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October 2012

This October, while Marvel and DC offer us such essential household implements as the Captain America’s Shield Bottle Opener and the Watchmen Rorschach Toaster (no, I am not making these tacky merchandise items up), fortunately there are more than enough quality comics to engage your interest, from new comic-book serials to chunky graphic novels, from Anglo-American creations to translations of Austrian, Danish, French, Japanese and Spanish gems, from classics like The Heap to debuts by brand-new authors. Of special note this month is Frederik Peeters’ mind-warping Pachyderme, whose original artworks will be exhibited during the Comica Festival this November, with Frederik hopefully making a return visit to London. Bryan Talbot’s third Grandville adventure is another highlight and he will also be a Comica guest, where we hope to hold the world premiere of a new documentary movie about his life and career. Fellow Brits Steven Appleby, Luke Pearson, Jon McNaught and Will Morris are also being invited to promote their great new books as part of our Comica @ Foyles season. I hope you’ll find an item or two here to suit your taste- happy comics-reading!



Adventures of a Japanese Businessman
by José Domingo
Nobrow
£18.99

The publisher says:
A stunning wordless comic following a Japanese business man as he heads home after another day at the office. He doesn’t know it yet, but a long succession of strange and incredible events is about to be thrown at him. The objects, place and the characters help build a unique world, and little by little they all contribute to creating an incredible story in which anything can happen: from an intergalactic battle to a love story, to time travelling, sinister encounters and divine apparitions. All pages are divided in four panels, reminding the reader of 80s platform games.



August Moon
by Diana Thung
Top Shelf Productions
$14.95

The publisher says:
The townspeople of Calico believe in the legend of the Soul Fire - orbs of light dancing through the night sky, believed to be the souls of dead ancestors watching over the town. But when eleven-year-old Fiona Gan comes to town with her dad, she learns the amazing truth: these “fireballs” are actually the light from lanterns carried by mysterious rabbit-like creatures as they leap across rooftops! Leaping with them is the peculiar street boy Jaden, who rarely speaks and claims to come from the moon. But the games may be coming to an end, because Fi and her dad are not the only newcomers to Calico… when a creepy corporation starts bulldozing the nearby forests, she finds herself uncovering a whole world of secrets, and drawn into Jaden’s battle for the soul of a community. Diana Thung’s debut Top Shelf graphic novel is a true adventure, rooted in the diverse local traditions of Asian festival culture, with a modern sensibility and a hint of magic.



Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures
by Elizabeth El Refaie
University of Mississippi Press
$55.00

The publisher says:
A troubled childhood in Iran. Living with a disability. Grieving for a dead child. Over the last forty years the comic book has become an increasingly popular way of telling personal stories of considerable complexity and depth. In Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures, Elisabeth El Refaie offers a long overdue assessment of the key conventions, formal properties, and narrative patterns of this fascinating genre. The book considers eighty-five works of North American and European provenance, works that cover a broad range of subject matters and employ many different artistic styles. Drawing on concepts from several disciplinary fields—including semiotics, literary and narrative theory, art history, and psychology—El Refaie shows that the traditions and formal features of comics provide new possibilities for autobiographical storytelling. For example, the requirement to produce multiple drawn versions of one’s self necessarily involves an intense engagement with physical aspects of identity, as well as with the cultural models that underpin body image. The comics medium also offers memoirists unique ways of representing their experience of time, their memories of past events, and their hopes and dreams for the future. Furthermore, autobiographical comics creators are able to draw on the close association in contemporary Western culture between seeing and believing in order to persuade readers of the authentic nature of their stories.



Beta Testing The Apocalypse
by Tom Kaczynski
Fantagraphics
$19.99

The publisher says:
A heady conflation of philosophy, fiction & comics. It would be easy to call Tom Kaczynski the J.G. Ballard of comics. Like Ballard, Kaczynski’s comics riff on dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.Yet while Kaczynski shares many of Ballard’s obsessions, he processes them in unique ways. His visual storytelling adds an architectural dimension that the written word alone lacks. Kaczynski takes abstract ideas — capitalism, communism, or utopianism —and makes them tangible. He depicts and meditates on the immense political and technological structures and spaces we inhabit that subtly affect and define the limits of who we are and the freedom we as Americans presume to enjoy. Society and the individual, in perpetual tension. Once you’ve read Kaczynski’s comics, it should come as no surprise to learn that he studied architecture before embarking on a career as a cartoonist. Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably “The New,” a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. “The New” is set in an un-named third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.



