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Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels:

August 2015

Nordic comics make a splash this month with Sweden’s Kim W. Andersson, Norway’s Benedikt Kaltenborn and Finland’s Tommi Musturi, whose The Book Of Hope makes it as my PG Tip for the top graphic novel of a very diverse and enticing month of upcoming titles. It’s also quite something to look forward to the first graphic memoir from underground legend and Zippy the Pinhead mastermind Bill Griffith, as well as the first full-length graphic novel from William Goldsmith and an overdue compilation of the pioneering Canadian autobiographical comics of Sylvie Rancourt. I hope you enjoy investigating the comics, graphic novels and manga selected below - part of my monthly service to help you broaden your reading horizons!

24 by 7
by various creators, edited by Dan Berry
Fanfare Presents/Lakes Comic Art Festival

The publisher says:
At last October’s Lakes International Comics Art Festival in Kendal, seven artists worked around the clock on coffee and smiles to produce “a spread of seven comics as diverse as they are witty as they are beautiful to behold”. From witches to scribbles, paperclips to salty tales, hand-me-downs to chance encounters and doomed love, they were all drawn in 24 hours by quality artists (in order of appearance) Sarah McIntyre, Joe Decie, Kristyna Baczynski, Fumio Obata, Jack Teagle, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and, finally, curator and editor Dan Berry. Fanfare and Lancaster-based book publisher and distributor Gazelle part-sponsored the event at the show and have now collected these seven stories and present them in a beautiful hardcover anthology, complete with a 16-page gallery of photos by Katie White of the day. 192pgs colour hardcover. Dan Berry shows you how he planned his 24 hour comic, Nicholas & Edith here…

Adult Contemporary
by Benedikt Kaltenborn 
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
A collection of absurdist comics from a Norwegian New Yorker illustrator. Look through Bendik Kaltenborn’s kaledescopic glasses and glimpse the world the way he sees it: a vibrantly colorful planet populated by lumpy, big-nosed people totally absorbed in their own off-kilter personal dramas. Adult Contemporary is a collection of odd imaginings, surrealist comics, and physical comedy gags from Kaltenborn, a New Yorker and New York Times illustrator. People scramble around in a world they don’t understand, happy as can be. An author finds unexpected and lethal love in his own garden. A marriage is threatened by soup. Drunk old men quarrel about literature in the witching hour. A con details a small and silly bank robbery from the 1980s. CEOs do push-ups. Kaltenborn’s Adult Contemporary reads as an homage to the art of mid-twentieth-century cartooning and absurdist sketch comedy. His characters pace about like Groucho Marx, do pratfalls like Dick Van Dyke, and mug like Jim Carrey. His virtuosic gift as an illustrator and designer shines through in these pages, indisputable in the multiplicity of styles he employs and in the immediate appeal of the book as a whole. From extended offbeat jokes about obnoxious businessmen to gorgeous full-page gag illustrations, Adult Contemporary is always able to find something to laugh at. 176pgs colour paperback. D&Q have a slideshow of panels and extracts here…

Baba Yaga’s Assistant
by Marika McCoola & Emily Carroll

The publisher says:
Russian folklore icon Baba Yaga mentors a lonely teen in a wry graphic novel that balances gleefully between the modern and the timeless. Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu! Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s stunning debut—with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll—is a storytelling treat. 136pgs colour hardcover.

Bending Steel: Modernity and the American Superhero
by Aldo J. Regalado
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
“Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound . . . It’s Superman!” Bending Steel examines the historical origins and cultural significance of Superman and his fellow American crusaders. Cultural historian Aldo J. Regalado asserts that the superhero seems a direct response to modernity, often fighting the interrelated processes of industrialisation, urbanisation, immigration, and capitalism that transformed the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. Reeling from these exciting but rapid and destabilizing forces, Americans turned to heroic fiction as a means of explaining national and personal identities to themselves and to the world. In so doing, they created characters and stories that sometimes affirmed, but other times subverted conventional notions of race, class, gender, and nationalism. The cultural conversation articulated through the nation’s early heroic fiction eventually led to a new heroic type – the brightly clad, super-powered, pro-social action heroes that first appeared in American comic books starting in the late 1930s. Although indelibly shaped by the Great Depression and World War II sensibilities of the second-generation immigrants most responsible for their creation, comic book superheroes remain a mainstay of American popular culture. Tracing superhero fiction all the way back to the nineteenth century, Regalado firmly bases his analysis of dime novels, pulp fiction, and comics in historical, biographical, and reader response sources. He explores the roles played by creators, producers, and consumers in crafting superhero fiction, ultimately concluding that these narratives are essential for understanding vital trajectories in American culture. 288pgs B&W hardcover.

