Good Dog marks the welcome return of alternative cartoonist Graham Chaffee, who, after his successful 2003 collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing and Other Stories, took a detour to devote himself to the art of tattooing, before charging back with his new, beautifully conceived graphic novel.
Ivan, who is plagued by terrible nightmares about chickens and rabbits, is a good dog — if only someone would notice. Readers accompany the stray as he navigates dog society, weathers pack politics, and surveys canine-human interactions.
Good Dog's story and pen-and-ink art are deceptively simple, but Chaffee uses the approachability of the subject matter as a device to explore topics such as independence, security, assimilation, loyalty, and violence. Preteen-and-up dog fanciers, especially, will warm to the well-meaning Ivan and his exploits with a motley assortment of Scotties, Bulldogs, and mutts. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve and creates a richly textured, dog’s-eye view of the world. The story is a rousing Jack London-esque adventure as well as a moral parable.
"Graham Chaffee has been one of my favorite cartoonists since I fell in love with his 1997 debut graphic novel, Big Wheels. Combining tremendous empathy towards his characters, concise storytelling and exquisite detail, Chaffee's comics are sublime. I am eagerly awaiting Good Dog. I'll plan my week around reading it." – James Sturm (Market Day)
"Good Dog is a book as seemingly lost in time as its canine hero Ivan. Graham Chaffee has a real talent for charming anthropomorphic cartooning and his clean, appealing storytelling and expressive brushwork evoke the work of an alternative golden age of comics; an age perhaps in which superheroes never existed and the medium told more straightforward, poignant stories." – James Romberger
"Getting into the mind of a dog — that's a real trick. I know, I've tried. Getting into the whole heart and soul of a dog is another whole feat. Graham Chaffee not only does it with aplomb (he draws GREAT dogs), he gets into the whole dog's life — and so should you." – Nick Abadzis (Laika)
"I got choked up a couple of times which is the one of the best things a comic can do to me. Compliments to Mr. Graham Chaffee. Really solid storytelling and excellent art. Reminiscent the best way of Jack London's The Call of the Wild." – Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War)
"The world does not have nearly enough graphic novels told from the perspective of adorable dogs. Let alone graphic novels that have a good chance of making you feel delighted on one page, then maybe like you might cry a little bit on the next page. Good Dog does those things, and also, did I mention it’s told from the perspective of an adorable dog? Seriously, the dog is so great! I would adopt him in a second and we would do everything together." – Erik Henriksen, Wired, "The Best Comic Books of 2013"
Our latest Zippy the Pinhead collection is a hum-Dingburger! While lucky MoCCA Fest attendees were the first to be able to get their hands on Zippy: The Dingburg Diaries (and get it signed by Bill Griffith), for most of the world this is the first good gander at the 11th com-pin-dium, coming in June. It's a big, fat 232 pages of absurdity, non-sequiturs and satire, with 2 1/2 years of daily strips and full-color Sundays. Griffy's still firing on all cylinders and the strip is as great as ever — maybe better! — as these critics have attested regarding other recent Zippy volumes:
"Contemporary readers of Bill Griffith’s comic strip, Zippy the Pinhead, know with certainty that the illustrator is one of the most accomplished draftsmen working in comics today, his talents on a par with those of Robert Crumb. His art — nuanced shading; economical linework; evocative textures; fidelity to dress, gesture, expression, architecture, automotive design, and the thousand and one other accoutrements of modern life — is an unfailing daily marvel, especially considering the speed and regularity at which the strip is produced.” – Paul Di Filippo, Barnes & Noble Review
"If you're already a fan, you'll love this new collection. If you're not afraid to dip into Zippy's unique style of humor, philosophy and social critique, this book may make you a fan." – S.C. Ringgenberg, Heavy Metal
"I am so thankful for these collections... they're so good I wonder if Griffith isn't in the middle of one of those late-period renaissances that sometimes grip strip cartoonists, where everything kind of comes together in a considered fashion that's somehow more vital than the dozen or so years of comics that precede it." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
So put on your muu-muu, slip into your blobby white shoes (bowling-alley approved, apparently) and continue exploring Zippy's hometown of Dingburg, the city entirely populated by Pinheads! We have a 21-page excerpt, and we're taking pre-orders right here.
