Fantagraphics at SDCC 2017: Staff Picks

Here at Fantagraphics we realize that we publish sometimes upwards of 70 books a year, and that it can be a struggle to keep up with all the titles. For those of you going to San Diego, and for those avoiding it all in the comfort of their homes, we’ve put together a handy list of new and newish books that we’ve taken a shine to.


Blubber by Gilbert Hernandez
Through his comics, Gilbert Hernandez has changed the way I view art and has made me a better reader. Just when you think (or hope) he goes one way, he goes another way that you haven’t even conceptualized. In Blubber, the way is full of bulbous boning! This series takes the best of underground comix and mixes it with National Geographic to create a frothy mess that you have to experience for yourself.

Laid Waste by Julia Gfrörer
Gfrorer’s pages are full of small moments of distilled despair and quiet yearning. Laid Waste is a short story that includes a ravaging plague, distraught sex, and children using their parent’s cremation for warmth. Things are bad, things may get worse. At least Julia’s been preparing us.
Farmer Ned’s Comics Barn by Gerald Jablonski
Mere words cannot describe Gerald Jablonski’s comics. Crack open this book and crack open your brain.


This book is effectively my love letter to the Southern California of my youth.  Though I only learned of Dormer’s work as an adult, his work epitomizes a nostalgia for SoCal bohemia that I thought a childhood of smog, traffic and suburban ennui had long extinguished. The joie de vivre in these otherwise single-minded strips about surfing and hot rods is infectious, and Dormer’s beautifully stylized and expressive cartooning will impress even the most landlocked comics fan.

One More Year by Simon Hanselmann
When it comes to situational comedy, Simon Hanselmann is approaching a Larry David-esque mastery of the form that shouldn’t surprise me at this point but consistently does. But even beyond that, there is genuine pathos, a keen understanding of the human condition, and an almost defiant faith in these fucked-up characters that I find oddly affirming. That it’s all lovingly hand-painted and a joy to look at is just gravy.


Looking for America’s Dog and Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman
As American politics gets more and more absurd, the more I’m drawn to the ultimate absurdity of Steven Weissman’s chronicles of the first family and their compatriots and enemies. The adventures of the Obama’s are simultaneously centered in reality and completely devoid of it, making these books the perfect rorschach for whatever current drama we find ourselves in. Bonus! Biden the Badass leaves great tips for maids, and loves catching up on his sleep. Don’t question it, just embrace it.
Last Girl Standing by Trina Robbins
She’s a legend, she’s a boss, she’s an artist to the core, and a damn national treasure; she’s Trina Fucking Robbins. Last Girl Standing is her illustrated memoir that details her life and careers including exploits with other artists, writers, and musicians over the decades. Guest appearances by some notable figures couch Trina firmly as one of the most interesting figures of the 20th century, and she’s here to give the lowdown in her own words. You’ve never read a story like this before.


Eartha by Cathy Malkasian
In Cathy Malkasian’s gorgeous new graphic novel, Eartha, a gentle giant from a sleepy town, travels to the big city where people feverishly consume fake news—literally!—printed on biscuits. Only through Eartha’s extraordinary empathy can she help the city folk once again hope, wonder, and dream. Malkasian’s latest work is a pitch-perfect allegory for our time.


Highbone Theater by Joe Daly

Trapped in a cruel world of boorish bros, kind, mild-mannered wallflower Palmer develops eclectic obsessions with hoodoo, elaborate conspiracy theories, and a bizarre Star Trek-esque TV show. This epic graphic novel by Joe Daly is deadpan, unapologetically weird, and mind-bendingly surreal.

The Interview by Manuele Fior

Manuele Fior’s The Interview is rendered in delicate pencils that masterfully capture the subtle shades of human emotions. Fior tells an intimate story about the connection between a jaded doctor and a vivacious young woman that eschews all the clichés of intergenerational romance. Oh, and there’s a low key alien invasion at the end.


Meat Cake Bible by Dame Darcy

Dame Darcy’s comics are the equivalent to the sirens song. Beautiful and enticing, with a dark biting undercurrent. With dense pages of thin lines, Dame Darcy’s cartooning is simultaneously delicate and heavy. The Meat Cake Bible is fantastically beautiful and creepy enough to make you want to sleep with all the lights on in your room at night. A true original, there is no one else making comics (or in the world) like the ever-quizzical Dame Darcy.

Unreal City by D.J. Bryant

Zanardi by Andrea Pazienza