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Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels:

November 2015

Where will your next graphic novel take you? To a biography of Rosa Luxemburg or Adolf Hitler? To real lives in Lima, Toronto or Istanbul? To a white boy in America’s Old West, a beautiful girl in a Mexican jail, or a dinosaur stepping into New York’s Holland Tunnel? To the farthest-out extremes of the cosmos or the final frontiers on your very doorstep?  Are you ready for graphic novels with no nostalgia, no loyalties, no limits? Step outside your comfort zone while staying in your comfy chair.



Alternative Comics Are Dead
by various artists
Alternative Comics
$24.95

The publisher says:
Alternative Comics’s flagship comics anthology returns. Features new original comics from a range of young artists: Sophia Foster-Dimino, Sam Alden, Anders Nilsen, Jess Johnsin, Elaine Will, John Porcellino, Sam Spina, Jeffrey Brown, Pat Aulisio, Leslie Stein, Patrick Kyle, Noah Van Sciver, Lauren Weinstein, Sean Ford, Anuj Shrestha, Malachi Ward, Conor Stechschulte, Joseph Remnant, Charles Forsman, Heidi Myers, Box Brown, Jim Campbell, Mickey Zacchilli, Jed Collins, Lane Milburn, Marc Bell, Melissa Mendes, Ron Regé Jr., Matthew Thurber, Matt Seneca, Dan Zettowoch, Anya Davidson, and Simon Hanselmann. Cover art by Hellen Jo. 200pgs B&W paperback.


City Of Clowns
by Daniel Alarcón & Sheila Alvarado
Riverhead
$27.95

The publisher says:
A gorgeously rendered graphic novel of Daniel Alarcón’s story City of Clowns. Oscar “Chino” Uribe is a young Peruvian journalist for a local tabloid paper. After the recent death of his philandering father, he must confront the idea of his father’s other family, and how much of his own identity has been shaped by his father’s murky morals. At the same time, he begins to chronicle the life of street clowns, sad characters who populate the violent and corrupt city streets of Lima, and is drawn into their haunting, fantastical world. This remarkably affecting story by Daniel Alarcón was included in his acclaimed first book, War by Candlelight, and now, in collaboration with artist Sheila Alvarado, it takes on a new, thrilling form. This graphic novel, with its short punches of action and images, its stark contrasts between light and dark, truth and fiction, perfectly corresponds to the tone of Chino’s story. With the city of Lima as a character, and the bold visual language from the story, City of Clowns is moving, menacing, and brilliantly vivid. 144pgs B&W hardcover.



Dare To Disappoint: Growing Up In Turkey
by Ozge Samanci
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
$16.99

The publisher says:
Growing up on the Aegean Coast, Ozge loved the sea and imagined a life of adventure while her parents and society demanded predictability. Her dad expected Ozge, like her sister, to become an engineer. She tried to hear her own voice over his and the religious and militaristic tensions of Turkey and the conflicts between secularism and fundamentalism. Could she be a scuba diver like Jacques Cousteau? A stage actress? Would it be possible to please everyone including herself? In her unpredictable and funny graphic memoir, Ozge recounts her story using inventive collages, weaving together images of the sea, politics, science, and friendship 200pgs colour paperback.


Die Wergelder Vol. 1
by Hiroaki Samura
Kodansha
$19.99

The publisher says:
An exquisitely drawn tale of vengeance, blood and sex for the creator of the classic samurai comic Blade Of The Immortal. A mysterious murder takes place in a shopping arcade in China, while in Japan a yakuza gang discovers a large amount of money is missing. These volatile ingredients will combine to set off an explosion of violence on a remote island, which will eventually grow to consume more and more lives across the world! Fans of the classic kung-fu and exploitation films of the ‘70s will find plenty of kick-ass action to love in Die Wergelder. 400pgs B&W paperback.



