This original graphic novella is a funny and moving story of escalating humor and tension between two disaffected teens, Mike and Wolf, who take a spontaneous summer road trip after dropping acid. As the stark black and white of Forsman's cartooning indicates, however, this is not a psychedelic, Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby kind of trip. Instead of the escapism they crave from their fragile home lives, the LSD only heightens their sense of ennui, exacerbates their fears about the world they're about to enter as adults, and creates doubts about everything they think they know.
Though it's not entirely what they bargained for, will Mike and Wolf look back on their adventure as part of the "celebrated summer" of their never-to-be-recaptured youth, or a carelessly wasted part of the best years of their lives? Or both?
Veteran alternative cartoonist Jesse Reklaw, creator of the long-running weekly comic strip Slow Wave, delivers this tragicomic graphic memoir, his first long-form work. Presented as a series of comic novellas that together comprise a thoughtful, sometimes dark and often hilarious memoir about childhood, family, death, mental illness, sex and drug use, the entire book is told through cleverly inviting conceits like cat histories and card games.
The graphic novel is told in five parts: In "Thirteen Cats" (featured in The Best American Comics), Reklaw discovers coping mechanisms that mimic his family pets; "Toys I Love" relates the author's pre-pubescent brushes with deviant sexual activity, and the way innocence converges with real sexual trauma; "The Fred Robinson Story" tells the story of Reklaw's period stalking perfect strangers; "The Stacked Deck," in which hereditary influences towards criminal behavior, drug use and depression are explored via card games the author played with his family; and "Lessoned," a family history of mental illness.
“Crane’s art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn’t even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane’s dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art. [Grade:] A-.” – The A.V. Club
"Though he was one of the genre’s pioneers, Roy Crane’s Captain Easy is arguably the most idiosyncratic of all the adventure strips. But it’s this blend of loud slapstick, young-boys-styled adventure and blatant sex appeal that make Captain Easy such a winning, fun strip to read." – Robot 6
"...[O]ne of comics' purest entertainments... Combining cartoony figure drawing and considerable humor with rousing adventure, Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips... exceeds even Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones films in exuberant action and breathless pace." – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In the fourth volume of Fantagraphics' Captain Easy series, our eponymous hero and his loyal sidekick Wash Tubbs answer a newspaper ad that they don’t know is years out of date, and wind up stranded in Guatemala with a busted landing gear and only five dollars to their name. Whoops! They need all their wits and ingenuity to get them out of this fix. Which they manage to do by the skin of their teeth, only to stumble onto a lost city in the jungle. Lost cities in the jungle are never good news, and so it is with our two boisterous heroes. Against all odds, they extricate themselves from this dastardly peril and head for home on a ship carrying tigers (Roy Crane loved to draw tigers). They’re out of danger, right? Wrong! What kind of a Captain Easy adventure would this be without our boys getting stranded on a desert island and encountering the beautiful but savage Wolf Girl (Crane loved to draw Wolf Girls!)?
Don’t miss the last volume of Fantagraphics' glorious reprint of Roy Crane's full color Captain Easy Sunday pages.
Embedded here and in downloadable form is a substantial smattering of pages from our upcoming book Perfect Nonsense: The Chaotic Comics and Goofy Games of George Carlson. The most amazing early 20th century illustrator, comics artist, and creator of absurd whimsy you've probably never heard of, Carlson is finally getting his due in this beautiful and hefty volume. Our excerpt includes portions from throughout the book to give you a sampling of his gorgeous and delightful work for various media. One look and you're certain to fall in love! Pre-order now for projected delivery in mid-to-late January.
"Beautiful. Gfrörer has a light touch in finding the yearning and humor amongst life's hard luck and even harder truths. A genuinely romantic and sensitive book." – Sammy Harkham
"Julia Gfrörer is amongst the most promising artist/authors of her generation. Her work is spare and elegant, yet the hand of the artist is always evident in her line. Her characters inhabit cold or desolate environments, often on the brink of inanition or beyond, yet still yearning to love and be loved. Do not be misled by this artist's sylphlike appearance and those great carrot-colored ramparts at her ear. Gfrörer is a powerhouse. Learn to spell her name." – Phoebe Gloeckner
"No one is wedding horror's darkness to an equally black, equally lacerating emotional palette as effectively as Julia Gfrörer.... When coupled with her delicate linework, the fragile physicality of her characters, and her explicit and non-idealized depictions of sex, the effect is gripping and even in our mundane world, ominously familiar." – Sean T. Collins
"Julia Gfrörer’s Black Is the Color... is sublimely weird. Or weirdly sublime — probably both." – Nick Abadzis
Black is the Color begins with a 17th century sailor abandoned at sea by his shipmates, and as it progresses he endures, and eventually succumbs to, both his lingering death sentence and the advances of a cruel and amorous mermaid. The narrative also explores the experiences of the loved ones he leaves behind, on his ship and at home on land, as well as of the mermaids who jadedly witness his destruction. At the heart of the story lie the dubious value of maintaining dignity to the detriment of intimacy, and the erotic potential of the worst case scenario.
Julia Gfrörer's delicate drawing style perfectly complements the period era of Black Is the Color, bringing the lyricism and romanticism of Gfrörer's prose to the fore. Black Is the Color is a book as seductive as the sirens it depicts.
"[Hornschemeier's] art encompass[es] many different styles, from richly layered classical surrealism to densely structured and primary color-heavy McSweeney's-style illustrations. But taken together, the work exhibits an instantly recognizable and distinctive panache." – Publishers Weekly
"Hornschemeier's style is every style. ...a formidable creative." – Byron Kerman, PLAYBACK:stl
"Paul avoids the hammering sentimentality and labored connect-all-the-dots obviousness of too much contemporary work, in any media." – Jonathan Lethem
A self-portrait through one hundred portraits, Artists Authors Thinkers Directors explores cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier's sketchbook renderings of those who shaped his (and many others') artistic views.
Culled from his drawing blog — The Daily Forlorn, one of Tumblr's featured illustration blogs — these portraits are as stylistically varied as the subjects they portray. A scrawled, single line drawing of Lenny Bruce shares space with a triangular Werner Heisenberg. A monochromatic, stippled Stanley Kubrick stares intently at a muppet-headed Frank Oz. Each turn of the page offers a new take on a familiar face.
In the afterword, Hornschemeier includes brief notes on each portrait and that creator's particular work or insight that spoke specifically to him. And in that specificity, much of what is universally affecting in each creator shines through.
Hornschemeier's graphic novels hop from one aesthetic to the next, varying the line and color quality to depict his narrative's mood. He plays with the language of comics. In these portraits we can clearly see him hard at experimentation, adding to his vocabulary.
BONUS: The first four pre-orders we get for this book will also receive So-So Heroes, Paul's portfolio of 30 colorful, witty postcards, for FREE courtesy of Chronicle Books! It's an oddball collection of misfits, monsters, and utterly curious characters, all involved in hilariously insignificant adventures. Each image is rich with Hornschemeier's signature wit and visual flair. Order now!