Fantagraphics Releases For August 2008

by Jeff

Recent Fantagraphics Releases and Upcoming Arrivals as of August 2008.

RECENT FANTAGRAPHICS RELEASES

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Abandoned Cars
by Tim Lane

168-page 7″ x 9.5″ black & white hardcover • $22.99 USD

Abandoned Cars is Tim Lane’s first collection of graphic short stories, noir-ish narratives that are united by their exploration of the great American mythological drama by way of the desperate and haunted characters that populate its pages. Lane’s characters exist on the margins of society—alienated, floating in the void between hope and despair, confused but introspective. Some of them are experiencing the aftermath of an existential car crash—those surreal moments after a car accident, when time slows down and you’re trying to determine what just happened and how badly you’re hurt. Others have gone off the deep end, or were never anywhere but the deep end. Some are ridiculous, others dignified in their efforts to struggle to make sense of, and cope with, the absurdities, outrages, ghosts, and poisons in their lives.

The writing is straightforward, the stories mainstream but told in a pulpy idiom with an existential edge, often in the first person, reminiscent of David Goodis’s or Jim Thompson’s prose or of films like Pick-Up on South Street or Out of the Past. Visually, Lane’s drawing is in a realistic mode, reminiscent of Charles Burns, that heightens the tension in stories that veer between naturalism on the one hand and the comical, nightmarish, and hallucinatory on the other. Here, American culture is a thrift store and the characters are thrift store junkies living among the clutter. It’s an America depicted as a subdued and haunted Coney Island, made up of lost characters—boozing, brawling, haplessly shooting themselves in the face, and hopping freight trains in search of Elvis.

Abandoned Cars is an impressive debut of a major young American cartoonist.

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Delphine #3

By Richard Sala

32-page 8.5″ x 11″ two-color saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 USD

WHERE IS DELPHINE?!? Where can she be, this lovely object of our nameless traveler’s affection — or, perhaps, obsession? Since stepping off the train into Delphine’s hometown — surrounded on all sides by a deep black forest — the traveler has found nothing but trouble. It seems the townsfolk aren’t satisfied with simply being unhelpful — they are openly hostile and may even, for reasons he can’t understand, want to kill him. Perhaps our poor prince charming was hoping for a fairy tale romance, in which case, although he did get the fairy tale, along with its witches and wicked stepmothers and haunted forests and evil spells, he may find that not all fairy tales end with “happily ever after.” In this penultimate issue of the four-part series, our traveler makes a startling discovery and faces a new horror that drives him to the brink of absolute madness.

APR083845F Fantagraphics Releases For August 2008
Grotesque #2

By Sergio Ponchione

32-page 8.5″ x 11″ black & white saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 USD

A long time ago, a devious late-night pact altered the destiny of small community, its inhabitants forever cursed to live as mere clay in the hands of the capricious Mister O’Blique and the Wicked Barons. But is change finally afoot? Professor Hackensack journeys to the town in order to wrest from the Barons the secret of their power. He will be helped (or hindered) on this quest by Inspector Demifayce, Lady Puzzle, the Encephapolyp, the Taxmen and other players in the complex, not always human mosaic that forms the strange and twisted architecture of the Cryptic City. Another surreal masterpiece from Sergio Ponchione!

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Mome Vol. 12 – Fall 2008

By various artists; edited by Gary Groth & Eric Reynolds

120-page 7″ x 9″ b&w/color softcover • $14.99 USD

Appearing in MOME 12: Cover art and debut story by European master Olivier Schrauwen, who contributes the hilarious “Hair Types.” David B. is back with “The Drum Who Fell In Love,” while MOME #11 cover boy Killoffer gives us “Dirty Family Laundry.” Nate Neal deconstructs the genres of indie comix in “Reality Comics Quartet,” while Dash Shaw delivers another full-color gem titled “Train.” Tom Kaczynski presents a suite of strips detailing the history of noise, while newcomer Jon Vermilyea introduces the creepy funny “Breakfast Crew.” Plus, more Killoffer, Ray Fenwick, Sophie Crumb, and the great Al Columbia. On top of all this, we have newcomers Derek Van Gieson and Sara Edward-Corbett, as well as an illustrated prose short story by Paul Hornschemeier. Our most dense issue yet!

