Advance copies of Carol Swain's Gast have arrived fresh off the printers, and we couldn't be more excited to give you a first glimpse inside this gorgeous book. Gast follows amateur naturalist and bird-watcher Helen as she investigates the suicide of a 'rare bird' named Emrys. In the process of unraveling this mysterious occurrence and the life of Emrys, Helen also goes on a journey of self-discovery.
We expect the book to hit the shelves by mid-August. Read an excerpt and pre-order your copy today!
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.
Moody, atmospheric, finely observed, shot through with post-punk tension... Carol Swain's comics voice is singular, and has been lauded by Alan Moore, Time, The Guardian, Time Out, and Publishers Weekly. We're excited to be bringing out her first solo graphic novel in several years, Gast, this Summer. Part mystery, part character study, part magical-realist fable, told through her quietly bold, tactile pencil artwork, Gast is a book that only Swain could create.
Look for our usual preview rollout over the weeks and months to come until the book's release in July or so; in the meantime, you can get in on the pre-sale now.
312-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover • $19.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-753-6
Gilbert Hernandez's characters bid "Farewell, My Palomar" as they exit the Eden of the Central American town in Volume 10 of the Love and Rockets Library. Locals have begun to drift up to the United States to seek their fortunes, but when an earthquake levels Palomar, ever-resourceful Luba and her clan are on the move once again. In the U.S. the lives of Maria's daughters — mayor and matriarch Luba, body-builder Petra, and therapist/film star Fritz — and their families become more and more intertwined. Mischievous children's show hostess Doralís MCs many (but not all) of the sisters' romances, and exploits are detailed in missives from comics-loving Venus to her fierce, one-armed cousin Casimira.
176-page black & white 7.5" x 10.25" • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-755-0
Helen is an amateur bird watcher and naturalist who lives in a rural community in Wales. When local farmer Bill tells Helen that a "rare bird" named Emrys killed himself at Cuddig farm, she decides to investigate. One of the dogs at the farm tells her, by way of explanation, that Emrys "had no feathers and couldn’t fly." She plucks an old cosmetic kit from a dumpster and discovers it belonged to Emrys. Inventorying the kit's contents, she finds a spent .12 gauge shotgun shell. Her attempt to learn more about Emrys turns into a journey of self-discovery and ultimately a hard-fought reconciliation with the world — as it is. Carol Swain's Gast is the rare kind of contemporary graphic novel that critics are conjuring when they exult over the promise of the art form — a philosophically mature vision, uniquely executed by an artist wholly in control of her craft. In Gast, Helen's inner life is slowly revealed through a mixture of naturalistic detail and phantasmagoric occurrences.
220-page black & white 5.75" x 8.5" softcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-751-2
This sci-fi epic takes place somewhere in the outer cosmos, beyond reckoning or observation. The mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power: the hulking alien-brawn Furz; the beautiful and deadly sabre-wielding Venus; and the soft-spoken canine technician, Dogstar. They meet many strange and storied characters on their journey, but none so strange or sinister as their dear benefactor himself. With a heavy dose of humor and wall-to-wall action, this is one of the most action-packed and funny books of the year.
