Fantagraphics Books is debuting 15 new books at San Diego Comic-Con, before they are released in bookstores and comic shops. You may need to take a very large bag to Booth #1721 to pick up what Fantagraphics describe as “some of the only actual comics you’ll find at Comic-Con.” Bit of a straw man argument there, Fantagraphics. Or is it a cosplayer dressed as a straw man?
Otherworld Barbara Vol. 2 by Moto Hagio
Nanami had sworn to never see her granddaughter, Aoba, again. A despairing Kiriya had rejected his father, Tokio. Yet now both are traveling with Tokio to Engaru, where Aoba has slept and dreamt of the island of Barbara for seven years. The poltergeist phenomena become more intense. Aoba seems desperate. Is her world coming to an end? And does that end mean the end of the world, one hundred years in the future? What is the connection between Ezra, Johannes Sera, Paris, Pine, and a senile old man called “Doctor Azzurro?” What truth hides in the ravings of an increasingly unhinged Akemi? In the end, it comes down to a father’s frantic efforts to save the life of his son. But…which son? Who is the dreamer and who is the dreamed? Can the dreamer become the dreamed, and the dreamed the dreamer?
Last Girl Standing by Trina Robbins
Born on the cusp of WWII in 1938, at a time when other little girls dreamed of being nurses and secretaries, Trina Robbins’s ambition was to be a bohemian; and indeed she did. She chronicles a life of sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll — and comics — in Last Girl Standing. From science fiction to the Sunset Strip, from New York’s underground newspapers to San Francisco’s underground comix: Trina Robbins broke the rules and broke the law. From dressing Mama Cass to being pelted with jelly babies as she helped photograph the Rolling Stones’s first US tour, from drunken New York nights spent with Jim Morrison to producing the very first all-woman comic book, this former Lady of the Canyon takes no prisoners in this heavily illustrated memoir.
What is “punk”? What did it all mean? What does it mean now? What will it mean in the end? The Locas girls’s punk reunion has come to a close but the evening has just begun. Also, the Animus situation has gotten too BIG for reunited sisters Lumina and Isla. Meanwhile, on the Gilbert side: Fritz starred in a Dr. Who ripoff only to see her 10-year-old daughter take over the role before returning to the show’s last episode . Meanwhile, Fritz’s newly reunited twin daughters get to (uncomfortably) know one another and meet a classic Palomar character (or three)! Original Cover by Gilbert Hernandez, Fantagraphics Variant Cover by Jaime Hernandez.
The Thing From the Grave and Other Stories by Joe Orlando and Al Feldstein
This special collection features more than 30 EC classics from the pages of Tales From the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, Shock SuspenStories, Impact, and Crime SuspenStories. Of special note is Orlando’s “The Monkey,” the classic realistic EC story about drug addiction, considered to be one of the most cautionary of “the preachies,” and Orlando’s adaptation of Bradbury’s eerily haunting “The Lake,” about a childhood tragedy. This volume also includes the title story “The Thing From the Grave,” a special Orlando frightfest originally printed in 3-D that hasn’t been seen since its original publication more than 60 years ago (and is presented here for the first time in easy-on-the-eyes 2-D). Plus all of Orlando’s Panic stories, including parodies of Mother Goose, TV commercials, and soap operas. Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC Artists’ Library, The Thing From the Grave And Other Stories also features essays and notes by EC experts on these superbly crafted, classic American comics.
The Ladies-in-Waiting by Santiago Garcia and Javier Olivares
In 1656, Diego Velázquez, leading figure in the Spanish Golden Age of painting, created one of the most enigmatic works in the history of art: Las Meninas (The Ladies-in-Waiting). This graphic novel, written and drawn by two of Spain’s most sophisticated comics creators, examines its legacy as one of the first paintings to explore the relationship among the viewer, reality, and unreality. (It guest stars Cano, Salvador Dalí, Zurbarán, and many others.) Olivares’s art moves from clear line to expressionistic; from pen nib to brush stokes; from one color palette to another, as The Ladies-in-Waiting uses fiction to explore the ties among artists and patrons, the past and the present, institutions and audiences, creators and creativity. Their combined efforts have garnered not only international comics prizes, but the equivalent of the National Book Award in Spain, where the book has been a commercial and critical sensation.
