The first volume of Hank Ketcham's Complete Dennis the Menace, collecting every single panel strip from 1951 and 1952, is now available in this handsome and affordable softcover edition.
Dennis the Menace began on March 14, 1951 (four months after Ketcham's friend and colleague Charles Schulz started his own historic comic strip). He went on to become the second most popular cartoon kid in the world — after Charlie Brown, of course. Dennis the Menace first appeared in 16 American newspapers; by the end of 1951, he was appearing in over a hundred. The reason for Dennis' success is easy to figure out: It was one of the most brilliantly observed and empathetic comic strips about childhood ever drawn. Ketcham captured the mischievousness, rambunctiousness, and anarchy of a kid's world better than any other cartoonist. The strip appeals to both parents and children — while parents shake their heads ruefully at how accurately Ketcham caught the essence of children's natural zest for mayhem, children identify with Dennis and the chaos that he leaves in his wake — just a hop, skip, and a jump away from their own fantasy of themselves! Ketcham was a cartoonist with a vivacious line that was exquisitely suited to depicting adults and children. His gags were funny, subtle and touching. Ketcham drew Dennis the Menace from 1951 to 1994, when he retired and let his assistant take over the strip.
Bob Fingerman revealed this cover art for his upcoming book Connective Tissue (currently due from Fantagraphics in Spring '09) over on his "Art Blog Thinger," where he's also been posting some cute-n-gruesome art samples.
Swiss horror master Thomas Ott returns with the first full-length graphic novel of his career. When clearing up the cell of a prisoner who has been sentenced to death and subsequently executed, a prison guard finds a small piece of paper with a combination of numbers on it.
On the spur of the moment, he puts it into his pocket.
As the guard lives a solitary, monotonous life, the numbers on the paper awake his curiosity. To find out their hidden meaning could add a new meaning to his life as well, so the guard stumbles into situations in which the number or part of it seem to achieve a certain importance and offer him hints and possible solutions. And the numbers signal a radical change in his luck. He gets to know a woman, falls in love with her, and one night, in a casino, he wins a huge amount of money when gambling on these numbers.
But the next morning, the woman and money have disappeared.
The man goes in search of the woman and the money. But from that day on, his luck changes and the numbers bring him only bad luck, sending him inexorably into an abyss that he might not recover from. Thomas Ott's O. Henry-esque plot twists will delight fans of classic horror like The Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt, or modern masters like filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan; his hallucinatory, hyper-detailed scratchboard illustrations will haunt you long after you've put the book down.
This multifaceted anthology collects over 25 stories from the first decade of Jason's career, including his remarkable calling card, the novella-length thriller "Pocket Full of Rain," which has never before been published in English. Like a number of his initial stories, "Pocket" is actually drawn with realistic human beings instead of blank-faced animal characters — a true revelation for Jason fans. In fact, this book showcases three distinct styles: his earliest "realistic" drawing style (used to unsettling effect in some particularly creepy stories), an intermediate "bighead" cartoony style that still features humans (used for both humor and drama), and the "funny-animal" style he's now best known for.
The book reveals a young cartoonist experimenting with styles, working through his obsessions (love, loneliness, film, Hemingway) and paying tribute to his cartooning heroes (Wolverton, Moebius, Pratt). Also, croquet-playing nuns, sentient cacti, autobiographical drunken escapades, lists of people who deserve to die, and a color gallery featuring God cheating at Trivial Pursuit.
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