Fantagraphics’ 2021 line-up includes Windsor-Smith, Panter, Sala and more

See what the Seattle publisher will release in the first eight months of 2021.

I keep saying things like, “Man, am I going to be happy when the dumpster fire known as 2020 is finally over,” to which my wife will respond, “Hey, 2021 may not be any better.”

But here’s the thing: what my wife doesn’t realize is that 2021 has the distinct advantage of having a new Barry Windsor-Smith graphic novel coming out, courtesy of Fantagraphics. So take that, 2020.

Windsor-Smith’s Monster isn’t the only graphic novel the publisher will release, of course. They recently dropped us a note highlighting 16 other titles they have planned through August, along with their full winter and summer catalogs.

Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights you can expect from the Seattle publisher next year:

Crashpad by Gary Panter

A psychedelic trip through the hippie scene in Panter’s inimitable rough-hewn style. Both a narrative story and an art object itself, Crashpad is presented as a deluxe hardcover reproducing Panter’s pages at full size as facsimiles of the originals (similar to the size of Songy of Paradise). PLUS, the book comes with a floppy newsprint version of the comic tucked into the front of the hardcover. This gives readers the experience of reading Panter’s story in the form of an old school underground comic, while also celebrating Panter’s art in an oversized hardcover format. (February)

The Grande Odalisque by Ruppert & Mulot and Bastien Vivés

Master art thieves Carole and Alex plot to carry out their biggest heist yet: steal a priceless painting from the heavily-guarded Louvre. But when their caper goes awry, they must keep their wits about them to escape! Innovative comics creators Ruppert and Mulot team up with Angouleme prize winner Bastien Vivés in this impossibly funny, violent, and sexy action-packed thriller.(February)

Nobody Likes You, Greta Grump by Cathy Malkasian

Greta is a handful who tries her weary parents’ patience. But with the help of a dapper tortoise named NoBody, she softens her grumpy ways. Having learned her lesson, Greta must now team up with her new friend Gabby and their shelled companion to solve a strange mystery. Equal parts high-flying adventure and deeply felt allegory, this middle grade graphic novel will beguile younger readers while conveying richer meaning for adults.(February)

Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector

Spector is self-described as an infertile, high-femme, low income, non-biological Jewish mom, dyke drama queen, and ectopic pregnancy survivor. In Red Rock Baby Candy, she tells her story of infertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, queer parenting a queer child, the loss of her father to cancer, and SO much more in this formally inventive graphic memoir. Not unlike My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris, Spector’s visual storytelling eschews traditional comics panels in favor of a series of unique page compositions that convey both a stream of consciousness and the tactile reality of life. (March)

The Thud by Mikael Ross

Noel, a boy with developmental disabilities, finds his world turned upside down after his mother has a stroke and he finds himself on his own for the first time in his life. Told with humor and empathy, The Thud depicts, with a rarely seen authenticity, the life of a protagonist with developmental impairment. In doing so, Ross has crafted an enchanting story that helps us understand the often misunderstood. (March)

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy

What begins as an affectionate reminiscence of the author’s ’90s teenage infatuation with the late actor River Phoenix morphs into a remarkable, sprawling account of the city of Portland and state of Oregon’s dark history of white nationalism. Mannie Murphy is a gender queer Portland native whose story becomes a moral anchor to a deeply amoral regional history and marks the incredible debut of a talented new voice to the graphic medium. (April)

Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith

When young Bobby Bailey walks into a US Army Recruitment office in 1964, little does he know the dizzying chain of events that will follow. A 360-page tour de force of visual storytelling, Monsters’ narrative canvas is both vast and deep: part familial drama, part political thriller, part metaphysical journey, it is an intimate portrait of individuals struggling to reclaim their lives and an epic political odyssey across two generations of American history. Trauma, fate, conscience, and redemption are just a few of the themes that intersect in the most ambitious graphic novel of Windsor-Smith’s career — 35 years in the making! (April)

Beatnik Buenos Aires by Diego Arandojo & Facundo Percio

Set in 1963, this graphic novel celebrates a time in Argentine history when its art scene blossomed. Rendered in an impressionistic charcoal style, Beatnik Buenos Aires follows the eclectic and anarchic artists of the Argentine Beat scene as they wend their way through various hubs of creative life, seeking out inspiration and grappling with their craft. (April)

