Fantagraphics December Newsletter

The holidays are here, but there’s no need to stress! We’ve got tons of great books to gift now (seriously, we’ve got something for everyone!) and some amazing 2022 titles to look forward to. We’ve got an all-star lineup in the new year: new comics from Gilbert HernandezRon Regé, Jr.Antoine CosséThomas OttGipiHéctor Germán OesterheldJordan CraneAnna HaifischConor StechschulteMikael RossAlex GrahamJim WoodringSteve BrodnerNoah Van SciverEd PiskorJohnny RyanMoto HagioLizzy StewartSimon Hanselmann, and so many more! Stay tuned—in the meantime, here’s the news roundup:

  • NPR chose *four* Fantagraphics titles for their Best Books 2021 list: Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy, Celestia by Manuele Fior, and Stone Fruit by Lee Lai!
  • Speaking of best books of the year, The Washington Post chose Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith as one of their top ten graphic novels of the year (plus Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings by Jaime Hernandez 1980-2020 as an honorable mention)!
  • Ed Park reviewed No One Else by R. Kikuo Johnson in the New York Times and wrote, “I’ve read it four times, and find fresh connections and details with each round.”
  • AV Club loved No One Else too: “…throughout No One Else, Johnson masterfully ties the visuals to the story’s thematic exploration of the ways the pains of the past reverberate through time.”
  • Lure by Lane Milburn received a glowing review from The Comics Journal who wrote, “Ultimately, Lure celebrates humanity and tries to tell a heroic story in a world – two worlds – drenched in bad taste and dehumanizing culture. It’s a beautiful, troubling work that’s filled with the impossible and the dangerously real.”
  • Ryan C.’s Four Color Apocalypse reviewed Afternoon at McBurgers by Ana Galvañ and wrote, “Inventively structured, meticulously rendered, and lavishly adorned with a riso-friendly color palette, it’s an auteur work in every sense of the term, a comic that could have been made by no one other than its creator.”
  • Looking ahead to 2022 releases, Halcyon by Ron Regé, Jr. received a well-deserved starred review from Publishers Weekly who wrote of it, “The densely composed pages dipped in Easter egg colors recall ecstatic manuscript illuminations à la William Blake—or assembly instructions from an Ikea located in heaven.” Wow!

December New Releases:

Afternoon at McBurger’s by Ana Galvañ

A science-fiction graphic novella grounded in a familiar experience for most: spending an afternoon with our best pals over a burger and fries. But this joint has something more special than a Happy Meal: the “Once Party” menu.

The “Once Party” menu, for ages 11 and up, can only be ordered once (of course). But there’s a catch: not everyone who does gets the special prize. Those who do, go to a room where they can view five minutes of one of three moments in their future. Galvañ manages to create a vivid world that is both a recognizable and alien depiction of adolescence. There are mean girls, and fast food, and BFFs with crappy older brothers, as well as familiar hints of 1990s design and fashion. Yet, it’s also rife with futuristic flourishes like little robotic eggs that walk and talk, like anthropomorphic Alexas.

At its heart, however, Afternoon at McBurger’s is a timeless story about friendship and innocence and the discoveries of adolescence (both good and bad), with layers to be revealed only through multiple readings. And Galvañ’s visual style, anchored by a mastery of pastel and primary colors, will make you want to do so immediately.

Hang ‘Em High: 110 Years of Western Movie Posters, 1911-2020 by Mark Fertig

This coffee-table book showcases more than 500 of the greatest Western movie posters ever made!

