Summer marches on and temps are rising everywhere—it seems like a good time to read something cool! We’ve got some amazing new books coming out this month and events both physical and virtual, so there’s plenty to stay busy with. But first, the news!
- Fantagraphics is the second-winning-est publisher with 4 wins at this year’s Eisner Awards! Congratulations to our talented artists and the editors and designers working behind the scenes!
- The New York Times reviewed Lizzy Stewart’s It’s Not What You Thought It Would Be in a round-up of graphic novels that explore the theme of loneliness, calling it “mournful, lovely” and noting that “Stewart’s dynamic, warm, flowing art invites the reader in”.
- AIPT published a rave review of Celestia by Manuele Fior, saying, “What sings in Celestia is Manuele Fior’s incredible artwork, which feels as if it was cobbled together from Impressionist canvases… There isn’t anything on the stands that feels this way, that exudes this sort of confidence…. A truly unique and sophisticated comics experience.”
- Voices of Wrestling loves Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez 1980-2020 as much as we do, declaring “If you love art, comic books, and pro wrestling too, you will dig Jaime Hernandez’s Queen of the Ring…”
- The Freak Brothers find a new home at Fantagraphics ahead of the animated series starring Woody Harrelson, Pete Davidson, John Goodman, and Tiffany Haddish!
- Comics Beat debuted the book trailer for the hardcover release of Night Fisher—R. Kikuo Johnson has another book on the way too, No One Else.
August New Releases:
Dracula by Alberto Breccia
Alberto Breccia’s Dracula is composed of a series of brutally funny satirical misadventures starring the hapless eponymous antihero. Literally defanged (a humiliating trip to the dentist doesn’t help), the protagonist’s glory days are long behind him and other, more sinister villains (a corrupt government, overtly backed by American imperialism) are sickening and draining the life out of the villagers far more than one creature of the night ever could. This is the first painted, full-color entry in Fantagraphics’ artist-focused Alberto Breccia Library, and the atmospheric palette adds mood and dimension. It also includes a sketchbook showing the artist’s process.
Dracula has no co-author, and so Breccia’s carnivalesque vision is as pure Breccia as it gets. Created during the last of a succession of Argentine military dictatorships (1982–1983), this series of short comics stories ran in Spain’s Comix Internacional periodical in 1984. The moral purpose of Breccia’s expressionistic art style is made explicit; he shows that every ounce of his grotesque, bloated characters’ flesh and blood has been cruelly extracted from the less fortunate.
Crisis Zone by Simon Hanselmann
In March 2020, as the planet began to enter lockdown, acclaimed cartoonist Simon Hanselmann decided that what the world needed most was free, easily accessible entertainment, so he set out to make the greatest webcomic ever created! The result is also certain to be one of the most acclaimed and eagerly anticipated graphic novels of 2021.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continued to escalate far beyond any reasonable expectations, Crisis Zone escalated right alongside, in real time, with daily posts on Instagram. Crisis Zone’s battle mission was to amuse the masses: no matter how horrible and bleak everything seemed, at least Werewolf Jones wasn’t in your house! Over the course of 2020, Crisis Zone has amassed unprecedented amounts of new fans to the Megg and Mogg universe and is presented here, unabridged and uncensored, with a slew of added pages and scenes deleted from the webcomic, as well as an extensive “Director’s Commentary” from Hanselmann himself.
Watch Megg attempt to bury herself in a digital world of escapism! See Mogg fall down the rabbit hole of paranoia and conspiracy theories! Experience Owl’s metamorphosis from timid and uptight worrywort to a no-holds-barred, asskicking leader and back again! Witness Werewolf Jones’s journey from reluctant erotic performer, to viral TikTok stardom, to Netflix sensation! Bouncing rapidly between comedy, horror, action, and relational soap-operatics, Crisis Zone refuses to take the pedal off the gas as we all hurtle towards unknown destinations.
Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez
For the past 40 years, acclaimed graphic novelist Jaime Hernandez has been creating a Love and Rockets-adjacent world — set in the heyday of 1960s and ’70s women’s wrestling and lucha libre! — with an entirely separate cast of characters who have aged and evolved: the beautiful and brutal Bettie Rey, the I.F.W. Pacific Women’s Champion — a.k.a. Golden Girl — as well as former champions Pantera Negra, Miss Kitty Perez, and many more.
As Hernandez puts it, “It’s my Love and Rockets world that’s not my Love and Rockets world.” This best-of book spotlights the women who are often ignored in pro wrestling in 125 full color illustrations: pin-ups, action shots, fake wrestling magazine covers, all presented in a deluxe paperback that echoes the lucha libre magazines of the 1960s. Hernandez also discusses the work in an interview with fellow cartoonist Katie Skelly.
Despite having created one of the most expansive and remarkable casts of characters of any cartoonist who ever lived (under the umbrella of the ongoing L&R comic book series), acclaimed graphic novelist Jaime Hernandez — Will Eisner Hall of Famer; Eisner, Harvey, Ignatz, and PEN Award winner; L.A. Times Book Prize winner; and on a very short list of contenders for the title of America’s Greatest Living Cartoonist — has been privately amassing a body of work that no one else has ever seen for over 40 years. Until now.
Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez 1980-2020 is part of the Love and Rockets series.
Farewell, Brendavoine by Tardi
Paris, 1914. In one auspicious night, Lucien Brindavoine’s humdrum life is thrown into wild disarray. Out of the blue, a strange old man visits Brinvadoine’s flat and implores him to go to Istanbul to seek his destiny. No sooner are these fateful words spoken than a shot is fired through the window and the man is murdered by a mysterious assailant. Thus kicks off a madcap adventure wherein the mild-mannered dilettante Brindavoine races to the Middle East — by boat, plane, and jeep —with cutthroat assassins threatening him at every turn. After much ado, he encounters an iron city in the desert where an eccentric American billionaire will decide his fate.
The first solo graphic novel by Tardi, Farewell, Brindavoine showcases the French cartooning master’s signature blend of dark humor, brutal violence, and beguiling mystery. For Tardi fans, an essential early work; for newcomers, a thrilling primer to the Tardi oeuvre.
The Butchery by Bastien Vivès
A young man and woman fall for each other and all is sweetness and light. But when their relationship crumbles, they each must endure the ensuing emotional fallout. Starting from this ostensibly simple premise, Bastien Vives crafts an affecting narrative about the mercurial and tempestuous nature of romance and why we pursue it anyway.
The Butchery is composed of the little moments that make and break a relationship: lively dancing, silent strolls hand in hand, stilted phone calls, tearful pillow talk. Rendered with delicate colored pencils and an elegant use of white space, this story achieves an emotional clarity through its skillful brevity. At turns tender, agonizing, and darkly humorous, The Butchery is painfully relatable to anyone who has loved and lost.
- Friday, August 6th, 12 pm PDT: Keith Bendis Meet and Greet, Only the Good Stay Dead, The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA
- Thursday, August 12th, 7 pm PDT: Jaime Hernandez Book Signing, Queen of the Ring, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA
- Saturday, August 14th, 5 pm PDT: Susanna Ryan Exhibition and Book Signing, Secret Seattle, Fantagraphics Bookstore, Seattle, WA
- Thursday, August 19th, 6 pm PDT: Simon Hanselmann and Alex Graham Virtual Book Launch, Crisis Zone, Secret Headquarters, Virtual
- Saturday, August 21st, 6 pm PDT: November Garcia Book Signing, Malarkey, Fantagraphics Bookstore, Seattle, WA
- Saturday, August 28th, 6 pm PDT: Simon Hanselmann Book Launch Party, Crisis Zone, Fantagraphics Bookstore, Seattle, WA
By popular demand: our Love and Rockets t-shirt (as seen in High Fidelity) is BACK! A super soft, black tee featuring the iconic cover image from Love and Rockets #24, drawn by the inimitable Jaime Hernandez! Vibrant two color silk screen, printed by hand right here in Seattle! Sizes range from S to 3XL. These are going fast, order yours today at Fantagraphics.com
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