• Review: "21: The Story of Roberto Clemente brings together comics and baseball, two of America's most popular conveyers of epic mythology. Author Wilfred Santiago also incorporates elements of classical and avant-garde jazz in his sinuously illustrated narrative of Clemente's life. It takes an imagination as rich as Mr. Santiago's to tap into various mythological languages to tell the Pittsburgh Pirate's iconic story... Instead of dwelling on sources of obvious resentment, Mr. Santiago defaults to illustrating Clemente's humanity. We're treated to close-ups of his most noble and ignoble moments. The artist refuses to treat him like a plastic saint, because a perfect Clemente would make boring reading, indeed. ...Wilfred Santiago has done as good a job as anyone ever has in reintroducing the longtime Pittsburgh Pirate to a new generation." – Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
• Review: "You’d be hard-pressed to find a more downright affable character than blithely blitzed Larrybear, the young female focus of Leslie Stein’s ongoing semiautobiographical comic [Eye of the Majestic Creature ], whose first four issues are collected here.... Stein gives us the slackerly, star-eyed alternative to a cadre of 'misanthropic, self-pitying comics about unappreciated cartoonists,' as Tom De Haven characterized it... But where the aforementioned Crumb-descended misanthropes have all more or less grown up, Stein’s Larrybear is a naïve woman on the verge of Whatever, a cute Candide floundering about in an increasingly complicated world. ...[T]his book [is] such a pleasure..." – Richard Gehr, The Comics Journal
• Review: "Lewis Trondheim is one of the world’s best cartoonists.... Approximate Continuum Comics is some of Trondheim’s earliest autobiographical work, dating mostly from 1993 and 1996. If you’re read his more recent slivers of life observations... then you already know the sublime wit and casual self-deprecation of Trondheim’s cartooning. Approximate Continuum Comics is where that [tack] begins." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama
• Review: "Love from the Shadows is a very strange story. Surreal is such an overused word, but it is the best description I can come up with to describe the tone of the work. There is a disjointed, dream-like progression to the narrative.... As with so much of Hernandez's work, it is beautifully illustrated. The art is suffused with emotion and atmosphere and eroticism. The work Hernandez does is a critical component to his examining all of the societal, psychological, and sexual issues. …Love from the Shadows [is] an intriguing, offbeat story that is open to examination and interpretation. …Love from the Shadows is an intellectually stimulating read. And the artwork is magnificent." – Benjamin Herman, Associated Content
• Review: "The Littlest Pirate King is a wonderful phantasmagoria, as likely to entertain a ten year old as a thirty year eight year old (and I say this having had the book pulled off my lap and spirited away by my own ten year old). There is a lovely innocence to proceedings, a seemingly uncalculated desire to thrill and chill and transport... that has had me flicking back through the book a good dozen times since I’ve read it. This is the kind of book that got me reading books when I was a wee nipper, and it’s the kind of book that keeps me reading now that I’m the furthest possible thing from a wee nipper." – Bookmunch
• Review: "Blazing Combat is a book I'm quite proud to have in my collection. It's a work of art, has a message that's strong even over 40 years after the material was first created, and I'll come back to this at least once every few years." – Philip Reed, BattleGrip
• List:Library Journal's Martha Cornog gathers recommended graphic novels dealing with themes of Health & Medicine, including:
Special Exits by Joyce Farmer: "An excellent alert for those new to the path (for themselves or for relatives) and a validation for those already familiar with this normal yet seemly so abnormal life stage."
Alex by Mark Kalesniko: "This exploration of depression, futile escapism, and the healing power of art has been described as a difficult read but very funny."
Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain: "Hanging out here and crashing there, Paley narrates vignettes of debauchery and daily life in a Woodstock version of American Splendor. Partner Swain's smudgy, black-and-white drawings carry his grimy, nostalgic account."
Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier: "An exquisitely written and beautifully drawn exploration of grief."
Rip M.D. by Mitch Shauer, Mike Vosburg et al.: "A 'full-color, all-ages adventure' with an animated cartoon series in development, and a promising bet for reluctant readers."
• List:Robot 6's Chris Mautner names "Six noteworthy debut comics," saying of R. Kikuo Johnson's Night Fisher "this tale of disaffected adolescence and drug dealing in Hawaii is certainly compelling and suggests that Johnson is an artist capable of producing great work. Unfortunately, he has yet to follow up on that initial promise. But Night Fisher still marks him as an artist to watch out for."
• Profile:Time Out Chicago's Web Behrens catches up with Paul Hornschemeier: "'It is one of those names: You’re destined to either be a writer or scientist,' says local author-artist Paul, the man both blessed and saddled with the brainy surname. 'You’re not going to be a rock star with a name like Hornschemeier.'"
• Review: "...[T]he third annual volume proves to be the best yet, combining eccentric drama, bright fantasy, captivating whimsy and appalling human frailty into a package of stunning graphic intensity. [...] Stark, challenging, charming and irresistibly seductive, Love and Rockets: New Stories is a grown up comics fan’s dream come true and remains as valid and groundbreaking as its earlier incarnations — the cutting edge of American graphic narrative." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "What to say that others haven’t? I’m not steeped enough in Jaime’s work to say that his contribution to this volume [of Love and Rockets: New Stories] was his best ever, but it was very, very strong work, and the reveal at the end so surprised me that I immediately reread the story. [...] I’ve been enjoying the way that Gilbert’s stories and stories-within-stories have interacted, though without being entirely sure why. This volume also led me to wonder to what degree the brothers are aware of what the other is up to, since the stories seemed to strangely reflect each other in ways that previous volumes haven’t." – Brendan Wright, The Wright Opinion
• Commentary: Chris Limb of Catmachine pens a heartfelt ode to las locas: "My old friends are two women who live in a Latina neighborhood in California; I've known them since we were all teenagers. Their names are Maggie Chascarillo and Hopey Glass."
