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Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels:

September 2015

Rich pickings coming up from September 2015, with something for pretty much everyone. Take your pick from fictionalised biographies of the great artists Bosch and Pascin to unique interpretations of Aesop, Anthony Trollope, Philip Pullman and Jean-Patrick Manchette, from punks in New Zealand to an outed cop in Jamaica, from fearless self-revelations about an abusive relationship or cancer in the family to searing documentaries from Mexico and Iraq, and perhaps the biggest story of all, Jens Harder’s Alpha (above), nothing less than a trilogy on the evolution of our entire planet and species. Scope and ambition aplenty in my carefully selected highlights this month - explore and enjoy!

101 Artists To Listen To Before You Die
by Ricardo Cavolo
Nobrow Press
$22.99 / £14.99

The publisher says:
A graphic novel in the form of Ricardo Cavolo’s personal diary, which follows the story of music through 101 essential artists; from Bach to Radiohead, to Amy Winehouse, Nirvana and Daft Punk. With over one hundred uniquely colorful illustrations and handwritten text, lists, notes, and personal anecdotes this is a book to delight in. 232pgs colour hardcover. Cavalo offers a glimpse inside the original Spanish edition here…

by Jens Harder
Knockabout Comics
$53.99 / £35.00

The publisher says:
The most ambitious piece of work in comics since the beginning of time. Harder takes the reader on an operatic journey from the beginning with the nano-seconds following the Big Bang through the next 14 billion years. We see our infant universe as it rapidly expands, formed by black holes belonging to another universe. He uses a cinematic style to show every step, with imagery taken from popular culture, archaeology, science, film, and art sources, and to take use through the formation of our solar system and the earth itself, charting the long course of biological evolution. Alpha is the first in a trilogy covering the world and mankind’s evolution. Alpha is the starting point of investigating the pre-history of Earth, from just a speck in the sky to the birth of life that we cherish so much today. It is the ‘greatest story in the world’. 360pgs colour hardcover. Univers Science TV’s video takes you inside this book… and critic Earl Gray films his discussion of Alpha and Beta here…

Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir
by Stan Lee, Peter David & Colleen Doran
Touchstone / Simon & Schuster
$30.00/$100.00/$250.00 / £20.00

The publisher says:
In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee, comic book legend and co-creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes, shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be. Stan Lee is a man who needs no introduction. The most legendary name in the history of comic books, he has been the leading creative force behind Marvel Comics, and has brought to life, and into the mainstream, some of the world’s best-known heroes and most infamous villains throughout his career. His stories, filled with superheroes struggling with personal hang-ups and bad guys who possessed previously unseen psychological complexity, added wit and subtlety to a field previously locked into flat portrayals of good vs. evil. Lee put the human in superhuman and in doing so, created a new mythology for the twentieth century. In this beautifully illustrated graphic memoir, illustrated by celebrated artist Colleen Doran, Lee tells the story of his life with the same inimitable wit, energy, and offbeat spirit that he brought to the world of comics. Moving from his impoverished childhood in Manhattan to his early days writing comics, through his military training films during World War II and the rise of the Marvel empire in the 1960s to the current resurgence in movies, Amazing Fantastic Incredible documents the life of a man and the legacy of an industry and career. This funny, moving, and incredibly honest memoir is a must-have for collectors and fans of comic books and graphic novels of every age. 192pgs colour hardcover & unsigned & signed slipcased editions.

Anibal 5
by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Georges Bess
Humanoids Inc.

The publisher says:
Sex-obsessed cyborg secret agent, Anibal Five, works for EDO (The European Defense Organisation). When entrusted with protecting the Earth from cosmic terrorists bent on the destruction of humanity, Anibal 5 assembles a team of EDO’s twin accountants, Martin and Martain, and Sir Typer Pinker and his muse, Enanita, to confront the dictator Kung Lao Te. But when Te unleashes his nymphet clones things turn inevitably erotic. Visionary storytellers Alexandro Jodorowsky and Georges Bess (creators of the bestselling The White Lama and Son of The Gun) entertainingly subvert classic science fiction and super-spy tropes in this orgiastic explosion of over-the-top humour and interstellar sex. Collected in its entirety in the English language for the first time. This is a revival of the series originally drawn in the 1960s in Mexico by Manuel Moro. 136pgs colour hardcover.

