Fantagraphics February Newsletter

The skies are still gray (for most of us), but the books are bright this month! We’ve got some amazing new releases for you to look forward to, plus a cool new shirt and a Valentine’s Day gift guide (keep scrolling)! First things first, here’s the news roundup:

  • The New York Times recommended Gilbert Hernandez’s profanely funny new graphic novel, Blubber, which offers “a menagerie of weird invented monsters — like the Pollum, the Junipero Molestat, the mythical Forest Nimmy — engaged in unspeakable and strange acts.”
  • No One Else by R. Kikuo Johnson made it onto AV Club’s roundup of the best comics of 2021! They deemed it “a work of heartbreaking subtlety”—we agree!
  • Speaking of the best books of the year, Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith and Red Room by Ed Piskor made it onto Thrillist’s list!
  • Life of Che: An Impressionistic Biography by Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, and Enrique Breccia, translated by Erica Mena has received early (and excellent!) reviews from both Kirkus (“A mesmerizing historical comic with a storied past.”) and Publisher’s Weekly (“Breccia’s distorted realism passionately evokes Guevara’s larger-than-life persona.”)!

February New Releases

Halcyon by Ron Regé, Jr.

Halcyon is a graceful and psychedelic vision of a graphic novel that spans time, terrestrial planes, SF, and new age mysticism to detail the spiritual journeys of its two nonbinary protagonists.

The sleeping figure on the cover hints at the dream logic that drives this visual feast of a graphic novel. It can’t all be explained, and it isn’t meant to be explained. Ron Regé, Jr. is one of the singular cartoonists of his generation, an unusual but skilled stylist and storyteller with an acutely passionate moral and idealistic core that stands out amongst his peers. Halcyon is a spiritual cousin to Regé’s 2012 graphic novel The Cartoon Utopia, which has garnered a following in new age and hermeneutic studies circles and in which higher beings try to communicate with us through art, music, and storytelling — a theme revisited here via the book’s central characters. Halcyon is the work of a cartoonist at the height of his powers, a superlative use of the form in the service of relating the author’s compassionate — and visually stunning — worldview.

The first 150 preordered copies of Halcyon 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!

The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver

Living in a beat-up motel, consorting with the downtrodden and mid-level literati, Fante Bukowski must overcome great obstacles: a love interest turned rival, ghostwriting a teen celebrity’s memoirs, no actual talent — to gain the respect and adoration of critics and, more importantly, his father. Van Sciver has created a scathing, hilarious, and empathetic character study of a self-styled author determined to prove that he’s just one more poem (or drink) away from success.

Originally published in hardcover in 2020, The Complete Works of Fante Bukowski quickly sold out and is nominated for a 2021 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. This expanded paperback edition includes additional content, including a 2020 Slate interview with Fante himself and a cover gallery of Fante’s previous books. Also: a foreword by novelist Ryan Boudinot (Blueprints of the Afterlife); a facsimile reproduction of Bukowski’s literary debut, 6 Poems (thought lost to time in the wake of a motel fire that destroyed the entire original print run); a “Works Cited” section; and a selection of “visual tributes” by over two dozen cartoonists — including Nina Bunjevac, Simon Hanselmann, Jesse Jacobs, Ed Piskor, Leslie Stein, and others.

The George Herriman Library: Krazy & Ignatz 1922-1924 by George Herriman

The Eisner Award-nominated Fantagraphics series is back, collecting the acclaimed and groundbreaking Sunday strips from 1922 to 1924.

One of the most renowned and celebrated comic strips in the art form’s history waywardly treks on through the 1920s, with all its madcap animal inhabitants in tow, in this gorgeous, archival hardcover collection. In this volume: precarious coconuts, incarcerated elephants, and witty weather patterns. Krazy Kat themself take a swing at singing, astronomy, and starring in … their own comic strip! It also features essays by Herriman scholars, plus ten rare full-color experimental strips by Herriman.