MoCCA was a BLAST, as usual. PR Director, Jacq Cohen, and I showed up early on Friday to set up the table. People couldn't wait for Saturday, clumping around the new books. Our two newest EC Comics Library releases featuring Al Williamson and Jack Davis' work are creating a heartbreakingly beautiful rainbow.
One side of the set-up table!
Friday night was Dash Shaw's opening for his New School art exhibition and 30th birthday at Desert Island. His fianceé (sorry, ladies and germs) made a cake that was uber-delicious. Below, Dash talks about his new comics.
Party hardy, Gabrielle Bell is talking to Ariel Shrag (!) in the left-hand corner.
A gentleman was purchasing Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez at Desert Island so we had to compliment him on his exquisite taste. Lo and behold, Tony (or so he says) showed up at MoCCA the next day ready to buy more quality comics, this time Castle Waiting Vol. 1 by Linda Medley. My mom would be so proud that I'm still somewhat polite!
I ran into a familiar face, cartoonist and animation intern Andrew Greenstone, who was more than willing to hang out and shot the shit---I mean, talk business.
If I ever become a comic book store owner, I hope I'm as cool as Gabe Fowler. The red print was a Desert Island exclusive!
Cartoonist Charles Burns showed up to hang out with friends and look at comics. I never ever tire of that man's company, but he did mention some people are reticent to eat with him because of what he draws in his comics. FOOLS, I say! Also, Evan Dorkin makes Chris Duffy guffaw in the background. Doesn't "Griffith, Dorkin, Duffy and Burns" sound like an amazing lawfirm? Like possibly corrupt but they probably have a pastry chef on staff to appease their clients?
Also signing at MoCCA was Kim Deitch, whose new book The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is coming out soon and is haunting, to put it mildly. Deitch brought his original pages which fans poured over. James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook made their Fantagraphics signing debut for 7 Miles a Second, the moving comic written by David Wojnarowicz. The book has one of those covers that is both oblique and arresting (Jacq adds up some quick math on the right). While I did not stop a child from picking up the book, I did tell a parent or two it had adult material in it. One of my favorite sells of the weekend was selling Prison Pit Book Two to a 14 year old kid whose mom seemed dubious until I brought up the philosophy behind the book. The teen gave me a giant wink as he left, he might not get it still.
Van Cook discussed innovative printing techniques from their travels and non-profit advice while James would sketch in signed copies of the book.
Recently, Alex Dueben talked to Romberger for Comic Book Resources and stopped to meet them in person.
Next up was Leslie and Dash! Local cartoonist Leslie Stein is also in a pretty crazy fun band, Prince Rupert's Drops. If you live in the New York area, check them out. The rest of us will just live via our headphones or listening to their tracks on the recent AudioFemme interview. Leslie signed my old copy of Eye of the Majestic Creatureand we talked about second book that's coming out this fall! I heard some comments from other cartoonists that they feel weird about asking fellow toonies to sign their books but I don't give a humdinkle about that. Make it FANCY for me.
Dash signed the spine of many a Bottomless Belly Button and cover of 3 New Stories for eager fans. Those gorgeous red prints (you can only see a quarter of it) are available from Desert Island if you are looking for something for the Shaw fan who 'has it all.'
Given our close proximity to the stairs to the bathroom, there wasn't much chance for wondering down aisles or buying comics. I really wanted to read L. Nichols' Flocks and she was helpful enough to COME TO ME with her Square for my plastic purchase.
Tucker Stone, of TCJ and Bergen Street Comics, came by to get Gary's signature on a copy of The Comics Journal. Pretty cute, right?
Jacq and me with two of our debut books by Ulli Lust and Gilbert Hernandez! Photo by Dre Grigoropol.
Hung with bossman Gary Groth, Dash, Leslie and Jacq one night.
Charles Forsman was out and about with his Oily Comics micropublishing outfit. Chuck's comic, The End of the Fucking World, will be out this July from Fantagraphics in one single beautiful book. I'm so excited about that. We in no way support NCIS.
Chuck and I go way back, we used to work at the same graphic novel library together in Vermont. A photo from 2009:
Speaking of libraries, the next day Tom Spurgeon and I visited Columbia University's Butler Library and Rare Book room, led around by enthusiastic librarian Karen Green. It was so very cool to see our books with library binding but they've also perfected a myler binding so we don't lose those cool spine designs. Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button and Noah Van Sciver's The Hypo.
