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Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels:

September 2014

What wonderful comics are you looking forward to reading this September as the autumn approaches? Here are September’s sizzlers selected by me. You’ll notice that the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War continues to cast a long shadow over current and forthcoming releases, while several other new titles take other slices of history from the Middle East Crisis to America’s Dust Bowl, from beer to the Borgias. As I start gleaning my recommendations each month, I always wonder if I’ll be disappointed and find very little to choose, but as the range here demonstrates, the 9th Art never fails to inspire and excite me and I hope it does for you as well.

Above The Dreamless Dead
edited by Chris Duffy, adapted by various artists
First Second

The publisher says:
As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade. The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today. With New York Times bestselling editor Chris Duffy (Nursery Rhyme Comics, Fairy Tale Comics) at the helm, Above the Dreamless Dead is a moving and illuminating tribute to those who fought and died in World War I. Twenty poems are interpreted in comics form by twenty of today’s leading cartoonists, including: Hannah Berry, Stephen R. Bissette, Eddie Campbell, Lilli Carré, Liesbeth De Stercke, Hunt Emerson, Garth Ennis, Simon Gane, Sarah Glidden, Isabel Greenberg, Sammy Harkham, David Hitchcock, Kevin Huizenga, Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen, Peter Kuper, James Lloyd, Pat Mills, Anders Nilsen, Danica Novgorodoff, Luke Pearson, George Pratt, Carol Tyler and Phil Winslade. 144pgs colour paperback. Samples and previews here…

Adrian And The Tree Of Secrets
by Hubert & Marie Caillou
Arsenal Pulp Press

The publisher says:
Adrian isn’t very happy these days. He lives in a small town and goes to a Catholic high school. He wears glasses, secretly reads philosophy books, and wishes he had more muscles. He’s dogged by a strict mother, bullied by fellow players on the soccer field, and chastised by the school principal, who considers gay rumours about Adrian as a sign that he is “ill.” But Jeremy, the coolest kid at school, thinks otherwise; he takes Adrian on scooter trips, where they end up in Jeremy’s secret treehouse stealing kisses. Adrian finds himself falling in love, until Jeremy’s girlfriend rats them out, sending Jeremy into a tailspin of embarrassment for being different than the rest. What will become of him? Adrian and the Tree of Secrets is a poignant, beautifully illustrated graphic novel about first love, growing up, and having the courage to be true to yourself. 128pgs paperback. Read a PDF excerpt here…

Angie Bongiolatti
by Mike Dawson
Secret Acres

The publisher says:
Angie Bongiolatti is a 20-something political activist with the International Socialist Organisation. Her day-job is at Global Learning Systems, an internet company looking to develop online college courses. The year is 2002, and a large public protest against the World Economic Forum holding it’s conference in New York City is about to take place. The terrorist attacks of September 11th are only a few months in the past. This is the story of Angie and a disparate group of her friends and acquaintances, all linked through our eponymous heroine. People from Angie’s past and present are brought out to the rally, each for reasons of their own. Some have a genuine enthusiasm for social activism, others have ulterior motives. Throughout the story each character has their political outlooks questioned and challenged. 240pgs B&W paperback. Read a review at Paste Magazine with extracts here…

Annihilator #1
by Grant Morrison & Frazer Irving
Legendary Comics

The publisher says:
Legendary Comics proudly presents Annihilator, an original graphic novel odyssey from the extraordinary mind of Grant Morrison, brought to life with stunning artwork from Frazer Irving. Washed-up Hollywood screenwriter Ray Spass is caught in a downward spiral of broken relationships, wild parties and self-destruction. Out of luck and out of chances, he’s one failed script away from fading into obscurity. Little does he know he’s about to write the story of his life. As his imagination runs rampant, Ray must join forces with his own fictional character Max Nomax on a reality-bending race to stop the entire universe from imploding - without blowing his own mind in the process. 32pgs colour comic book See sample pages and synopsis here…

