The living will forever be obsessed with death and those who have started on that grand adventure before them. This Fall, Fantagraphics presents two books to capture the imagination and haunt each and every night by the young and talented Julia Gfrörer and Ben Catmull.
The push and pull, ebb and flow of the water calls out to all men. In this harrowing new graphic novella, Black Is the Color, Julia Gfrörer delicately hatches away this sailor-at-sea story until the reader drowns in imminent destruction. Gfrörer states, "Black Is the Color is my most ambitious single story comic to date, and I'm thrilled that Fantagraphics will be publishing it in a format that matches my vision for the work." Originally serialized at the Study Group web collective, Gfrörer's work is as seductive as the mermaids she draws beneath the waves.
Continuing his expanding Fantagraphics catalog, Ben Catmull's chilling compendium of long-forgotten and still-occupied haunted houses joins his 2006 critically-acclaimed Monster Parade. "For Ghosts and Ruins I wanted to take my obsessions with ghost stories, abandoned architecture, and forgotten history and illustrated them with images full of shadows, atmosphere, and texture. I'm looking forward to see how people react to a book that approaches the horror genre not with adrenaline fueled sadism or tongue in cheek goofiness but with haunting meloncholy and a little deadpan humor," Catmull summarizes. This coffee-table sized collection is the perfect gift for the future ghost in your life, and fans of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton are sure to enjoy these sweeping landscapes that echo of loss, dilapidation and dread.
Yes, some artists do still send in their original artwork for scanning — case in point, Leslie Stein, who shipped us her lovely pages for Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2, all neatly organized in three portfolio binders which are safely ensconced in our flat files (nestled alongside those bundles of Barnaby clippings) awaiting their turn on the scanner. Looks like we're well on track for the book's scheduled release in August! Since critics (correctly) called Vol. 1 "a treat," "phenomenal," "great," "a joy from cover to cover," "irresistible," "a triumph," "such a pleasure" and "one of the best graphic novels of the year," it's safe to call this one "eagerly anticipated."
Coming back into print in a new softcover edition after being sold out for a few years, it's The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove, the super-snazzy collection of the great Gene Deitch's super-jazzy cartoons & illustrations for Record Changer magazine 1945-1951. All spiffed up from its original release 10 years ago and sporting a ginchy new cover design, this oversized art book is off to the printer for release later this Spring. If you dig mid-century art & design, this book is a must for your Noguchi coffee table! Why not pre-order your copy now?
Fantagraphics continues its line of acclaimed literary manga with new classic Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano. As society slowly spirals into darkness an unexplained explosion in the butterfly population is just the first of many curiosities in the town where rumors of a creature in a tunnel under the school spread like wildfire. A curse haunts the town as the story follows the scapegoat, Arié, who is plunged into the tunnel's horrors and offered up to the creature. Many other characters harbor secrets, grudges, suicidal thoughts, and the physical scars of battles lost. How are they all linked and can the citizens of the town live with what they've done as the years creep by? Asano's mysticism and slow terror take over the town in the span of a decade as told in two timelines.
NijigaharaHolograph is scheduled for release in February 2014 and Asano joins Shimura Takako (Wandering Son) and Moto Hagio (The Heart of Thomas, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories) in the Fantagraphics line of premium manga by the world's greatest cartoonists. Translated by Matt Thorn, this 200 page book of beautiful black and white comics will be printed in gorgeous hardcover edition and presented in original "right to left" manga style for an authentic reading experience. Inio Asano's previous translated works include Solanin and What a Wonderful World and he continues to create new work in Japan as one of the young voices of his generation.
Ever since we first got our hands on the original German edition of Ulli Lust's highly-acclaimed Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (winner of the 2011 Angoulême "Revelation" prize), we've known we wanted to publish the English version. Now that's a big step closer to actuality as we've just sent the files, with Kim Thompson's translation, off to the printer. In this autobiographical tale, told with a keen eye for events, environments and emotions, Lust traces the steps of her teenage self and her wild friend Edi as they hitchhike across Italy one summer, a trip fraught with sex, drugs and some violence, and all the danger and excitement they entail. The book is due in April — previews are in the works, and pre-order is on now.
We're busily working away on Volume 7, covering the years 1949 and 1950, which we expect to have out in May or June, trying to catch up from the slightly delayed Volume 6, and thereby aiming for three volumes this year. (By the way, our Free Comic Book Day comic for this year will feature an advance excerpt from Volume 7. Be sure to grab one -- if only to see how we managed to break down Foster's lush, oversized tabloid pages to comic book format.)
With the exception of the occasional pin-up-style shot of Princess Aleta (which are pretty hot, actually), Prince Valiant has always been considered a rather staid, conservative strip, but Val/Foster expert Brian Kane (author of a fascinating article about Foster's treatment of North American natives in the current volume, and of course the wonderful Prince Valiant Companion) pointed out two panels from the upcoming volume that suggest that Mr. Foster may have had a wicked sense of humor. In this sequence from 1950, young Arf is smitten with a "maid with flaming hair and eyes of blue" as he almost falls out of a tree. For his clothing to drape so that the pommel of his sword creates a huge bulge in the fabric in one panel can be dismissed as a graphic happenstance. But to see Arf back on ground with the end of his sword still "pitching a tent" is maybe a little... eyebrow-raising.
Well, maybe we're just seeing things. But as Fredric Wertham famously wrote, "In ordinary comic books, there are pictures within pictures for children who know how to look."
Wandering Son fans rejoice — the latest volume of Shimura Takako's highly addictive manga series has been bundled off to the printer for release this Spring! This final version of the cover isn't too different from the version that's already been floating around out there — we just went with brown instead of grey for the spine and title logo — but we're excited to share it with you nonetheless. In this volume things are starting to get a little more fraught as our cast edges into adolescence and feelings start to get more complicated. Don't forget, we're still offering our Vols. 4-6 subscription — save money and automatically receive the next 3 volumes as soon as they're released!
Oh, you know, just another masterpiece from one of the all-time greats. Our advance copies of Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez arrived late last week and we're still all abuzz with excitement. This magnificent graphic novel compresses the complexities of a century-long life into 100 pages, from birth to death (with a few sidetracks along the way). Collected from the pages of Love and Rockets but standing alone from Gilbert's post-Palomar continuity, it's the perfect introduction to the genius of Beto. This beautiful hardcover should be available in March. Stand by for more extensive previews; for now you can read a 9-page excerpt, and pre-order your copy, right here.
This month's Diamond Previews catalog is out now and in it you'll find our usual 2-page spread (download the PDF) with our releases scheduled to arrive in your local comic shop in March 2013 (give or take — release dates are likely to have changed since the issue went to press). We're pleased to offer additional and updated information about these upcoming releases here on our website, to help shops and customers alike make more informed ordering decisions.