Synopses & Reviews
Ernie is an alcoholic stage magician haunted by lost love and his brothers suicide, and hes hooked up with his senile mentor in one last effort to sort his life out. But Ernie needs to keep Flosso the Magnificent with him in the present and by his side to guide Ernie through these difficult days. These two magicians have run out of escape tricks but they cant stop running.
Esther is still numb with grief for Ernies brother. She works at a coffee shop and has allowed her heart to simply atrophy while a torrent of rage builds slowly inside her. Nathan Lender is a small time grifter living on his wits and in a car with his twelve-year-old daughter, Claire. Hes running out of time to fix the past and make things right for his daughter. One morning Nathan Lender makes the mistake of trying to con Esther at the coffee counter. Circumstance will bring a desperate group of people together, all at the end of their rope. An unlikely kind of love grows from these broken people who discover the act of self-sacrifice can perform miracles.
"A lovely, short picture novel exploring the tenacious bond between an alcoholic stage magician and his cranky mentor." The New York Times Book Review
"Lutes' stunning comic Jar of Fools transcends the usually mealy-mouthed limits of graphic novels and, in the process, winds up being a damn good read." Spin Magazine
"A piece of literature that speaks to the emotional core." Wired Magazine
"Jason Lutes burst into the medium with this astonishingly controlled and assured work of emotional richness and artistic clarity, the caliber of which many spend their entire careers trying to come near. Jar of Fools is a gem, steeped firmly in the traditions of neo-realism and social fiction." Matt Fraction, ArtBomb.net
"[D]eep and rich and subtle....The characters are wonderful, realistic and sad....Jar of Fools is a worthy addition to the ranks of serious graphic novels meant for an older audience. Highly recommended for adults and teens with a taste for thoughtful comics." D. Aviva Rothschild, RationalMagic.com
"Not to be hyperbolic, but Jar of Fools is quite literally one of the best realistic graphic novels ever produced....It is a brilliant work of fiction, standing up to any work of literature in any other medium." Steve Higgins, NewComicReviews.com
"A lovely, short 'picture novel' exploring the tenacious bond between an alcoholic stage magician and his cranky mentor." --New York Times Book Review
"Jar of Fools is full of people trying to stop things they care about from melting away, like estranged lovers and old-fashioned jobs...all the main characters—the magician, a coffee-shop cashier, a small time con-man--are in danger of ending up beaten down and swallowed up by the silences of life which Lutes well-paced art evokes so effectively" --Details
"The story itself is so masterfully told that it could stand alone as a novella in Harper's. When combined with Lutes spare black-and-white line drawings and creative use of the comic book medium, it becomes something transcendent--a piece of literature that speaks to the emotional core." --Wired
"Employing the lost skills of mood, sparseness, and language, Lutes' stunning comic Jar of Fools transcends the usually mealy-mouthed limits of graphic novels and, in the process, winds up being a damn good read." --Spin Magazine
"Reading Jar of Fools is like getting a slow motion punch in the face. There's plenty of time to get out of the way, but something compels you to wait and find out of its actually going to hurt as much when it hits. And, of course, it does." --Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan
One of the most successful books of the past decade is back in a new printing (the first-ever printing by Drawn & Quarterly), just in time for the new century! The New York Times Book Review called Jar of Fools "...a lovely, short 'picture novel' exploring the tenacious bond between an alcoholic stage magician and his cranky mentor." Jason Lutes' formidable skills as an artist and writer are in evidence here in his first book as he relates the story of Ernie Weiss, a former magician haunted by the death of his escape-artist brother and a failed romance. With the recent release of Berlin: Book One, this new edition of Jar of Fools will serve as an excellent introduction to the early work of Jason Lutes.
Wonder Boys meets Kavalier and Klay in a Sundance film, set in contemporary, fictional Seattle.
About the Author
Jason Lutes was born in New Jersey in 1967, and started reading and drawing comics as soon as he was able. The European comics he encountered during childhood visits to France made a great impression on him, and have proven a strong influence on his adult work. The first time he gave up comics was to attend the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA in Illustration, 1991), but publications such as R. Crumb's Weirdo
, Art Spiegelman's RAW
, and Chester Brown's Yummy Fur
lured him back. Upon graduation, he moved to Seattle, lost his spleen in a bike accident, and washed dishes until he was hired by Fantagraphics Books.
The second time he gave up comics was a year later, when he became disillusioned with the comics industry and quit Fantagraphics to wash more dishes. He was lured back by the opportunity to draw a strip for The Stranger, a Seattle weekly, and that strip was later collected in the book Jar of Fools. In 1995, after a stint as art director at The Stranger, he quit to try his hand at being a full-time cartoonist. He currently lives in Seattle, where he infrequently produces chapters in the comics novel Berlin and fondly recalls happier days as a dishwasher. In 1996 Lutes started work on Berlin, a projected 600-page story set in Germany during the twilight years of the Weimar Republic. Berlin: Book One, collecting the first part of the trilogy, has just been published by Drawn & Quarterly.