Add comics formalist/experimenter Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button) to the list of cartoonist/movie directors: his animated film My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea will debut at be shown at both the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) (its world premiere) and New York Film Festival (NYFF). Pretty prestigious places to be shown. Shaw has been toiling away on this film for years, and it’s good to see his effort paying off.

The film’s based on a story that originally appeared in MOME and was included in The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century. It stars Jason Schwartzman (in a character similar to “Dash Shaw”), Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, and Susan Sarandon.

As the New York Film Festival describes the film, “No matter your age, part of you never outgrows high school, for better or worse. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea showcases Shaw’s subjective and dreamlike sense of narrative; his empathy for outsiders and their desire to connect; and his rich, expressive drawing style. Packed with action but seen from the inside out, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea is about friends overcoming their differences and having each other’s backs in times of crisis, and its marvelously complex characters are voiced by an all-star cast.”

While he’s following in a hyphenate path more trodden by French cartoonists such as Marjane Satrapi and Joann Sfar (both nor directors of some note) Shaw is also sticking with the page with two new books out this fall: Cosplayers a one-shot, A Cosplayers Christmas, both published by Fantagraphics.

Artfully celebrating both fandom culture’s obvious theatricality and uniquely D.I.Y. beauty, as well as its often awkward conflation of fantasy and reality, Cosplayers explores these delicate psychological balancing acts via a series of interconnected short stories surrounding two talented young women (Annie and Verti; the latter is also a character in My Entire High School…, voiced by Maya Rudolph) who combine their love of cosplaying with their love of social media and film in order to deepen their relationship with the popular culture they celebrate. Cosplayers depicts their stories in an affectionately funny way, celebrating how much more inclusive and humanistic fandom can be than most of the stories and characters it is built upon.

Shaw will be appearing in conversation with critic Dan Nadel at New York’s Strand Bookstore on August 31st at 7 p.m., and an event at Toronto’s The Beguiling during TIFF, details TK.

My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea
Directed by Dash Shaw
USA 2016, DCP, 75m

By Dash Shaw
$22.99 Hardcover
116 pages, full-color
ISBN 978-1-60699-948-6
Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

A Cosplayers Christmas (Nov.)
By Dash Shaw
32 pages, full-color
Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2016