Today's January Book-A-Day is a three-fer! Shimura Takako's beloved manga series, Wandering Son, has been hailed as a sophisticated work of storytelling, in which a group of fifth grade characters must navigate their budding puberty, and some of them find themselves dealing with the additional complications of gender dysphoria.
"Shirt-sleeves rolled up, bent over drawing boards, puffing on cigarettes, the heroes of the remarkable artist Drew Friedman’s new book aren’t super ones, they’re the (mostly) guys who created Batman, Spider-Man, Plastic Man, and many others." – Ken Tucker, Playboy
"Every name comes with a face attached, and Piskor’s nimble, deceptively goofy artwork imbues those faces with emotional life — hope, enthusiasm, fuming rage, determination." – Alex Pappademas, Grantland
"Using his compelling artistry — which builds on Mr. Piskor’s love of superhero comic artists as well as famed independent artists like Robert Crumb — he shows us how characters like Fab Five Freddy, a graffiti artist who early on sees the links between hip-hop, break-dancing and graffiti, and helps foster hip-hop’s growth." – Sean D. Hamill, Pittsburgh News
"Combining two decidedly-American art forms: the comic book and hip-hop into one cohesive work seems like a no-brainer. Maybe it just took a cartoonist as passionate and talented as Piskor to pull it off." – Louie Pearlman, REBEAT
"Simon Hanselmann is the prolific artist behind the sensational Megg and Mogg. The series has taken off, with much of his work now translated into French and Spanish, and more languages under way." – Sophie Yanow, The Comics Journal
"Fertig pays appropriate and articulate tribute to these films in his introduction and summarizes the appeal of each one in tightly-written tributes at the back of the book. This would make a great gift for any movie lover." – Leonard Maltin, IndieWire
Shimura Takako's groundbreaking, critically acclaimed, and beloved series continues to explore gender identity among its cast of middle school students.
"It's a very sweet manga with realistic characters—no dead parents or crazy teachers, just ordinary, loving families and supportive friends. This manga is...worth every penny." – Brigid Alverson, MTV.com
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?
Now through Sunday, June 29th, we're offering a sale on those very same books, with both discounts and bundled deals (and, in the case of Wuvable Oaf [edit: and MASSIVE!], beginning pre-orders)! Extend your Pride celebration into next month by picking up a new summer read, completing your Wandering Son collection, or finding the perfect gift for the near, dear, and queer friends in your life.
Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez
The life of a man, the span of a century. There is hope and joy, there is bullying and grief, there is war, there is love, there is heartbreak. A standalone masterpiece of elliptical, emotional storytelling from the pages of Love and Rockets, finally completed and collected.
Maggie the Mechanic collects the earliest, punkiest, most heavily sci-fi stories of Maggie and her circle of friends, including best friend and sometimes lover Hopey, bombshell Penny Century, and Maggie's weird mentor Izzy.
Featuring comicdom's most treasured girl-lovin' girls, this 128-page softcover collects the first four issues of the surprise hit erotic comic of 2001, plus a bunch of bonus art and previously-unseen strips!
Love is in the air. In junior high, the simple friendships of childhood develop into the complex, tense relationships of adolescence — and it's even more complicated when coping with the knotty issue of gender identification.
Oaf is a large, scary-looking ex-wrestler living in San Francisco with a posse of adorable kitties. He is on a quest to find love in the big city and has set his sights on Eiffel, the lead singer of the grindcore band Ejaculoid. Expected to ship in early spring 2015!
Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It [Pre-Order]
Big, burly, lascivious, and soft around the edges: welcome to the hyper-masculine world of Japanese gay comics. The first English-language anthology of its kind: a collection of manga from the most talented and influential artists in the gei komi genre. Expected to ship later this fall!
Seattle loves parades. But what we love more than parades is PRIDE! In downtown Seattle this Sunday, June 29th, you can found yourself doused with glitter, families, and suggestive floats. (The gay goth one is my favorite). We at Fantagraphics have always been committed to publishing stories of the daily lives, the complexities, the struggles, and the joys that have been represented through our diverse artists, drawing light on an ever-changing LGBTQ community.
Looking to dip your toes, or dive head first into our collection that's as diverse at the people who created them? We've got a spectacular list to fit any book lover!
The most comprehensive collection of queer comics covers FORTY YEARS of struggle, hope, pain, sex, identity, and love. Edited by Justin Hall, No Straight Lines embraces history, culture and the future in this impressive anthology.
One of the most interesting love stories I have ever come across. An autobiographical memoir about a professor who befriends, and then falls in love, with a man living on the streets. Full of tenderness, and enduring partnership admist the most unlikely of circumstances.
Being a tween is hard enough, but when you add gender identity, and transsexualism to the normal pains of puberty, you get a story that is loving and heartbreaking. Written with poetic sensitivity in spades, you might want to read this series with a tissue, or ten.
