Not at SDCC? Fantagraphics has a consolation prize

Fantagraphics has some solace for those of us who can’t be at Comic-Con this year: Their annual 20% off sale. The Smash Pages crew picks some of their faves if you’re in the mood to buy some comics.

While Fantagraphics goes to Comic-Con every year, they also have a little something for those of us who can’t be there: Their annual Comic-Con weekend sale. Any books you buy through the Fantagraphics Store are 20% off with the promo code SDCC. As they say in the ad, “It’s all the excitement of Comic-Con, without the sweaty cosplayers!”

OK, that was hyperbole, but there are some pretty good deals here, whether you’re interested in something new or catching up with a classic. Here are some of our top picks.

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Drawn + Quarterly announces new 2020 releases

At Comic-Con International, the Canadian publisher announced new books from Adrian Tomine, Lisa Hanawalt and more.

At Comic-Con International yesterday, Drawn & Quarterly announced several new graphic novels for 2020, including new work from Adrian Tomine, R. Sikoryak, Leslie Stein and Walter Scott, among others.

Check them out below.

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‘Jia and the Nian Monster’ explores Chinese lore

Mike Richardson and Megan Huang team up for a new original graphic novel.

When he’s not busy running Dark Horse, Mike Richardson is writing for them. In anticipation of this year’s Comic-Con International later this month, Dark Horse has announced the newest project from their founder, Jia and the Nian Monster.

Richardson is teaming up with artist Megan Huang on this new original graphic novel that’s based on an ancient Chinese legend.

“I’m pleased to work with artist Megan Huang to bring this Chinese legend to life for readers of all ages,” Richardson said. “I’ve always been interested in Chinese lore and hope to impart that interest on a new generation of readers.”

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Powell + Jensen team for ‘Two Dead’ this fall

New graphic novel from Gallery 13 explores crime and racism in the Deep South after World War II.

Van Jensen and Nate Powell will team up on a new graphic novel this fall for Simon & Shuster’s Gallery 13 imprint. Two Dead, according to Paste, is about “crime, conspiracy, racism and insanity in the post-World War II Deep South.”

“Van and I started collaborating on Two Dead before I began drawing the March trilogy, believe it or not, shifting focus over the years and evolving past its genre parameters,” Powell told Paste. “Finding the right approach for this story was in part thanks to those years re-imagining its format, scope, historical relationships, and how it speaks to the world of 2019. Along the way, each book I drew concurrently with Two Dead helped pave the way for its final form—Come Again allowed me to embrace the power of genre, just as March better equipped me to finding the personal focus within a larger historical context. I’m always eager to bring my home state to life through comics, and each book doubles as a love letter to Arkansas in all its contradictory beauty.”

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Celebrate International (Interstellar?) Dinosaur Month with ‘Alien Bones’

Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Chris Grine team up for a new graphic novel from 1First Comics.

Did other planets have dinosaurs? Chris “Doc” Wyatt and Chris Grine will explore that question in October in Alien Bones, a new graphic novel coming from 1First Comics.

Coinciding with International Dinosaur Month, Alien Bones features a boy and his paleontologist father exploring the galaxy and looking for the fossils of extinct alien dinosaurs. But when his dad disappears inside the ruins of an alien city, 10-year-old Liam teams up with his pet dinosaur and a robot to save him.

“The idea of Alien Bones came from wanting to thrill my son with an adventure out in the universe,” Wyatt said. “I can admit that astronomy can sometimes seem dry and boring in the classroom, so I wanted to find a way to encourage my kid to think about the cosmos as an exciting place to explore and discover. He was interested, at the time, in dinosaurs—a lot of kids go through a dinosaur phase, and my son was no different. So, I thought: ‘What about kids having adventures with dinosaurs in space?'”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kelsey Wroten

The illustrator and cartoonist discusses her debut graphic novel, ‘Cannonball,’ from Uncivilized Books.

Kelsey Wroten is an illustrator and cartoonist who’s made an impact with her comics like Crimes and her illustrations, which seemed to have appeared almost everywhere in the past few years, from The New Yorker to Vice to Lucky Peach and elsewhere.

Her debut graphic novel is Cannonball, which was just released by Uncivilized Press. The book is the story of Caroline Bertram, a young writer who struggles with failure and goes on to have an even greater struggle with success. The book is more than simply a great character study, but throughout the book, Wroten is also illustrating in very different styles, the stories that Caroline is writing. In the final chapter of the book the story comes to a head not through text, but by utilizing the art as the real world and the world of her novel come crashing together in a striking way.

It’s a brilliant debut, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with Wroten about writing complicated characters, structure, and color – as Avril Lavigne played in the background.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Blue Delliquanti

The creator of ‘O Human Star’ discusses entomophagy, working with food writer Soleil Ho and much more.

Blue Delliquanti is best known for the webcomic O Human Star, which has been running since 2012. Delliquanti has also made shorter comics which have appeared in The Nib, Mine!, Beyond and the just-released Smut Peddler: Sex Machine, but Delliquanti’s new book is something of a departure. Meal was co-written with food writer and journalist Soleil Ho and centers around Yarrow, who moves to Minneapolis to work at a restaurant that serves insects.

The book is an enthusiastic and thoughtful primer for those who are unaccustomed to entomophagy (that’s eating bugs), but it’s more than that. It’s a story about food and our connections to it. It’s about the communities that have eaten and have a relationship to these foods for generations, and what it means for others to “discover” that. It’s a love story that captures some of that feeling from moving to a new place and working at a job that’s much more than a job. The tagline for the book is “Dreams. Love. Entomophagy.” I recently talked about those things and more with Delliquanti, who will be appearing this coming weekend at the Queers and Comics Conference in New York.

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Koyama Press announces Fall 2019/Winter 2020 titles

Publisher announces new titles by Michael DeForge, Keiler Roberts, Patrick Kyle, GG, Ben Passmore and Connor Willumsen.

Coming out of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend, Koyama Press has announced their lineup of titles for this coming fall and winter, including new books by Michael DeForge, Ben Passmore, Keiler Roberts and more.

“Fall 2019 / Winter 2020 is a mixture of humor and horror, love and pain. The realities of being a part of society, and wanting not to be a part of that society, or being incapable, are explored by a collection of incredibly talented cartoonists of varying style and authorial voices in a season we can’t wait for you to see,” the publisher posted on their website.

More details on each book can be found below …

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Comics Lowdown: 2018 sales, Michael Davis hacked

Plus: News on Mark Waid, Mary Fleener, Free Comic Book Day and more!

ICv2 and the Comichron held a special crossover event this week to share the news that “Comics and graphic novel sales hit a new high in 2018.”

“After a brief downturn in 2017, the market bounced back last year,” said Comichron‘s John Jackson Miller. “Popular releases helped right the ship in comics shops, even as other sales avenues made significant gains.”

Their report looks at three formats — comics, graphic novels and digital — across multiple channels, including crowdfunding, book fairs, mass merchants, newsstands and more.

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