Beyond Mars
by Jack Williamson & Lee Elias

The publisher says:
Written by renowned science fiction author Jack Williamson and superbly drawn by Lee Elias, Beyond Mars is one of the rarest Sunday strips - it only appeared in a single newspaper, The New York Sunday News. This oversized book presents the complete series, all 161 strips from 1952 to 1955, in their original colour (episode from May 18th, 1952 below). 160pgs colour hardcover.

by Glenn Head

The publisher says:
A coming-of-age graphic memoir, set against the seedy 1970s Windy City. From Harvey- and Eisner-nominated cartoonist and editor Glenn Head comes Chicago, the hilarious and harrowing tale of a nineteen-year-old virgin who drops out of everything and into the unknown. Abandoning suburbia for art school and then the gritty streets, young Glenn finds himself fending off predators and fighting depression. A visit to Playboy offers entrée into the world of underground comix and R. Crumb, but it’s a chance encounter with Muhammad Ali that allows young Glenn to prove his mettle. Like Scorsese circa Mean Streets crossed with revealing autobiography like Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries, Chicago is an unforgettable tale of losing one’s mind, finding one’s identity, and discovering love where it’s least expected. 168pgs B&W hardcover.

Dark Corridor #1
by Rich Tommaso 

The publisher says:
From the author of Clover Honey and 8 ½ Ghosts, RIich Tommaso, comes an all-new ongoing series set in the fictional coastal city of Red Circle, a city totally controlled by mobsters who, after decades of wielding power, are silently being picked off one-by-one by unidentified female assassins. Like a Goodfellas script re imagined by Quentin Tarantino, this sprawling crime-adventure will keep you guessing and tuning in for more month after month! PreviewsWorld lets you download a 3-page pdf here…

Everything Is Teeth
by Evie Wyld & Joseph Sumner
Jonathan Cape

The publisher says:
Evie Wyld was a girl obsessed with sharks. Spending summers in the brutal heat of coastal New South Wales, she fell for the creatures. Their teeth, their skin, their eyes; their hunters and their victims. Everything is Teeth is a delicate and intimate collection of the memories she brought home to England, a book about family, love and the irresistible forces that pass through life unseen, under the surface, ready to emerge at any point. Evie Wyld is the author of two novels. Her debut, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, was shortlisted for the Impac Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her second, All the Birds, Singing, won the Miles Franklin Prize, The Encore Prize and the EU Prize for Literature, was shortlisted for the James Tait Black and Costa Best Novel awards, and longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists, having previously been named by the BBC as one of the twelve best new British writers. She lives in Peckham, London, where she runs the Review Bookshop. 128pgs hardcover. Read about the project in this Independent article…

by Patt Kelley
Alternative Comics / Hic & Hoc Publications

The publisher says:
Picking up where Tod Browning’s Freaks left off, Patt Kelley’s Fedor tells the fictionlaised story of real-life turn of the century circus sideshow JoJo the Dog Faced Boy and his on-again/off-again globetrotting forbidden romance with another circus spectacle - the tattooed girl. 40pgs one-shot colour comic. Check out Kelley’s other comics online here…


Fires Above Hyperion
by Patrick Atangan

The publisher says:
Described as ‘like Sex in the City as written by a gay Charlie Brown’, Fires Over Hyperion documents the sad hilarity of Patrick Atangan’s love life. From awkward first encounters, to finding out that the great guy you’ve been dating already has a boyfriend, to the sad inevitability of a break-up. With his trademark sense of dark humour, Atangan navigates the emotional perils of the gay community with grace and wit. 96pgs colour paperback.

Get Jiro: Blood & Sushi
by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, Alé Garza Jose Villarrubia

The publisher says:
Acclaimed chef, writer and television personality, Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose (Kill The Poor) return for the follow-up to their #1 New York Times bestseller Get Jiro from Vertigo. In Get Jiro: Blood & Sushi, Bourdain and Rose examine the origins of the mysterious Jiro and what made him into the chef he has become. Born the heir to a Yakuza crime family, Jiro never longed to travel the crimnal path laid out before him, but instead chose to secretly study the rich culinary history of his homeland, something that would have significant repercussions if discoverd by his ganster father. As Jiro’s interest in the culinary arts deepens, his ability to keep his artistic and criminal worlds seperate becomes too great, triggering a great personal loss that will forever change Jiro’s path. 160pgs colour hardcover.

