Do ideas of war and enemies hold a people together? Is a culture of conflict too seductive not to be irresistible? These are the questions Cathy Malkasian explores in her second graphic novel, Temperance.
Malkasian creates, as she did in the critically acclaimed Percy Gloom, a fully realized, multi-layered world, inhabited by vividly realized characters. After a brutal injury in battle, Lester has no memory of his prior life. For the next thirty years his wife does everything to keep him from remembering — and re-constructing — a society, Blessedbowl, that elevates him as a hero. Blessedbowl is a cultural convergence of lies, memories, stories, and beliefs. Its people thrive on ideas of persecution, exceptionality, and enemies, convinced that war lurks just outside their walls. They have come to depend on Lester, their greatest war hero, to lead the charge once the Final Battle begins.
What kind of enemy could topple such a people and its walls? Mere memory, it seems, as Lester gradually emerges from his amnesia. Temperance is an eyewitness’s account of recovery and awakening. The graphic novel works on two levels. It considers the concepts of violence, stories, and belief, and their place in holding a culture together, slyly echoing contemporary political issues in a nation at a stressful time currently at war with a ubiquitous enemy. Secondly, the fissures in Lester and Minerva’s marriage is echoed in the greater political upheaval around them.
Malkasian creates a densely textured social context, masterfully conveying the idiosyncratic physical domain with its spiraling structures and quasi-medieval architecture along with intimate yet plastic portraits of her characters in a rich, tonal pencil line. Temperance is a galvanizing work of empathy and violence by one of today’s most thoughtful and accomplished cartoonists.
2008 Eisner Award Winner: Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award — Cathy Malkasian
For a limited time, receive a FREE issue of the Meat Cake comic when you order the collection! Choose from issues 14, 16 or 17 (15 is sold out) when placing your order.
COLLECTING THE BEST STORIES FROM THE FIRST DECADE OF MEAT CAKE COMICS
Dame Darcy is one of the most beguiling presences on the comics scene — musician, actress, cable TV star, fortune teller, dollmaker, and last but not least, cartoonist to the core — and has been bewitching readers for over 15 years with her neo-Victorian horror/humor/romance comic Meat Cake. Alternating between one-off (often cruelly tragic) fairy tales and ongoing romps starring her eclectic cast of characters, including Effluvia the Mermaid, the roguish roué Wax Wolf, Igpay the Pig-Latin pig, Stregapez (a women who speaks by dispensing Pez-like tablets through a bloody hole in her throat), the mischievous Siamese twins Hindrance and Perfidia, Scampi the Selfish Shellfish, the stalwart Friend the Girl, and the blonde bombshell Richard Dirt, all delineated in her inimitable luxurious scrawl, Meat Cake is like a peek into the most creative, deranged dollhouse you ever saw. Meat Cake is an expanded reprint of the out of print hardcover with more stories assembling the very best of Darcy’s work (including “Hungry Is the Heart,” the legendary collaboration with Watchmen’s Alan Moore) from the first 11 issues of the beloved comic.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 20-page PDF excerpt featuring all the highlights of issue 4 (3.5 MB), PLUS a 6-page PDF including the Table of Contents, Foreword by Margaret Cho, Introduction by Dame Darcy, and "An Interview with the Meat Cake Characters" (1.4 MB), PLUS 4 pages of "Paper Doll Fun" (1.6 MB) that you can print, color & cut out without ruining your book!
"[Darcy] has created a childlike, otherworldly realm, a land that hovers in the twilight space between the whimsical and the macabre. Ghosts and goblins, foul-tempered stepmothers, lovesick mermaids and charmed forests are all rendered in Darcy's distinctive hand, loose and flowing lines reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey." – Los Angeles Times
"Darcy's comics are aesthetic manifestos… Darcy is a star. Mark my words. Meat Cake will prevail, as luxury takes over America. And the world beyond." — The New York Times
"I think she's exquisite, let's put it that way. I wish I knew her in high school." — Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
This collection features over 120 pages of vintage Crumb comics starring the white-bearded, diminutive sage-cum-charlatan, ranging from charming, free-wheeling early '70s stories to the disturbing, controversial '90s stories (as seen in the Crumb movie), including the entire 40-page "Mr. Natural and Devil Girl" saga from Hup! (collected here for the first time in book form). Crumb's Mr. Natural is probably the most famous underground character of all (topping even Fritz the Cat and the Freak Brothers), recognizable even to "civilians." Don't miss this opportunity to snatch up this jam-packed collection of comics from one of the all-time masters, now available in hardcover for the very first time!
