The most intricate house sigil of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:The LA Times enjoys their reading of7 Miles a Secondby David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "Part of the power of Wojnarowicz’s work is that he dealt with such concepts accessibly; he didn’t have time to waste. It was the source of his restless imagination, his willingness to experiment with unexpected forms," writes David L. Ulin.
• Plug:NY1 (New York 1) and Don Kois talk about 7 Miles a SecondDavid Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook. "…this graphic novel is an amazing document of the gaudy, dangerous world of clients and johns and artists and thugs downtown in the 1980s."
• Interview: Nick Hanover of Comics Bulletin interviews Tom Kaczynski on Beta Testing the Apocalypse. Kacyznski writes, "All these stories started to feel like they were linked and eventually things like the noise stories and the themes of sound started to kind of inject themselves into the rest of the material…I'm interested in utopias, and utopian societies. And a lot of what Communism is is essentially an attempted utopia that failed. "
• Review:Art Rocker and Wee Claire look at Delphine by Richard Sala. "Delphine is arguably Richard Sala's darkest tale to date and a brilliant gateway for those new to his whimsical storytelling style…There are comparisons to Snow White dotted throughout the story but Sala's indie-goth execution tinged with a 70s horror atmosphere make for a much more interesting tale."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Heads or Tails by Lilli Carré. "Carré’s work, fittingly titled Heads or Tails, probes choice, ambivalence and fate; in her stories, there’s a flip side to everything, rendered in full and brilliant colour,"says Laura Kane.
• Review: Noah Bertlatsky on the Hooded Utilitarian looks at the art of Lilli Carré comics from Heads or Tails through the gendered lens of Bart Beaty. "If art is both hyperbolic masculine swagger and small-scale feminized detail, though, for Carré the form that mediates between the two is something that looks a lot like comics."
• Interview (partial): Dan Nadel of The Comics Journal posts part of the interview of Jacqes Tardi by Kim Thompson from TCJ 302.
• Plug: "It's astonishing to me that The Comics Journal will have outlasted Wizard, Hero Illustrated and CBG, but I'm happy for that fact," says former TCJ editor, Tom Spurgeon. TCJ 302 was co-edited by Kristy Valenti and Mike Dean.
• Review:Mort Meskin gets the full hello-how-are-ya when his collections are reviewed, edited by Steven Brower. "Out of the Shadows was such an enjoyable find that when it ended we were hungry for more of Meskin’s work." So Scoop turns to From Shadow to Light, "Meskin is so skilled in portraying body language that he doesn’t need a face to tell us know exactly what someone is thinking…a thorough and very detailed look at a man’s life, his family and the work he valued."
• Plug:Kotaku and Evan Narcisse get teary-eyed over Peanuts Every Sunday by Charles M. Schulz. "The daily black-and-white comics were great but the full-color Sunday strips gave Schulz a big, beautiful canvas to let his expert pacing and amazing linework breathe in a rainbow of color…it's really the entire mix of characters …and their mix of adult prickliness and childlike naiveté that made Charles Schulz's iconic comics strips so timeless."
• Interview:MTV Geek interviews Charles Forsman about The End of the Fucking Worldand life. Forsman answersEddie Wright's question, "I do love sparse cartooning. Like Schulz which I think comes through in mine a bit. I've heard people descibe this stuff as "Peanuts" all grown-up and violent."
• Review:Nerds of a Feather look at Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree, to be printed later this year. Philippe Duhart gives it a rare 10 out of 10, "…those familiar with the genre can attest, it's difficult to separate the music from other elements of the "culture" -- b-boying, graffiti, lingo, style. Piskor demonstrates an affectionate respect for the interrelations between these phenomenon, telling a story of a culture, rather than a musical genre."
• Review: Anime News Network reviews and givest The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio an 'A-'. Rebecca Silverman writes, "The Heart of Thomas may be the grandmother of the boys' love genre, but it would be shortsighted to simply classify it as such…Heartfelt and dreamlike, it is a window into the lives of those affected by the sudden death of one of their own."