Carol Lay’s Illiterature
by Carol Lay
Boom! Town
$14.99

The publisher says:
From the Underground era to The Simpsons comic book to her graphic novel The Big Skinny, Carol Lay has been writing and drawing amazing stories for years. Her Story Minute strip, which gained a devoted following while appearing on Salon.com, is collected here for the first time.



Dockwood
by Jon McNaught
Nobrow
£13.95

The publisher says:
Dockwood is a small town in the Southeast of England, seven miles east of Brampton Moor. It has a population of 26,000 and is home to a bowling alley, a boating lake, and Willowbrook Outlet Village. It’s a cloudy Tuesday in October and the residents of the town are going about their business as usual. In Elmsview Nursing Home, a kitchen porter dutifully prepares lunch for residents. Elsewhere, a council worker sweeps the fallen leaves from the pavements. Along Nettlefield Road, a paperboy is delivering his daily round. And in the trees, swallows gather noisily in preparation for their annual migration. In this new work, Jon McNaught weaves together the everyday lives of three locals against an evocative backdrop of autumnal transitions. Bittersweet and contemplative, Dockwood is for anyone who believes the stories that take place within life’s small moments can often be the most meaningful of all.

Seth, author of Wimbledon Green and George Sprott: 1894–1975 says:
McNaught’s comics are slow, quiet and very sensitive to place and time. The work is certainly poetic but not precious or twee. And the drawings are beautiful. Masterful stuff for someone so young.



Grandville Bete Noire
by Bryan Talbot
Dark Horse / Jonathan Cape
$19.99 / £16.99

The publisher says:
The Badger is back! At Toad Hall, lair of multibillionaire Baron Aristotle Krapaud, a cabal of industrialists and fat cats plot the violent overthrow of the French state by the intervention of horribly beweaponed automaton soldiers. Meanwhile, the brutal murder of a famous Parisian artist, mysteriously stabbed to death in his locked and guarded studio, is subject to the investigations of the tenacious Detective Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard, placing him and his faithful adjunct, Detective Sergeant Roderick Ratzi, in pursuit of the mysterious masked assassin stalking the cut-throat commercial world of the Grandville art scene. Bete Noire signals the welcome return to anthropomorphic steampunk detective fiction of master storyteller and graphic novel pioneer Bryan Talbot with the third stand-alone volume of the Eisner and Hugo Award nominated Grandville series. As the body count mounts and events spiral exponentially out of control, aided by his brilliant deductive abilities and innate ferocity, LeBrock battles against outrageous odds in this funny, high octane thriller, an adventure shot through with both high art and comic book references, a glorious illegitimate offspring of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Fleming - with animals! Follow the Badger!



Hilda and The Bird Parade
by Luke Pearson
Nobrow
£11.95

The publisher says:
The latest in Nobrow’s acclaimed series following the magical adventures of Hilda, the diminutive blue-haired heroine. Hilda and her mother have finally laid roots down in their new home in Trolberg. Today revellers flood the streets in spectacular feathered costumes to celebrate the annual Bird Parade. And Hilda, ever the adventurer, wants a peek behind the scenes. Hilda rescues an injured raven, but her new ward is no ordinary bird…it has the ability to shift in form. What’s the meaning of it all? Will the secret truth be revealed at the bird parade?



Joe Kubert Presents 1
by Joe Kubert & various
DC Comics
$4.99

The publisher says:
Don’t miss the start of this far-ranging collection of stories from the late, great comics legend Joe Kubert and other great talents. This debut issue includes: Joe Kubert who writes and illustrates two stories. a new Hawkman epic, and a tale of hard times called “Spit”;  a tale of Angel and The Ape from writer/artist Brian Buniak; plus writer/artist Sam Glanzman returns to comics with a new tale of the U.S.S. Stevens.



Loomus: A Guide To Life
by Steven Appleby
Guardian Books
£14.99

The publisher says:
Steven Appleby is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Britain. A dual citizen of the UK and Canada, Appleby has published over twenty books, had many exhibitions of paintings and collaborated on a musical play, Crocs In Frocks, which was staged in Camberwell and at Comica Festival at the ICA, London in 2006. His work has also appeared on album covers, most notably on Trompe le Monde by the Pixies. His strip Loomus can currently be seen in the Guardian.


Lot 13 1
by Steve Niles & Glenn Fabry
DC Vertigo
$2.99

The publisher says:
A terrifying new horror series from the ghoulish minds of Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) and Glenn Fabry (Preacher). A family making a cross-country move makes a horrifying discovery in an old apartment complex. Can they survive the night?

