Frank Santoro’s ‘Pittsburgh’

Frank Santoro‘s new book – Pittsburgh – is now available from Editions çà et là!

If you’re in the States you can get a copy through Copacetic Comics – HERE.

About the book, Bill Boichel writes:

OK, all you comics aficionados and connoisseurs exhausting yourselves searching high and low for a comics work that will push the boundaries of the medium while stunning your senses and remaking your conception(s) of self, for a work that you can really sink your æsthetic, emotional and intellectual teeth into – you have reached quest’s end… almost. Frank Santoro’s Pittsburgh is a 224 page, beautifully printed and bound (by master printers in Latvia), full color (and what color!) hardcover published by Éditions çà et là in Paris, France (et, oui, c’est en français*).

This book is comics like you’ve never seen them before. Each spread in this work is a fully realized composition in-and-of-itself, and each is then carefully woven into a tapestric, non-linear narrative that manifests an intuitive mimesis of the emotional states triggered by memories, and – crucially – by the memories of others as they are shared and represented in turn, some of which are being recalled and recreated from second- and third-hand sources, showing how memories of others memories, and of yet others’ memories, are all located in adjoining spaces in one’s own memory and when recalled come alive together in recreating and representing our subjective reality, aka life as we live it. This is painting/drawing as comics as drawing/painting, a singular work, years in the making and a lifetime in the gestating.

*Translation: and, yes, this book is in French (not English)


Excerpts from several French reviews (translated by Google Translate, apologies!) are below:

“Pittsburgh’s splendid graphical instability helps to create a space of evanescent memory, as if it were dangerous to remember too much, that to try to materialize things would lose their souls. Barely sketched, the details of a bus ride escape us but not the enveloping heat of the sun that taps on the skin through the windows in the early morning.

Condemned to wander between California where he lives and Pennsylvania, which recalls him all the time, Santoro ends up looking like a ghost come to haunt his family while rehearsing the past. The territory he travels also has something unreal, since instead of Pittsburgh, he surveys its peripheries. Perrons, hardware, living-room: a space that only the family seems to frequent. Places that change over time, replaced by a no man’s land of bridges, roads and deserted railways. “Pittsburgh is like Pompeii, a ruin of what it was,” wrote Santoro in a previous book.” – from Libérationread the full review HERE


Third graphic novel of this young talented American author, published exclusively in France by the editions “Ça et là”, “Pittsburgh” is an amazing autobiographical work realized in a visual form in fireworks.

…Vietnam, Motown, small subdivisions of quiet houses, passing barges and dogs barking… The atmosphere is laid in the work of the author. For readers following the impeccable pioneering editorial work of editions Çà et là, Frank Santoro already has a status apart: that of an author who knows how to mix fertile scenarios (great depression for “Storeyville” or moving slice of ancient life with “Pompeii”) and great stylistic richness. It surprises us a little more this time with a deluge of colors, often flashy, distributed in an album composed of glued image, with apparent scotch. The drawing, sketched in colored pencil, or even just sketched often, in overlays, is raised with colored felt most of the time, when it is not used in bevel to plant very stylized rough decorations, or to fill the pages of psychedelic boundaries.

… It would be wrong to simply fly over this beautiful hardcover album, because many are the moments of pure poetry, described with force and a talent imperceptible at first. This is a tour de force in many respects, which definitely places Frank Santoro in the heart of the great contemporary comic book authors, already dubbed by Chris Ware himself. Also, you’d better take the “Pittsburgh” train on the move!” from Franck Guigue for BDZoomread the full review HERE


Anne-Claire Norot also has a review of Pittsburgh on Les Inrockuptiblesread it HERE.


Updated 6/7/2018

Cultural critic Arnaud Laporte featured Pittsburgh on a podcast he hosts called La Dispute – he and several others discussed Frank’s book, as well as works by Francesco Cattani and FabCaro. Listen to the podcast HERE.

Some Tweets that were shared from the podcast:

Arnaud Laporte also listed Pittsburgh among his weekly roundup of “5 Ideas For Your Weekend”- read about it HERE.


From Stylist:


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