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like The Cartoon Utopia by Ron Regé, Jr. The Cartoon Utopia "is visionary, but also unmistakably influenced by ’70s psychedelia… the thrilling, one-of-a-kind art will stretch your imagination and, at the very least, make you believe in the power of comics to explore the impossible," writes Laura Kane.
• Review:The Toronto Star reads and reviews our books like Came the Dawn by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman. Laura Kane writes, "In dark shadows, bold lines and intense close-ups, [Wallace Wood] perfectly illustrates the stories — which ran the gamut from B-horror to confronting social issues such as racism, anti-Semitism and sexism." As for Corpse on the Imjin!, "In these violent, blood-spattered pages, [Kurtzman] lays bare the devastation of war."
• Review/Commentary: Eddie Campbell on The Comics Journal compares and contrasts recent reviews of the EC Comics being reprinted at Fantagraphics and how critics struggle and feel the need to analyze comics at literature. Distilling the article to a mere quote is abhorrent so we tried but please read it. "If comics are any kind of art at all, it’s the art of ordinary people. With regard to Kurtzman’s war comics, don’t forget that the artists on those books were nearer to the real thing than you and I will ever be."
• Review: Elliot Bay Books reviews No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Dave Wheeler writes, "Impossible to be even close to a complete collection of the genre, No Straight Lines instead seeks to trace the parallel trajectories toward visibility for both comics and LGBTQ identities…these are the stories of real people, or they are people transfigured by folklore."
• Plug: Greg Akers of the Memphis Flyer enjoyed reading Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez. "Jaime breaks me every time. The conclusion to "The Love Bunglers" is an all-time great. Tears in my eyes, destroyed emotionally."
• Plug: Joost Swarte sings the blues at Angouleme, thanks to Paul Karasik.
• Review:SequArt looks at Black Hole by Charles Burns. Faith Brody Patane point out "…it’s a story that’s meant to be devoured with intent to possibly make you have freaky nightmares. Black Hole is one of those stories that lingers long after you read it…This group of teens is far from Riverdale and far more desperate."
We've just finished adding all of the books from our Spring-Summer 2013 catalog to the Upcoming Arrivals section of our website! The catalog itself is still posted here and available as a PDF download, but we already have some updates and corrections to book details, cover art, release dates, etc. so be sure to refer to our website listings for the most up-to-date information.
We've already announced a few books from our Fall 2013 - Winter 2014 season and we'll be plunging into adding the rest of the titles from that catalog over the coming weeks, so the impatient and/or hyper-vigilant among you will want to check back often for some previously unrevealed surprises!
Fantagraphics and comiXology continues the line of exquisite Richard Sala comics with Delphine. A mysterious traveler gets off the train in a small village surrounded by a thick sinister forest. He is searching for Delphine, who vanished with only a scrawled-out address on a scrap of paper as a trace.
Richard Sala takes the tale of Snow White and stands it on its head, retelling it from Prince Charming's perspective (the unnamed traveler) in a contemporary setting. This twisted tale includes all the elements of terror from the original fairy tale, with none of the insipid saccharine coating of the Disney animated adaptation: Yes, there will be blood. At comiXology or a local comic book store today.
"I've long admired the gothy work of cartoonist Richard Sala. He delicately balances the line between horror and humor as few can. His latest graphic novel, Delphine, is his darkest effort to date." –Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include 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.
