Valentine’s Day: we’re just in it for the candy! But if you feel like treating your loved ones (or yourself!) to some fantastic new reads, we’ve got the goods. Not only that, we’ve got some exciting things in the works—stay tuned for some announcements! But first, here’s the news roundup:
- Brian Heater interviewed Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez about 40 years of Love and Rockets for “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn” on NPR—listen here (link)!
- “Maverix and Lunatix: Icons of Underground Comix transcends being ‘just an art book’ as it gives faces to people who in their own ways made a difference.” Forces of Geek loves Drew Friedman’s newest collection!
- Anticipation is high for Tits & Clits 1972-1987! Publishers Weekly raves, “The original publications took a stand within the male-dominated comix underground and against morality police, and it’s for good reason the smut queens’ influence still reigns.”
- “I truly believe that Strömquist paints the path for an area of the comic book industry that is designed to make us think and that will make people remember this book for the rest of time.” The Reddest Rose: Romantic Love from the Ancient Greeks to Reality TV by Liv Strömquist is out now and AIPT rated it 9/10!
- Comic Book Resources published a fantastic extensive interview with Ho Che Anderson about his career in comics—as interviewer Dustin Holland writes, “No matter where readers encounter Anderson’s work, it’s sure to stick with them.”
The Extraordinary Part: Book One: Orsay’s Hands by Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot
Renowned for their great conceptual and graphic originality, acclaimed French cartoonists Florent Ruppert and Jérôme Mulot have masterfully contributed an instant comics classic to the annals of science fiction.
This first book in a two-volume graphic novel series is set in a near-dystopian present, where mysterious creatures called “whols” coexist with humans since their sudden appearance a few years earlier. At first, they aroused curiosity and wonder, then their seemingly harmless presence became commonplace. Nineteen-year-old Orsay leads an uneventful life in the French countryside, until the day he gains extraordinary powers in his hands after an atypically aggressive encounter with a whol. On a trip to Paris in search of a cure, he meets and falls for Basma, a passionate activist for whols’ rights. But Orsay isn’t convinced that whols should be granted the same status as humans. Especially once Melek, another human with similar powers, embarks on a murderous rampage to avenge those she sees as her kin.
The Art of War, Version 2.0: Sun Tzu for the Twenty-First Century by Keith Bendis and Joe Queenan
The ancient precepts of battle and business, condensed and considered with cartoon accompaniment.
For two and a half millennia, generals and CEOs alike have followed the lessons of Sun Tzu. But for the time-poor modern warlord on the go, humorist Joe Queenan has condensed these precepts into their vital essence. The sprightly illustrations of Keith Bendis help to focus the student’s attention on this entirely serious, in no way sardonic, take on the 2,500-year-old text.
Spa by Erik Svetoft
This nightmarish debut, a biting critique of consumer society and the “wellness” industry, recalls the films of David Lynch and Lars Von Trier and the horror manga of Junji Ito.
Somewhere in northern Europe, a five-star spa and conference hotel caters to anyone who can afford it. But, at every turn, where luxuriance should reign, things are amiss. A demanding VIP client disappears without a trace. A business seminar is cut short. A young official gets lost looking for his room. A socially outcast masseuse struggles to find acceptance. Two lovers struggle to escape the horror of everyday life — which includes horrific apparitions routinely haunting them. An egocentric manager doubts himself. Abused employees accept their sad fate. Curious inspectors come to settle their accounts.
Meanwhile, mysterious moisture damage is spreading. Amidst the extravagant decor, black and viscous liquid flows slowly in the labyrinthine alleys of the resort and trickles down the walls. Hot and humid, the dampness is suffocating. Mold sets in and with it skin diseases, hallucinations, ghosts, malevolent spirits, hybrid creatures, and other monsters both dead and alive. Spa is a horrific graphic novel debut marked by grotesque and whimsical humor.
NOW #12: The New Comics Anthology edited by Eric Reynolds
The two-time 2021 Eisner Award-nominated comics anthology returns for its seventh year!
The first new NOW of 2023 features all-new work from several contributors familiar to NOW readers as well as new artists from around the globe. Newcomers to this issue include Cynthia Alfonso (Spain) and Bhanu Pratap (India), while past contributors Noah Van Sciver (U.S.), Cecelia Varhed (Sweden), and Kayla E. (U.S.) all return with new work. As a special feature of this issue, legendary cartoonist Peter Bagge (Hate) collaborates with Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer Matt Lawton on “The Cartoonist,” a satire of the now near-obsolete profession of newspaper gag cartooning.
NOW The New Comics Anthology is still the best value in comics: every issue is a self-contained cross-section of the best short comics stories the globe has to offer and it has established itself as the preeminent anthology of first-rate international comics talent. With all-new, never-before-seen material from a mix of emerging and established talent, NOW is the perfect answer to the question, “Why Comics?”
From “Precious Rubbish” by Kayla E.
The Mastermen called it a “census,” but it was so much more. If its citizens proved worthy, the Earth would join the interstellar confederation and reap the benefits of advanced alien technology, food, medicine, and educational resources the likes of which could scarcely be imagined.
But first, there was the question of race …
Uncannily perceptive and prescient when it was written in 1953, EC writer Otto Binder’s The Unwanted went unsold for more than a decade until he finally gave it to a fanzine publisher who promptly got out of the fanzine business — and so it languished, unread, in a yellowing file folder for decades.
Never before published and now unearthed, The Unwanted is Binder’s response to the 1950s McCarthy era, couched in metaphorical science fiction terms. Fantagraphics Underground Press ushers in this previously unknown mini-masterpiece by the writer of Captain Marvel, Superman, Captain America, and the “human” robot, Adam Link. Illustrated by EC artist Angelo Torres and his international collaborator Stefan Koidl, this edition pays homage to Binder’s comics career. The result is a stunning tribute to Binder’s lifelong commitment to comics and prose.
