It's been a busy couple of months for Todd Hignite, and the fall's shaping up to be just as crazy. The eighth issue of Comic Art
, the respected annual he and his wife Sara Rowe Hignite edit and publish from their south St. Louis home, hit the magazine racks in August. The journal's biggest issue yet is a thing of beauty, a full-color, 176-page love letter to the medium. It features cover art by longtime New Yorker
contributor (and founding member of NYC avant-disco band Liquid Liquid) Richard McGuire
and includes articles that tackle, among other topics, king-of-the-caricaturists Drew Friedman; the origins of "speech balloons" in comics and an ode to 1970s pulp artist Jim Starlin (written by the always insightful Douglas Wolk
Last week Yale University Press published Hignite's first book. Titled In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists
, it profiles nine of the most important comic artists working in the medium, including Chris Ware
, Robert Crumb
, Art Spiegelman
, Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes
and Gary Panter
. Hignite has lovingly compiled his favorite panels, drawings and ephemera from each artist, all of whom granted him access to their archives, and has organized the book so that each page is itself a work of art.
Hignite and Panter will be signing copies of In the Studio at Star Clipper (6392 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-725-9110) on Saturday, October 14. (Don't worry, you'll be hearing more about Panter's whirlwind St. Louis weekend.)
Come winter, the Hignites will journey to rural France, where they'll work with Crumb and his wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb on an upcoming Crumb show at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Then it's back to St. Louis to continue work on issue nine of Comic Art.
This week Hignite finally quit his day job as a museum-grade art framer. "We'll see if I can get by," he says with a touch of nervousness. "I don't know if it's going to work, but St. Louis is probably the only place in the world where I could live and hopefully make it work, just because it's so inexpensive." -Randall Roberts