Mar 20, 2015

Covers of The Rocket and Seattle Sun in the Alt-Weekly Comics Show

The new Alt-Weekly Comics exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York City is packed with original artwork, covers, and blow-ups of classic comic strips from the 1970s-00s. The show opened March 6 and runs through May 2, and will be accompanied by a series of programming on April 11-12 at the MoCCA Arts Festival. Curated by Warren Barnard and Bill Kartalopoulos, the exhibit includes dozens of great cartoonists and artists, including Lynda Barry, Matt Groening, Doug Allen, Mark Newgarden, Carol Lay, Alison Bechdel, Kaz, Ward Sutton, Chris Ware, Jen Sorensen, Tony Millionaire, and many more.

Back in the day (that day was the late 1970s and early 80s), I worked with Lynda Barry and other cartoonists in Seattle at several alternative publications, The Seattle Sun and The Rocket. (I was the art director of the Seattle Sun and the art director and later editor of The Rocket). Both published Barry’s early comics, as well as her illustrations for stories and the occasional advertisement. Barry also illustrated a spectacular series of covers over the years. Generally there wasn’t much art direction involved; we just told her how much space to leave for the logo and what size to make the art.

Later at The Rocket we published covers featuring cartoonists and artists from both Seattle and around the country, including Matt Groening, Gary Panter, and Charles Burns.

Here are five covers from the Seattle Sun and The Rocket that are featured in the Alt-Weekly Comics exhibit, plus three more by Lynda Barry from the late 1970s and early 80s.

(Above, The Rocket, January 1983. Illustration: Charles Burns, art director: Helene Silverman.

Groening 8:85 The Rocket copyThe Rocket, August 1985. Illustration: Matt Groening, art directors: Rick Jost, Kate Thompson, Robert Newman.

Gary Panter 1-84 The Rocket copyThe Rocket, January 1984. Illustration: Gary Panter, art director: Helene Silverman.

LBarry 1-85 The Rocket copyThe Rocket, January 1985. Illustration: Lynda Barry, art directors; Dennis Eichhorn and Robert Newman.

Seattle Sun LB copyThe Seattle Sun, March 28, 1979. Illustration: Lynda Barry, art director: Robert Newman.

Seattle Sun LB2 copyThe Seattle Sun, December 19, 1979. Illustration: Lynda Barry, art director: Robert Newman.

LBarry 7-83 The Rocket copyThe Rocket, July 1983. Illustration: Lynda Barry, art director: Helene Silverman.

Nugent 6-80 The Rocket copyThe Rocket, June 1980. Illustration: Lynda Barry, art directors: Steven Bialer and Mark Michaelson.

Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from The Rocket Magazine
Lynda Barry’s Illustrated Covers for The Rocket and the Seattle Sun