon and McCartney, Hank Williams Sr. and Bob Dylan.

Perhaps even larger than those hallowed names, because A.P. developed deeply to the construction of popular song making. He helped set the concept of shaping a song to the constraints of a record's playing time. He also had a genius for condensing long ballads into powerful three-minute capsules--the very thing that helped country music become widespread.

Though his life--and those of his family and friends--was still very much rooted in the ways of the 19th century, A.P. cannily used emerging technology as a guide to his inner passion. His fearless blend of past, present and future preserved the old songs he encountered in his rambles and made them new for millions of listeners, to this very day.

A.P. needed the partnership of Sara and Maybelle to express his musical vision, and to make it popular. But at the very heart of the Carter Family were the songs--and A.P.'s loving stewardship of them.

Celebrate this day by listening to some Carter Family music. Click HERE to peruse the many videos of Carter Family music currently on YouTube.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

NPR Alert!

They haven't contacted us for an interview (yet), but our book has made their holiday list of recommendations by non-corporate booksellers:

Click on this screenshot to see all of NPR's holiday book selections. They all look mighty interesting, and we're honored to be in such good company!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wish list

Frank just pointed out to me that "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song" is the #1 book about country music that Amazon customers are putting on their wish lists!  Just ahead of Kenny Rogers! 

I hope your wishes all come true, dear readers...

Monday, December 10, 2012


Thanks to Jim Bessman for interviewing us for!
With this great link to AP Carter singing "One Little Word"...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Show us how you read your copy...

The Mza reads his copy on Facebook.  In his profile photo...

He is saying "The is damn good."  Why thank you, Mza.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The L.A. Times Suggests "Don't Forget This Song!"

Another major American daily newspaper has kindly given us a mention: (click on the image to go to their website)

Thanks, L.A.Times! We're grateful to get this major media coverage. Wonder if/when the New York Times will mention us? Time (pun not intended) will tell...

Hear David and Frank Talk About "Don't Forget This Song" with Fretboard Journal's Michael John Simmons!

You've read several interviews about our graphic novel on the Carter Family... now you can hear we two chat with Fretboard Journal's delightful Michael John Simmons about Don't Forget This Song.

Just click on the graphic below and you'll go to the webpage pictured! If you're a guitar or stringed instrument enthusiast, FJ's website (and their print magazine) are a must!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Boston Globe

Thank you, Boston Globe, for mentioning our book in your graphic novel gift guide!

Right behind the amazing "Building Stories"!

Friday, November 30, 2012

"My mom feels that way, she will not watch music videos for that exact reason."

I'm happy to report two new interviews related to "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"...

"Everything you hear in their voices, they really had lived it."
Stephen M. Deusner sat down to talk with Frank Young and I about the book for Engine 145.
It was an enjoyable conversation.  Among other things, we talked about the research we did for the book, and the dream Frank had, about 10 years ago, that shaped how the entire novel would eventually look.

I sat down with two friends and collaborators, Chris Estey and Mairead Case, and we talked about music, and comics, and comics about music, for KEXP's blog.  KEXP, for those who don't know, is one of Seattle's best radio stations, and can be heard online.  It's a thrill to be on the blog of a station I listen to regularly...

Thanks Stephen, Chris, and Mairead for talking with us!

Monday, November 26, 2012

How Do You Read "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"...?

The talented McIntyre Sisters met up in NYC in October (shortly before Hurricane Sandy struck), Sarah coming from London, and Mary coming from Seattle.  Among the many things they did was read "The Carter Family" on New York's public transit. 

I appropriated this most excellent photo from Sarah's highly entertaining LiveJournal blog...

Send me a photo of yourself reading the book & maybe you'll see it posted on this blog.  davidlasky (at) yahoo (dot-com). 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fantagraphics Bookstore Recap

I've been meaning to write about our signings at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, and Village Books in Bellingham, but real life has gotten in the way.

Janice at Fantagraphics wrote a really nice post about our Seattle signing for their FLOG, so I'm going to share the link...

