Before authoring one of the most beloved children’s book series of all time — Harold and the Purple Crayon — cartoonist Crockett Johnson created the comic strip Barnaby for over ten years (1942 to 1952). Its subtle ironies and playful allusions never won a broad following, but the adventures of 5-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his fairy godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley was and is a critical favorite.
Fantagraphics introduces the wonders of Barnaby to a new generation of children and parents alike. Co-edited by Johnson biographer Philip Nel (Dr. Seuss: American Icon) and Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, with art direction by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), this five-volume Barnaby series will collect the entirety of the original newspaper strips from 1942-1952. The first volume collects all the strips from 1942 and 1943.
Barnaby revolved around a precocious five-year-old named Barnaby Baxter and his fairly godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley. Yet O’Malley, a cigar-chomping, bumbling con-artist and fast-talker, was not your typical protector. His grasp of magic was usually specious at best, limited to occasional flashes, often aided and abetted by his fellow members in The Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men’s Chowder & Marching Society.
Barnaby’s deft balance of fantasy, political commentary, sophisticated wit, and elegantly spare images expanded our sense of what comic strips can do. With subtlety and economy, Barnaby proved that comics need not condescend to readers. Its small but influential readership took that message to heart.
Back in 1984, a rebellious, 17-year-old, punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece.
Miraculously combining a perfect memory for both emotional and physical detail with the sometimes painful lucidity two and half decades’ distance have brought to her understanding of the events, Lust meticulously shows the who, where, when, and how (specifically, how an often penniless young girl can survive for months on the road) of a sometimes dangerous and sometimes exhilarating journey. Particularly haunting is her portrait of her fellow traveler, the gangly, promiscuous devil-may-care Edi who veers from being her spunky, funny best friend in the world to an out-of-control lunatic with no consideration for anything but her own whims and desires.
Universally considered one of the very finest examples of the new breed of graphic novels coming from Europe, Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, and Fantagraphics is proud to bring it to English speaking readers.
Fantagraphics is proud to present the follow-up to Jacques Tardi's double Eisner Award-winning masterpiece It Was the War of the Trenches, which was hailed by critics as "harrowing and ruthlessly affecting" (NPR), "a masterful and visceral tone poem about war" (Library Journal), and "a cri de coeur that stands out even from Tardi's impressive body of work" (Booklist).
Created 15 years after the completion of his Eisner Award-winning World War I masterwork It Was the War of the Trenches, Tardi's Goddamn This War! is no mere sequel or extension, but a brand new, wholly individual graphic novel that serves as a companion piece to Trenches but can be read entirely on its own.
Vastly different sequentially (eschewing Trenches' splintered narrative, Goddamn is split into six chronological chapters, one for each year of the war), graphically (Tardi deploys his more recent pen-ink-and-watercolor technique, with the bold colors of the early chapters fading into a grimy near-monochrome in the later ones as the war drags on), and narratively (all of Goddamn is told, with insight, dark wit and despair, as a first-person reminiscence/narration by an unnamed soldier), Goddamn This War! shares with Trenches its sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude.
In fact, Goddamn This War! includes an extensive year-by-year historical text section written by Tardi's frequent World War I research helpmate, the historian and collector Jean-Pierre Verney, including dozens of stunning rare photographs and visual documents from his personal collection.
Good Dog marks the welcome return of alternative cartoonist Graham Chaffee, who, after his successful 2003 collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing and Other Stories, took a detour to devote himself to the art of tattooing, before charging back with his new, beautifully conceived graphic novel.
Ivan, who is plagued by terrible nightmares about chickens and rabbits, is a good dog — if only someone would notice. Readers accompany the stray as he navigates dog society, weathers pack politics, and surveys canine-human interactions.
Good Dog's story and pen-and-ink art are deceptively simple, but Chaffee uses the approachability of the subject matter as a device to explore topics such as independence, security, assimilation, loyalty, and violence. Preteen-and-up dog fanciers, especially, will warm to the well-meaning Ivan and his exploits with a motley assortment of Scotties, Bulldogs, and mutts. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve and creates a richly textured, dog’s-eye view of the world. The story is a rousing Jack London-esque adventure as well as a moral parable.
"Graham Chaffee has been one of my favorite cartoonists since I fell in love with his 1997 debut graphic novel, Big Wheels. Combining tremendous empathy towards his characters, concise storytelling and exquisite detail, Chaffee's comics are sublime. I am eagerly awaiting Good Dog. I'll plan my week around reading it." – James Sturm (Market Day)
"Good Dog is a book as seemingly lost in time as its canine hero Ivan. Graham Chaffee has a real talent for charming anthropomorphic cartooning and his clean, appealing storytelling and expressive brushwork evoke the work of an alternative golden age of comics; an age perhaps in which superheroes never existed and the medium told more straightforward, poignant stories." – James Romberger
"Getting into the mind of a dog — that's a real trick. I know, I've tried. Getting into the whole heart and soul of a dog is another whole feat. Graham Chaffee not only does it with aplomb (he draws GREAT dogs), he gets into the whole dog's life — and so should you." – Nick Abadzis (Laika)
"I got choked up a couple of times which is the one of the best things a comic can do to me. Compliments to Mr. Graham Chaffee. Really solid storytelling and excellent art. Reminiscent the best way of Jack London's The Call of the Wild." – Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War)
On the long road to becoming an Oscar-winning animation director, Gene Deitch became an intense jazz fan. At the age of 21, he discovered The Record Changer magazine, a jazz collector's magazine filled with fanatical, scholarly, and purist essays about jazz as well as listings of hard-to-find jazz albums. Every jazz swinger in the '40s was called a cat (as in "cool cat"), so Gene Deitch created a cartoon feature for Record Changer titled "The Cat," which quickly became a fixture of the magazine. He also started drawing the covers, which graced almost every issue from 1945 to 1951 along with "The Cat." Deitch's stylistically virtuoso images exquisitely embodied the essence of jazz and became a visual paean to the joy of collecting and appreciating jazz.
