When it comes to books, we’ve got good things happening this month: new issues of Love and Rockets *and* Red Room: Trigger Warnings, the highly anticipated release of Life of Che: An Impressionistic Biography, our ever-popular Fantabucks Sale, and more! First things first though, here’s the news roundup:
- R. Kikuo Johnson (No One Else) and Lee Lai (Stone Fruit) are finalists for the LA Times Book Prize for Graphic Novel/Comics. The winners will be announced at the LA Times Festival of Books and we are just so proud!
- Another honor: Stone Fruit by Lee Lai made the 2022 Stella Prize Longlist—the second graphic novel ever to be nominated!
- The Paris Review published a lovely review of Mannie Murphy’s I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and wrote, “It’s rare to find a graphic artist whose captions and drawings are balanced in their storytelling power, but Murphy is one.”
- We’re very excited for the release of Keeping Two by Jordan Crane and so is Publishers Weekly: they published a starred review (“Designer and cartoonist Crane (The Clouds Above) lets tiny moments swell into a flood of emotion in his most accomplished and moving work yet.”) and an interview with Jordan Crane!
- AIPT reviewed Halcyon by Ron Regé, Jr.: “It gave me an (albeit positive) “what the f*ck” moment, but Halcyon’s untethered narrative and dreamy, contemplative art make for an experience I won’t soon forget.”
- Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith and Chartwell Manor by Glenn Head made it onto CBR’s “10 Must-Read Original Graphic Novels From 2021” list—now’s the time to read them if you haven’t already!
March New Releases:
Olympia by Bastien Vivès, Jérôme Mulot, and Florent Ruppert
Meet Alex, Carole, and Sam: the most notorious trio of cat burglars of the 21st century, starring in this graphic novel sequel.
Alex, Carole, and Sam use technology, know-how, and some serious chutzpah bordering on hubris to reinvent a profession that has lost much of its fun and insolence since the early 20th century. After successfully stealing Le Grande Odalisque by Ingrés from the Louvre, the art thieves have a new mission: nab Édouard Manet’s Olympia — plus two other masterpieces — from the Petit Palais in Paris. Naturally, complications ensue, and not just from the fact that Carole is nine months pregnant at the time of the heist!
Forming a trio as formidable as their protagonists, Bastien Vivès, Jérôme Mulot, and Florent Ruppert deliver an explosive, grand symphony of adventure, as well as a very touching and funny character study in this eagerly anticipated sequel to The Grande Odalisque.
Love and Rockets Comics Vol. IV #11 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez
As we learned in issue #10, so now Maggie and Tonta are buddies! Or are they? And where is Vivian (besides spellbinding us on the cover)?? Hell, even Jaime wants to know! Meanwhile, in the Gilbert Cinematic Universe, Rosy goes to her first comic con with Venus, while a female webcammer with the world’s biggest biceps (?) joins the cast! Love and Rockets: still the GoaT!
Red Room: Trigger Warnings #1 by Ed Piskor
The best selling, most talked about series of 2020 kicks off its second four-issue “season” with another self-contained mini-masterpiece of monthly comics storytelling. In this issue, the Decimator presents… The Rat Queens! And unfortunately for them, they are front and center in his most horrific red room broadcast yet! As seen on the YouTube channel sensation, Cartoonist Kayfabe, from the creator of X-Men: Grand Design and Hip Hop Family Tree!
Life of Che: An Impressionistic Biography by Héctor Germán Oesterheld, Alberto Breccia, and Enrique Breccia, translated by Erica Mena
Published in 1969, this Argentine graphic biography about Ernesto “Che” Guevara was an instant bestseller. Banned by a military dictatorship, and almost lost, it has never been available in English — until now.
Life of Che is one of the most anticipated entries in Fantagraphics’ The Alberto Breccia Library. Originally released as part of a graphic biography series in January 1969, it came out in Argentina only a year after Ernesto “Che” Guevara had died and reached an audience beyond comics readers. In the 1970s, the military government raided its publisher, destroying the means to reprint the book. The comic was presumed to be lost to history, until a publisher in Spain restored it in 1987. It has never been translated into English until now.
The book begins in Bolivia in 1967, then flashes back through Che’s life — his childhood, his radicalizing motorcycle trip with Alberto Granado, his taking up of arms in Guatemala, his meeting with Fidel Castro, and his subsequent military and political maneuvers, ending in a fade-out to his death. Alberto Breccia and his son, Enrique, drew Life of Che. Enrique draws the Bolivia passages in a woodcut style, while Alberto depicts the flashbacks in his trademark, expressionistic black-and-white. It is primarily set in the field and with the people. Héctor Germán Oesterheld (The Eternaut) blends his authorial voice with Che’s first-person. Life of Che is imbued with a sense of immediacy, as both Che and, eventually, Oesterheld would meet their ends by a military government backed by the American CIA. As Pablo Turnes writes in his afterword, it is “the testament of someone consciously marching toward his revolutionary death.”
Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski
In this new, expanded edition, the starting point is arbitrary. From there, the city expands in all directions. At once SF, a contemporary demonology, an occult theory, a mutant utopia and an architectural treatise, Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse is a collection of graphic fictions about the contemporary global megalopolis.
This groundbreaking collection, originally published in an Eisner-nominated, smaller edition a decade ago, has only proven more prescient and resonant to our contemporary times than ever. For this new edition, Kaczynski created the original stories “Billion Dollar Budget” and “Rediscovery of the Real” and annotations. There’s also a new foreword by science fiction writer Christopher Brown (Tropic of Kansas) and an entirely new cover design. Tom Kaczynski’s graphic short stories trace a complex space-time trajectory from the smallest corporate cubicle out to farthest fathoms of the multiverse. Occult economics, metaphysical traffic jams, Marxist zombies on Mars, secret architectural societies, designer ghosts from the future, and demographics demons are just a few elements of a new untested future eschatology.
