Having mastered comic books and gag cartoons, in 1958, nearly two decades after he unveiled Plastic Man to the world, Jack Cole set his sights on the cartoonist's pot of gold — a syndicated newspaper strip. He hit the bull's-eye with Betsy and Me, a breezy domestic farce focusing on a middle-class urban couple and their smart-aleck genius son. Cole stripped his style down to its bare essentials, creating a strip that sparkles with economy, wit, and charm. What gave the strip its edge, however, was Cole's innovative storytelling, which utilized ironic tension between protagonist Chet Tibbit's words and actions to reveal him as fatuous and delusional. Betsy and Me was an instant success and newspapers were lining up to buy it. Then, with only two-and-a-half months' worth of strips completed, Cole purchased a .22 caliber pistol and ended his life. R.C. Harvey's insightful introduction serves as a biographical sketch and sheds light on the circumstances surrounding Cole's suicide.
Perla begins with the "Wigwam Bam" story, arguably Jaime Hernandez's definitive statement on the post-punk culture. As Maggie, Hopey, and the rest of the Locas prowl Los Angeles, the East Coast, and parts in between trying to recapture the carefree spirit of those early days. "Wigwam Bam" brings us up to date on all the members of Jaime's extensive cast of characters and then drops a narrative bomb on Hopey (and us) in the very last pages. Split up from Hopey yet again, Maggie bounces back and forth between a one-laundromat town in Texas (the "Chester Square" that serves as the title of two of the strongest stories in the book), where she has to contend with both her own inner demons and a murderous hooker, and Camp Vicki, where she has to fend off her aunt Vicki's attempts to make her a professional wrestler and the unwanted advances of the amorous wrestling champ-to-be, Gina. As usual, Jaime spotlights a wide range of headstrong female characters. And what's this about Maggie getting married?
288-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover $16.95
Beyond Palomar collects two of Gilbert's groundbreaking works about the Central American hamlet of Palomar in one affordable book. "Poison River" is a dizzying period piece often hailed as one of Hernandez's masterpieces. It traces the pre-Palomar childhood of Luba, her teenage marriage to gangster Peter Rio, the secrets behind her mysterious mother, all the way up to her subsequent escape and arrival in Palomar. "Love and Rockets X," set in the early 1990s (in the waning years of Bush I's post-Reagan hangover, with Gulf War I in the background), takes us from plush Beverly Hills to the dangerous east side and introduces us to a dizzyingly diverse cast of characters, including a lowlife rock 'n' roll band, a "posse" of black youths, a ditzy Hollywood mom and her spoiled son, a gay activist filmmaker and his rebellious, half-Iraqi daughter, and a group of racist thugs whose violent attack on an older woman sets the plot in motion.
256-page black & white 7.5" x 9.25" softcover $16.95
November is Classic Comic Strip Month! 20% Off Comic Strip Reprint Books
Fantagraphics Books is celebrating national Classic Comic Strip Month in November with a 20% discount on all strip reprint titles. Now is the time to explore the delightful works of timeless artists like Winsor McCay (Little Nemo in Slumberland), E.C. Segar (Popeye), Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), George Herriman (Krazy Kat), and the incomparable Charles M. Schulz (Peanuts), among countless others.
Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery in Seattle will feature these and other titles all month long at 20% off our already bargain prices. Look for similar promotions at your local shop and pick up a copy of the free "Comic Strip Masterpieces" tabloid.
Fantagraphics Bookstore is located at 1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S.) in Seattle's lively Georgetown arts district. We're open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: 206.658.0110. Don't miss our spectacular "Unseen Peanuts" exhibition of rarely seen works by Charles M. Schulz opening Friday, November 23 continuing through December 31, 2007.
I was totally unfamiliar with Dash Shaw until his 720 page graphic novel showed up on my desk (to be published by Fantagraphics next season). And I confess I haven't made it through the book yet but just reading what I have I'm sold that this is going to be an amazing book that will create a hell of a lot of Shaw fans. Mike Baehr also pointed me to his weirdo drawings of Ninja Turtles from his childhood. And I repeat: 720 pages!
Hear Joe Sacco's entire half-hour discussion of Palestine: The Special Edition and his other works at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery last weekend by downloading this 20 MB MP3. (Pardon the low-fi quality; the tape recorder had a few glitches and speed issues, and I think some of the quieter moments might have been dropped, but I tried to correct what problems I could and de-chipmunk it as much as possible.) Photos and video clips can be seen on this page.
I just received this email from Carol Tyler: . "Please spread the word: Justin had a sketchbook stolen - it was about half full, containing rough sketches and writings. He was giving a demonstration at the college where I teach [in Cincinnati] and someone walked off with it. It went missing on October 17. I've notified the authorities. I want those who buy and collect comic art to know about it being stolen property. Keep our eyes on ebay."
If anyone has any information regarding this, please contact
UPDATE: Carol Tyler tells me that the sketchbook was returned anonymously! Happy ending!
It's Steve Ditko's 80th birthday today, and we'd like to take the opportunity to make the following announcement:
COMING IN JUNE 2008... STRANGE & STRANGER: THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO
Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the June 2008 release of the first critical retrospective of Steve Ditko, the co-creator and original artist of the Amazing Spider-Man.
In the wake of the astonishing success of Sam Raimi's three Spider-Man movies, Steve Ditko's status as a driving force behind the pop culture icon has been revealed to an audience the world over. But, in the context of Steve Ditko's 50-year career in comics, his creative involvement with Spider-Man is merely the tip of the iceberg.
JIM WOODRING'S IVORY TOWER ART OUTLET is offering a slew of new paintings and drawings for sale at great prices. So great, in fact, that my wife and I just decided to buy this one for each other for Christmas:
Register and Login to receive full member benefits, including members-only special offers, commenting privileges on Flog! The Fantagraphics Blog, newsletters and special announcements via email, and stuff we haven't even thought of yet. Membership is free and spam-free, so Sign Up Today!