Goodbye God? An Illustrated Exploration of Science vs Religion
by Sean Michael Wilson & Hunt Emerson
New Internationalist
$14.95 / £9.99

The publisher says:
A graphic novel that explores evolution vs. creation and calls for an end to the teaching of creationism in schools. It pans out to consider the negative impacts of religion, and with the active support of the American Humanist Association, demonstrates how a concern for humanism, science, and reasoned logical thinking is crucial for the development of society. Sean Michael Wilson is author of a number of books, including Iraq: Operation Corporate Takeover and Fight the Power. Hunt Emerson’s many comics and graphic novels include the adaptations Dante’s Inferno and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. He has worked with Alan Moore and has won many awards. 120pgs B&W paperback. New Internationalist provide a 2-part preview here…

Heavy Metal Magazine #276
by Jack Kirby & various creators
Heavy Metal

The publisher says:
Jack Kirby and Heavy Metal Magazine for the first time ever! This August sees the cosmos-altering team-up of two of comics legendary forces: we’re beyond proud to present the King of Comics’ mind-blowing artwork in the pages of our hallowed (and now humbled) magazine: Barry Geller & Jack Kirby’s Lord of Light. These pieces by Geller & Kirby, mostly unseen before now, are part of American history as they were the artwork used by the CIA for Operation Argo, which helped free American embassy workers during the Iranian coup in 1979. Also featuring all-new, eye-scorching colour by some of the best toners in the biz. And that ain’t all - we’re also super-psyched to welcome back Max Frezzato to the fold, crushing it in an epic 47-page graphic novel. Plus Bilal, Erika Lewis’ The 49th Key, the Molen Bros and more. How we’ll fit this much cosmic comic energy into one issue will be the stuff of legend! ‘Nuff said!

Inuyashiki Vol. 1
by Hiroya Oku

The publisher says:
Ichiro Inuyashiki is down on his luck. While only 58 years old, his geriatric looks often have him written off as a pathetic old man by the world around him and he’s constantly ignored and disrespected by his family despite all that he’s done to support them. On top of everything else, his doctor has revealed that he has cancer and it appears that he has little time left in this world. But just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, a blinding light in the night sky strikes the earth where Ichiro stands. He later wakes up to find himself unscathed, but he soon starts to notice that there’s something…different about himself. However, it turns out that these strange, new changes are just what Ichiro needs to take a new lease on life and now it seems like there’s nothing to stop him from being a hero worthy of the respect that he never had before…unless, that is, there was someone else out there with these same “changes”. From the creator of Gantz. 200pgs B&W paperback.

Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair With A Famous Cartoonist
by Bill Griffith

The publisher says:
Underground and Zippy the Pinhead cartoonist Bill Griffith uncovers his mother’s hidden past in his first graphic memoir. This is the renowned cartoonist’s first long-form graphic work, a 200-page memoir that poignantly recounts his mother’s secret life, which included an affair with a cartoonist and crime novelist in the 1950s and ’60s. Invisible Inks unfolds like a detective story, alternating between past and present, as Griffith recreates the quotidian habits of suburban Levittown and the professional and cultural life of mid-century Manhattan in the 1950s and ’60s as seen through his mother’s and his own then-teenage eyes. Griffith puts the pieces together and reveals a mother he never knew. 208pgs B&W hardcover.

Junction True
by Ray Fawkes & Vince Locke
Top Shelf / IDW

The publisher says:
In the near-future, Neumod culture of parasite addicts and hardcore one-upmanship, Dirk Brody has found love. He’ll do anything to prove himself to the woman of his dreams - even if it means blurring the boundaries of his flesh with the radical, illegal Junction True procedure. Once he starts, he can never go back… Acclaimed creators Ray Fawkes (One Soul) and Vince Locke (A History of Violence) present a mind-bending and hypnotic story of love, sex, and servitude, in a twisted near-future where body-modification has evolved to shocking extremes. 128pgs colour paperback. Top Shelf give you an eight-page teaser here…

Kill la Kill Vol. 1
by Trigger, Kazuki Nakashima & Ryo Akizuki
Udon Entertainment

The publisher says:
Welcome to Honnouji Academy - a school ruled under the iron fist of the Student Council President and her underlings, the Elite Four. Bestowed with incredible powers from their special Goku Uniforms, only one person dares to stand against them - transfer student Ryuki Matoi! Wielding her fabric-slicing Scissor Blade, Ryuki aims to bring Honnouji Academy’s fascist overlords to their knees. 180pgs B&W paperback.