Baby Bjornstrand
by Renee French
Koyama Press

The publisher says:
Baby Bjornstrand tells the tale of Mickey, Marcel, and Cyril and their misadventures with an undeniably adorable and mysteriously menacing monster. A wasteland becomes fertile ground for fantasy as the book’s graphite grotesqueries are brought to life by Renee French’s adroit hand; her elegant shading seemingly wringing her wondrous worlds out of the page itself. Renee French has been making comics that revel in the killer side of cute and the horrors that lie within and without since the early ‘90s. Her past work includes The Ticking (Top Shelf Productions, 2006), Micrographica (Top Shelf Productions, 2007), H Day (PictureBox, 2010), and Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat (Yam Books, 2013). 132pgs colour paperback. Read the original online version here…

Barbarella: Super Oversized Deluxe Edition
by Jean-Claude Forest
$79.95 / £49.99

The publisher says:
When space outlaw Barbarella’s spaceship breaks down, she finds herself trapped on the planet, Lythion. There, she has a series of adventurous, and erotic, encounters with a variety of beings, from robots to angels. In 1962, Barbarella predicted the sexual revolution as the original ‘erotic comic book’ and was the first truly emancipated female comic book character. Now, this long-lost classic is once again available to a brand new generation, and told in a wholly distinctive contemporary voice. Though sourced from the same material, these comics are not to be confused with the Jane Fonda movie of the same name. Humanoids’ new limited-edition, oversized printing of Barbarella is being adapted from Jean-Claude Forest’s original Sixties French comics by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose recent work includes Captain Marvel  and Avengers Assemble at Marvel as well as Pretty Deadly  with Image Comics. “We’re really excited about it,” said Jo Witherington from Humanioids. “We’re doing it with the original art and the story will be closer [than the movie] to the original French story with her updating things and making changes that only Kelly Sue could do because she’s such a talented writer.” Paul Gravett provides an introduction. 72pgs oversized hardcover.

Battling Boy: The Rise Of Aurora West
by Paul Pope, JT Petty & David Rubin
First Second

The publisher says:
The extraordinary world introduced in Paul Pope’s Battling Boy is rife with monsters and short on heroes… but in this action-driven extension of the Battling Boy universe, we see it through a new pair of eyes: Aurora West, daughter of Arcopolis’s last great hero, Haggard West. A prequel to Battling Boy, The Rise of Aurora West follows the young hero as she seeks to uncover the mystery of her mother’s death, and to find her place in a world overrun with supernatural monsters and all-too-human corruption. With a taut, fast-paced script from Paul Pope and JT Petty and gorgeous, kinetic art from David Rubin, The Rise of Aurora West (the first of two volumes) is a tour de force in comics storytelling. First Second serve up some tasters here…

by Hubert & Kerascoët

The publisher says:
When the repulsively ugly Coddie unintentionally saves a fairy from a spell, she does not understand the poisonous nature of the wish granted her by the fairy. The village folk no longer see her as repulsive and stinking of fish—they now perceive her as magnetically beautiful—which does not help her in her village. A young local lord saves her, but it soon becomes apparent that Coddie’s destiny may be far greater than anyone ever imagined. Caustic and flamboyant, this fairy tale offers grownups an engrossing take on the nature of beauty. 144pgs hardcover Télérama offer some pages in French here…

Best of Enemies: 1953-1984
by David B. & Jean-Pierre Filiu

The publisher says:
The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.‘s acclaimed history of US-Middle East relations documents a period of dramatic conflict and change, beginning in the 1950s and ending with the Lebanese War of 1982. The Blitzkrieg of the Six-Day War saw the Jewish state triple in size. In less than a week, the Middle East was transformed: Israel had taken the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria. It was a conflict that began an era of U.S.-led intervention in the Middle East, which continued in the lead-up to the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The demise of the Shah, and the ascent of Ayatollah Khomeini, stoked anti-American sentiment in the country, and the U.S. became known as “The Great Satan’. When Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, the CIA began a proxy war by supporting anti-soviet Muslim forces, among them a young Saudi, Osama Bin Laden. Best of Enemies, Vol. 2 is a perceptive and authoritative account of a turbulent historical period. Intelligent, accessible and beautifully drawn, it brings to life a period of history that is of great relevance to international relations today. 112pgs colour hardcover.

