A perfect match of form and content, Storeyville was originally published in 1995 as a 40-page tabloid newspaper. Now rare, it was printed in black and white, along with a set of three muted tones ranging from sandy yellow to deep sepia, and it described the arc of a youthful adventure that took its protagonist, Will, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Montreal, Quebec at the opening of the twentieth century. Rendered with humor, pathos and a gentle graphic flair, this story brings Will to terms with himself and his fate. It is a sprawling story that gives Santoro ample opportunity to showcase his love of drawing through dramatic cityscapes, landscapes and seascapes rendered in a unique combination of pencils, inks and grey-scale markers. Hugely influential on the likes of Chris Ware, Seth and many others, this long out-of-print cult work finally gets a proper release with this deluxe new hardcover edition. Frank Santoro's work was recently shown at Canada Gallery, New York.
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Little seen but apparently much loved by those who did, Storeyville first appeared in 1995 in San Francisco as a 40-page tabloid-size newsprint comic with a three-color palate of black, ochre and dust brown. This hardbound facsimile edition, with an introduction by Chris Ware and a brief history of Santoro's work, reveals a missing piece of the evolution of the graphic novel. Set sometime in the early 20th century, the story follows Will, a young vagrant who travels from Pittsburgh to Montreal in search of someone called Reverend Rudy. As Will vainly searches for Rudy, their relationship is told in flashback, and the story gently becomes about the search for one's own sense of self. Languid scenes of landscape are given as much attention as panels that propel the laid-back plot. As unconventional in its form as in its subject, the easygoing, sketchy artwork pays scant attention to details such as facial characteristics, but remains bound by a strict 15-panel grid until the last page, an emotional catharsis that could only be depicted in comics. Though no longer as unique as it first was, Storeyville clearly shows an influence on such cartoonists as Seth and Chris Ware. (Nov.)
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