feb083749f Fantagraphics Releases For August 2008
Our Gang SC Vol. 03

By Walt Kelly

96-page 7″ x 10″ full-color softcover • $14.99 USD

Walt Kelly created dozens of Our Gang stories by the end of its 59-issue run in 1949, the year he quit comic books to switch careers a final time — as syndicated artist/writer on the immortal newspaper strip, Pogo.

In Our Gang’s third volume, Kelly begins to hit his stride by relying more on original ideas than following trite MGM scripts which had lacked in charm since the departure of producer Hal Roach in 1938. Keeping alive the wit that had been absent from the film series, this volume contains eight adventures of the mainstay offbeat personas as well as other whimsical characters, from mad scientists to eccentric animals. Suitable for adults and children alike, the work has been lovingly restored from the original comic books, giving Kelly’s art a renewed four-color splendor. With an all-new cover by Jeff Smith (Bone).

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4
By Michael Kupperman

32-page 6.75″ x 9.5″ two-color comic book • $4.50 USD

The eagerly anticiwaited fourth volume of Thrizzle does something no comic magazine has ever done before… it helps your family organize its entire day! Every page is dedicated to a half-hour of an average 16-hour cycle, allowing it to compliment and entertain along the way. with Pagus, Twain and Einstein, The Scaredy Kids, and Jungle Princess!

APR083847F Fantagraphics Releases For August 2008
Comics Journal #291

Edited by Michael Dean and Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, executive editor

200-page 7.5″ x 9.25″ b&w/color softcover • $11.99 USD

This issue’s cover interview is with comics artist Tim Sale, the house artist for the television series Heroes. Sale’s artwork has also graced prestigious mainstream projects such as Batman: the Long Halloween, Spider-Man Blue and Superman Confidential. The Eisner winner chats about his stylized takes on characters such as Spider-Man, Batman, Daredevil, Catwoman and Superman, as well as his earlier work on comics such as Grendel, and elaborates on the dynamics of collaborating with writers such as Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke. The Journal queries up-and-coming cartoonist Josh Simmons on his disturbing and often funny body of work — his minicomics, his series Happy; his debut graphic novel, House; and his decades-spanning series Jessica Farm. Gary Groth examines the collaborations between Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson. Also in this issue: tributes to Steve Gerber and Dan Stevens; a huge gallery of kinetic anarchy from Funny, Films, Giggle, and other Golden Age comic books by Flintstones co-creator Dan Gordon; and a sneak preview of Danica Novgorodoff’s Slow Storm.

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Usagi Yojimbo Book 5: Lone Goat and Kid (New Softcover Edition)
by Stan Sakai

142-page 6″ x 9″ black & white softcover • $14.95 USD

This fifth volume collects the epic-length “Blood Wings,” in which Usagi battles a fearsome clan of ninja bats, while “Lone Goat and Kid” offers a cunning and affectionate parody of the famous “Lone Wolf and Cub” manga while doubling as one of Usagi’s most dramatic and heartfelt adventures. “Frost and Fire” and “The Way of the Samurai” provide the psychological drama of this volume, which is rounded out by one of the most unique Usagi tales ever, “A Kite Story,” which doubles as a fascinating look at the daily life and work of a 17th century Japanese kite maker, dramatically showcasing the thoroughness of Sakai’s research and his skills as a storyteller. Featuring a foreword by the legendary Stan Lee!

