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.
Have you ever wished for a miniature effigy of Fletcher Hanks's Stardust the Super Wizard (as seen in the hit books I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets and You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation), or, perhaps, desire one now that we've planted the idea in your head? You could help make it happen if you apply your willpower (and money)! Jared Zichek has created this 3D computer model of everyone's favorite godlike vengeance meter-outer clutching the literally disembodied head of the villain DeStructo, and is now taking pre-orders via Kickstarter to realize it as a cast-metal collectible miniature. I don't know much about tabletop miniature games but if anybody uses this in their D&D campaign I want to hear about it.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Jean-Patrick Manchette's novel The Prone Gunman, from which Jacques Tardi adapted the graphic novel Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot (we gave it a different name for our edition), is on the way to a major-motion-picture adaptation with Sean Penn in negotiations to play the lead, ruthless assassin Martin Terrier. No director yet; our own Kim Thompson suggests Nicolas Winding Refn or William Friedkin in French Connection flashback mode, if the producers are listening.
We trust that Jefferey Wright is in talks for the Stanley role.
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.
56-page three-color 5.75" x 5.75" hardcover • $9.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-624-9
"WOW, CHARLIE BROWN – a pair of ’60s holiday treats for Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day form the bulk of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking, a 56-page, 5.75" x 5.75" seasonal fancy." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"I’m... eager for Charlie Brown’s Christmas Stocking." – Michael May, Robot 6
"I'm a fairly obsessive Peanuts reader, so I'll be glad to have this. It looks like it would be a nice little gift book." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
two 280-page black & white/color 10.5" x 8.75" hardcovers with slipcase • $49.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-576-1
"WOW, MICKEY MOUSE – Floyd Gottfredson & co. return for another 280 big gulp of vintage newspaper strips in Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 4: House of the Seven Haunts, which sees large birds running amok, ghosts spreading terror, and Goofy finally addressed by his proper Christian name." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"The publisher has pulled out all the stops on these wonderful collections.... Highly Recommended." – Bud Plant
"...[P]robably where my money will go is Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Volume 4: House of the Seven Haunts ($29.99). I’m heading to Disney World next week and that would be great reading on the plane." – Michael May, Robot 6
"More of that Floyd Gottfredson, inky goodness, now in the long stretch of its prime." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Oh, dear, which volume of classic Disney material to get? Do I go with Vol. 4 of Floyd Gottfredson’s sublime daily Mickey Mouse strip, House of the Seven Haunts? Or do I choose the unparalleled genius of Carl Barks and get Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown? The Donald Duck volume has the edge since it contains 'The Golden Helmet,' a favorite story of mine from childhood, but since I’m splurging I’ll just get both." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
240-page full-color 7.5" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-574-7
"WOW, DONALD DUCK – Carl Barks is in charge of 240 pages of re-colored comic book stories in Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown, gathering up some fine early ’50s material." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"This is super-pretty work from a comics master and on my reading stand right now. ...[T]he comics here sure are a lot of fun, and read well today as kind of valentines mailed from the Land Of Narrative." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
116-page black & white 6.5" x 8.5" softcover • $12.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-591-4
"WOW, CANNIBAL FUCKFACE – motherfuckers are gonna get ripped to shit in Prison Pit Book Four, a 116-page continuation of Johnny Ryan’s raging flume of blood and cum, and a top-notch example of the manga influence on Comics for Everyone today." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Johnny Ryan's -- I first wrote out 'Johnny Riot's,' which I think I may prefer -- manga-influenced fight comic pushes into the second half of its run with more of the same. It's one of the few series where more of the same is perfectly acceptable." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Just a heads up that I’ve created an all-new online shop which features my books, prints, original art, etc., all in one place. Check it out here. This is the ONLY place I am offering original artwork for sale online, and the inventory will change from time to time as I dig up more originals and stuff to sell," says Johnny Ryan on his blog. So go do that!
Stop the presses! Making good on a pre-election promise, Steven Weissman has brought Barack Hussein Obama back for a second term — though not "in person" yet, as it were — with all new strips at What Things Do. Thanks to everybody who voted to re-elect the President for helping to make this possible.
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.
Castle Waiting is the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, it is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil — but about being a hero in your own home. The opening chapter tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun.
Linda Medley lavishly illustrates Castle Waiting in a classic visual style reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson. Blending elements from a variety of sources — fairy tales, folklore, nursery rhymes — Medley tells the story of the everyday lives of fantastic characters with humor, intelligence, and insight into human nature. Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
This week's comic shop shipment is slated to include the following new title. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about it (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the link, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
128-page black & white 9.25" x 12.25" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-587-7
"...Chris Wright’s oversize debut graphic novel [is] a bloody seafaring tale about a man determined to do what it takes to meet his dead wife in hell. Wright’s first book, the short story collection Inkweed, was a helluva thing and I’m really anxious to see how he handles a longer, more sustained narrative." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"I’ve heard a lot of good things about Blacklung by Chris Wright, which is out in comic shops this week from Fantagraphics. So that gets my extra cash." – John Parkin, Robot 6
"A number of things *might* show up, ranging from Mickey Mouse to Prison Pit, but what Diamond is promising is Blacklung, the debut graphic novel of artist Chris Wright (of the Sparkplug story collection Inkweed), a 12.25" x 9.25", 128-page account of a schoolteacher’s sojourn aboard a ship of thugs, rendered in a fascinating cartoon style I can just barely approximate as a ‘second-generation underground comics’ look, although you really should just see for yourself." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"...[M]y pick of the week is actually the Blacklung HC (Fantagraphics) from Chris Wright. This young upstart delivered the super interesting Inkweed from Sparkplug Comic Books a few years ago and I’ve anxiously been awaiting a big splashy follow up like this. It seems like Fantagraphics is noticeably starting to pluck ridiculous talent like this (paging Noah Van Sciver…) out of relative obscurity and give them a broader stage..." – Justin Giampaoli, Thirteen Minutes
"Finally, here's the reason we go to the comics shop: stand-alone work from talent with which we're either completely unfamiliar or not totally comfortable." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
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