Louis Falcetti writes for Bleeding Cool;
The Fantagraphics/Drawn & Quarterly panel is simultaneously not like other panels, yet very much like other panels, but at the same time, not at all like other panels. It’s not like other panels because it’s not held in a cavernous hall filled to the brim with sweaty, rabid fans. It is like other panels because it’s just a run down of upcoming projects. However it’s not like other panels because it’s actually a pleasant way to spend an hour with some knowledgable, friendly people who really love comics on an entirely different level than Captain Marvel’s new haircut (which is great btw, very early 80s Storm). The panel was made up of Jacq Cohen & Eric Reynolds representing Fantagraphics, with Julia Pohl-Miranda & Tom Devlin representing Drawn & Quarterly.
Fantagraphics introduced first “The Hypo: Melancholic Young Lincoln” by Noah Van Sciver, his first graphic novel. The story is based around Lincoln’s early 20s, where he was trying to establish himself as a lawyer, but at the same time suffering from depression. Van Sciver apparently researched Lincoln thoroughly and was fascinated with this period of his life but felt that not enough attention was paid to it. This period of time is crucial to understanding Lincoln as not only is he under a great deal of stress but this is also the period where he meets Mary Todd.
Fantagraphics continued with “Black Lung” by Chris Wright, his second book but first graphic novel. The style is “really dense, cross-hatch, thick, lush…” Cohen said. The story was hard to follow, but that’s a good thing, because it sounds like the sort of surreal, go for broke, graphic storytelling that readers expect when they buy a Fantagraphics book. The story revolves around a teacher who is kidnapped on to a boat where at first it’s nothing but high seas adventure, though following a horrible act of violence the teacher is forced to help the ship’s captain (a “sardonic gangster”) write his memoirs. His memoirs describing his life dedicated to doing as many horrible things as he can, so he can join his dead wife in hell. “Really dense, amazing, hilarious language, like Deadwood.” one panelist likened it to. If you somehow still needed more adjectives to convince you to buy this book how about, lyrical, anthropomorphic, violent and layered. Enough praise couldn’t be shed for this book which is looking at an October publication date.
The next work for Fantagraphics was Ron Rege, Jr.’s “The Cartoon Eutopia”, is according to Reynolds “difficult to describe” but started by remarking on the work coming together only after years of work by Rege, Jr. Eutopia is about “trying to find meaning and peace in the world”, a fictitious graphic novel that still deals with trying to improve your life and live it to the fullest. Beings from the future try to help us evolve, sending us messages, trying to show us what life can be like without “forced entertainment” (i.e. television). Drawn in an idiosyncratic, gorgeous, dense style is set to be released in November.
Drawn & Quarterly opened with a preview of Adrian Tomine’s new collection “New York Drawings”, a collection of New Yorker covers, illustrations and comics. Tomine one of the most popular D&Q cartoonists with an incredible illustrative and design sense. It’s scheduled to ship in the fall.
One of the genuine surprises from D&Q was the announcement regarding Pippi Longstocking. Shevlin told a story of being at a comics show in Finland and finding a Pippi Longstocking book of comics. The comics were done in the 1950s and written by Astrid Lindgren, drawn by Ingrid Vans Nyman, the original writer and illustrator of the Pippi series. The original books were adapted to comics and ran in children’s magazines at the time. Nyman, who had experience as an illustrator but none as a comic artist (supposedly) changed Pippi’s bodytype because of the size of the panels, turning normally lanky, tall Pippi into a fairly stout girl. There will be three 48pg volumes, due in September. This is the first time these comics will ever have been published in English.
“Susceptible” by Geneviève Castrée was next from D&Q, the first OGN from the young Canadian artist. A (fairly) autobiographical work about growing up in Montreal, her style is described by Pohl Miranda as poetic, who then added “she tells stories in dream like vingiettes”. So don’t expect a chronological, a,b,c story. Thankfully there are many people out there who hate a,b,c stories. It comes out in November, and Castrée is going to tour for it. Shevlin added that Castrée’s style was reminiscent of Maurice Sendak and added, “It’s unbelievably gorgeous.” Pick it up if you want to see Canadian adults behaving badly, but drawn beautifully.
Fantagraphics then talked about “Heads or Tales” by Chicago artist Lilli Carré. The book collects Carré’s work having previously appeared in such publications as The Best American Comics 2008, MOME, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Carré’s first book since her previous “The Lagoon” which came out to much acclaim four years ago, this being nearly everything she’s done since then. “Each story has it’s own idiocsyncratic style and color pallete that serves the story.” Reynolds said. He added that although the stories were done independly of each other and over the course of several years that there was an “incredible thematic pull” to them. Fate and chance are two such themes explored at length in the book. A book of short stories that is truly greater than the sum of it’s parts (Reynolds) it’s due in September.
Anyone who knows Fantagraphics knows about their reprints of classic EC comics. But if that’s all you know, this fall prepare to see them take it to another level as they publish collections of EC comics, by artist. This is the first time these comics have been presented in this way. Normally you’ll find collections of the comics as they were, but Fantagraphics has separated the works by artist highlighting such legends as Al Williamson, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, and Jack Davis. Besides a gorgeous reprinting and packaging treatment expect exhaustive essays and notes by EC experts. The works will be in black and white and are due to begin shipping this fall.
Also an ad for the latest issue of The Comics Journal (#302) promises to publish the full, final Sendak interview that caused such controversy following the legendary artist’s death earlier this year. Reynolds promises that the interview contains stories that will cause even more controversy, saying that the Bush/bomb quote was just the tip of the iceberg. Also a new (to us) Joe Sacco comic seeing the light of (English) day for the first time, originally being published in a French magazine. The Sacco comic is a work of fiction, which isn’t a genre that Joe normally practices in so it’s sure to be at the very least, interesting (and at the very best, awesome.)
Drawn & Quarterly then talked about the OGN “Letting it Go” by holocaust survivor Miriam Katin. The book features Katin’s stunning pencil work as she tells the story of her adult life, versus her earlier work dealing with her childhood experiences. Focused around her son telling her that he is going to move to Germany, “Letting It Go” deals with Katin’s reaction to this news and being forced to confront feelings she long thought gone. The book is described as both funny and meta, which aren’t two adjectives one normally finds applied to books dealing with holocaust survivors. Just another aspect of Katin’s life and work that makes her voice so unique.
D&Q then brought up another reprint, this time of Japanese artist Shigeru Mizuki with a new (and first time in english) edition of “Kitaro”. This will be the third Mizuki book for D&Q, “Kitaro” dealing with supernatural and funny ghost stories. Kitaro is a boy who’s hair sticks up in the back (for a supernatural sensing antenna), is 350 years old, part demon and the son of an eyeball who rests on his head. Look to March 2013 for it.
Finally D&Q brought up the new work by artist Joe Ollmann, “Burden”. The second OGN for the artist, his first being “Midlife” published last year. The story involves a middle aged science teacher who one day uncovers a repressed memory of being abducted by aliens. The book becomes about the trust and faith in a relationship as he tries to convince his wife the truth of his story. Not so much science fiction, more along the lines of people trying to understand each other.
That gives you the meat of the panel, but to really experience the fun, wonder and delightful yet challenging intellectual comic discussion you need to catch one of their panels for yourself.