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 is a crucial latter-day artist, one who has fused comic-book and modern-art styles.Apr 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Jimbo in Purgatory