And some photos from the event:

Kelly Froh gossips with Mike and Janice.

Frank Young, David Lasky, Noah Van Sciver.

Original art was displayed on the store's gallery wall!

Dennis Driscoll played a selection of Carter Family songs and his own songs (ending with a rap!) to a star-studded audience.  

Today was (I think) the last day to see the original art displayed at the Fantagraphics Bookstore.  The book is still available there and at many other bookstores.  What a nice holiday gift it would make! :)

Lots more photos from the Fantagraphics Bookstore signing can be seen here...

Thanks all who attended!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"their choice of instruments was limited by religious beliefs"

A somewhat odd, but favorable, review from ICV2:

Skip Heller's review reappears (unsigned) here:

The Comics Journal interviewed me, and picked out an odd quote to use as the title:
I’m Glad to Have the Benefit Now of Existing”...

Aren't you glad as well?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Carter Family" original art on display; Seattle and Gainesville

Original art from "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song" is currently on display at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, WA.  The exhibition, sharing the gallery wall with art from Noah Van Sciver's "Young Lincoln" graphic novel, continues through Nov. 22.

On December 7, a completely different show of art from the book goes on display at the Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) in Gainesville, FL.

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Do You Read "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"...?

Michael John Simmons, Editor-at-Large and co-founder of The Fretboard Journal, reads his near the Victrola...

(Photo courtesy of Michael John Simmons)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NW Tour Recap: Portland!

On October 25, Frank and I gave a reading and signed copies of our book at the world's greatest little store, Reading Frenzy, in Portland, Oregon.

(photo by Corin See)

We had a great turn-out, Reading Frenzy sold all its copies, and I even sold the five I'd brought along with me. Thank you, Portland Comics Scene for representing!  It was great to see old friends, and meet some new old friends. 

During the Q&A, someone asked how long the project took.  We explained that it all began in 2002, when our friend Ilse was playing recorded music to her baby, in-utero.  She played a CD of hillbilly music, and suggested to me that some of those old hillbilly musicians might have some good stories.  That got the ball rolling toward me asking Frank if he knew anything about The Carter Family.  I was able to point to the back of the room and tell everyone that Ilse's baby is now a ten year-old boy...

(Thank you, Gary and Arlo, for coming to see us!)

It was especially nice to have Beth Harrington present.  We showed a clip from her Carter Family documentary-in-progress, "The Winding Stream."  She was kind enough to sing Carter Family songs, a capella, during our reading of the Bristol Sessions chapter.  She's been a wonderful supporter of our book, and we can't wait to see her film!!

(Beth and husband Andy)

Thank you, Chloe and the staff of Reading Frenzy for fantastic event!!! 
All of my photos from the reading are posted here.

How do you read "The Carter Family"?...

Starting today, we invite you, the reader, to send us a photo of yourself reading "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song." 

Filmmaker Ron Austin read his copy while on vacation, in an easy chair next to a fire...

Thank you, Ron, for allowing us to re-post your photo!  This is also a good moment to point out that Ron is at work (with Louise Amandes) on a documentary about cartoonists in the Pacific Northwest that includes footage of me (David Lasky) at work on a page from the Carter Family graphic novel!  It's called "Bezango, WA."  Learn more, and possibly support completion of the film, at its Kickstarter page... 

(At the $90 level, the thank you gift is a Carter Family giclee print by yours truly.)

Where to find "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"

In San Francisco, it has been spotted at (the historic) City Lights Books!

(thank you, Haley Stocking, for the photo!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CBR Robot 6

A thoughtful piece about portraying sound in comics, and some of the visual expressions of music in "Carter Family" was just posted to Comic Book Resources.

The Forward

Paul Buhle reviews "CARTER FAMILY: DON'T FORGET THIS SONG" for The Jewish Daily Forward!

More nice mentions

Frank and I used to work for Fantagraphics (at different times, and in different jobs).  They had us sign at their store recently (photos coming soon), and posted a very sweet mention on their blog (thank you, Janice!)...

