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
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.
Bonus Savings: Order Megan Kelso's Artichoke Tales + The Squirrel Mother together for a discounted price of $31.99 (a savings of about 8 bucks)! Order now and we'll ship you both books when Artichoke Tales arrives in our warehouse.
FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS AND ROSEBUD ARCHIVES ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP, LAUNCHING WEB SALES OF RARE AND BEAUTIFUL CARTOON ART IN A VARIETY OF FORMATS
SEATTLE WA, / DUMONT NJ, APRIL 8, 2010 --- Fantagraphics Books and Rosebud Archives have announced an agreement to market a wide variety of products related to vintage comics and posters, historical cartoons, advertising images, and illustration. The product lines will include prints, posters, framed art, books, stationery, and a hybrid format called the Rosebud PadFolio. The products are available for sale immediately on Fantagraphics.com:
“We are proud to be allied with Fantagraphics, whose commitment to quality and the advancement of the graphics arts has been notable for decades,” announced Rosebud Archives founding partners Rick Marschall and Jonathan Barli. “Our own commitment to preservation, restoration, and high historical standards are a perfect match with Fantagraphics.”
The core of Rosebud Archives’ image bank is arguably America’s largest private resource of comics-based popular culture, the collection of Rick Marschall, to which is added the collections of Jonathan Barli and several other major sources in the US and in Europe. Barli, veteran proprietor of Digital Funnies, is a specialist in restoration and themed compilations of cartoon art. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts.
Rosebud Archives releases will also include collectors’ editions of artwork created for, and featured in, Fantagraphics publications, including The Comics Journal and Nemo magazine. “The availability of Rosebud’s customized art objects is a perfect complement to the Marschall Books imprint we previously announced,” said Fantagraphics President Gary Groth. “Rick Marschall’s imprint will be a series of substantial volumes by individual cartoonists, thematic anthologies, and cultural collections of cartoon-related imagery. Rosebud will produce customized and short-run cartoons in various popular formats, which we’re very happy to provide on our website.”
Rosebud Archives was established in 2009 and has already released several lines of products that reflect the company’s vision. These early releases feature the work of George Herriman, ZIM, and Charles Dana Gibson; cartoon series by Gluyas Williams; prints of cartoons by Winsor McCay, Harrison Cady, and John T McCutcheon; and special art by Cliff Sterrett, George McManus, and Milt Gross. Specialty items include a “Krazy Kat” triptych and a Limited Edition portfolio of Marlene Dietrich photographic portraits. Boxed editions of works by great black-and-white cartoonists are issued under Rosebud’s “Shwartz and Weiss” imprint. Stationary items include notecards, postcards, and envelopes. Framed, frame-ready, and gallery-wrapped prints are also offered. The Rosebud Padfolio is a bound portfolio with detachable prints, a uniquely devised format.
Rosebud Archives offers its products on its own website (www.rosebudarchives.com), and has made all products available on the Fantagraphics Books website (www.fantagraphics.com). “A perfect synergy of serving the sophisticated comics connoisseur, and reaching collectors far and wide with proven integrity,” is how Marschall characterized the agreement between the two companies. Fantagraphics’ website offers all its books — by such cartoonists as R. Crumb, George Herriman, Charles Schulz, Hal Foster, Basil Wolverton, Gahan Wilson, Steve Ditko, Robert Williams, Daniel Clowes, Jim Woodring, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, and many others— directly to consumers. “We have tried to publish the best cartooning in the world, and Rosebud’s beautifully conceived art objects fits right into our aesthetic,” said Groth.
One of the highlights of The Search for Smilin' Ed (aside from the story and artwork, of course) is the full-color two-way foldout illustration of the Kim Deitch Universe, with an annotated guide in the back of the book. We thought it might be nice to give people an advance opportunity to explore this amazing illustration and familiarize themselves with Deitch's mind-bogglingly rich and complex world. Click the images above to open big honking JPGs in a new browser window (they're large files, so please be patient while they download). Here's what the foldout looks like in person:
Saturday, May 1 marks the 9th installment of Free Comic Book Day. This annual promotion is intended to expose new readers to the medium and acknowledge loyal patrons with a free comic book produced especially for the occasion. Over 30 books in a variety of genres were produced for Free Comic Book Day this year.
