A third collection of amusing nightmares from the demonic wand of Jim Flora
Jim Flora (1914-1998), long admired for boisterous 1940s and '50s record cover illustrations and a later series of best-selling children's books, has been rediscovered in recent years as an alchemist of bizarre and politely disturbing imagery. The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora burnishes the reputation of one of the great overlooked paintbox fantasists of the twentieth century.
Like its two predecessors (The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora and The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora), this anthology celebrates a visionary whose work is steeped in vari-hued paradox. Flora's figures are fun while threatening; playful yet dangerous; humorous but deadly. His helter-skelter arabesques are clustered with strangely contorted critters of no identifiable species, juxtaposed amid toothpick towers and trombones twisted into stevedore knots. Down his streets lurch demonic mutants sporting fried-egg eyes, dagger noses, and bonus limbs. Yet, despite the raucous energy projected in these hyperactive mosaics, a typical Flora freak circus often projects harmony and balance — an ordered chaos.
Like the first two volumes of Floriana, The Sweetly Diabolic Art of Jim Flora features paintings, drawings, and sketches from the 1940s through the 1990s — many never previously published or exhibited; more artifacts from the artist's 1940s tenure in the Columbia Records art department; and vintage newspaper and magazine illustrations.
This collection also heralds the first publication of an early, abandoned book for youngsters, "The X-Ray Eye of Wallingford Hume," which Flora drafted in 1943. Equally fascinating are original roughs, overlays, and concept images for his 1950s and '60s published kid-lit. In a curious inversion from art to objet d'art, these partial illustrations — intended to be layered for a printer's composite — are impressive, in their curious minimalism, as stand-alone masterpieces.
A gallery of 1940s pen and pencil sketches invokes a catacomb of nightmarish apparitions and inscrutable petroglyphs. Sweetly Diabolic also collects for the first time between covers a sideshow of science widgetry from a short-lived, now-obscure mid-1950s monthly, Research & Engineering, for which Flora served as art director. Chronicles of Flora's career, personal vignettes, and mementos from the family archives augment the images.
Although a lot of his work appears cartoonish, Flora didn't draw comics. He always projected a veneer of sophistication that elevated his images to the level of fine art, even when grinding out topical illustrations for newsstand weeklies. Flora deftly merged the well mannered with the maniacal — eyeball jazz that bops and bounces in unfathomable meters.
BONUS! Download an EXCLUSIVE 14-page PDF excerpt (2.7 MB) comprising the heavily illustrated Introduction, "The Flora Aura."
"The real war," said Walt Whitman, "will never get in the books." During World War II, the closest most Americans ever came to the "real war" was through the cartoons of Bill Mauldin, the most beloved enlisted man in the U.S. Army.
Here, for the first time, Fantagraphics Books brings together Mauldin's complete works from 1940 through the end of the war. This collection of over 600 cartoons, most never before reprinted, is more than the record of a great artist: it is an essential chronicle of America's citizen-soldiers from peace through war to victory.
Bill Mauldin knew war because he was in it. He had created his characters, Willie and Joe, at age 18, before Pearl Harbor, while training with the 45th Infantry Division and cartooning part-time for the camp newspaper. His brilliant send-ups of officers were pure infantry, and the men loved it.
After wading ashore with his division on the first of its four beach invasions in July 1943, Mauldin and his men changed — and Mauldin's cartoons changed accordingly. Months of miserable weather, bad food, and tedium interrupted by the terror of intense bombing and artillery fire took its toll. By the year's end, virtually every man in Mauldin's original rifle company was killed, wounded, or captured.
The wrinkles in Willie and Joe's uniforms deepened, the bristle on their faces grew, and the eyes — "too old for those young bodies," as Mauldin put it — betrayed a weariness that would remain the entire war. With their heavy brush lines, detailed battlescapes, and pidgin of army slang and slum dialect, Mauldin's cartoons and captions recreated on paper the fully realized world of the American combat soldier. Their dark, often insubordinate humor sparked controversy among army brass and incensed General George S. Patton, Jr.
This is the first of several volumes publishing the best of Bill Mauldin's single panel strips from 1940 to 1991 (when he stopped drawing). His Willie & Joe cartoons are presented in a deluxe, beautifully designed two-volume slipcased edition of over 600 pages. The series is edited by Todd DePastino, whose Mauldin scholarship is on full display in a biography of the artist released in February 2008 from W.W. Norton. Willie & Joe contains an introduction and running commentary by DePastino, providing context for the drawings, pertinent biographical details of Mauldin's life, and occasional background on specific cartoons (such as the ones that made Patton howl).