Beyond The Wire
by Alys Jones
Atlantic Press

The publisher says:
...and when we lost them, not one by one but in the dozens, I would say: “not to worry lads, I’ll write us some replacements.”’ Alys Jones has authored a meta-fiction based on the First World War, a visual conversation with the poets and our collective historical knowledge of the years 1914-1918. Boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred. The content is heightened and redirected by the form of the pages, cut away as if explosions have torn the fabric of the narrative, revealing new image combinations, and generating new meaning. The book serves as a purgatory, a narrative no-man’s land for the characters, who inhabit a fictional narrative outside of ‘real time’. Alys shows you inside her book and process here…

Pat Mills, author of Charley’s War, says:
A brilliant recreation of scenes from the Great War. Powerful, moving and critical. We need more like this in these dark modern times where the response to today’s conflicts is invariably apathy or neo-jingoism.

Bumf #1
by Joe Sacco

The publisher says:
This is a collection of all-new satirical short comics by Joe Sacco (Palestine, Footnotes in Gaza). In the vein of the old underground comix like ZAP or Weirdo, author Joe Sacco promises that “BUMF will go where it needs to go, and do what it needs to do.” Though world-famous for his serious, journalistic books like Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, and Footnotes in Gaza, Bumf promises to echo back to Sacco’s earlier days as a satirist and underground cartoonist. Bumf is a project that Sacco has been working on in between larger projects like Footnotes in Gaza, indulging his love of satire and cartooning. Often puerile, disgusting, and beyond redemption, Sacco apologized in advance, saying he couldn’t help himself. “They expect better things from me. They’ll never put me on a stamp now.” 120pgs B&W paperback

by Gilbert Hernandez
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
A fascinatingly disjointed tale of drugs, rock and roll, and adolescence from a legendary cartoonist. The Love and Rockets author, Gilbert Hernandez, returns with Bumperhead, a companion book to Marble Season. Whereas Marble Season explored the exuberant and occasionally troubled existence of the wide-eyed preteen Huey, Bumperhead zeroes in on disaffected teenhood with its protagonist, Bobby. Bumperhead follows Bobby, a young slacker who narrates his life as it happens but offers very little reflection on the events that transpire. He lives in the moment exclusively and is incapable of seeing the world outside of his experiences. He comes of age in the 1970s, making a rapid progression through that era’s different subcultures and in a short period of time segues from a stoner glam rocker to a drunk rocker to a speed-freak punk. He drifts in and out of relationships with friends, both male and female. Life zooms past him. Hernandez’s approach captures the numbness and raw undirected anger and passion of a young man who waits for life to happen to him, not noticing all the while that it is happening. Subtle and thought-provoking, Bumperhead is a fascinating read. 128pgs B&W hardcover. The Beat leaks neat sneak peeks…

Colonial Comics: New England 1620-1750
edited by Jason Rodriguez, with A. David Lewis, J.T. Waldman & various artists
Fulcrum Publishing

The publisher says:
Colonial Comics is a graphic novel collection of twenty stories focusing on the colonial period from 1620 through 1750 in New England. Created in partnership with the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Concord Museum, these illustrated stories focus on tales you cannot find in history books. Includes stories about free thinkers, Pequots, Jewish settlers, female business owners and dedicated school teachers, whales and livestock, slavery and frontiers, and many other aspects of colonial life. 256pgs colour paperback. Assorted previews and promotions on the dedicated site here…

by Dash Shaw

The publisher says:
Doctors enter your afterlife to bring you back from the dead. This new graphic novel from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button) is his most taut book to date. Dr. Cho is the creator of the Charon, a device that allows his staff to take the form of a memory in a dead patients’ consciousnesses, and bring them back to life, with one catch: the experience is traumatic and the process kills them again soon thereafter. But for some bereaved, the opportunity is priceless. So when Bell is killed in a random accident, her daughter hires Dr. Cho’s team to bring her back. But what if Bell didn’t want to come back? The dying unconsciously create the afterlife they want, or feel they deserve, in their minds before everything fades to black. Isn’t that better than the reality, and no less meaningful than life itself? Can unconsciousness coexist with consciousness? Doctors is part science-fiction thriller, part family drama, part morality play for the 21st century, and quite possibly Shaw’s best book to date. 96pgs colour paperback.