Metax by Antoine Cossé

A society, greedily dependent on a mysterious natural resource, meets a force indifferent to social or class status in this graphic novel.

In the dystopian city-state of Kronin, the chief engineer is in charge of all mining of Metax — a precious material that has become indispensable to survival because of its extraordinary qualities. Meanwhile, a police officer investigates the mysterious killing of royal horses, suspecting a terrorist insurrection. Sabrina, the engineer’s daughter, is a member of this resistance group, which appears to be comprised of children. Meanwhile, the King’s hidden hand sets in motion a power play that will change the destiny of the kingdom forever, and all of these characters get caught up together in a whirlwind of violence and faith.

This lusciously illustrated, science fiction fantasy by French cartoonist Antoine Cossé moves with the grace of a swan. Dark, romantic, and compassionate, it is an exploration of greed, its consequences, and the possibility of escape.

The first 150 preordered copies of Metax 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!

Prison Pit: the Complete Collection by Johnny Ryan

This filthy meat-grinder of a comics battle royale is collected in one massive volume, now in paperback!

Prison Pit is a planet full of repugnant intergalactic criminals, drug-filled slugs, and now Cannibal F***face (CF). From 2009 to 2018, the crudely manic pen and mind of Johnny Ryan documented mayhem and mutation, as CF loses his arm to a vile beast, replaces it with a symbiotic bug that gives him a steroid-like jolt, and seeks grisly revenge against any and all creatures. To find his way out he must do battle with his archenemy, Slitt, the only one who knows how to escape the hellscape they inhabit. Finally, CF is pitted against the very system that shaped him into the avatar of death and destruction he has become.

Originally collected in hardcover in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, Prison Pit: The Complete Collection sold out immediately and fans have been clamoring for a mass market paperback ever since. Combining Ryan’s love for WWE wrestling, Gary Panter’s Jimbo comics, Kentaro Miura’s Berserk, and other influences into a brutal showcase of violence, survival, and revenge, this hilarious, all-original fantasy is for anyone who’s ever wielded a plus-five vorpal blade, lost an afternoon to World of Warcraft, devoured a stack of seinen manga, or cheered when a colorfully costumed villain leaped into the ring to beat someone down with a chair. A funny, filthy, epic sci-fi odyssey, Prison Pit: The Complete Collection is a masterclass in comics storytelling and has earned a place in the comics canon.

The Forest by Thomas Ott

A gorgeous, ghostly, and silent graphic novella from the modern scratchboard master.

The Forest is a graphic novella told via twenty-five singular illustrations, without words, of which only Swiss artist Thomas Ott is capable. A young boy sneaks away from a family funeral and sinks into the forest depths, where he confronts man’s greatest fear and must choose his path. Drawing with a technique called scratchboard, where a white surface is covered with a black layer and scratched away, Ott creates images out of negative space to harrowing effect. In Ott’s hands, the medium becomes the perfect vessel for his eerie, horror-imbued morality tales. This gorgeous volume will be printed on heavy art paper with Pantone Black ink to best showcase every exquisite detail of Ott’s virtuosic talent.

February Events:

Put down the Whitman’s Sampler, we’ve got the perfect Valentine’s Day treats for you and yours! Whether you’re looking for steamy reads for yourself, your partner, your friends–whoever!–Fantagraphics puts the “graphic” in “graphic novels”! Head to our blog to check out some of our spiciest comics!

A timeless image from Krazy and Ignatz by George Herriman is featured on this soft, gold tee. This cartoon originally ran in a comic strip on September 10, 1914 and highlights why Herriman is considered one of the greatest cartoonists of all time! Sizes range from S to 3XL. A portion of the proceeds from every shirt sold will be donated to Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice, “a community activist center, educational bridge, and safe-space for our LGBTQIA youth, our intersectional families, and all of our beautifully diverse communities.”

Original design by Cecilia Tisserand, with additional thanks to Michael Tisserand.