Short Fuse

By Lili Ristagno

$19.95 paperback

“Like sorting through postcards sent from a godless middle America-or leafing through a madman’s high school yearbook.

John Chandler
Portland Monthly

“A mass-murdering couple. So romantic!
And no one could have captured this particular
infamous couple like Ms. Ristagno has.
Beautiful art and storytelling!”

Cartoonist Peter Bagge

Lili Ristagno spend years reasearching, illustrating and writing her graphic true crime novel, Short Fuse, which tells the story of teenage lovers Caril Ann Fugate and Charles Starkweather, who went on a murder spree in rural Nebraska in 1958, long before the term “serial killer” had taken root in our cultural imagination. Lili became so obsessed with the story that she actually moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, to immerse herself in its environment—and found herself not entirely welcome. The citizens of Lincoln wanted to forget all about Caril and Charlie.

In 2010, now living in Portland, Oregon and working at one of the busiest public libraries in the country, Lili brought out a private edition of Short Fuse, organized more like a scrapbook than a graphic novel. She only printed fifty copies, and sold out almost immediately. The six copies purchased by the Multnomah County Library have been on permanent wait-list status ever since.

The Dymaxicon Cult Classic edition of Short Fuse is fully redesigned, taking what was once a collection of gorgeous but static works of art—a meditation on a theme—and turning them into a compelling, page-turning narrative. Lili has created several new illustrations to advance the storytelling, and novelist Nancy Rommelmann worked closely with her to craft prose that is as haunting and spare as the accompanying images.

Listen to a radio interview with author Lili Ristagno.

Watch the book trailer:


The Sunday Oregonian (feature story)
Publisher’s Letter
Q&A with Lili Ristagno
about Dymaxicon Cult Classics
author photo
author self-portrait
front cover
back cover
interior image 1 – victim
interior image 2 – shooting
interior image 3 – Caril Fugate
interior image 4 – Charlie Starkweather


KBOO radio interview with author Lili Ristagno.
Portland Monthly – Wordstock Preview
The Sunday Oregonian (print feature)