69-page full color 9" x 12" hardcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-614-0
"...arriving with a light touch while delivering a heavy, dark, and understandably angry message. Part of what makes the book unusual is that it does not go out of its way to be uplifting... Romberger and Van Cook's art is hyperactive, with splattery color that suggests the out-of-body acid-trip world of contradictory values and constantly shifting danger that Wojnarowicz lived in." –Publishers Weekly
"One of the most widely-admired (and unfairly obscure) releases from the ’90s Vertigo line sees new life…" –Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
176-page full-color 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-615-7
"Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two has its place in the construct. It is 'silver and exact' like Sylvia Plath's Mirror and reflects the 'terrible fish' that has become our understandings of the world." –Daniel Elkin, Comics Bulletin
"The stories serve as beautiful and brutal snapshots of a brilliant life lived too hard and extinguished too soon. It is not too much to say that we all owe a great cultural debt to Mr. Wojnarowicz…" –Matthew Rosenbery, Forbidden Planet's Daily Planet
Hal Foster, creator of the legendary strip Prince Valiant (and the happy haircut of the same name) and the comics strip adaptation of Tarzan, has a solid group of friends. In 2002 “The Friends of HalFoster Society” began in Halifax, Nova Scotia by a group of 'Haligonians' after Brian Kane's Foster bio was published. Their goal? Educate tourists and citizens about Foster and currently working on a permanent memorial to Hal’s birthplace. Hal’s Pals resident researcher, Kevin Sollows has continued delving into Foster’s childhood in Halifax, and has created a website with his findings.
Please take the time to scroll through the pages to see the house Foster grew up in, and other interesting things about Hal’s past! How much do you think influenced the lush landscapes of Prince Valiant? For that you may have to visit Halifax yourself.
Wanna join the gang? Call at 902.425.2140 or send a letter to "Friends of Hal Foster", 5262 Sackville Street, Hallifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 1K8
"I spent so much time on the waterfront that I still exhale a pungent aroma of tarred rope & dried codfish." –Hal Foster.
Visitors to the sensational Sexytime exhibition of vintage porn posters opening this Saturday, February 9 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will be treated to a free music performance by Poppet. A project of Olympia's Molly Raney, Poppet uses a keyboard, drum machine, loop pedal, and her own voice to create fully orchestrated electro-loop-pop. Weird pop for the post-apocalypse. Birds included. Spaceship recommended. Don't miss Poppet and other sexy surprises at the Valentine's edition of the lively Georgetown Art Attack, featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic neighborhood. Romance awaits!
Our advance copies of The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert & Pierre Bartier were delivered late last week and we couldn't be happier with our definitive English edition of this pop art classic! After much painstaking work this book is finally on its way to stores for an April shelf date. Containing the original comic, newly translated, restored and recolored in super-saturated, eye-popping tones, plus an extensive section — we can't even call it a "bonus" section because it stands on equal footing — on Peellaert's life and work of the period, it's a combination graphic novel and art book/monograph in one. Peellaert's fans ranged from Federico Fellini to Jim Steranko, and one look at this wild, eye-popping, sexy, satirical farce will tell you why. We can't wait to show you more; for now, take a 20-page sneak peek (evenly divided between the two sections) and pre-order your copy right here.
Well folks, it's our first batch of 2013 releases and a swell batch it is.
In the past month we've received the gorgeous new definitive edition of the '90s cult classic 7 Miles a Second; Tom Kaczyinski's acclaimed short story collection Beta Testing the Apocalypse; the mammoth new issue of The Comics Journal; a reprint of a Complete Crumb Comics volume loaded with Fritz the Cat classics (and a sweet deal on multiple volumes); Alexander Theroux's encyclopedic, entertaining rant The Grammar of Rock (with Crumb on the cover); true Tejas tales in Jack Jackson's American History: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause; an essential new volume of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant; and the new 2nd hardcover collection of Michael Kupperman's hilarious Tales Designed to Thrizzle!
Remember, our New Releases page always lists the 20 most recent arrivals, and our Upcoming Arrivals page has dozens of future releases available for pre-order.
(Want these updates in your inbox every month? Subscribe!)
7 Miles a Second is the story of legendary artist David Wojnarowicz, written during the last years before his AIDS-related death in 1992. Artists James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook unsentimentally depict Wojnarowicz's childhood of hustling on the streets of Manhattan, through his adulthood living with AIDS, and his anger at the indifference of government and health agencies. A primal scream of a graphic novel, 7 Miles a Second blends the stark reality of Lower East Side street life with a psychedelic delirium that artfully conveys Wojnarowicz's sense of rage, urgency, mortality and a refusal to be silent.
