[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Keith Baralato, Eli Powell, and Evans Winters put together this set of questions. - Ed.]
Written by Keith Barbalato, Lillian Beaty, and Sonya Selbach
Rendered in vivid black and white (though it evokes psychedelia), Fran: The Preceding and Continuing Congress of the Animals depicts a story of love, loss, and healing - all in wordless panels. From one page to the next, Woodring builds a fantastical world Frank readers will be familiar with: the Unifactor is the landscape against which Fran and Frank's love plays out. In Fran, the impetuous titular character drags reluctant Frank along on adventures that clearly depict two very different people trying to find common ground, despite Frank's wish for total honesty and Fran's desire for complete privacy.
What effect does having no words in this comic have?
What does the mysterious "memory device" represent?
Why is Fran so against having this "memory device" on, and why is Frank so forceful about her wearing it?
Do Fran and Frank transcend gender roles? If so, how does Woodring depict this?
What is the nature of their relationship?
How do their personalities complement each other, and how do they clash?
How do Fran and Frank interact differently with their environment?
Who is the "many-eyed-man"?
How would you characterize Frank's relationship with his pets?
What purpose do the pets serve in Woodring's narratives?
Join Jesse Reklaw, Desert Island's Gabe Fowler and and friends tonight at Desert Island for a rockin' good time. From 7 to 9pm, Reklaw will be signing copies of his new graphic novel, Couch Tag, just for you! Let him know which of his 13 cats was your favorite.
He'll also be signing at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle on December 14th while gracing the shelves of Portland's Floating World on December 19th! See you at every single location!
This week's comic shop shipment included the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
176-page monochrome/color 6.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $26.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-676-8
"[A] family's evolution springs from the stories and the dialogue. Clever, moving and often hilarious." –Houston Chronicle
"…it's another work in a very strong year for Reklaw that included the short he did for Robyn Chapman. An autobiographical tale that gets increasingly unhinged, Reklaw's work also reminded me of some of the emotionally infused alt-manga I read this year: a really unique comics-reading experience." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
There's a lot of energy hidden, pent up, in Reklaw's older normal "square" cartooning style, and it's starting to bust out and become unpredictable, more like he is in person." –Kevin Huizenga
144-page full-color 10.5" x 14.75" hardcover • $49.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-698-0
"It's easy to toss around the word 'genius,' especially when it comes to comics. We all have our favorites and we all like to think ours are the great ones. But one look at Roy Crane's work and anyone can see that he definitely was worthy of the 'genius' tag." - Tom Mason, Comix 411
"Crane's art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn't even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane's dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art. [Grade:] A-." –The A.V. Club
Now that our Kickstarter campaign has wrapped up, we're starting to offer our Spring-Summer 2014 books as plain old regular pre-orders. Our first batch is listed below, and more will become available as they're built into our bookkeeping system (which can be an irregular process). We've also set up a few discounted gift sets to help you save some bucks while building your collection. Be among the first to reserve your copies — hit those links to learn more about each title and start building your shopping cart!
This original graphic novella is a funny and moving story of escalating humor and tension between two disaffected teens, Mike and Wolf, who take a spontaneous summer road trip after dropping acid. As the stark black and white of Forsman's cartooning indicates, however, this is not a psychedelic, Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby kind of trip. Instead of the escapism they crave from their fragile home lives, the LSD only heightens their sense of ennui, exacerbates their fears about the world they're about to enter as adults, and creates doubts about everything they think they know.
Though it's not entirely what they bargained for, will Mike and Wolf look back on their adventure as part of the "celebrated summer" of their never-to-be-recaptured youth, or a carelessly wasted part of the best years of their lives? Or both?
Over the last 4 weeks we've been spotlighting the books in our upcoming Spring-Summer 2014 season, which are being made possible by the generous support of people like you who have backed our Kickstarter campaign. Now we've reached the final title in the catalog, and as a bonus we're revealing two titles for our Fall-Winter 2014 season! These books were already scheduled for previous seasons but were left in limbo after Kim Thompson's illness and passing earlier this year. We can now confirm that they are coming next year, thanks to everyone who helped us reach our first Kickstarter stretch goal!
(Please note that all artwork, contents, prices, specs, and release dates are preliminary and subject to change.)
160-page full-color 7.25" x 10" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-764-2
The smash hit humor comic, now finally available in paperback! What are tales designed to thrizzle? Tales designed to thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus's half-brother, the Mysterious Avenger, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, the Silver Knight, Murder She Didn't Write, the Mannister, the Space Patrol, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Bossman, Mark Twain, the silent robot Citobor and, of course, the '30s.
120-page black & white 7.5" x 10.5" hardcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-705-5
Paris, 1950s. Nestor Burma's past comes knocking when Bélita, a young gypsy woman, leads him to the Salpêtrière hospital where he discovers the recently deceased Abel Benoît, an old buddy from his anarchist days. While Burma has chosen to move onto the (more or less) straight and narrow as a private eye, his friend had stayed on the other side of the law as a counterfeiter and worse, until his own past caught up with him, lethally. So now it’s up to Burma to avenge his friend, keep the girl safe, and hopefully unravel a mystery whose roots run far and deep back into the past...
Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge is the first of four major graphic novels adapted by Tardi from the legendary French crime writer Léo Malet's original "Nestor Burma" novels — each set in Paris, and each taking place in, and defined by, a different arrondissement. Tardi's stylish use of mechanical gray tones provides the book with a lovely period feel, and the very specific autobiographical elements of the original novel (Malet himself frequented the anarchist/vegan hostel that serves as the backdrop for the flashback sequences of Burma's youth) combined with Tardi's usual obsessive visual research give it a uniquely personal, authentic quality.
Created in the 1980s, Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge was an historic attempt on Tardi's part to inject a level of literary heft and ambition into the comics field, which back then was still struggling for legitimacy. The result is a cracking good detective yarn and a milestone in comics history.
120-page black & white 7" x 9.75" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-460-3
Disgusted and appalled with the today’s noisy and noisome world in which all is spectacle and surface sensation, Nick flees into the solitude of the desert. But even as he manages to recover some sort of spiritual balance thanks to an ascetic regimen of fasting and meditation, Nick is seduced by the most spectacular and mesmerizing spectacle of all time: The procession of the Queen of Saba.
In Vapor, the award-winning Spanish cartoonist Max (best known for his 2006 book Bardín the Superrealist) once again engages in delightful philosophical mind games, starring another wildly stylized and endearing protagonist — this time deploying a striking, crisp black and white graphic style perfectly suited for this desert-based fantasia.
• Brooklyn, NY: Well, will it? You better stop by the Scott Eder Gallery for the opening reception of the Kim Deitch exhibit to find out! 6-9 PM, with signings, AND the exclusive debut of this beautiful t-shirt below (barring any unforeseen events). (more info)
• Seattle, WA: What do comics and geology have in common? Find out when the one-and-only Ellen Forney wraps up her residency at Town Hall with the event Spinning True Stories, with Scholar-in-Residence David Montgomery! (more info)
Saturday, December 7th
• Seattle, WA: Sub Pop Records co-founder Bruce Pavitt will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery for a reading and signing of Experiencing Nirvana: Grunge in Europe, 1989. Photographs from the triumphant tour will be on display with sales proceeds to benefit the Vera Project. Photographer Charles Peterson will guest DJ and several prominent musicians of the era will attend. (more info)
• Olympia, WA: Meanwhile, Jim Woodring will take over Olympia with a signing at Danger Room, and a live drawing demonstration at the downtown library! (more info)
L.B. Cole created some of the most bizarre, proto-psychedelic, eye-popping comic book covers of all time, yet remarkably this is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole covers ever assembled, in an oversize format that showcases his attention to detail and his versatility in all the popular comic book genres of the day. Cole burst into comics during the glory years of the Golden Age of comics. He was famous for his bold covers, usually featuring "poster colors" — brilliant primaries often over black backgrounds — and an over-the-top sense of the bizarre mixed with whimsy. There's never been a comic book cover designer like L.B. Cole and there's never been a book like this one.
120-page full-color 10.75" x 14.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-759-8
Collecting 101 noir movie posters of, arguably, the greatest noir films ever made in the genre (including classics The Maltese Falcon, Laura, and Double Indemnity). Reproduced in a stunningly designed, oversized format that shows off the spectacular visual elan of Hollywood movie posters at their best, the book is not only a stunning showcase of film noir art, but also establishes the crucial films and identifies their key characteristics, with critical commentary on each film by editor and scholar Mark Fertig. This is an ideal handbook for noir rookies, a valuable resource for old-hats, and a visual feast for fans of film noir and American entertainment art.
Our digital comics partner-in-crime, comiXology, has given us the gift of digital comics for the Kickstarter campaign! Any backer who spends over $10 on our Kickstarter will receive a download code for Richard Sala's newest comic, VIOLENZIA, and a coupon for 50% off any Fantagraphics title available on comiXology. New to digital comics? Don't be afraid. Violenzia's path of destruction is strictly virtual, we assure you, although when viewed through comiXology's high-def technology, it might be hard to believe.
There are still plenty of book to pre-order and some older ones that have been signed have just being added! Everything from Jaime Hernandez's The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. to Charles Burns' SKIN DEEP to BENT by Dave Cooper! Check it out!
Joe Sacco's But I Like It, Cathy Malkasian's Temperance, Steven Weissman's Chocolate Cheeks, Dash Shaw's Bottomless Belly Button, the list goes on and on! Grab a book now to secure your digital copy of Violenzia and 50% coupon today!
"Isolated and longing to connect, Chuck Forsman's Wolf reminds me of other great characters like Charlie Brown and Holden Caulfield. Celebrated Summer is a primal scream drawn in a casual, hypnotic monotone. Few comics are this soulful. Few cartoonists can make work this assured." – James Sturm
"I love the spare elegance of Chuck’s storytelling style. I also love, in this book in particular, his relaxed approach to examining the lives of his characters." – Chester Brown
"…Forsman is one of the strongest and most vital young cartoonists currently putting pen to paper — not to mention one of the most fully, uniquely realized." – The A.V. Club
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