Before the Amazing Spider-Man, before the mysterious Dr. Strange, before the black-and-white world of the Ayn Rand-inspired Mr. A, the legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko was conjuring all manners of horrors at his drawing table. In his first two years in the industry (1953 and 1954), Ditko drew tales of macabre suspense that were not yet hobbled by the imminent Comics Code Authority (adopted in Oct. 1954). These stories featured graphic bloodshed, dismemberment and blood-curdling acid baths as the ugly end to the lives of the dark and twisted inhabitants of Steve Ditko’s imagination.
Following up on Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko, Blake Bell’s 2008 best-selling critical retrospective of Ditko’s career, Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1 features, for the first time, spectacular full-color reprints of every story from those first two years of his career. Beginning with Ditko’s very first story to Ditko’s short stint in the Joe Simon/Jack Kirby studio, to Ditko’s eventual encampment at the Charlton Comics operation in 1954, readers will see the initial works of an artist already at a level of craftsmanship that exceeded most of his peers. The book also features editor Bell’s insightful introduction, providing historical background and speaking to Ditko's influence and his unique craft.
"I'm so excited by Fantagraphics bringing us a complete version of witzend... That's a bunch of interesting cartoonists doing work at the far frontier of their creative impulses that weren't given that opportunity a whole lot." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
"Witzend is a gem." – iFanboy
"[Witzend's] salient point, that comic artists were entitled to more control and ownership of their own work, would eventually be recognized by the publishers of comic books, but it is hard to argue that witzend itself was a key factor in that development. Like so many other visionary endeavors, it may simply have been ahead of its time." – Rick Spanier
"Wally Wood is one of the best comic book artists that ever lived." – Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
Time to unveil your first glimpse of a finished bound copy of the new paperback edition of Joyce Farmer's acclaimed, award-winning graphic memoir Special Exits. A moving, uncompromisingly realistic look at the declining health and impending death of the author's parents, Special Exits was a true labor of love for Farmer, and we're pleased to make it available in this accessible softcover format. Arrival is expected in late July with in-store availability by early August. Read an excerpt and pre-order your copy right here.
"The minute you looked at his artwork you knew you were looking at a John Severin illustration; it could be no one else. Besides his inimitable style, there was a feeling of total authenticity to whatever he drew, whether it was a Western, a crime story, a superhero saga or a science fiction yarn." – Stan Lee
"All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans… These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn't treat readers as naive or ignorant." – Los Angeles Times
"Fantagraphics' current series of handsome hardcovers makes familiar material fresh by focusing on individual artists... it's never been easier to appreciate the contributions of these iconic inkslingers." – Chicago Tribune
"These collections show comics in a pure, unadulterated form. Before the Superhero frenzy, before '60s cynicism, and just before the Comics Code Authority started trimming all the gory and sexy fun from the pages with their seal of approval." – Under the Radar
The great Carol Swain is back with a new solo graphic novel due out in August. Gast is her longest story to date and continues the body of work that led Time Out to dub her "the Raymond Carver of British comics."
In our downloadable excerpt, which consists of 3 brief chapters, a young woman in the Welsh countryside observes swallows building a nest in the eaves of a barn and returns home for dinner, where she learns of the suicide of a "rare bird" at a neighboring farm. Being an avid birdwatcher, she makes plans to investigate the mystery.
It may be Spring but we have Autumn holidays on the mind, as we're putting the final touches on two new seasonal Peanuts gift books. Waiting for the Great Pumpkin presents some of Linus's greatest Halloween hopes and humiliations in the ol' pumpkin patch, and Snoopy's Thanksgiving finds everyone's favorite beagle and his feathered pal Woodstock facing the holiday with different degrees of disappointment and dread. Both books are comprised of classic strips by Charles M. Schulz in spiffy little square hardcovers. Look for Great Pumpkin in stores in September and Thanksgiving in October, or just pre-order now so you don't have to worry about forgetting!
Hot on the heels of last year’s Vip: The Mad World of Virgil Partch comes this brand new collection of intoxicated insanity! Virgil Partch, tutor to the tanked, scholar of the sloshed, professor to the plastered, and endowed with a scholarship from the School of Advanced Study of Alcoholic Endeavor, flung himself into months-long research of the most arduous kind in order to produce — for our collective betterment — this report on the hangover, and how one may acquire it.
At the height of his career, working in quiet obscurity, Partch pursued his goal quietly and selflessly, often confining himself for long hours without food or sleep in dim, ill-ventilated holes-in-the-walls, doggedly researching, testing, rejecting, seeking no reward but that elusive ideal mixture to satiate one’s palate and wet one’s whistle.
The foamy formula of excess (C2H5OH + homo sapiens) has created a combustible concoction that has long fueled sleepless nights, great passions, artistic achievement, and regretful mornings, but never before has it produced such inspired hilarity. Collecting the top shelf of Vip’s drink-themed artwork including well-known favorites, this new book is sure to delight even the most rigid teetotaler (and perhaps cause them to reconsider). So batten down the hooch and prepare to cast off on the stormy seas of booze with your faithful captain, Virgil Partch!
In August we'll be bringing you Wandering Son Vol. 7 by Shimura Takako, and in the new volume of the beloved manga series about teens finding their place on the gender spectrum (and their friends, families, teachers and mentors), the story picks right up where Vol. 6 left off.
Our downloadable preview consists of the full first chapter, "How Mako Feels" — down in the dumps and having a crisis of confidence, is how! Poor kid got shook up by being in the spotlight as Juliet in the class play. The teachers are a little shaken up too, since the school principal was a bit put off by all the cross-dressing.
Joyce Farmer's acclaimed, award-winning 2010 graphic memoir Special Exits comes to paperback this Summer. Farmer, whose expressive, detailed linework and humane storytelling was a founding staple of feminist underground comix anthologies in the 1970s, spent over a decade crafting this heartbreaking, touching, funny, and unflinching story of caring for elderly parents.
In our downloadable excerpt, you'll meet octogenarians Lars and Rachel. Farmer creates a finely observed and fully realized portrait of her parents, introducing you to their day-to-day activities and infirmities: visits from daughter Laura (Farmer's stand-in), headaches, grocery shopping, backaches, home repair, hobbies, reminiscing, and a fall in the bathtub.
Our shipment of Conor Stechschulte's debut graphic novella The Amateurs has arrived in our warehouse, but we're not sending out orders quite yet: Conor is sending us this limited-edition 4-color screenprint to include as a free bonus in every order while supplies last! (They went like hotcakes at TCAF!)
Conor shown for scale (and intense eye contact) — looks like they're maybe around 10" x 15" but don't hold us to that:
So, pre-sale is extended for a few days, until early next week — get in on it!