Let’s Eat Ramen
by Nagumoa & Aji-chi
Gen Manga Entertainment

The publisher says:
Doujinshi, otherwise known as independent manga in Japan, is rarely published in English. In fact, it’s considered underground and quite exclusive in its home country of Japan as well. Let’s Eat Ramen and Other Doujinshi Short Stories finally gives western readers an exclusive look at the elusive world of contemporary Japanese doujinshi manga. Let’s East Ramen is a three-part tale of Saeki, a girl who loves ramen noodles. At last, she thinks that she has finally found the perfect ramen shop, but the problem is the shop is completely full of old regulars and she can’t get in. Will the timid Saeki ever summon the willpower to reach out and get the ramen that she desperately desires? 120pgs B&W paperback.

Little Nemo’s Big New Dreams: A TOON Graphic
by various artists, edited by Joshua O’Neill, Andrew Carl & Chris Steven
Toon Books

The publisher says:
Winsor McCay’s legendary comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland, has inspired today’s foremost cartoonists to craft their own dreamlands. From the original broadsheet-sized edition, we have selected more than thirty glorious, unforgettable, or even silly dreams. Join Nemo on his journey out of 1905 and, dream by dream, explore the wild and wonderful world of today’s most imaginative dreamers. Locust Moon’s Joshua O’Neill, Andrew Carl, and Chris Stevens originally published Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream as a broadsheet-sized collection of 116 homages to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo. 31 of these were selected for Little Nemo’s Big New Dreams. The “Who’s Who” of contemporary comic creators who riff on McCay’s original dreams includes Charles Vess, Yuko Shimizu (below), Mark Buckingham, Art Spiegelman, Peter Diamond, Roger Langridge, Paolo Rivera, Carla Speed McNeil, Cliff Chiang, Craig Thompson, David Mack, R. Sikoryak, Marc Hempel, J.G. Jones, and many others. In-depth forewords by Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman put McCay’s pioneering work in context, and make this a volume that will be as interesting for older comics fans as it is for younger readers. 72pgs colour hardcover. See inside the original Locust Moon compendium here…

Melody: Story Of A Nude Dancer
by Sylvie Rancourt
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
In 1980, Sylvie Rancourt and her boyfriend moved to Montreal from rural Northern Quebec. With limited formal education or training, they had a hard time finding employment, so Sylvie began dancing in strip clubs. These experiences formed the backbone of the first Canadian autobiographical comic book, Melody, which Rancourt wrote, drew, and distributed, starting in 1985. Later, Rancourt collaborated with artist Jacques Boivin, who translated and drew a new series of Melody comics for the American market - the comics were an instant cult classic. The Rancourt drawn-and-written comics have never before seen English publication. These stories are compelling without ever being voyeuristic or self-pitying, and her drawings are formally innovative while maintaining a refreshingly frank and engaging clarity. Whether she’s divulging her first experiences dancing for an audience or sharing moments from her life at home, her storytelling is straightforward and never sensationalized. With a knowing wink at the reader, Rancourt shares a world that, in someone else’s writing, might be scandalous or seedy, but in hers is fully realized, real, and often funny. The Drawn and Quarterly edition of Melody, featuring an introduction from Chris Ware (Building Stories), will place this masterpiece of early autobiographical comics in its rightful place at the heart of the comics canon. 352pgs B&W paperback. Read a nine-page preview at D&Q’s site here…

My Hero Academia
by Kouhei Horikoshi
Viz Media

The publisher says:
What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless? Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny… Kouhei Horikoshi was born in Aichi, Japan, in 1986. He received a Tezuka Award Honorable Mention in 2006, and after publishing several short stories in Akamaru Jump, his first serialized work in Weekly Shonen Jump was Oumagadoki Doubutsuen in 2010. My Hero Academia is his third series in Weekly Shonen Jump. 192pgs B&W paperback.