Originally published as a comic book in 1996 by DC's Vertigo Comics, 7 Miles a Second was an instant critical success and has become a cult classic amongst fans of literary and art comics, just as Wojnarowicz's influence and reputation have widened in the larger art world. This new edition finally presents the artwork as it was intended: oversized, and with Van Cook's elegant watercolors restored. It also includes several new pages created for this edition.
"Revolutionary.... a runaway, over-the-top circus... An excursion into areas few, if any, comics creators have tread." – Jim Steranko
"Seven Miles a Second veers between an almost unbearably gritty naturalism and the incendiary heat of surrealist hallucination." – The New Yorker
"A revelatory work of art." – Art in America
"A cult classic... both a celebration of the unlimited potential of the comic book form, and a perfect melding of inspiring, iconoclastic imaginations." – Jim Jarmusch
It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments. Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.
Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism — and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.
Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably "The New," a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. "The New" is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.
The newly formatted, 600+ page Comics Journal proved a resounding success with 2011’s edition. 2012’s Volume 302 is sure to prove just as essential and exciting to comics readers worldwide.
This edition’s cover feature is a long, intimate interview-portrait with and of Maurice Sendak, the greatest and most successful children’s book author of the 20th — and 21st — century, the author of Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, Higglety Piggelty Pop, and the illustrator of works by Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, and Randall Jarrell. In his longest published interview (and one of the last before his death in 2012), Sendak looks back over a career spanning over 60 years and talks to Gary Groth about art, life, and death (especially death), how his childhood, his parents, and his siblings affected his art and outlook, his search for meaning — and also, on the lighter side, about his love (and hate) of movies. And his unbridled comments on the political leadership of the previous decade have already garnered national media attention and controversy.
Sharing equal billing in this issue's flip-book format: Kim Thompson conducts a career-spanning interview with French graphic novel pioneer Jacques Tardi. The two explore the Eisner Award-winner’s genre-spanning oeuvre comprising historical fiction, action-adventure, crime-thriller, “icepunk” and more, focusing on Tardi's working methods (with step by step illustration), collaborations and other media (such as film and animation), and his fascination with World War I. Plus, Matthias Wivel examines Tardi's adaptation of Léo Malet's 120, Rue de la Gare.
Also in this issue, Art Spiegelman conducts a wide-ranging aesthetic colloquy on classic kids’ comics (Carl Barks’s Donald Duck, John Stanley’s Little Lulu, Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike, and many more) with a group of comics critics and historians. Bob Levin provides a revelatory investigation of the twisted history of the "Keep on Truckin’" litigation and a fascinating biographical portrait of R. Crumb’s lawyer, Albert Morse. Warren Bernard writes a ground-breaking historical investigation of the 1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency. R.C. Harvey looks at Bill Hume's Babysan and Donald Phelps examines Percy Crosby's Skippy. And a tribute to the late Dylan Williams from his peers and the artists he published.
Plus: “How to Draw Buz Sawyer” by renowned newspaper cartoonist Roy Crane (and a previously unpublished interview), a new comic by Joe Sacco and one by Lewis Trondheim in English for the first time, Tim Kreider on Chester Brown, Tom Crippen on Mort Weisinger and Superman, Rich Kreiner on "difficult comics," and a visual gallery of and commentary on proto-comics.
The Comics Journal has been for 37 years the world’s foremost critical magazine about comics. It is now more vital than ever, a gigantic print compendium of critiques, interviews, and comics.
Starring Fritz the Cat includes Crumb's classic original Fritz stories from 1965, including "Fritz Bugs Out" and "Fritz the Cat, Special Agent for the CIA," the first two "real" stories in the Fritz canon, as well as "Fritz the Cat, Ace Statesman," four pages of a previously unpublished Fritz story, and several Fritz illos never before printed in color. Plus: Crumb's first published work from Help! and Yell, including the "Harlem Sketchbook" and the "Bulgarian Sketchbook," most never before reprinted; two dozen of his Topps trading cards, plus extremely rare promotional items, as well as many creeting cards done for American Greetings, several in full color; and many pages of strips from Crumb's 20-year-old sketchbooks. Plus more of Marty Pahls's ongoing Crumb biography, including the story of Crumb's first acid trip, with more rare photos of the young Crumb!