by Tony Sandoval
Magnetic Press

The publisher says:
A lonely, metal-obsessed teen sends a heartfelt song to his missing beloved, only to find out that his music has traveled to the beyond, and re-broadcast to the entire city. Only his best friend knows that he is really the mysterious rock god and anonymous legend known as “Doomboy.” 128pgs colour hardcover. Magnetic Press attractions include some preview pages and a trailer…

El Deafo
by Cece Bell
Amulet Books
$10.95 / $21.95

The publisher says:
Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for. 248pgs hardcover. Watch Cece Bell’s promo video here…

(In A Sense) Lost And Found
by Roman Muradov
Nobrow Press

The publisher says:
The first graphic novel by rising star Roman Muradov explores the theme of innocence by treating it as a tangible object—something that can be used, lost, mistreated. Roman Muradov’s crisp delicate style conjures a world of strange bookstores and absurd conspiracies. Roman Muradov was born in Moscow, Russia. He now resides in San Francisco, California. 56pgs colour hardcover.

by Simon Hanselmann

The publisher says:
This is a stoner-comedy webcomic collection; it’s about a witch, her cat and an owl.
Megg is a depressed, drug-addicted witch. Mogg is her black cat. Their friend, Owl, is an anthropomorphised owl. They hang out a lot with Werewolf Jones. This may sound like a pure stoner comedy, but it transcends the genre: these characters struggle unsuccessfully to come to grips with their depression, drug use, sexuality, poverty, lack of work, lack of ambition, and their complex feelings about each other in ways that have made Megg and Mogg sensations on Hanselmann’s GirlMountain tumblr. This is the first collection of Hanselmann’s work, freed from its cumbersome Internet prison, and sure to be one of the most talked about graphic novels of 2014, featuring all of the “classic” Megg and Mogg episodes from the past five years as well as over 70 pages of all-new material. 200pgs colour hardcover.

by Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa

The publisher says:
A graphic novel version of the life of legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi. This is a graphic novel version of the life of Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary samurai known throughout the world as a master swordsman, spiritual seeker, and author of the classic Book of Five Rings. Acclaimed manga creator Sean Michael Wilson has created both a vivid account of a fascinating period in feudal Japan and a portrait of a courageous, iconoclastic samurai who wrestled with philosophical and spiritual ideas that are as relevant today as they were in his time. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was about mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to mastery that is the core teaching in Book of Five Rings. This graphic novel is based on The Lone Samurai, the meticulously researched biography of Musashi by William Scott Wilson, renowned translator and expert on samurai history. 176pgs B&W paperback.

by Rob Williams & D’Israeli
Titan Comics

The publisher says:
Imagine a world where everyone has superpowers. That is, except you. You are the same old turgid, miserable, lonely loser you’ve always been. But when it comes to superpowers, apparently you can indeed have too much of a good thing. With everyone able to destroy tower blocks with a single punch, any minor fracas escalates into a city-leveling combat, and the world is now in ruins as terrorism and war threaten the very survival of the planet. What’s needed is a return to normality, to devolve back from Superhuman to just human - and there’s only one man for the job: down-at-heal, divorced New York plumber, Michael Fisher. 120pgs colour hardcover

Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be!
by Michael Alexander Kahn, Richard Samuel West, Joseph Keppler & various artists

The publisher says:
A lavish coffee table book devoted to the most important political satire and cartoon magazine in American history. Published from 1877 to 1918, Puck was regularly a major political battleground and is credited with single-handedly thwarting the third-term ambitions of Ulysses Grant in 1880 and electing Grover Cleveland to the presidency in 1884. Puck did it with art - lavish, colour, full-page and two-page centrespread cartoons. It was the first American magazine to publish colour lithographs on a weekly basis and, for nearly forty years, was a training ground and showcase for some of the country’s most talented cartoonists, led by its co-founder, Joseph Keppler. This retrospective contains nearly 300 full-colour plates. 328pgs colour hardcover.

