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Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels:

October 2015

Here are my suggestions for great comics in book form that you might choose for your perusing pleasure this October!



Alex Raymnond: An Artistic Journey: Adventure, Intrigue & Romance
by Ron Goulart
Hermes Press
$75.00

The publisher says:
Alex Raymond was one of the most influential comic strip artists of the 20th Century, creating action-packed art for Secret Agent X-9, the spectacular, classic imagery for Flash Gordon, and the nuanced, brilliant artwork for the detective/film-noiresque Rip Kirby. Now, for the first time, Hermes Press presents a comprehensive, definitive, art monograph covering Raymond’s complete artistic output with an authoritative text by noted comics historian Ron Goulart. This new exhaustive full colour art book features over 400 images, many scanned directly from Raymond’s original artwork, and is being published under license from King Features as part of their 100th anniversary celebration. See original artwork from Raymond’s work on Secret Agent X-9, Flash Gordon, Jungle Jim, and Rip Kirby together with numerous examples of his earliest strip artwork, commercial illustration, and more. This extra large format art book is presented in a 10 by 13 inch size, so collectors can savor every detail of Raymond’s artistic genius. 304pgs colour hardcover.


Ashes: A Firefighter’s Tale
by Mario Candelaria & Karl Slominski
Z2 Comics
$19.99

The publisher says:
Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, Ashes is not to be missed. 144pgs B&W paperback



Balkans Arena
by Philippe Thirault & Jorge Miguel
Humanoids
$24.95

The publisher says:
When widowed former soldier Frank Sokol returns to his native Croatia with his Canadian-born son, Ben, he must face his estranged family and the ghosts of the civil war. When 11-year old Ben is kidnapped by the local mafia and forced into the underground world of illegal online cage-fighting, Frank will stop at nothing to get him back. But the cost may be even higher than he’s willing to pay. This original, fast-paced and brutal tale, examines the consequences of a violent past, the dangers of the present and the possibilities of a redemptive future. 112pgs colour hardcover.


Curveball
by Jeremy Sorese
Nobrow Press
$19.95 / £18.99

The publisher says:
Curveball is a science fiction graphic novel telling the story of a waiter named Avery coping with the ending of a difficult relationship. Having spent years attempting to build something substantial with an indecisive sailor named Christophe, Avery stubbornly holds on despite the mounting evidence against him. The idea of the relationship has eclipsed its reality and in Avery’s already troubled life, the allure of something dependable is a powerful force. Curveball focuses on the duality of hope and delusion. How ignorance is integral to surviving our day-to-day lives but can be incredibly destructive if allowed to blossom into ‘optimism’. This is the gorgeous debut of a talented young cartoonist telling the most universal of tales: a love story. 420pgs colour paperback.



Dan and Sam
by Mark Watson & Oliver Harud
Picador
£14.99

The publisher says:
Dan and Sam are a golden couple: happily married, owners of a popular London restaurant and looking forward to spending the rest of their lives together - until a tragedy changes everything. When Sam dies in his arms after an accident, Dan cannot imagine life without her. But love, it seems, is stronger than death and Dan is granted a reprieve - Sam can return to him for one night of the year, every year, until he falls in love again. And though Dan knows that no one could ever take Sam’s place in his heart, he soon faces an impossible choice… 96pgs part-colour paperback.



Democracy
by Abraham Kawa, Alecos Papadatos & Annie Di Donna
Bloomsbury
$27.00 / £18.99

The publisher says:
Democracy opens in 490 B.C., with Athens at war. The hero of the story, Leander, is trying to rouse his comrades for the morrow’s battle against a far mightier enemy, and begins to recount his own life, having borne direct witness to the evils of the old tyrannical regimes and to the emergence of a new political system. The tale that emerges is one of daring, danger, and big ideas, of the death of the gods and the tortuous birth of democracy. We see that democracy originated through a combination of chance and historical contingency – but also through the cunning, courage, and willful action of a group of remarkably talented and driven individuals. Alecos Papadatos and Annie DiDonna, artists behind the international phenomenon Logicomix, together with writer Abraham Kawa, deliver a graphic novel bursting with extraordinary characters and vibrant color, one that also offers fresh insight into how this greatest of civic inventions came to be. 240pgs colour paperback.



Departures
by Pierre Maurel
Blank Slate
£9.99

The publisher says:
In his English-language debut, Pierre Maurel explores the effects of the global recession through three tales of twenty and thirty- somethings struggling at the bottom of the social ladder. Taking place in an unspecified city, these stories overlay to create a narrative of low-income, low-expectation McJobs; unemployment; benefit meetings; homelessness; isolation; violent riots and urban decay. Maurel’s stories perfectly exemplify the feelings of betrayal and alienation many feel over the broken promises of the new millennium. 80pgs B&W paperback.



