Giving the devil his due - Glenn Head on fearlessly exploring trauma and triumph through comics

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Glenn came by to talk about his new book Chartwell Manner (available now) . The discussion ranged from his creative process to the way he sees the industry, and comics in general.

Guest Bio

Glenn Head was born in 1958 in Morristown, New Jersey, and began drawing comics when he was fourteen. His work has appeared in many places—from The Wall Street Journal to Screw. Others include The New York Times, Playboy, New Republic, Sports Illustrated, Advertising Age, Interview and Entertainment Weekly.

Glenn’s fine art has been exhibited in New York and across the country: Exit Art’s traveling cartoon art show, “Comic Power”; “Art and Provocation: Images from Rebels” at the Boulder Museum of Fine Art; and “The New York Press Illustrator Show” at CBGB’s Gallery. Head’s editorial cartooning appeared in the Inx show at Hofstra University.

In the early ‘90s, Glenn co-created (with cartoonist Kaz) and edited Snake Eyes, the Harvey Award-nominated cutting-edge comix anthology series. His solo books include Avenue D and Guttersnipe – an underground urban comix that capture the intense, gritty underbelly of street life. Head was a frequent contributor to the Fantagraphics’ comix anthology quarterly Zero Zero. The Simon & Schuster’s comic book anthology Mind Riot featured Glenn’s work – a collection of personal stories depicting teenage angst. His project, Head Shots, a sketchbook of cartoon art, followed.

From 2005 to 2010 Glenn edited and contributed to the Harvey and Eisner-nominated anthology HOTWIRE Comics (three issues) . Over the past six years, Glenn created his graphic epic, Chicago. This coming-of-age memoir centers around a starry-eyed 19-year-old with dreams of underground comics glory as he encounters his heroes who faces homelessness, despair, insanity… and somehow survive.

The Project

This May, Fantagraphics will publish CHARTWELL MANOR, cartoonist Glenn Head’s harrowing graphic memoir that details his two years at the now-defunct Mendham, NJ, boarding school run by a serial sexual and physical abuser of young boys.

“As a young child very little of the world made sense to me,” said Head. “Finding myself in Chartwell in the early ‘70s was like entering a real-world horror comic—depraved, criminal, and corrupting to so many who attended it. No one walked away unsullied.”

Telling his story with a raw honesty unparalleled in autobiographical comics today, Head never asks the reader to like him as he stares down the demons—substance abuse, sex addiction—born of his boarding school days. Struggling to make sense of his experience, he discovers in art the power to reshape the past, finding, finally, a ray of hope and perhaps even a sliver of forgiveness.

Advance Praise for CHARTWELL MANOR:

This is a great graphic novel. I couldn’t put it down… Starkly honest, a powerful story…the level of merciless self examination…I was deeply impressed. Head has traveled a long way to get to this point. This is… well, okay, I’ll say it… A Masterpiece! Truly. Very few writers or artists ever reach this level of self-revealing truth. It’s good for the world… —Robert Crumb

Chartwell Manor is a painful, riveting and brutally honest memoir ― possibly the most honest one I’ve ever read. I loved it! This clearly took a lot of guts to produce, as well as a lifetime to process! —Peter Bagge

Get your copy at:

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About the show

The Panel Garden is an interview show, where we explore the minds and the creative processes of the comics creators and occasional other creative types you love. We cover the whole spectrum of comics creativity, from writers and pencilers to editors and inkers. We also feature hot new talent for you to sink your teeth into. Not literally though. That would be weird.

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