Stephen Dixon, one of America’s great literary treasures, has completed his first novel in five years. His Wife Leaves Him is as achingly simple as its title: A man, Martin, thinks about the loss of his wife, Gwen. In Dixon's hands, however, this straightforward premise becomes a work of such complexity that it no longer appears to be words on pages so much as life itself. Dixon, like all great writers, captures consciousness. Stories matter here, and the writer understands how people tell them and why they go on retelling them, for stories, finally, may be all that Martin has of Gwen. Reminders of their shared past, some painful, some hilarious, others blissful and sensual, appear and reappear in the present. Stories made from memories merge with dreams of an impossible future they'll never get to share. Memories and details grow fuzzy, get corrected, and then wriggle away, out of reach again. Martin holds all these stories dear. They leaven grief so that he may again experience some joy. Story by story then, he accounts for himself, good and bad, moments of grace, occasions for disappointment, promises and arguments. From these things are their lives made. In His Wife Leaves Him, Stephen Dixon has achieved nothing short of the resurrection of a life through words.
When asked to describe his latest work, the author said that "it's about a bunch of nouns: love, guilt, sickness, death, remorse, loss, family, matrimony, sex, children, parenting, aging, mistakes, incidents, minutiae, birth, music, writing, jobs, affairs, memory, remembering, reminiscences, forgetting, repression, dreams, reverie, nightmares, meeting, dating, conceiving, imagining, delaying, loving."
His Wife Leaves Him is Dixon's most important and ambitious novel, his tenderest and funniest writing to date, and the stylistic and thematic summation of his writing life.
Stephen Dixon was born in 1936 in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a retired faculty member of Johns Hopkins University. He is also a two time National Book Award nominee — for his novels Frog and Interstate. He still hammers out his fiction on a vintage typewriter.
"As Hernandez matures, he's expanding his style of storytelling into something close to the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Harumi Murakami and other creators of haunted landscapes where reality becomes a question of perception rather than a set of objective facts." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Some of Gilbert's loveliest art ever." – The Comics Reporter
"This may be Gilbert Hernandez's best work so far. Minimal without seeming spare and a huge argument for the 'comics as literature' thing having some traction." – Kevin Church
"You don't need to know the backstory of Love and Rockets to love these [stories]... (In fact, this is a pretty good introduction to Beto's world, and it's mostly kid-friendly to boot.) ...[The Children of Palomar] gives proof that the cartoonist's universe is as weird, wonderful, and expansive as any community cooked up by William Faulkner or Wendell Berry." – Quiet Bubble
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The Children of Palomar is Gilbert Hernandez's much-anticipated return to the small Central American town of Palomar, more than a decade after his last "Heartbreak Soup" story. Originally released as a three-issue magazine series titled New Tales of Old Palomar in the acclaimed international "Ignatz" format, these stories are finally collected into one handsome book.
All of these stories deal with the classic characters of Palomar such as sweet Pipo, her sharp-tongue sister Carmen, sheriff Chelo, and the gang of boys who help start it all: studious Heraclio, tall and fey Israel, disfigured but goodnatured Vicente, and girl-crazy Jesús and Satch.
In the first story, mysterious, fast-moving thieves are stealing food from wherever they can grab it; Sheriff Chelo and some citizens do their best to solve this mystery, but nobody seems to be able to catch these bandits in action until Pipo puts her soccer-trained legs to work and goes after them herself. In the second, Gato, Soledad, Guero, Pintor, and Arturo go exploring a bottomless chasm and come face to face with... well, we won’t spoil the surprise. The third and last story focuses on one of Palomar’s most beloved characters, the gorgeous but troubled Tonantzín: Everybody in Palomar seems to take the supernatural with a grain of salt, but young Tonantzín is determined to uncover the mystery of the laughing baby that only appears to her, haunting her daily life. What is the baby’s link to the giant stone idols that stand outside the small town...?
So we missed the deadline to give the new issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories its traditional Comic-Con debut in San Diego. Instead we're planning on it to debut at the Autoptic festival in Minneapolis, with Jaime there to sign copies. And we can at least give you this glimpse at the final cover art (don't let the setting and the hammer fool you; it's not Luba, but her granddaughter "Killer") and tease you with 10 pages of the contents — 5 from Jaime and 5 from Gilbert. Gilbert's "Killer" begins to delve into her family's twisted history, in Palomar and beyond. It's a tangled skein that ties in to Gilbert's next "Fritz B-Movie" graphic novel, Maria M. Book 1. And on Jaime's side it's more mystery and hijinks with hapless high-schooler Tonta and her weird new friend "the Gorgon," both introduced last issue. The rest will be revealed when the book hits shelves in October — pre-order now and you can be among the first to read it!