Old time music afficianado Byron Marshall wrote a really nice review on the Cartoon Simple blog...

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Cash Sisters

Back in late August, Leeann and I were excited to journey down to Portland and meet two of Johnny Cash's daughters, Tara and Rosanne (and show them an advance copy of the book, which they kindly posed with)...


I complimented Rosanne on her heartfelt and gorgeous-sounding album, "The List," which is a selection of songs from the list of 100 essential Country songs that her father wrote for her when she was a teenager.

The occasion was a reception for Kickstarter backers of Beth Harrington's Carter Family documentary "The Winding Stream."  Rosanne spoke passionately about the Carter Family and about the importance of supporting what looks to be the definitive documentary about the Carter and Cash Families, featuring interviews with Johnny Cash, Rita Forrester, Janette Carter, Joe Carter, Mike Seger, and countless other people who figure strongly in American music.  The movie is in post-production and Beth is looking for supporters to help complete this 10+ year labor of love. Go to the Winding Stream website for details!

(Here is Beth, excited to see the book for the first time, with Leeann & me.)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday in Tallahassee

Frank Young's hometown newspaper, the Tallahassee Democrat, features us on the cover of their Sunday magazine today!

Read the Q&A with Frank here...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hello Stranger

I just learned that the book has been reviewed by Seattle's weekly paper "The Stranger"...

NW Book Tour: Portland, Bellingham, Seattle!

If you live in Portland, OR, you might check out The Projects this weekend (sadly, I can't be there).  But save some energy for Thursday, Oct. 25, when Frank and I will be reading and signing our book at (one of my favorite stores in the world) Reading Frenzy!

The following day, Friday, Oct. 26, we'll be signing at one of the NW's great bookstores: Village Books, in Bellingham, WA! 

Our NW Book Tour ends with a bang at the Fantagraphics Bookstore in Seattle, Nov. 2 -- just before the spectacular Short Run small press show (where I will have a table)!  Frank and I will both be signing copies at Fantagraphics, along with cartoonist Noah Van Sciver, and the Fantagraphics Bookstore Gallery will be displaying a selection of Carter Family (and Noah Van Sciver) original art.  (And I am told there will be music by Dennis Driscoll!)

Monday, October 15, 2012

More reviews and mentions...

Frank and I continue to be excited by reviews and mentions of "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song"...

The A.V. Club.  (scroll down a little).
(Another nice thing on this page: news that Dick Moore's "Gasoline Alley" comics from the 1960's are being reprinted.  Frank King's "Gasoline Alley" of the 1930's was a huge visual influence on Frank's coloring and my art in the book.  Dick Moores was King's assistant who took over the strip in 1960, and steered it in interesting directions, while staying true to the original tone of the strip.)

There is a very nice customer review on the book's Amazon page

In anticipation of the book launch party, there were nice mentions by The Seattle Weekly and The Stranger.  And then the Stranger's David Schmader further blogged about it.  (Side note: I recently illustrated a comic written by David Schmader on the subject of How to Talk About Marriage Equality.)

And writer (and another old friend) Chris Estey posted an exceptionally nice review and event-preview on Three Imaginary Girls.

Some favorable reader reviews are appearing on the reader-networking site Goodreads.  Thanks, readers!

Finally, a mention in the Milwaukee Express!...

Comics Reporter Interview with Frank Young and David Lasky

It was a pleasure to be interviewed by my old friend Tom Spurgeon, who happens to put together the coolest comics news site on the Internet, Comics Reporter.  He asked Frank and I about certain pages in the book, as way of exploring wider issues, and our working process.  Read the interview here...

Friday, October 12, 2012

So... TIME Magazine

If you subscribe to TIME Magazine, or pick it up at the newsstand, or maybe have a doctor or dentist appointment coming up...  check out the books page, and read about the Carter Family graphic novel...

I know, right?  Pretty awesome! Actually, it's really really awesome.

Thank you, TIME and Douglas Wolk!

