Tonight! Michael DeForge Launches Ant Colony

TONIGHT, Thursday, January 30th, at 7pm, join Librairie Drawn & Quarterly for the launch of Michael DeForge’s darkly existential graphic novel Ant Colony! In just a few short years, DeForge’s singular, idiosyncratic style has made him an important new voice in alternative comics. Here, he will present a slideshow with a signing to follow.

Ant Colony follows the denizens of a black ant colony under attack from the nearby red ants: from its opening pages, DeForge immerses the reader in a world of false prophets, unjust wars, and corrupt police officers. On the surface, Ant Colony tells the story of this war, the destruction of a civilization, and the ants’ all-too-familiar desire to rebuild. Underneath, though, Ant Colony plumbs the deepest human concerns – loneliness, faith, love, apathy, and more. DeForge’s striking visual sensibility – stark lines, dramatic color choices, and brilliant use of page and panel space – stands out in this volume.

Michael DeForge was born in 1987 and grew up in Ottawa, Ontario. After a few years of experimenting with short strips and zines, he created Lose #1, his first full-length comic, which won Best Emerging Talent at the Doug Wright Awards. He has since published a handful of comic books, which have received industry praise and two Eisner Award nominations. His illustrations have been published in the New York Times and Bloomberg View; his comics have appeared in Believer, Maisonneuve, and the Adventure Time comic book series.

Valentines galore!

As February looms ever nearer on the horizon, you may find yourself pondering how best to show your love on Valentine's day. We've got you covered - whether your beloved is a book lover, or just a lover, period!

Here's a sampling of the adorable cards that just arrived, handmade by the very talented Michelle of Chelleline. My personal fave: Je t'aime plus que la that's a declaration of true love if ever there was one!

Or, if you're looking for something a little different, these cute cards from Red Cap Cards have got a great retro vibe to them.

And for your platonic loves, what could be more touching than this B.F.F. illustration of Koko and her pet kitten?

Do machines have feelings? The A.I. debate rages on, but clearly this little robot is lovestruck to the core. (Perfect for the nerdier Valentines on your list!)

If you're the type whose dance card is perpetually all filled up, maybe you should consider stocking up on Valentine's cards en masse, like this boxed set of 20 different romantic polaroid notecards. Just sayin'.

This card's got a beautiful cover, but just wait 'til you see what's inside...

Whoa! It's a pop-up flower!

No matter who's on your Valentine list this year, these thoughtful cards are sure to warm their respective hearts. And if you feel like adding a little extra something to express your undying affection, a book is always a great gift, and we have no shortage of those here either!

GRANTA 126: Do You Remember

Hankering for new short fiction? If so, you'll be happy to know that the latest issue of Granta is here! Granta 126: Do You Remember features pieces in which the writers remember, or invent, scenes from their own lives and the lives of others.

You can expect stories by such literary luminaries as Ann Beattie, Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore, Norman Rush and Joy Williams, as well as photo essays by Brigitte Grignet and Yuri Kozyrev, and Emily Dickinson collage art by Janet Malcolm!

Yuri Kozyrev's photos offer a brief glimpse into daily life in the Republic of Abkhazia, an independent state on the shores of the Black Sea.

Brigitte Grignet photographs scenes from Aysén, Chile, the site of a looming hydroelectric damming project.

Janet Malcolm plays off of Marta Werner's Emily Dickinson's Open Folios, in which Werner provided typewritten transcriptions of Dickinson's handwritten scraps of poetry

La Pastèque at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts!

If you know our bookstore, you know how much we love La Pasteque. Not only do they publish the French editions of our beloved Pascal Girard (La Collectionneuse being his newest) they are easily one of the absolute best French-language comics publishers around.

Started in 1998 by Frédéric Gauthier and Martin Brault, La Pastèque has been publishing gorgeous comics by such stellar talents as  Zviane, Janice Nadeau, Michel Rabagliati, Pascal Blanchet, Isabelle Arsenault, ever since (to name only a few and all kept in stock here at 211 Bernard) and so we were so extremely proud to see their recent 15th anniversary celebrated with an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts!