Becoming Unbecoming
by Una
Myriad Editions

The publisher says:
A serial murderer, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, is at large in West Yorkshire and the police are struggling to solve the case. As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame. Becoming Unbecoming explores sexual abuse, gender violence, blame, shame and social responsibility. In graphic novel format, Una asks what it means to grow up in a culture where male violence goes unpunished and unquestioned,challenging a global culture that demands the victims of violence pay its cost. 224pgs B&W paperback.

Beef With Tomato
by Dean Haspiel
Alternative Comics

The publisher says:
A native New York bruiser is fed up with life in the dregs of a drug-addled Alphabet City where his neighbors are shut-ins and his bicycle is always getting stolen. He escapes from Manhattan to make a fresh start in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, only to face a new strain of street logic—where most everything he encounters is not as it seems. Emmy award-winning artist on HBO’s Bored To Death, Dean Haspiel’s comics include The Fox with Mark Waid, The Alcoholic with Jonathan Ames, and The Quitter with Harvey Pekar. 96pgs B&W paperback. The Comic Archive has a video of Haspiel reading Beef With Tomato at BookCourt here…

Black Rat
by Cole Closser
Koyama Press

The publisher says:
Black Rat is the sleeper in the shadow, the wanderer in the woods. He walks between worlds and travels through time—slaying monsters, solving mysteries, and philosophizing with his fists amidst a barrage of butchered quotes and borrowed styles in a series of seemingly disparate, sometimes violently visceral vignettes. Cole Closser lives in Missouri and teaches drawing at Missouri State University and Drury University. His graphic novel Little Tommy Lost was nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the category of Best Publication Design at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. 160pgs colour paperback.

Cadaver Dogs Of Winter
by The Fillibach Brothers
Devils Due/1First Comics, LLC

The publisher says:
A beautiful revenge tale from the incomparabale Fillbach Brothers. Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) writes in his introduction: “I’m an artist, so the first thing that sticks out for me in a comic — and the reason I buy most comics — is the art. And that’s what first hit me when I opened Cadaver Dogs Of  Winter . . . the art immediately grabbed my attention. It’s — well — beautiful. Not many black and white books make proper use of black and white, but this does. An amazing sense of design.  I’d gladly own some of those original splash pages for my own wall — pages I wish I’d drawn . . . As much as I like looking at beautifully drawn pages, even I would admit that the best comics are the ones where the story and art go hand in hand, and once I started reading this, I couldn’t stop.” 164pgs B&W paperback. To see what Adlard means, Bleeding Cool give you an 8-page sequence here…

by Simon Grennan Jonathan Cape

The publisher says:
England, 1873. John Caldigate, a young gentleman, gets into debt gambling and decides to try his luck in the gold fields of New South Wales. On the outward journey, he promises to marry Mrs Smith, a divorced actress who is travelling in the same ship. Returning home a rich man, John marries Hester, the sweetheart he left behind. Soon, Mrs Smith also returns from Australia, penniless, and claims that she is already his wife. Inspired by Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate, Dispossession embeds the reader in a uniquely wrought experience of the mid-nineteenth century, including the first ever appearance of the Aboriginal Wiradjuri language in a graphic novel. Taking unique advantage of the graphic form to conjure the material world of the Victorian era in a glittering waltz of intense colour and deep shadow, Dispossession is a virtuoso and intensely affecting graphic novel by a master visual storyteller. 104pgs colour hardcover. See some pages from the French edition here… and see below the accompanying study, Transforming Anthony Trollope: Dispossession, Victorianism and Nineteenth-Century Word and Image

by Michael Deforge
Koyama Press

The publisher says:
Michael DeForge makes comics like no one else. This collection of the cartoonist’s mini-comics, zines, anthology work, and more, is a follow up to the award-winning Very Casual, and shows the artist at the height of his occasionally fever-induced powers.
A prolific artist who is constantly producing work in a variety of media, DeForge is a designer and storyboard artist on the Emmy Award-winning show Adventure Time. One can see hints of that show’s house style filtered through the Lynchian landscapes and otherworldly vistas of DeForge’s vision. Michael DeForge currently lives and works in Toronto as a cartoonist, commercial illustrator, and designer for the hit Cartoon Network program Adventure Time. His one-person anthology series Lose has received great critical and commercial success, having been nominated for every major comics award including the Ignatz and Eisner Awards. 120pgs part-colour hardcover.