Kim, I didn't forget about you, the library has a lot of Jacques Tardi books. Some were checked out, which is even better than finding them at the library.
A grand place I hope to visit again. Thanks to Anelle Miller and her trusty band of volunteers for the enjoyable convention, Gary and Jacq for booth help plus a few of these photos. Lastly, another one of my favorite moments of the week was selling Dungeon Quest Book One to a gentleman on Saturday who came back Sunday to buy the other two after reading the first in one sitting. It was a cherry on top of an awesome convention.
• Chicago, IL: The legendary Gilbert Hernandez will be signing at the infamous Quimby's! Join him at 7:00 PM for the slideshow “From Funnybooks to Graphic Novels” featuring the comics of his childhood, in addition to a Q+A and signing. It's a can't-miss evening, for sure! (more info)
Friday, April 19th
• Seattle, WA: New York cartoonist Lucy Knisley will be serving up fun at the book-signing party for Relish: My Life in the Kitchen at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery! Lucy will give a slideshow presenation, and our own Larry Reid will be providing snacks made from recipes in the book! I got to sample a cookie yesterday --- delish!!! (more info)
We don't typically alert you more than once to our special offers, but we'd hate for anybody to miss out on this one! Today is the last day to get our FantaBucks 2-for-1 Coupon! Here's the deal again:
Each FantaBucks 2-for-1 Coupon costs just $50 and gets you a unique coupon code worth $100 toward your next purchase of $100 or more (not including shipping) here on Fantagraphics.com! That's like getting half off $100 worth of merchandise! You can buy as many coupons as you like, but you can only use one coupon per order and you must redeem each coupon entirely in a single purchase. You can also buy coupons as gifts — just tell us the recipients' email addresses at checkout. Beginning on Tuesday, April 16, we will email you your personalized coupon code(s).
Important note for 20/20 Club members: with your standard discount, you pay only $40, and so you will receive a coupon in the amount of $80, which, with your discount, is still good for that $100 worth of merchandise.
From the creator of the 2005 hit graphic novel Black Hole and the recent trilogy X'ed Out, The Hive and Sugar Skull comes this new softcover edition of his other masterpiece of modern horror. Big Baby is a particularly impressionable young boy named Tony Delmonte, who lives in a seemingly typical American suburb until he sneaks out of his room one night and becomes entangled in a horrific plot involving summer camp murders and backyard burials. Burns' clinical precision as an artist adds a sinister chill to his droll sense of humor, and his affection for 20th-century pulp fiction permeates throughout, creating a brilliant narrative that perfectly captures the unease and fear of adolescence.
"At once alluring and grotesque, Burns' imagery has been eagerly embraced by the counterculture, mainstream media, and a recalcitrant art world without ever compromising his strikingly singular aesthetic." – Juxtapoz
"The work of Charles Burns is a vision that's both horrifying and hilariously funny, and which he executes with cold, ruthless clarity... It's almost as if the artist... as if her weren't quite... human!" – R. Crumb
"These comics are brilliant, loaded with humor and a love of B-movies, pulps, and old comic books. 'Curse of the Molemen' is a classic of modern cartooning, and alone would make this book worth buying." – John Porcellino
We've always known Peter had excellent taste -- as we've mentioned before on the FLOG, Peter once collaborated with our own Michael Kupperman, and has long been a hugefan of his on Twitter. So, I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised at all to see him tweet this the other day:
One of my favorite comedians meets one of my favorite artists? Be still my heart!!! Do you want to be cool like Peter and own some original artwork from Drew? Well, I'm sorry, you will never be as cool as Peter. But, click this link and you can at least get some gorgeous limited-edition prints from Drew!
Is Larrybear comics' new Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Nah, she's far too mellow. You'll fall in love with her all over again in the second volume of Leslie Stein's Eye of the Majestic Creature, at the printer now for availability in late June. This installment finds her having further adventures in the city and being courted by a flower-faced fella, and takes some looks back at her childhood and adolescence. And of course her walking, talking menagerie of musical instruments is along for the ride again.
Critics called Vol. 1 "a treat," "cute and sad and familiar," "phenomenal," "irresistible," "a triumph," "such a pleasure" and "a joy from cover to cover." And we think Vol. 2 is even better! Point your majestic peepers at our 15-page excerpt, and pre-order this book right here.