A lot of us from the D+Q office and store were at the opening and let me tell you, good vibes and good wine were a-flowing...and the exhibition itself has to be seen to believed! Alongside works by the artists on their estimable roster you'll see layouts, covers and photographs which exemplify the creativity that this remarkable Quebecois publishing house has nurtured. Comics fans and  lovers of illustration and design: this is must see!

The exhibit runs until March 30th, 2014 at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion - Level 3.

Out today: Ant Colony by Michael Deforge!

We are ECSTATIC to announce that D&Q newest release, Michael Deforge's incredible Ant Colony, is on sale today! Deforge's books - like Very Casual, which won the 2013 Ignatz Award for "Outstanding Anthology or Collection" as well as the award for Outstanding Artist - have long been favourites at the store, so we're thrilled that D&Q is publishing what we think is his magnum opus. Ant Colony has been serially published online, but now you can get it in lavish hardcover. It's a dark story, but the perfect venue for all of Deforge's talents. If you've noticed his work as a designer for Adventure Time, then you already know he's got a gift for deliriously weird characters and borderline-abstract treatments of clothing and bodies. Many of his stories turn around the queasily real consequences of cartoonish flesh transformation -- the phrase "body horror" gets thrown around a lot, but Deforge brings cuteness and humour into the mix in a way that's so much more complicated than just gore and weirdness for its own sake.

In Ant Colony, the all-too-human black ant protagonists struggle with mundane existental dilemmas...some of them moreso than others. "You keep saying 'It's all so teensy,'" one ant says to his more-sensitive partner. "What does that mean?"

Critics have already lined up to lavish praise on Ant Colony. Here's a quote from The Comics Journal: "The queen of the colony is a behemoth, a tangle of canals and orifices before which the males of the colony queue up and into which they enter three by three to deposit their ejaculate — an EPCOT Center attraction designed by Salvador Dalí at his most trollish."

Chris Randle at Hazlitt also published a lengthy and thoughtful review: "DeForge visualizes spiders as wolfish cartoon dog heads perched atop eight black sabres, a single hidden eye staring from their mouths—Carl Barks adapting Bataille."

From Ant Colony's opening pages, DeForge immerses the reader in a world of false prophets, unjust wars, and corrupt police officers. On the surface, he tells the story of a war between black and red ants, the destruction of a civilization, and the ants’ all-too-familiar desire to rebuild. Underneath, though, Ant Colony plumbs the deepest human concerns – loneliness, faith, love, apathy, and more. "After the aforementioned sunlight bears down on warring ants like some towering abstracted sword, their charred corpses lie over smooth lawny green, a bucolic necropolis."

Whether it's body horror or not, Ant Colony is definitely a kind of a horror story, albeit a blackly-comic one with epic scope and liberal dashes of psychedelic visions. But all the pretty colours and madly imaginative draftsmanship don't dilute Ant Colony's bad-trip bleakness. One by one, the story's most altruistic and idealistic characters succumb to massacre, depression, suicide, and insanity while the least scrupulous live to fight another day. It's a heavy tale, but if you've got a strong stomach, prepare to be wowed and dazzled.

Don't forget that Michael Deforge will be at the store in person on January 30th to launch Ant Colony! Join us for what's sure to be a great night! More details here.

Babies, balloons and Aunt Amelia the alligator

Korean author and illustrator Il Sung Na, author of store favourites The Book of Sleep and Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit, brings us more vibrantly coloured illustrations of irresistibly adorable animals in A Book of Babies.

Babies born in oceans or trees or on the ground, with scales or fur or feathers, with tiny legs or wings...
Like in her book Lunchtime, Rebecca Cobb's characters find unexpected fun in something they were sure they didn't like in her new book, Aunt Amelia.

Aunt Amelia pulls a cat in the hat and turns the rules upside-down.

Danny Appleby and Lauren Pirie bring us a touching, unique tale of loss in Ella and the Balloons in the Sky.

When Ella goes to feed her pets one day and finds they have floated away on balloons, she is distraught, but learns that her tiny creatures will always be with her in her memories.