Fable Comics
by various artists, edited by Chris Duffy
First Second

The publisher says:
From classics like “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Grasshopper and the Ants” to obscure gems like “The Frogs Who Desired a King,” Fable Comics has something to offer every reader. Twenty-eight fables from different cultures and traditions are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by twenty-six different cartoonists. Edited by New York Times bestselling Fairy Tale Comics’ Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic. 128pgs colour hardcover. Preview pages by eight contributors here…

From Under Mountains
by Claire Gibson, Marian Churchland & Sloane Leong

The publisher says:
In the first issue of this new fantasy series, old feuds and new monsters rise up to haunt the isolated northern fortress of Karsgate. 32pgs colour comic book. Comics Alliance have an interview and preview artwork here…

by Rune Ryberg
AdHouse Books

The publisher says:
Gigant is a color-saturated, action-packed fantasy-comedy from Danish creator Rune Ryberg. The hero (Giant) is thrown into a bizarre journey within another dimension in an attempt to rescue his girlfriend who has been swallowed by a thousand-eyed monster. 80pgs colour hardcover. Ryberg gives you six pages to get a flavour here…

Hieronymous Bosch: The Unauthorised Biography
by Marcel Ruijters
Knockabout Comics

The publisher says:
A fictionalised biography of Hieronymus Bosch, the late medieval painter. It is a commissioned work for the Bosch500 Foundation and the Mondriaan Art Fund, as a part of a large program of festivities scheduled for his 500th anniversary in 2016. Marcel Ruijters says “In general it is not my intention to reconstruct Bosch’s life - it would be pretentious for anyone to claim to know him. A lot of data has been lost in five centuries and artists from so long ago usually have not left behind that much. Therefore, it is not the idea to give a complete overview of his body of works. It is not an essay. Some lost works are hinted at in a playful way. More important is to show that what we know as authentic Bosch paintings, consists of teamwork. And that everything was commissioned work, reflecting the culture of the time rather than personal views of the artist. Therefore there is also quite a bit of comedy going on here. Especially because life was hard, people treated things with a strong sense of irony.” 160pgs colour paperback. Klaxon Stripfestival have some advance images here…

Honor Girl
by Maggie Thrash
Candlewick Press

The publisher says:
All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort. Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand. 272pgs colour hardcover.

King Of The Comics: One Hundred Years Of King Features Syndicate
by various writers & artists of King Features Syndicate

The publisher says:
Krazy Kat! Popeye! Flash Gordon! Beetle Bailey! Blondie! Prince Valiant! Hagar the Horrible! Barney Google and Snuffy Smith! Baby Blues! Mutt & Jeff! Zits! Juliet Jones! Buz Sawyer! Steve Canyon! Bizarro! Hi & Lois! Maggie & Jiggs! Johnny Hazard! There are simply too many to list because King Features has had a more illustrious and long-lasting history than any newspaper syndicate, even as it continues to lead the way into the digital age and beyond. This book is a centennial birthday bash hosted by Dean Mullaney, Bruce Canwell, and Brian Walker, with contributions by Brendan Burford, Lucy Shelton Caswell, Jared Gardner, Ron Goulart, Jeffrey Lindenblatt, Carl Linich, Paul Tumey, and Germund von Wowern. More than just comics, it’s a celebration of the profound impact that King Features has had on popular culture. 288pgs colour hardcover.

Manchette’s Fatale
by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Doug Headline & Max Cabanes
Titan Comics

The publisher says:
Aimée is a beautiful young widow – she’s also a killer. Driven by a deep-rooted desire for revenge, she sets about uncovering the secrets of the inhabitants of the sleepy rural town of Bleville, before ruthlessly murdering them. Faced with corruption of a kind she had scarcely imagined, she discovers a deeply moral core under her murderous instincts. Manchette’s Fatale is a comics adaptation of the work of world-renowned noir crime author, Jean-Patrick Manchette. This edition, adapted by the writer’s son under his pen-name Doug Headline and illustrated by Max Cabanes, has been described by editor Lizzie Kaye as, “Lolita meets The Virgin Suicides.” [As an intriguing footnote, Jacques Tardi drew 21 pages adapting this story in the late Seventies, before tne and Manchette agreed to abandon the project and collaborate instead on an original crime story, Griffu.] 136pgs colour hardcover. ActuaBD show a Tardi spread and two Cabanes examples here…

Michael Allred Conversations
edited by Christopher Irving
University Press of Mississippi

