An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Volume 2

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Overview

Comic art is a vital, highly personal art form in which change—rapid and unpredictable—is the norm. In this exciting new anthology, comic artist Ivan Brunetti focuses on very recent works by contemporary artists engaged in this world of change. These outstanding cartoonists, selected by Brunetti for their graphic sophistication and literary style, are both expanding and transforming the vocabulary of their genre.

The book presents contemporary art comics produced by 75 artists, along with some classic comic strips and other related fine art and historical materials. Brunetti arranges the book to reflect the creative process itself, connecting stories and art to each other in surprising ways: nonlinear, elliptical, sometimes whimsical, even poetic. He emphasizes continuity from piece to piece, weaving themes and motifs throughout the volume.

As gorgeously produced as Brunetti’s previous anthology of graphic fiction, this book does full justice to the creative work of Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Gary Panter, and the other prominent or emerging comic artists who are currently at work at the cutting edge of their medium.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
No doubt about it: If you follow graphic literature, this is the anthology. Like its predecessor, the stand-alone second volume of Ivan Brunetti's Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories not only packs a punch with its star-studded writer and artist lineup; it functions as a hands-on tutorial to this burgeoning art form. As for the lineup, here's a modest sample: Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Jaimes Hernandez, Gary Panter, Joe Sacco, Saul Steinberg, and Frank Santoro.
Booklist
"An engaging, provocative, and valuable survey."—Booklist
FLOG! The Fantagraphics Blog

"One of the most stunning—and smartly assembled—anthologies I''ve ever seen."—Eric Reynolds, FLOG! The Fantagraphics Blog

— Eric Reynolds

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Invaluable [and] idiosyncratic . . . Brunetti includes under-the-radar surprises . . . and draws consistently fascinating connections between pieces.”—Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

— Cliff Foehlich

The Village Voice (online)

"Brunetti has a genius for sequencing. . . . Like almost any good comic, these anthologies flow."—Richard Gehr, The Village Voice (online)

— Richard Gehr

Onion A.V. Club
"Another far-reaching set of comics that range from the 1920s to 2008. As with the first book, the genius of this second Anthology is in its organization, which groups pieces not by year or subject, but by association. . . . A."—Onion A.V. Club
Independent on Sunday
“Good grief, what a book this is—a hyperactive, periodically insane dive into the archaeology of alternative comics, the sort of book you long to present to people with no interest in the medium and watch as it removes the top of their heads and gives their brains a good stir.”—Independent on Sunday
ComicMix

"If the Daniel Clowes cover intrigues you, and you want to a good introduction to the odder and more idiosyncratic side of comics today, there are few guides more knowledgeable than Brunetti, and few books more useful than his Anthologies."—Andrew Wheeler, ComicMix

— Andrew Wheeler

FLOG! The Fantagraphics Blog - Eric Reynolds
"One of the most stunning—and smartly assembled—anthologies I've ever seen."—Eric Reynolds, FLOG! The Fantagraphics Blog
Gutter Geek - Jared Gardner
"Deeply engaged, personal, and unbelievably gorgeous. . . . The best anthology of its kind."—Jared Gardner, Gutter Geek
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Cliff Foehlich
“Invaluable [and] idiosyncratic . . . Brunetti includes under-the-radar surprises . . . and draws consistently fascinating connections between pieces.”—Cliff Froehlich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Village Voice (online) - Richard Gehr
"Brunetti has a genius for sequencing. . . . Like almost any good comic, these anthologies flow."—Richard Gehr, The Village Voice (online)
ComicMix - Andrew Wheeler
"If the Daniel Clowes cover intrigues you, and you want to a good introduction to the odder and more idiosyncratic side of comics today, there are few guides more knowledgeable than Brunetti, and few books more useful than his Anthologies."—Andrew Wheeler, ComicMix
USA Today - Whitney Matheson
“I urge you to check out An Anthology of Graphic Fiction & True Stories (both volumes), edited by Brunetti and published by Yale University Press. They're certainly two of the best anthologies I've seen in recent years.”—Whitney Matheson, USA Today “Pop Candy” blog
Booklist

"An engaging, provocative, and valuable survey."—Booklist

Independent on Sunday

“Good grief, what a book this is—a hyperactive, periodically insane dive into the archaeology of alternative comics, the sort of book you long to present to people with no interest in the medium and watch as it removes the top of their heads and gives their brains a good stir.”—Independent on Sunday

Onion A.V. Club

"Another far-reaching set of comics that range from the 1920s to 2008. As with the first book, the genius of this second Anthology is in its organization, which groups pieces not by year or subject, but by association. . . . A."—Onion A.V. Club

