Fantagraphics Books has announced it will release two new works from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw, creator of Bottomless Belly Button and BodyWorld.
Arriving in April, New School is a 340-page graphic novel loosely inspired by Shaw’s experiences as a teenaged foreign-exchange student. “New School is my most personal book,” the cartoonist said in a statement. “It’s all true (sort of). I dramatized and changed things to make everything closer to how it felt. The book took years of difficult work to make. Now I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!”
That same month, the publisher will release 3 New Stories, an all-new 32-page comic featuring three short stories, “from a Sherlock Holmes-style investigator who must complete his high school degree to filmed ‘voluntary’ nudity to prison camps full of jaded children.”
“Dash is one of the most intellectually curious and fearless cartoonists I’ve ever known,” said Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds. “He created one of the past decade’s most acclaimed graphic novels — Bottomless Belly Button — and pushed himself to experiment with the form even further in the books BodyWorld and The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century. New School feels something like the apotheosis of all three of those books. It’s a major work by a cartoonist in full control of his still-flowering potential.”
See art from both projects, and a fuller description of New School, below.
NEW SCHOOL stars a likeably earnest if naive young man, Danny, who was raised on ’90s pop culture like Jurassic Park and X-Men. Danny’s story starts when his brother Luke fails to return from a trip to a remote island where he was hired to teach English to the employees of a new amusement park called ClockWorld. Built by wealthy industrialists but staffed by island natives, ClockWorld is an ambitious theme park that recreates historical events from throughout history.
Danny is given the charge of bringing his brother home, and is initially overwhelmed by his new and exotic surroundings. His initial infatuation quickly shifts to disillusionment, and his sense of “being different” grows to alienation, especially after he discovers that Luke has made a new life, new family, and even a new personality for himself on ClockWorld. How Danny and Luke’s relationship resolves is the heart of NEW SCHOOL. NEW SCHOOL is at once funny and deadly serious, naturalistic and fantastic, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new.