The founder of "Punk" art reinvents Dante through his character Jimbo in this landmark graphic novel.
Gary Panter has been one of America's pre-eminent designers and cartoonists of the last quarter century: In addition to being a prolific and sought-after illustrator, he was one of the graphic minds behind the award-winning Pee-wee's Playhouse show, and, as the creator of Jimbo, one of the pillars of the legendary RAW magazine. Panter's early graphics defined the California punk ethos and the alternative zine scene—and although he hasn't achieved the notoriety of Keith Haring or Kenny Scharf, the post-Pop painting world is also deeply in his debt. Now, Fantagraphics is proud to present a major, all-new book by Panter: Jimbo in Purgatory.
In this spectacular graphic novel, Panter has transformed his protean punk hero Jimbo into the protagonist of a reinterpretation of Dante's Purgatorio. After years of comparing Dante and Boccaccio to find commonalities between the two, Panter developed a narrative of his own that includes literary and pop references regularly injected throughout the captions of the reinterpreted cantos.
In Panter's adaptation, Jimbo traverses a vast infotainment-testing center built in the shape of Dante's Mount Purgatory. Within its borders every man or robot stands in for a character in the Divine Comedy. In this version all the participants in the drama must respond to one another within a lunatic logic wherein each quotes a literary fragment that demonstrates their respective knowledge of a particular passage and its import to the specific location in a poem.
Presented in a huge, oversize hardcover format (even bigger than the classic RAW!) to do justice to Panter's densely packed pages, with a stunning two-color stamping on the cloth covers, Jimbo in Purgatory is an art object, a brilliant literary game, a visual feast, and the most eye-popping, visually and verbally challenging, and memorable new graphic novel of the year.
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Gary Panter was born in Texas in 1950 and now lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Helene. He is a three-time Emmy Award-winner for his work as the production designer of Pee-wee's Playhouse, and in 2000 won the Chrysler Award for Design Excellence.From Publishers Weekly:
Panter has been a leading figure in underground comics for more than 25 years, and he's had a profound influence on everyone from Chris Ware to Matt Groening. He's generally credited with giving a graphic identity to the L.A. punk scene, and he was the lead designer for the vibrant world of the television show Pee Wee's Playhouse. Like R. Crumb, Panter stands as a beacon of artistic and literary genius in the medium. This oversized work is an amalgamation of Dante's Purgatorio, Boccaccio's Decameron, Panter's own fictional universe and various pop culture icons. Jimbo, a cross between Candide and Virgil, makes his way through a vast science fiction–like infotainment-testing center constructed as Mount Purgatory. Here Jimbo encounters Frank Zappa, John and Yoko, robots and dragons, among others, and each character is a stand-in for a personage in Dante's Divine Comedy. They each quote a fragment of text (cited at the bottom of each page) that furthers the plot. It's a complicated, often hilarious method of dialogue, combining poetic allusiveness with surreal game playing. The artwork is some of Panter's best: tight, almost 19th-century–style renderings in a page layout that combines illuminated manuscripts with turn-of-the-century comic strips, each page serving as both a single complete composition and a storytelling device. This is an unprecedented approach to page design, and it makes for a fluid, immersing read. Easily the best graphic novel released this year, Jimbo in Purgatory should be read and savored for a long time.
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