I also want to point out to all reviewers that Frank Young did all the colors in the book, and deserves mention when you talk about the art.  This wasn't just a "this guy wrote and that guy drew it" kind of thing, it's a truly collaborative project.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some very nice reviews and mentions...

With the book released, Frank and I are bowled over by the attention it is receiving.  Such as this favorable review on Comics Bulletin:

Not to mention, "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song" being one of TIME Magazine's 7 best graphic novels of the season!
I never in my life imagined a comic I drew would be mentioned in TIME.  But I am willing to accept this.  (Congrads to Seattle artist and friend Ellen Forney for also being on TIME's list!  I'm really looking forward to reading her courageous 'graphic memoir' "Marbles.")

"American Songwriter" has a review:

Our launch party was nicely written up in the Capitol Hill Times:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Book Has Launched!!!

On Monday, October 8, at Seattle's Richard Hugo House, Frank Young and I officially launched "The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song" graphic novel.  I don't know the exact count, but the house was packed, so I'd guess between 70 and 100 people attended.  Thanks, all of you who were able to come!

We were blessed with live music from Cliff Perry and Laurel Bliss who played a stirring set of Carter Family songs. Their harmonies sounded so good, I got chills. (Cliff and Laurel have CDs for sale online... I recommend Spirit of Love.)

We watched a few clips from Beth Harrington's upcoming labor-of-love documentary: "The Winding Stream."  Beth filmed interviews with Johnny Cash, Janette and Joe Carter, Roseanne Cash, and other key figures in American music.  (By the way, you can help support this film as it works its way through post-production.)

Thanks to some generous friends, there was an overwhelmingly great dessert buffet which attendees partook of during intermission.  Some shout outs: Thanks, Leeann, for baking 12 dozen mini-muffins, thanks Noel, for baking two amazing cakes, and thanks Amanda and the Tall Grass Bakery, for a plethora of cookies. 

To end the show, Frank and I and a few friends did a reading from the book, accompanied by Cliff and Laurel for the musical parts! (We read "The Storms Are on the Ocean" - a chapter dedicated to the memory of Dylan Williams. The performance was dedicated to Dale Yarger, another friend we lost to cancer during production of the book.)  I made a few goofs, but the audience was kind.  Hey, I'm a cartoonist not a dramatist. Thanks so much to our readers: Kelly Froh, Elissa Washuta, Stacey Levine, and Mark Campos (who wins my best-dressed award)!

And then of course, we signed some books.
All in all, it was an old-time blowout party and a success. Thank you Brian McGuigan, Michael Hayes, and everyone else at Richard Hugo House! Thank you, Elliott Bay Book Company!  Thank you Abrams! And thank you Carter Family, for making the music all those years ago...
Ron Austin, who is making a documentary about cartoonists in the NW, did some filming and took a few really nice photos:
Leeann and I took a bunch of photos too:

Thursday, October 4, 2012


I'm excited to report that today the first three chapters from the book are being excerpted on one of our favorite sites,
(It may take a few seconds to load).
Thank you, BoingBoing!

Wherever Books Are Sold

The book should be appearing wherever books are sold. 
Here it is, for example, at the Fantagraphics Bookstore:

Thank you, talented friends...

Today Sarah McIntyre gave "Don't Forget This Song" a kind mention in her amazing Live Journal blog.

For anyone who doesn't know, Sarah, an American transplanted to London, is one of the world's great childrens book illustrators.  I'm always so thrilled to know her.  She is currently at work on her best illustrations to date...

That reminds me: On the American side of the Atlantic, there is another great illustrator and longtime friend of mine, Cece Bell.  She mentioned me and the book on her blog as well, and she has a new book out too: "Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover."  Cece is secretly working on a graphic novel that will one day knock your socks off (knock them clean OFF)! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Printers Row Review

The Chicago Tribune's "Printers Row" has reviewed "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song!" If you live in Chicago, you can track it down and read it.  If not, here are some blurry reproductions...