Operation Ajax: The Story of the CIA Coup that Remade the Middle East
by Mike de Seve & Daniel Burwen
$25.95 / £14.99

The publisher says:
The year is 1953. As the value of oil skyrockets, global power brokers are taking an increased interest in the ruling political regimes of the Middle East. British agents have controlled Iranian oil exports for a generation, with the tacit approval of the Shah, but the landscape there has started to change. Democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh’s calls to overthrow the elites and take back Iran resonates among the people, and immediately American, British, and Persian agents begin to hatch plans for insurrection. Deals are made behind closed doors. Every actor has a stake. Iran’s oil will flow to the West, by any means necessary. Operation Ajax is the story of the CIA coup that removed Mossadegh and reinstalled the monarchy. Produced by a team of award-winning artists and based on an award-winning interactive storytelling app, Operation Ajax is a thrilling tale of real-life intrigue. 224pgs colour paperback. Find out about Cognito Comics’ original interactive digital version here…

Out On The Wire
by Jessica Abel

The publisher says:
Go behind the scenes of seven of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts, including This American Life and RadioLab, in graphic narrative. Every week, millions of devoted fans tune in to or download This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial, Invisibilia and other narrative radio shows. Using personal stories to breathe life into complex ideas and issues, these beloved programs help us to understand ourselves and our world a little bit better. Each has a distinct style, but every one delivers stories that are brilliantly told and produced. Out on the Wire offers an unexpected window into this new kind of storytelling, one that literally illustrates the making of a purely auditory medium. With the help of This American Life‘s Ira Glass, Jessica Abel, a cartoonist and devotee of narrative radio, uncovers just how radio producers construct narrative, spilling some juicy insider details. Jad Abumrad of RadioLab talks about chasing moments of awe with scientists, while Planet Money’s Robert Smith lets us in on his slightly goofy strategy for putting interviewees at ease. And Abel reveals how mad—really mad—Ira Glass becomes when he receives edits from his colleagues. Informative and engaging, Out on the Wire demonstrates that narrative radio and podcasts are creating some of the most exciting and innovative storytelling available today. 240pgs B&W paperback.


Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir
by Colleen Frakes
Zest Books

The publisher says:
McNeil Island in Washington state was the home of the last prison island in the US, accessible only by air or sea. It was also home to about fifty families, including Colleen Frakes’ when she was growing up. Colleen’s parents—like nearly everyone else on the island—both worked in the prison, where her father was the prison’s captain and her mother worked in security. The island functioned as a “company town,” where housing was assigned based on rank, and even children’s actions could have an impact on a family’s livelihood: If you broke a rule, your family could be kicked out of their home. In the graphic memoir Prison Island, Colleen tells her story of growing up on the McNeil Island. Beyond the irregularities of living in a company town near a prison, remote island life posed other challenges to Colleen and her sister. Regular teenage activities like ordering a pizza or going to the movies became extremely complicated endeavors on the island, and the small-town dynamics were amplified by their isolation from surrounding cities. Prison Island tells the story of a typical girl growing up in atypical circumstances using stark, engaging graphic novel panels. It’s a story that is simultaneously familiar and foreign, and readers will be surprised to see parts of themselves in Colleen’s unique experience. 192pgs colour paperback.

Robot Investigator
by Vincent Stall
Uncivilized Books

The publisher says:
Robot Investigator by Vincent Stall follows a lonely robot on an expedition to a mysterious planet that looks a lot like Earth. The story unfolds like a parallel universe Wall-E as the robot explores what appears to be a pristine landscape. He meets curious gerbil-like animals and stumbles on . . . a band of feral humans. Who were they? Why did they turn into wild men? Robot Investigator is both sweet and melancholy, cute and grisly. Stall’s silent sequences are drawn with an inky, lush, and elegant line filled with expressionistic colors. Robot Investigator is Stall’s masterpiece. The book also includes a sixteen-page robot parts catalog. Vincent Stall is an artist, cartoonist, and designer. Since 1999 he’s been running Puny, the renowned animation and design agency responsible for, among many other things, The Venture Brothers, and animated sequences on Yo Gabba Gabba! 100pgs colour hardcover. Explore Stall’s ongoing saga here…

Showman Killer: Heartless Hero Vol. 1 (of 3)
by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Fructus
Titan Books
$15.99 / £10.99