David Hajdu
The book is a manifesto of comics’ coming of age. Unlike several earlier anthologies of comics, including two dense volumes published by the Smithsonian (one of newspaper comics, one of comic-book stories) and a fine collection of newspaper strips compiled by the comics artist Jerry Robinson (“The Comics”), the Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories is not an overview of the history of comics from their birth in the lurid Sunday supplements of the turn of the last century through the rise of superheroes in the late 1930s to the triumph of Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer for Maus in 1992. Rather, it concentrates almost solely on recent work by contemporary artists and writers doing what Brunetti calls “art comics” — personal, deeply intimate, idiosyncratic and sometimes wild comics published for the most part by independent presses.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Brunetti's second collection of his favorite cartoonists' work is even better than the first-more far-ranging, more personal and eccentric. Clearly a tour of one person's singular tastes, it's arranged in a stream-of-consciousness "oh, and you have to see this one" sort of way: work by 80-odd cartoonists, mostly from the past few decades, but also incorporating some early-1900s comic strips, a 1940s-vintage Fletcher Hanks story and several circa 1950 Harvey Kurtzman pieces as well as a smattering of previously unpublished gems. It's possible to quibble with some of Brunetti's aesthetic biases (or with his clustering most of the book's women cartoonists together in a block), but not with his selections. Nearly every piece is a killer, from big names like Chris Ware and Daniel Clowes as well as lesser-knowns like Laura Park and Matthew Thurber, and there's an enormous range of expressive styles and narrative approaches on display. The effect is something like Jerome Rothenberg's poetry anthologies: an investigation of unsettling, mind-opening places where only comics can travel. It's a pleasure to read straight through, and all but the most experienced art-comics enthusiasts are likely to discover a few new favorites. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly
Brunetti's stated criteria for what made the cut for this hearty and hefty volume comes in his refreshingly honest introduction: "Ultimately... these are comics that I savor and often revisit." Luckily Brunetti's got a fabulous eye for an artist's signature work. The selections are difficult to argue with, hitting not just the expected luminaries (Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes) but lesser-knowns like surrealist Mark Beyer and Richard McGuire, whose "Here" breaks down the time-space continuum with mind-bending ease. Brunetti includes usually just one work from each artist, but makes exceptions for the likes of R. Crumb, and he isn't above putting his own work in, a move that's somehow more charming than obnoxious. Any fallow patches are more than made up for by, say, Jaime Hernandez's cinematic miniepic "Flies on the Ceiling." Unlike other recent anthologies, women cartoonists are represented with some of the best work in the book, like Debbie Drechsler's horrific "Visitors in the Night." While one may question the need for another comics anthology in a year unusually heavy with them, Brunetti has gone beyond the obvious to create an anthology of what is truly the finest in comics. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Don't be fooled by the prosaic title or the whiff of pedagogy in the introduction; this is the world of comics-or at least the North American, English-speaking part of that world-at its liveliest. The second anthology edited by Brunetti (volume one was published in 2006) showcases some of the form's history and development, highlights some of the best and better-known contemporary artists and introduces some cutting-edge innovators working at the vanguard of form and collage. The thematic organization by the editor (a Chicago-based professor and cartoonist) is compellingly idiosyncratic, juxtaposing Chris Ware's one-pager of a superhero named "God" with R. Sikoryak's series of covers for the fictional Action Camus series-a takeoff on Action Comics with a superhero who is part Superman, part Albert Camus's The Stranger. The work included addresses plenty of psycho-philosophical issues-death, identity, dreams, memory, death and the possibility of an afterlife-while also including a tribute to MAD magazine's creator Harvey Kurtzman, with his work followed by extended graphic celebrations by such leading acolytes as Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman. The latter stresses how far Kurtzman's influence extended beyond fellow artists to the culture at large: "I think Harvey's MAD was more important than pot and LSD in shaping the generation that protested the Vietnam War." The obsessions probed throughout the anthology are as personal as the artistry, with Crumb offering a series of strips on record collecting (the first in collaboration with Harvey Pekar) and the exotic lure of what were once known as "race records"; Joe Matt on porn addiction; and Lynda Barry on dancing (and "keepers of thegroove"). In David Heatley's closing " Portrait of My Mom" and "Portrait of My Dad," it's plain that what he's really offering is a portrait of himself. Explains Brunetti, "I have tried to represent a variety of approaches while retaining a sense of wholeness and interconnectedness among the stories. If the first volume viewed comics as a developing human being, then this volume treats them as an extended family."The anthology suggests that, thankfully, this extended family isn't close to exhausting its creative potential.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300126716
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/21/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 972,968
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Brunetti teaches at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago. He has published four issues in his comic book series Schizo; two collections of cartoons, Haw! and Hee!; and numerous comics and illustrations for magazines ranging from the New Yorker to Mother Jones and the Comics Journal. He lives in Chicago.

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