Billy Hazelnuts is back for the first time since his acclaimed 2006 Eisner Award-winning debut. Life has settled back to normal in the old house. Becky and her mom are getting used to having Billy around, as he performs various household chores, utilizing his amazing strength. Nothing could be better, aside from a jumpy relationship with the cat. Until one day Billy hears screeching in the back yard and runs out to find a very large owl attacking his housemate. “I hate that cat, but it’s OUR CAT!” yells Billy, and chases the owl off.
Billy soon discovers that the owl he has just scared off has left an egg in his nest. When the egg hatches, it’s up to Billy to reunite the baby owl with his mother, and the two head off into the deep, deep woods in search of her. The resulting adventure is a crazy potion of all-ages fun, humor, thrills and chills like only Tony Millionaire is capable of.
Megan Kelso has proved herself a master of the cartoon short story with Queen of the Black Black (1998) and The Squirrel Mother (2006). With Artichoke Tales, six years in the making, Kelso expands her range (and her page count) by creating a family saga spanning three generations and an entire continent.
Artichoke Tales is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Brigitte whose family is caught between the two warring sides of a civil war, a graphic novel that takes place in a world that echoes our own, but whose people have artichoke leaves instead of hair. Influenced in equal parts by Little House on the Prairie, The Thorn Birds, Dharma Bums, and Cold Mountain, Kelso weaves a moving story about family amidst war. Kelso’s visual storytelling, uniquely combining delicate linework with rhythmic, musical page compositions, creates a dramatic tension between intimate, ruminative character studies and the unflinching depiction of the consequences of war and carnage, lending cohesion and resonance to a generational epic. This is Kelso’s first new work in four years; the widespread critical reception of her previous work makes Artichoke Tales one of the most eagerly anticipated graphic novels of 2010.
Originally created in 1997 and 1998 for the underground anthology Zero Zero, The Search for Smilin’ Ed is the latest of Kim Deitch’s graphic novels to showcase his obsessive burrowing into the nooks and crannies of vintage American popular culture.
Where Boulevard of Broken Dreams focused on the earliest days of the animation industry, Alias the Cat delved into the history of comic strips, and “Molly O’Dare” (collected in Shadowland) concerned vintage movie serials, The Search for Smilin’ Ed explores the wacky world of children’s TV shows.
Launched on his latest investigation by a remark from his brother about a shared childhood favorite (“Y’know, I heard that when Smilin’ Ed died... his body was NEVER found!”), Deitch begins to uncover some truly amazing things about the kiddie-show host and his malevolent sidekick, Froggy the Gremlin. Meanwhile, Deitch’s muse and nemesis Waldo the Cat abandons Deitch to hang out with some demon buddies, and soon both Waldo and Deitch are closing in on the mysteries of Smilin’ Ed and Froggy.
Ranging across the entire 20th century, replete with flashbacks, stories within stories, and guest appearances from other Deitch regulars, The Search for Smilin’ Ed is a narrative whirligig that shows Deitch at his wildest and woolliest. For those whose heads have started to spin at the complexity of Deitch's mythology, we've included a full-color two-way fold-out guide to "The Kim Deitch Universe," and Deitch scholar Bill Kartalopoulos offers a lengthy essay on the ins and outs of this ever-evolving, ever-expanding world where fantasy, reality, and satire combine, clash, and are sometimes downright indistinguishable.
Bonus! Deitch has also created a brand new story starring Waldo in his 21st century post-Alias the Cat state of domestic bliss, stumbling across an army of (French-) talking beavers. Of course, there’s a story behind that...
“Kim Deitch has created a private world as fully realized in its own way as Faulkner’s. He’s an American original, a spinner of yarns whose beautifully structured pages and intricate plots conjure up a haunting and haunted American past.” – Art Spiegelman
Whether you choose to call them “comics lit,” “graphic novels,” or just “thick comic books,” book-length narratives told in words and pictures confidently elbowed their way into the cultural spotlight in the first decade of this new millennium — beginning with the simultaneous 2001 release of Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth and Daniel Clowes’ David Boring, and continuing on through ground-breaking and best-selling works such as Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Robert Crumb’s Genesis, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and Joe Sacco’s Palestine.