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Where Demented Wented: The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes

By Rory Hayes; edited by Dan Nadel and Glenn Bray

144-page 8″ x 10″ b&w/color softcover • $22.99 USD

The controversial cartoonist Rory Hayes was a self-taught dynamo of the underground comics revolution. Attracting equal parts derision and praise (the latter from the likes of R. Crumb and Bill Griffith), Hayes emerged as comics’ great primitive, drawing horror comics in a genuinely horrifying and hallucinatory manner (some have called him the Fletcher Hanks of the underground). He has influenced a generation of cartoonists, from RAW to Fort Thunder and back again.

This book, the first retrospective of Hayes’ career ever published, features the best of his underground comics output alongside paintings, covers, and artifacts rarely seen by human eyes — as well as astounding, previously unprinted comics from his teenage years and movie posters for his numerous homemade films. The Art and Comix of Rory Hayes also serves as a biography and critique with a memoir of growing up with Rory by his brother, the illustrator Geoffrey Hayes, and a career-spanning essay by Edwin Pouncey (a.k.a. Savage Pencil). Also included is a rare interview with Hayes himself.

UPCOMING ARRIVALS COMING SOON

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Love and Rockets: New Stories #1

By the Hernandez Brothers

100-page 6.625″ x 9″ black & white softcover • $14.99 USD

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 reboots the beloved ongoing “Love and Rockets” comic into a fat, all-new annual graphic novel length package.

Jaime launches the new format with a story that’s unusual even for him… A full-on, pulse-pounding super-hero yarn! Maggie’s longtime friend Penny Century has finally realized her longtime dream of acquiring super-powers, but at a terrible personal cost. Now she rampages through the galaxy, half mad with grief, and a motley group of super-heroes assembles to try to stop her — led by Maggie’s girlfriend Angel and her mysterious neighbor Alarma, and involving a number of characters longtime Love and Rockets fans will delight in recognizing.

The epic-length 50-page story (only the first half of the saga!) combines Jaime’s razor sharp characterization and superlative art with wildly inventive, Kirby-style slam-bang super-hero action.

Then Gilbert Hernandez explodes with a similarly generous helping of his fantastically creative one-shot short stories: “Tamanny” (rookie cop vs. demonic drug users); “Papa” (a turn-of-the-century story involving a traveling businessman); “The New Adventures of Duke and Sammy” (super-powered Martin and Lewis impostors in outer space); “The Tender Room” (Into the Wild as re-imagined by Beto); “Chiro el Indio” (written by third brother Mario Hernandez); and “Never Say Never” (a kangaroo gets lucky in Las Vegas).

One hundred pages of Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez at the peak of their powers: this is a major graphic-novel event!

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The Portable Frank
by Jim Woodring

200-page 6.25″ x 8.75″ black & white softcover • $16.99 USD

A Visionary work of comic art for all-ages! Readers who haven’t discovered Jim Woodring’s Frank stories have a colossal treat waiting for them in this all-ages gem collecting the character’s greatest adventures.

Frank is a unique, visionary comic, exquisitely drawn and so fully realized that adults and children alike find themselves drawn deeply into Woodring’s hallucinatory mindscape. The stories, almost entirely wordless, are told with brilliant, candy colors that people of all ages find alluring. The stories themselves unravel like a good puzzle, rewarding re-reading, providing an experience as immersive as that first love affair, that first samadhi, or that first breath. Simply put, the world of Frank must be experienced to be understood.

Frank is an 11-year-old generic anthropomorph who lives in a force-laden landscape called the Unifactor. He is curious but not smart, naïve but not noble, and his most outstanding character trait is his ineducability. Along with Pupshaw, Frank’s semi-subservient housedog-like godling, the two traipse across their surreal landscape, occasionally encountering Manhog, the bloated bladder of sin with a heart of radiance who exists to thwart their prosperity. And then there’s the platonic Jerry Chickens, and the lachrymose Lucky, as well as Frank’s Real Pa and Faux Pa, each a part of one of the great cartoon achievements of the 20th century.