Fantagraphics Books’ contribution to Free Comic Book Day is a delightful comic by Jim Woodring sure to appeal to readers of all ages. WEATHERCRAFT and Other Unusual Stories showcases Woodring’s visionary approach to cartooning. Included is an excerpt from Jim’s forthcoming full-length WEATHERCRAFT graphic novel, a Woodring character guide, artworks rendered in his singular style, and other features. Yours for the asking at your local participating comic book retailer.
Jim Woodring himself will appear at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle on Free Comic Book Day from noon to 1:00 PM to pass out complimentary copies. We’ll also have a supply of Drawn & Quarterly’s free comic book YOW! featuring John Stanley stories from Nancy, Melvin Monster and 13 Going on 18. You’ll have one last chance to view the stunning exhibition of original art by Gilbert Hernandez and peruse a bevy of beautiful new books from the world’s greatest cartoonists. See you then.
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
Superficially resembling 1960s teenage humor comics, Tim Hensley’s graphic novel Wally Gropius is actually an acute satire of power, celebrityhood, and modern culture that tells the story of the titular character, who bears a closer resemblance to a teenaged Richie Rich or a classmate of Archie Andrews at Riverdale High than he does the famous Bauhaus architect whose name he shares.
Wally is the human Dow Jones, the heir to a vast petrochemical conglomerate. When the elder Thaddeus Gropius confronts Wally with the boilerplate plot ultimatum that he must marry “the saddest girl in the world” or be disinherited, a yarn unravels that is part screwball comedy and part unhinged parable on the lucrativeness of changing your identity.
Hensley’s dialogue is witty, lyrical, sampled, dada, and elliptical — all in the service of a very bizarre mystery. There’s sex, violence, rock and roll, intrigue, and betrayal — all brought home in Hensley’s truly inimitable style. Created during an era when another well-off “W” was stuffing the coffers of the morbidly solvent, Wally Gropius transforms futile daydreams and nightmares into the absurdity of capital.
Originally serialized in Fantagraphics' house anthology Mome, the story is presented here in a larger format with additional, previously unseen material.
“One of my favorite ‘graphic novels’ of all time. Hilarious and utterly unique, Wally Gropius is a work of unassuming genius that rewards on ever-deepening levels with each rereading.” — Daniel Clowes
A late-ish addendum to our launch of Joe Daly's Dungeon Quest, Book 1: we're pleased to now offer that book together with Joe's previous book, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book, for a special discounted price of $29.99 (a savings of about 6 bucks)! Two books full of intrigue, action, weird characters and stoner humor delineated in stunning, hyper-detailed clear-line cartooning. Order right here and we'll ship you both books when Dungeon Quest arrives in our warehouse (and if you've already placed an order for both books individually, contact us and we'll adjust your order).
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
For over 20 years now, Jim Woodring has delighted, touched, and puzzled readers around the world with his lush, wordless tales of “Frank.”
Weathercraft is Woodring’s first full-length graphic novel set in this world — indeed, Woodring’s first graphic novel, period! — and it features the same hypnotically gorgeous linework and mystical iconography.
As it happens, Frank has only a brief supporting appearance in Weathercraft, which actually stars Manhog, Woodring’s pathetic, brutish everyman (or everyhog), who had previously made several appearances in “Frank” stories (as well as a stunning solo turn in the short story “Gentlemanhog”).
After enduring 32 pages of almost incomprehensible suffering, Manhog embarks upon a transformative journey and attains enlightenment. He wants to go to celestial realms but instead altruistically returns to the unifactor to undo a wrong he has inadvertently brought about: The transformation of the evil politician Whim into a mind-destroying plant-demon who distorts and enslaves Frank and his friends. The new and metaphysically expanded Manhog sets out for a final battle with Whim...
Weathercraft also co-stars Frank’s cast of beloved supporting characters, including Frank’s Faux Pa and the diminutive, mailbox-like Pupshaw and Pushpaw; it is both a fully independent story that is a great introduction to Woodring’s world, and a sublime addition to, and extension of, the Frank stories.
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