Dinomania: The Lost Art of Winsor McCay: The Secret Origins Of King Kong, And The Urge To Destroy New York
by Ulrich Merkl
Fantagraphics
$95.00

The publisher says:
This is a deluxe, oversize collection of Winsor McCay’s “lost” comic strip. Winsor McCay, the creator of Little Nemo in Slumberland, is internationally renowned as a pioneer in comics and animation. But author Ulrich Merkl’s dedicated sleuthing has unearthed a never-published strip by McCay that was lost following the artist’s untimely death. Titled simply Dino, it opens a surprising new window into McCay’s life and work and showcases his exquisitely beautiful and delicate delineations (exactingly reproduced from the original art). Merkl explores the influences McCay brought to the strip―including McCay’s own Gertie the Dinosaur animated shorts, the animation in 1933’s King Kong, and the growth of New York City from the Holland Tunnel to the Empire State Building ―and traces our love of dinosaurs and monster movies down through the decades. Breathtakingly designed, each page of this deluxe oversize volume is overflowing with amazing imagery, with more than 650 photographs and illustrations (more than 250 in color) ― most of them seen here for the first time in a century. An essential volume for everyone interested in the development of the comic strip ― and our never-ending fascination with dinosaurs. Full-color illustrations throughout. 296pgs colour hardcover.



Filmish: A Graphic Journey Through Film
by Edward Ross
SelfMadeHero
$24.95

The publisher says:
Cartoonist Edward Ross uses comics to illuminate the ideas behind our favorite movies. In Filmish, Ross’s cartoon alter ego guides readers through the annals of cinematic history, introducing some of the strange and fascinating concepts at work in the movies. Each chapter focuses on a particular theme—the body, architecture, language—and explores an eclectic mix of cinematic triumphs, from A Trip to the Moon to Top Gun. Like other bestselling nonfiction graphic novels such as Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, Filmish tackles serious issues—sexuality, race, censorship, propaganda—with authority and wit, throwing new light on some of the greatest films ever made. 192pgs B&W paperback.


Girl Crazy
by Gilbert Hernandez
Dark Horse
$17.99

The publisher says:
Kitten, Maribel, and Gaby are three very different childhood friends about to celebrate their sixteenth birthdays, which all happen to fall on the same day. But someone’s missing—their fourth friend, Una, who’s imprisoned in Tijuana. So the trio set out to give Una the ultimate birthday gift—freedom—even if it means taking on an entire city! Prepare yourself for some sweet sixteen super-action, madcap plot twists, identity crises aplenty, and—of course—gorgeous girls galore. You’ll go crazy over this lighthearted, rowdy, and sexy romp from Pen Center USA Award winner Gilbert Hernandez. 88pgs B&W hardcover.



Necessary Monsters Vol. 1
by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey & Sean Azzopardi
Devil’s Due / 1First Comics, LLC
$12.95

The publisher says:
There exists a world of horrors beneath the one we know, where the creatures of our nightmares stalk amongst humanity. The Chain polices this world, a covert agency of killer monsters keeping the human herd from growing too thin. Introduction by Kieron Gillen. 134pgs B&W paperback.



Our Expanding Universe
by Alex Robinson
Top Shelf Productions
$19.99

The publisher says:
Alex Robinson returns with a “spiritual sequel” to his Eisner-winning debut Box Office Poison. It’s been fifteen years since the young cast of that beloved drama has graced the stage. Now, Our Expanding Universe introduces another Robinson ensemble to explore how time can transform a group of friends. Marriage, children, affairs, divorce… and that’s just the beginning. 256pgs B&W paperback.



Puke Force
by Brian Chippendale
Drawn & Quarterly
$22.95

The publisher says:
Puke Force is social satire written dark and dense across Brian Chippendale’s deconstructed multiverse of walking, talking M&Ms, hamsters, and cycloptic-yet-glamorous trivia hosts. In scathingly funny single-page strips that build and build, he takes on social media narcissism, governmental propaganda, racism, the hypocrisies of the left, and a culture of violence. A bomb explodes in a coffee shop: the incident is played out over and over again from the perspective of each table in the shop, revisiting moments from ten and twenty years before. We see the inevitable as the characters bicker or celebrate, unaware of what’s coming. Throughout this dystopic graphic novel, Chippendale uses humor and a frantic drawing style to show how the insidious nature of corporate greed and the commodification of everything have warped society into a killing machine. Sardonic and self-aware, Puke Force asks all the right questions, providing a startling and on-point take on contemporary social issues. Chippendale’s artwork makes each panel a masterpiece of thrumming linework and lo-fi magic, as his storytelling wends and winds its way to a fascinating conclusion. 120pgs B&W hardcover


Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography Of Rosa Luxemburg
by Kate Evans
Verso
$16.95