First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson
by Simon Schwartz
Lerner Publishing Group
$14.99

The publisher says:
In this graphic novel, Simon Schwartz weaves biography and fiction together to explore the life of Arctic adventurer Matthew Henson. Moving between different time periods and incorporating Inuit mythology, Schwartz offers fresh perspective on the many challenges Henson confronted during his life. As a member of early missions to reach the North Pole, Henson braved subzero temperatures and shifting sea ice. As an African American at the turn of the twentieth century, he also faced harassment and prejudice. Henson won a place on Arctic expeditions through skill and determination –though he didn’t receive the same credit as his teammates. He also won the respect of the native peoples he met during his journeys – though he couldn’t prevent the harm that the expeditions caused them. More than a biography, First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson is an artistic homage to Henson’s accomplishments and the complicated realities of being a trailblazer in a society that didn’t recognise black men as equals.160pgs colour paperback.



Frank In The 3rd Dimension
by Jim Woodring
Fantagraphics
$22.99

The publisher says:
Jim Woodring’s silent, signature character explores the Unifactor’s third dimension in this graphic novel. Frank in the 3rd Dimension is a series of Jim Woodring’s loveliest pictures ― 32 anecdotal visual vignettes, dioramas, moments pickled in time ― as you’ve never seen Frank before: in 3-D, about as real as you can get him outside of an Ionescoian theatrical performance (which could be next ― watch your local theater listings). Frank and Frank’s world are already hallucinatory, but seeing him in the most technologically advanced and artistically crafted 3-D ever produced―more than 150 layers per drawing in order to round and “sculpt” each image into full, volumetric 3-D ― is an experience that has to be savored to be believed. Two-color anaglyphic artwork throughout. 32pgs 3D board book.



Ghetto Klown
by John Leguizamo & Christa Cassano
Abrams ComicArts
$24.95

The publisher says:
In Ghetto Klown, celebrated performer John Leguizamo lays bare his early years in blue-collar Queens, his salvation through acting and writing, and his colorful career trajectory. He brings us onto the sets of his films opposite stars such as Al Pacino and Patrick Swayze and with directors such as Baz Luhrmann and Brian De Palma, while also opening up about his offstage life in love and marriage. In this candid graphic novel memoir, Leguizamo offers a strong message of moving beyond self-doubt—and beyond the doubters—to claim some happiness. Originally staged on Broadway in 2011, Ghetto Klown won Leguizamo Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards before being adapted into an HBO special. Now, teaming up with artists Christa Cassano and Shamus Beyale, Leguizamo shares his life story in this vibrant, funny, and moving adaptation. 192pgs B&W paperback.



Hysteria: Graphic Freud
by Richard Appignanesi & Oscar Zarate
SelfMadeHero
$24.95

The publisher says:
Hysteria is a graphic novel account of the first steps, errors, and frustrations of Sigmund Freud’s career, which would lead to the foundation of a revolutionary new clinical therapy: psychoanalysis. The book traces Freud’s early training in neurological research and medicine; the crucial turning-point of his studies with Jean-Martin Charcot at La Salpêtrière; and his establishment of a therapeutic practice in Vienna. Perfectly matching text and illustrations, Hysteria recounts Freud’s interest in his colleague Josef Breuer’s “Anna O” case study, as well as giving an account of his own case histories of hysteria, particularly the treatment of Fräulein Elisabeth von R. The studies brought to life in this authoritative, beautifully illustrated graphic novel are collected in Freud and Breuer’s co-authored Studies in Hysteria, which marked the birth of psychoanalysis. 168pgs colour softcover.



Killing And Dying
by Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly / Faber & Faber
$22.95 / £14.99

The publisher says:
Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century. “Amber Sweet” shows the disastrous impact of mistaken identity in a hyper-connected world; “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture” details the invention and destruction of a vital new art form in short comic strips; “Translated, from the Japanese” is a lush, full-color display of storytelling through still images; the title story, “Killing and Dying”, centers on parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy. In six interconnected, darkly funny stories, Tomine forms a quietly moving portrait of contemporary life. Tomine is a master of the small gesture, equally deft at signaling emotion via a subtle change of expression or writ large across landscapes illustrated in full color. Killing and Dying is a fraught, realist masterpiece. 128pgs colour hardcover.



