by Tom De Haven
This 425 page novel about the archetypal superhero that started it all "takes an entirely fresh approach to the emergence of his superpowers, following him from rural 1930s Kansas to Hollywood in its golden age, and then to New York City and the start of his newspaper career, (where) he meets a worldly Lois Lane and political boss Lex Luthor, and begins his battles against criminal masterminds, mad scientists, and super-villians inspired by fascists." This is an intelligent entertainment, desigined for sophisticated readers of superhero comics as well as for readers of contemporary fiction who have enjoyed reading books that focus on pop culture themes like Michael Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, or, indeed, Tom De Haven's earlier books featuring Derby Dugan. This is a spiffy hardcover that sports a swell dustjacket designed and decorated by Chris Ware.
retail price - $24.95 copacetic price - $21.25
by Darren Aronofsky & Kent Williams
Wow! This is book has our vote for best original graphic novel ever published by Vertigo. Two years in the making, this work was born like a phoenix out of the ashes of Aronofsky's failed original attempt to make it as a film. Once Kent's pages started showing up at Darren's door, however, this resparked his imagination and orobouros-like inspired him to restart the film project, in a scaled down production. This led to a Mobius strip situation of the two projects being created simultaneously: the graphic novel based on the original uncompleted film script (which, upon hindsight, seems much more suited to the graphic novel format than film) and the new film inspired by the graphic novel. Kent Williams has really outdone himself here, producing a career high work that employs his full arsenal of techniques and stands to introduce many people to his stellar abilities. Aronofsky's script is a powerful allegorical tale about coming to terms with the death of a loved one -- and, ultimately, with death itself. Yes, this book is a bit pricey, but it's worth it. Recommended!
retail price - $39.95 copacetic price - sorry, sold out (softcover edition coming in October 2006)
by Sammy Harkham
While he is most widely known as the editor and erstwhile publisher of Kramers Ergot, Sammy Harkham is a talented cartoonists in his own right, and his most notable achievement, Poor Sailor, which was originally published as the centerpiece of the classic but now out of print Kramers Ergot 4, is now available as a stand alone hardcover from Gingko Press, the current publishers of Kramers Ergot. This elegy to regret is here presented in the single panel per page format that has been gaining some well deserved currency, and it definitely gains something over its initial appearance as a result.
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $13.45
New for November 2005
Little Nemo in Slumberland: So Many Splendid Sundays
by Winsor McKay
It's here. The biggest of this year's big books. Also, there's a very nice 15-month companion calendar that may be purchased for 1/6 the cost. Read the most amazing accolades for any book we've ever seen at our feature listing.
retail price - $120.00 copacetic price - $120.00 (sorry, no discount on this one)
Masters of American Comics
edited by John Carlin
This is the mammoth catalogue (it weighs over 2 kilos -- almost 5 pounds) for the first ever major retrospective on American Comics organized by a major American museum, or, in this case, museums -- the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Hammer Museum, both located in Los Angeles. This beautifully produced book published by Yale University Press covers the entire twentieth century -- the century of comics. Starting off with Winsor McKay who defined the terms of American comics, the survey continues through George Herriman, Frank King, Milton Canniff, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby, Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and concludes with Chris Ware, with many side trips covering their contemporaries*. The central text is a 175-page essay by editor John Carlin, which is a general history of American comics that focuses on the artists represented in the exhibition. It is followed by a series of short essays on individual artists by the likes of Stanley Crouch, Tom DeHaven, Jules Feiffer, Matt Groening, Patrick McDonnell and Raymond Pettibone. The volume is, of course, heavily illustrated in both black and white and full color and features many examples of both original art and the comics as they appeared in printed form. The reproductions are uniformly excellent, with perhaps one or two exceptions out of the hundreds presented. At last, The Establishment is beginning to "get it." They're only just starting to grasp the whole comics thing, but this is a rewarding initial effort that we certainly hope will open the door to further cultural exchanges between the world of comics and the world of fine art. To learn more visit the Hammer Museum's site. Here's the first of five pages of examples from the show. *(Although there are some truly glaring absences: Carl Barks and Jaime & Gilbert Hernandez coming first to mind. To look on the bright side, these absences practically insure a curatorial rebuttal by another institution at some point in the future.)
