You’ll Never Know is the first graphic novel from C. Tyler (Late Bloomer) and sure to be one of the most acclaimed books of the year. It tells the story of the 50-something author’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, and how his war experience shaped her childhood and affected her relationships in adulthood. “You’ll Never Know” refers not only to the title of her parents’ courtship song from that era, but also to the many challenges the author encountered in uncovering the difficult and painful truths about her Dad’s service — challenges exacerbated by her own tumultuous family life.
You’ll Never Know is Tyler’s first first full-fledged graphic novel (after two volumes of short stories). Unlike many other graphic memoirs which have opted for simple, stylized drawings and limited color or black and white, You’ll Never Know makes full use of Tyler’s virtuosity as a cartoonist: stunningly rendered in detailed inks and subtle watercolors, it plunges the reader headlong into the diverse locales: her father’s wartime experiences and courtship, her own childhood and adolescence, and contemporary life. The unique landscape format, and the lush variety of design choices and rendering techniques, make perusing You’ll Never Know like reading a family album — but one with a strong, compelling, sharply told story.
You’ll Never Know’s release schedule and format emulate those of Chris Ware’s Acme Novelty Library: three beautifully designed, large-format hardcover volumes released annually to complete a trilogy of astonishing breadth, depth, and sensitivity.
For over thirty years Nell Brinkley’s beautiful girls pirouetted, waltzed, Charlestoned, vamped and shimmied their way through the pages of William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers, captivating the American public with their innocent sexuality. This sumptuously designed oversized hardcover collects Brinkley’s breathtakingly spectacular, exquisitely colored full page art from 1913 to 1940. Here are her earliest silent movie serial-inspired adventure series, “Golden Eyes and Her Hero, Bill;” her almost too romantic series, “Betty and Billy and Their Love Through the Ages;” her snappy flapper comics from the 1920s; her 1937 pulp magazine-inspired “Heroines of Today.” Included are photos of Nell, reproductions of her hitherto unpublished paintings, and an informative introduction by the book’s editor, Trina Robbins.
In 1907, at the tender age of 22, Nell Brinkley came to New York to draw for the Hearst syndicate. Within a year, she had become a household name. Flo Ziegfeld dressed his dancers as “Brinkley Girls,” in the Ziegfeld Follies. Three popular songs were written about her. Women, aspiring to the masses of curly hair with which Nell adorned her fetching and idealized creations, could buy Nell Brinkley Hair Curlers for ten cents a card. Young girls cut out and saved her drawings, copied them, colored them, and pasted them in scrapbooks. The Brinkley Girls took over from the Gibson Girls.
Nell Brinkley widened her scope to include pen and ink depictions of working women. Brinkley used her fame to campaign for better working conditions and higher pay for women who had joined in the war effort, and who were suffering economic and social dislocation due to acting on their patriotism. Unlike most of her contemporaries, she drew women of different races and cultures.
Except among a small group of avid collectors, she has been unjustly forgotten... until now.
Uh oh, I'm starting to post Twitter reviews. We're through the looking glass here, people.
• Review: "Jaime Hernandez again shows mastery in portraying both recognizable situations and complex emotions [in The Education of Hopey Glass]. The illustrations are beautiful. The man has achieved perfection with his drawing style." - Koen (translated from Dutch)
• Review: "Linda Medley's Castle Waiting... [is a] beautifully designed volume... 457 pages of glorious black and white illustration... The artwork is absolutely charming, hearkening back to older pen-and-ink styles, but with a cartoony touch to it. The characters are individually realized, both by the art and the writing... This would be a good comic book to give to younger people, perhaps especially if you know a girl who likes comics but is turned off by more mainstream fare... The twining of the fairy tales with the story is deftly and delightfully done. I love this series." - Little Bits of Everything
• Review: "Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5... [is] a comedy rag and reads like Monty Python writing a comic: lots of absurdity and naughty silliness coupled with incorrect history and ever-so-subtle statements here and there. Plus the art is spectacular! Michael Kupperman really makes it feel like you're reading some weird alternate-universe cartoon book from the 30s or something and it just makes the whole thing feel so weird, it's great!" - Timmy Williams, The Daily Cross Hatch
• Review: "Blazing Combat from Fantagraphics. Outstanding 1960's Warren goodness. Archie Goodwin et al. artists at their best." - John Siuntres (Word Balloon), on Twitter
• Plug: "I also came upon Michael Kupperman's Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1. Even though I've read most of this material in periodical form, it's still a joy to revisit Kupperman's absurd, hilarious universe." - Chris Mautner, Robot 6 "What Are You Reading?" [ed. note: I'm going to have this book up for pre-order here on the website this week if it kills me]
Following the stunning success of the Eisner Award winning I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets, a second volume collecting the stories of Fletcher Hanks, "You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!", will debut at MoCCA in June.
Volume II contains more than TWICE as many Fletcher Hanks stories than Volume I as well as an introduction written by Paul Karasik and illustrated with drawings never before published by the elusive Super Wizard of the Inkwell, Fletcher Hanks.
Together the two volumes will comprise The Complete Fletcher Hanks, the artist who created 51 tales in a hailstorm of creative fury during the first three years of the comic book industry and then...mysteriously disappeared.
It now seems that he left behind another mystery, as well.
In compiling the book, editor Karasik noticed a few peculiarities. Hanks wrote and drew a story featuring a Jungle Magician named Tabu in Jungle Comics #2 (Jan. 1940). In this story Tabu speaks an odd Jungle patois in a single panel (otherwise he chats and thinks in, of course, perfect English), "ALLA KA TABU NEE PAPH EN YAL!".
Six months later in Jungle Comcs # 6 (June 1940), an evil character named The Demon speaks to the rainforest denizens in much the same kind of lingo when he says, "ALI KAH BABLOO NE PAPH EN YAH!" (see below)
Two very similar word balloons, six months apart. Is there a hidden meaning?
Calling all linguists and code-crackers! Any thoughts or suggestions, please contact Pau Karasik via his website:
We begin the R. Kelly-inspired (not really) sequence in this week's installment of Steven Weissman's in-progress pages from "Blue Jay," an epic 51-page story from Chocolate Cheeks, the next collection of the Yikes! gang's adventures....
Brooklyn's lovely Vivian Girls dropped by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery before their show at Neumo's on Thursday to stock up on road reading material by Ivan Brunetti, Paul Hornschemeier, and Esther Pearl Watson. (Unlovable, they're not!) Highlights of their current tour included a spot at the Coachella Music Festival where the band reported Sir Paul's marathon midnight serenade set him back thousands for violating local noise curfews. We're guessing he can afford it.
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!