On sale date: January 18, 2022
Mad geniuses, Jules Verne-style deliriums, dinosaurs, sex, bloodshed, and the madness of World War I — two strange and surreal early works by a master of the comics form.
Fantagraphics presents two experimental, early works by the French cartooning legend Tardi. These comics, created in the mid-'70s, provide a fascinating preview of the masterworks of his prolific career. While they are not narratively linked, an eerie sense of foreboding suffuses stories in this collection: they both depict sex and brutal violence and condemn the horrors of war.
The True Story of the Unknown Soldier follows a pulp novelist turned soldier who, driven to delirium amidst the trenches of WWI, becomes tormented by visions of his own seedy creations. This stream-of-consciousness tale visualizes the tortured psyche of its protagonist through dazzling dreamscapes and surreal scenarios. In The National Razor, a soldier returns from war a shattered man. Drowning himself in drink, he wanders the streets of Paris without purpose; in this numb stupor, he finds himself caught up in strange situations, lashes out in unexpectedly violent ways, and ultimately meets with a bloody end. At once a visceral depiction of the trauma wrought by war and a powerful denunciation of the death penalty and France's iconic guillotine.
"In this collection of two avant-garde comic classics of the 1970s, Tardi captivates with a pulsating sense of existential dread." — Publishers Weekly
"Unknown Soldier shows [Tardi's] admirable sense of the absurd. The eccentric, haunted people, gorgeously drawn buildings, both inside and out, and sense of place are fully formed, and the composition is exquisite. " — Slings & Arrows
- 9.1" × 12.1"