retail price - $45.00 copacetic price - $40.00
Graphic Novels: Everything You Need To Know
by Paul Gravett
While we admit to being turned off by any book that claims to be "everything you need to know" on any subject, we will grant Mr. Gravett the benefit of the doubt and assume that this particular sub-title was the publisher's idea and not his own -- as this book is actually the best single volume introduction to the world of graphic novels yet produced (and, to be fair, the cover text was changed to the much more appropriate, "Stories to Change Your Life"). It's unique organizing principle of choosing thirty standard bearers of specific sub-categories of the form and then grouping together other works perceived as related makes for an efficient way to get acquainted with the medium and what it has to offer. And we must say that we admire the taste on display here as it overlaps at so many points with the Copacetic Canon. An excellent choice for anyone desiring to get a handle on the brave new world of graphic novels but not sure where to start, and a must for every library.
retail price - $24.95 copacetic price - $22.00
Barefoot Gen, Volume 3: Life After the Bomb
Barefoot Gen, Volume 4: Out of the Ashes
by Keiji Nakazawa
Finally, the next two volumes of the new uniform edition of the complete Gen of Hiroshima have been released. These two volumes continue one of the most important works in the history of comics, in a revised and updated complete translation. As the titles of these two volumes clearly suggest, we've reached the point in the chronicle that depicts the story of the survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the Americans at the close of the second world war in 1945. While Gen of Hiroshima was one of the (if not the) first Japanese manga to be translated into English and published in America (in the 1970s, believe it or not), these volumes are part of the first ever complete edition. Last Gasp intends to publish the entire ten-volume epic, and they need our support if they're going to make it through to the end. This will be an expensive undertaking, as they are comissioning a new translation, so if this story sounds like something you might be interested in, please don't wait for the entire series to be completed before checking it out, because it might not ever be completed if readers don't get on board now! Here's what R. Crumb has to say about Barefoot Gen: "...some of the best comics ever done... Nakazawa, I'm sure, will be considered one of the great comic artists of this century, becuase he tells the truth in a plain, straightforward way, filled with real human feelings." And, because the story he has to tell is one that we all need to know.
retail price - $14.95@ copacetic price - $13.45@
Super F*ckers #273 (#2, actually)
by James Kochalka
Never one to shy away from taking creative risks, Mr. Kochalka seems to be letting his id take the driver's seat this time around. Putatively a super hero series, Super F*ckers is a look at Kochalka's "inner teen." Body functions, sexual identity confusion and its relationship to religion all take a turn at the wheel. It's weird and whacky, but it's plugged into the zeitgeist: informed by the Milligan/Allred X-Statix series from Marvel on the one hand, and the work of Paper Rad and Fort Thunder on the other. The best part about it is that's in full color, and Kochalka is starting to to experiment a bit with his options in this area. Let's hope he pushes it a bit more; perhaps taking some tips from Marc Bell and Souther Salazar. Quirky and occasionally grating, but fun: it's a comic book.
retail price - $5.00 copacetic price - $4.50
by Jeffrey Brown & James Kochalka
The follow up to last year's Conversation between Kochalka and Craig Thompson, this time around it's a veritable clash of the titans as Brown and Kochalka square off and then go around and around round after round on the subject of a life of comics as work as a job as a meaning of life in comics. The question of whether comics are more properly defined as shit or vomit is parsed as well, with Kochalka and Brown taking up opposite positions on the matter. It's clear that Kochalka dominates the debate, but Brown gets in a few good ones in this combination pen & ink slug fest/Socratic dialogue. It's a good idea for a comic book and so far so good. We're looking forward to the next installment.
retail price - $4.95 copacetic price - $4.44
Comic Book Artist v.2 #6
This one's a double-size (252-pages!) "special tribute" issue honoring Will Eisner, that "celebrates the life, legacy and Spirit" of one of comics' greatest masters. It's packed with interviews, essays, illustrations and comics all honoring the life, memory and impact that Eisner had on fans, creators, the industry and American culture. From Jules Feiffer, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee to Scott McCloud, Dave Sim and Art Spiegelman and dozens more in between, a who's who of comics pays tribute to one of the few comics creators whose influence can truly be said to permeate the entire field.
retail price - $14.95 copacetic price - $10.00 ¡special!