Fantagraphics Books is proud to collect all of Deitch's Record Changer covers and "Cat" cartoons in one coffee-table, landscape-format art book, reproducing his covers in the same gorgeous colors in which they first appeared as well as the black-and-white Cat cartoons, with commentary and reminiscences by Deitch himself. Originally published in 2003 in hardcover and out of print for years, this redesigned, first-ever paperback edition will delight a new generation of fans.
"Graphically elegant, done in a style reminiscent of early comics masters like Winsor McCay and Johnny Gruelle (who drew Raggedy Ann); the content, on the other hand, comes bubbling up from a part of the imagination that polite cartoonists lock away." – Charles McGrath, The New York Times
"So glad you and your family like Father Ted. You've already thanked me with the entertainment you've given me over the years. In fact, the show might not have been quite the same if I hadn't discovered Maakies all those years ago." – Graham Linehan
For almost two decades, Tony Millionaire's Maakies has been one of the best and most popular weekly comic strips in America, running in over a dozen of the largest U.S. weekly newspapers including The Village Voice, L.A Weekly, Chicago Reader, and Seattle's The Stranger. (It was also a short-lived Adult Swim animated series, The Drinky Crow Show, in 2008.)
As written and drawn by renaissance lush-cum-degenerate Millionaire, Maakies features the comical adventures of a drunken crow on the high seas, blending vaudeville-style humor (with plenty of bodily fluids and grievous bodily harm) and a breathtakingly beautiful line that harkens back to the glory days of the American comic strip. Green Eggs and Maakies is our eighth collection and features yet another two years' worth of Maakies in a beautiful, deluxe, landscape hardcover format that complements the strip’s elegant and classical style.
"In his surrealist impulse and draftsman’s brio, Millionaire is the closest thing we have to George Herriman of Krazy Kat." — John Hodgman, The New York Times
"Tricking brains and blowing minds has been Millionaire's modus operandi for years, which is why his existential antihero Drinky Crow spends a good amount of time trying to destroy his own." – Wired
“Bill Griffith has helped to redefine the [comics] medium for an entire generation. Zippy has traditionally held a strong appeal for free thinkers and life’s improvisers, and attracts discerning readers of all stripes.” – Sequential Highway
Comprising a full two and a half years' worth of dailies and full-color Sundays, The Dingburg Diaries is the third Zippy book featuring tales of "Dingburg, the City Inhabited Entirely by Pinheads" — Zippy’s home town. There’s even a long series of "Historical Dingburg" strips, chronicling the pinhead population through the years, from 1840, when Dingburg’s "Town Fool" accidentally invented disco, to 1958 when Dingburg Beatniks flourished in the town’s Bohemian neighborhood. Like, Yowl, man.
God also has his own chapter (and verse). In the guise of a clip art "authority figure," he dispenses unwanted advice and conditional love upon the citizens of Dingburg. His tendency to cross-dress reaches new heights when he appears in a performance of "Swine Lake," wearing a tutu. Sacrilegious, yet sensitive.
There are large chunks of Mr. The Toad, Zerbina, Little Zippy and the rest of Griffith's cast of characters throughout this expanded collection. Published in a larger 8" by 10" format, The Dingburg Diaries also features a big color section, showcasing Griffith's inventive palette. There are parodies of the paintings of Edward Hopper and Film Noir, and "Griffy’s Top Ten List On Comics and Their Creation," a semi-serious mini-tutorial on everything (well, ten things) he’s learned in over forty years at the drawing board.
"Contemporary readers of Bill Griffith’s comic strip, Zippy the Pinhead, know with certainty that the illustrator is one of the most accomplished draftsmen working in comics today, his talents on a par with those of Robert Crumb. His art — nuanced shading; economical linework; evocative textures; fidelity to dress, gesture, expression, architecture, automotive design, and the thousand and one other accoutrements of modern life — is an unfailing daily marvel, especially considering the speed and regularity at which the strip is produced.” – Paul Di Filippo, Barnes & Noble Review
"If you're already a fan, you'll love this new collection. If you're not afraid to dip into Zippy's unique style of humor, philosophy and social critique, this book may make you a fan." – S.C. Ringgenberg, Heavy Metal
"I am so thankful for these collections... they're so good I wonder if Griffith isn't in the middle of one of those late-period renaissances that sometimes grip strip cartoonists, where everything kind of comes together in a considered fashion that's somehow more vital than the dozen or so years of comics that precede it." – The Comics Reporter