For all its mystery, the world of Frank is a simple, delightful, mesmerizing example of world-building at its most fanciful, surely to delight parents and children alike.

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Deitch’s Pictorama
by Kim Deitch, Simon Deitch, Seth Deitch

240-page 6″ x 7.5″ black & white softcover • $18.99 USD

Kim Deitch, creator of the acclaimed Fantagraphics collection Shadowland and the Pantheon graphic novels Alias the Cat and Boulevard of Broken Dreams, has recruited his siblings to produce a unique, all-new “picto-fiction” pocket book. Alternating between heavily illustrated near-comics stories and outright prose pieces, Deitch’s Pictorama is a testament to the Deitch family’s amazing yarn-spinning abilities!

The book leads off with Kim’s lengthy picto-story “The Sunshine Girl,” a typically Deitchean tall tale involving bottle cap collectors, drug dealers, family secrets, and the innocents who wind up in the middle of the hullaballoo. Then it’s time for Seth’s prose short story “Children of Aruf,” about a man and his very unusual dog; “Unlikely Hours,” a paranoid picto-story about a conspiracy of sentient rats written by Seth and illustrated by Kim; the prose novella “The Golem,” once again written by Seth and decorated with a series of superb pencil illustrations by Simon; and finally Kim’s autobiographical “The Cop on the Beat, the Man in the Moon and Me.” This entire “Deitch treat” is wrapped up with an introduction by legendary Academy Award-winning animator, cartoonist and illustrator and proud papa Gene (Tom Terrific, Terr’ble Thompson, Tom and Jerry) Deitch.

The Comics Journal #292
Edited by Michael Dean and Kristy Valenti; Gary Groth, executive editor

200-page 7.5″ x 9.25″ b&w/color softcover • $11.99 USD

Gary Groth interviews father and son cartoonists Gene and Kim Deitch. Academy-award-winning Gene Deitch, whose wide-ranging career has spanned 60+ years, talks about doing illustrations for The Record Changer, directing cartoons such as Munro and Krazy Kat, and creating his comic strip Terr’ble Thompson. Underground comics pioneer Kim Deitch, touches on his father’s influence, reminisces about the New York-based scene and outlines the evolution of Waldo the Cat. Plus: The innovative Grant Morrison fills us in on his X-Men run, All Star Superman, the ambitious Seven Soldiers “maxiseries” how he became one of the architects of the current DC Comics universe. Our comics gallery presents an historical essay and highlights from the turn-of-the-19th-century work of Puck cartoonist F. M. Howarth.

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Sublife #1
by John Pham

64-page 8.25″ x 6.75″ two-color softcover • $8.99 USD

Two white supremacist brothers live in the midst of an “ethnic” urban flood along with a dog they’ve trained as a weapon. A household made up of three renters, a landlord who never leaves her attic bedroom, and her son, who insists on wearing a sheet over his head all the time. A pack of ravenous stray dogs chase a cat down a desolate alleyway. The lonely, grimy silhouette of Los Angeles, ever-present. All these separate threads weave through the first part of “221 Sycamore St.”, an ongoing story about the desperate need for family in two distinct households that share an indelible yet mysterious connection.

Sublife is the engaging new series from emerging talent John Pham (Epoxy, MOME). Similar in format to other great one-man anthology comics before it (Eightball, Acme Novelty Library, Jim), Sublife presents a variety of stories told in a range of styles and voices, all demonstrating a singular vision. Issue one features the first self-contained chapter of “221 Sycamore St.” as well as “St. Ambrose,” a fractured memoir of the author’s grade school alma mater.

John Pham won the Xeric Grant in 2000 and has been featured in publications such as Giant Robot, The Face, MOME and The Comics Journal.