Red Baron Vol. 1: The Machine Gunners’ Ball
by Pierre Veys & Carlos Puerta

The publisher says:
In the skies of France during the Great War, a red-painted fighter is chasing a British SPAD. The relentless German pilot eventually wounds his opponent mortally, and lands near the downed Briton to watch him die, confessing his delight in war and victory. Ten years earlier, a young Manfred Von Richthofen is attending a military academy in Berlin when, during an incident with classmates, he comes to realise he has an unnatural gift. 48pgs colour paperback.

Ricky Rouse Has A Gun
by Jörg Tittel & John Aggs
$24.95 /
£24.99 Hardcover

The publisher says:
Rick Rouse is a US Army deserter who, after running away to China, gets a job at Fengxian Amusement Park, a family destination heavily “inspired” by Western culture, featuring Rambi (the deer with a red headband), Ratman (the caped crusader with a rat’s tail), Bumbo (small ears, big behind) and other original characters. The park’s general manager is convinced that Rick was destined to greet Fengxian customers, dressed as none other than Ricky Rouse. But when American terrorists take the entire park hostage, only Ricky Rouse can save the day. In a furry costume. This original graphic novel is a relentless action comedy, a satire of US-China relations, a parody of Western entertainment and a curious look at China, a country that, once we look past its often outrageous infringements, is a culture ripe with innovation and a unique, courageous spirit. It is introduced by Christopher Sprigman, Professor of Law at New York University and author of The Knockoff Economy. 180pgs colour hardcover/paperback

Rover Red Charlie Vol. 1
by Garth Ennis & Michael Dispascale
Avatar Press

The publisher says:
Garth Ennis - the creator of Preacher and Crossed - delivers a story like no other, as an unlikely band of canines set out to survive in a world gone horribly mad. When a worldwide plague wipes out humanity, what happens to man’s best friend? Charlie was a helper dog and he was good at it. Now he and his friends Rover and Red must escape the bloody city and find their way in this strange, master-less new world. Rover Red Charlie Volume 1 collects issues #1-6 of the comic book series. 160pgs colour paperback. Forbidden Planet have an illustrated review of the first issue…

Satoshi Kon’s Opus
by Satoshi Kon
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Brilliant anime director Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Paranoia Agent, Tokyo Godfathers, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue) died tragically young in 2010 at the age of forty-six. But before he became a director, he was a manga artist, and Dark Horse is honoured to remember Kon with the release of Satoshi Kon’s Opus, an omnibus collection of a two-volume manga from 1996, created by Kon on the eve of his first film. Opus contains the mastery of both realism and surrealism that would make Kon famous in Perfect Blue, as a manga artist planning a shocking surprise ending to his story gets literally pulled into his own work, to face for himself what he had planned for his characters! 384pgs B&W paperback

by Michael Cho

The publisher says:
Corinna Park used to have big plans. Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. But she’s been working at the same advertising agency for the past five years and the only thing she’s written is . . . copy. Corinna knows there must be more to life, but and she faces the same question as does everyone in her generation: how to find it? Here is the brilliant debut graphic novel about a young woman’s search for happiness and self-fulfilment in the big city. 96pgs two-colour hardcover. Quill & Quire have a profile and preview page…

Sing No Evil
by JP Ahonen & KP Alare
Abrams ComicArts
$24.95 / £15.99 hardcover, $15.95 / £9.99 paperback

The publisher says:
Twenty-something guitarist Aksel stutters when he sings, and the latest reviews say he has the voice of a crow with throat plague. That’s not a compliment, even for the avant-garde music his band Perkeros plays. Aksel is having a hard time keeping the band together, stopping his girlfriend from kicking him out, and not getting eaten by his drummer (who happens to be a cranky brown bear). There are also the rival bands that Perkeros find themselves in battle with to save the city from supernatural forces set loose by ancient music. The key to it all could be in the music Aksel hears in his dreams—if it doesn’t drive him mad first. With a visual soundtrack that blasts off the page, Sing No Evil is a wild ride through otherworldly dangers and the power of pure rock’n’roll. 192pgs colour hardcover or paperback. Finnish Comics have a report on the creators’ show and visit in Brussels…

