Heads or Tails

Selections from Lilli Carré's Heads or Tails, just out from Fantagraphics

I'm delighted to feature some of my favorite pieces from Lilli Carré's new book Heads or Tails. If you like any of these buy the book immediately [Amazon / Fantagraphics]. See Lilli's comics, illustrations, and artist's books on her website and blog, and read a 2010 interview with her on Pikaland. Watch her animation work on vimeo. Lilli is also one of the guest artists at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival on November 10.


Lilli Carré is an artist and illustrator currently living in Chicago. She primarily works in the forms of experimental animation, comics, and print. Her animated films have shown in festivals throughout the US and abroad, including the Sundance Film Festival, and she is the co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. Her books of comics are The Lagoon, Nine Ways to Disappear, Tales of Woodsman Pete, and Heads or Tails. Her work has appeared in The Believer Magazine, the New Yorker, The New York Times, Best American Comics and Best American Nonrequired Reading.

Lilli Carré, panels from "The Carnival"

[Ed.: My mom told me a story over and over growing up. She and a friend were walking on the steep hilly streets of Manayunk Philadelphia during a storm—two unattended skinny little girls—when the wind lifted my mom off her feet and into the air. She first grabbed a stop sign to avoid getting "blown away." As she tells it, this kept happening for the remainder of the walk from House A to House B. Scamper forward, get picked up by the wind, grab something to keep from flying away. In my surely-faulty-but-jealously-clung-to memory of the story, mom made it at least eight feet off the ground. For thirty years I have been consciously and unconciously wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' this would happen to me too. Lilli's sequence somehow communicates with those years of 'wafting' dreams and daydreams — I've always known I would "give in for just a minute" — and has in its quiet way lifted me off my feet.]

Lilli Carré, panel from "The Carnival"

Smoke Signal cover

Lilli Carré, panels from "Wishy Washy"

Lilli Carré, page from "Rainbow Moment"

Lilli Carré, panel from "Too Hot to Sleep"

Lilli Carré, panel from "Into the Night"

This story begins, I've thought about you a lot... Maybe 20 times, but each time you get a little foggier,

The book's flaps continue the illustrations from the inside covers. (This image folds on the wrist.) Deluxe!

A quick peak at the animation work:

Pout Melody (Excerpt) by Lilli Carré on Vimeo.

Publisher copy for Heads or Tails:

The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon — named to many annual critics’ lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy — is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. These stories, created over a period of five years, touch on ideas of flip sides, choices, and extreme ambivalence.

Carré’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue. The stories in Heads or Tails display a virtuosic breadth of visual styles and color palettes, each in perfect service of the story, and range from experimental one-pagers to short masterpieces like "The Thing About Madeline" (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), to graphic novellas like "The Carnival" (featured in David Sedaris’ and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading, originally published in MOME), to new work created for this book.