Fantagraphics has announced plans to release four out-of-print Tomi Ungerer books — The Underground Sketchbook, The Party, Babylon and Adam and Eve.
While probably best known for his work on children’s books like The Three Robbers and Flat Stanley, the illustrator and author’s career also included advertising, protest art, erotica and “books for adults” before he passed away a week ago at the age of 87. The four books Fantagraphics will reprint fall into that latter category.
“While preparing for my career-spanning interview with Tomi Ungerer that appears in the new print edition of The Comics Journal, I was astonished to discover that many of his best satirical works were only available as used books at exorbitant prices,” said Fantagraphics Publisher Gary Groth in a press release. “In an attempt to right this wrong, I chose four of his books to reprint, all trenchant commentaries on the folly of our relationships and the absurdity of our social order.”
The publisher plans to start with Underground Sketchbook, which first saw print in 1969. Fantagraphics describes it as “is a tour de force glimpse into the artist’s id. A shocking departure from his children’s book illustration, each page seethes with coruscating social commentary, dada-esque observations, and existential angst. Underground Sketchbook is revered for its audacious visual wit, absurdist humor, and scathing satire, and this long-awaited reprint will be a visual treat for both fans of Ungerer and appreciators of fine cartooning unfamiliar with his work.”
Underground Sketchbook arrives in October. Release dates for the other three books are still to be determined.