by Julie Maroh
Arsenal Pulp Press

The publisher says:
Julie Maroh burst onto the scene in 2013 with Blue Is the Warmest Colour, a tender, bittersweet graphic novel about lesbian love, in which a young woman named Clementine becomes infatuated with Emma, a girl with blue hair. The book spawned a controversial and acclaimed feature film that won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival as well as accolades for its stars Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux; the book itself is a New York Times bestseller and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Julie’s follow-up graphic novel, Skandalon, marks a startling change of pace: a fiery, intense story about the recklessness of fame. “Skandalon,” found in the Gospels, refers to a persistent trap or obstacle, such as the one that confounds the mesmerising, Jim Morrison-like lead character Tazane. He is a true rock icon: passionate, arrogant, selfish, and sometimes violent, the charismatic singer is a beacon for controversy and scandal. But the public that worships him and the media that lavishes attention on him are waiting for him to fall from grace. At times shocking, Skandalon is a powerful and relentless meditation on the high cost of fame, and the demons awaiting anyone who refuses to be wary of them. 160pgs colour paperback

Sugar Skull
by Charles Burns
Pantheon / Jonathan Cape
$19.99 / £12.99

The publisher says:
The long strange trip of Doug reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, but not before he is forced to deal with the lie he’s been telling himself since the beginning. The fragments of the past collide with the reality of the present, nightmarish dreams evolve into an even more dreadful reality, and when you finally find out where all of this has been going, and what it means . . . well. I won’t spoil it here, but it will make you go right back to page one of X’ed Out and read it all again with new eyes. Just like Doug. 80pgs colour hardcover

The Borgias
by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Milo Manara
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
When Pope Innocent VIII dies, the corrupt, licentious Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia schemes, murders, and seduces his way into becoming the new pope, immediately securing positions for his family and thereby ensuring a Borgia dynasty. With breathtakingly beautiful painted artwork by Manara, this account of Italy’s first Mafia family by Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is among comics’, and history’s sexiest, most violent, and most engaging epics. All four chapters newly translated and collected in English for the first time. Featuring an introduction by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, the complete collaboration between legends Alejandro Jodorowsky (Metabarons, The Incal, Technopriests) and Milo Manara (Click!, Indian Summer), translated by Blacksad translator Katie LaBarbera and with a preface by Jodorowsky. 176pgs colour hardcover.

The Comic Book Story Of Beer: A Chronicle of the World’s Favorite Beverage from 7000 Bc to Today’s Craft Brewing Revolution
by Jonathan Hennessey, Mike Smith & Aaron McConnell
Ten Speed Press
$19.99 / £14.99

The publisher says:
A full-color, lushly illustrated graphic novel that recounts the many-layered past and present of beer through dynamic pairings of pictures and meticulously researched insight into the history of the world’s favorite brew. Starting from about 7,000 BC, The Comic Book Story of Beer traces beer’s influence through world history, encapsulating early man’s experiments with fermentation, the rise and fall of Ancient Rome, the (often beer-related) factors that led Europe out of the Dark Ages, the Age of Exploration, the spread of capitalism, the Reformation, and on up to the contemporary explosion of craft brewing. No book has ever told the story of beer in a graphic format as a liberating or emancipating force that improved the life of everyday people. Visually riffing on abstract subjects like pasteurization, “original gravity,” and “lagering,” artist Aaron McConnell has a flair for cinematic action and demonstrates versatility in depicting characters and episodes from beer’s rich history. Hand-drawn in a classic, accessible style, The Comic Book Story of Beer makes a great gift, and will appeal to the most avid comic book geek and those who live for beer. 160pgs paperback

