Tag Archives | Last Gasp

Last Gasp seeks to publish historic manga “Barefoot Gen”

Berkeley comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarterbarefootgen in an effort to print 4,000 hardcover editions of the historic World War II manga, Barefoot Gen. The manga, originally published in the mid-70s, tells the story of six-year-old Gen Nakaoka and his interactions with other survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Gen not only struggles with the horror that followed the aftermath of the bomb, but also being the son of a father who believes Japan’s participation in the war is led by the greed of the ruling class. It’s a gripping story dealing with themes of class, warfare, and power.

Last Gasp is seeking $36,000 to publish a hardcover edition of Keiji Nakazawa’s story and distribute it to schools. According to the Kickstarter “Keiji Nakazawa’s manga illustrates the true impact of nuclear weapons when used against a civilian population. It is vital reading for people of all ages, and especially for today’s youth. By keeping this tragedy in our collective consciousness, we can strive to never repeat it and guide humanity towards a course of peace.”

One interesting component of the Last Gasp Kickstarter is backers have the option of letting the publisher ship the finished product directly to a school of choice.

Comix publisher Last Gasp holding logo design contest

Are you interested in having your name join the ranks of R. Crumb, Mark Ryden, and Saeki Toshio?

lastgaspLast Gasp, perhaps the longest running publisher of comix, has a unique opportunity for you. As an alternative comix publisher it perhaps isn’t surprising that the company has resisted traditional branding and have allowed artists to apply a personal interpretation to the skull, cross bones, tongue logo. According to the company “Last Gasp played it fast and loose in those early days of publishing. There was no set logo design. Since each artist drew their own cover for each comic book, they were also tasked with creating their own interpretation of the Last Gasp logo.”

Last Gasp is hosting a contest to find a 2014 “redesign” (as much as a logo with no set-in-stone design can be redesigned). The company website has all of the rules, but the design concept is pretty much an open canvas:

All artwork must refer to LAST GASP by including, visibly and legibly, EITHER (a) the words LAST GASP (capitalized); or (b) a skull and crossbones image; or (c) both LAST GASP and the skull and crossbones image; or (d) Artist’s Choice.

There are a number of prize levels and Last Gasp founder Ron Turner may personally judge your entry. Entries are being accepted until March 25, 2014.

(hat tip to Laughing Squid)

The first comic book store owner has passed away

According to ICv2 Gary Edson Arlington, who founded the San Francisco Comic Book Company, passed away on January 16, 2014. Arlington was a comic pioneer opening in 1968 the San Francisco Comic Book Company at  3339 23rd Street in the Mission District. The store is thought by many to be the first comic book store in the United States.

Nearly one year ago Arlington, who was 73 at the time, was profiled by the San Francisco Chronicle after Bay Area-based Last Gasp published a book of his art titled I Am Not of this Planet. The article quotes an Art Spiegeleman passage from the book: “San Francisco was the capitol of comix culture in the ’60s and early ’70s; and Gary Arlington’s hole-in-the-wall shop was, for me, the capitol of San Francisco.”

Last Gasp’s Ron Turner to be roasted at LitQuake

lastgaspWhen I wrote about comic related events at San Francisco’s LitQuake this year I made one glaring omission: LitQuake’s 2013 Barbary Coast Award Roast of Last Gasp’s Ron Turner.

Last Gasp is perhaps one of the most well known “comix” publishers from the 1970s. Many other underground publishers were hit hard by a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that local communities could determine what was too indecent to be protected by the First Amendment, but Last Gasp benefited from the liberalism of the Bay Area (unfortunately, this ruling had ripple effects in more conservative regions of the country greatly reducing off-the-rack sales for underground comix overall). Last Gasp has provided publishing opportunities for a long list of alternative creators including R. Crumb in the 70s, Bill Griffith in the 80s, Frank Kozik in the 90s, Mark Ryden in the aughts.

Wednesday night the storied company will be honored as it receives LitQuakes 2013 Barbary Coast Award in conjunction with a roast of Last Gasp founder Ron Turner. The event starts at 8 p.m. in Z Space, 450 Florida St in San Francisco. Tickets and more details are available here.

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