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Friday, 28 February 2014

B+F by Gregory Benton


An interesting thing happened a few years ago in comics in that all of its past history was laid out before us and cartoonists began taking whatever idiosyncratic path they felt like. Gregory Benton has been making comics for years and they would pop up in obscure anthologies here and there. You never knew when you would luck into a Greg Benton comic but it was always a pleasure. His style is flexible and natural—there's an ease to his cartooning and his characters are knotty and tense. So, all of a sudden out of nowhere Greg drops B+F on us and it simultaneously feels like something from comics past and something that looks towards the future. B+F is a wordless adventure comic featuring a Big Dog and a Naked Lady. It's like a lost Heavy Metal magazine serial with its tasteful nudity and dense jungles and exploding volcanos but given a prestige treatment. But on the other hand, it's thoroughly modern in that nothing is played for prurient interest and there's a rollicking adventure to be had so no time to wonder why this dog and this woman are even in this place or what this place is. The gorgeous complex colouring adds to this atmosphere that Greg was swept up and frantically trying to get all the information down as quickly as it came to him. This book has an element of possession to it, like it was controlling the artist's hand and all he could do was follow orders. A rare thing of beauty, this book.

And, hey, Greg is coming to the store next week (Friday, March 7th 7:00 PM) so come on down and meet him and ask him how the hell he pulled this book off!
Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Out Today: Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët’s Beautiful Darkness!

We are unbelievably excited to let you know that Beautiful Darkness, by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët and translated by Helge Dascher, is available today!


Beautiful Darkness, originally published in French as Jolies Tenebres by Les Éditions Dupuis (2009), is the first book by Vehlmann & Kerascoët to be published by Drawn and Quarterly.  Fabien Vehlmann, who wrote the Jason-drawn comic Isle of 100,000 Graves, has penned a grim story here (based on an idea by Marie Pommepuy), one that breaks its characters down and shows the capacity for evil in even the sweetest looking of princesses.


Husband and wife team Marie Pommepuy & Sébastien Cosset (pen name Kerascoët), who have illustrated several incredible books, including Beauté and Miss Pas Touche, create a lush and serene watercolour backdrop for a host of tiny creatures who have been displaced from their home inside the head of a young girl, and must find a way to survive.


From here our little gaggle of adorable characters are thrown into a world of natural dangers – insects, cats, crows, the coming winter – all while remaining oblivious to the danger they pose to each other.


Our heroine, Aurora, attempts to make the best of the situation by leading the others to food, making shelters, and providing friendship and support, but soon even she is tested. Her presence is stabilizing, but she cannot always be there, and it is in her absence that we begin to see survival instincts played out by characters whose casual cruelty lacks any introspection or sympathy.


Violence and death are written and illustrated in an offhand way, the way children might imagine a game of cops and robbers: one panel you’re alive, the next you’re gone, and in the next, everyone has already forgotten you were there in the first place.


Aurora is constantly struggling to be different from the others; the way the book tests her patience and goodness is chilling, and it’s worth reading about (Comics & Cola has a great review where they go into this in depth). “To what extent does one compromise one’s ideals and principles, one’s self before losing it entirely?”

Selfishness, spite, deceit, callousness, competitiveness… it’s difficult to read about extreme versions of behaviour we so often exhibit in life, but Vehlmann and Kerascoët have made it impossible to look away.


This story will stick with you whether you want it to or not, and you might find yourself remembering specific panels for a few sleepless nights. Beautiful Darkness is unsettling, intelligent, and a joy to look at, and we are so excited for it to become a new classic.
Sunday, 23 February 2014

SUNNY (is a car) and Taiyo Matsumoto (is a cartoonist)



How did I not read these books until now? I knew Taiyo Matsumoto's SUNNY was a must read when I first heard about it and then time just slipped away but I'm here to tell you that this book is the real deal. Matsumoto has a great "power drawing" style kind of like Farel Dalrymple or Paul Pope and delivers great images page after page and he's no slouch in the writing department either.

