Robot 6

Daniel Clowes, Ben Katchor top Pantheon’s publishing plans

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It’s always exciting to get the quarterly publishing catalogs from Random House in the mail and see what Pantheon, the best of the major New York City-based book publishers when it comes to graphic novels, has in store. And yesterday’s special delivery of the Spring 2011 catalog to “Fort Collins” was a real doozy: Major new works are on the way from a pair of alternative-comics titans, Wilson‘s Daniel Clowes and Julius Knipl‘s Ben Katchor.

First up is Daniel Clowes’s Mister Wonderful, a collection of the Eisner Award-winning serial strip that kicked off The New York Times Magazine‘s Funny Pages comics section. What’s new about this, you ask? How about fully 40 pages of new material, according to the publisher? That’s practically a whole new strip. Looks from the cover image in the catalog like the work’s being reformatted from broadsheet to landscape, too — which is maybe where some of that new page count is coming from, come to think of it. But either way, I’m excited to revisit the story of a lonely middle-aged man and his too-good-to-be-true blind date, which was sort of the genial GoodFellas to Wilson‘s brutal Casino. The book retails for $22.95 and hits in April 2011.

Next is Ben Katchor’s The Cardboard Valise, the acclaimed cartoonist’s first book in over ten years (!). Instead of the slightly more fantastical version of New York City found in much of his previous work, Katchor’s constructing an entire new country for this one: Outer Canthus, a strange region inhabited by travel junkie Emile Delilah, the exiled king Boreal Rince, and globalist Elijah Salamis. Together they explore, and I quote, “a vast panorama of humane hamburger stands, exquisitely ethereal ethnic restaurants, ancient restroom ruins, and wild tracts of land that fit neatly next to high-rise hotels.” That’s our Katchor! There’s really nothing else out there like Katchor’s inky, off-kilter explorations of the spaces people build, inhabit, and forget, and I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. The Cardboard Valise can be opened for $22 when it arrives in February 2011.

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