Klaxon
by Si Spencer & Dix
SelfMadeHero
£14.99

The publisher says:
Three unemployed wasters find themselves embroiled in an unusual dispute with their new neighbours: Carole and her weeping mother. When the shabby Carlisle intervenes in their lives, he incurs the wrath of their landlord - the silent, grinning embodiment of evil, Mr Stapleton - and his mute minion son, Craig. As Mr Stapleton’s malign influence spreads to his housemates, Carlisle takes the fight to his enemy and realises he must sacrifice his life to save the world. Owing more to William Blake than to Stephen King, this brooding, unnerving and absurdist graphic novel deliberately shuns the conventional genre trappings of blood and gore in favour of freak falls of liquorice allsorts, cherubim in cowboy suits and narcotic cavity wall insulation. 120pgs colour paperback.



Long Red Hair
by Meags Fitzgerald
Conundrum Press
$17.00

The publisher says:
Long Red Hair is Meags Fitzgerald’s follow up to her acclaimed Photobooth: A Biography. In this graphic memoir, Fitzgerald paints a childhood full of sleepovers, playing dress-up, amateur fortune-telling and renting scary movies. Yet, Fitzgerald suspects that she is unlike her friends. The book navigates a child’s struggle with averageness, a preteen’s budding bisexuality and a young woman’s return after rejection. Fitzgerald takes us from her first kiss to a life sworn to singlehood, while weaving in allusions to witches in history and popular culture. Long Red Hair alluringly delves into the mystique of red hair and the beguiling nature of alternative romantic relationships. 88pgs colour paperback.



Omaha Beach On D-Day June 6 1944
by Jean-David Morvan, Séverine Tréfouël & Dominique Bertail
First Second
$24.99

The publisher says:
The first volume of a new series dedicated to exploring iconic moments in World War II history, Omaha Beach on D-Day is a fresh and captivating new take on one of the most important moments in World War II: the Allied forces storming the beach at Normandy.
The photograph at the heart of this book is Robert Capa’s world-famous shot of the Allied landing in 1944, and the authors of this remarkable work have gathered interviews, testimonials, contact sheets, and over forty pages of photographic archives from the Magnum Photos agency to fill in the history behind a single moment, captured forever on film. Using a combination of traditional comics narrative, photography, and nonfiction text, Omaha Beach on D-Day is a rich and accessible fresh take at a crucial moment in 20th century history. 100pgs B&W hardcover.



One Year Wiser: 365 Illustrated Meditations
by Mike Medaglia
SelfMadeHero
£12.99

The publisher says:
One Year Wiser is a book of 365 inspiring meditations. On every page are words of wisdom from thinkers both ancient and modern, from the Buddha to Abraham Lincoln to Anne Frank. Brought to life by Mike Medaglia’s stunning Japanese- and Chinese-influenced artwork, the spiritual teachings that fill this book will inspire readers to make mindfulness a daily habit. Drawn in an accessible, contemporary style, One Year Wiser provides a visual guide to the spiritual teachings of thinkers as diverse as the Dalai Lama, Virginia Woolf, Albert Einstein, Seneca, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Marcus Aurelius, and Mark Twain. 192pgs colour hardcover.


Perfume Of Lilacs
by Samuel LeBlanc
Soaring Penguin Press
$25.99

The publisher says:
Summer 1996, Nicolas is staying with his Aunt Rose, who is in mourning. To pass the time, Nicholas helps her look after her garden and discovers a passion for botany. Like the majority of teenagers, he is searching for his identity and asks her many questions. But Nicolas has quite a way to go before he realises the extent that this summer will have changed him. With Perfume of Lilies, readers are submerged into the mind of a teenager in the full throes of puberty and his emerging sexuality. Sometimes shocking, this thoughtful book questions the taboos of our society. 128pgs B&W paperback.


Sky In Stereo
by Mardou
Revival House / Alternative Comics
$17.95

The publisher says:
Iris, a young woman turning eighteen in early 1990s Manchester, England, is slowly losing her tenuous grip on her world of burger-flipping, drugs, and rock ‘n roll. After quitting her job at a clothes shop, Iris takes a position at a burger bar at the train station, where her crush on fellow burger-flipper Glen takes her down a dark path. A Revival House Press production in association with Alternative Comics. Mardou is from Manchester, England and now lives in St Louis, Missouri. She has been making mini-comics since 2001, and was a founder of the all-girl comic Whores of Mensa. Mardou contributed art to the 2015 film The Missing Girl. 180pgs B&W paperback.

 


The Abaddon
by Koren Shadmi
Z2 Comics
$24.99

The publisher says:
A young man finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill matched roommates. He quickly discovers that his new home doesn’t adhere to any rational laws of nature, and poses a strange enigma - a puzzle he needs to solve in order to escape. It’s no help that both him and his roommates are missing crucial parts of their memories and identities; he must try and gather the missing pieces as he struggles to find a way out. This existential mystery, loosely based on Jean Paul Sartre’s play “No Exit”, lures you, the reader, into a horror house of lust, angst, and madness; As you venture deeper and deeper into the darkest recess of The Abaddon, you will begin to wonder if you’ll ever see the light of day again. 240pgs colour hardcover.