The publisher says:
Michael Allred stands out for his blend of spiritual and philosophical approaches with an art style reminiscent of 1960s era superhero comics, which creates a mixture of both postmodernism and nostalgia. His childhood came during an era where pop art and camp embraced elements of kitsch and pastiche and introduced them into the lexicon of popular culture. Allred’s use of both in his work as a cartoonist on his signature comic book Madman in the early 1990s offset the veiled autobiography of his own spiritual journey through Mormonism and struggles with existentialism.Thematically, Allred’s work deals heavily with the afterlife as his creations struggle with the grander questions—whether his modern Frankenstein hero Madman, cosmic rock ‘n’ roller Red Rocket 7, the undead heroine of iZombie (co-created with writer Chris Roberson), or the cast of superhero team book The Atomics. Allred also enjoys a position in the creator-driven generation that informs the current batch of independent cartoonists and has experienced his own brush with a major Hollywood studio’s aborted film adaptation of Madman. Allred’s other brushes with Hollywood include an independent adaptation of his comic book The G-Men from Hell, an appearance as himself in Kevin Smith’s romantic comedy Chasing Amy (where he provided illustrations for a fictitious comic book), the television adaptation of iZombie, and an ongoing relationship with director Robert Rodriguez on a future Madman film.Michael Allred: Conversations features several interviews with the cartoonist from the early days of Madman’s success through to his current mainstream work for Marvel Comics. To read them is to not only witness the ever-changing state of the comic book industry, but also to document Allred’s growth as a creative genius. 192pgs B&W hardcover.

One-Punch Man Vol. 1
by ONE & Yusuke Murata
Viz Media / Shonen Jump Manga

The publisher says:
A manga series that packs quite the punch! Nothing about Saitama passes the eyeball test when it comes to superheroes, from his lifeless expression to his bald head to his unimpressive physique. However, this average-looking guy has a not-so-average problem—he just can’t seem to find an opponent strong enough to take on! Every time a promising villain appears, he beats the snot out of ’em with one punch! Can Saitama finally find an opponent who can go toe-to-toe with him and give his life some meaning? Or is he doomed to a life of superpowered boredom? Manga creator ONE began One-Punch Man in 2009 as a webcomic, which quickly went viral, garnering over 10 million hits. In addition to One-Punch Man, ONE writes and draws the series Mob Psycho 100 and Makai no Ossan. 200pgs B&W paperback.

by M.K. Reed & Farel Dalrymple
Secret Acres
The publisher says:
Everyone hates Dwayne, the firebug, the bad boy trouble follows everywhere. Alison finds a warmth to Dwayne, a spark everyone’s missing. Alison knows what she’s doing, but after tonight’s fireworks, she’ll find out who knows best. Can Alison play with fire without getting burned? Palefire, the first collaboration between writer MK Reed and artist Farel Dalrymple, takes us back to high school for a hot date to the party of the year. When you’re not a girl, and not yet a woman, the last thing you want is advice. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but everyone deserves a second chance—even if it goes up in flames. 68pgs B&W paperback. Electric Literature interviews Dalrymple here…

by Joann Sfar
Uncivilized Books

The publisher says:
Pascin, a biography of the noted Jewish modernist painter (Julius Mordecai Pincas, known as Pascin, March 31, 1885 – June 5, 1930), is Joann Sfar’s most personal and important work. Pascin is portrayed by Sfar both as a kindred spirit and an aesthetic revolutionary struggling to redefine an art form. Sfar revels in the artist’s celebration of all things corporeal in the world of art. Though the story is drenched in sex, it is never eroticized. Created in a direct and immediate drawing style, Sfar focuses more on the artist’s personal and sexual life than on his art, and brings Pascin to life as the ultimate bohemian. Joann Sfar is considered one of the most important artists of the new wave of European comics. He is the author and artist on a great number of acclaimed graphic novels including The Rabbi’s Cat, Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East, Vampire Loves, and Dungeon. He wrote and directed Gainsbourg: Une Vie Heroique the biopic of the illustrious French songwriter and singer. The film was released in 2010 to international acclaim. Translated by Edward Gauvin. 200pgs B&W hardcover.

