Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Quarterly w/ New Yorker Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler,

Tony Solomun's The Quarterly Volume V
This Book is typeset in Janson SSK, the same font used for Herman Melville's Moby Dick,and published as a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition,

Thank you for reading this,my fifth volume of The Quarterly,a Literary anthology I started a few years ago,
each volume is a nod to McSweeney's Quarterly,and to one of my artistic heroes who are profiled forthwith,

volume 1 was dedicated and approved by Chris Ware,whilst the next volumes were respectfully dedicated to and had contributions such as essays,interviews,art by Gary Panter,John Porcellino, Alan Moore's daughter Leah Moore and son in law John Reppion,this volume is of course dedicated to Shannon Wheeler who is a good friend for a number of years now and who I had the opportunity to meet in 2011,
I will do to the best of my ability to describe the absolute treasure Mr Wheeler is to the comic book and Illustration worlds,

Shannon Wheeler is not one to rest on his laurels, Indeed he has shown prowess in more than one
artistic field,and was always destined to be awarded as such,
If you grew up in the 1990s as I did,you would've heard of the now famous character with the memorable name, Too Much Coffee Man,which he began incidentally enough in 1990,I was only about 5 years old at that time, though when I began reading comics at 1998 I was soon to discover Shannon's comic,
Born and growing up in Berkeley, California and studying at UC Berkeley, he started to hone his skills as a cartoonist early on in University, and published various comic strips,when he moved to Texas,is when he would begin to write and draw a satirical comic character that still brings laughter on a weekly basis to this day,Too Much Coffee Man is a versatile,many faceted comic strip, and its longevity and success is that it has kept up to pace with modern times and adjusted when needed,

Too Much Coffee Man has as I mentioned tread waters not only on one format or genre,but on many,Indeed,with an Opera based on the character and with much input by Shannon Wheeler himself,writing the libretto,which was so successful that it garnered critical acclaim and which therefore translated into a sequel,
Shannon's character also had incarnations as a comic book by Dark Horse Comics as well as a tabloid magazine self published by Mr Wheeler under his Adhesive Comics banner,which ran for more than 20 issues and had numerous contributors within,as well as contributed to the funniest news known to man,The Onion Newspaper and website for a number of years,

He is without a doubt one of the truly funniest and humorous cartoonists going around,
Not to be considered a one off creator,whereas today many creators try to carry the weight of their career and any given success off of one creation,Shannon has branched out and done personal and autobiographic works such as Oil and Water,which he illustrated about the US Gulf BP Oil spill which affected many denizens and caused irreparable damage to the coastline and sea life,Shannon Wheeler gave a moving and insightful look at the aftermath of an unfortunate event,with a sombre yet electric new art style,
Not only that, Mr Wheeler has for the past few years reinvented himself as a New Yorker cartoonist, a tough if not nearly impossible undertaking for nearly any cartoonist to succeed in,because of the competition and wide range of talent needed to garner any success, Shannon has sold many cartoons to the New Yorker magazine,which is one might argue, is the pinnacle of American Literary magazines and journalism along with humour,

He is also an Eisner Award winner for his humour cartoons, in a number of books both released and forthcoming from Top Shelf Productions,The Eisner Award,indeed is the highest award any
comic book creator can aspire to win,

Shannon Wheeler has left an indelible mark on American Comic Book Culture with many creations behind him and beyond,He is still young and has many more years left in him for his audience to enjoy.

I contacted him for a short interview and I'm grateful he was more than happy to contribute to, The questions asked were regarding the successful Opera and Too Much Coffee Man himself,
Here is Shannon's answers: On the TMCM Opera-

"The opera came together slowly. Daniel Stephen Crafts wrote the music and I worked on the libretto. I pulled in Damian Wilcox - a friend who's really good at rhymes. At first we had an option to do it in Austin but the venue burned down. Later I met the director of the Portland Center of the Performing Arts at a friend's art opening. I got her card and started sending her music samples, set designs, costume ideas. About 6 months later we had an opera. "

On Too Much Coffee Man and it's endurance as a pop culture phenomenon,
"I started TMCM because I wanted something that would be remembered. He's become a convenient place for me to hang my ideas about relationships, life, and politics."
Thank you Shannon,and thank you for reading this volume of The Quarterly,

Books by Shannon Wheeler
TMCM Omnibus - Dark Horse Comics,
a terrific primer and as the title professes,
contains all TMCM comics and various books released over the years by Shannon,

TMCM : Cutie Island-Boom Studios,
The latest book by Shannon,a superlative stream of consciousness graphic novel and full of laugh out

loud moments of humour
Oil and Water- Top Shelf,
a touching graphic novel and a moral question on the practises of giant corporations, Written by Steve Duin and Illustrated by Shannon Wheeler,

I Thought You Would Be Funnier- Top Shelf,
The collection of cartoons submitted to The New Yorker which unfortunately were not bought,though on the other hand ,fortunately won the Eisner award.

Postage Stamp Funnies- Dark Horse
A hilarious collection of one page cartoons with so much humour you will find it hard not to laugh,miniaturely sized yet funny in every way.

Tony Solomun's The Quarterly Lists Best Publishers
1. Penguin
2. McSweeney's
3. Folio Society
4. Cambridge University Press 5. Random House

6. Oxford University Press
7. Writers Workshop Kolkata