Recent Fantagraphics Releases and Upcoming Arrivals as of July 2008.
RECENT FANTAGRAPHICS RELEASES
Angry Youth Comix Vol. 2 #14
By Johnny Ryan
24-page 6.75″ x 10.25″ black & white comic book • $3.50 USD
In this issue Boobs Pooter reveals THE WORLDS FUNNIEST JOKE!
624-page 5.125″ x 6″ black & white softcover • $18.99 USD
The first volume of Hank Ketcham’s Complete Dennis the Menace, collecting every single panel strip from 1951 and 1952, is now available in this handsome and affordable softcover edition.
Dennis the Menace began on March 14, 1951 (four months after Ketcham’s friend and colleague Charles Schulz started his own historic comic strip). He went on to become the second most popular cartoon kid in the world — after Charlie Brown, of course. Dennis the Menace first appeared in 16 American newspapers; by the end of 1951, he was appearing in over a hundred. The reason for Dennis’ success is easy to figure out: It was one of the most brilliantly observed and empathetic comic strips about childhood ever drawn. Ketcham captured the mischievousness, rambunctiousness, and anarchy of a kid’s world better than any other cartoonist. The strip appeals to both parents and children — while parents shake their heads ruefully at how accurately Ketcham caught the essence of children’s natural zest for mayhem, children identify with Dennis and the chaos that he leaves in his wake — just a hop, skip, and a jump away from their own fantasy of themselves! Ketcham was a cartoonist with a vivacious line that was exquisitely suited to depicting adults and children. His gags were funny, subtle and touching. Ketcham drew Dennis the Menace from 1951 to 1994, when he retired and let his assistant take over the strip.
160-page 7″ x 10″ b&w/color softcover • $19.99 USD
This multifaceted anthology collects over 25 stories from the first decade of Jason’s career, including his remarkable calling card, the novella-length thriller “Pocket Full of Rain,” which has never before been published in English. Like a number of his initial stories, “Pocket” is actually drawn with realistic human beings instead of blank-faced animal characters — a true revelation for Jason fans. In fact, this book showcases three distinct styles: his earliest “realistic” drawing style (used to unsettling effect in some particularly creepy stories), an intermediate “bighead” cartoony style that still features humans (used for both humor and drama), and the “funny-animal” style he’s now best known for.
The book reveals a young cartoonist experimenting with styles, working through his obsessions (love, loneliness, film, Hemingway) and paying tribute to his cartooning heroes (Wolverton, Moebius, Pratt). Also, croquet-playing nuns, sentient cacti, autobiographical drunken escapades, lists of people who deserve to die, and a color gallery featuring God cheating at Trivial Pursuit.
216-page 9″ x 12″ full-color hardcover • $39.99 USD
Steve Ditko is best known as the co-creator, with Stan Lee, of Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, and other classic Marvel and DC characters. But, in the context of Steve Ditko’s 50-year career in comics, his creative involvement with Spider-Man is merely the tip of the iceberg. Strange & Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is a coffee table art book tracing Ditko’s life and career, his unparalleled stylistic innovations, and his strict adherence to his philosophical principles, with lush displays of obscure and popular art from the thousands of pages of comics he’s drawn over the last 55 years.
104-page 6.25″ x 10″ black & white hardcover • $28.95 USD
Swiss horror master Thomas Ott returns with the first full-length graphic novel of his career. When clearing up the cell of a prisoner who has been sentenced to death and subsequently executed, a prison guard finds a small piece of paper with a combination of numbers on it.
On the spur of the moment, he puts it into his pocket.
As the guard lives a solitary, monotonous life, the numbers on the paper awake his curiosity. To find out their hidden meaning could add a new meaning to his life as well, so the guard stumbles into situations in which the number or part of it seem to achieve a certain importance and offer him hints and possible solutions. And the numbers signal a radical change in his luck. He gets to know a woman, falls in love with her, and one night, in a casino, he wins a huge amount of money when gambling on these numbers.
But the next morning, the woman and money have disappeared.
The man goes in search of the woman and the money. But from that day on, his luck changes and the numbers bring him only bad luck, sending him inexorably into an abyss that he might not recover from. Thomas Ott’s O. Henry-esque plot twists will delight fans of classic horror like The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt, or modern masters like filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan; his hallucinatory, hyper-detailed scratchboard illustrations will haunt you long after you’ve put the book down.
UPCOMING ARRIVALS COMING SOON
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.
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…
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.
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!
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!
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!
The 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.
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.
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.