Peanuts: A Tribute To Charles M. Schulz
by various creators
Boom! Studios

The publisher says:
The Peanuts gang seen through the eyes of today’s greatest cartoonists in loving tribute to Charles Schulz. In celebration of Peanuts’ 65th anniversary, BOOM! has teamed up with some of the greatest cartoonists of the last 50 years to put a personal spin on Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their beloved gang. This collectible hardcover features never-before seen art styles from Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Jeffrey Brown (Darth Vader and Son), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise) and other legendary cartoonists and authors whose love of Charles Schulz’s syndicated comic strip influenced a life-long love of art and storytelling that shaped their careers. Contributions include art from Paige Braddock, Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Mo Willems (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!), Jen Wang (In Real Life, below), Roger Langridge (Snarked, Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow), Art Baltazar (Tiny Titans), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Liz Prince (Tomboy), Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Paul Pope (Battling Boy, Batman: Year 100), Evan Dorkin (Sock Monkey, Maakies), and more. 128pgs colour hardcover.

by Peter Kuper
$29.99 / £16.99

The publisher says:
Samantha and George are about to launch into a sabbatical year in the quaint Mexican town of Oaxaca. For Samantha, the trip is a reconnection to her past and an opportunity to complete her novel; for George, it is an unsettling step into the unknown. As the couple depart for Oaxaca, a monarch butterfly begins its annual migration south from Canada to Mexico. The story of its remarkable journey, woven into the fabric of Ruins, draws striking parallels with the challenges faced by Samantha and George as they adapt to their new surroundings. Beneath its picturesque veneer—the 16th-century architecture, the nearby ruins—Oaxaca is a town shaken by political unrest. Samantha and George find themselves embroiled in events that will alter their paths forever. Ruins masterfully captures the shadows and light of a troubled country steeped in history and culture, weaving together personal, political, and natural dramas into a thrilling portrait of life south of the Rio Grande. 328pgs colour hardcover. Drawger present plenty of Kuper’s gorgeous preview pages for you here…

Sacred Heart
by Liz Suburbia
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
In this debut graphic novel collecting Liz Suburbia’s popular webcomic, the parents have left the teenagers to fend for themselves in a town where a terrible tragedy is coming for them all. The children of U.S. small-town Alexandria are just trying to live like normal teens until their parents’ promised return from a mysterious, four-year religious pilgrimage, and Ben Schiller is no exception. She’s just trying to take care of her sister, keep faith that her parents will come back, and get through her teen years as painlessly as possible. But her relationship with her best friend is changing, her younger sister is hiding a dark secret, and a terrible tragedy is coming for them all. Filled with teenage loves and fights and parties, Sacred Heart is a wonderful coming-of-age graphic novel set against the threat of a big reckoning that everyone fears is coming but has no proof. 352pgs B&W paperback. Nineteen chapters so far of Sacred Heart are posted here…

by Seth Kushner, Josh Neufeld & various artists
Alternative Comics

The publisher says:
One man’s awkward coming-of-age-quest to find love in New York City, illustrated by twenty-two artists, whose individual short stories together tell a complete narrative. Artists include Josh Neufeld, Nick Bertozzi, Dean Haspiel, Gregory Benton, Noah Van Sciver, Stephan DeStefano, and Christa Cassano. Cover art by Joseph Remnant. Book design by Eisner award-winner Eric Skillman. Forward by Jonathan Ames. 176pgs colour paperback. [As a sad footnote, Kushner passed away May 17th: Comics Beat pays tribute here…]

Megan Sass in Heeb Magazine says:
Schmuck drips with self-loathing, near-sightedness, and sexually frustrated Ashkenazi goodness. In Schmuck, Kushner tells “true” stories based on his own mishaps and mortifying memories, which are energetically illustrated by the cream of the indie comix crop.

by Gregory Benton
Alternative Comics / Hang Dai Editions

The publisher says:
After an accident on an industrial farm unhinges two young brothers from reality, they are guided through a weird and wonderful journey by Xolo, the Aztec’s mythological protector of souls. Follow the brothers through a typical day, from their arrival at an industrial tobacco farm bussed in with others early in the morning, throughout their grueling chores and ultimately to the accident that drops them into the realm of the Xolo. Smoke is inspired by journalistic accounts of underaged workers in the tobacco industry. These children often suffer neurological and physical effects from exposure to the raw nicotine found in the plants they harvest, as well as from the hazardous conditions they endure to complete this hard labor. The book is wordless, employing vibrant full-color art and bold compositions to convey a realistically unreal world, which has become a hallmark of Benton’s work. Gregory Benton has been making comics professionally since 1993. Gregory received the Society of Illustrators inaugural MoCCA Award of Excellence for his critically acclaimed wordless book B+F. 72pgs colour hardcover. Benton is previewing Smoke on Tumblr here…