1989 Harvey Award Winner, Best Domestic Reprint Project
Buy Two, Get One Half Off! When ordering this volume, add any two other available volumes from The Complete Crumb Comicsseries and the third volume will be half price! See product page for more details.
National Book Award nominee, critic and one of America’s least compromising satirists, Alexander Theroux takes a comprehensive look at the colorful language of pop lyrics and the realm of rock music in general in The Grammar of Rock: silly song titles; maddening instrumentals; shrieking divas; clunker lines; the worst (and best) songs ever written; geniuses of the art; movie stars who should never have raised their voice in song but who were too shameless to refuse a mic; and the excesses of awful Christmas recordings. Praising (and critiquing) the gems of lyricists both highbrow and low, Theroux does due reverence to classic word-masters like Ira Gershwin, Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter, and Sammy Cahn, lyricists as diverse as Hank Williams, Buck Ram, the Moody Blues, and Randy Newman, Dylan and the Beatles, of course, and more outré ones like the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Patti Smith, the Fall (even Ghostface Killah), but he considers stupid rhymes, as well — nonsense lyrics, chop logic, the uses and abuses of irony, country music macho, verbal howlers, how voices sound alike and why, and much more.
In a way that no one else has ever done, with his usual encyclopedic insights into the state of the modern lyric, Theroux focuses on the state of language — the power of words and the nature of syntax — in The Grammar of Rock. He analyzes its assaults on listeners’ impulses by investigating singers’ styles, pondering illogical lunacies in lyrics, and deconstructing the nature of diction and presentation in the language. This is that rare book of discernment and probing wit (and not exclusively one that is a critical defense of quality) that positively evaluates the very nature of a pop song, and why one over another has an effect on the listener.
Jack Jackson loved American history and creating comics. He combined these into a single vocation and created a legacy of historical graphic novels that has never been equaled.
Jackson is credited with creating what many consider the first underground comic, God Nose, in 1964. He co-founded Rip-Off Press in 1969, and made some of the most scathing satirical comics about contemporary America ever seen. But, Jackson was a Texan, and in the 1970s he returned to his roots and began writing and drawing short historical comics about Texas history. He then went on to produce six graphic novels chronicling 19th century Western history focusing on his beloved Texas and the Plains Indians. Fantagraphics, which published Los Tejanos originally in 1981, is proud to bring his graphic histories back into print in a series of three volumes, each reprinting two of his long narratives.
The first volume features Los Tejanos, which Fantagraphics published as a solo book in 1981, and Lost Cause (1998) — chronicling Texas history before and after the Civil War.
Los Tejanos is the story of the Texas-Mexican conflict between 1835 and 1875 as seen through the eyes of tejano (literally Texan of Mexican, as distinct from anglo, heritage) Juan Seguín. It is through Seguín, a pivotal and tragic figure, that Jackson humanizes Texas’ fight for independence and provides a human scale for this vast and complex story.
Lost Cause documents the violent reaction to Reconstruction by Texans. As Jackson wrote, “Texas reaped a bitter harvest from the War Between the States. Part of this dark legacy was the great unrest that plagued the beaten but unbowed populace.” The tensions caused by Reconstruction are told through the Taylor-Sutton feud, which raged across South Texas, embracing two generations and causing untold grief, and the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, who swept across Texas killing Carpetbaggers, Federal soldiers, and Indians.
Jackson’s work is as known for its rigorous research — he became as good an historian as he was a cartoonist — as well as its chiseled, raw-boned visual approach, reproducing the time and place with an uncanny verisimilitude.
This edition includes an essay by and interview with Jackson about the controversy Lost Cause generated, and an introduction by the novelist Ron Hansen.
Hal Foster's masterpiece of adventure enters its second decade as Valiant and Aleta journey to "The New World," a 16-month epic that allows Foster to draw some of his spectacular native Canadian backgrounds, and during which Aleta gives birth to Arn and acquires her Indian nurse, Tillicum. Most of the rest of the book is taken up with the action-packed five-month sequence "The Mad King," during which Val, back at Camelot, confronts the evil, fat little King Tourien of Cornwall.
