Created in 1984 as a supporting character for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo has vaulted to the very forefront of iconic modern comics characters and is a perennial favorite amongst young boys and adult fans. Usagi Yojimbo chronicles the action-packed wanderings of a masterless samurai (a “ronin”) in feudal Japan — as told with funny-animals. (If PIXAR and the late Akira Kurosawa were to collaborate on a movie, it might very well look like this.)
For the first ten years of his career, the battling bunny was published by Fantagraphics Books. In honor of his 25th anniversary, Fantagraphics is releasing a deluxe slipcase set collecting the seven first Usagi books. With over 1000 pages of story, this is the complete, definitive, early Usagi. This Special Edition will also be brimming with extra material, including a complete full-color gallery of the more than 50 Usagi covers from that period (never-before-collected); preparatory sketches, including Sakai’s original first draft of the “Samurai” story; two “non-canon” Usagi stories by Sakai co-starring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (with whom Usagi also shared screen time in the TMNT TV series); the rare behind-the-scenes "How I Draw Usagi Yojimbo" strip; Introductions by Stan Sakai and Stan Lee; and a feature-length, career-spanning interview with Sakai.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 31-page PDF excerpt (2.9 MB) containing the first 3 parts of the origin flashback story "Samurai"!
1954 and 1955 were tough years for the fledgling cartoonist: A life-threatening bout with tuberculosis sidelined him for almost a year, and his main client, Charlton Comics, suffered a devastating flood that forced it to shut its doors temporarily. Yet Ditko's enforced time off and subsequent need to seek out new clients (most particularly Marvel Comics, for whom he would go on to create Spider-Man), as well as his stubborn devotion to his craft, brought about an astonishing series of quantum leaps in his work — as displayed in this volume (following the best-selling Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1) of more than 200 pages' worth of never-before-collected horror and science-fiction stories from the early career of a comics great. Introduction by series editor Blake Bell.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 18-page PDF excerpt (8.5 MB) containing three thrilling tales!
Joyce Farmer’s memoir chronicles the decline of the author’s parents’ health, their relationship with one another and with their their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives.
Elderly parents Lara and Rachel, who have enjoyed a long and loving married life together, are rendered in fine, confident pen lines. Set in southern Los Angeles (which makes for a terrifying sequence as blind Rachel and ailing Lars are trapped in their home without power during the 1992 Rodney King riots), backgrounds and props are lovingly detailed: these objects serve as memory triggers for Lars and Rachel, even as they eventually overwhelm them and their home, which the couple is loathe to leave. Special Exits is laid out in an eight-panel grid, which creates a leisurely storytelling pace that not only helps to convey the slow, inexorable decline in Lars’ and Rachel’s health, but perfectly captures the timbre of the exchanges between a long-married couple: the affectionate bickering; their gallows humor; their querulousness as their bodies break down.
Though Lars and Rachel are the protagonists of Special Exits, Farmer makes her voice known through creative visual metaphors and in her indictment of the careless treatment of the elderly in nursing homes. Special Exits gracefully deals with the hard reality of caring for aging loved ones: those who are or who have been in similar situations might find comfort in it, and those who haven’t will find much to admire in the bravery and good humor of Lars and Rachel.
Joyce Farmer, best known for co-creating the Tits ’n Clits comics anthology in the 1970s, a feminist response to the rampant misogyny in underground comix, spent 11 years crafting Special Exits, a graphic memoir in the vein of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home or Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, and Frank Stack’s Our Cancer Year, about caring for her dying father and stepmother.
"One of the best long-narrative comics I've ever read, right up there with Maus... I actually found myself moved to tears. – R. Crumb
With its long-awaited second volume, this witty and sublimely drawn fantasy eases into a relaxed comedy of manners as Lady Jain settles into her new life in Castle Waiting.
Unexpected visitors result in the discovery and exploration of a secret passageway, not to mention an epic bowling tournament. A quest for ladies’ underpants, the identity of Pindar’s father, the education of Simon, Rackham and Chess arguing about the “manly arts,” and an escape-prone goat are just a few of the elements in this delightful new volume.
The book also includes many flashbacks that deepen the stories behind the characters, including Jain’s earliest romantic entanglements and conflicts with her bratty older sisters, the horrific past of the enigmatic Dr. Fell, and more.