Step Aside, Pops! A Hark A Vagrant Collection
by Kate Beaton
Drawn & Quarterly / Jonathan Cape
$19.95 / £12.99

The publisher says:
A follow-up to Hark! A Vagrant, which spent five months on the New York Times bestseller list. Ida B. Wells, the Black Prince, and Benito Juárez burst off the pages of Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection, armed with modern-sounding quips and amusingly on-point repartee. Kate Beaton’s second D+Q/Jonathan Cape book brings her hysterically funny gaze to bear on these and even more historical, literary, and contemporary figures. Irreverently funny and carefully researched, no target is safe from Beaton’s incisive wit in these satirical strips. Beaton began her infectiously popular web comic, Hark! A Vagrant, in 2007 and it quickly attracted the adoration of hundreds of thousands of fans. It was an unequivocal hit with critics and fans alike, topping best-of-the-year lists from E!, Amazon, Time, and more. Now Beaton returns with a refined pen, ready to make jokes at the expense of hunks, army generals, scientists, and Canadians in equal measure. With a few carefully placed lines, she captures the over-the-top evil of the straw feminists in the closet, the disgruntled dismay of Heathcliff, and Wonder Woman’s all-conquering ennui. Step Aside, Pops is sure to be the comedic hit of the year: sharp, insightful, and very funny. 160pgs B&W hardcover.

Terror Assaulter
by Benjamin Marra
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Drawn in a 1990s comic book style and starring the “Terror Assaulter,” this book satirizes American values in much the same way director Paul Verhoeven (Robocop) does. Cartoonist Benjamin Marra brilliantly satirizes America’s obsession with justice ― and disinterest in consequences ― via a highly stylised, hypermasculine style that gushes with violence, sex, and international intrigue, battering down the boundaries between psychedelia, political commentary, and aggressive expressionism. Terror Assaulter must defeat Terror at all costs, as long as it leaves time for steamy dates with hot chicks. The man’s codename is O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror) and he is the world’s greatest protector, and a villain’s worst nightmare. This is a hilarious satire of American foreign policy over the last decade, neocon philosophy, the state of American masculinity and sexuality, and male power fantasy in escapist entertainment. 116pgs colour paperback.

TET #1 (of 4)
by Paul Allor & Paul Tucker

The publisher says:
Eugene Smith is desperate to leave Vietnam behind, and begin a new life with the woman he loves. But when a fellow Marine is brutally murdered, Eugene’s plans are thrown away, forever. All’s fair in love and war, right? Writer Paul Allor and artist Paul Tucker present an extraordinary, heartfelt story of hard-boiled crime and star-crossed romance, set at the height of the Vietnam War and the decades that followed. 32pgs colour comic book.

The Art of José Gonzalez
by José Gonzalez, written by David Roach

The publisher says:
For nearly two decades, José “Pepe” Gonzalez was hailed as the premier Vampirella artist, drawing the fiery vixen for Warren Publishing in the Seventies and Eighties. Renowned for bringing to life the most beautiful women the art world has ever seen, Gonzalez’s career spans from drawing British romance comics to movie stars, book covers to commercial advertising, and, of course, personal commissions for loved ones and devotees. For the first time ever, author David Roach covers José’s entire career, transcending his vast body of Vampirella work to explore the full breadth of the master’s creations. Vampirella collectors and Jose Gonzalez fans rejoice, for the life-spanning retrospective you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Featuring an introduction by fan-favorite painter Joe Jusko. 248pgs colour hardcover.

The Dharma Punks
by Ant Sang
Conundrun Press

The publisher says:
Set over one long night in Auckland New Zealand in 1994, a group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb before the opening, but the night takes the first of many unexpected turns when he is separated from his accomplice. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand. Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and the ghost of Kurt Cobain. With an introduction by Dylan Horrocks. 400pgs B&W paperback.

The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1
by Philip Pullman & Clément Oubrerie
Knopf Books

The publisher says:
The world of Philip Pullman’s internationally bestselling His Dark Materials saga is brought to visual life in book 1 of a three-volume graphic adaptation of The Golden Compass. Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her dæmon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, and a mysterious substance known as Dust. As she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win—or to lose—this more-than-mortal battle. The stunning full-colour art offers both new and returning readers a chance to experience the story of Lyra, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary role to play in the fates of multiple worlds, in an entirely new way. 80pgs colour paperback/hardcover.