Proper Box 93: Louis Armstrong - King Louis
99 Tracks of absolute greatness. This is the music that defines the twentieth century, that once and for all distinguished the unique and original culture of The New World from that of its Old World forebears. Louis Armstrong changed the face of music and the music he created changed history. His career is nothing short of miraculous. No self-respecting American can be ignorant of the music contained on this set: it's the real declaration of independence. Finally, this music gets the Proper Box treatment: Five hours of music on four discs, each enclosed in their own LP-style jacket, accompanied by an informative 40-page illustrated booklet, all packed in a stylish, compact box for the copacetic price of only $22.50!
Introducing the Ignatz line -- new from Fantagraphics Books in conjunction with Coconino Press in Italy. This new, ongoing series is a joint publishing effort of Fantagraphics Books, Italy's Coconino Press and France's L'Association. The Ignatz series combines the focus on production values of the European graphic novel tradition -- superior grade, heavy interior stock, sharp duo-tone printing, full color wraparound dust jackets -- with the saddle stitched format and periodical release schedule of American comics, to forge a new hybrid with which to drive the medium forward at this time of globalization and artistic transition. Each is printed in duo-tone on high quality, heavy gauge, magazine size -- 8" x 11" -- cream stock and comes with a full color wrap-around, French-fold dust jacket. We applaud this encouraging development and wish it much success. The first three are now in stock:
Baobob, Volume 1 by series editor, Igort, is a beautifully rendered tale of international mystery.
Insomnia #1 by Matt Broersma, whose work we just saw in the third volume of Drawn & Quarterly Showcase, is a creepy "occult-o-noir" (what do you think, should we trademark the term?) tale set on the US/Mexican border.
The Innocents by Gipi, another single-name European cartoonist, is about growing up on the streets of Italy; delinquent, yes, but also pure of heart.
retail price - $7.95@ copacetic price - $6.75@
New for October 2005
by Charles Burns
OK, listen up: this is one of the greatest achievements in the history of graphic story-telling. Charles Burns has been painstakingly producing weirdly beautiful black and white comics for over twenty years. Almost half this time -- just shy of a decade -- was spent on a single work which has only now been completed: Black Hole. It was originally serialized in a series of twelve comic books, begun by Kitchen Sink Press -- which went out of business mid-way through the series -- and then completed by Fantagraphics Books. Now, the entire series has been collected in this single hardcover volume by Pantheon Books, which is -- amazingly -- priced at less than half what you would have paid for the original comic books. In a haunting and unforgettable way, Black Hole relates the experience of coming of age amid the chaos and confusion of the drug addled early 1970s. Burns brilliantly employs the graphic metaphor of physical deformities and bodily mutations to visually represent the psychological upheavals and emotional traumas that these teens undergo on their desperate passage to adulthood. Few if any works in any medium have better captured "what it was really like" growing up at this time in America's history, for those who strayed off the straight and narrow.
retail price - $24.95 copacetic price - $22.00
The Ganzfeld No. 4: Art History?