"A tour of strange and sinister places only the very brave or the very foolish might be tempted to explore, the kind where ghostly apparitions glide by attic windows, crawl across ancient carpets, or leap out at you from darkened doorways. Ben Catmull is an exceptional artist who has crafted a singularly macabre experience, both frightening and funny." – Richard Sala
"Ben Catmull's drawings are mind-blowing and this book is a velvet nightmare you never want to wake from." – Renée French
“Morbid merriment. Tender cruelties. Risible frailties. Sincere hypocrisies. Of such oxymorons is the art of famed cartoonist Gahan Wilson made. Ever since the ’50s, Wilson has proudly carried aloft the moldering, web-festooned banner first hoisted by Charles Addams.” – Paul De Filippo, The Washington Post
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? This gorgeous, coffee-table art book is a compendium of old, forgotten haunted houses imagined by artist Ben Catmull, along with the stories and rumors of who haunts them, and why. Each spread features a different haunted house, lovingly and exquisitely rendered in scratchboard on masonite, with a short, nightmare-inducing description of each scene.
In "Drowned Shelley," for example:
A chorus of frogs surrounds the house where young Shelley was drowned headfirst in the bathtub by her drunken stepfather. Say her name 13 times while looking in the pond and she will drown you in your sleep. Say her name the wrong number of times while looking in the pond, and she will leave hair in your breakfast dishes. Say her name 13 times while not looking in the pond, and she will watch you when you clip your toenails. Mispronounce her name 13 times while looking anywhere near the pond, and she will kick you somewhere delicate at the stroke of midnight.
Catmull's images are evocative, haunting masterpieces that never tread in graphic imagery, choosing instead to suggest horrors far more frightening than what they explicitly depict. With just the right touch of humor to balance the terror, Ghosts and Ruins is sure to please fans of Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, and makes a perfect gift book for the ghost story fan in your house.
Gahan Wilson is probably best known for his macabre Playboy cartoons, filled with charming monsters, goofy mad scientists, and melting victims, and his cutting-edge work in the National Lampoon, but he's also one of the most versatile cartoonists alive whose work has appeared in a wide range of media venues. Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics is Wilson's assault from within: His little-known syndicated strip that appeared in America’s newspapers between 1974 and 1976.
Readers must have been startled to find Wilson's freaks, geeks, and weirdos nestled among family, funny-animal, and soap opera offerings. (The term "zombie strip" — a strip that has long outlived its original creator — takes on a whole new meaning in Wilson's hands.) While each strip, at first glance, appears to be a standard, color Sunday strip (albeit without panel borders), each Sunday Comic is a collection of one-panel gag cartoons, delineated in Wilson's brilliantly controlled wiggly-but-sophisticated pen line. The last gag cartoon on each Sunday is part of a recurring series, either "Future Funnies" or "The Creep." Some Sundays are a freewheeling mélange of board meetings, monsters, and cavemen (with cameos by Wilson's Kid character from Nuts, his gimlet-eyed view of childhood, collected in 2011 by Fantagraphics), while others riff on a topic or subject (clocks, plants, wallpaper, etc.). As is his wont, Wilson mines the blackest of black comedy in the banal horror of human nature.
Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics collects, for the first time, each and every one of these strips, luxuriating across a 12" x 6" landscape format, with Fantagraphics' trademark high production values, innovative design, and succinct historical commentary.
Floraphiles, music lovers, and midcentury design aficionados, rejoice! The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is nearly here, compiling every known Flora album cover for the first time, plus loads of other music-related illustrations and other, previously unseen artwork. Once again, editors Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon and designer Laura Lindgren have put together an exemplary package showcasing Flora's distinctive and influential visuals in a snazzy coffee-table book. Check out this 21-page sampling here or download the PDF, and look for the book in about 4-6 weeks.
"The most beautiful piece of Americana made in years. Every page Forsman draws is a minimalist masterpiece. Huge and heartbreaking. A modern triumph disguised as an episode of Peanuts." – Matt Seneca
"The awkwardness, the urgency, the sense of discovery, the sense of revulsion — it’s all true, even if you’ve never stuck your own hand in a garbage disposal." – Sean T. Collins
"Great stuff." – Frank Santoro
"[TEOTFW] exemplifies what exactly it is I love about comics. It’s lo-fi yet stylistic, subtle yet visceral – a version of Bonnie and Clyde bled through the lens of Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park." – Spandexless
"This is a crime comic disguised as a slacker-road-trip comic, and Forsman delivers its methodical hum eight pages at a time with an astounding precision." – Comic Book Resources
"[TEOTFW] pulls you in like no other comic this year. Stunning in its simplicity and brave in its subject matter." – MTV.com
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