The first 100 orders of Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse include an exclusive bookplate signed by the author! Pre-order now to claim yours.
Tops: The Complete Collection of Charles Biro’s Visionary 1949 Comic Book Series by Charles Biro, edited by Michael T. Gilbert
Before EC, before His Name is…Savage!, before underground comix, this volume collects a pioneering attempt — from the creators of the first true crime comic — to publish stories aimed at adults in the comic book format.
From their inception in 1935, comic books — starring Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel — had been primarily written for and aimed at adolescents. There were always the occasional outlier artists who pushed back against the commercial constraints of comic books and envisioned the next evolutionary artistic leap in the artform: Charles Biro was one of those artists.
In 1949, the ambitious Biro — who had previously co-created the realistically brutal comic Crime Does Not Pay — edited and wrote an oversized comic aimed at adults, called Tops. Like several other radical adult comics projects that would follow, it proved to be a commercial failure and lasted only two Life magazine-sized issues. The original comics have since become a legendary holy grail among comics fans and historians, fetching as much as $6,000 on the collector’s market: written about but rarely seen and never reprinted. Until now.
Fantagraphics’ Tops collects both issues of these oversized experimental comics in their entirety. Some of the best craftsmen working in comics at that time drew these pulpy, sexy, and melodramatic stories: Dan Barry, George Tuska, and others. It includes two stunning pre-EC crime tales illustrated by Reed Crandall, reminiscent of his Crime SuspenStories work. Actor Melvyn Douglas (believe it or not) takes the reader on a tour of utopia, entitled “How Would You Live Under A World Government?” — a positive spin on global Socialism!
A treasure trove of fascinating and revelatory comics history for scholars and fans, this compilation includes an introduction by the editor, the historian and cartoonist Michael T. Gilbert, as well as several other essays providing background on the creation of the series and the publisher, editors, and cartoonists who realized it. It includes a chronicle in essay form of experimental, adult comics endeavors throughout the first half of the 20th century. Tops is a landmark work of historical importance and a mind-boggling reading experience from a bygone era meticulously restored and reproduced in a deluxe hardcover in its originally published dimensions.
My Badly Drawn Life by Gipi, translated by Jamie Richards
This coming-of-age graphic memoir is a relentless and exhilarating journey to the depths of the human condition, rendered with precision and verve by one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists.
“You’ve always got to laugh at tragedy. That’s why I laugh about my ailment. Ailments. About being a sexual spastic. About my perennial, cowardly, tantalizing desire to die. You can laugh about anything. Almost.” Spoken by his self-depiction, these bitter words set the tone for Gipi’s pitch-black humor in this unvarnished and uncompromising autobiographical tale. A young adult adrift in the world, Gipi’s stand-in grapples with sexuality, insecurity, deception, depression, drug use, fading friendships, and the capricious cruelties of the world as he struggles to determine whether his life is worth living.”You’ve always got to laugh at tragedy. That’s why I laugh about my ailment. Ailments. About being a sexual spastic. About my perennial, cowardly, tantalizing desire to die. You can laugh about anything. Almost.” Spoken by his self-depiction, these bitter words set the tone for Gipi’s pitch-black humor in this unvarnished and uncompromising autobiographical tale. A young adult adrift in the world, Gipi’s stand-in grapples with sexuality, insecurity, deception, depression, drug use, fading friendships, and the capricious cruelties of the world as he struggles to determine whether his life is worth living.
Drawn in Gipi’s signature elegantly scribbled ink style and punctuated by vivid watercolor splashes, My Badly Drawn Life weaves through the past and present, through narratives both real and imagined, to create an impressionistic account of his complex inner life. In this kaleidoscopic journey into the depths of his psyche, Gipi processes the shadowy traumas of his upbringing; in doing so, he produces a gripping work of utter cartooning mastery.
NOW #11: The New Comics Anthology edited by Eric Reynolds
The two-time 2021 Eisner Award-nominated comics anthology returns for its sixth year!
The first new NOW of 2022 features all new work from a number of contributors familiar to NOW readers as well as new artists from around the globe. Returning cartoonists include E.S. Glenn, Steven Weissman, and Ariel Lopez V. Newcomers include Justin Gradin, Jesse Simpson, Josh Simmons, Kayla E., Stacy Gougoulis, and Natalia Novia. This issue features cover art by Daria Tessler.
NOW: The New Comics Anthology is, every issue, a self-contained cross-section of the best short comics stories the globe has to offer, and has established itself as the preeminent anthology of first-rate comics talent from around the globe. Including brand-new, never before-seen material from a mix of emerging and established talent, NOW is the perfect answer to the question, “Why Comics?”
NOW: The New Comics Anthology is also available as a three-issue subscription package (beginning with issue X) for residents of the United States!
- Saturday, March 12th, 6:00-9:00 pm EST: Kate Schneider (Headland) Book Launch, Partners and Son, Philadelphia, PA
- Saturday, March 19th, 1:00-2:00 pm GMT: Antoine Cossé (Metax) Book Signing, Gosh! Comics, London, England
- Wednesday, March 23rd, 6:00-7:30 pm PST: Peter Bagge (Buddy Does Jersey) Virtual Book Talk, Comix Experience
- Thursday, March 31st, 6:00-9:00 pm EST: Tom Kaczynski (Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse) Book Launch, Partners and Son, Philadelphia, PA
Mark your calendars, it’s almost here! Our most popular sale returns with its unbeatable 2-for-1 discount, running March 25th through 27th. Head to our blog to read about how the sale works!
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.