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PG Previews:

July 2013

Slightly slimmer pickings perhaps this time round, but my July 2013 PG Tips are all the better for being cherry-picked for their excellence, intelligence, humanity and wit, and their welcome dearth of spandex, chainmail bikinis, blokes with guns, dreary dystopias, franchise re-treads and blockbuster-itis. One major highlight is Soaring Penguin’s audacious release of the complete Peter Pan by Régis Loisel, a gripping expansion and enhancement of the J.M. Barrie play, extrapolating Peter’s traumatic background in Victorian London and adding motivation to his need to escape to Neverland and never grow up. In a way, Loisel does for the original Peter Pan what the musical Wicked does for The Wizard of Oz. Another gem this July is Seagle & Kristiansen’s reunion on the compelling Einsteinian graphic novel Genius and Shannon O’Leary & Joan Reilly’s anthology The Big Feminist But (above). There’s more good stuff here worth your attention and custom - see what tickles your fancy. 

Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton
by Matt Phelan
Candlewick Press

The publisher says:
In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, “the human mop,” but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends. With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing. Watch teaser trailer here

Comics and Language: Reimagining Critical Discourse on the Form
by Hannah Miodrag
University Press of Mississippi

The publisher says:
It has become an axiom in comic studies that “comics is a language, not a genre.” But what exactly does that mean, and how is discourse on the form both aided and hindered by thinking of it in linguistic terms? In Comics and Language, Hannah Miodrag challenges many of the key assumptions about the “grammar” and formal characteristics of comics, and offers a more nuanced, theoretical framework that she argues will better serve the field by offering a consistent means for communicating critical theory in the scholarship. Through engaging close readings and an accessible use of theory, this book exposes the problems embedded in the ways critics have used ideas of language, literature, structuralism, and semiotics, and sets out a new and more theoretically sound way of understanding how comics communicate. Comics and Language argues against the critical tendency to flatten the distinctions between language and images and to discuss literature purely in terms of story content. It closely examines the original critical theories that such arguments purport to draw on and shows how they in fact point away from the conclusions they are commonly used to prove. The book improves the use the field makes of existing scholarly disciplines and furthers the ongoing sophistication of the field. It provides animated and insightful analyses of a range of different texts and takes an interdisciplinary approach. Comics and Language will appeal to the general comics reader and will prove crucial for specialized scholars in the fields of comics, literature, cultural studies, art history, and visual studies. It also provides a valuable summary of the current state of formalist criticism within comics studies and so presents the ideal text for those interested in exploring this growing area of research.

Frank Frazetta: Art and Remembrances
by Frank Frazetta Jr.
Hermes Press
$49.99 / $125.00 Limited Signed & Numbered Edition

The publisher says:
Legendary science-fiction/fantasy artist Frank Frazetta created some of the most memorable and iconic images of the 20th century. Now, for the first time, read his life story written by his oldest son, Frank Frazetta, Jr. Filled with insights, stories, and anecdotes, this full-color art monograph takes readers behind the scenes to chronicle the events of this great artist’s life and work. See as Frazetta develops his style and artistic sensibilities with never-before-seen photos, memorabilia, sketches, drawings, paintings, and early comic book work. This complete, comprehensive look at Frazetta’s life creates a very personal, detailed portrait of the man who created legendary images of Tarzan, Conan, John Carter of Mars, Buck Rogers, Vampirella, and others too numerous to mention. Frank Frazetta: Art and Remembrances is packed full of original artwork from the author’s personal collection together with book covers, record album artwork, movie posters, comic book and comic strip artwork, and more.

by Steven T. Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen
First Second

The publisher says:
Ted Marx works hard at his career as a quantum physicist. But lately the demands of his job have begun to overwhelm him. Then Ted makes a startling discovery: his wife’s father once knew Einstein and claims that Einstein entrusted to him a final, devastating secret—a secret even more profound and shattering than the work that led to the first atom bombs. If Ted can convince his father-in-law to tell him what Einstein had to say, his job will be safe. But does he dare reveal Einstein’s most dangerous secret to those who might exploit it? In their comic book Genius, acclaimed duo Teddy H. Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle have created an exploration of the heights of intellectual and scientific achievement and the depths of human emotion and confusion. Read a preview online.

Graphic Novels and Comics in the Classroom: Essays on the Educational Power of Sequential Art
edited by Carrye Kay Syma & Robert G. Weiner
McFarland & Co. Inc.