The publisher says:
A graphic novel of the dramatic life and death of German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. A giant of the political left, Rosa Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. To Marx’s biographer Franz Mehring, no one came as close to the towering intellect of Marx himself. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity and the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive and creative life – her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, and her love of science, nature and art. Always opposed to the First World War, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of nationalism, she was imprisoned and murdered in 1919 fighting for a revolution she knew to be doomed. Red Rosa gives Luxemburg her due as a radical and human being. In this beautifully drawn work of graphic biography, writer and artist Kate Evans has opened up her subject’s intellectual world to a new audience, grounding Luxemburg’s ideas in the realities of an inspirational and deeply affecting life. 144pgs B&W paperback.



Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler
by Shigeru Mizukii
Drawn & Quarterly
$24.95

The publisher says:
A master cartoonist and veteran tells the life story of the man who started the Second World War. Seventy years after his death, Adolf Hitler remains a mystery. Historians, military tacticians, and psychologists have tried in vain to unravel his complex motivations for leading Germany into the Holocaust and World War II. With Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler, the manga-ka (Kitaro, NonNonba, Showa: A History of Japan) delves deep into the history books to create an absorbing and eloquent portrait of Hitler’s life. Beginning with Hitler’s time in Austria as a starving art student and ending with a Germany in ruins, Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler retraces the path Hitler took in life, coolly examining his charismatic appeal and his calculated political maneuvering. The Munich Beer Putsch, Hitler’s ascent to chancellor, the sudden death of his half-niece Geli, the Battle of Stalingrad, his relationship with Eva Braun, and his eventual demise: all are given equal attention in this thorough and compelling biography. In Mizuki’s signature style, which populates incredibly realistic backgrounds with cartoony people, Japan’s most famous living cartoonist has created an overview of Hitler’s life that is as fascinating as it is informative. 296pgs B&W paperback.


Snow
by Benjamin Rivers
Benjamin Rivers Inc.
$12.00

The publisher says:
Snow is A Joe Shuster Award-nominated graphic novel about Dana, a serious young twenty-something dealing with serious changes in ger downtown Toronto neighbourhood. Its clean, black-and-white art highlights the book’s dramatic story of personal growth and change, as Dana deals with both losing her job and her obsession with a local tragedy. This complete edition includes a glossy insert featuring stills from the prize-winning film adaptation, as well as bonus content to invite readers further into the (real life) world of Snow. 174pgs B&W paperback.



Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign To Understand My WWII Veteran Father: A Daughter’s Memoir
by Carol Tyler
Fantagraphics
$39.99

The publisher says:
In this multigenerational graphic memoir, underground cartoonist Carol Tyler examines how WWII traumatised the Greatest Generation and those that followed. In the wake of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Art Spiegelman’s Maus comes cartoonist Carol Tyler’s multigenerational graphic memoir, Soldier’s Heart. The author chronicles her fraught relationship with her father, Charles, a WWII veteran, and how the war affected their lives through both childhood and adulthood. Soldier’s Heart is also a tribute to servicemen and women, dramatising the trauma of the war on the Greatest Generation and those who followed. Tyler’s ink and watercolor narrative is in turns sprawling and gimlet-eyed: compassionate and enraged. Her father’s memories are woven into her own, which span her Catholic, Midwestern childhood; her troubled marriage; her daughter’s struggles; and her efforts to care for her aging parents. Even though Tyler’s work has an accessible, homemade feel (the organizing metaphor of the book is a photo album with “snapshots” of Tyler family life), Soldier’s Heart is a sophisticated graphic work about war, love, and loss. This complete, retooled, reformatted version of all three You’ll Never Know volumes in one big book comes with 50 additional new pages. 364pgs colour hardcover.



Space Riders
by Fabian Rangel & Alexis Ziritt
Black Mask Comics
$12.99

The publisher says:
From the galactic core to the outer quadrants, one name strikes terror in the hearts of evil beings everywhere: The Space Riders. Sailing the cosmos in the Skullship Santa Muerte, Capitan Peligro and his fearless crew deal harsh justice to the scum of the galaxy while searching for the hidden truths of the universe. Collecting the four sold out issues of the psychedelic revenge tale from the minds of Alexis Ziritt and Fabian Rangel, Jr. 96pgs colour paperback.