The Marvels
by Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press
$32.99 / £16.99

The publisher says:
Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and delivers a moving and mesmerizing adventure about the power of story. Two seemingly unrelated stories — one in words, the other in pictures — come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick’s storytelling prowess. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick’s most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story. 672pgs B&W hardcover.

The Story Of My Tits
by Jennifer Hayden
Top Shelf Productions, An IDW Company

The publisher says:
A landmark work of graphic memoir and a cancer narrative that pulls no punches! When Jennifer Hayden was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43, she realized that her tits told a story. Across a lifetime, they’d held so many meanings: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. And then they were gone. Now, their story has become a way of understanding her story. Growing up flat-chested and highly aware of her inadequacies… heading off to college, where she “bloomed” in more ways than one… navigating adulthood between her mother’s mastectomy, her father’s mistress, and her musician boyfriend’s problems of his own - not to mention his sprawling family. Then the kids come along… As cancer strikes three different lives, some relationships crumble while others emerge even stronger, and this sarcastic child of the ‘70s finally finds a goddess she can believe in. For everyone who’s faced cancer personally, or watched a loved one fight that battle, Hayden’s story is a much-needed breath of fresh air, an irresistible blend of sweetness and skepticism. Rich with both symbolism and humor, The Story of My Tits will leave you laughing, weeping, and feeling grateful for every day. 352pgs B&W paperback. Top Shelf share a preview here…

Transforming Anthony Trollope: Dispossession, Victorianism and Nineteenth-Century Word and Image
edited by Simon Grennan & Laurence Grove
Leuven University Press

The publisher says:
Marking 200 years of Anthony Trollope, this volume is a cross-disciplinary collection of essays in the fields of nineteenth-century history, adaptation, word/image and Victorianism. Featuring new writing by some of the most influential, respected and radical scholars in these fields, Transforming Anthony Trollope constitutes both a close companion to Simon Grennan’s 2015 graphic novel Dispossession - an adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s 1879 novel John Caldigate - and a forward-looking, stand-alone addition to current debates on the cultural uses of history and the theorisation of remediation, illustration and narrative drawing. 264pgs B&W paperback.

by Steve Orlando & JD Faith

The publisher says:
Betrayed, beaten, and banished by his own, an outed cop fights his way across Jamaica to save his man and get revenge! Virgil thought he was safe on the police force, but his gun and his attitude can’t protect him from his own secret - he’s gay. For thirty years he’s had two lives. In the uniform he’s the toughest on the street. Out of uniform he’s a loving boyfriend. But when his own precinct turns on him, his worlds explodes. They put his name in the paper, raided his house, and took his lover. They left him bleeding in the ocean. They shouldn’t have left him alive. Virgil is the next era of exploitation, following in the steps of Shaft and Django Unchained. Hardhitting crime noir given a fresh face but the same busted knuckles. 96pgs colour paperback. Watch their successful trailer here…

Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories From Iraq
by Olivier Morel & Maël

The publisher says:
A gripping graphic novel illustrates the challenges of Iraq War veterans as well as their inspiring triumphs. After the shock of 9/11, for hundreds of thousands of young Americans there was Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, Abu Ghraib—the war in Iraq. Then came the trauma. From the torment of these vets to their reflections, Morel and artist Maël demonstrate the seemingly impossible return of those who aspire to get back to a normal life. The effort is huge; some can’t make it and others score their own victory by finally turning the corner. Walking Wounded is a parable for our country’s war sickness. 120pgs colour hardcover. Check out the YouTube video on this documentary comic here… and Guernica Mag interviews the creators and previews lots of pages here…

Written And Drawn By Henrietta
by Ricardo Liniers
Toon Books

The publisher says:
Reading books is fun . . . but what about making them? Armed with new coloured pencils, Henrietta’s ready to try. Peek over her shoulder as she draws the story of a brave young girl, a three-headed monster, and an impossibly wide world of adventure. Whether read aloud to a toddler or discovered by a young reader, Liniers’s celebration of the creative process is sure to make everyone want to bring out their pencils. A Junior Library Guild Selection. 64pgs colour hardcover.

Posted: July 5, 2015


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My Books

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

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing

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