Cochlea & Eustachia appear to be twin human girls, but this has yet to be confirmed. Their actions seem to be motivated less by curiosity than boredom and an inclination towards purposeless destruction. Any connate objective remains to be determined. They never stray apart from each other, out of an unspoken proclivity. Perhaps they keep together because they resemble each other; a mixture of vanity and comfort is the foundation of their constant companionship. They seem to consider any creature with dissimilar features as inept or untrustworthy. They are suspected of giving hypnotic suggestions to cats. They do not seem particularly malicious, just meddlesome. This new graphic novel from the author of the acclaimed Squirrel Machine is lighter in tone than his previous works, yet its myriad charms remain as sinister as Rickheit fans would expect.
Oooooooooh yes. Just give yourself a minute or two to take in that sexy, sexy cover. That metallic stamp and spot varnish! That texture!
Yes, we are quite excited to show off these shiny advance copies of Cochlea & Eustachia that have arrived at our desk. Fresh from the twisted, surreal mind of Hans Rickheit, this graphic novella easily holds up to a rereading—or three—as the beautifully detailed (and often grotesque) roomscapes encourage your eyes to wander, explore, and revisit past panels. Look for this book in stores in November, or pre-order your copy here.
Two young lookalike girls named Cochlea and Eustachia, whose exact relationship to each other remains unclear, wake up and survey their surroundings, spying on another mysterious, wheelchair-bound mole-ish character as he moves throughout this strange Victorian house.
Two scantily-dressed twin girls explore the shabby, labyrinthic Victorian mansion that appears to be their home, making mischief with the house's other denizens and prying deep into the myriad mysteries that seem to occupy every crook and nanny of this strange building.
Stay tuned for upcoming previews for this haunting, surreal book. We're almost-but-not-quite ready to start taking pre-orders, but will let you know as soon as the presale goes up.
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."
Harvard Book Store is opening up their 6500 sq. ft. warehouse in Somerville to the public this weekend, and are inviting dozens of local businesses to join them, including our friends at Million Year Picnic. On Sunday, October 6th, Hans will be signing at their table from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.
"Not your standard spookshow, but rather a surreal, grotesque Victorian creep-out, Hans Rickheit's 2009 Squirrel Machine introduces us to the world of William and Edward Topor, brothers with a penchant for exploring the otherworldly bowels of their disturbing, maze-like mansion, when not making musical instruments and other devices out of animal parts. Rickheit's detailed black and white illustrations provide the unforgettable backdrop to his ultimately tragic and gruesome tale." – Rue Morgue
"This carefully constructed tale... strikes me as being one of the few original works of art that I’ve seen published in North America over the last two decades, on a par with the better work of Dan Clowes or Charles Burns. ... This is not a tale for the squeamish nor is it a tale for the literal-minded; it is very much a bravura performance in the tradition of Surrealism, or Fantastic Art, or even Symbolism... In short, strongly recommended!" – Mahendra Singh
"[The Squirrel Machine is a] darkly disturbing, brilliantly drawn story... B&W pen and ink drawings elucidate complex machines and Victorian-era architecture in baroque detail, while surrealist imaginings take turns for the truly repugnant. Sexual perversion, putrefaction and serial-killer style artworks are all ornately portrayed, as are the buildings, shops, horse-drawn carriages and crumbling mansions of a 19th-century small town. The story, while told primarily in pictures, includes a stilted and formal dialogue that only adds to the perversity. ... Though not for the faint of heart, this obscure tale will offer rich rewards to the right kind of reader, one who appreciates grotesque horror, angry mobs and the creative explosion of a repressed Victorian sexuality." – Publishers Weekly
"...[T]he velvety ease of the narrative and the facile blend of sexual, familial and natural intimacies on display suggest one of those steps forward with which the comics medium has been blessed over and over again this past decade. One falls through The Squirrel Machine as much as reads it, and the collection of feelings it imparts is as much due to the clarity of its narrative as it is the horror show that occasionally surges toward the reader from some deep place in Rickheit's mind, righteous and angry and wet." - Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
An anachronistic parable for the convulsive elite — now in paperback.
What is The Squirrel Machine? • An immutably strange and haunting narrative that transcends known logics and presumptive dream-barriers; • A distillation of subconscious beauty and inspired madness; • A dangerous object for the incautious; • A revelation for the undernourished crypto-seeker; • The virgin caress of unconsummated apocalypse; • The unspeakable thing that you always knew.
It’s also the legendary obscurantist cartoonist Hans Rickheit’s most ambitious graphic novel to date. Exquisitely rendered, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this evocative and enigmatic book will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will require vast quantities of mediocrity to banish from memory.
Set in a fictional 19th Century New England town, the narrative initially details the relationship and maturation of Edmund and William Torpor. But the two brothers quickly elicit the scorn and recrimination of an unamused public when they reveal their musical creations built from strange technologies and scavenged animal carcasses. Driven to seek a concealment for their aberrant activities, they make a startling discovery. Perhaps they will divine the mystery of the squirrel machine.
Set in a fictional 19th century New England town, The Squirrel Machine initially chronicles the relationship and maturation of Edmund and William Torpor. But the two brothers quickly elicit the scorn and recrimination of an unamused public when they reveal their musical creations built from strange technologies and scavenged animal carcasses. Driven to seek a concealment for their aberrant vocation, they make a startling discovery. Perhaps they will divine the mystery of the squirrel machine.
The Squirrel Machine is the legendary obscurantist cartoonist Hans Rickheit’s most ambitious graphic novel to date. Exquisitely rendered, strange, and hauntingly beautiful, this evocative and enigmatic book will ensure the inquisitive reader a spleenful of cerebral serenity that will require vast quantities of mediocrity to banish from memory.