In just a few short weeks - April 15, 2012 - the world will mark the 100th Anniversary of sinking of the RMS Titanic in icy North Atlantic waters, which remains one of the largest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
This month, Fantagraphics releases The Big Town, the new novel by Monte Schulz. This wonderful period novel, an allegory for the American dream as seen through the eyes of one man, is the third in a trilogy of novels set in the summer of 1929 (following This Side of Jordan and The Last Rose of Summer) that together form a sprawling tapestry of the American Jazz Age.
To celebrate the release of The Big Town, and to honor the memory of the victims and survivors of the Titanic on the centennial of its tragic fate, we are proud to release a free, standalone excerpt from The Big Town that presents a gripping, fictionalized account of the Titanic disaster. It all begins at High Society cocktail party in the big town, where a tony socialite makes conversation with the novel's protagonist...
"I conceived this story back in ‘93 and put it into the novel about three years or so later," says Schulz. "Some people have argued that the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 was an ending to the 19th century, so I rendered it as a life resolving event. I also wanted my character Harry to hear it as a reminder of the fragility of family."
THE BIG TOWN A Novel by Monte Schulz ISBN 978-160699-503-7
"Bold and stirring, The Big Town is a big walk through the dark side of Jazz Age America, a place where temptation and violence were only a breath away. A finely-textured tale of moral ambiguity told with gripping realism that richly evokes the sights and sounds of an era defined by gangsters and Gatsby."
That's right, the awesome Monster Brains blog got their hands on an exclusive 5-page sneak peek of Prison Pit Book 4, the next volume of Johnny Ryan's senses-shredding ass-demolishing opus of ultraviolence and insanity, coming this Fall!
Are you excited? Are you as excited as THIS GUY???
344-page black & white 8.5" x 7" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-523-5
Ships in: March 2012 (subject to change)
As Peanuts reaches the mid-1980s, Charles Schulz is still creating and playing with new characters, and in this volume Snoopy’s deadpan, droopy-mustached brother Spike takes center stage: Surrounded by coyotes in the desert where he lives and who are attacking him with rubber bands, he sends a frantic message to Snoopy who launches an expedition to save him. Then, he makes the long trek back to Snoopy’s neck of the woods accompanied by his only friend (a cactus, of course)… and throughout the rest of the book, pops up in hilarious, Waiting for Godot-style vignettes set in his native Needles.
In romantic news, the Peppermint Patty-Marcie-Charlie Brown love triangle of overlapping unrequited love heats up (well, kind of), while Linus continues to vociferously deny that he is Sally’s “Sweet Babboo”; of course, Lucy’s unsuccessful pursuit of Schroeder remains unabated. Also, a romance blossoms between two of Snoopy’s “Beagle Scout” birds. (We will pass over Spike’s brief attraction to one of the coyotes.)
In what is probably his most baroque and hilarious baseball-involved humiliation yet, Charlie Brown agrees to join Peppermint Patty’s team the “Pelicans” only to discover that he’s wanted not as a player but as a mascot… Linus gives up his security blanket and forms a support group for other kids who are trying to do the same… and Peppermint Patty manages to be held back in school (leaving a “Snoring Ghost” to take her place in the rest of the class that has advanced) and yet get to go on a European trip with her dad, sending back periodic dispatches from the road. All this plus appearances from Franklin, Rerun, and the rest of the gang in these strips from a period of Peanuts that’s far less well-known than the endlessly-collected 1960s and 1970s eras…
Download and read a 17-page PDF excerpt (3.1 MB) with all the strips from January 1983.
T. Ott plunges into the darkness with five graphic horror novelettes: "The Hotel," "The Champion," "The Experiment," "The Prophet," and the story which frames it all, "The Girl," each executed in his hallucinatory and hyper-detailed scratchboard style.
The first story in the book introduces the other four: A little girl visits an amusement park. She looks fascinated, but finds everything too expensive. Finally, behind the rollercoaster she eyeballs a small booth with "CINEMA PANOPTICUM" written on it. Inside there are boxes with screens. Every box contains a movie; the title of each appears on each screen. Each costs only one coin, so the price is right for the little girl. She puts her money in the first box: "The Hotel" begins. In the film, a traveler goes to sleep in what seems to be an otherwise empty hotel. His awakening is the stuff of nightmares.