The publisher says:
Space is a dangerous place, made more so by the existence of the Showman Killer, a heartless assassin, genetically engineered by an insane scientist to be devoid of any emotion, and trained to kill. The only things that give him anything approaching pleasure are destruction or money. That is, until a fateful mission throws him into the path of the mysterious and fascinating Ibis. Alejandro Jodorowsky is the Chilean film-maker and comic writer whose career has covered everything from mime work to screenwriting, though he is best known as the writer of The Incal, the seminal work of the comic book medium, created in conjunction with the late Moebius. Nicolas Fructus is an illustrator who began his career in video games and animation, culminating in his appointment as Art Director for Arxel Tribe Studio. In this capacity, he worked with comic book legends Moebius and Druillet. In 2001, he turned his attention to comics full time, and was widely praised for his exquisite colouring work. 48pgs colour hardcover. Bedethèque have covers and samples from the 3-volume series here…

by Ted Rall
Seven Stories Press

The publisher says:
As many as 1.4 million citizens with security clearance saw some or all of the same documents revealed by Edward Snowden. Why did he, and no one else, decide to step forward and take on the risks associated with becoming a whistleblower and then a fugitive? Rall delves into Snowden’s early life and work experience, his personality, and the larger issues of privacy, new surveillance technologies, and the recent history of government intrusion. Rall describes Snowden’s political vision and hopes for the future. In a way, the book tells two stories: Snowden’s and a larger one that describes all of us on the threshold of tremendous technological upheaval and political change. Snowden is a portrait of a brave young man standing up to the most powerful government in the world and, if not winning, at least reaching a stand-off, and in this way is an incitation to us all to measure our courage and listen to our consciences in asking ourselves what we might have done in his shoes. 240pgs B&W paperback.

Space Dumplins
by Craig Thompson
Graphix / Faber & Faber
$24.99 / £20.00

The publisher says:
For Violet, family is the most important thing in the whole galaxy. So when her father goes missing while on a hazardous job, she can’t just sit around and do nothing. Throwing caution to the stars, she sets out with a group of misfit friends on a quest to find him. But space is a big and dangerous place for a young girl, and when she discovers that her dad has been swallowed into the belly of a giant planet-eating whale, the odds looked stacked against them… Visionary graphic novel creator Craig Thompson brings all of his wit, warmth, and humour to create a brilliantly drawn story for all ages. Set in a distant yet familiar future, Space Dumplins weaves themes of family, friendship, and loyalty into a grand space adventure filled with quirky aliens, awesome space-ships, and sharp commentary on our environmentally challenged world. 320pgs colour hardcover. Graphix give you the first 20-pages to try here…

Terminally Illin’ Vol. 1
by Kaylin Andres and Jon Solo
Last Gasp

The publisher says:
Terminally Illin’ is a collection of comics written during a 23 year old girl’s battle with a rare bone cancer. While enduring harsh chemo treatments, Kaylin teamed up with her friend, Jon, and they worked on the stories. The laughter helped to ease the pain. They want to share this laughter and imagination with others that might find it helpful or entertaining. After all, laughter is the best medicine! 100pgs colour paperback. Laughing Squid have more details and video here…

The Bind
by William Goldsmith
Jonathan Cape

The publisher says:
The Bind charts the rise and fall of Egret Bindings, once the most prestigious firm of bookbinders in London. In 1910 brothers Guy and Victor Egret take on an ambitious commission: a deluxe, jewelled binding of a collection of poems, A Moonless Land. It proves to be a moment of hubris. The work triggers their ruin, watched by the disapproving spirit of their father, Garrison Egret. A darkly humorous tale of sibling rivalry and creative one-upmanship, The Bind shows once again that William Goldsmith is an incomparable storyteller and a marvellously inventive artist. 120pgs colour hardcover. Goldsmith reveals some preview pages here…

The Book Of Hope
by Tommi Musturi

The publisher says:
This clear-line, saturated-color graphic novel introduces a Finnish master of the medium. In a way that only the medium of comics can, The Book of Hope slows the reader down to the rhythms of the silent life of a retired couple living in a rural countryside. Behind the static, routine moments of everyday life something bigger takes shape. A flash of encroaching death starts to consume the husband, leading to visions and questions. This graphic novel from cartoonist Tommi Musturi is a thoughtful exploration of the human condition, and the series of mostly quotidian moments that make up most of our lives. The strong presence of silence and nature reflect the arctic exotica of Musturi’s native Finland, but with a relatability, eloquence, and economy that will remind American readers of Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan. The Book of Hope is a humane book filled with timeless humour and life itself. Born in 1975, Tommi Musturi is a Finnish cartoonist, illustrator, graphic designer, and artist. In addition to his current ongoing series Walking with Samuel and The Books of Hope, Musturi contributes to the studio Kutikuti based out of Helsinki, which creates, publishes, and teaches comic art. Seeing that there was an unmet demand, Musturi co-founded Huuda Huuda in 2006 to translate international comics into Finnish, publish local comic artists, and get the word out about the vibrant Finnish scene by anthologising the work in English. 224pgs colour hardcover. Vice have an interview and some tasters here…