I admit to having no clue what these books were about when I cracked them so here's a brief synopsis: SUNNY is set at a foster home in Japan in what is likely the mid-70s and centers on the lives of the kids and caretakers there. The stories are episodic and overlapping and we tend to see the day-in/day-out of each kid as they spend their time fighting, living, going to school/surviving. The beauty of this book is that it isn't either a nightmare world or some sort of decency fantasy—the kids fight with or stick up for each other in a very real way. The grownups are neither monsters nor saints. It's very good and I think I could actually read these "adventures" forever. I know there is a third volume planned but I don't know more beyond that but three or eight volumes, I am on board.
Friday, 21 February 2014

Recap: THE ISRAEL TABOO - Talking About Talking About Israel with Joseph Rosen

Two weeks ago, we were very pleased to host a panel discussion around the themes that our friend Joseph Rosen addressed in his article “The Israel Taboo” in The Walrus, namely: how can we create more productive, open and diverse public conversations around an issue that tends to provoke combatative and antagonistic responses? It was one of the more charged events we've hosted at the store, but we're proud to say that the conversation was as civil and generous as it was provocative.


The turnout was huge! We had to move more tables than usual to squeeze in the crowd that turned out to hear our panelists speak.



Joseph Rosen started off with his perspective: Israel is hard to talk about. Let's talk anyway, and try to do it without getting too steamed (I'm paraphrasing. Joseph was much more eloquent).


Next, Rana Alrabi took the mic. Rana is a public relations consultant, and radio producer and host with CKUT radio. Rana co-presided the Montreal Dialogue Group for the last two years, and her response to Joseph was, essentially: Where is the Palestinian perspective in this conversation? We cannot progress if that story isn't heard.


Next up was Eric Scott. Eric is a Montreal filmmaker whose films include Je me souviens (2002), about the history of anti-Semitism in Quebec, and The Other Zionists (2004), about Israeli activists in the West Bank. According to him, this conversation is not so difficult to have in Israel itself.


Yakov Rabkin, a Professor of History at the University of Montréal, noted that this conversation is also not so difficult to have in every part of Montreal, and that we should remember that there isn't one "Jewish community" in Montreal, but many. He and Eric then debated how much bearing (if any) conversations in Montréal have on the actual situation in Israel/Palestine. 

At that point, much back-and-forth began to ensue as the panelists started taking questions and comments from the floor via the very conciliatory technique of notecards distributed among the audience. A lively discussion ensued, followed by convivial wine-drinking and socializing.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out!











Thursday, 20 February 2014

TONIGHT! Diane Obomsawin launches On Loving Women


Join us in launching Montreal-based cartoonist and animator Diane Obomsawin's second book with Drawn & Quarterly, On Loving Women, tonight at 7 pm. The evening will include a presentation on the book and a signing.


On Loving Women is a powerfully intimate collection of stories about coming out, first love, and sexual identity. Diane Obomsawin shares her friends' and lovers' personal accounts of coming into their queerness or first finding love with another woman in simply told, expressive comics.

 Photo credit: Rehab Nazal

Born in Montreal in 1959, Diane Obomsawin spent the first twenty years of her life in France. After studying graphic design, she returned to Canada in 1983 and turned her attention to painting, comics, and animation. Here and There, an autobiographical film about the artist's rootless childhood, has garnered numerous prestigious distinctions.

Obomsawin has published two books with Drawn & Quarterly: her first, Kaspar, is about the life of Kaspar Hauser, and was accompanied by a short film of the same name; her second, On Loving Women, is about women's coming out experiences.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Just In: Adventure Time #4!


We've been getting calls about this one, so we now you're excited...and who wouldn't be? I know we are! Like Comics Alliance said, "It's consistently great, to the point where it's probably a little tiresome to always be hearing about how great it is." If you haven't caught the Adventure Time bug yet, what are you waiting for? This newest volume comes with a big emblem on the front indicating that Adventure Time was the 2013 Eisner winner for "Best Publication for Kids," but obviously non-kids can also enjoy some adventurous times.

This collection is entirely written by the highly reliable Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame), illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, and includes such mathematical delights as: Magic Man, a section where the characters talk only in emoticons, the Ice King's Hall of Just Ice, and a dungeon for TRUE ULTIMATE HEROES ONLY, known as the Nightosphere's Nightmareosphere (actually a toroid). Also, an actual real-life mailman's outfit! Get into it!