"The Champion," the second film, introduces a Mexican wrestler who fights against death himself. In a typical Ott twist, he wins and loses at the same time. In the third film, "The Experiment," a short-sighted man initially goes blind from some pills his doctor gave him, but soon the blindness wears off and he finds they accord quite a view. In the final story, "The Prophet," a vagrant foresees the end of the world and tries to warn people, but nobody believes him. They will soon enough...
Ott’s O. Henry-esque plot twists will delight fans of classic horror like The Twilight Zone and Tales From the Crypt, or modern efforts like M. Night Shyamalan’s films (well, the good ones); his artwork will haunt you long after you’ve put the book down.
Download and read a 14-page PDF excerpt (1.9 MB) with the introductory story, "The Girl."
Last week Joe Daly let us know that Dungeon Quest Book 3 (coming this summer), already planned to be double the length of the previous two volumes of the series, has turned out to be even longer and more epic, fattening up from 240 to 288 pages! (This also means we're raising the price by a buck.) If you're not already on board this Angoulême Jury Prize-winning and Ignatz Award-nominated series, which is jam-packed with outrageous action, hilarious stoner humor, nutty characters and eye-popping settings, for goodness sake order our money-saving bundle of Books 1 & 2 and get yourself caught up!
This is as good an excuse as any to reveal this 5-page sneak peek we've had hiding under our hat for a while. As you can see, Joe's art is getting more and more polished and confident and just plain gorgeous. Click each image to enlarge it in a new window. Enjoy!
Like a Velvet Glove... collects all 10 chapters of Eightball's terrifying and fascinating journey into madness that makes Twin Peaks look like Teletubbies. As Clay Loudermilk attempts to unravel the mysteries behind a snuff film, he finds himself involved with an increasingly bizarre cast of characters, including a pair of sadistic cops who carve a strange symbol into the heel of Clay's foot; a horny over-the-hill suburban woman whose sexual encounter with a mysterious water creature produced a grotesquely misshapen, but no less horny, mutant daughter; a dog with no orifices whatsoever (it has to be fed by injection); two ominous victims of extremely bad hair implants; a charismatic Manson-like cult leader who plans to kidnap a famous advice columnist and many more! This edition has a brand new cover, new title and end pages — PLUS — Clowes being the perfectionist that he is, there are tweaked and re-drawn panels that really make this a transcendent piece of storytelling art!
Download and read the complete first chapter in a 13-page PDF excerpt (2.2 MB).
A novel of the Jazz Age, The Big Town is the story of a failed businessman whose dreams of prosperity hinge on the secret proposition of a millionaire industrialist and a dangerous relationship he finds with a poor orphan girl chasing love in the great American metropolis.
Harry Hennesey’s hopes of success, both in his household and the world, have driven him to sell his home in an Illinois small town and take his chances in the big city. He rents a room in a run-down hotel. He deals in wholesale items scavenged from yard sales and close-outs. One night at a movie theater downtown, he meets a teenage flapper named Pearl who latches onto him and won’t let go. For several years now, Harry has threatened his marriage and self-esteem with innumerable infidelities. Now he finds himself falling in love with a girl less than half his age. But that’s not all.
Charles A. Follette, chairman of the board of the American Prometheus Corporation, comes to him with a slick proposition: find Follette’s missing niece, and the road to riches shall be his. Soon, though, Harry discovers a darker secret to the identity of the missing niece and what lies behind the urgency for her detection. It’s this revelation that leads him to a closer examination of what it means to the life he’s known since the birth of his children and that life he believes awaits him if he can only reach the top of the ladder.
Harry’s story in The Big Town is set against a fantastic backdrop of an archetypal 1920s American big city. We see speakeasies, sanitariums, skyscrapers, and a glittering Gatsby-like party high atop the metropolis. Lost in his own moral confusions, we watch Harry try to reform his young lover and uncover the secret of her own past in a small canal town miles beyond a city where gangsters murder ordinary citizens and everyone seems to have a get-rich scheme as the Roaring ’20s come to a thunderous close. The Big Town evokes a lost era through language and flamboyant characters reminiscent of Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, Ring Lardner, etc. Yet it’s also eerily relevant to our own time with its study of the role of business, crime, morality, and love in our lives.