Take It As A Compliment
by Maria Stoian
Jessica Kingsley Publishers/Singing Dragon
£14.99

The publisher says:
‘I was fifteen.’ ‘I never saw him again.’ ‘They chanted after me, ‘Oscar the Grouch, Oscar the Grouch.’ Bringing together the voices of males and females of all ages, the stories in this collective graphic memoir reflect real-life experiences of sexual abuse, violence and harassment. Each experience is brought to life by Maria Stoian’s exceptional artwork. Her unique and varied styles powerfully reflect the tone and mood of the different stories and in just a few pages express the complex emotions felt by victims of sexual abuse. Covering acts such as sexual violence, public sexual harassment, domestic abuse and child abuse, this is a reminder for survivors that they are not alone and a call for all of us to take action. The stories clearly show that assault of any type is not an honour bestowed on anyone. It is not a compliment. 96pgs colour hardcover.


Trashed
by Derf Backderf
Abrams ComicArts
$24.95 / $19.95

The publisher says:
Every week we pile our garbage on the curb and it disappears—like magic! The reality is anything but, of course. Trashed, Derf Backderf’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed, award-winning international bestseller My Friend Dahmer, is an ode to the crap job of all crap jobs—garbage collector. Anyone who has ever been trapped in a soul-sucking gig will relate to this tale. Trashed follows the raucous escapades of three 20-something friends as they clean the streets of pile after pile of stinking garbage, while battling annoying small-town bureaucrats, bizarre townfolk, sweltering summer heat, and frigid winter storms. Trashed is fiction, but is inspired by Derf’s own experiences as a garbage­man. Interspersed are nonfiction pages that detail what our garbage is and where it goes. The answers will stun you. Hop on the garbage truck named Betty and ride along with Derf on a journey into the vast, secret world of garbage. Trashed is a hilarious, stomach-churning tale that will leave you laughing and wincing in disbelief. 256pgs B&W hardcover / paperback.



Will Eisner: Champion Of The Graphic Novel
by Paul Levitz
Abrams ComicArts
$40.00

The publisher says:
Will Eisner (1917–2005) is universally considered the master of comics storytelling, best known for The Spirit, his iconic newspaper comic strip, and A Contract With God, the first significant graphic novel. This seminal work from 1978 ushered in a new era of personal stories in comics form that touched every adult topic from mortality to religion and sexuality, forever changing the way writers and artists approached comics storytelling. Noted historian Paul Levitz celebrates Eisner by showcasing his most famous work along­side unpublished and rare materials from the family archives. Also included are original interviews with creators such as Jules Feiffer, Art Spiegelman, Scott McCloud, Jeff Smith, Denis Kitchen, and Neil Gaiman—all of whom knew Eisner and were inspired by his work to create their own graphic novels for a new generation of readers. 224pgs colour hardcover.


White Boy In Skull Valley: The Complete Sunday Comics 1933-1936
by Garrett Price
Sunday Press Books
$75.00

The publisher says:
From famed New Yorker illustrator Garrett Price comes one of the lost treasures of American Comic Strips. White Boy celebrates the life and culture of the American Indian of the Old West unique in popular culture; an adventurous, humorous, coming-of-age story seen from the point of view of a small Native American tribe and their adopted teenage boy. Here is the complete White Boy in Skull Valley saga, seen for the first time in 80 years. It remains one of the more remarkable achievements in comics, with pioneering storytelling and artistic creativity that stands the test of time.  168pgs colour hardcover.



Zap Comix #16
by R. Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, Robert Williams, Rick Griffin, Gilbert Shelton, Victor Moscoso, Paul Mavrides & S. Clay Wilson
Fantagraphics
$14.99

The publisher says:
The final issue of the the most important comic book series of all time, previously only available in a limited/collector’s edition. This blowout issue not only includes work by all eight Zap artists (plus a collaboration with cartoonist Aline Kominsky), but also three double-page jams by the group. Plus: Zap’s first-and-only color section, featuring comics by R. Crumb and Gilbert Shelton (his final Zap Wonder Wart-hog episode, no less). Paul Mavrides provides an alternately embellished version of Gilbert Shelton’s and his Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers episode, “Phineas Becomes a Suicide Bomber” (originally inked in the Complete Zap by Shelton). Front cover by R. Crumb. Back cover by Moscoso. 80pgs part-colour paperback.

Posted: September 1, 2015

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