Here at Fantagraphics we realize that we publish sometimes upwards of 70 books a year, and that it can be a struggle to keep up with all the titles. For those of you going to San Diego, and for those avoiding it all in the comfort of their homes, we’ve put together a handy list of new and newish books that we’ve taken a shine to.
Blubber by Gilbert Hernandez
Through his comics, Gilbert Hernandez has changed the way I view art and has made me a better reader. Just when you think (or hope) he goes one way, he goes another way that you haven’t even conceptualized. In Blubber, the way is full of bulbous boning! This series takes the best of underground comix and mixes it with National Geographic to create a frothy mess that you have to experience for yourself.
This book is effectively my love letter to the Southern California of my youth. Though I only learned of Dormer’s work as an adult, his work epitomizes a nostalgia for SoCal bohemia that I thought a childhood of smog, traffic and suburban ennui had long extinguished. The joie de vivre in these otherwise single-minded strips about surfing and hot rods is infectious, and Dormer’s beautifully stylized and expressive cartooning will impress even the most landlocked comics fan.
Highbone Theater by Joe Daly
Trapped in a cruel world of boorish bros, kind, mild-mannered wallflower Palmer develops eclectic obsessions with hoodoo, elaborate conspiracy theories, and a bizarre Star Trek-esque TV show. This epic graphic novel by Joe Daly is deadpan, unapologetically weird, and mind-bendingly surreal.
The Interview by Manuele Fior
Manuele Fior’s The Interview is rendered in delicate pencils that masterfully capture the subtle shades of human emotions. Fior tells an intimate story about the connection between a jaded doctor and a vivacious young woman that eschews all the clichés of intergenerational romance. Oh, and there’s a low key alien invasion at the end.
Meat Cake Bible by Dame Darcy
Dame Darcy’s comics are the equivalent to the sirens song. Beautiful and enticing, with a dark biting undercurrent. With dense pages of thin lines, Dame Darcy’s cartooning is simultaneously delicate and heavy. The Meat Cake Bible is fantastically beautiful and creepy enough to make you want to sleep with all the lights on in your room at night. A true original, there is no one else making comics (or in the world) like the ever-quizzical Dame Darcy.
Unreal City by D.J. Bryant
Zanardi by Andrea Pazienza