This volume is rounded off with an essay by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane (The Prince Valiant Companion) discussing Foster's depiction of "Indians" as it relates to other interpretations of the times, accompanied by various graphic goodies including our most spectacular bonus feature yet — a double-sized fold-out page reproducing a strip hand-colored by Foster — plus a previously unpublished camping cartoon by Foster from circa 1915, some of Foster's Mountie paintings, Foster's own map of Val's voyage to/from the New World, and more rare photos and art.
As always, this volume is shot directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, their glorious colors restored to create an unprecedentedly sumptuous reading experience.
Hot on the heels of his acclaimed Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010 comes Michael Kupperman’s second all-comics collection of surreal slapstick and crazy non-sequitur goofiness, all from the pages of his beloved comic book series Tales Designed to Thrizzle.
Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume Two features two of Kupperman’s recurring duos: America’s favorite mustachioed physicist/writer double team of Twain and Einstein (solving new crimes and barreling through exciting new adventures), and the crime-fighting team of Snake and Bacon ("Sssssssssssss!") who make a special return just to star in Reservoir Dogs 2.
Elsewhere in this volume the crusty Quincy, M.E. makes his comic book debut, struggling through the fantastic landscapes of his own dreams in "Quinception" (in which St. Peter also gets his own comic book). And learn the true story of the first lunar landing, guest starring Woodward & Bernstein, Lt. Columbo and... Quincy again??... in "Moon 69."
Also: The Jungle Princess battles rhino traders... A story of Broadway theatrics in "All About Drainage"... Slightly cursed merchandise and other dubious products... Cockney grave robbers... Cowboy Oscar Wilde... McArf the Crime Dog takes a bite out of scum... The origin of The Hamanimal... A photocomic starring comedian Julie Klausner, "Voyage To Narnia"... Break out your crayons for the highly educational "Train & Bus Coloring Book"... The story of French national hero "The Scythe"... and "Murder, She Goat."
Plus! This volume contains a full issue's worth of never-before-published, brand new Thrizzle material featuring "Mandate the Magician," "Fart Boobs," "The Odd Couple of Draculas," "Skull Groin," "Gladiator & Snivolus," "Mr. Flopears," "Gordon Ramsay's Fairy Tale Toilet Kitchen Nightmares," "McGritte the Surrealist Crime Dog," a new Twain & Einstein adventure and ever so much more!
If you're impatient for us to start tackling Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy Sundays (we're just publishing the dailies right now), follow our pall Scott Allan's new Nancy Every Sunday blog for a regular fix. Above, Nancy's first Sunday appearance in Fritzi Ritz, 1933.
[The Umpteen Millionaire Club, our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles, turns its attention to The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio. The Comics Journal interns Tom Graham, Nomi Kane and Jack McKean put together this set of questions. – Ed.]
The Heart of Thomas is a manga by Moto Hagio about students in a German boarding school for boys. The boys deal with tragic death, romantic love amongst each other and have more lighthearted concerns about popularity, rumors and cliques.
How does the story address gender conventions or stereotypes?
How do the characters deal with complex emotions that they seem too young to handle, such as unrequited love, intense guilt and/or feeling culpable?
How does the story portray dealing with loss?
Discuss the use of Christian imagery and how it impacts your reading of the story.
Is there abuse going on in this story? If so, how do you respond to the way it's portrayed?
What visual devices does the cartoonist use to indicate narrative techniques such as foreshadowing, symbolism, flashback, etc.?
Discuss Hagio's choice to set the story in Germany. How might it be important (or not?).
The Heart of Thomas was originally published in 1974 and based on a 1964 French movie, which in turn was based on the 1943 semi-autobiographical French novel Les amitiés particulières. How might you read it differently given its historical context? Does this impact your reading of the story?
How do the characters' relationships with their parents figure into the broader story and their personalities and desires?
Does this book have a message? If so, what might its message be?
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!