Download and read a 24-page PDF excerpt (186 KB) including the first two chapters.
"Monte Schulz's The Big Town exposes decadence, wealth and consumption in Jazz Age America as spiritual myopia — where desperate, haunting characters hinge their lives on impossible dreams. This lyrical, gripping novel is as close to 1920s America as it gets, and penned with such frightening realism that the chaos of a bygone era erupts from its pages." – Simon Van Booy, award-winning author of Everything Beautiful Began After
"Bold and stirring, The Big Town is a big walk through the dark side of Jazz Age America, a place where temptation and violence were only a breath away. A finely-textured tale of moral ambiguity told with gripping realism that richly evokes the sights and sounds of an era defined by gangsters and Gatsby." — Persia Walker, author of Black Orchid Blues
This long out-of-print first volume of the multiple Harvey and Eisner award- winning Complete Crumb Comics series has been one of our most demanded reprints. Now, this landmark volume of Robert Crumb’s formative years not only returns, but also boasts a major discovery not included in prior editions: a never-before-published, 60 page “home-made” Arcade comic from 1962.
Growing up, Robert and his brother Charles often created their own comic books. These “home-made” editions were usually produced in editions of one. As such, many have been lost to time or private collections. What hasn’t comprises much of the first two volumes of The Complete Crumb series. Their creation continued throughout the 1950s and into the early ’60s and eventually the content of Crumb’s work gradually matured from the light-hearted, funny animal antics of earlier years to stories that flashed signals of what we now recognize as “true Crumb.”
This previously undiscovered Arcade “issue,” from May, 1962, shows many flashes of where Crumb was heading (whereas Charles had all but abandoned drawing comics by the ’60s). The 17-page strip “Jim” is the most emotionally-charged work of Crumb’s young life to that point, a gentle and psychologically astute look at a boy who needs a mother, and also brimming with signs of his increasing frustration with Catholicism. It also features the first quintessential “Crumb girl,” Mabel.
This volume also includes several early Fritz the Cat stories (a.k.a. “Animal Town Comics”), and the classic “Treasure Island Days” (as seen in the Crumb film) and is rounded out with other strips, diary entries and sketches that will be a treasure trove for Crumb fans, all defining work from Crumb’s formative years as a cartoonist, spanning the years 1958-1962 (when Crumb was ages 15-19) and featuring material from other “home-made” comics of the era. This is Ground Zero for a man who may well be the greatest cartoonist who ever lived.
Download and read a PDF excerpt (10 MB) with 9 pages of previously unpublished material.
Noted music producer and scholar Pat Thomas spent five years in Oakland, CA researching Listen, Whitey! The Sights and Sounds of Black Power 1965-1975. While befriending members of the Black Panther Party, Thomas discovered rare recordings of speeches, interviews, and music by noted activists Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, Elaine Brown, The Lumpen and many others that form the framework of this definitive retrospective.
Listen, Whitey! also chronicles the forgotten history of Motown Records. From 1970 to 1973, Motown’s Black Power subsidiary label, Black Forum, released politically charged albums by Stokely Carmichael, Amiri Baraka, Langston Hughes, Bill Cosby & Ossie Davis, and many others, all represented.
Also explored are the musical connections between Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Graham Nash, the Partridge Family (!?!) and the Black Power movement. Obscure recordings produced by SNCC, Ron Karenga’s US, the Tribe and other African-American sociopolitical organizations of the late 1960s and early ’70s are examined along with the Isley Brothers, Nina Simone, Archie Shepp, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Clifford Thornton, Watts Prophets, Last Poets, Gene McDaniels, Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, Stanley Crouch, and others that spoke out against oppression.
Other sections focus on Black Consciousness poetry (from the likes of Jayne Cortez, wife of Ornette Coleman), inspired religious recordings that infused god and Black Nationalism, obscure regional and privately pressed Black Power 7-inch soul singles from across America. 90,000 words of text are accompanied by over 250 large sized, full-color reproductions of album covers and 45 rpm singles — most of which readers will have never seen before.
Download and read a 15-page PDF excerpt (1.7 MB) with the Table of Contents, Introduction and complete Chapter 1.