The Hospital Suite
by John Porcellino
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
Poetic musings on illness and the art of getting by from a mini-comics master. The Hospital Suite is a landmark work by the celebrated cartoonist and small-press legend John Porcellino—an autobiographical collection detailing his struggles with illness in the 1990s and early 2000s. In 1997, John began to have severe stomach pain. He soon found out he needed emergency surgery to remove a benign tumour from his small intestine. In the wake of the surgery, he had numerous health complications that led to a flare-up of his preexisting tendencies toward anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The Hospital Suite is Porcellino’s response to these experiences—simply told stories drawn in the honest, heart-wrenching style of his much-loved King-Cat mini-comics. His gift for spare yet eloquent candor makes The Hospital Suite an intimate portrayal of one person’s experiences that is also intensely relatable. Porcellino’s work is lauded for its universality and quiet, clear-eyed contemplation of everyday life. The Hospital Suite is a testimony to this subtle strength, making his struggles with the medical system and its consequences for his mental health accessible and engaging. 250pgs B&W paperback

The Names # 1 (of 8)
by Peter Milligan & Leandro Fernandez

The publisher says:
New York City. Forty-year-old Kevin Walker is a successful trader. He’s incredibly rich. He has a young, sexy wife and a son he adores. He has everything. Until…
The mysterious man known as the Surgeon walks into Kevin’s office. He takes a seat and tells Kevin to write a suicide note. Trembling but obedient, Kevin does what the Surgeon says. Then, at a word from this well-dressed figure, Kevin jumps out his window and falls fifty stories to his death. Thus begins The Names, an 8-issue miniseries by writer Peter Milligan (Hellblazer, Skreemer) and artist Leandro Fernandez (Wolverine, Punisher: Max). The Names is a dark, contemporary thriller set in the world of Big Money: hedge funds, leveraged buyouts, market raids, flash crashes. High-end finance that can ruin entire economies, run by a cabal of the world’s richest (and sickest) people. Now, it’s up to Katya Walker - the beautiful and deadly wife of the late Kevin - to take on this hidden power structure and find out who killed her husband, and why. No matter what it takes. No matter who she has to kill. It’s The Wolf of Wall Street meets Kill Bill. And heaven help the 1%. 32pgs colour comic book.

White Death
by Robbie Morrison & Charlie Adlard
Image Comics

The publisher says:
For four years, The Great War, World War One, raged across the planet. Millions were sent to their deaths in pointless battles. The Italian Front stretched along the borders of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empires, in treacherous mountain regions. In the last months of 1916, a private in the Italian Bersaglieri returns to his childhood home in the Trentino mountain range to find it no longer a place of adventure and wonder as it was in his youth, but a place of death and despair. Amongst the weapons of both armies, none is more feared than the White Death: thundering avalanches deliberately caused by cannon fire… which, like war itself, consume everything in their path… 104pgs B&W hardcover. My review of the original softcover closes this article on WWI in comics…

Woody Guthrie And The Dust Bowl Ballads
by Nick Hayes
Jonathan Cape

The publisher says:
Forged in the Dustbowl of the 1930s, in an America crippled by the Great World Recession, this humble man found solace in song, and soon those songs became the voice of the People - men and women who had seen their lives deracinated and destroyed by the vicissitudes of global economic forces beyond their control. Guthrie’s influence lives on, a touchstone for Bob Dylan, The Clash and the protest singers of the Occupy movement today. With a delighted eye, and an ear for a tune, Nick Hayes’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Rime of the Modern Mariner brings a legend to life with a generous spirit and crackling moral force its subject would have been proud of. 272pgs B&W hardcover. Preview pages already on the Lakes International Comic Art Festival site where Hayes is appearing in October…

The Wrenchies
by Farel Dalrymple
First Second

The publisher says:
Sherwood and Orson should never have gone into that cave. That day, a door was opened from our world into a dark and profane realm…and earth’s destiny was changed forever. In this demented future, whatever life remains on earth is oppressed by the evil shadowsmen. Only a gang of ruthless and powerful children called the Wrenchies can hope to stand against them. When Hollis, a lonely boy from our world, is magically given access to the future world of the Wrenchies, he finally finds a place he belongs. But it is not an easy world to live in, and Hollis’s quest is bigger than he ever dreamed of. Farel Dalrymple brings his literary and artistic powers to bear in this sprawling science fiction graphic novel about regret, obsession, and the uncertainty of growing up.104pgs B&W hardcover. Advance pics online here…

Posted: June 30, 2014


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