The Librairie D+Q Graphic Novel Club! Wednesday February 26th at 7pm!

You know we love us some Graphic Novels, right? And we know you love 'em too so that's why we're super-enthused to announce our inaugural meeting of our Graphic Novel club...hosted by D+Q associate publisher, Peggy Burns!


And every month we'll have a new meeting, hosted by D+Q bookstore or D+Q publishing house staffers, who will each choose GNs both new and old, D+Q and non, to discuss between the comfortable four walls of the bookstore. Refreshments will be provided and discussion will be lively! Come, one, come all, bring a friend...free to attend and 20% discount on that months selection for the entire month! Speaking of which...February's selection is:


Geneviève Castrée's Susceptible!

Published in 2013 and critically acclaimed,  Susceptible is the autobiographical story of a daydreamer growing up in Quebec in the '80s and '90s with a single mother. From a skillful artist comes a moving, beautiful story about families, loss, and growing up. Whether she's discussing nature versus nurture or the story of her birth, Castrée imbues her storytelling with a quiet power and a confidence in the strength of imagery.

With mesmerizing honesty Castrée resurrects the obscenely disorienting turning points of a childhood, the ones that haunt a person for a lifetime. After reading the last page I closed the book and wept a little bit about its simple, perfect ending. –Miranda July, author of It Chooses You and No One Belongs Here More Than You


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Ad Reinhardt - How to Look: Art Comics

Here we have the brand new monograph of the influential American abstract painter, Ad Reinhardt's "How to Look" cartoons, originally published in the leftist daily PM in the 1940s. All of his most famous satirical cartoons, which managed to critique the art world in a particularly spot-on, funny manner, have been reproduced from their original plates. Here's a sampling of some of the gorgeous full page (and double page) spreads:

A Portend of the Artist as a Yhung Mandala

How to Look at Low (Surrealist) Art

The Insiders

Though Reinhardt was most well-known for his abstract and minimalist paintings (most notably his famous Black Paintings series) this collection proves that he was also an extremely skilled satirist and cartoonist.




Monday, 17 February 2014

New Arrivals: Homemade Living Series books!

I know it may not seem like it right now, Montrealers, but winter is ending soon (right?!) and it's time to get back to actually doing things that don't involve Netflix and hot chocolate. 



The Homemade Living series teaches you everything you need to know about a variety of DIY tasks, spanning from beekeeping to canning. The books are brimming with information, all of it presented in a friendly and inviting way.



Home Dairy teaches you the basics of making your own dairy products, starting with relatively simple DIY methods for butter and escalating to advanced cheeses and ice cream. It even has recipes for body care products!


The book also includes great resources and a nice light chapter on the origin of home dairy and creamery.


Canning has always seemed like a daunting concept to me, but the Homemade Living book makes it seem fun and inspiring; I have no visions of myself crying over a stove, cutting up an infinite number of beets. It has great recipes, and shortcuts galore.



How can you possibly say no to strawberry jam and quick pickles?
Sunday, 16 February 2014

Lilli Carré's Tippy and the Night Parade

The latest title from Toon Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press that publishes beautiful comic books for emerging readers. Tippy and the Night Parade is cartoonist Lilli Carré's very first book for children.

Tippy doesn't know how all these animals end up in her room every night... it seems they must be following her home as she wanders the garden, the docks, the forest and the mountain in her sleep.

 
The adorable story, which includes the hilarious crab pictured above, combined with Lilli Carré's stunning drawings makes for a beautiful comic for tiny readers and adults alike. 

Picture
To see more of Lilli Carré's work, including her moving drawings, visit her website.
Saturday, 15 February 2014

Just in: Jacky's Diary, the complete collection of Sunday strips by Jack Mendelsohn!



Look what just arrived: it's Jacky's Diary! This new hardcover collection of Jack Mendelsohn's comics has the entire run of the original Sunday strip, plus an extensive introduction by Mendelsohn himself revealing some of his own never before seen photos.


First appearing as a weekly in the Sunday funnies, Jacky's Diary was written by Mendelsohn in the late 1950s and early 1960s during the time he was living in Mexico city. Though the author was an adult at the time, he wrote from a child's perspective, striving to replicate the sort of work that a child would produce.