I'm excited to be sharing a cover with Neil Young! I would guess this is a music-themed issue...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reviews and Mentions

The Comics Journal posted an online review that made my day/week/month...
(Full disclosure: Frank and I both worked for the Comics Journal at different times, in different capacities, back in the 90's.)

The Seattle Weekly mentions the book and the book launch party (Oct.8, in Seattle!):

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Bristol Sessions Chapter concluded

Today we conclude "The Storms Are on the Ocean," our chapter chronicling the Carter Family's audition and recording session for Victor, and their first meeting with Ralph Peer. 

Click here for a larger, more readable view.

Though the Carter Family did not meet Jimmie Rodgers at the Bristol Sessions, we couldn't resist giving him a cameo appearance here.

Look for the rest of the book, "Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song," wherever books are sold, starting October 1st!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Take a look inside our new Carter Family graphic novel!

"Don't Forget This Song" Preview from James Gill on Vimeo.

Here's a four-minute thumb-through of the just-published Carter Family graphic novel. Try before you buy! Thanks to our good buddy, James Gill, for shooting this video. (That's me doing the flipping.)

The Bristol Chapter continued

We created a fictional conversation between AP and Peer to try and convey the complicated nature of music contracts and copyright in the early years of the recording industry.

Here is a larger version...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Single Girl" Page Evolution

I think I first heard "Single Girl, Married Girl" on Harry Smith's landmark Anthology of American Folk Music.  I'd never heard a song like it, or a voice like Sara Carter's.  It planted the seeds of my interest in the Carter Family, and in my collaboration with Frank Young on the graphic novel.  So the page in which Sara and Maybelle record the song was very important to me. I think of it as the cornerstone of the book. 

Originally I had a vision of the moment as Sara and Maybelle performing in empty space, with no panel borders, as an expression of the haunting quality of the song...

The sequence went on for several panels and covered a good bit of the song. When Frank and I learned that the Carter Family's lyrics were largely not in the public domain, we had to change plans!  Frank came up with the large single panel you see at the bottom of the page:

It didn't feel quite right to me, for such a momentous moment.  I tried it as a closeup:

This wasn't working for me either. I wanted a 1930's comic strip look, but this panel felt more like a 1960's DC comic book. I stopped right in the middle of inking and decided I had to pull the view back. But I liked the idea of the words being words and word balloons at the same time, and I kept that concept...
I was very happy with this result!  But it took a little longer than most of the other pages in the book. 
One side note: Quilts were hung on the walls of the makeshift studio to muffle outside sounds. All the quilts I drew were researched for accuracy...

Single Girl, Married Girl

Today, as pages are posted from the Bristol Sessions chapter, we come across what is maybe my favorite page in the book: Sara and Maybelle recording "Single Girl, Married Girl."

Here's a larger version...

In a separate post, I will talk about the page and show the stages of its evolution.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Reviews and mentions...

The Drawn Word wrote a nice review.

Flavorpill wrote a brief mention in anticipation of the book, as did Library Journal!

The Mudcat Cafe had a discussion in anticipation of the book...

My Research Trip

Ten years ago, in the fall of 2002, my father and I drove from Alexandria, VA, down to Bristol VA/TN (it's right on the border).  It was something like nine hours of driving, across the state of Virginia.  It proved to be one of the best road trips I've ever taken. 

We went to the Carter Family Fold, saw and heard a great concert, and I had Janette Carter autograph a copy of her memoir, "Living with Memories."  (Thanks John Maeder, for taking this photo.)

 Near the CFF, there was a small (but concentrated) Carter Family museum, housed in the building that was once A.P. Carter's store.  We also made it to the church where the Carters' worshipped, and where A.P., Sara, and many other family members are buried.  I wanted to make comics about the Carter Family, because I had wondered where this beautiful, heartfelt music had come from, and who had made it.  It was very exciting to be in the place where they lived and worked.  I took photos.

We also visited the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, whose museum was in the Bristol shopping mall at that time.  I'm excited to see that they are working on a Cultural Heritage Center.

Thanks, Dad, for taking me down to Maces Spring and Bristol!