It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments. Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks.
Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism — and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist.
Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably "The New," a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. "The New" is set in an unnamed third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.
Castle Waiting is the story of an isolated, abandoned castle, and the eccentric inhabitants who bring it back to life. A fable for modern times, it is a fairy tale that’s not about rescuing the princess, saving the kingdom, or fighting the ultimate war between Good and Evil — but about being a hero in your own home. The opening chapter tells the origin of the castle itself, which is abandoned by its princess in a comic twist on “Sleeping Beauty” when she rides off into the sunset with her Prince Charming. The castle becomes a refuge for misfits, outcasts, and others seeking sanctuary, playing host to a lively and colorful cast of characters that inhabits the subsequent stories, including a talking anthropomorphic horse, a mysteriously pregnant Lady on the run, and a bearded nun.
Linda Medley lavishly illustrates Castle Waiting in a classic visual style reminiscent of Arthur Rackham and William Heath Robinson. Blending elements from a variety of sources — fairy tales, folklore, nursery rhymes — Medley tells the story of the everyday lives of fantastic characters with humor, intelligence, and insight into human nature. Castle Waiting can be read on multiple levels and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
The third volume of Fantagraphics’ reprinting of Carl Barks’s classic Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge work, like the previous volume Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man, focuses on the early 1950s, universally considered one of Barks’s very peak periods.
Originally published in 1951, "A Christmas for Shacktown" is one of Barks's masterpieces: A rare 32-pager that stays within the confines of Duckburg, featuring a storyline in which the Duck family works hard to raise money to throw a Christmas party for the poor children of the city’s slums (depicted by Barks with surprisingly Dickensian grittiness), and climaxing in one of the most memorable images Barks ever created, the terrifying bottomless pit that swallows up all of Scrooge's money.
But there's lots more gold to be found in this volume (literally), which features both the "The Golden Helmet" (a quest off the coast of Labrador for a relic that might grant the finder ownership of America, reducing more than one cast member to a state of Gollum-like covetousness) while "The Gilded Man" features a hunt for a rare stamp in South America — two more of Barks's thrilling full-length adventure stories.
But that's less than half the volume! This volume also features ten of Barks's smart and funny 10-pagers, including a double whammy of yarns co-starring Donald's insufferable cousin ("Gladstone’s Usual Very Good Year" and "Gladstone’s Terrible Secret"), as well as another nine of Barks's rarely seen one-page Duck gags… all painstakingly recolored to match the original coloring as exactly as possible, and supplemented with an extensive series of notes and behind-the-scenes essays by the foremost Duck experts in the world.
Basil Wolverton is one of the greatest, most idiosyncratic talents in comic book history. Though he is best known for his humorous grotesqueries in MAD magazine, it is his science-fiction character Spacehawk that Wolverton fans have most often demanded be collected. The wait is over, as Spacehawk features every story from Spacehawk’s intergalactic debut in 1940 to his final, Nazi-crushing adventure in 1942.
Spacehawk is the closest thing to a colorfully-costumed, conventional action hero Wolverton ever created, yet the strip is infused with Wolverton’s quintessential weirdness: controlled, organic artwork of strangely repulsive aliens and monsters and bizarre planets, and stories of gruesome retribution that bring to mind Wolverton’s peer, Fletcher Hanks. Spacehawk had no secret identity, no fixed base of operations beyond his spaceship, and no sidekicks or love interests. He had but one mission in life: to protect the innocent throughout the Solar System, and to punish the guilty. He was a dark — yet much more visually playful — counterpart to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
Spacehawk also includes the character’s final and rarely-seen Earthbound adventures. As the U.S. became involved in World War II, Spacehawk returned to 20th Century America to join the United States’ efforts in defeating fascism, which he does by patrolling the Earth’s stratosphere, looking for wrongdoing.
While supplies last, customers who order this volume can also receive the box set slipcase for Vols. 1 and 2 at no extra charge!
Even though Pogo had been in syndication for less than two years as this volume begins, Walt Kelly's long professional experience (including seven years creating Pogo stories for comic books) had him at the peak of his powers, and this book features page after page of gorgeously drawn, hilarious vaudevillian dialogue and action among the swamp denizens, as well as Kelly's increasingly sharp-tongued political satire — especially on display during the 1952 election season.
Kelly was famous for his prolific creation of recurring characters, and by the end of this second volume, the count will already have topped over one hundred. New arrivals include Tammanany the Tiger, the voluble P.T. Bridgeport, the sinister Sarcophagus MacAbre (with his funereal speech balloons), Uncle Antler the bull moose... and Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred, the adorable trio of bats.
The two years of daily strips in this volume (all the strips from 1951 and 1952) have been collected before but in now long out of print books; and even there they were not as meticulously restored and reproduced as in this new series. Bona Fide Balderdash also reprints, literally for the first time ever in full color, the two full years of Sunday pages, also carefully restored and color-corrected, shot from the finest copies available.