The Comics Of Joe Sacco: Journalism in a Visual World
edited by Daniel Worden
University Press of Mississippi

The publisher says:
The Comics of Joe Sacco addresses the range of his award-winning work, from his early comics stories as well as his groundbreaking journalism Palestine (1993) and Safe Area to Goražde (2000), to Footnotes in Gaza (2009) and his most recent book The Great War (2013), a graphic history of World War I. First in the new series, Critical Approaches to Comics Artists, this edited volume explores Sacco’s comics journalism, and features established and emerging scholars from comics studies, cultural studies, geography, literary studies, political science, and communication studies. Sacco’s work has already found a place in some of the foundational scholarship in comics studies, and this book solidifies his role as one of the most important comics artists today. Sections focus on how Sacco’s comics journalism critiques and employs the “standard of objectivity” in mainstream reporting, what aesthetic principles and approaches to lived experience can be found in his comics, how Sacco employs the space of the comics page to map history and war, and the ways that his comics function in the classroom and as human rights activism. The Comics of Joe Sacco offers definitive, exciting approaches to some of the most important –and necessary–comics today, by one of the most acclaimed journalist-artists of our time. 272pgs B&W hardcover.

The Complete Love Hurts
by Kim W. Andersson
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Lovelorn supervillains, psychopathic online daters, murderous reality TV show stars, and heartbroken cowboys, samurais, and astronauts star in this massive tome from Swedish comics creator Kim W. Andersson making his US debut. Andersson delivers a shocking series of short stories about love gone horribly wrong—romance comics with brutal, terrible twists which show that, no matter who you are or what you do, love can be one deadly bitch! Winner of the Swedish Comics Academy’s highest honour; features an introduction by Peter Snejbjerg. 240pgs colour paperback.

The Marquis Of Anaon Vol. 1: The Isle of Brac
by Fabien Vehlmann & Matthieu Bonhomme

The publisher says:
Jean-Baptiste Poulain has been hired by the Baron of Brac to tutor his son. When the young teacher arrives on the island off the coast of Brittany, he’s immediately struck by how much the population seems to both hate and fear their lord. Which doesn’t stop the locals from going after the aristocrat’s people. Jean-Baptiste is brutally attacked - just after Nolwenn, the baron’s son, is found beaten to death… 48pgs colour paperback. Comics & Cola preview three French pages here…

Two Brothers
by Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Twin brothers Omar and Yaqub may share the same features, but they could not be more different from one another. And the possessive love of their mother, Zana, stirs the troubled waters between them even more. After a brutally violent exchange between the young boys, Yaqub, “the good son,” is sent from his home in Brazil to live with relatives in Lebanon, only to return five years later as a virtual stranger to the parents who bore him, his tensions with Omar unchanged. Family secrets engage the reader in this profoundly resonant story about identity, love, loss, deception, and the dissolution of blood ties. Set in the port city of Manaus on the riverbanks of the Amazon, Two Brothers celebrates the vibrant life and diversity of Brazil. Based on a work by acclaimed novelist Milton Hatoum, Two Brothers is stunningly reimagined by the award-winning graphic novelists Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. 232pgs colour hardcover. Comics Alliance lets you read the first ten pages of Chapter 1 here…

by Jason Leivian & Ian MacEwan
Alternative Comics / Floating World Comics

The publisher says:
The Yankee is a dumb American. He’s Cosmo Vitelli. He’s Prince Ragners Nelson, He’s a Richard Pryor monlogue. Psychedelic-economic fiction set in the Nation States of America. Reality is just a part of your brain. The part that you can touch. Features visionary artwork by Ian MacEwan (Prophet, Sex, The Tomorrows). 48pgs B&W comic. Study Group Comics have some sample pages here…

Posted: June 1, 2015


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My Books

Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning from The British Library

1001 Comics  You Must Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing