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Fantagraphics has made a number of notable publishing announcements over the past few weeks, but the new release of its spring/fall catalog reveals even more intriguing books coming down the pike next year. I thought I’d take it upon myself to run through what I feel are some of the more interesting titles scheduled for 2013, avoiding some of the more expected titles, like the new Donald Duck or Steve Ditko collections, or paperback editions of previously released material. If all goes well, I hope to do this sort of thing again with other small press publishers as we get closer to the end of the year.
The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch. Deitch’s latest graphic novel (his first original one, his previous works having been serialized in anthologies and other series) concerns a young actress in early 20th century America who gets a plum role in a movie serial, only to discover all is not what it seems. Could alleged recordings of Christ made centuries before the invention of recorded sound be somehow involved? Could be! Printed in landscape format to give that “widescreen” feel. April, $29.99.
Bread and Wine by Samuel R. Delaney and Mia Wolff. Apparently this was published back in 1999, although this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it. Famed science-fiction author Delaney chronicles his romance with a young homeless man, with Wolff providing art. April, $14.99
The End by Anders Nilsen. I tend to consider this book, a companion of sorts to Nilsen’s haunting Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, to be his best work to date, an absolutely shattering and deeply moving account of dealing with loss and grief. Now the book is being re-released in a greatly expanded version. April, $19.99
Good Dog by Graham Chaffee. Oh, man, Graham Chaffee! It’s been a long, long time since the current tattoo artist made some sequential art. Now he’s back, with a literal shaggy dog story about a pooch desperately trying to get in someone’s good graces. You can see samples of the book on Chaffee’s Tumblr. April, $16.99.
Storm P.: A Century of Laughter. Kim Thompson is going to school us all in the world of Eurocomics or die trying. I, for one, am always eager to learn, however. This coffee-table book features the work of Danish gag cartoonist Robert Storm Petersen, whose work is reminiscent of O. Soglow and other New York cartoonists from the same era. At least a few of the sample images brought a smile to my face. April, $39.99.
Wake Up Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. The man with the light-bulb head returns for more adventures. April, $24.99.
Willard Mullin’s Golden Age of Baseball Drawings. The now long-gone world of sports cartooning is an aspect of the medium that has been largely overlooked, perhaps because most comics fans, indie or otherwise, don’t tend to be terribly athletic. This book, a collection of cartoons by the esteemed Willard Mullin, might change that. April, $29.99
Lost Cat by Jason. A lonely detective has a “meet cute” moment with a woman. After a successful first date, he goes to pick her up for dinner only to find that she’s completely disappeared. At 160 pages, this is Jason’s longest worth to date and likely worth checking out for that fact alone. May, $24.99.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Color Sundays Vol. 1 by Floyd Gottfredson. OK, I know I said I was going to jump over the expected comic strip collections, but I certainly didn’t know this was coming out: A new collection of the Sunday color strips from Gottfredson’s lengthy run on Mickey Mouse. This first volume covers 1932-35. May, $29.99.
Fran by Jim Woodring. It’s an all-new Jim Woodring graphic novel featuring his newest character. What more do you need to know? June, $19.99.
The Cabbie Vol. 2 by Marti. Oh man, I seriously love me some Cabbie. I don’t think the first volume exactly sold like hotcakes, but I’m glad to see their continuing on with Marti’s ultra-dark Chester Gould homage. June, $19.99.
Olaf G.: A Life in Pictures by Lars Fiske and Stefen Kverneland. Norwegian cartoonists Fiske and Kverneland become obsessed with learning about the long-forgotten turn of the century artist Olaf Gulbransson, who liked to wear an apron when drawing and nothing else. I liked the parts of this I read in the various Angst anthologies quite a bit and am looking forward to devouring the whole thing in one sitting. June, $28.99
Treasury of Minicomics Vol. 1. Editor Michael Dowers collects over 600 pages of minicomics from creators like Ron Rege Jr., Matt Feazell, David Lasky, Marc Bell, Leela Corman, Pat Moriarty and many more. June, $26.99.
VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch. Oh, man. Partch was one of the best, most surreal, downright zaniest gag cartoonists of the 20th century and his work has been largely neglected, relegated to moldy collections lingering in used book stores. Now we get a big coffee-table tribute to his work. Can’t wait. July, $39.99.
Perfect Nonsense: The Chaotic Comics and Goofy Games of George Carlson. My exposure to Carlson has been limited to the few stories from Jingle Jangle Tales that ran in the Smithsonian Book of Comic Books (and an occasional appearance in other anthologies). He’s someone I’ve always been curious about so hopefully this book will shine a better light on him. August, $39.99
5,000 Kilometers a Second by Manuele Fior. More Eurocomics! This book won the grand prize at the 2010 Angouleme Comics Festival. It’s a romance of sorts, focusing on two star-crossed teens and following their occasional trysts through the years. August, $19.99.
Ray and Joe: The Story of a Man and His Dead Friend and Other Classic Comics by Charles Rodrigues. Rodrigues was one of the cartooning stars at National Lampoon, constantly killing it with off-kilter and cheerfully offensive, savage strips. Think of him as a precursor to Johnny Ryan. It’s nice to see him get some love via this collection. August, $26.99.
Pretty in Ink: American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 by Trina Robbins. Virtually every female U.S. cartoonist, from Rose O’Neill to Lilli Carre, is profiled in this new history. August, $29.99.