Fantagraphics Acquires New Graphic Novel Series 'The Cloven'

Cloven - Matthew Southworth - Fantagraphics Books - Publicity-H 2019
Matthew Southworth/Fantagraphics Books
The trilogy comes from creators of 'Stumptown' and 'The Art of Racing in the Rain.'

Fantagraphics Books has acquired worldwide rights to The Cloven, a three-book graphic novel series from The Art of Racing in the Rain novelist Garth Stein and Stumptown co-creator Matthew Southworth described as “raucous, funny, fast-paced, and action-packed” — not to mention, starring a lead character who’s half-goat.

The series is the first foray into comics for Stein, the New York Times best-selling author of Art of Racing in the Rain, although he’s previously worked on children’s books, plays and movies throughout his career. The first volume also marks Southworth’s first interior work in a number of years.

“I can think of no better home for our series than Fantagraphics, a publisher with an impeccable reputation for quality stories and world-class artwork,” Stein said Tuesday in a statement. “This is truly a match made in heaven. Or in Seattle. Any connection between ‘heaven’ and ‘Seattle’ is entirely your own...”

Southworth, who co-created the comic book series that ABC’s new Stumptown show is based on, added, “For years now I’ve been filling my bookshelves with more Fantagraphics Books than those of any other publisher. I’m thrilled that what has been my favorite creative experience making comics with Garth is going to have ‘Fantagraphics’ on the spine. Good things come to those who wait.”

The three-book series is the story of James Tucker, a genetically modified part-man, part-goat created in a private lab in Washington state. Tuck, as he’s known by friends, just wants to live a normal life, but that’s easier said than done, especially when others find out about his origins. Can he escape the attention as he travels through the Pacific Northwest in search of a mythical tribe of Cloven — half men/half goats — in the Cascade Mountains?

Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds said in a statement about the project: “I’ve got a ton of respect and admiration for Garth and Matthew and am thrilled to have an opportunity to finally work with them — which was always my secret plan when I first introduced them! Seriously, though: theirs is a collaborative match made in heaven, in the service of a book that appeals on so many different levels: as a reflection of our paranoid media culture, as a loving ode to the Pacific Northwest, as a vibrant new twist on classic monster literature, or as a thoughtful meditation on just how sinister the disparity of wealth in America really is. It's a rollicking, beautiful genre yarn as well as something readers will have a ball unpacking for years to come.”

The Cloven Book One is set to be released July 14, 2020. The cover and some exclusive (non-sequential) pages from the book are shown below.