Vacancies are available for a brand new Jim Flora art print, released just last week!
Titled Tenement K, this limited edition fine art print features residents who are bawdy, musical, criminal, and/or exhibitionistic. Doesn't matter if you're rowdy, serpentine, or headless — the landlord will rent you a room. If you were a mutant miscreant, you'd be home by now.
The previously unpublished and uncirculated work, which dates from the 1940s, is owned by a private collector who allowed them to have the work professionally photographed for print reproduction. Although the work is untitled, they have provisionally named it Tenement K to differentiate it from other untitled Jim Flora works.
Only forty prints of Tenement K were produced for this edition, so don't delay -- move in today !
To celebrate the publication of The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora, our fourth anthology of Jim Flora artwork — and one which features all of Flora's known album covers — the infamous Mambo for Cats is dancing yet again!
Although the original print run sold out last year, a new revived edition is now available. It's about album-cover size (40% smaller than the original screen print), and is produced on different paper with different inks thru an entirely different printing process (inkjet, or giclée). One other significant difference: the screen print was on cream-colored stock; the giclée stock is white.
THE HIGH-FIDELITY ART OF JIM FLORA arrived! This latest treasury of Jim's art is the closest to my heart, as it covers the exact material that led me to him in the mid 1940s-and which had an overpowering influence on my own graphic attempts. Everyone who followed my work in the Record Changer magazine, reproduced in the Fantagraphics book, THE CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE, knows that much of my stuff was flat-out Flora imitation-emulation, though I clearly knew all the while that Jim's endless graphic invention was inimitable.
Jim himself was in many ways a parallel of his iconic images, a sum of many parts, just as all the convoluted sassy segments strung-out in space joined into a dazzling whole. A genius of his order may have had every reason to be arrogant, distant, or cold-yet Jim was downright jolly, warm-hearted, caring and helpful. He never berated me for stealing his stuff, but rather encouraged me and worked with me. I tried to work more with him, but am grateful that I was at least able to produce animated versions of his FABULOUS FIREWORKS FAMILY at Terrytoons and LEOPOLD, THE SEE-THROUGH CRUMB-PICKER here in Prague. Best of all, I am proud that he became my close friend and regular correspondent. His final letter to me lingers in my heart. This new book of his further ensures that I will never forget him.
“Music releases my inhibitions. Gradually, I’m listening to music and my spirit gets free and I work without thinking. Which is how you really create—without thinking. Music — jazz in particular — helps me flow. I can swing a little bit — try this, try that.” – Jim Flora, interview, 1990
Since the publication of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora in 2004, the once-overlooked illustrator (1914–1998) has gained recognition as one of the foremost pioneers of a raucous, cartoonish style of commercial art that defines the mid-century aesthetic. Two follow-up volumes of Floriana, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora (2007) and The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora (2009), captured the artist’s devilish and largely unseen fine-art works. Each volume reflected recurring themes: architecture, cats and dogs, science, maritime, children’s literature, cars, trains, and penchants for mischief and visual violence.
But one of Flora’s sustaining loves was music. His 1940s and ’50s Columbia and RCA Victor record covers in which legendary musicians were routinely afflicted with mutant skin tints and bonus limbs are classics of caricature. Flora was art director for Columbia from 1943 to 1945 and remained with the company until 1950. During this period — and during the 1950s as a freelancer — he produced an enormous amount of promotional ephemera, including new release monthlies, trade booklets, ads, and point-of-sale novelties. Music was Flora’s lifelong passion, which he expressed in rhythmic design tinged with a wicked sense of the absurd.
The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, long out of print, featured Flora’s known album covers at the time of publication (no complete discography ever existed). In the intervening nine years, more covers have surfaced, as well as rough drafts and unpublished designs.
Flora co-archivists Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon have compiled a complete collection of Flora covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is the definitive anthology of the maestro’s visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music. Regarding his jam-packed canvases, Flora once said he “couldn’t stand a static space.” There’s nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush, making art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers.
“Flora was one of those rare beasts: a killer illustrator/designer who could trigger powerful brain-invasive joy with thought-provoking art and unexpected design.” — Gary Panter
“There was one Flora cover in the record cabinet when I was growing up, and I was almost afraid to play it — maybe because the art came from a mad party in the Twilight Zone, or because nothing in the grooves could possibly have the energy and crazy glee of the cover. These manic little masterpieces belong framed on the wall in the Flora wing of a modern art museum.” — James Lileks
“Jim Flora is the missing link between graphic art and typography. No artist is better at juggling forms and the spaces between. He created an idiosyncratic artistic language, and he spoke a variety of artistic dialects as well.” — Joost Swarte
“I grew up in a household with these records. This book beautifully presents Flora’s album illustrations as stand-alone works of art. Flora’s designs speak directly to the excitement of music.” — Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo)
“Flora’s art is as fresh, appealing, and entertaining as when he was producing it — seemingly by the tons. His work shouts that the Cubists left off too soon. In the 1950s and ’60s, magazines and LP sleeves were splashed with his stylized designs, color, and playful figures. If tattoos were as popular then as now, people would’ve been covered from pate to toes with Flora.” — Arnold Roth
Since the 2004 publication of The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, the once-forgotten illustrator has gained recognition as one of the foremost pioneers of a raucous, cartoonish style of commercial art that defines the Mid-Century aesthetic. Two follow-up volumes, The Curiously Sinister Art... (2007) and The Sweetly Diabolic Art... (2009), captured Flora's largely unseen fine art works, spotlighting a variety of themes such as architecture, cats and dogs, science, cars, trains — and the occasional swerve toward gratuitous violence.
