Maybe it’s just the right time of year (I can’t resist the romantic pull of President’s Day), but I really felt the need to tell you guys – an awesome, Seattle-based independent comics publisher – how much I love you right now. I just really want you to know how awesome you are. How do I love you? Let me count the books.
Liz Suburbia’s Sacred Heart is heartbreaking, beautiful, funny, strange, and familiar. Read this graphic novel if you’ve ever been an outsider, particularly as a teen; or if you’ve ever had a sibling you didn’t always understand; or if you’ve ever tried to love someone who proved to be a little bit too difficult to have in your life. The teenagers in Sacred Heart are almost too real, and it took me a beat to even notice that anything was off in their town. I just loved this book. Thank you guys for putting it out.
Let me get this straight: Simon Hanselman wrote a bunch of comics about a witch, her cat familiar/sometimes lover, and their owl roommate, and you guys bound them all together and published them as a book, and I’m NOT supposed to write love letters about it? Megahex is simultaneously one of the most hilarious and depressing comics I’ve ever read. Anyone who has ever been a stoner or even KNOWN a stoner will be able to identify with every character in this book. It is fantastic and it made me want to shape up my life. Who doesn’t want that?
Richard Sala’s Violenzia is a badass and silent mercenary lady who shows up and kicks the butts of all the creepy, cultish old white dudes. Also, the art in the book knocked me into next Tuesday, and then kept pushing until I was looking at Friday like, “Wait, no, this isn’t right, what’s happening with time?” This book is part comic, part collection of crazy, sexy, demonic pin-ups, and that’s the best compliment I can think of to give it. It’s incredible. And you, Fantagraphics, just put it out casually, like you weren’t changing the comics game.
Ben Catmull’s Ghosts and Ruins was the first of your books that I ever purchased, and remains one of my favorites. The front cover sucked me in immediately: a dark and cloudy sky surrounds a dimly-lit old house, the kind of place where the shadows speak louder than the light and that creaking noise was definitely NOT just the house settling. Then, I opened it, and saw that it was a collection of stories about different ruins and the ghosts that haunt them, and I was like “YES, THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST.” The stories are more like poems, a few brief lines on a page, with an image of the house opposite. Like the ruins, the stories are drifting and strange. Nothing is concrete. Also, there’s a story about a goat ghost. Goat. Ghost.
I mean, it’s like, I get it, Fantagraphics. You don’t have to keep rubbing it in that you’re one of the coolest comics publishers out there at the moment. Whenever I see a new Fantagraphics book come into my bookstore, I know it will at the very least be interesting, and at most, become a new favorite of mine to gush about to bookstore customers. Because I live in Seattle, I get to stumble over to your store/headquarters every so often, and whenever I do, I leave a little bit more in love. From Prince Valiant to Daniel Clowes, you put out a strange, wonderful, and perfectly-curated comic collection. Happy President’s Day, guys. Please never stop being awesome.