With Halloween approaching, it's a good time to consider some spooky favorites from Fantagraphics Books.
The formative work of Charles Burns in Big Baby foreshadows the brilliance that would follow. Alluring stories like "Curse of the Molemen," "Blood Club," and "Teen Plague" remain creepy and compelling while exploring themes of adolescent angst. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is a similarly insightful examination of the otherworldly imaginations of its youthful protagonists. It remains among the greatest graphic novels - and film adaptations - of all time.
Al Columbia's Pim & Francie is at first blush a collection of meticulously rendered drawings, but a closer examination reveals a seductive narrative involving a cute cartoon couple caught in a world of horrific nightmares.
A misanthropic witch wrestles with real world issues in Simon Hanselmann's Megahexand surreal horror unfolds in The Amateurs by Conor Stechschulte as two butchers are afflicted with a mysterious case of amnesia. Meat these amazing artists this Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore.
L.B. Cole created some of the most bizarre, proto-psychedelic, eye-popping comic book covers of all time, yet remarkably this is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole covers ever assembled, in an oversize format that showcases his attention to detail and his versatility in all the popular comic book genres of the day. Cole burst into comics during the glory years of the Golden Age of comics. He was famous for his bold covers, usually featuring "poster colors" — brilliant primaries often over black backgrounds — and an over-the-top sense of the bizarre mixed with whimsy. There's never been a comic book cover designer like L.B. Cole and there's never been a book like this one.
120-page full-color 10.75" x 14.25" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-759-8
Collecting 101 noir movie posters of, arguably, the greatest noir films ever made in the genre (including classics The Maltese Falcon, Laura, and Double Indemnity). Reproduced in a stunningly designed, oversized format that shows off the spectacular visual elan of Hollywood movie posters at their best, the book is not only a stunning showcase of film noir art, but also establishes the crucial films and identifies their key characteristics, with critical commentary on each film by editor and scholar Mark Fertig. This is an ideal handbook for noir rookies, a valuable resource for old-hats, and a visual feast for fans of film noir and American entertainment art.
With Halloween looming, allow me to suggest thirteen frightening favorites from Fantagraphics Books. Spooky fun for everyone, in no particular order.
Daniel Clowes' modern masterpiece Ghost World eerily conveys the otherworldly cool of 1990s counterculture. Peculia, by Clowes colleague Richard Sala, collects the misadventures of the precocious protagonist of his EvilEye comic book serial. Northwest native Charles Burns' essential Big Baby anthology of contemporary horror comix includes classics like "Blood Club," "Teen Plague," and "Curse of the Molemen."
Mysterious Traveler collects proto-psychedelic horror from Steve Ditko's Charlton era. Similarly, Weird Horrors displays the late, great JoeKubert's pre-Code classics edited by Kubert scholar BillSchelly. WallyWood weighs in with Came the Dawn, featuring timeless tales from the "Vault of Horror," as well as mid-century socio-political nightmares like "The Guilty."
comiXology and Fantagraphics bring another classic cartoonist to the digital screen in Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kurbert Archives Vol. 1. Joe Kubert sealed his reputation as one of the greatest American comicbook cartoonists of all time with the four-color adventures of Sgt. Rock of Easy Company, Enemy Ace, and Tarzan, all done for DC Comics during the 1960s and 1970s (themselves already the subject of archival editions)... but he had been working in comics since the 1940s. In fact, young Kubert produced an exciting, significant body of work as a freelance artist for a variety of comic book publishers in the postwar era, in a glorious variety of non-super hero genres: horror, crime, science fiction, western, romance, humor, and more. For the first time since the printe edition, 33 of the best of these stories have been collected in one full-color volume, with a special emphasis on horror and crime.
Drawn in the pre-Comics Code era, they are more thrilling, violent and sexy (by contemporary standards) than much of his later work. And just the titles of the comic books from which these stories are taken are wonderfully evocative of a bygone era of four-color fun: Cowpuncher, Abbott and Costello Comics, Three Stooges, Eerie, Planet Comics, Meet Miss Pepper, Strange Terrors, Green Hornet Comics, Whack, Jesse James, Out of This World, Crime Does Not Pay, Weird Thrillers, Police Lineup, and Hollywood Confessions. With an extensive set of historical notes and an essay by the book's editor Bill Schelly, author of the Art of Joe Kubert art book and Man of Rock Kubert biography. For $24.99, this thick volume of comics takes up no space on your shelf but will no doubt fill your brain with images, keeping you up until the wee hours.
"Schelly and the always sterling Fantagraphics production team do a nice job of preserving the look and feel of these comics…the master cartoonist was equally at home doing broad humor as intense action/adventure as well as lighter, Archie-style teen humor."–Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin
"Best known for Sgt. Rock, Tarzan, and Hawkman in the 1960s and 70s, this anthology of Kubert's 1940s work reveals his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance." -Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
Thank you to everyone who visited Fantagraphics at the Emerald City ComicCon earlier this month! It was good times! Our local legend and store empresario Larry Reid manned the booth all weekend long, fueled by coffee and his lifelong love of comics.
And here's the lovely Ellen Forney with our also-lovely booth volunteers Bella and Lilian. We can't keep her memoir Marbles in stock!
Whoops! Gary caught the paparazzi (me) in the act! Moving along...
