Jeff Lemire is one of the most prolific creators in comics, regularly debuting new creator-owned series while also doing work-for-hire projects for publishers like DC, Marvel, and Valiant. Most of those books have Lemire solely in the writer’s seat, but he still finds time to develop comics where he gets to flex his artistic muscles and take complete control of the storytelling. Later this year, Gallery 13 is releasing Frogcatchers, a graphic novel from Lemire about a man who wakes up in a creepy hotel with no knowledge of how he got there. This is Lemire’s second graphic novel for the publisher after 2017’s Roughneck, and he’s using Frogcatchers as an opportunity to tap into an old mode of creating.
“With Frogcatchers I really wanted to get back to making comics the way I used to when I was first starting out in the early 2000s,” says Lemire. “Back then, things were much more spontaneous and I rarely worked from a full script. I would get an idea and just start drawing it, scene by scene, and let the story surprise me as I worked through it. I longed to get back to the sort of creative freedom and experimentation that this approach can provide. So Frogcatchers started as an experiment, drawn all in pencil in my sketchbooks, and quickly became my favorite book of all the work I’ve done. On the surface it is a simple fable, but beneath that there is something much more personal. And, at the center of it all, is the mysterious Edgewater Hotel and the many horrors within, including the vile Frog King.”
This exclusive first look at the cover and interiors of Frogcatchers, on sale September 24, showcases that spontaneity as it introduces the lead character and his young companion. There’s a real sense of urgency in these pages, and Lemire’s black-and-white artwork holds on to that sketchy quality to create an atmosphere of instability. “This book was inspired by a heavy dose of Haruki Murakami and David Lynch,” says Lemire, “but it was also an attempt to reach back into many of the themes, and the visual vocabulary, of my own early work and an attempt to break new ground and find new inspiration that will guide the next phase of my work as a cartoonist. And echoing that, Frogcatchers is a story about looking back, but also a story about looking forward at our own mortality.”