Coming Soon to a Spinner Rack Near You: Two from Olivier Schrauwen

I first became aware of Olivier Schrauwen while attending the final iteration of the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics fest in late 2012 (that festival has since been replaced by Comics Arts Brooklyn, which by all accounts sounds like an excellent show). Schrauwen was a special guest, and I was able both to hear him interviewed (by Bill Kartalopoulos) and to go see a gallery show of some of his work, but I never picked up any of his books afterwards. There's no real reason for that, except perhaps that I'm on a budget and that I've never come across any of it while browsing; it's intriguing stuff, often very beautiful, and it seems to run on an alt-comix weirdness that is happily free from grotesque excesses. 

Although translations of his work are available in English, I would have to go out and seek them if I wanted to read them, and my current purchasing habits and budgeting strategy privilege new releases over already available work. Luckily for me, then, Schrauwen has two new books incoming. The first, Arsene Schrauwen, is a bit of originally self-published family history done in one color printing, which will be out at the end of the year. Fantagraphics is calling it his first graphic novel, which I think is misleading, but the work seems to be well regarded however it's packaged. The second is Mowgli's Mirror, an all or mostly silent tale featuring Rudyard Kipling's character from The Jungle Book. which will be put out by Retrofit/Big Planet sometime next year. Zainab Akhtar at ComicsAlliance has a plot summary and some preview pages; it's a looker, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Wednesday's New Things: Paying For It

Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest, translated by Kelly Sue Deconnick

Barbarella is one of those European comics I know only reputation, perhaps best euphemistically characterized as European, although I remember encountering the Jane Fonda movie version on the shelves at Blockbuster, when video rental places were still a thing outside of Austin. It's cool to see a new English language release of the first volume of the material translated by Kelly Sue Deconnick, with the first ever translation of the second volume to follow early next year. The book is interesting enough on its own, but Humanoids's publishing strategy is fascinating. What might be characterized as the central release is a massive volume, 12 inches X 16 inches, officially a coffee table book, and coming in at a modest $80 for 70 pages of content. Also being made available is a digital version, which will cost you -- this is not a typo-- $5.95. Just to be clear, the digital version costs less than 7.5% of what the physical version costs. In this case, what you're paying for isn't the content, its the packaging. That's true of all physical releases, of course, but this is extreme, the logical conclusion of a market driven by collectors. Eventually, I'm sure there will be a more reasonable physical version, but, for now, I think it's cool that Humanoids is making the work available for those of us without either the $80 to lay down or the coffee table to put the book on. 

Bumperhead by Gilbert Hernandez 

I'm about to dig deep into Gilbert Hernandez's Heartbreak Soup stories for a presentation I'm giving at ICAF in November (A Cosmonaut in Palomar: Seeing, Showing, and Imagining In Gilbert Hernandez’s Heartbreak Soup). It'll be my first academic conference as a graduate student. Excitement and terror are closer than people realize. Anyway, Hernandez's newest project is out in wide release this week, after a SDCC debut, and, as always, it looks excellent

Process: David Aja

Coming Soon To A Spinner Rack Near You: Ba and Moon's Two Brothers

Twins Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon are two of the foremost members of a generation of Brazilian cartoonists that are getting regular or semi-regular work from comics companies in the United States. If they're not the most well known of the group, they're certainly close, having worked regularly with Matt Fraction on Casanova as well as seeing their own work, most notably the story collection De:Tales and the series Daytripper, released in English. They've apparently just finished work on a new project called Two Brothers, and they're celebrating in style:
We've began this tradition in 2005, when Fábio finished Smke and Guns. On the day he drew the last pages of the story, he came wearing a suit, as a way of remembering that day, making it special. He did it again in 2006 on the last day drawing The Alienist. Again in 2008, when he finished Casanova: GULA. Every new big story he finished, he'd have a suit day on the last day of the work. Our last suit day was July 19th, 2010, in London, when he drew the last page of Daytripper. 
Today is another memorable day, as we finished our new book, Two Brothers. Both of us dressed accordingly. It's a very special day.
That's a fabulous tradition; I hope they don't mind that I steal it for when I complete my own projects. Ba and Moon always do good work, and I'm looking forward to Two Brothers, whatever it is.