This renaissance in turn brought forth a chorus of critical commentary that not only addressed these recent works, but also initiated a much-needed look back at the previous century’s neglected and forgotten masterpieces.
This chorus, as presented in The Best American Comics Criticism, comprises both criticism (Douglas Wolk on Frank Miller and Will Eisner, Robert C. Harvey on Fun Home, Donald Phelps on Steve Ditko and Phoebe Gloeckner) and history (David Hajdu on the 1950s comic-book burnings, Jeet Heer on Gasoline Alley, Ben Schwartz on Little Orphan Annie, Gerard Jones on the birth of the comic-book business), as well as revelatory peer-on-peer essays by novelists (Jonathan Franzen on Peanuts, John Updike on James Thurber) and cartoonists (Chris Ware on Rodolphe Töpffer, Clowes on Mad’s Will Elder, and Seth on John Stanley).
Add in still more voices (The Daily Show’s John Hodgman on Jack Kirby, Sarah Boxer on Krazy Kat, Ken Parille with a meticulous deconstruction of Clowes’s David Boring), and a selection of revelatory interviews with comics masters (Kim Deitch, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Marjane Satrapi, Will Elder, Chester Brown) and cartoonist tête-à-têtes (Eisner/Miller, Jonatham Lethem/Clowes, Dan Nadel/Sammy Harkham), and The Best American Comics Criticism offers a riveting and comprehensive look at a medium finally come into its own—not just creatively, but in terms of the respect and prominence within American culture it has so long deserved.
The Best American Comics Criticism is edited by Ben Schwartz, a contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, The Atlantic On-Line, and Bookforum.
See the full Table of Contents and read Ben Schwartz's Introduction in this EXCLUSIVE 15-page PDF download (193 KB).
Now in FULL COLOR! This issue includes Jungle Princess battling rhino traders, a story of Broadway theatrics in “All About Drainage,” more of America’s favorite physicist/writer duo, Twain & Einstein, plus slightly cursed merchandise, Cockney grave robbers, and Cowboy Oscar Wilde.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 4-page PDF excerpt (4.7 MB) starring Jungle Princess!
Also available now:
Order the Thoroughly Thrizzled Pack containing Tales Designed to Thrizzle Vol. 1 (collecting issues 1-4 in a deluxe hardcover) plus issues 5 and 6 all together for a discounted price of $27.49 (a savings of about 7 bucks)!
One day Millennium Boy decided to grab his hobo stick, his bandanna, and his Swiss Army knife, bid his mom goodbye, and head off on a quest for adventure. Joined by his best friend Steve (weapon: baseball bat; clothing: wife beater, cargo pants and sandals), they soon find themselves in a violent altercation with two other adventure seekers. It ends badly for their antagonists (“Whoa, check it out, dude! You actually knocked this dude’s brain right out of his cranium!”) and Millennium Boy and Steve become the proud owners of fancy weapons upgrades (a crowbar and a steel chain). So on they trek, and the next inductee to their group is the muscle-bound Lash Penis.
And then things start getting weird!
Readers of 2009’s Red Monkey Double Happiness Book will recognize Joe Daly’s delightfully unique stoner/philosopher dialogue and distinctive character designs, but the hilarious over-the-top Role Playing Game action (complete with periodic updates for each character’s status in ten criteria, including “dexterity,” “intelligence,” and “money”) propel this new story into a heretofore unachieved action-comedy realm. By the end of this book (the first chapter of a projected four-part epic), the trio has been joined by Nerdgirl the Archer, Lash Penis has nearly had his arm cut off, they’ve acquired a whole new nifty bag of tricks, and the menaces have become increasingly surreal and lethal. Where will it end?
Winner, Prix special du Jury (Jury Prize), 2010 Festival International de la Bande Desinée d'Angoulême
To celebrate the launch of the new improved Meat Cake collection we've got some free downloadable treats for Dame Darcy fans!
First up, a smashing desktop wallpaper based on the title pages from the book. Just click on the size that matches your monitor resolution and the image will open in a new window; if you're on a PC, right-click the image and select "Set As Background"; if you're on a Mac, control+click and select "Set As Desktop Background." More wallpapers...
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