If you are one of the fortunate thousands who enjoy untangling the enigmatic images that fill Jim Woodring's comics and drawings, Problematic is just the book for you to put under your pillow and dream on.
Woodring is a devotee of the pocket-sized Moleskine sketchbook and has filled at least one per month since 2004. Quick concept sketches, figure studies, self-challenges, finished drawings, revenge portraits and caricatures, scene tryouts... everything goes into these idea batteries.
Problematic provides the adventurous viewer with a bounty of unfiltered, hand-captured glimpses of life by an artist that Publishers Weekly called "a modern master of hallucinatory cartoon fables." Lots of this material re-emerges in the form of pictures and storylines but much of it is just too baffling to be harnessed for any practical use. Of course, these untamable notions are the best and most interesting ones; and there are plenty of them here in the 300-page brick of Problematic.
Problematic is a rollicking amalgam of reportage (i.e. the man who blew his arm off), speculative anatomy, fancy women, make-a-face games, picture-puzzles, gags, riffs and burlesques. Catalogue and exhibition simultaneously, Problematic is your best bet for a brief, energizing stroll in a distinctively enjoyable neighborhood.
"When most people try to employ dream logic in their work they fail miserably but Jim [Woodring] is great at it. The closest thing to a peer he might have is David Lynch but even that's a stretch. Jim Woodring is the only Jim Woodring and no one has done what he does except for him." – Nicholas Gazin, Vice
A guided video tour of the book with Jim Woodring:
January will bring another of our occasional non-comics books, a unique work of cultural and music criticism from the prolific mind of Alexander Theroux: The Grammar of Rock: Art and Artlessness in 20th Century Pop Lyrics is a scathing and hilarious examination of stupid rhymes, dud lines, silly titles, and multifarious other aspects of popular recordings of the past century (with examples of quality included for contrast), from ABBA to Zappa. On the jacket, more fine work by designer Emory Liu (featuring a vintage Robert Crumb drawing) — and wait until you see the endpapers. Get a taste with a free 20-page excerpt, and pre-order a copy, right here.
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.
Originally serialized as part of the acclaimed international "Ignatz" series, Delphine is executed in a rich and ominous duotone that shows off Sala's virtuosity — punctuated with stunning full-color chapter breaks.
We're putting the final touches on Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez in preparation for sending it to the printer, so we can now reveal the lovely final designs for the front and back covers. Book designer Emory Liu is really making his mark, don't you think?
This astonishing graphic novel, finally collected from the pages of Love and Rockets Vol. II, encompasses a century-spanning life in 100 pages. Don't just take our word for it; have a squint at those lovely blurbs from Brian Evenson and Junot Díaz, below. If all goes well we should be looking at a March release for this book, and we're already taking pre-orders.
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
There's been some great Prison Pit fan art since the series started but if I were Johnny Ryan I'd be putting my feet up and basking in this one for a while: Guy Davis renders the unnamed hulking oafspawn from Book 4. Dig it bigger here.
PLUS: You love our exclusive FBI•MINI comics we give away with qualifying purchases, but maybe there's some you've missed out on. Well during the sale you can get DOUBLE MINIs! That's right, order a book that has an accompanying MINI and get another one of your choice, or get two of your choice instead of one for your purchase of $50 and up. All for FREE! Just indicate your preferences at checkout. And we're announcing FIVE new MINIs just for the occasion:
Whew! 2012 has been our biggest year yet... and here's your best chance to get caught up and spread the love of comics with beautiful gifts for all your friends and family!
The sale runs all day Monday, November 26, and ends at midnight Pacific time. Don't miss out! Order online or by phone (1-800-657-1100; 206-524-1967 outside the U.S., 9AM-6PM Pacific time); this sale does not apply at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.
The setting: A boys' boarding school in Germany, sometime in the mid-20th Century. One winter day, fourteen year-old Thomas Werner falls from a lonely pedestrian overpass to his death, immediately after sending a single, brief letter to another boy at the school:
To Juli, one last time. This is my love. This is the sound of my heart. Surely you must understand.
Thus begins Moto Hagio's The Heart of Thomas — one of the most compelling and enigmatic manga graphic novels ever created, and a pioneer in the popular boys'-romance "shounen-ai" genre. Thomas's death (was it an accident? Suicide? Or even murder?) immediately throws the school into turmoil, while his letter sets off a chain of emotional upheaval both for the recipient and an ever-expanding circle of friends, family, and teachers, as secrets are revealed and shared. And then a new boy who looks exactly like Thomas shows up at school…
Unabashedly romantic and emotionally complex, The Heart of Thomas features an unusual, richly imagined setting and a cast of memorable characters. This timeless masterpiece is now finally available to American readers.
Hello, loyal mail-order customers! Just a friendly reminder that in order for your shipment to be delivered in time for the Christmas holiday, we must receive your order before 5 PM Pacific time on the following dates (note that these are guidelines and not a guarantee of delivery):
International – Global Mail: Tuesday, November 27 International – Airmail: Monday, December 10 Domestic – Media Rate/UPS Ground: Friday, December 14 Domestic – Priority Mail: Monday, December 17 Domestic – 2nd Day UPS: Thursday, December 20
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!