The fifth grade. The threshold to puberty, and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence. Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki have happy homes, loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. But they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Written and drawn by one of today’s most critically acclaimed creators of manga, Shimura portrays Shuishi and Yoshino’s very private journey with affection, sensitivity, gentle humor, and unmistakable flair and grace. Volume one introduces our two protagonists and the friends and family whose lives intersect with their own. Yoshino is rudely reminded of her sex by immature boys whose budding interest in girls takes clumsily cruel forms. Shuichi’s secret is discovered by Saori, a perceptive and eccentric classmate. And it is Saori who suggests that the fifth graders put on a production of The Rose of Versailles for the farewell ceremony for the sixth graders — with boys playing the roles of women, and girls playing the roles of men.
Wandering Son is a sophisticated work of literary manga translated with rare skill and sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn.
Before her comics were serialized in the New York Times Sunday Magazine (“Watergate Sue,” 2007) or released by Fantagraphics Books (Artichoke Tales, 2010), Megan Kelso was a classic DIY cartoonist/publisher, who crafted and self-published her popular minicomic Girlhero from 1991 to 1996.
Queen of the Black Black, which collects these early Girlhero strips (as well as a few from other sources) and was originally published in a limited edition 12 years ago (now long out of print), provides an engrossing chronicle of an ambitious young cartoonist carefully developing her own unique style and approach.
In this volume, Kelso scrutinizes bicycle messengers, venereal diseases, infidelity, unwanted pregnancies, temporary work assignments, family reunions, and classroom daydreams in subtle and unexpected manners, setting herself technical challenges such as depicting music in comics (the virtuoso “The Daddy Mask,” with its sensuous gray swirls of sound on the page), integrating lettering into artwork in creative ways, and generally working her way toward what would become her mature style.
The title story, “Queen of the Black Black,” rendered in lush gray tones, explores the fraught relationship between the ageing, demanding queen of a fairy-tale realm and a hornblower whom she takes under her wing.
There is even a vintage “Artichoke Tale,” predating Kelso recently released graphic novel by a decade and a half. (“I am planning to do a whole book of artichoke tales in the future,” she wrote presciently in her original story notes.)
Queen of the Black Black shows the first flowering (or sprouting) of a major cartooning talent, and its return to print (fully redesigned) is welcome news for the many readers delighted by Kelso’s subsequent graphic novels.
The Comics Journal has been, for almost 35 years, the standard bearer of critical inquiry, discrimination, debate, and serious discussion of comics as art, and the object of love and devotion among the comics cognescenti — and hate and scorn among the philistines, natch. We published our 300th issue in late 2009 and spent the ensuing year-plus re- conceptualizing the institution as an annual book-length “magazine” — over 600 pages long, chock full of the kinds of criticism, interviews, commentary, and history that has made it the most award-winning and critically lauded magazine in the history of comics.
This volume features a focus on R. Crumb’s most commercially successful project of his career, his comics adaptation of Genesis, including the most extensive interview he’s given on the subject as well as a long critical roundtable among six comics critics reviewing the book and debating each other over its merits; plus:
• An interview with Joe Sacco about his recent journalistic masterpiece, Footnotes in Gaza;
• A peek into the private sketchbooks of (and accompanying interviews with) Jim Woodring, Tim Hensley, and the novelist Stephen Dixon;
• A conversation between Mad Fold-Out creator Al Jaffee and Thrizzle auteur Michael Kupperman;
• A complete full-color reprinting of the 1950s "Gerald McBoing Boing" comic;
• The first significant biographical essay charting the turn-of-the-century cartoonist and illustrator John T. McCutcheon;
• A critical re-assessment of Dave Sim's Cerebus by Tim Kreider
and essays and reviews by R. Fiore, R.C. Harvey, Chris Lanier, Rob Clough, and others.
Over 600 pages long, this is a year's worth of The Comics Journal rolled into one extraordinary objet d'art. As a special treat, this volume is guest designed by internationally respected Criterion art director Eric Skillman. The Comics Journal #301 is no mere magazine but a gigantic compendium covering comics past and present that will shock and delight every truly curious comics reader.
Exclusive Savings: One issue not enough? Get on board with a money-saving 3-issue subscription, which also gets you access to the online TCJ back-issue archives at TCJ.com!
• Plug: "Finally got my hands on Jim Woodring’s Congress of the Animals hardcover... and it’s just as beautifully-dreamlike and nightmarish as much of Woodring’s work." – Mike Sterling, Progressive Ruin
The Georgetown Art Attack celebrates independent artists on Saturday, July 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM as creative enterprises present a stellar array of visual and performing arts throughout the historic industrial arts corridor
Among the highlights: All City Coffee commemorates a decade as a Georgetown institution with a 10th Anniversary exhibition of neighborhood artists including Miaja Fiebig, Chris Pfeifle, Chris McMullen, Tom E. Hall, David Mazak, Edward Matlock and more; The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall marks its first anniversary with live music, treats and the recent addition of new art venues including the Shasta 1400 Pinata Trailer and the Interstate Art Space; "Peripheral Visions," a collection of work from Augie Pagan at the Firm; Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery presents "The Quiet Rrriot," an examination of the Riot grrrl zine movement featuring Megan Kelso, Nikki McClure and Stella Marrs; Elizabeth Scallon's "Space for Thoughts" at Vecta Photo; Nautilus Studio presents "De-Vice" by Yvette Endrijautzki and Brandon Bowman with recent work by Richard Olmsted; New work by Barry Sean Little at Calamity Jane's; "Half-Man, Half-Creature" group show at American Pie; paper mosaic art by Eric Edwards and music by The Sweet Spots at Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center; Krab Jab Studios presents Tenaya Sims with resident artists Mark Tedin, Julie Baroh, Michael Hoppe, Sandra Everingham, and artist-at-large Kyle Abernathy; a painting sale at Mary Tudor Studio; as well as diverse dining, adult libations, exotic shopping, and delightful distractions at every turn.
Then join us on Sunday, July 10 for the annual Georgetown Garden Walk. Maps are available at the Bank of America lot at 12th Avenue S. and S. Bailey St. The Georgetown Art Attack is a monthly promotion of the Georgetown Merchants Association (www.georgetownmerchants.org.) For a map of Art Attack participants visit: www.georgetownartattack.com.
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