Eisner nominee, GLBT Roundtable selection, and New York Times Bestseller. Artist David Wojnarowicz did not go silently into the night when he penned his story of living, and eventually dying of AIDS in NYC. This book is a testament to Wojnarowicz fierce advocacy for marginalized voices to be heard by friends, family, and the government.
Volume 7 of Wandering Son by Shimura Takako is hot off the press, and we've got your first look here with our advance copies! Following right where Volume 6 left off, our intrepid cast of middle school students continues to explore, question, and navigate their gender identities amongst the usual trials and tribulations of adolescence. Gender-bending, ski trips, first signs of acne, and continuing self-discovery are all in store for our teen heroes.
Wandering Son Vol. 7 is expected to ship in August. Read an excerpt and pre-order your copy today!
The luckiest Powerball ticket of Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Drawn's John Martz is ready for Heads or Tails. "Lilli Carré is one of those cartoonists who has been putting out plenty of great work. . . She’s a master of short stories, so this collection is a welcome addition to my bookshelves. Rainbow Moment, a smartly-crafted story of nested memories all told in different colour palettes is the stand out work, and worth the price of admission alone."
• Review: John Martz of Drawn looks at Barack Hussein Obama. "Steven Weissman has been posting his odd comic strip, named after and starring a Bizarro-Universe version of Barack Hussein Obama . . . and it quickly became one of my favourite comics online. . . Obama’s re-election, if anything, hopefully means another four years of this strange and delightful oddity."
• Plug: On Librairie D + Q, staffer Helen lists Wandering Son Vol. 3 in her picks for 2012. "Shimura Takako treats her two young, trans* protagonists (or an approximation of "trans*", in the context of Japanese gender politics and identities) with gentleness, but does not fall into the trap of painting an overly rosy picture of their experience . . . while [they navigate] the general difficulties and anxieties of tween-hood."
• Plug: Maria Popova creates her 10 Best Design Books of 2012 and reiterates her love of Significant Objects on Brain Pickings. " 'The universe is made of stories, not atoms,' poet Muriel Rukeyser famously remarked. Hardly anyone can back this bombastic proclamation with more empirical conviction than [editors] Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn."
• Review:Geekrocker looks at Gabriella Giandelli's Interiorae. Wee Claire says, "Giandelli's pale ghostly illustrations reflect the sombre, mysterious mood Giandelli skilfully creates. This isn't a story about great feats of human strength or otherworldly adventures, this is a simple tale about real human lives.. . . Interiorae shows us that if we look hard enough, there's a little bit of magic waiting around every darkened corner."
• Plug:Chris Butcher recommends you pre-order 7 Miles a Second. "James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook do a phenomenal job at bringing [writer David Wojnarowicz's] story to life, and this is a vital and important piece of gay history that had been denied to me as a gay teen, and which has been out of print for far too long."
• Plug:Boing Boing posted their 2012 Gift Guide and included two of our books again, Is That All There Is?by Joose Swarte. "This anthology of Swarte's alternative comics from 1972 showcases his famous clean-line style that makes reading his work a pleasure." Mark Frauenfelder also includes Joe Kubert's Weird Horrors that showcases "his versatility in a variety of genres, including horror, humor, and romance."
• Review: Avid fan and writer Benjamin Herman rereads Love and Rockets, while making some great conclusions on the way. "[Duck Feet] was my first real exposure to Gilbert’s stories of Luba and the denizens of the Latin American village of Palomar, and I really enjoyed it. Gilbert’s writing was full of character, containing a distinctive voice, his artwork imbued with real atmosphere. . . Gilbert expertly crafted an almost epic tale that spans across a generation, giving us very real, flawed, dysfunctional characters." For Jaime's work "one of the key elements of Jaime’s stories is the process of growing up, of maturing, the struggle to become an adult and leave childhood behind. Maggie and Hopey both have to face the choice of pursuing long-term adult relationships or continuing teenage flings."
Serialized since December 2002 in Comic Beam Magazine, Shimura Takako's beautiful take on adolescence and growing up Wandering Son is celebrating its 10th year in Japan. With complex characters who discover they enjoy identifying as a different gender than their own, the story slowly evolves as Nitori and Takatsuki gain confidence. A quiet story that resonates deep with anyone who has felt different or been teased for seeming not manly or girly enough. Matt Thorn and Fantagraphics first made Wandering Son accessible in English in 2011 but we're speeding up the process! Volume 4 comes out at the beginning of the new year, followed by Volume 5 in June. Six will shortly follow, hopefully in time for the holidays.
The Wandering Son anime is available to watch for free at Anime News Network if you want a taste of the graphic novels. The beautiful watercolor-style of Takako is reflected in the treatment of the anime. Young middle-school students often openly describe what they want to learn throughout the school year, offer ways to help each other become the person they want to be in a refreshingly ernest way. The graphic novels are a to-die-for with pristine design and gorgeous Takako full-color character introductions. Sign up for a subscrption of Volumes 4-6 or check out your local library today! And eat a delicious cupcake to celebrate Wandering Son!