Set in a suburb that is both nowhere and everywhere, King of the Flies is a glorious bastard, combining the intricacy and subtlety of the best European graphic novels with a hyperdetailed, controlled noir style derived from the finest American cartoonists.
Mezzo and Pirus, previously best known in Europe for a series of cynical, brutal gangster stories, have abandoned their guns and gals for this cycle of suburban stories, but in King of the Flies the violence has just (for the most part) been interiorized.
King of the Flies first appears to be a series of unrelated short stories, each starring (and narrated by) a different protagonist, but it soon becomes obvious that these seemingly disparate episodes weave together to form a single complex narrative, with events that are only glimpsed (or even referred to) revisited from different perspectives — revolving around Eric, a ne’er-do-well, drug-taking teenager at war with his stepfather and, apparently, the whole world. (He is the titular King.)
King of the Flies is designed as a trilogy of albums, which will combine to form a single graphic novel of stunning intricacy and intensity. (Vol. 2, “The Origin of the World,” will be released by Fantagraphics in Fall/Winter 2010.)
Download an EXCLUSIVE 7-page PDF excerpt containing the entire first chapter (3.1 MB).
144-page black & white 6.5" x 9.75" softcover • $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-318-7
At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk calls it "The most riveting, chilling graphic novel I've read so far this year" and "a great, shockingly dark piece of work." At Comics Comics, Joe McCulloch describes this correctly as "the newest of Fantagraphics ‘classic’ line of tall(-ish), thin(ner) softcovers, an all-Beto book collecting short stories featuring the character Fritz." The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon calls this and Penny Century below "Some of the best comics in the world..."
240-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-342-2
This is "another 240-page entry in the short(er), fat(ter) line of catch-up-quick softcovers which you can promise yourself to, body and soul, in the hopes of an eventually comprehensive reading experience," says Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch, who also declares "my heart belongs to the 1996 miniseries Whoa, Nellie!, a leaner-than-usual action piece adoringly dotted with monolithic images of lady wrestlers in action – it’s like a superhero comic of the period, only just perfectly different enough." Douglas Wolk at Comics Alliance says "It's all great — I'm not sure Jaime could draw a bad comic if he tried..."
120-page black & white 7.75" x 10.5" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-353-8
At The Comics Reporter Tom Spurgeon declares "I'd say this is the release of the week: one of the great works from one of the great, important cartoonists." Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch says of Tardi "few artists possess dual OG certification with RAW and Heavy Metal" and calls the book "a human patchwork of WWI service, perhaps the artist’s keystone work." At Comics Alliance, Douglas Wolk describes it as "Tardi's ferocious graphic novel about the horrors of war in general and World War I in particular..."
104-page b&w/color 7.5" x 10.25" softcover • $18.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-284-5
Joe McCulloch sums it up at Comics Comics: "You may have missed this too, when Fantagraphics released it as a hardcover in 2004 – now these 104 pages of vintage Humorama digest illustrations won’t run you $78.99 new, if you believe Amazon sellers." Tom Spurgeon recalls that the original hardcover edition of this "was a really nice book" in his Comics Reporter recommendation.
Previews and information a-plenty can be had at the links above so you can gather knowledge before you gather your wallet and head out to your local shop.
• List:Flashlight Worthy asks various comics bloggers to name some Great Graphic Novels By Women About Women: David Welsh says "[Linda] Medley's Castle Waiting is as funny and generous a mash-up of fairy tale and feminism was you could wish for. ... Medley focuses on quiet moments that reveal character rather than constructed intersections of fairy-tale tropes. Her small observations about human (or mostly human) nature are always warm and potent..."
• Review:Comics Comics' Joe McCulloch looks back at Paul Ollswang's out-of-print 1992 comic Doofer: Pathway to McEarth: "I’d say they don’t make ‘em like this anymore, but they barely made ‘em at all back then, unless I’ve missed some rich vein of socio-political-sci-fi satire-by-way-of-’60s-underground-homage-by-way-of-early-20th-century-Sunday-funnies running circa the Image Revolution. This actually might be the all-around least fashionable comic of ‘92, which naturally makes it an eminent candidate for revisitation."
At ComicAttack.net, Ken Meyer Jr. looks at another piece of historical Gary Groth juvenilia, the 12th issue of Fantastic Fanzine from 1970 (that's the full-color cover by Robert Kline above), saying "I hope you will be interested in all the elements that make this fanzine such a great representative of the enthusiasm, the imagination, the skills, and the fun that fueled fandom at this time." You can download the whole issue as a 62.1 MB PDF file at the link.
Publishers Weekly presents a 6-page excerpt from Jim Woodring's new graphic novel Weathercraft today! Observe as a newly-enlightened Manhog explores the Unifactor and encounters a startlingly familiar face.
six 24-page b&w/color comic books with signed plate • $20.00
UPDATE: Sold Out!
It is with pride and pleasure that Fantagraphics Books presents the second "volume" of Jim, Jim Woodring's comix autojournal. Combining the best aspects of Woodring's now out-of-print Jim magazine (most of which is available in The Book of Jim) with his work in Tantalizing Stories, the new Jim was released on a regular quarterly basis in the deluxe part-color Eightball format. Woodring's work in Jim is derived primarily from his richly detailed and message-laden dreams and from bizarre events and observations which occur during his waking hours (which Jim calls his "other" life). With painstaking fidelity he recreates these experiences and impressions in comics, drawings, and text, drawing the reader into an eerily complete world that is both unprecedented and familiar. The second incarnation of Jim features Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, Pushpaw, and Pulque in page after page of short and long stories, as well as the return of "Jimland Novelties," letters pages, and much more.
This special limited-edition pack includes all 6 issues of the series shrinkwrapped with a special plate signed by Jim Woodring.
• Review: "A marvel... [Supermen!] is a non-stop visual delight as much for the art as for the colors as for the audacious (sometimes by default) layouts: A way of doing comics that would soon disappear and would return only in the 1960s and 1970s with the ascent of American underground comics, for the early days of comic books were like the underground: Everything was possible, especially the impossible. You absolutely must buy this book..." – Jean-Pierre Dionnet (co-founder, Les Humanoïdes Associés; translated from French)
• Review: "King of the Flies is a very surreal and unsettling tale. Prius does a wonderful job creating a horror-driven universe that could really happen in real life, making readers second-guess the characters they invest 64 pages in. Who are these people? What are their goals? How are they all even related to each other in the larger picture? We don’t get those answers until toward the end, but the ride there is always interesting. An ominous tone is maintained throughout, even during the funnier moments. ... [I]t’s definitely worth picking up if you enjoy dark tales of the human psyche." – Freddie Young, Fangoria
• Review: "You may want to reread certain passages — not just to fully comprehend the plotline, but to gaze upon the stark, raw artwork. Each panel is made up of striking black-and-white images that notably recall Richard Sala’s vibrant illustrations and Frank Miller’s artwork in the Sin City series. Only during acts of unflinching violence does the page becomes flushed with red. Ho Che Anderson has written and drawn a puzzling, dark tale about a mysterious woman with alluring secrets. Sand & Fury: A Scream Queen Adventure is a complex tale that uniquely blends eroticism and horror." – Jorge Solis, Fangoria
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