Ever since the dawn of the 20th century, Hollywood has mythologized the American frontier — an untamed, rough-and-tumble land where a man could go as far as his wits, grit, and six-shooters at his hip could take him. From Stagecoach to Red River to The Wild Bunch to Unforgiven to The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the Western genre has thrilled moviegoers with its dusty vistas, gruff heroes, brutal shootouts, moral quandaries, and metaphors for our modern times. And now, the movie posters of this quintessentially American genre are finally celebrated as the iconic fixtures of Americana they are. Hang ‘Em High collects more than 500 of the greatest Western movie posters ever made — each a dynamic masterpiece of graphic design. Collected in a luxurious oversized format and meticulously restored, these posters are presented in as sharp quality as they have ever been seen. Plus, this art book features the fascinating history of the Western, from its low-budget beginnings to its glorious peak as Hollywood’s most popular genre. Tom Mix, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, High Noon, The Magnificent Seven, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly — the Western’s brightest stars and biggest blockbusters are all represented here by editor and film scholar Mark Fertig (Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters From the 1940s-1950s).

On the One Hand / On the Other Hand: The Art and Graphic Stories of R. O. Blechman / The Writing of R. O. Blechman Published and Unpublished by R. O. Blechman

A double-sided book with over 70 years of the wit and wisdom of the iconoclastic artist and author R.O. Blechman!

Many readers will be familiar with Blechman’s covers for The New Yorker magazine, more will be familiar with the countless books for children and adults he’s illustrated (or written and illustrated) since 1953, and many more will be familiar with his animated Christmas short for CBS, his commercials for Alka-Seltzer, and for his Emmy Award–winning animated presentation, The Soldier’s Tale (PBS). On The One Hand / On The Other Hand collects the best of Blechman’s writing and drawing from across the breadth of nearly his 70-year career as cartoonist, commentator, and iconoclast.

Presented as a handsome double-sided book, On the One Hand includes a portfolio of 17 of Blechman’s graphically sublime covers for the fabled Story magazine. On the Other Hand includes a collection of essays that offer his trenchant insights, both playful and profound, on the state of our culture today including his personal perspective on film, theater (“Well, let’s be fair to Franz Kafka. Can you blame a cockroach?”), literature, history, politics, social change, and his fellow cartoonists and illustrators. Blechman shares his hard-earned insights and personal anecdotes on persisting your way to success (“Second Acts”), on growing older but not surrendering youth (“I’m Not Finished”), and on the constraints that every artist from caveman days to the present must overcome. (“Against those odds, confidence is hard to come by.”)

The first 100 preordered copies of On the One Hand / On the Other Hand will include an exclusive Fantagraphics bookplate autographed by the author. Copies ordered after the release date will receive a bookplate while supplies last, so preorder now!

Other Lives by Peter Bagge

A darkly satirical graphic novel exploration — as only Hate comics creator Peter Bagge is capable of — of how people’s identities, both real and created, become confused and conflated.

Other Lives follows three former college classmates: a self-loathing journalist whose family secret is the least of his problems; his girlfriend, whose obsession with getting married borders on Bridezilla status; a conspiracy theorist who may or may not work for the Homeland Security but definitely lives with his mother; and a divorced, unemployed gaming addict who lives in his car. While it’s their past that unites them, it’s their fabricated online identities — some more dangerous than others — that lead to their “real” lives colliding years later.

Originally published in 2010 by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Other Lives is Bagge’s first post-Hate original graphic novel and has been out of print for several years. Fantagraphics is proud to publish this new edition, at a time when Bagge’s oeuvre is enjoying renewed interest following the release of The Complete Hate in late 2020.

The first 150 preordered copies of Other Lives will include an exclusive Fantagraphics bookplate autographed by the author. Copies ordered after the release date will receive a bookplate while supplies last, so preorder now!

Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge Gift Box Set: “The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan” & “The Mines of King Solomon”: Vols. 16 & 20 by Carl Barks

In two volumes snugged into a sturdy slipcase, 440 pages of Barks’s brilliance — at a special price that even Uncle Scrooge couldn’t resist!

A double dose of Duck adventure for the holidays, two volumes snugged into a sturdy slipcase — at a special price that even Uncle Scrooge couldn’t resist! This season’s Carl Barks Library 440-page gift box collects Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: “The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan,” in which Genghis Khan’s missing crown, an expedition underground, and pirate treasure are to be found. Also: Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge: “The Mines of King Solomon,” which includes a rip-roaring adventure to locate the lost treasure of King Solomon!