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Town of Mirrors: The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard
by Robert Pollard

144-page 10″ x 10″ full-color hardcover • $29.99 USD

Robert Pollard is the Dayton, Ohio singer-songwriter, who was the leader and creative force behind the legendary indie rock group Guided by Voices, one of the most influential bands of its generation (SPIN magazine recently named Pollard one of “The Top 50 Rock & Roll Front Men of All-Time”). After the dissolution of Guided by Voices in 2004, Robert Pollard launched his official solo career with the release of From a Compound Eye in 2006.

In addition to being a prolific songwriter/recording artist, Pollard is a gifted and prolific visual artist, working mostly in the medium of collage (not surprising, given his interest in sound collage as a recording artist). His work has been exhibited at Michael Imperioli’s Studio Dante in New York and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. He has created the covers to almost every Guided By Voices record and countless other Pollard-related releases. Town of Mirrors collects the very best of Pollard’s visual art and lyrics/poetry.

Featuring over 175 of Pollard’s favorite collages, hand-picked by the artist, as well as over a dozen new collages produced exclusively for this collection, Town of Mirrors is the first comprehensive collection of Pollard’s visual art ever released. Pollard’s collages are the visual equivalent of his poetic and imagistic lyrics, surreal and reminiscent of the collages of artists ranging from Jack Kirby to Winston Smith.

Baobab #3

By Igort

32-page 8.5″ x 11″ two-color saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 USD

Baobab #3 returns to the structure of the first issue, split between two ongoing and (seemingly) unrelated stories set a century ago. In the first part of the book, young Hiroshi’s ailing grandmother tells him that she will die soon, and that his future will be in his nation’s capital: Tokyo. It’s the beginning of his new life for Hiroshi, and the end of his childhood. Then we return to the continuing story of two young, struggling South American cartoonists. Celestino is still living in his native Parador where, on the eve of World War I, a right-wing military dictatorship is growing in power and viciousness, even destroying the printing presses of the paper for whom he works. Even in this darkness, some light emerges: Celestino receives his first few fan letters from readers, and embarks on a romance with his publisher’s daughter. Meanwhile, his expatriate friend and colleague Pilade regales him with tales from the exciting world of American syndicated cartoonists, and together the two dream about this new artform whose birth they are witnessing, and may very well be contributing to…

Interiorae #3

By Gabriella Giandelli

32-page 8.5″ x 11″ two-color saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 USD

Things are getting weirder in the apartment house in this, the third (of four) episode of Gabriella Giandelli’s surreal tale. Two teens record a rock song, an ugly breakup takes place between a husband and a wife, the old lady resorts to increasingly desperate measures to find her inner peace, more and more people have begun to notice the white rabbit, much to his distress… and The Creature That Lives in the Basement and Feeds on Dreams is becoming frustrated because no one is dreaming.

Sammy the Mouse #2

By Zak Sally

32-page 8.5″ x 11″ two-color saddle-stitched softcover with jacket • $7.95 USD

In this issue, things ramp up, as Sammy still can’t seem to find some peace and quiet in the comfort of his home (because a giant finger is poking him in the skull, among other things), and some new “friend” won’t take “No” for an answer. An answer for what? Why, a PICNIC, of course. EVERYBODY loves a PICNIC, right? As if that weren’t enough, Feekes keeps shooting off his drunk mouth (with dire consequences), there’s more secret scary underwater business from Him, and where the hell is Puppy-boy, anyway? Also in this issue: a moustache.

Meat Cake #17

By Dame Darcy

32-page 6.75″ x 10.25″ black & white comic book • $3.95 USD

Just because Dame Darcy is busy with music, dollmaking, and being a reality TV star, that doesn’t mean she’s stopped baking her beloved Meat Cake, and here’s a new issue to prove it! In Meat Cake #17, God is revealed to the Faeiry Sisters — so of course they get into a fight over it. Also, Trixxie Roxx stars in “The Horrors of Fame,” what Darcy describes as “a punk-rock version of those cheesy 1940s romance novels where the girls are going through hyperdrama all the time” — plus more kee-razy neo-Goth fairy-tale madness from one of comics’ true originals!

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