Unreal City by D.J. Bryant
Unreal City contains five highly charged stories about relationships: “Echoes into Eternity,” “Evelyn Dalton-Hoyt,” “Emordana,” “The Yellowknife Retrospective,” and “Objet d’Art.” The stories address gender, narcissism, marriage, subjectivity, objectification, and the thin line that divides love from hate. Bryant’s characters sometimes feel like they are navigating their way through the darkness in an attempt to make sense of love, sex, art, and life. Existential and elliptical, the stories play beautifully against Bryant’s precise and fully-realized artwork, which echoes such masters as Jaime Hernandez and Daniel Clowes. In Unreal City, characters cannot walk into a room without their world turning inside out. Readers will be similarly upended by the discovery of this major new talent.
Michael Dormer is synonymous with the California surf counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s. The post-World War II influence of Beatnik poetry, jazz, and art interpretation around the California Coast created a revolution in the Orange County surf world, and no one defined the visual style of this movement more than Michael Dormer. His career as an artist took off in the 1960s, when he created Hot Curl, the mop-haired, knobby-kneed, pot bellied surfer who quickly became a nationwide sensation, appearing regularly in SurfToons magazine (and still appearing regularly in Surfer magazine). He also created the cult classic 1960s TV show Shrimpenstein!, an off-beat children’s show featuring a miniature Frankenstein monster, which was a favorite of Frank Sinatra’s.
Michael Dormer and the Legend of Hot Curl is the first-ever retrospective of this unique artist’s work, culled from the late artist’s own archives and collecting all of his Hot Curl comic strips for SurfToons, his designs for Shrimpenstein, a vast selection of his fine art, and other surprises, such as the artwork he created for the opening credits of 1964’s Muscle Beach Party film starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.
Johnny Appleseed by Paul Buhle and Noah Van Sciver
John Chapman, AKA Johnny Appleseed, made himself the stuff of legend by spreading the seeds of apple trees from Wisconsin to Indiana. Along with that, he offered the seeds of nonviolence and vegetarianism, good relationships with Native Americans, and peace among the settlers. He was one of the New World’s earliest followers of the Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. The story of John Chapman operates as a counter-narrative to the glorification of violence, conquest, and prevailing notions of how the West was Won. It differentiates between the history and the half-myths of Johnny Appleseed’s life and work: His apples, for instance, were prized for many reasons, but none more so than for the making of hard cider. He was also a real estate speculator of sorts, purchasing potentially fertile but unproven acres and then planting saplings before flipping the land. Yet, he had less interest in financial gain―and yes, this is an accurate part of the mythology―than in spreading visions of peace and love. Johnny Appleseed brings this quintessentially American story to life in comics form. Black & white illustrations throughout.
Cosplayers: Perfect Collection by Dash Shaw
Cosplayers is cartoonist Dash Shaw’s ode to that defining element of fandom, the “costume play” of so many anime and comic conventions. Artfully celebrating both the culture’s obvious theatricality and uniquely D.I.Y. beauty, as well as its often awkward conflation of fantasy and reality, Cosplayers explores these delicate psychological balancing acts via a series of interconnected short stories surrounding two young women, Annie and Verti (the latter is also a main character in Shaw’s film, voiced by Maya Rudolph, connecting the two works) who combine their love of cosplaying with their love of social media and film in order to deepen their relationship with the popular culture they celebrate. Cosplayers depicts their stories in an affectionately funny way, celebrating how much more inclusive and humanistic fandom can be than most of the stories and characters it is built upon. Featuring plenty of easter eggs for fans of the broader culture as well as being the perfect entry point for those completely befuddled by it.
Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes
Originally published in 1993, Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron was Daniel Clowes’s first long-form graphic novel and was heralded as an instant classic and exists firmly in the canon of great graphic novels. Disturbing, funny, and surreal, it tells the story of a young man, Clay Loudermilk, who stumbles into a screening of a bizarre snuff film that wraps him up in a mystery surrounding a series of cult-inspired killings, dubbed “The Harum Scarum Murders.” The subsequent path Loudermilk’s life takes is both a terrifying journey into madness and a jaw-dropping tour-de-force of visual imagination fraught with psychosexual and conspiratorial tension. In the wake of Clowes’s 2016 smash hit Patience, and on the eve of the release of Fox Searchlight’s Wilson (adapting Clowes’s book of the same name, with a screenplay by Clowes), Fantagraphics is proud to release this new edition of Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, featuring a new, wraparound painted cover by the artist.
The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman
TEotFW follows James and Alyssa, two teenagers living a seemingly typical teen experience as they face the fear of coming adulthood. Forsman tells their story through each character’s perspective, jumping between points of view with each chapter. But quickly, this somewhat familiar teenage experience takes a more nihilistic turn as James’s character exhibits a rapidly forming sociopathy that threatens both of their futures. He harbors violent fantasies and begins to act on them, while Alyssa remains as willfully ignorant for as long as she can, blinded by young love. Forsman’s story highlights the disdain, fear and existential search that many teenagers fear, but through a road trip drama that owes as much to Badlandsas The Catcher in the Rye. Forsman’s inviting, Charles Schulz-influenced style lends a deadpan quality that underscores the narrative’s tension. The End of the Fucking World was one of the most talked-about graphic novels of 2013. Now that the world is ending, it’s sure to become the most talked-about graphic novel of 2017.
My Pretty Vampire by Katie Skelly
Clover — the “pretty” vampire of the title — is a Bardot-esque blonde who dreams of the (now dead) girl she once was four years ago before becoming a fanged bloodsucker. She is being kept prisoner by her brother, Marcel, who fears Clover will be hunted by the outside world (and who may have other, more selfish motivations as well). Clover’s curiosity, however, will not be suppressed: impetuous, sensual, strong-willed, and fearless, she plans her escape. The resultant havoc would make Dario Argento proud. My Pretty Vampire is a sexy, sophisticated horror romp that heralds author Katie Skelly as a powerful voice in comics. Her inherently sexy work wears its colorful Pop sensibility and keen fashion sense on its sleeve; that her strong visual style and sex-positive attitude is in the service of such strong female characters and emotionally rich work makes for a wonderfully moody, progressive, and engaging read.
Ripple by Dave Cooper
Martin is a floundering painter desperately attempting to pursue his fine-art inclinations rather than toil in the world of commercial art. He hires a model, Tina, to pose for a series of paintings he dubs “The Eroticism of Homeliness.” Over time, their relationship evolves from a tenuous working relationship to a confused sexual entanglement. Martin’s initial repulsion for Tina slowly turns to attraction, causing him to re-evaluate his own notions of beauty and sexuality. Tina’s motives in working for Martin are slowly turned upside-down as well, leading towards the book’s inevitable, explosive ending. Throughout it all, Ripple is a complex love story poked and prodded from all angles, from Martin and Tina’s physical and emotional feelings toward each other, Martin’s dishonesty to himself, Tina’s self-loathing, and everything in between. Sad, funny, and often uncomfortably titillating, Ripple is a remarkably introspective graphic novel, rendered with kinetic realism.
Beirut Won’t Cry by Mazen Kerbaj
Throughout the summer of 2006, during the Israeli aerial bombardment of Lebanon, Kerbaj published drawings, comics, and writing, a creative chronicle during a time of intense and unspeakable brutality. Drawn and written in English, French, and Arabic, Beirut Won’t Cry shows us how an artist views the world and everything in it — his relationships, his family, and his creative pursuits — as it crumbles violently around him. Historically vital and occasionally hilarious, Beirut is Mazen Kerbaj’s first graphic novel translated into English, introducing to many American readers his unique voice and urgent pen, showing them how to carry on and resist in times of war and oppression.
Education by John Hankiewicz
In this experimental and rewarding graphic novel, chronology and permanence are in flux while surreal illusions weave in and out of lucid states, remarkably held together by John Hankiewicz’s confident, clean line and crosshatchings. Much like Here by Richard McGuire, Education is a time-fracture stream of consciousness told by a veteran cartoonist in his poetic prime.
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