 


The Arab Of The Future
by Riad Sattouf
Metropolitan Books
$26.00

The publisher says:
The Arab of the Future, the #1 French best-seller, tells the unforgettable story of Riad Sattouf’s childhood, spent in the shadows of 3 dictators—Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad, and his father. In striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria, but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation. Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents; his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner. And hold they do, though food is scarce, children kill dogs for sport, and with locks banned, the Sattoufs come home one day to discover another family occupying their apartment. The ultimate outsider, Riad, with his flowing blond hair, is called the ultimate insult… Jewish. And in no time at all, his father has come up with yet another grand plan, moving from building a new people to building his own great palace. Brimming with life and dark humour, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis. 160pgs part-colour paperback.

 


The Inflatable Woman
by Rachael Ball
Bloomsbury
£18.99

The publisher says:
Iris (or balletgirl-42 as she’s known on the internet dating circuit) is a zookeeper looking for love when she is diagnosed with breast cancer. Overnight, her life becomes populated with a carnival of daunting hospital characters. Despite the attempts of her friends - Maud, Granma Suggs, Larry the Monkey and a group of singing penguins - to comfort her, Iris’s fears begin to encircle her until all she has to cling to is the attention of a lighthouse keeper called ‘sailor_buoy_39’. The Inflatable Woman combines magic realism with the grit of everyday life to create a poignant and surreal journey inside the human psyche. 544pgs B&W hardcover.

 


The Red Shoes
by Metaphrog
Papercutz
$12.99

The publisher says:
As the child of peasants, Karen grew up with a pair of simple red shoes. Then, when her parents died, Karen was adopted by a rich old woman who gave Karen a new pair of red shoes that would make princesses green with envy. This newfound wealth causes Karen to forget her humble origins and grow up to become a cruel and vain adult. Then, one day, the red shoes that sparked her greed come to life and steer Karen down a path she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams. This volume also includes Metaphrog’s adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Little Match Girl and a tale of their own invention, The Glass Case. 64pgs colour hardcover.



The Troll
by Martin Fink
Accent UK
$4.95

The publisher says:
The Troll is by Danish artist and storyteller, Martin Flink, the author of Accent UK’s Man Of Glass. The silent, all-ages, colour comic is co-written by Martin’s young son Malthe, who inspired the story following an explanation of his walk through the Danish forest. Readers can share Malthe’s journey and decide for themselves whether it is a true story or simply a product of a child’s colourful imagination. 48pgs colour paperback.



Uptight
by Jordan Crane
Fantagraphics
$16.99

The publisher says:
A disappearing girlfriend and an outer space repairman populate this solo cartoonist anthology, drawn in a way the evokes mid-century Modern design movements such as Bauhaus, Constructivism, and neoplasticism. In this volume, Jordan Crane draws us in with two gripping and wrenching stories, one of the mundane, and the other of the fantastic. First, there is “Keeping Two.” William’s girlfriend goes missing during a trip to the supermarket, and he must look down the long dark narrow tunnel that his life will become without her. He is reading a book, but the book doesn’t help, and indeed feeds his anxieties, rendering his loss in starkly contrasting lines. The second story, “Discovering the Dark,” is 26 pages and drawn with two colors. Akihiro Akaike is employed as a repairman aboard an asteroid mining ship in the year 2033. In his spare time, he is an amateur astrophysicist, and a discovery he makes drives him steal supplies and a company ship in order to make a clandestine 7-month voyage. However, when the mining operation discovers his plans, he is forced into a rapidly deteriorating set of probabilities. 104pgs part-colour paperback.



Winners
by Anna Ehrlemark
Alternative Comics
$14.95

The publisher says:
128 pages of stories about family, nostalgia, chance, witchcraft, sex, abstinence, economy, and revenge. Science fiction in a future that is already old, a dangerous place where winners lose and losers win. Anna comics are inspired by life during wartime, but they are never specifically political. Instead she distills the psyche of a post-apocalyptic culture into jet-black, surreal allegories. Swedish artist Anna Ehrlemark is well known in Eastern Europe for her unconventional, twisted narratives and her striking visual style. Her comics explore feminist, queer, anti-capitalist themes and she has been published by the Balkan collectives Stripburger, Fijuk, and Komikaze. 128pgs B&W paperback.

Posted: August 17, 2015

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