Saturday, January 28, 2012

CulturePOP: James Haspiel


When author and archivist, James Haspiel, was 16-years old, he received a kiss on the cheek from Marilyn Monroe and, thus, began a friendship that would last until MM’s untimely death. He has kept an incredible collection of personal items that belonged to MM and is considered a respectful yet world renowned authority on Marilyn Monroe. He has advised authors and journalists on the life of MM and the real personality behind the iconic mask, as well as offering first hand information to several televised documentaries.

In, Marilyn – The Ultimate Look at the Legend, James Haspiel deftly recounts his experiences tracking and photographing “Mazzie” everywhere from glamorous movie events to quiet outings with friends and other private moments while reverently observing the real woman behind the headlines. Haspiel’s book is a personal, knowledgeable, and sensitive reminiscence from an illuminating perspective made evident with photographs, clippings, and memorabilia.

In this new edition of CulturePOP, the 29th (!) I utilize my recent photos of James, taken last year at and near his home in the Hamptons, and James's archival photos, along with his own words, to tell the subject's story.

Read the CulturePOP Photocomix profile on James Haspiel at TRIP CITY.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS: The Origins of American Comics coming May 2012


powerHouse Books is pleased to announce the May 2012 release of

The Origins of American Comics

Photographs by Seth Kushner

Text and interviews by Christopher Irving

Design by Eric Skillman

Some are mild mannered geeks, others mad geniuses or street-smart city dwellers driven to action. These are the men and women behind the masks and tights of America's most beloved superheroes. But these aren't the stories of the heroes' hidden alter egos or secret identities...these are the stories of their creators! Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics gives you the truth about the history of the American comic book—straight from the revolutionary artists and writers behind them.

From the founders of the popular comics website Graphic NYC—writer Christopher Irving and photographer Seth Kushner—comes the firsthand accounts of the comic book's story, from its birth in the late 1930s to its current renaissance on movie screens and digital readers everywhere. Kushner's evocative photography captures the subjects that Irving profiles in a hard-hitting narrative style derived from personal interviews with the legends of the art, all of which is accompanied by examples of their work in the form of original art, sketches, and final panels and covers. The creators profiled include Captain America creator Joe Simon, Marvel guru Stan Lee, Mad magazine's fold-out artist Al Jaffee, visionary illustrator Neal Adams (Batman), underground paragon Art Spiegelman (Maus), X-Men writer Chris Claremont, artist/writer/director Frank Miller (Sin City, 300), comic analyst Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics), American Splendor's Harvey Pekar, painter Alex Ross (Kingdom Come), multitalented artist and designer Chris Ware (Acme Novelty Library), artist Jill Thompson (Sandman), and more.

Leaping Tall Buildings, like comics themselves, uses both words and images to tell the true story of the comic's birth and evolution in America. It is a comprehensive look at the medium unlike any other ever compiled covering high and low art, mass market work and niche innovations. It is the story of an art form and an insider's look at the creative process of the artists who bring our heroes to life.

For a preview of the book please visit:

Christopher Irving is a pop culture historian with a concentration in the American comic book. A veteran of comics history and journalism magazines like Comics Buyers Guide and multiple Eisner Award-winning Comic Book Artist (where he served as Associate Editor), Irving combines new journalism with comics history to create personality essays on comic book creators. Leaping Tall Buildings is Irving's fifth book on comic books. Irving currently edits digital comics magazine The Drawn Word.

Seth Kushner's portrait photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Newsweek, L'Uomo Vogue, The New Yorker and others. He was chosen by Photo District News magazine as one of their 30 under 30 in 1999 and is a two-time winner of their Photo Annual Competition. Seth's first book, The Brooklynites, (with Anthony LaSala) was published by powerHouse Books in 2007. Currently, Seth is working on CulturePOP Photocomix, and profiling real-life characters on and Seth resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York with his wife, son and way too many cameras and comics.

Eric Skillman is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer, art director, and writer best known for his work with The Criterion Collection and his design blog Cozy Lummox.

Comics / Graphic Arts / Non-Fiction
Hardcover, 8 x 10 inches, 240 pages, 50 full-color photographs and 80 comic panels
ISBN: 978-1-57687-591-9, $35.00

For a preview of the book please visit:

High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: From Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics photographs by Seth Kushner, text and interviews by Christopher Irving, published by powerHouse Books.

For more information, please contact Nina Ventura, Publicist
powerHouse Books, 37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel: 212-604-9074 x118, Fax: 212-366-5247, email:

© Copyright 2012 powerHouse Books

Monday, January 9, 2012

SCHMUCK -- Seth Kushner's semi-autobiographical comix series launches on TRIP CITY.


Chapter One “Beer, Babes and Bowel Movements,” illustrated by Kevin Colden, (with “Photocomix” by Kushner) debuts on Monday, January 9.

Whenever Seth Kushner did anything foolish growing up, his mother would call him a “Schmuck,” that beloved Yiddish term of not-so-endearment. So, of course, it's the title of his new comix semi-memoir on TRIP CITY, an online multimedia arts salon. Renowned for his The Brooklynites book and CulturePOP Photocomix, photographer and author Seth Kushner now throws his hat into the comics arena. SCHMUCK chronicles the period after his being dumped by a girlfriend, and the ensuing cascade of blind dates, Internet hook-ups, and comically tragic situations he endured with the hopes of finding “true love.”

SCHMUCK to sheds a brutally honest light on 20-something relationships. Adam Kessler, our “hero,” is based on Kushner, ten years ago – a pop-culture-obsessed photographer torn between pleasing Mom by finding a "nice Jewish girl," and figuring out what he really wants. His internal monologue is filled with the standard inane, perverted and self-deprecating thoughts we all have but are ashamed to admit. Meanwhile, his shit-talking, sex-obsessed Brooklyn boys stand by with their own, often wacky, advice.

Chapter One “Beer, Babes and Bowel Movements,” illustrated by Kevin Colden, (with “Photocomix” by Seth) debuts on Monday, January 9. From there, a new chapter will appear on every second Monday for one year. Every fourth Monday will see the release of a prose piece, “THE SCHMUCK DIARIES.” These will act as supplements to the comics. 2012 will see the release of 12 SCHMUCK comix and 12 SCHMUCK DIARIES.

SCHMUCK is an anthology series with different artists illustrating short “schmucky stories,” which can be read individually, or together to tell the complete narrative. Some upcoming SCHMUCK artists include; Sean Pryor (Pekar Project), Bobby Timony (Night Owls), Omar Angulo (Hurricane Wilma), Shamus Beyale (The Grimm Fairy Tales), Ryan Alexander-Tanner (To Teach), Nathan Schreiber (Power-Out), Chris Sinderson (Twisted Savage Dragon Funnies) and more TBA.

What to expect: heartbreak, diarrhea, painful STD removal, rejection, Kung-Fu, Natalie Portman, vomit, boobs, self-loathing, unkempt genital regions, sex with an ex, drunkenness, sexual dysfunction, depression, misogyny, and somehow, hope.

Read SCHMUCK Chapter One: Beer, Babes and Bowel Movements.