We swung by the Prism booth where No Straight Lines-contributor Ed Luce was all smiles! We were happy to see some signed copies of Life's A Bitch from Roberta Gregory, and the new second edition cover of Henry & Glenn Forever& Ever #1 by Mome-veteran Jim Rugg.
Speaking of Mome-veterans, it's always a good day when T. Edward Bak is in the house. Look how hard he's working at the Floating World booth! Why, this photo is not staged AT ALL!
There were tons of other awesome people we saw, but Mike got distracted by the 25 cent bins, and I got too busy stalking Gillian Anderson. You can check out more photos from ECCC on our Flickr and Instagram accounts.
If you saw a book that you're kicking yourself for not picking up at the con, it's most likely still available at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
See you next year at Emerald City ComicCon! (Scully...! Call me!)
We've got our exclusive limited-edition Peter Bagge t-shirt in stock, featuring our anti-superhero, Buddy Bradley! Get yours while supplies last, along with a debut copy of Peter Bagge's Other Stuff, not due in stores until May!
Buy the book, and the tee is yours for only $10! Or just get the tee for $15!
In fact, all our t-shirts are on sale for a mere $15, including our highly-sought-after Love & Rockets t-shirts!
So, be sure to come see us at Booth 510! We're right by the superhero stuff... no, literally...
Fantagraphics is in the North Lobby this year for a change, near the photo ops area, and across from our friend, local artist Augie Pagan (Booth 506).
Residents of the Pacific Northwest are in for a pop culture bonanza this weekend at Emerald City Comicon. The action begins on Friday with an appearance by the legendary Peter Bagge, signing from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at booth 510. Fans in attendance will be the first in the country to get advance copies of Peter Bagge's Other Stuff, as well as the exclusive Buddy Does Emerald City tee shirt at a premium price. Bagge was largely responsible for creating the atmosphere that attracted dozens of aspiring cartoonists to Seattle in the 1990s. Come celebrate that legacy with us.
The action continues on Saturday at 11:00 AM with comix scholar Bill Schelly signing copies of his three volumes on the late Joe Kubert, who we lost last year after a stellar career that began at the age of 12! Bill has an amazing grasp of comix history and is a wonderful conversationalist. Featured guest Peter Bagge returns to the booth from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, followed by Ellen Forney, signing copies of her runaway bestseller Marbles and other books. Cartoonist and archivist Michel Gagné rounds out the entertainment from 5:00 to 6:00 PM.
Come meet our knowledgeable staff and mingle with pop culture personalities like Carrie Fisher, Patrick Stewart,Gillian Anderson, Adam West, Burt Ward,Wil Wheaton, and countless others. See you in Seattle at Booth 510. Cheers!
Booth 510 is located near the frontline of the exhibitor floor, in the second row as you cross the Sky Bridge. Please note: this is a condensed version of the map. You can view the full map here.
Our Outreach Fiend, Jen, will also be droppin' some knowledge at the panel "The Big Picture" on Friday from 4:20-5:15 PM in Hall C, where she'll discuss how the landscape of the comics field has changed along with fellow panelists Allison Baker, Shannon Watters, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Emi Lenox.
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.
(Note that this includes some books that haven't been officially announced as shipping yet -- unless we missed it -- but we're pretty confident they've shipped over the last couple of weeks and we got tired of waiting to post the blurbs.)
128-page two-color (with some full color) 7.25" x 10" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-590-7
"I've wanted a collected edition of Sala's version of Snow White ever since it was released in Fantagraphics' great-looking, but difficult to store Ignatz format. And now I'm finally getting it. Merry Christmas to me." – Michael May, Robot 6
528-page black & white (with some color) 7" x 9.5" hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-551-8
"A very early contender for manga release of 2013 arrives in the form of The Heart of Thomas, a 524-page all-in-one hardcover compilation of a mid-'70s landmark in Japanese comics-for-girls, Moto Hagio's epic of gnawing desire among sparkling schoolboys." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
240-page full-color 7.5" x 10.75" hardcover • $39.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-581-5
"Even older (and somewhat differently-themed) comics can be enjoyed in Weird Horrors & Daring Adventures: The Joe Kubert Archives Vol. 1, a 240-page, Bill Schelly-edited ‘best of' collection for pre-Code genre pieces by the late Kubert." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
364-page black & white 5.25" x 8" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-594-5
"And then you can just throw finished comics aside entirely in favor of Problematic: Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2012, a 5.25″ x 8″, 364-page collection of Moleskine pieces, 'much of it... too baffling to be harnessed for any practical use,' by the awesome Jim Woodring." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
136-page two-color 6.5" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-541-9
"...[T]here are a lot of good books out this week. The new Tom Kaczynski book Beta Testing the Apocalypse comes most immediately to mind..." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
"Terror of the present, as Tom Kaczynski collects his excellent short stories of uneasy habitation into Beta Testing the Apocalypse, a 136-page softcover boasting substantial a new piece." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal
"Just read page 1 of Tom @unciv Kaczynski's Beta Testing the Apocalypse published by @fantagraphics Best thing I've read in ages! ONE PAGE!!!" – OK Comics
320-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" hardcover • $35.00 ISBN: 978-1-60699-504-4
"Struggles of the past, as Texas history returns to print in Jack Jackson's American History Vol. 1: Los Tejanos & Lost Cause, the 320-page first of three hardcover volumes set to collect the entirety of the underground pioneer's nonfiction graphic novels." – Joe McCulloch, The Comics Journal