A matching volume to 2009’s Almost Silent, What I Did collects three of Jason’s acclaimed 1990s graphic novels into a handsome, definitive omnibus format.
"Hey, Wait...," which was the first of Jason's books to be translated to English, tells the story of two childhood friends. A dreadful event midway through the story changes their lives forever, and the story becomes the summary of lives lived, wasted, and lost. Jason's sparse dialogue, dark wit, and supremely bold use of "jump-cuts" from one scene to the next make "Hey, Wait..." a surprising and engaging debut.
"Sshhhh!" is one of Jason’s virtuoso silent performances, the cradle-to-grave life of one of his bird-headed characters. A sharp suite of short tales, ranging from funny to terrifying to surreal to touching, all told entirely in pantomime. Jason's clean, deadpan art style hides a wealth of emotion and human complexity, leavened with a wicked wit.
And the one Jason fans have been waiting for is the long-out-of-print "The Iron Wagon," an ingenious, atypically (for Jason) talky murder mystery set in early-20th-century Norway, adapted from a classic Norwegian novel by Stein Riverton — albeit starring Jason’s patented blank-eyed animal-headed characters and told in moody two-color panels.
Download an EXCLUSIVE 23-page PDF excerpt (864 KB) with pages from each story.
Loosely based on a teenager’s diary from the 1980s found in a gas-station bathroom, Unlovable is the remarkable story of Tammy Pierce, as filtered through the pen and brush of Los Angeles artist Esther Pearl Watson. This boxed set collects the complete, acclaimed two-volume saga of Tammy’s sophomore year of high school in 1989.
Tammy has built a devoted following over the last several years in the pages of BUST magazine, where Unlovable continues to be serialized on the magazine’s back page, and this beautifully produced, slipcased collection features all 832 pages of her sometimes ordinary, sometimes humiliating, often poignant and always hilarious exploits. Her hopes, dreams, agonies and defeats are brought to vivid, comedic life by Watson’s lovingly grotesque drawings, filled with all the eighties essentials — too much mascara, leg warmers with heels and huge hair, etc. — as well as timeless teen concerns like acne, dandruff, and the opposite sex (or same sex, in some cases). Unlovable addresses the mysteries of adolescence through Tammy’s naivete; girls and women in particular will find much that resonates, but men will also relate to Unlovable’s universal humor and wide cast of characters. Tammy’s life isn’t pretty, but it is endlessly charming and hilarious.
This complete edition is handsomely packaged in a specially designed, sturdy slipcase, making it an ideal gift item.
For decades they have roamed the seas, this shipload of undead pirates. They are desperate to die, but every time they try to dash their ship to splinters and end their miserable existence, a malevolent God scoops them out of danger. And so they have no choice but to continue to sail the seas, looting and killing.
Until one day, having exterminated yet another ship of the living, they come across a little pink baby. Adopting him as their mascot and dubbing him their "Littlest King," they continue their journeys. But eventually the King begins to grow up...
Adapted by David B., the acclaimed creator of Epileptic, from a short story by Pierre Mac Orlan (which was published decades before the release of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, thank you very much), The Littlest Pirate King is David B.'s first full-color graphic novel to be released in English, and his vivid palette combines with his stunningly elegant graphics to create a magical yarn that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
32-page full-color 8.5" x 11.25" hardcover • $14.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-402-3
Ships in: November 2010 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now http://www.fantagraphics.com/toysinthebasement
With appearances in such anthologies as Zero Zero, Blab! and Kramer's Ergot, Stéphane Blanquet has been delighting and terrifying American readers with his superslick, ultradetailed creepiness.
So it makes perfect sense that his first graphic novel to be published in the U.S. would be... a children's book? Yes indeed.
Our hero, attending a Halloween party in an embarrassing pink bunny costume (he wanted to be a pirate) stumbles across a secret underground society of damaged, forgotten, and pissed-off toys in the basement of his friend's house — including the terrifying Amelia, a towering sentient assemblage of broken toy parts out for revenge!
Imagine Toy Story as reimagined by David Lynch and Charles Burns and you'll have a good idea of what this story is like. And yes, it is for kids!
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