Stone Fruit by Lee Lai

Bron and Ray are a queer couple who enjoy their role as the fun weirdo aunties to Ray’s niece, six-year-old Nessie. Their playdates are little oases of wildness, joy, and ease in all three of their lives, which ping-pong between familial tensions and deep-seeded personal stumbling blocks. As their emotional intimacy erodes, Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties ― Ray with her overworked, resentful single-mother sister and Bron with her religious teenage sister who doesn’t fully grasp the complexities of gender identity. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up and learns they have more in common with their sisters than they ever knew. (May)

Poison Flowers And Pandemonium by Richard Sala

Just a few months before his tragic passing in March 2020, cartooning master of the macabre Richard Sala completed his final book — or, actually, his final four books. Poison Flowers and Pandemonium collects all four of these original graphic novellas in one beautiful hardcover worthy of Sala’s legacy. (May)

Crash Site by Nathan Cowdry

A twisted, violent, and sexual survival tale of a young female drug trafficker who survives a plane crash in the Amazon jungle with her anthropomorphic underwear and a talking dog. The debut graphic novel from British cartoonist Nathan Cowdry, Crash Site combines confident storytelling skills, attractive artwork, and sense of comedic timing to make a winning recipe for fans of very dark adult alternative comics. (June)

Celestia by Manuele Fior

After what citizens call the “Great Invasion,” people fled to an ancient concrete island. After years of solitude, two young telepaths go back to the mainland to find that the young generation is on the precipice of a metamorphosis while adults live in their own metaphorical concrete islands. This highly anticipated new graphic novel from Manuele Fior (The Interview and 5,000 KM Per Second) showcases his singular talents as a once-in-a-generation visual artist and a deeply empathetic writer who uses science fiction to look to the future of humanity. (July)

It’s Not What You Thought It Would Be by Lizzy Stewart

This poignant coming-of-age story follows the lives of two British friends from adolescence to adulthood. Over the years, they move from the sleepy countryside to bustling London, and their relationships and perspectives also gradually shift until, in their thirties, they hardly recognize the women they have become. A keenly observant, quietly intense graphic novel by bestselling children’s book author Lizzy Stewart. (July)

Crisis Zone by Simon Hanselmann

As the world began to enter lockdown in March 2020, acclaimed cartoonist Simon Hanselmann (Megahex and Bad Gateway) decided to chronicle the chaos unfolding around him in comics form. Told through the lives of his warped Megg and Mogg characters, Crisis Zone dives headlong into the terror, uncertainty, and straight-up weirdness wrought by the Coronavirus, weaving together political issues, cultural shifts, gender identity and trans lives, reality TV, and so much more in an unflinching encapsulation of this absolutely bonkers year. (August)

The Butchery by Bastien Vivés

This poetic graphic novel by an Angouleme prize-winner explores the emotional bloodbath of a romance gone awry. The Butchery is composed of the little moments that make and break a relationship: lively dancing, silent strolls hand in hand, stilted phone calls, tearful pillow talk. Rendered with delicate colored pencils and an elegant use of white space, this story achieves an emotional clarity through its skillful brevity. (August)

Another History of Art by Anita Kuntz

What if the male-dominated Western pantheon of art history were painted by women? Another History of Art is a brilliantly satirical, feminist, counterfactual history of art conceived, written, and painted by award-winning painter and illustrator Anita Kunz. Stunning paintings accompanied by short biographies of Davina Hockney, Leona Da Vinci, Gertrude Klimt, Henrietta Matisse, Francesca Goya, Paola Picasso and many more make up this impressive hardcover art book! (August)

Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings Jaime Hernandez by Jaime Hernandez

For the past 40 years, acclaimed cartoonist Jaime Hernandez has been creating a Love and Rockets-adjacent world — set in the heyday of 1960s and ’70s women’s wrestling and lucha libre! This best-of book spotlights the women who are often ignored in pro wrestling in 125 full color illustrations: pin-ups, action shots, mock wrestling magazine covers, all presented in a large paperback format that echoes the classic lucha libre magazines of the 1960s. (August)


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