Two years in the making, the latest issue of the Ganzfeld is finally on our shelves! It starts out with a wraparound cover and end papers by the high priestess of Canadian comics, Julie Doucet, and doesn't let up . After the lead off introductions by editor, Dan Nadel and artist extraordinaire, Peter Blegvad, the book is divided up into four sections of approximately equal length. In the first, Art History, you'll discover a lot that you hadn't know that you needed to know but will be glad to learn, including the secret history of the enigmatic cover art for Led Zeppelin's Presence that's always been a nagging question mark lurking in a back alley of your consciousness ever since you first saw it back in 1976. Next up is Drawings, by the recognized hepsters Gary Panter and Mark Newgarden, as well as others whose art you are far less likely to have previously come into contact with; but now will! Artists on Art is an intriguing, highly engaging and fairly unique feature which presents artists on art in art: David Sandlin's 18-page, lushly colored piece on H.C. Westermann is a tour de force of admiration, while Marc Bell's Ph.D.-thesis-in-comics-form provides a fresh, delightful and direct access to the work of Philip Guston that will be much appreciated by many. And then, finally, there's the Comics. This section starts off, semi-miraculously, with a six-page walking tour of Pittsburgh, both real and dreamed -- as a place on the map and as a state of mind -- by peripatetic former resident, Frank Santoro, and continues with fine work by Paper Rad, Leif Goldberg, Ted Stearn, Matthew Thurber, Jim Drain, Mark Newgarden, and a wild and wooly journey to the center of the mind by "C.F." The centerpiece is the amazing 22-page, "Ganmodoki," a piece from the late, surrealist period of Japanese manga legend, Shigeru Sugiura. And there you have it.
retail price - $29.95 copacetic price - $26.95
99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style
by Matt Madden
Inspired by Raymond Queneau's 1947 opus, Exercises in Style, reigning comics formalist Madden undertook to transliterate this deconstructive approach to the practice of storytelling into the language of comics. Six years in the making, 99 Ways has accomplished exactly that. Taking the most mundane of events so as not distract from the formal elements, each of the 99 ways meticulously illustrated in this volume tell the story of Matt's journey from his drawing table to the refrigerator. Absurd? Yes, but that's the idea. It's all about how, not about what. It may sound like a crazy idea, but we're pretty sure that this volume will be used in classrooms for years to come as it opens the mind to possibilities inherent in conception at the same time as it focuses the concentration on the realities of execution. It serves as a swell discussion starter as well. And it's clear upon conclusion that there's easily another 99 ways still waiting to be told.
retail price - $16.95 copacetic price - $15.25
by R. Kikuo Johnson
The revelation of Project: Superior, the outstanding comics anthology that started 2005 off with a bang, was R. Kikuo Johnson's "Thrustman." The immediate reaction -- "Who is this guy and where did he come from?" -- was quickly followed by the demand to know, "What's he doing next?" Well, the answer to that question has arrived, and it's a 144-page, B & W graphic novel that centers on the coming of age of two friends during their difficult last year at high school in Hawaii; demonstrating, yet again, that there's trouble everywhere, even in paradise. Johnson has a fluid line that is both bold and expressive. His compositions are first rate and so is his pacing. Anyone who appreciates fine art in the service of a story is sure to enjoy this excellent debut by this clearly talented young artist. Anyone reading this will be sure to join us in hoping that this is but the first of many works to come.
retail price - $12.95 copacetic price - $11.00
Finally, a culture product that can (nearly) literally be said to be "pushing the envelope." This, the latest, craziest, and likely to be most controversial issue yet of America's most consistently engaging literary magazine, takes the form of a whacky mish-mash of items designed to look like nothing more than today's mail delivery (the image at left should give you an idea, but you sort of really have to actually hold it in your hands to get the full effect). But -- surprise -- it's not. What it is, exactly, is, however, a bit more of a quandary. Is it parody, pastiche, kitsch or camp? Is it brilliant or stupid? Is it subversive or is it selling out? Is it form despite or because of content? Guess what? Only you can decide!
retail price - $22.00 copacetic price - $19.80
and, speaking of McSweeney's, we neglected to earlier mention this recent release:
Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs,and Some Other Things That Aren't as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out
edited by Ted Thompson, with Eli Horowitz
This hardcover volume is designed with younger readers in mind, but is advertised as being capable of being enjoyed by all, regardless of age. It starts off with an introduction by Lemony Snicket and continues on with a bevy of tales by, in order of apearance, Nick Hornby, George Saunders, Kelly Link, Richard Kennedy, Jon Scieszka, Sam Swopek, Clement Freud, James Kochalka (full color comics), Neil Gaiman, Jeanne DePrau, and Jonathan Safran Foer. And every story is illustrated in full color by, again in order, Brett Helquist (the intro), David Heatley (the Hornby), Juliette Borda (you get the idea), Shelley Dick, Jan Van Der Veken, Lane Smith, Marcel Dzama, Peter de Séve, Rachell Sumpter, anf Barry Blitt. And it comes complete with an "excessively difficult crossword!"
retail price - $22.00 copacetic price - $19.80
Roadstrips: A Graphic Journey Across America
edited by Pete Friedrich
Mr. Friedrich has managed to assemble quite an impressive group of talent for this collection of comics travelogues. This 90% full color volume is divided into five geographic regions. Here's how it breaks down. The east coast is covered by intrepid stay-at-homers Jessica Abel, Peter Kuper, Keith Knight and Doug Allen and is introduced by Ganzfeld-guy, Dan Nadel. We're guided through the midwest territories by John Porcellino, Pete Friedrich, C. Tyler, Matt Kindt, Pat Redding Scanlon and Terry LaBan. Next, we head to the west coast with Phoebe Gloeckner, Martin Cendreda, Gilbert Hernandez, Roberta Gregory, Lloyd Dangle and Mary Fleener. Up to the Pacific northwest we share the sights with Peter Bagge, Megan Kelso and Jeremy Eaton. And we close out our sojurn with a journey through the south with Richard Sala, Brian Biggs, Rich Tommaso and Mack White, all lovingly introduced by one of America's best writers, Chris Offutt (to anyone who hasn't read Kentucky Straight: you're missing out on something well worth your while, to be sure).
retail price - $22.95 copacetic price - $20.00
The Complete Peanuts, Volume Four: 1957-1958
by Charles M. Schulz
The latest volume in the Complete Collected Peanuts is now in stock! What can we say? This is the Golden Age of Peanuts where every strip is a mini-masterpiece; it simply doesn't get any better than this. You'll want to take your time and savor every single strip in this volume. As Jonathan Franzen astutely points out in his excellent introduction -- the best in the series so far -- this volume covers the period where Snoopy really starts to come into his own. (If you haven't already, we urge you to read Franzen's excellent piece on Peanuts that appeared in The New Yorker.) As with all previous volumes in this series, the reproduction quality of each individual strip is excellent as is the overall production of the book itself. A treasure!
retail price - $28.95 copacetic price - $23.15
and then there's this:
The Complete Peanuts Box Set 2: 1955-1958
by Charles M. Schulz
If you don't already have the third volume and/or you're looking for an ideal gift for the Peanuts fan, this deluxe slip-covered box set is a terrific value. It contains a copy of both Volume Three and Volume Four (these are the exact same editions as of those copies sold indivdually) of The Fantagraphics Books edition of the Complete Collected Peanuts, both enclosed in a spiffy -- and heavy duty -- slipcase designed for years of use by series designer, Seth -- all for significantly less than just the two volumes by themselves. A great value, and now in stock!
retail price - $49.95 copacetic price - $39.95
Krazy & Ignatz 1935 - 1936
by George Herriman
edited by Bill Blackbeard
NOW IN FULL COLOR! Herriman took a short break from penning Krazy Kat in 1935, but when he returned Krazy went to full color, and The Complete Collected Krazy Kat by Fantagraphics Books follows suit. Beginning with this volume and continuing through the next four, until the strip's conclusion, all will be in full color. Because this volume is short on strips as a result of there being no Krazy Kat for the first half of 1935, it has bonuses galore! To wit: "The new color format also opens the floodgates for a massive amount of spectacular rare color art from series editor Bill Blackbeard’s files, including a surprising color self-portrait by Herriman, several Kat watercolors executed for friends, peers, and relatives, some watercolored non-Krazy Kat material, a reproduction of a vintage archy and mehitabel dust jacket by Herriman - plus a period spoof of Krazy Kat by Minute Movies’ Ed Wheelan, and several instances of other cartoonists imitating Herriman’s unique “Family Upstairs / Krazy Kat” format. This volume also includes “The Kolor of Krazy Kat,” a revelatory essay by journalist and critic Jeet Heer that addresses in-depth the mystery of Herriman’s racial origins, and the varying ways in which Herriman dealt with them artistically throughout his career - a major addition to Herriman-related scholarship and commentary." -- so states Fantagraphics
retail price - $19.95 copacetic price - $15.95
Mutts: Sunday Evenings
by Patrick McDonnell
Uncannily, the release of this, the latest volume of full color Mutts Sunday pages, coincides yet again with the release of the latest volume in the complete Krazy Kat collection (see above). It seems that Mooch and Earl are truly in tune with Krazy and Ignatz. If anyone can be said to be carrying on in the great Herriman tradition, it is McDonnell. This should come as no great surprise as, before he created Mutts, McDonnell wrote the book on Herriman (with a little help from his friends). Sunday Evenings is the fourth collection of Mutts Sunday strips in full color, and it is every bit as engaging as the first three, if not more so. McDonnell shows no signs of tiring of his pen and ink journey filled with wonder, reflection, kindness and joy.