You can see that in the first panel of each strip, he documents his age at the time of publication. Nonetheless, many readers mistook his comics as actually being written by a child, even occasionally submitting their own children's work in hopes that it would be published! Clearly, he did a good job of capturing a child-like expression of experience if so many readers were fooled.


Later in his career, after Jacky's Diary was dropped by the paper (dailies being a cheaper option than weeklies at the time), Mendelsohn went on to forge an impressive career in the entertainment business. He wrote comedy for such heavy hitters as Bill Cosby and Carol Burnett, co-produced Three's Company, contributed to MAD magazine, and story-edited the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series. He even wrote the screenplay for the Beatles Yellow Submarine film, as you can see above.


Now an octogenarian (and this despite his habit of smoking four packs a day!) Mendelsohn's career has spanned many decades and his work has certainly influenced pop culture in a myriad of ways. Now you can get an insider's glimpse into his life and creative output, as well as read all of Jacky's Diary in one volume.
Friday, 14 February 2014

Event Recap: Serafim & Claire Book Launch

This past Friday, February 7th, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly hosted a book launch of Mark Lavorato’s Serafim & Claire, published by House of Anansi Press. Mark was joined by Ian McGillis, author of the novel A Tourist's Guide to Glengarry and columnist for the Montreal Gazette.
This stack was significantly smaller by the end of the night, we can tell ya that.
The store was packed with excitable, avid Canadian fiction readers, which made for a great Q&A post reading.
Here is the marvelous Kira giving Mark's introduction.
Mark began by reading from Serafim & Claire, introducing us first to Serafim, an immigrant in the 1920s involved in photography, and then Claire, a Quebecois dancer.
Afterwards, Ian asked Mark when he first knew he wanted to be a writer. Mark said it was when he was in the Guatemalan jungle: he wanted to use his skill for storytelling to shed light on human rights issues. When asked about the love story most readers assumed was at the heart of Serafim & Claire, Mark explained that instead of being a traditional romantic pairing, Serafim & Claire is more about what happens when you are completely devoted to your art. The two artists are falling in love with their art form, not necessarily simply with each other.

As a bonus, dear readers, please witness the most adorable puppy to be in attendance at a Drawn & Quarterly event (that may be disputed, we have no facts to back that up).
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

New in stock: The Believer #104!


We've got the new Believer in, folks, and the highlight of this issue is an interview between perennial young-girl favourite Judy Blume and Lena Dunham, pre-eminent chronicler of twenty-something girlhood today. Whet your appetite with this reading list that Dunham and Blume put together for New York mag (surprise: Blume's new book is inspired by Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers; not surprising: Blume and Dunham both recommend Lolita). Also in this issue: Sarah Marshall revisits the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair, comics by Michael Deforge and others, and photographer Alec Soth talks about his work.

New magazines: Riposte and Spheres!

Two very exciting new magazines have just arrived in store, and we can't wait to share them with you!

 Riposte #1
Riposte, whose tagline reads "A Smart Magazine for Women" is full to the brim with interesting and inspiring content, including interviews, features, and lovely photos. 


Case in point, this interview with the fascinating designer, Nelly Ben Hayoun, the woman behind the International Space Orchestra and other such projects which blur the space between sci-fi and reality.


Or this interview with Françoise Mouly, longtime art editor of The New Yorker.


Or this feature on Claire de Rouen, the namesake and founder of London's Claire de Rouen Books, whose specialty is fashion and photography books. We always appreciate a truly beautiful bookshelf like the one pictured here!

Spheres - Rafaël Rozendaal (Note: you can't tell from the photo, but the blue sphere in the cover image is actually a really cool, colour-shifting hologram!)

Spheres is a new magazine in which each issue is devoted to documenting collaborations between a different young artist, and the editor of Spheres, graphic designer Phillipe Karrer. The latest issue features Rafaël Rozendaal, a New York visual artist whose work is predominantly web-based. Below are a few sample pages to whet your appetite:




Both of these lovely new magazines are so fresh off the presses that you can still smell the ink on the pages! They're so great that we are already chomping at the bit to see who will be featured in upcoming issues. Come get 'em while they're hot!



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