Babylon by Tomi Ungerer

This collection of drawings and one-page cartoons by the internationally infamous cartoonist (and beloved children’s book author) is a universal condemnation of human rottenness.

The third book in Fantagraphics ongoing project to reprint Tomi Ungerer’s 1970s-1980s satirical work, Babylon may be the most sobering collection so far, an example of his humor at its blackest. Drawn entirely in pencil, these fully rendered images, reproduced in lush, dense, gray tones, rival the satirical vitriol of his anti-war posters of the previous decade, radiating repulsion at what human beings can do to one another in the guise of “civilization.” Taking on a political and social hue, his contempt for the ruling class etched on virtually every page, Ungerer depicts the bourgeoisie as vassals of the ruling class — members of a voyeuristic tribe who accept their position as the natural order of things and take glee in the subordination of those beneath them and the exploitation of those who make their position possible. Trendy spiritualism and religious quackery are skewered. Several drawings show people desperately trying to improve their appearance by putting lipstick on or having plastic surgery, clearly a transparent attempt to hide their inner ugliness.

This denouncement of bad behavior is as sadly relevant today as it was in 1979 when this book was first published, as we have proved over these last four years. It is another uncompromising moral statement by Ungerer in the form of a series of masterful images. “There’s one thing I can tell you for sure,” he once said. “There’s no such thing as a sheltering sky.” And Babylon proves he means it.

December Events:

  • Saturday, December 4th, 5:00-8:00 pm PST: R. Kikuo Johnson (No One Else) Book Signing and Exhibition, Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, Seattle, WA
  • Friday, December 10th, 6:00-8:00 pm HST: R. Kikuo Johnson (No One Else) Book Talk and Signing, Bās Bookshop, Honolulu, HI
  • Friday, December 10th-Sunday, December 12th: Maui Comic Con with special guests R. Kikuo Johnson (No One Else) and Ed Piskor (Red Room: the Antisocial Network), Maui Beach Hotel, Maui, HI
  • Saturday, December 11th, 1:00-8:00 pm PST: Fantagraphics Bookstore: 15 Years, 15 Artists Exhibition and Anniversary Celebration, Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, Seattle, WA
  • Thursday, December 16th, 4:00 pm PST: Jaime Hernandez (Queen of the Ring) in conversation with Javier Cabral (LA Taco), Book Talk, LA Made with the Los Angeles Public Library, Virtual

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary on December 11th with an exhibition of paintings, prints and drawings by a stellar array of 15 established and emerging artists. We’ll also have specially signed books with sketches, commemorative tote bags, bookmarks, and more. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM. Sundays until 5:00 PM. Located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Georgetown’s historic arts district, only minutes south of downtown Seattle. Exhibition on view through January 5th!

Coming soon: Fantagraphics x Ebbets Field Flannels ballcaps! Made of navy wool broadcloth with a brown leather adjuster, the hat features our torch logo on a white felt appliqué. Another Seattle institution, Ebbets Field Flannels has been in business for decades and they make some of the coolest ballcaps around—which is to say, you’re gonna want this hat! These drop this month, stay tuned for the date…

More merch news: we have a restock on the Love and Rockets t-shirt (dang, these sell out fast!) and a brand-new t-shirt featuring an image of Ernest Hemingway and Athos from Good Night, Hem by the beloved Norwegian cartoonist, Jason! Both shirts are printed by hand right here in Seattle on super soft black tees—they’ll be your new favorites! Plus they make great gifts, hint hint…

Shipping deadlines are approaching! USPS Priority Mail International and Media Mail orders must be placed by 12/5 and 12/6 to ensure delivery by Christmas. Check out the full list of shipping deadlines on our blog! Not sure what to get? Consult our gift guide!