There isn’t a lot of hand-holding in The Wrenchies (First Second, Sept.). Farel Dalrymple’s forthcoming book is the cartoonist’s most ambitious work to date. The 304-page volume is sprawling and epic, slashing back and forth between different landscapes and realities, and Dalrymple does little to comfort the reader. “I’m curious to see what people think of the narrative structure,” says Dalrymple. “I like things that are challenging—like Pulp Fiction. That had a different narrative structure, but it seemed to do all right for all of the other reasons that made it good. So hopefully, with the artwork that I did and the subject, people will be on-board and will let go of their preconceptions about how a comic book is told.”

To date, Dalrymple is best known for his art work on Marvel’s Omega the Unknown, a 2007 miniseries reboot of a long-forgotten ’70s superhero penned by novelist Jonathan Lethem, as well as his own ongoing Dark Horse series, Pop Gun War. The Wrenchies shares a number of characteristics with the latter, namely youthful protagonists adrift in a mysterious world.

“I’ve drawn since being a little kid, thinking the world is confusing,” the cartoonist says, using the word “isolated” to describe both his own childhood and the lives of the children who inhabit his stories. “That’s the well I’m drawing from, this particular place in my youth where I was the most excited about making things. I wasn’t as cynical as I am now. There were some scary, weird things that happened to me back then. It’s more interesting to attempt to process those things as a kid than as an adult who’s already seen everything.”

It’s these childhood themes, Dalrymple imagines, that has led The Wrenchies to be classified as young adult. It also likely has to do with the book’s publisher, First Second, with whom he’ll be appearing at BEA tomorrow. After all, the Macmillan imprint is best known for children’s and YA graphic novels. But Dalrymple warns that The Wrenchies hasn’t shied away from more adult content: “I would not necessarily give it to a teenager to look at, because there are people doing drugs and things. I just wanted to make it a book that I wanted to read.”

Today, 4–5 p.m., Dalrymple is participating in the “Best in Fall 2014 Graphic Novels” panel at the Uptown Stage; tomorrow, at 11 a.m., he signs at Table 22 in the Autographing Area.