Caring for elderly parents in failing health is a challenge many of us will face, but which is seldom depicted in works of art. In this moving memoir, Joyce Farmer creates a vivid portrait of a family, their relationships with each other, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives. Composed over a decade by this pioneering underground cartoonist, Special Exits offers a wealth of sharp observations and poignant detail in the final years fraught with challenges, humiliation, terrors, frustrations, and defeats of old age and death.
Now in paperback!
"One of the best long- narrative comics I've ever read, right up there with Maus… I actually found myself moved to tears." — R. Crumb
"Farmer captures the tiniest, most mundane — and at times ugliest — details of caring for someone you love, and watching them pass from you. It's bracingly clear-eyed and unsentimental…" — Glen Weldon, NPR
"Thanks to the thoughtful writing and art of Joyce Farmer, [her parents'] lives and death will be a comfort to readers beginning to consider the end of their parents' lives — and their own." — Dan Kois, The Washington Post
"Special Exits avoids cheap pity and piousness by doing what any good art should: focusing on specifics…. Never shying away from the awkward indignities of aging, Special Exits illuminates two lives, as well as the author's." — Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
Time to unveil your first glimpse of a finished bound copy of the new paperback edition of Joyce Farmer's acclaimed, award-winning graphic memoir Special Exits. A moving, uncompromisingly realistic look at the declining health and impending death of the author's parents, Special Exits was a true labor of love for Farmer, and we're pleased to make it available in this accessible softcover format. Arrival is expected in late July with in-store availability by early August. Read an excerpt and pre-order your copy right here.
Joyce Farmer's acclaimed, award-winning 2010 graphic memoir Special Exits comes to paperback this Summer. Farmer, whose expressive, detailed linework and humane storytelling was a founding staple of feminist underground comix anthologies in the 1970s, spent over a decade crafting this heartbreaking, touching, funny, and unflinching story of caring for elderly parents.
In our downloadable excerpt, you'll meet octogenarians Lars and Rachel. Farmer creates a finely observed and fully realized portrait of her parents, introducing you to their day-to-day activities and infirmities: visits from daughter Laura (Farmer's stand-in), headaches, grocery shopping, backaches, home repair, hobbies, reminiscing, and a fall in the bathtub.
With a National Cartoonists Society award, Eisner and Ignatz nominations, and best-of-the-year recognition from Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and The A.V. Club, Joyce Farmer's graphic memoir Special Exits was one of our most acclaimed books of 2010. Now we're going back to press for a new softcover edition, coming this Summer, featuring this new cover design. Stand by for more previews in weeks ahead; meanwhile, read all the praise and pre-order a copy right here.
She's a superhero to us, and that's why Joyce Farmerwill present the lecture “No Superheroes: Creating Underground Comics” on Thursday, April 24, at Penn State.
It's a topic Farmer knows a little thing or two about -- as the co-creator of Tits & Clits Comix series in 1972, the work of her and her contemporaries countered the sexism they saw in male-produced underground comix of the time. Come hear her talk about this revolutionary time in comics history from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.
Joyce will also discuss her amazing graphic memoir, Special Exits, that we published in 2010. None other than R. Crumb has said of this book: "One of the best long-narrative comics I've ever read, right up there with Maus... I actually found myself moved to tears."
208-page black & white 8" x 10" softcover • $22.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-760-4
The acclaimed, award-winning graphic novel, in a new softcover edition.
In the vein of Alison Bechdel or Harvey Pekar, Joyce Farmer's memoir chronicles the decline of the author's parents' health, their relationship with one another and with their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives. Set in southern Los Angeles (which makes for a terrifying sequence as blind Rachel and ailing Lars are trapped in their home without power during the 1992 Rodney King riots), Farmer details the slow, inexorable decline in Lars's and Rachel's health, and perfectly captures the timbre of the exchanges between a long-married couple: the affectionate bickering; their gallows humor; their querulousness as their bodies break down.
200-page black & white (with some color) 7" x 9.5" hardcover • $24.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-750-5
Shimura Takako’s groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, and beloved Wandering Son continues to explore gender identity among its cast of middle school students in our 7th volume. Nitori-kun gets his first signs of acne. This may well be the end of the world. But when he turns to nationally famous model Anna-chan for help, events take an unexpected turn. Meanwhile, Nitori-kun and Chiba-san are scouted by the theater club after the success of their gender-bending play, The Rose of Versailles. But when Takatsuki-san congratulates Chiba-san, Chiba-san calls her a hypocrite. If Takatsuki-san wanted to join the theater club, she wouldn’t congratulate Chiba-san — she’d be jealous. So says Chiba-san, but what does she know?
(The entire collection has NEVER been shown, she notes!)
Wonder Women: On Paper and Off explores the avenues women have made in the comic and graphic industry.This exhibition follows the history of women in comics starting in the 20th century — as artists and characters — through today’s cartoon and graphic illustrations.
The exhibit, which opened this past Friday, June 7th, also features contributions from contributions from Joyce Farmer, Mary Fleener, Carol Lay, Ron May (collector), Peiter Ortiz (collector), Mimi Pond, and Andrea Tsurumi.
The cuddliest cat at the shelter of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Body Literature reviews The Last VispoAnthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008 edited by Nico Vassilakis & Crag Hill. Stephan Delbos writes "The Last Vispo Anthology is strange. It is also challenging, eclectic, confounding, erudite, punchy, and, by turns, beautiful. . .overall there is an elegiac note to this anthology, which extends from the title to the feeling, put forth by several of the essays, that visual poetry is facing a turning point.. .visual poetry is the bastard hermaphrodite of arts and letters. In a good way."
