|Sneak peek video & photos: The Comics Journal #291|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics Journal, previews, new releases||13 Jun 2008 1:07 PM|
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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.
MR. NATURAL COMMITED TO A MENTAL INSTITUTION!!!
This freshly reprinted volume contains Crumb classics Dirty Laundry #2 (the ground-breaking Crumb/Kominsky jam), the last of the Arcade strips, full-cover covers for books, comics and LPs, and Crumb’s complete 40-page epic Mr. Natural serial from the pages of the Village Voice. In it, our hero, having given up on the "wise man" business, has sent away all his students and lives a quiet life. But during a particularly arduous meditation, he wrestles with the Devil, and at last achieves total enlightenment.
He's locked up in a nut house right away, of course.
Thus endeth the Age of Aquarius.
Other classic stories include "I Once Lived the Life of a Millionaire" (the Snoid vs. The Revolution) and "Josephine and the Cross-Eyed Quadroon" (which covers just about all the bases, political incorrectness-wise).
Re-live the 20th Century with Crumb!
Today we've already brought you one sneak peek at Pocket Full of Rain, the upcoming collection of early work from Norwegian cartoonist Jason; now registered users can get a further free preview in the form of a downloadable 15-page excerpt from the title story. These previews are exclusive to registered Fantagraphics.com users, so sign up and/or sign in to view.
(As a reminder, 20/20 Club members receive these previews two weeks before we post them on the website, just one of many great reasons to join up...)
The Comics Journal #290
Hard truth, subjective take or slanted hatchet job? Monte Schulz and a roundtable of Peanuts experts and critics probe and debate David Michaelis's controversial new biography of one of the most influential and beloved cartoonists of our time: Charles M. Schulz. Matt Madden, co-series-editor of the Best American Comics anthology series, will dish about his upcoming comics textbook (written and drawn with Jessica Abel, his frequent collaborator) and his efforts to translate the OuBaPo movement into English with 99 Exercises in Style. A preview of the Joe Kubert biography Man of Rock. Plus: A color gallery of "The Wall of Flesh" and other '50s horror stories from Golden Age cartoonist Bob Powell (the Good Girl artist known for his work on Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, Blackhawk and the original Mars Attacks trading cards) rounds out the magazine.
224-page squarebound 7.5" x 9.25" magazine • $11.99