Fans and comedy cognoscenti alike, basking devotedly in the glow of Tales Designed to Thrizzle, have made it the smash hit humor comic of the decade. And now the first four issues of Michael Kupperman’s revered series are finally collected into one deluxe hardcover. Even better, Kupperman has taken the original two-color printing and made the entire book full color! These tales are more thrizzling than ever!
What are tales designed to thrizzle? Tales designed to thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus’ half-brother Pagus, the Mysterious Avenger, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, the Silver Knight, Murder She Didn’t Write, the Mannister, the Space Patrol, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Bossman, Mark Twain, the silent robot Citobor and, of course, the Thirties.
The stories in Tales Designed to Thrizzle made their debut in 2009 on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program as Snake ’N’ Bacon. The show, a mix of live-action, puppetry and animation, stars David Rakoff (This American Life), Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live), Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords), James Urbaniak (The Venture Brothers), and Dan Bakkedahl (The Daily Show), and is produced by Kupperman, Robert Smigel (SNL, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Scott Jacobson (The Daily Show) and Rich Bloomquist (The Daily Show).
The acclaimed graphic novelist Jason returns with his most eagerly awaited book yet, thanks to the inclusion of the title story, the world’s first (and likely last) chess western, originally serialized in 2008 in the New York Times Sunday Magazine “Funny Pages” section.
This 216-page hardcover book features five yarns — all brand new with the exception of the aforementioned “Low Moon,” which is collected into book form for the first time.
The new stories lead off with “Emily Says Hello,” a typically deadpan Jason tale of murder, revenge and sexual domination. Then, the wordless “&” tells two tales at once: one about a skinny guy trying to steal enough money to save his ill mother, and the other about a fat guy murderously trying to woo his true love. The reason we follow these two parallel stories becomes obvious only on the very last page, in Jason’s inimitable genre-mashing style.
“Early Film Noir” can best be described as The Postman Always Rings Twice meets Groundhog Day. But starring cavemen. And finally, “You Are Here” features alien kidnappings, space travel, and the pain and confusion of family ties, culminating in an enigmatic finale that rivals Jason’s greatest twists.
Funny, poignant, and wry, Low Moon shows one of the world’s most acclaimed graphic novelists at the absolute peak of his powers.
In this issue: Brazilian twins Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon on The Umbrella Academy and breaking into U.S. comics; Perry Bible Fellowship's Nicholas Gurewitch talks about love; brutally honest Thriller artist Trevor Von Eeden on his professional and romantic struggles; Percy Crosby's Skippy rediscovered; Jiro Taniguchi's A Distant Neighborhood previewed; a cartoon interview of Peter Bagge by Noah Van Sciver; and much more!
With Uptight #3 Jordan Crane continues to prove himself to be one of the most skilled and versatile cartoonists of his generation. First he maps uncharted territory of graphic melancholia with a brand new serialized tale of infidelity, "Vicissitude," in sumptuous greytone. He follows that up with the first installment of "Freeze Out," a delightful new all-ages adventure starring Simon & Jack, the boy and cat heroes from Jordan's classic tale The Clouds Above!
As the cast pairs off to commence moving Jain and Pin (and a pampered chicken) into the castle, the conversations range far and wide, from romance to war politics. You'll learn that the wise man always has the right goat for the job, and that sometimes you just have to say "Hooray for ridiculous." Plus, you'll find out what happens when a giant moves to your town (hint: making a pie requires semaphore signals).
If you're one of the first 10 people who ordered the exclusive Luba: Collectors Edition (signed, numbered, and sketched in by Gilbert Hernandez, with a special deluxe cloth binding), your copy is on its way to you this week. Gilbert is sending them back to us in batches of 10, so the next 10 orders will go out as soon as we get the next shipment from him. Only 30 copies exist and they are nearly all spoken for, so if you've been on the fence about ordering it, get off that fence and make your order now! It's the ultimate collectible for the elite Beto fan, available ONLY direct from Fantagraphics.
600-page black & white 7" x 10.25" hardcover • $100.00 SOLD OUT