 

 



Miller & Pynchon
by Leopold Maurer
SelfMadeHero
£12.99

The publisher says:
What begins with a seemingly achievable task such as drawing a line of demarcation becomes something far greater for the book’s two comical heroes Miller and Pynchon. Instead, they embark on measuring the Venus transit, through which the distance between the earth and the sun is calculated. With the magnitude of such a task, their personal hopelessness seems to increase, and the more precisely the distances are calculated, the more their own limits become apparent. For the melancholic Pynchon and the ballsy Miller, these abstract numbers represent their personal reality. For Pynchon, who cannot get over the death of his beloved wife, for Miller who unremittingly continues to lose himself in sexual debauchery. A hilarious look at the human condition through time, space and logic.

 


Mrs Weber’s Omnibus
by Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Cape
£18.99

The publisher says:
In May 1977 Posy Simmonds, an unknown young illustrator, started drawing a weekly comic strip for the Guardian. It began as a silly parody of girls’ adventure stories, making satirical comments about contemporary life. The strip soon focused on three 1950s school friends in their later middle-class and nearly middle-aged lives: Wendy Weber, a former nurse married to polytechnic sociology lecturer George with a large brood of children; Jo Heep, married to whisky salesman Edmund with two rebellious teenagers; and Trish Wright, married to philandering advertising executive Stanhope and with a young baby. The strip, which was latterly untitled and usually known just as ‘Posy’, ran until the late 1980s. Collected here for the first time are the complete strips. Although celebrated for pinpointing the concerns of Guardian readers in the 1980s and their constant struggle to remain true to the ideals of the 1960s, they are in fact remarkably undated. They show one of Britain’s favourite cartoonists, celebrated for Literary Life and Tamara Drewe, maturing into genius.



Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity 1 (of 4)
by Brandon Graham
Image Comics
$3.99

The publisher says:
Sexica and her Werewolf boyfriend Nikoli travel across asci-fi,fantasy Russia smoking singing cigarettes. Meanwhile the organ hunter, Nura is sent out with a severed head and instructions to find its body.

 

 


Naoki Urasawa’s 21st Century Boys
by Naoki Urasawa
Viz Media
$12.99

The publisher says:
War is over. The Friend is dead. Mankind no longer faces the threat of extinction. Peace has finally come to Tokyo… Or has it? The mystery still remains. Nobody knows who the Friend was and where he came from. The only clue is hidden deep within the memories—the memories of the hero Kenji. It is time to open Pandora’s Box to discover what is left at the bottom.



Not My Bag
by Sina Grace
Image Comics
$12.99

The publisher says:
From the artist of The Li’l Depressed Boy, and Amber Benson’s Among the Ghosts, comes a haunting retail hell story like you’ve never encountered before! A young artist takes a job at a department store in order to make ends meet… little does he know that he may meet his end! In this gothic story for fans of Black Swan, Blankets, and The Devil Wears Prada, can the artist withstand competitive pressure, treachery, and high fashion while still keeping his soul?



Pachyderme
by Frederik Peeters
SelfMadeHero
£14.99

The publisher says:
A sci-fi tale which has all the echoes of a David Lynch film. Almost cinematic in style, in the breathless opening to this graphic novel we get a traffic jam due to a wounded elephant; a blind pigkeeper; an alien-looking grey baby; a cavalier and alcoholic skirt-chasing surgeon; and a beanpole of a Swiss secret policeman. Our heroine, Carice, walks from her car through the woods, as if in a trance, to a hospital to visit her diplomat husband, indisposed from a car accident. Her goodbye note, which she intends to deliver in person, is in her purse. The hospital is vast, remote, and foreboding, filled with suitable loonies. The book’s first third ends with Carice waking an apparently dead body in the morgue with her whistling. Chopin? the body asks. Carice nods. We learn of her too-early marriage, her dashed dreams as a concert pianist, and in the course of conversation realize that the aged cadaver she’s talking to is her future self.