Mould Map 3 is here!

Get ready to feast your eyes on some seriously decadent comics, everyone! Mould Map 3 is here, and even more beautiful IRL than online!

Mould Map is a New Comics & Narrative Art publication, co-edited by Hugh Frost and Leon Sadler. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Mould Map 3 (Landfill Editions & Famicon Express) is highly swoon-worthy, and is now available for your comics-gorging needs. To add to the excitement, Julien Ceccaldi, beloved former bookstore employee, totally kills it with both the cover (see above), and the first piece in the collection (below)!

Mould Map 3 features a dazzling array of artists, among whom are store favourites like Jonny Negron, C.F., Sam Alden, Simon Hanselmann, Sammy Harkham and Killian Eng. The future is bleak (if not outright horrifying) in these collected scenarios, but the colours are so vibrant and the visions so immersive that one still wants to run towards it with open arms.


Jonny Negron
Sam Alden
Simon Hanselmann (coloured by Lala Albert)
Karn Piana

Bonus: There are even several posters included! 

New in stock: Adult magazine issue one!

After a long wait in which we were all holding our breath, squirming in our seats with our hearts racing, the first issue of Adult magazine has finally arrived at the store. The brainchild of the almost preternaturally-cool Sarah Nicole Prickett, Adult is, as the name suggests, a very sexy magazine -- their own website says it's about "contemporary erotics and experience" -- but it bears more resemblance to the legendary late-60's counterculture mag Avant-Garde than it does to your average Playboy. If you've ever wondered why anyone would buy smut in print in the age of internet porn, here's your answer: it's beautifully-printed on thick matte stock, it's lavishly designed, and, okay, it's not porn as such, even if there's a lot of naked bodies in here (and the c-word right there on the cover). 

Adult is not only sexier than your average literary magazines, it might even be more literary. Where else will you find a thrillingly personal email exchange between Ariana Reines and Rachel Kushner next to a photo essay of bright young things masturbating (inspired by cult author Harry Matthews!)? Other very sexy content includes fiction by Dodie Bellamy, Tamara Faith Berger, and Kristopher Jansma, poems by seven "poets we'd like to fuck," profiles of David Cronenberg and Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu, a tribute to the "zipless fuck" that Erica Jong coined 40 years ago in Fear of Flying, a comic by Chris Randle and Mia Schwarz, and of course a lot of pictures of various bodies by Nancy Reyes, Flora Hanitijo and Henrik Purienne. Come and clasp a copy in your perspiring palms before we sell out!

The Best of McSweeney's (Deluxe Edition)

It's here: a most luxurious slip-cased edition of The Best of McSweeney's, a retrospective of fifteen years of the McSweeney's literary journal, featuring exclusive new material! 

This collection includes work by a myriad of wonderful authors, including Lydia Davis, David Foster Wallace, Sheila Heti, Zadie Smith, and A. M. Holmes, to name just a few (and comics by Tomine, Ware, Clowes and Sacco). You can read an excerpt of Dave Egger's intro here, where he talks about the journal's humble debut in 1998 (in the days where he would read submissions by himself in his kitchen) and reflects on some of the exciting projects accomplished over the years.  

And what is in this mysterious little box?

It's a cigar box full of treasures! Inside you'll discover an assortment of comics (Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine and more), postcards (Ian Huebert) and writing by Nathan Englander, Michael Chabon, Stephen King, and others.

And we'll have more exciting publications by McSweeney's soon; keep an eye out for The Best of McSweeney's Internet Tendency, out this March!

Pascal Girard's Comic Workshop - last chance to sign up!

Starts tonight and there a couple spots left! Stop by or call the shop (514-279-2224) to reserve.

Comics from Hic & Hoc!

We just got in a ton of comics from Hic & Hoc Publications in New Jersey. Check 'em out! Authors include Philippa Rice, Pat Aulisio, Ian Anderson, Lauren Barnett, Neil Fitzpatrick, Lizz Hickey & others! The anthologies also include work by Julia Gfrӧrer and Sam Alden.


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