"Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen is a tour de force. There's something very pure about Dylan Horrocks' comics. That’s perhaps an odd word to describe this book which is so much about desire. But Horrocks' line and his imagination both seem to flow freely and directly from some primal source. If you've ever wished that Hergé had written comics for grown-ups—gorgeously drawn and playful adventures that explore the serious anxieties of midlife—your wish has come true, and then some." – Alison Bechdel
"This book is necessary for anyone paralyzed even a bit by the creative/spiritual confusion of the digital age. Horrocks explores the role and responsibility of storytelling, juggling genres, fiddling with the mechanics of the comics form, and reclaiming the sense of magic that once reigned the medium—a playfulness contagious for the reader. Like his Hicksville, a must have in every library." – Craig Thompson (Blankets)
"Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen is a coming-of-age story for the fantasies of our past and a joyful bear hug for the storytellers of our future. An effortless, magical read from front to back." – Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics)
Acclaimed cartoonist Dylan Horrocks returns with a long-awaited new graphic novel, the first since his perennial classic, 1998's Hicksville (new edition, VUP 2010).
Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn't drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen, encountering sex-crazed aliens, medieval monks, pirates, pixies and—of course—cartoonists. Funny, erotic, and thoughtful, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen explores the pleasures, dangers, and moral consequences of fantasy.
"Wood’s work seemed like snapshots of a lush and vibrant reality where even madmen, monsters and mayhem possessed a stately grace. There might be pandemonium but, oddly, the panic never seemed to reach the eyes of Wood’s regal heroes." – Geoff Boucher, The Los Angeles Times
"Legendary artist [Wally] Wood mastered every comic-book genre—humor (he was one of Mad's first artists), horror, superheroes, war—but is best known for the 1950s science-fiction stories he drew for EC Comics, in which, one commentator noted, he 'began drawing things into panels that no human being seemed capable of before.' His heroic spacemen, intricate rocket ships, and frightening aliens embodied classic space opera, and his influence remains visible in the work of many leading comics artists today." – Gordon Flagg, Booklist
In Gilbert Hernandez's latest Love and Rockets book, Ofelia, Luba, her sisters, and their children are about settled into their new lives and homes in California. In the first 13 pages of our downloadable excerpt, the kids discuss Socorro's amazing ability to remember things, and then Luba tells her that she will skip another grade next year at school.
Ofelia is slated to come out in January and is ready for your pre-orders now! We know you've been hankering for some new Love and Rockets, so secure your copy soon—and why not check out Love and Rockets: New Stories #7 while you're at it?
"Cult" cartoonist Frank Stack is best known as the artist behind Harvey Pekar's award-winning graphic novel, My Cancer Year (his art was featured in the American Splendor film), and as the creator of the first underground comic book, The Adventures of Jesus. Foolbert Funnies collects comics—inspired by Stack's pop culture-filled childhood and travails as a fine arts professor—that ran in National Lampoon and other publications. (For decades, Stack's work was published under the pseudonym "Foolbert Sturgeon" to protect his career.) In Foolbert Funnies, you will find adventuress Dirty Diana; nostalgic time traveler Frank Crankcase; commonsensical Dr. Feelgood; politician Paddy Booshwah; "Southern Fried Homicide"; and a host of Amazons, artists, and pulp heroes, all depicted in Stack's scratchy, hatchy "crowquill" style. This "best of the rest" is a tribute to a Texan who's been quietly creating observational, iconoclastic art for more than forty years.
"His covers are really noir: spirals, figures falling down through space, big spider webs, just great… The colors are all totally primary: just bright red, blue, almost no subtle colors… they really work." – R. Crumb
In 2012, Lucy Knisley decided to accompany her grandparents on a cruise vacation for the elderly. In her latest travel memoir, Displacement, she recounts her experiences being their care-taker, reflecting on their ailing health and declining abilities, and coming to terms with mortality.
Wallace Wood fans love his sleek, preternaturally lush art, but they especially love the wonderment of his spectacular science fiction. This highly anticipated mouth-watering collection features over two dozen stories brimming with Wood’s meticulously detailed, genre-defining brushwork—all save the one Wood wrote himself on the typewriter of EC editor Al Feldstein. And with titles like "Spawn of Mars," "The Dark Side of the Moon," "A Trip to a Star," "The Invaders," "The Secret of Saturn's Ring," and "The Two-Century Journey," how can you go wrong? This is EC science fiction at its finest. Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Spawn of Mars and Other Stories features essays and notes by EC experts on these superbly crafted, classic comic book masterpieces.
The 1950s were also a launching pad for some of the greatest comic book artists in history, many of whom worked for EC—including Wallace Wood, whose hypnotically detailed, lushly expressive brushwork brought to life menacing thugs, ominous cityscapes, and small-town America, as well as Everymen grappling with profound moral issues—not to mention some of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful women ever to sashay across a comic book page.
Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Spawn of Mars features extensive essays and notes on these classic stories by EC experts — but the real "meat" of the matter (sometimes literally, in the grislier stories) is supplied by these often lurid, sometimes downright over-the-top, but always compelling and superbly crafted, classic comic-book masterpieces.