• Review:David Fournol looks at The Cavalier Mr. Thompson by Rich Tommaso, a rough translation states, "Exemplified by its beautiful design and the use of only two colors gives the book a slightly dated, authentic look. . . Describing and illustrating people's lives is a major talent of Rich Tommaso's. It is a process that has already been perfected in another of his works. . ."
• Review:Los Angeles I'm Yours gets Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman in a big way. Kyle Fitzpatrick says, "The novel follows a gangly Barack Hussein Obama who is a constant prankster and has absolutely no manners. . . It’s a dark world and Obama is the smarmy asshole king. . . It’s a great pre-election graphic novel with some great, dark laughs."
• Review:Comic Book Resources and Tim Callahan looks at two books from the 'W' section of his library.Barack Hussein Obama by Steven Weissman "seems part of a larger movement (from IDW's Artist's Editions to years of Kramers Ergot) to signify the artwork as the end result rather than as a means of producing an end result. . . And Weissman's work demands ingestion and interpretation rather than declaration. Oh, it's good, too, if that has any meaning after all that abstraction." On Wallace Wood's Came the Dawn from the EC Library, Callahan posits, "This is a serious-looking, important comic, for serious-minded, important people. This isn't some lascivious spectacle. Heck, there's only one female on the cover, and she's facing away from us. No one is carrying around any chopped-off heads or limbs. There's no blood anywhere. No shrieking to be seen."
• Plug: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 looks through our next season catalog. The Endby Anders Nilson, I tend to consider this book. . . to be his best work to date, an absolutely shattering and deeply moving account of dealing with loss and grief." On The Cabbie Vol. 2by Marti, Mautner mentions, "Oh man, I seriously love me some Cabbie. I don’t think the first volume exactly sold like hotcakes, but I’m glad to see their continuing on with Marti’s ultra-dark Chester Gould homage." In reference toStorm P.: A Century of Laughter: "Kim Thompson is going to school us all in the world of Eurocomics or die trying. I, for one, am always eager to learn, however. This coffee-table book features the work of Danish gag cartoonist Robert Storm Petersen, whose work is reminiscent of O. Soglow and other New York cartoonists from the same era."
• Plug:Boing Boing covers a few of their favorite books. Mark Frauenfelder enjoyed flipping through Weird Horrors and Daring Adventuresby Joe Kubert, edited by Bill Schelly. "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." In regards to the Is That All There Is? by Joose Swarte Frauenfelder admits, "I prefer his work over Hergé's (don't shoot me). This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure."
• Review: Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin interviews Justin Hall, editor of No Straight Lines, on queer comics, teaching comics and preserving history. Hall says, "I think in general the queer comics underground is – if you could categorize it with anything, there is a directness and honesty to the work – a real rawness that's quite impressive. I think that comes out of the feminist underground comics: Wimmen’s Comix, Tits and Clits, etc."
• Review:Gay Comics List talks about No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall. Francois Peneaud says, "Hall wisely chose to follow a (more or less) chronological path instead of anything fancier, but that doesn’t mean he has nothing interesting to say, far from it. The tension between specialized comics (by which I mean comics made by and for a specific group of people) and mainstream audience, the evolution from the urgent need for visibility to the creation of complexified issues and characters, all these and more are covered in a few pages."
• Review: Editor Kim Thompson speaks to World Literature Today about translating Nicholas Mahler's Angelman and other books in the Fantagraphics library. "Humor is far more difficult to translate than anything else. If you translate a dramatic sequence and your words or rhythm aren’t quite right, it still can work."
• Review:Page 45 enjoys Special Exits by Joyce Farmer. "No punches are pulled, this is life, specifically the twilight years and subsequent demise of elderly parents, told with such honesty, candour and compassion that I actually find myself welling up again as I'm typing this. . . SPECIAL EXITS becomes a testament to the human spirit and the value of a positive outlook on life, especially in one's latter years when faced with failing health," says Jonathan.
• Review:The Comics Reporter enjoys Buz Sawyer Vol. 2: Sultry's Tigerby Roy Crane. Tom Spurgeon says, "To get the obvious out of the way, this book has some almost impossibly beautiful cartooning in it. Even for someone like me that finds the basic visual approach of Buz Sawyer less thrilling than the more rugged, crude cartooning of Crane's Wash Tubbs work, there are several panels of stop and whistle variety."
This weekend in sunny ol' San Diego cartoonist Joyce Farmer is a guest and panelist at the San Diego Comic Fest, Friday - Sunday, October 19th-21st.
On Friday, October 19th from 4:00-5:00 pm head over for the panel called "An hour with Joyce Farmer." As one of the first woman underground artists, Joyce will sit down with her friend and underground cartoonist, Mary Fleener, to discuss her career, her upcoming plans and, most all, Special Exits, her “graphic memoir” based upon her own experience caring for her father and stepmother in their final years.
Sunday, October 21st starts off with a bang with a panel on Underground Comix from 10:00-11:00 amwith Joyce, Mary, Jackie Estrada and more. "From San Francisco to San Diego: the panel of underground cartoonists from back in the day will discuss such topics as the connection between the undergrounds and San Diego (and Comic-Con); how the undergrounds got started; what made them such a distinct break from the past; their connection to the San Francisco psychedelic scene, rock and drugs; and the difficulty of selling them to people under 18."
Joyce Farmer will have some copies of Special Exits at both panels if you want one personally signed! Enjoy the show.