• Plug: At Techland, Douglas Wolk spotlights Jason in a slideshow of "70 Years of Frankenstein Comics": "The brief, wordless 2004 graphic novel You Can't Get There from Here, by the Norwegian cartoonist Jason, concerns a love triangle involving Frankenstein (the Doctor), the Monster, and the beehive-hairdo'ed Bride. It's since been collected in Jason's anthology Almost Silent."
• Commentary: At Comics Comics, Joe McCulloch discusses panel layouts and other matters pertaining to the work of Carol Swain
We had a handful of our trademark video & photo previews from Summer 2009 that we regrettably never had a chance to upload at the time; we've been adding them one by one over the last couple of months and the final one is now up, for Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley and Carol Swain. (The hot pink design elements and rock 'n' roll subject matter pair well with this morning's Destroy All Movies!!! preview, no?) It's embedded above and at slightly higher resolution on the book's product page; for best viewing, view full screen or click here to open it in a new window. Whew! Feels good to finally be caught up.
In 2003, when Harvey Pekar's American Splendor film was coming out, the indie-friendly film chain Landmark Cinemas was really high on the film and an acquaintance of mine who worked as a graphic designer for their in-house magazine, FLM, asked me if I would try to edit a short comics section in tribute to Harv. So I did. It didn't come out quite like I'd hoped, but I was honored to do it. I thought of this when Harvey passed away recently and I wrote this, but couldn't find a copy. This weekend, while starting to move everything out of my basement to have some work done, I found it. As far as I know, it isn't on the web anywhere else, and there are some great pieces.
Click HERE for a larger version than what's below, so you can read all of it, but here's the Tim Hensley piece to whet your whistle:
• Review: "...[O]ne of the collection’s great strengths [is that] it offers an extremely wide range of writing produced over eight years. ... While there’s a great deal to be learned by reading any such collection, Schwartz’s editorial approach makes The Best American Comics Criticism far more entertaining than I would have thought a collection of criticism could be." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume
• Review: "Giraffes [in My Hair]... is a personal lesson in history, love, redemption and all that other crap we look for in a good story — all that, and it's a lovingly illustrated graphic novel that breathes characterization and intrigue from the first page to the last. ... When you toss in Carol Swain's trademark pencil-scratch panels, the whole thing comes together as a great piece of art and story. Sure, it's about sex, drugs and rock and roll, but it's somehow still a new and fresh experience. I wish I'd come across it sooner." – Thorin Klosowski, Denver Westword
• Appreciation: "Even though a variety of comics initially got me interested in graphic novels (or comics for grown ups), the Hernandez brothers created a world which intrigued me the most. ...[W]ith Love and Rockets Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez struck a chord with me. Life, love, sex, action, punk, weirdness, sci-fi, death, art etc it’s all there. ... Overall all of the characters and stories are highly 'recognizable' from real life, in the way that they are human. Some stories are simple and some are surreal, just like life itself." – Matto Fredriksson, Music for Mechanics
• Interviewer:Johnny Ryan's already-legendary onstage interview with Lawrence "Real Deal" Hubbard (along with Dan Nadel's Art in Time panel) is now available for audio download at Comics Comics
• List: We published 3 of "The 6 Most Underrated Comics of 2009" according to Robot 6's Chris Mautner, including Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain ("Swain's low-key, nonchalant art fits perfectly with Paley's tales of hippie wanderings and punk-era decadence, stripping the stories of any rock glamor and tinging them with a genuine sadness. Really, this book just underscores how talented and sharp an artist Swain really is") From Wonderland with Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium ("...Nikoline Wedelin's haunting, chilling Because I Love You So Much... still resonates with me months after I wrote this review. The unflinching regard for its subject matter is not going to have people beating a path to its door, but the sheer daring artistry on display deserved much more attention than it got") and Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons ("It's a testament, not only to Wilson's genius (the material never flags or gets rote, no matter what the decade) but also to Fantagraphics skill in presenting this material in such a stellar fashion. Really, it was the best retrospective collection of the year, and I wish more people had noticed it.")
• Panel: The concluding installment of The Comics Journal's presentation of a never-before-published panel discussion between Charles Burns, Chip Kidd, Seth and Chris Ware, moderated by Jeet Heer, that occurred October 29, 2005 at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Canada, turns things over to audience Q&A