But one of Flora's sustaining loves was music. His 1940s Columbia and 1950s RCA Victor record covers, in which legendary musicians were routinely afflicted with mutant skin tints and bonus limbs, are considered classics of outlandish post-Cubist caricature. During this period Flora also produced an enormous amount of promotional ephemera, including new release monthlies, trade booklets, ads, and point-of-sale novelties.
The now out-of-print Mischievous Art featured Flora’s known album covers. (No complete discography existed.) Since that book’s publication, more covers have been found, as well as rough drafts and unused designs. So Flora co-archivists/authors Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon have compiled a complete collection of Flora covers (including recent discoveries) and unpublished sketches in one volume, augmented by music images not included in previous volumes. The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is the definitive anthology of the maestro's visual compositions, reflecting jazz, classical, and Latin music.
Regarding his jam-packed canvases Flora once said he "couldn't stand a static space." There’s nothing static about the images in The High Fidelity Art: they wail, dance, bounce, and swing from the chandeliers. Flora had a knack for grooving with a paintbrush, making art to which you can tap your toes and snap your fingers.
Floraphiles, music lovers, and midcentury design aficionados, rejoice! The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora is nearly here, compiling every known Flora album cover for the first time, plus loads of other music-related illustrations and other, previously unseen artwork. Once again, editors Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon and designer Laura Lindgren have put together an exemplary package showcasing Flora's distinctive and influential visuals in a snazzy coffee-table book. Check out this 21-page sampling here or download the PDF, and look for the book in about 4-6 weeks.
We're kinda busy. All of these books are slated to come out in a 4- to 6-week period from August to mid-September! (Plus a few others we've already shown you.) We're going to take the less-is-more, show-don't-tell approach with this update; each photo links to the product details page where you can learn more and pre-order each title. And of course we'll have more pretty preview pics coming soon. Get your wallets ready!
Hot on the heels of Gene Deitch's The Cat on a Hot Thin Groove comes another collection of jazzy midcentury music illustrations, The High Fidelity Art of Jim Flora. Lovingly compiled and authored by Flora doyens Irwin Chusid and Barbara Economon, and designed by Laura Lindgren, this softcover coffee-table book will be swingin' and be-boppin' its way to you this Summer. Take it away, Irwin:
"It features all of Flora's known album and EP covers (including back cover illustrations) from 1947 to 1961 for Columbia, RCA Victor, and their affiliated labels, along with music-themed fine art works, illustrations, and sketches. The book was completed last week and will head shortly to the printer. (Despite what it says at Amazon, the publication date will be sometime in August, not June 30. We dawdled a bit.)"
This month PREVIEWS is spotlighting "Manga & More: Comics from Around the World," and since we here at Fantagraphics pride ourselves on being Publisher of the World's Greatest Cartoonists, the shoe certainly fits. See below for additional info, sneak peek images (click 'em for larger versions), and links to previews for our May 2013 offerings!
This info was prepared for retailers, but we're also sharing it here to encourage everybody to order these books from your local comic shop!
Another volume of the essential Complete Carl Barks Disney Library series, this one collecting the entirety of Carl Barks’ astounding 1948 output. Readers and critics can't stop talking about the stellar quality of this series -- no serious comics collection is complete without these books! More Details
New volumes in our EC Comics Library series are now being released quarterly! This one is the first of four projected volumes to showcase, for the first time, the full chronological run of Johnny Craig’s EC stories from Crime SuspenStories, Vault of Horror, and elsewhere, with our trademark bonus features and top-notch production values. More Details
BATTER UP! NOSTALGIC BASEBALL CARTOONS BY THE "SPORTS CARTOONIST OF THE CENTURY"
By Willard Mullin; edited by Hal Bock and Michael Powers
$29.99 / HC / 200 pgs / PC / 9 x 12
The title of “Sports Cartoonist of the Century” was bestowed on Willard Mullin by his peers, and his cartoons were read by millions of sports fans from the '30s to the '70s. He created the "Brooklyn Bum" and depicted legends like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax and events like Lou Gehrig’s emotional retirement speech. This is the first-ever retrospective of his work! Recommended for all shops; essential for shops that also deal in sports trading cards and memorabilia. More Details
Another original graphic novel in the format of the resoundingly acclaimed Weathercraft and Congress of the Animals. At the end of Congress, Jim Woodring’s beloved character Frank underwent a transformative journey and found himself with a cute new girlfriend. Now what? Fran answers that question in strange and unpredictable ways that are sure to delight fans of adventurous comics. More Details
A milestone event! The latest addition to award-winning Norwegian comics master Jason's deep catalog is also his first full-length graphic novel. His bittersweet, deeply quirky stories have won him a legion of devoted fans for whom every release is a must-have, and Lost Cat is sure to win him even more loyal readers. More Details
The unflinchingly honest, minutely observed autobiographical story of two teenaged girls’ wild hitchhiking trip across Italy. Already considered a contemporary classic in Europe, where it won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, this first English edition is one of our big prestige releases of 2013! More Details
By Jean-Claude Forest and Jacques Tardi; introduction by Dr. Bart Beaty
$19.99 / SC / 192 pgs / BW / 7 x 10
Following the sell-out of the 2009 hardcover edition, Fantagraphics presents a new softcover edition of one of the earliest European graphic novels. Set in the early 20th century on a small island where the scion of a once wealthy family is trying to reclaim his birthright, You Are There is a collaboration between renowned cartoonist Jacques Tardi and Barbarella creator Jean-Claude Forest. More Details
By Jim Flora; edited by Irwin Chusid & Barbara Economon
$34.99 / SC / 180 pgs / FC / 11 x 10
Our series of Jim Flora art books has been so successful in reviving interest in the once-forgotten illustrator that the first two volumes are sold out. This one is the easiest sell of all, compiling the work Flora is best known for and with the broadest fan appeal: his famous record covers (including recent discoveries) and other music-related artwork. More Details