The publisher says:
Sequential art combines the visual and the narrative in a way that readers have to interpret the images with the writing. Comics make a good fit with education because students are using a format that provides active engagement. This collection of essays is a wide-ranging look at current practices using comics and graphic novels in educational settings, from elementary schools through college. The contributors cover history, gender, the use of specific graphic novels, practical application and educational theory. Foreword by Robert V. Smith; Afterword by Mel Gibson.

by Jason Walz
Tinto Press

The publisher says:
Homesick grapples with big questions while never pretending to have easy answers. Written and illustrated by Jason Walz, Homesick is equal parts autobiography and fiction. It’s a story about love, loss, and letting go. While navigating the chaos of Brooklyn and planning his own wedding, Jason finds himself facing increasing panic attacks and the very real threat of losing his Mom to cancer. Meanwhile, thousands of miles above earth, one lost and forgotten cosmonaut struggles with the realities that come with facing his own end. As his ship floats deeper out into space, questions of purpose and choice become frustratingly difficult. 140 page hardcover, 6.1” x 9”. Read an extract and watch the trailer here.

Monster on the Hill
by Rob Harrell
Top Shelf Productions

The publisher says:
Top Shelf is proud to announce the arrival of Rob Harrell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Big Top, and his first graphic novel series, Monster on the Hill. In a fantastical 1860s England, every quiet little township is terrorized by a ferocious monster - much to the townsfolk’s delight! Each town’s unique monster is a source of local pride, not to mention tourism. Each town, that is… except for one. Unfortunately, for the people of Stoker-on-Avon, their monster isn’t quite as impressive. In fact, he’s a little down in the dumps. Can the morose Rayburn get a monstrous makeover and become a proper horror? It’s up to the eccentric Dr. Charles Wilkie and plucky street urchin Timothy to get him up to snuff, before a greater threat turns the whole town to kindling! Monsters of all ages are sure to enjoy this tale about life’s challenges, the power of friendship, and creative redemption, packed with epic battles and plenty of wild beasts! Sample a preview online.

Neil Gaiman says:
Really fun, goofy, extremely silly fantasy for readers of all ages, crying out for reviewers and critics to make appalling puns of the ‘monstrously good’ variety.

Paul Joins The Scouts
by Michel Rabagliati
Conundrum Press

The publisher says:
Following on the heels of the The Song of Roland, Montrealer Michel Rabagliati returns to the childhood story of his famous semi-autobiographical character. It’s 1970 and Paul’s family watches the news with anxiety as bombs are going off around Montreal. But Paul is more interested in flying his kite, comics, and his first kiss. Soon Paul joins the Scouts and heads off to camp. Away from his parents and extended family he discovers self worth in a troop of like-minded and enthusiastic boys. Things take a turn, however, when the troop gets mixed up in the terrifying events of the FLQ crisis. Paul Joins the Scouts is a coming of age story which takes an historical approach to both the Baden Powell scouting movement and the October Crisis, but humanizes these incidents for both a YA and adult audience. It is original, sincere, captivating, and a little bit retro. The French edition, Paul au Parc, sold incredibly well and was critically hailed, nominated for the youth award at the Angoulême Festival 2012, a Shuster Award, and for a Friends of the Library Award in Montreal. Here’s a translated page to give you a flavour.

Peter Pan
by Régis Loisel
Soaring Penguin Press

The publisher says:
For the first time in English, in one omnibus edition, Soaring Penguin Press will be publishing Regis Loisel’s epic series, Peter Pan. This 372-page, full colour hardback will tell the entire story of how Peter, a young boy on the streets of Dickensian London, became Peter Pan. This omnibus edition collects the complete six-volume bande dessinée series lovingly created by Loisel from 1990 to 2004. This series has never before been seen in the UK, and has never been collected in English. Everything is on schedule for the books to appear in time for the BD & Comics Passion Festival, at the Institut Français in London on Sunday 2nd June, where Régis Loisel will be appearing to sign copies of Peter Pan. 372-page full-colour hardback. Enjoy some sample pages and background info here and the trailer for Nicolas Duval’s proposed film adaptation.

Science Fiction
by Joe Ollman
Conundrum Press

The publisher says:
What would you do if someone you trusted asked you to believe what you thought was impossible? When high school science teacher and pragmatic realist Mark is inexplicably drawn to renting a cheesy alien-abduction flick, it sets in motion a chain of events that makes him rethink everything he has ever believed. After a hysterical breakdown while watching the movie, he reveals to Sue, his longtime girlfriend, that he suddenly remembers being abducted as a child… by aliens. He becomes obsessed with alien-abduction chat rooms and stops leaving the house. As Mark becomes more heavily immersed in his inner world, their relationship slowly disintegrates. All he wants is for her to believe him. But how can she believe him, when it’s just science fiction after all? Joe Ollmann, winner of a Doug Wright Award, has created another page-turner of a graphic novel – a book that is not science fiction, but at the same time asks us to believe. Conundrum let you read three pages here.