An unbelievable journey, unavailable no longer.
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: Donald’s Happiest Adventuresby Lewis Trondheim and Nicolas Kéramidas
Acclaimed French cartoonists Lewis Trondheim and Nicolas Kéramidas present a mind-bending Duckburg graphic novel!
When Donald grouses that money will never buy Uncle Scrooge happiness, Scrooge snaps — and sets Donald on a treasure hunt for happiness itself. A terrible task for an unlucky Duck… or is it? With help from Professor Ludwig Von Drake, deep in the cranky kingdom of Brutopia — the impossible may be possible! Presented as a “lost” 1960s Disney story — complete with retro-style color — Donald’s Happiest Adventures bristles with wit in the Carl Barks tradition… and bustles with the whole Disney comics cast, including friends and rivals Gladstone Gander, Mickey Mouse, and Pegleg Pete!
TaleSpin: Flight of the Sky-Raker: Disney Afternoon Adventures Vol. 2by Bobbi JG Weiss, Michael T Gilbert, and Robert Bat
Can’t you feel the buzz? TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, and Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers are back — with more epic 1990s adventure comics spun off of The Disney Afternoon TV cartoons!
From Disney Adventures magazine and its sister comics magazines come more feature-length blockbuster tales! In “Flight of the Sky-Raker,” Baloo, Don Karnage, and Shere Khan wage a midair battle over the world’s first voice-controlled plane! In “Dime After Dime,” Magica de Spell’s clever niece Minima befriends trusting little Webby — should Scrooge McDuck be scared? Then in “For the Love of Cheese,” Chip ‘n’ Dale, Gadget Hackwrench, and the gang join forces with Jacques De Brie, international mouse of mystery! Plus Darkwing Duck, the Gummi Bears and more! “…Everybody’s busy, bringing you a Disney Afternoon!”
The George Herriman Library: Krazy & Ignatz 1925-1927
This Eisner Award–nominated series showcases one of the most renowned and celebrated comic strips in the art form’s history as it strides boldly through the mid-1920s, its quirky characters in full flower in this gorgeous, archival hardcover collection.
In this volume: Ignatz repeatedly sets elaborate traps for Krazy (long before the Road Runner), adventures on the “enchanted mesa,” wacky weather, literal cliffhangers — and what happens when Santa and the stork arrive at the same chimney at the same moment? BONUS: The most complete collection of Herriman’s long-lost Book of Magic pages ever assembled.
With incisive essays by Herriman scholars, this entry in our ongoing series makes it plain to Herriman fans and newcomers alike why historians, scholars, and cartoonists consider this to be the best comic strip ever created and why The Comics Journal proclaimed it to be “the greatest comic strip of the 20th Century.” Krazy Kat is an ongoing story of a (head-) achingly unrequited love triangle. Krazy adores Ignatz, who returns that affection by launching literal bricks at Krazy’s cranium. Offisa Pup loves Krazy and seeks to protect “her” (Herriman always maintained that Krazy is genderless) by tossing Ignatz in the pokey. With this deceptively simple structure, Herriman builds entire worlds of meaning into the actions, building thematic depth and sweeping his readers up with the looping verbal and visual rhythms of his characters’ unique dialogue and his loopy, ever-shifting surrealistic backgrounds.
We’re All Just Fine by Ana Penyas
This heartfelt graphic biography is a tribute to the artist’s grandmothers and a generation of women who quietly soldiered through over forty years of Fascist rule in Spain.
Artist Ana Penyas’s grandmothers Maruja and Herminia live alone in their respective Spanish towns, largely neglected by their children and relatives, who never visit. But when Ana comes to see them, she realizes that these women, whose day-to-day existences now seem mundane, experienced firsthand an incredibly tumultuous and fascinating period of Spanish history.
In We’re All Just Fine, Penyas weaves the memories of her grandmothers to craft a narrative quilt that pieces together what it was like for women to assimilate to Spain’s dramatic political and cultural shifts in the late 1970s and ’80s. The sudden transition from the authoritarian, repressive Franco regime to lively and liberating democracy was at once incredibly freeing but also destabilizing for women used to their traditional roles as dutiful housewives. Through this intimate lens into her grandmothers’ daily struggle — of their silence, the small acts of rebellion, and great gestures of resilience — Penyas gives voice to an entire generation of “invisible” women whose stories have rarely been told. Combining collage and rough-hewn pencil drawings, and mixing past and present, Penyas offers a decidedly feminist tribute to the forgotten lives and legacies of her grandmothers.
- Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 PM EST: Tommi Parrish (Men I Trust) in conversation with Lee Lai (Stone Fruit) at La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, Montréal, QC
- Friday, February 10th, 6:00 PM EST: Thomas Woodruff (Francis Rothbart!: The Tale of a Fastidious Feral) in conversation with Keith Mayerson (My American Dream) at Rizzoli Bookstore, New York, NY
- Saturday, February 11th-Wednesday, March 8th: Men I Trust Original Art Show, Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, Seattle, WA
- Tuesday, February 21st, 7:00 PM PST: Alex Krokus “Loudest & Smartest West Coast Book Tour 2023” at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, Seattle, WA
- Sunday, February 26th, 5:00 PM: MariNaomi (I Thought You Loved Me) in conversation with Megan Kelso (Who Will Make the Pancakes: Five Stories) at Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA
We’re hosting an online warehouse sale! From February 14th-February 21st, get 50% off select titles—better act fast though, quantities are limited!