Fantagraphics is to publish the final, complete Keeping Two graphic novel by Jordan Crane, in March, twenty years in the making, and including previous versions of the comic book. Crane created the comics anthology NON, and the all-ages graphic novel The Clouds Above. In Keeping Two, Crane uses comics to thread several timelines and the interior and exterior lives of its protagonists together to create an increasing, almost Hitchcockian sense of dread and paranoia. But as the title hints, there are dualities at its core. Keeping Two is ostensibly a story about loss, but by the end, it just might also be about finding something along the way — something that had seemed irredeemable up to that point, a deeply romantic book.
“I could not be more proud to publish Keeping Two,” says Fantagraphics VP/Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds. “It’s a works of comics by a master cartoonist at the very peak of his form. But it’s also a profoundly affecting story that I think strives to bring people closer by reminding us of our shared experience as human beings, at a time when we could really use it.”
Behind the drama of a lover’s quarrel looms larger crises, in this graphic novel from cartoonist and graphic designer Crane, who is poised to break out to broader readership. A young couple is stuck in traffic, reading a book aloud to each other to pass the time. The relationship is already strained, but between the encroaching road rage, and a novel that hits way too close to home, tensions are running especially high by the time they arrive back at their apartment. When one of them leaves to get takeout and a movie, each of the young lovers is individually forced to confront loss, grief, fear, and insecurities in unexpected and shocking ways.
Crane’s formal use of the comics medium ― threading several timelines and the interior and exterior lives of its protagonists together to create an increasing, almost Hitchcockian sense of dread and paranoia ― is masterful. But as the title hints, there are dualities at its core that make it one of the most exciting works of graphic literary fiction in recent memory, a brilliant adult drama that showcases a deep empathy and compassion for its characters as well as a visually arresting showcase of Crane’s considerable talents. Keeping Two is ostensibly a story about loss, but by the end, it just might also be about finding something along the way ― something that had seemed irredeemable up to that point. In that way, it’s also a deeply romantic book.
Cartoonist Jordan Crane has been one of the most quietly influential comics-makers of the past quarter-century – in multiple senses of the word: as a cartoonist, a designer, an editor, a publisher, a printmaker, an advocate, an archivist, and more. But Keeping Two is his biggest project in close to two decades and will be one of the most anticipated graphic novels of 2022.
Keeping Two by Jordan Crane will be available from Fantagraphics for Earth Day, on the 22nd of March, 2022.