One of the benefits of working in the features department of a daily newspaper is getting the book catalogs for the upcoming season. I recently received the spring catalog for both First Second and Farrar Straus Giroux (who handles book distribution for Drawn and Quarterly, as well as owns the nonfiction subdivision Hill and Wang) and I thought I’d be magnanimous and share them with you.
To see what’s on the horizon from these publishers, just click on the jump.
Kaput and Zosky: Universal Obliterators by Lewis Trondheim (April). Late-night Nickelodeon watchers may recall seeing this pair of utterly ruthless yet utterly moronic aliens on the television. Or perhaps they caught a glimpse of their comic shenanigans in one of the issues of Trondheim’s The Nimrod, a pamphlet series Fantagraphics put out a few years ago only to be met with gross indifference.
Anyway, this new volume collects most of their adventures. The premise is pretty basic: Kaput and Zosky land on a planet with the intention of wrecking havoc and becoming despots, only to have their plans foiled, usually due to their own incompetence. My own limited experience with this series leads me to believe it’s the usual inspired slapstick that readers of books like Tiny Tyrant and Dungeon. Highly anticipated by me.
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa (April). Intriguing looking story about a mother and father attempting to protect their son from three spectral figures who seek to harm him. I couldn’t find much about Pedrosa in English beyond this Lambiek page, but I like his curved, sketchy style. Could be quite good.
Little Vampire by Joann Sfar (May). Apparently this book reprints the intial Little Vampire stories that Simon and Schuster published a few years back. These are sort of related to Sfar’s Vampire Loves book that 01 published last year, but with a twist, as the vamprie in question ages backward. In other words, though he looks like a kid, he’s actually an old man. Unlike Loves, however, I believe this series is aimed at younger audiences. It’s Sfar, so, yeah, it’s going to be fantastic.
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel, Gabe Soria and Warren Pleece (May). Yeah well, so does that title. Normally this is the sort of book that would make me cringe inside, since it (based on the limited sample in the catalog) deals with feckless twentysomethings and (gulp) vampires. The fact that Abel and Pleece are behind it, however, which gives me hope. Label me cautiously optimistic.
Sardine in Outer Space Vol. 5 by Emmanuel Guibert (June). Note that Sfar is no longer working on this series with Guibert. The cover boasts of an adventure involving “My Cousin Manga” which makes me want to read it on that basis alone.
Drawing Words and Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (June). This is the book that everyone’s going to be interested in come summer: A how-to book from a cartooning couple that has proven their ability to break down complex information (99 Ways to Tell a Story, Radio) in easy-to-read comics form. They are two of the most interesting artists working in comics today and I’m very curious to see what they have to say about the medium.
Drawn and Quarterly
What It Is by Lynda Barry (May). I believe this was originally supposed to come out this holiday season but got bumped back for what I imagine are the normal number of publishing glitches. Anyway, this is the first of D&Q’s Barry books (they plan to republish most if not all of her out-of-print work from here on out), a throwdown declaration on the nature of art and memory, done as activity book. I really liked the FCBD sampler of this D&Q produced earlier this year. Expect this to be on a lot of top ten lists next year.
Gentleman Jim by Raymond Briggs (April). The Jim in question is Jim Bloggs, a janitor who dreams of moving beyond his station to a life filled with adventure. Briggs is well-known in his home country of the UK, not so much here, save for beloved children’s books like The Snowman, though his beautiful Ethel and Earnest garnered raves when Pantheon published it a few years ago. I hold a not-so-secret hope that this is the first in a series and that we’ll see more of Briggs work from D&Q in the near future.
Good-Bye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (May). The third and final volume collecting Tatsumi’s grim, urban stories.
Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie (June). I didn’t realize the Aya book that D&Q published earlier this year was the first in a series. That kind of explains the episodic, relaxed feel of the first volume. I really liked the first book though; it was warm and insightful and funny in a very knowing way. I look foward to reading about Aya’s new adventures.
Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi (May). Originally published in Japan between 1970 and1971, Elegy was apparently a very influential manga in its day, at least according to the catalog copy. It’s about a young, unmarried couple struggling to make ends meet. Here’s a review and here is the author’s Web site. Color me curious.
Walt and Skeezix 1927-28 by Frank King (July). More Gasoline Alley goodness. Corky is born. Plus another great essay by Jeet Heer.
Hill and Wang
After 9/11: America’s War on Terror by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon (August). This is the only graphic novel listed under Hill and Wang for the spring/summer, which doesn’t really bode well for the line methinks (they’re the ones responsible for the Ronald Reagan and Malcolm X biographies), except that it’s a hell of a topic for a graphic novel. Jacobson and Colon’s adaptation of the 9/11 report hit the best-seller list last year and garnered equal measures of disdain and acclaim depending upon who you talked to. Myself, I found the book to be an odd mix — both informative and frustrating, skilled and amateurish at times.
Attempting to discuss the aftermath of 9/11 strikes me as an even more ambitious topic, since they have to rely on more than one source this time around. Plus there’s the political aspect, in that you’re sure to tick off either Bush supporters or detractors (I’m guessing the former based on Colon’s caricature of the president). Either way, it should generate some attention upon it’s arrival in stores. ICv2 has a short story on the book here.