retail price - $12.95 copacetic price - $11.65
The Push Man and other stories
by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
edited, designed and with an introduction by Adrian Tomine
Yet another beautifully produced booik from the fine folks at Drawn & Quarterly, The Push Man is a 208 page hardcover collection of 16 short stories by the "grandfather of Japanese alternative comics." Creating challenging comics for adults that he dubbed gekiga (to differentiate them from manga, which he viewed as relatively unsophisticated) since the late 1950s, Tatsumi was years ahead of his contemporaries ("decades ahead," according to acclaimed designer, Chip Kidd), not only in Japan but pretty much the world over. Here are some hard to ignore accolades: "From the moment I read Tatsumi's stories, he shot to the top of my short list of favorite cartoonists for adults. His direct storytelling style is bracing and raised the bar pretty high for those of us trying to entertain intelligent grown-ups." -- Gilbert Hernandez; "Tatsumi's comics are clean and straightforward without pretentious tricks. Storytelling at its best." -- Jaime Hernandez While Tatsumi's work has appeared once before in America, in Catalan Communication's1987 Good-Bye and other stories, this was an unofficial edition that suffered in translation (it was translated from Japanese into Spanish, and then from Spanish into English; 'nuff said), entirely lacked Tatsumi's involvement, and is long out of print, making The Push Man the definitve North American edition of Tatsumi's work, and a must have for anyone on the lookout for great comics.
retail price - $19.95 copacetic price - $16.95
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea
by Guy Delisle
Also from D & Q, this 176-page hardcover by 37-year-old French-Canadian cartoonist, Guy Delisle is eye opening graphic reportage in the tradition of Joe Sacco, but in an entirely different style. Granted a two-month work visa to contribute to a French animated film that depended on the labors of North Korean animators, Delisle gained a rare vantage point from which to observe the people and workings of most isolated nation on earth, and he reports his observations and insights here, in a straight forward clean line style that will be readily apprehended by the least experienced reader of comics and readily appreciated by the more seasoned comics hand.
retail price - $19.95 copacetic price - $16.95
Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed
by Liz Prince
Well, we can pretty much assure you that your first thought upon opening this book will be: "So, this is what would happen if Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka entered into an unholy alliance which resulted in a female issue." (or something like that) This slim little volume presents a series of 71 single page, (mostly) four panel strips, each providing a tiny slice of the romantic life of Liz and her beau. By turns charming, winsome, dumb, sexy, and embarrassing but not embarrassed, these strips will provide a welcome respite from the day to day grind in addition to having the potential to function as an extremely cost effective form of couples counseling.
retail price - $7.00 copacetic price - $6.00
Want to keep going? There's tons more great stuff here, almost all of which is still in stock. Check out our New Arrivals Archives:
3Q 2005: July - September, New Arrivals
2Q 2005: April - June, New Arrivals
1Q 2005: January - March, New Arrivals
4Q 2004: October - December, New Arrivals
3Q 2004: July - September, New Arrivals
2Q 2004: April - June, New Arrivals
1Q 2004: January - March, New Arrivals
4Q 2003: October - December, New Arrivals
3Q 2003: July - September, New Arrivals
2Q 2003: April - June, New Arrivals
1Q 2003: January - March, New Arrivals
2002: January - December New Arrivals
last updated 31 December 2005