Sin Titulo
by Cameron Stewart
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Following the death of his grandfather, young Alex Mackay discovers a mysterious photograph in the old man’s belongings that sets him on an adventure like no other—where dreams and reality merge, family secrets are laid bare, and lives are irrevocably altered. Cameron Stewart’s Eisner Award-winning webcomic, complete in one 168-page hardcover volume. You can read the whole kaboodle online.

The Big Feminist But
by various artists, edited by Shannon O’Leary & Joan Reilly
Shannon O’Leary

The publisher says:
The Big Feminist BUT: Comics about Women, Men and the IFs, ANDs & BUTs of Feminism is a comics anthology that asks: What do we really mean when we say, “I’m not a feminist, BUT…” or “I am 100% a feminist, BUT…” What do our great big “BUTs” say about where things stand between the sexes in the 21st Century? We asked some of the most talented ladies (and gentlemen) working in comics and animation today, along with some of the smartest writers we know, to “but” into the heated discussion about the much more level but still contradictory playing field both sexes are struggling to find their footing on today. Fans of Bitch Magazine, Jezebel, Love and Rockets, Wonder Woman, Girls and Mad Men will all find something to enjoy here, as will anyone who likes to read thoughtful, compelling, top-notch comics! Contributors include Lauren Weinstein, Jeffrey Brown, Sarah Oleksyk, Gabrielle Bell, Justin Hall, Ron Rege Jr., Vanessa Davis, Josh Neufeld, Andi Zeisler, Angie Wang and a whole lot more. 200pp B&W paperback. Check out O’Leary and Reilly’s full list of contributors and promo video here…

The End of The Fucking World
by Charles Forsman
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
The first full-length graphic novel by the Ignatz Award-winning up-and-comer, TEotFW follows James and Alyssa, two teenagers living a seemingly typical teen experience as they face the fear of coming adulthood. Forsman tells their story through each character’s perspective, jumping between points of view with each chapter. But quickly, this somewhat familiar teenage experience takes a more nihilistic turn as James’s character exhibits a rapidly forming sociopathy that threatens both of their futures. He harbors violent fantasies and begins to act on them, while Alyssa remains as willfully ignorant for as long as she can, blinded by young love. Forsman’s story highlights the disdain, fear and existential search that many teenagers fear, but through a road trip drama that owes as much to Badlands as The Catcher in the Rye. Forsman’s inviting, Charles Schulz-influenced style lends a deadpan quality that underscores the narrative’s tension. The End of the Fucking World is certain to be one of the most talked-about graphic novels of 2013. Forsman is arguably the most acclaimed talent to come out of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a school founded in 2004 by graphic novelist James Sturm and educator Michelle Ollie in White River Junction, VT. Forsman graduated in 2008 and is a two-time Ignatz Award-winner for his self-published minicomic, Snake Oil. The End of the Fucking World is his first graphic novel. Black & white illustrations throughout. Charles has posted a promo on YouTube.

The Strange Tale of Panorama Island
by Suehiro Maruo
Last Gasp

The publisher says:
On a remote and mysterious island, one man builds a playground of hedonistic excess - replete with waterfalls, grand palaces, and gardens - a backdrop for his decadent feasts, orgies, and dark secrets. Set in 1920s Japan, The Strange Tale of Panorama Island follows the twisted path of failed novelist Hitomi, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the son of a rich industrialist family. Hitomi learns of the rich man’s sudden passing and creates a desperate plan. He fakes his own death, digs up and hides the other man’s body, and then washes himself up starving on a beach near the home of the dead man’s family. After successfully impersonating the now-dead son, Hitomi takes over all aspects of the industrialist’s life, including his company, his fortune, and eventually his wife. The failed author soon redirects the family’s wealth to his own perverse aims. A graphic novel based on the revered novella by Edogawa Rampo. Rampo was the godfather of Japanese pulp mysteries. Stunning artwork by master manga artist Suehiro Maruo, winner of the 13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for New Artist, deftly illustrates this Japanese pulp classic in fine detail. 274pp B&W hardcover. Click here for promo video and more info at Last Gasp.

Triton of the Sea
by Osamu Tezuka
Digital Manga

The publisher says:
Originally published in the Sankei Shinbun from 1969 to 1971, Triton of the Sea is the sci-fi adventure tale of Triton, a young boy who was discovered abandoned as an infant by the seaside. With him comes disaster – a tsunami hits the seaside home of his adoptive family, and they’re forced to move to Tokyo to eek out a living. As Triton grows, he becomes a skilled swimmer and learns that there’s more to him than meets the eye. In reality, Triton is an Atlantean who escaped the lost continent’s destruction at the hands of Poseidon. With a dolphin named Luka at his side, Triton sets off on a journey to avenge his family and his homeland. A coming-of-age tale set again the background of an epic adventure, Triton of the Sea is acclaimed for its thrilling art and action as well as its moral and environmental themes. With cautionary messages about human prejudice and our fragile world, Triton blends a touching family tale with a global battle for the soul of the sea! Digital Manga made this Kickstarter trailer.

VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch
by Virgil Partch, edited by Jonathan Barli
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
The first coffee-table book featuring comics, letters and much more from the mid-century cartoonist who revitalized the gag cartoon.
Only a few months after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and the same year that Albert Camus offered the world his bleak vision of man’s existence by introducing his philosophical dictum of The Absurd, Virgil Partch burst onto the scene with his own twist on the phrase. Partch was a cartoonist who offered comic counterpoint to the grim headlines and a unique perspective on human nature in the pages of the nation’s most popular magazines. Known to millions by his jazzy signature, VIP, this comic genius ushered in a new era of the gag cartoon—zany, sometimes surreal, always hilarious—that inspired a generation of fellow cartoonists starting in the 1940s and ’50s. His madcap style of humor was reflected in the cutting-edge comedic sensibilities of Burns & Allen, Jack Benny, Ernie Kovacs, Bob & Ray, Stan Freberg, and Jean Shepherd, and would position Partch as one of the most prolific “gag-men” of his day. VIP contributed to an astonishing array of magazines, wrote gags for other cartoonists, illustrated books, album covers, and advertisements, and adorned merchandise including, appropriately, cocktail glasses. VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch is the first time Partch’s life and career has been treated in full, collecting amazing artwork from the entire range of his inspired career and featuring his own writings. Reprinted from original art, primary-source publications, and collectors’ and family archives, VIP’s place in the world of cartooning and humor can finally be fully appreciated in this beautiful coffee-table volume. 120 pages of full color illustrations and 120 pages of black and white illustrations.

Workburger International Comics Anthology
by Stripburger
Top Shelf Productions

The publisher says:
The Workburger International Comics Anthology features stories from 50 world-renowned artisans of the comics medium. This skillfully woven patchwork of diverse comic narratives revolves around the topic of contemporary work. Contributing artists have tackled this elusive term, bridled its creative momentum and harnessed its vast, explosive potential—one of work’s most useful and dangerous characteristics. A 224-page softcover anthology with B&W interiors (9.2” x 6.7”), published by Stripburger and distributed by Top Shelf.
Members of our international ad-hoc union of comics artists are: Max Andersson (Sweden, Germany),  Arkadi (Germany),  Kaja Avberšek (Slovenia), Malin Biller (Sweden), Bruno Borges (Portugal), Paul Ashley Brown (UK), Teresa Camara Pestana (Portugal),  Anna Ehrlemark (Sweden),  Mattias Elftorp (Sweden), Domen Finžgar (Slovenia), Matti Hagelberg (Finland), Jyrki Heikkinen (Finland), Eva Hilhorst (Germany), Hurk (UK), Jeroen Janssen (Belgium), Kapreles (Belgium), Matej Kocjan – Koco (Slovenia), Tanja Komadina (Slovenia), Janek Koza (Poland), Peter Kuper (USA), Olaf Ladousse (Belgium, Spain), Capucine Latrasse (France), Matej Lavrenčič (Slovenia),  Vincent Lefèbvre (France), Paul O’Connell & Lawrence Elwick(UK), Akinori Oishi (Japan), Emelie Östergren (Sweden), Alex Potts (UK), Tomáš Přidal (Czech Republic), Léo Quievreux (France),  Martin Romero (Spain), Marcel Ruijters (The Netherlands), Tobias Schalken (The Netherlands), Lars Sjunnesson (Sweden, Germany), Mateusz Skutnik & Szymon Holcman (Poland),  Boris Stanić (Serbia), Andrej Štular (Slovenia), Kondor Tamás (Hungary), Yann Trehin (France),Katherine Verhoeven (Canada),  Estêvão Vieira (Brazil),  Lasse Wandschneider (Germany), Daniel Žeželj (Croatia, USA). With an introduction by Bojan Albahari. cover art by Igor Hofbauer (Croatia), inside cover art by Daniel Bueno (Brazil) and illustrations by Miguel Carneiro (Portugal).
Warning: When you finish this book, you will never again regard work in the same light as before.

Young, Talented… Exploited!
by Yatuu
Sloth Publishing

The publisher says:
Having just graduated, a young woman is now incredibly motivated to find her first job. After looking she only finds placements. One must keep a positive attitude though! Maybe this placement will lead to employment. Or maybe the next… Follow a young successful blogger as she takes on the world of unpaid work experience, daily misery and exploitation in her new placement in advertising. With over one million hits on her webcomic, the talented French artist and storyteller Yatuu collects her first full adventure in this comedic adventure of employments and disappointment. Check out Yatuu’s blog, now translated into English.

Posted: April 28, 2013


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