This second volume is once again edited and designed by the cartoonist’s daughter, Carolyn Kelly, who is also handling much of the restoration work. It includes a new introduction by the legendary author, recording artist, and satirist Stan Freberg, who was not only a friend of Kelly’s but the voice of Albert the Alligator in the I Go Pogo: Pogo for President movie. There are also be more extensive annotations by comic strip historian and expert R.C. Harvey, as well as additional historical information from writer Mark Evanier.
34-page excerpt, including Table of Contents, 16 pages of dailies, 5 Sunday pages, and incidental artwork (download 6.7 MB PDF):
A boxed set of the first and second volumes of Pogo - The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips. Shipping shrinkwrapped, with Volume 1: "Through the Wild Blue Wonder" and Volume 2: "Bona Fide Balderdash" packed in a sturdy custom box designed especially for this set, it's the perfect gift book item. (For more information on the contents of each volume, see the individual product listings linked above.)
Already have Volume 1? Order Volume 2 and we'll include the box set slipcase at no extra charge! (While supplies last.)
It's three more full years of Ernie Bushmiller's beloved comic strip, featuring nearly one thousand meticulously restored daily strips from its post-World-War II graphic high point — superbly crafted but not yet quite stylized into the almost machine-life sleekness of later decades. And what can you say about the jokes in Nancy other than that, contrary to its reputation for a zen-like, ultra-square oddness, many of them are actually just extremely funny?
Nancy Likes Christmas is topped off with a new introduction by Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith, a lifelong fan of Nancy and admirer of Bushmiller's genius, and once again designed with pop-art snap and crackle by Fantagraphics senior designer Jacob Covey.
As always, a plot summary of the latest installment of Johnny (Angry Youth Comix) Ryan’s hugely popular sci-fi-prison-planet-gore-fest-slugfest-a-thon serial must, in order to be presentable to normal, decent human beings, be cut into fine Belgian lace. And so, with apologies:
“Cannibal F***face discovers the only way to escape the Caligulon is to brainf*** the Slorge and create a giant, brainless oafchild that only knows how to annihilate everything in its path. And what happens when the Slugstaxx show up and use their nightj*** to turn this mindless monster against CF? Total F***ing Mayhem.”
Advance Praise: "You know you're reading Prison Pit when there's a character called Undigestible Scrotum and someone tries to see if he lives up to his name... Prison Pit is what you read when no one is home and you're not eating." – Chris Mautner
Add Lilli Carré's acclaimed debut The Lagoon to your order for just $9.99 ($5 off)! Use the option menu when ordering.
The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon — named to many annual critics’ lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy — is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. These stories, created over a period of five years, touch on ideas of flip sides, choices, and extreme ambivalence.
Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue. The stories in Heads or Tails display a virtuosic breadth of visual styles and color palettes, each in perfect service of the story, and range from experimental one-pagers to short masterpieces like "The Thing About Madeline" (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), to graphic novellas like "The Carnival" (featured in David Sedaris’ and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading, originally published in MOME), to new work created for this book.
You may remember last year when we shared news about MTV putting their classic Liquid Television shorts from the 19mumbledy-somethings online, including work by Charles Burns, Richard Sala and other cartooning greats. We were all waiting for new original material from our comics heroes and MTV has not disappointed, rolling out a new series Worldword! the new episode of which, "Heal Everything, Heal Everyone," features artwork by Ron Regé Jr.! Ron tells us "I did drawings for a second one too, that will be coming out! Future installments will feature art by Leif Goldberg, Brian Chippendale, Kevin Hooyman, Megan Whitmarsh, and probably other people that I don't know about... um.... yeah! ????"
During his fifty-year career, ninety-nine percent of Charles Schulz's creative energies went into the daily Peanuts comic strip. But once in a while he would create a special something else on the side, and this adorable little package collects two of his best "extras" from the 1960s: two Christmas-themed stories written and drawn for national magazines.
Created in 1963 (two years before the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special) as a supplement for Good Housekeeping magazine, "Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking" comprises 15 original captioned vignettes featuring the entire Peanuts cast of the time — Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Frieda, Violet, Shermy, and Sally — each with a joke or reflection about the season.
"The Christmas Story" is an original tale created for Woman's Day in 1968, this one focusing just on Snoopy and the Van Pelt siblings, with Lucy and Linus each explaining the meaning of the holiday to Snoopy. "I’m going to have to be careful," Snoopy reflects at the end of the story, resting on his doghouse next to his bone-decorated tree; "all this theology could ruin my Christmas."
The book also includes notes on the provenance of the stories and a pocket-sized biography of Schulz. A perfect gift item for the season!
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