Pippi Longstocking Vol 1: Pippi Moves In
by Astrid Lindgren
Drawn & Quarterly
$14.95

The publisher says:
Pippi Moves In marks the first time that the legendary Pippi Longstocking comics by famed children’s author and creator Astrid Lindgren and Danish illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman will be published outside of Scandinavia in thirty years, as well as their first ever publication in English. The outspoken strong-girl with the carrot-colored pigtails and the mismatched socks has enthralled generations of children the world over with her fabulous exploits at Villa Villekulla, where she lives with her horse and monkey. Countless translations of the chapter books are available in over sixty languages. Pippi is Sweden’s best-known children’s export, making it all the more remarkable that Drawn & Quarterly has discovered what will be a three volume series. The comics are re-imaginings of the classic chapter book stories and were originally published in the Swedish magazine Humpty Dumpty in 1957–1959, a decade after the original books. The comics spotlight both Lindgren’s brilliant writing and Vang Nyman’s bold, bright colors that seem presciently and eerily modern. The original illustrator for the chapter books, Vang Nyman was a very talented children’s book illustrator and an avant-garde champion of the importance of children’s literature, insisting that art in children’s books needed to meet the same esthetic standards as art in any other medium. Vang Nyman died in 1959, while Lindgren went on to become one of the world’s best loved writers with over 145 million books sold worldwide.

 


Ralph Azham Vol 1: “Why Would You Lie To Someone You Love?”
by Lewis Trondheim
Fantagraphics
$14.99

The publisher says:
This is a new fantasy-adventure graphic novel series by Dungeon’s Lewis Trondheim. Within his tiny village, Ralph Azham is considered an insolent good-for-nothing layabout, a virtual pariah — particularly since he was supposed to be a Chosen One. (Things didn’t work out.) Yet his odd azure coloration and a few unique abilities (he can predict births and deaths) suggest that there may be more to him than meets the eye. And when the terrifying Horde stages one of its regular raids on his village, Ralph takes the young Raoul under his wing and sets out for a series of adventures… Trondheim is already well known to fantasy buffs for the worldwide success Dungeon, the complex set of interlocking series he created with fellow cartoonist Joann Sfar and a raft of artists. While Ralph Azham works within the same genre, this is a far more tightly focused, single-character-starring new series for which Trondheim is solely responsible — that is, except for the stunningly rich coloring, provided by his longtime collaborator Brigitte Findakly working in hand-executed watercolors for the first time in over a decade. Witty and fleet-footed like all of Trondheim’s work, madly inventive in terms of characters, creatures, and events, Ralph Azham is scheduled to run for at least six volumes and is presented in a distinctive “landscape” format.

 


Recipes from the Kitchen Drawer
by Helen Ashley
Square Peg
£10.00

The publisher says:
A collection of classic recipes in the form of simple, expertly drawn graphic illustrations. Each recipe is broken down into easy-to-follow steps, all cleverly displayed on one graphic table top, a bit like a comic strip recipe for grown-ups. Includes incredible hand-drawn, easy-to-follow recipes showing every slice, sizzle and stir. The comfort food you grew up with (think gooey cauliflower cheese, warming sausage and bean casserole and fresh, crumbly flapjacks). Thrifty, hearty home cooking with sensational soups, mouth-watering mains and puddings, plus biscuits and cakes made for sharing. Perfect for first-timers and seasoned cooks alike



Roy Thomas Presents The Heap Vol 1
edited by Roy Thomas, art by Carmine Infantino & various
PS Art Books
$47.99

The publisher says:
Comics’ original muck monster, The Heap, returns in this, the first of a three volume set collecting his original adventures. Featuring art by Infantino, Starr, Bolle, Peddy, Leav, Barry, and more. Roy Thomas Presents The Heap Volume 1 boasts a new cover by Michael Ploog and a 5,000 word introduction by Roy Thomas.



Sailor Twain: The Mermaid in the Hudson
by Mark Siegel
First Second
$24.99 / £15.99

The publisher says:
One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular—and notoriously reclusive—author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens. A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense. 400 pages.



17x23 Showcase Vol 1
by various artists
Nobrow
£ 9.95

The publisher says:
The first anthology of its kind in the UK, the 17x23 Showcase will feature the best up and comers on the UK comics scene, giving them each 10 pages to spin their fledgling yarns. The cover of the first issue was designed by the author of this year’s Comica festival poster: Isaac Lenkiewicz, who uses his contribution to tell the enrapturing tale of Broadbright, the prodigal son of the Moon. We will also have stories by Kyle Platts, skateboarder-cum-cartoonist extraordinaire, Henry McCauseland and Nick Sheehy aka ‘Showchicken’ and Joe Kessler, Nobrow team member.



The Casebook of Bryant & May Vol 1: The Soho Devil
by Christopher Fowler, Keith Page & Martin Butterworth
PS Art Books
$24.99

The publisher says:
The critically acclaimed cult detectives Bryant & May are the stars of ten deranged novels that explore London’s most arcane mysteries, from its hidden rivers to its secret societies. And now they’re coming to comics. Christopher Fowler, a lifelong fan of graphic novels, has teamed with legendary Thunderbirds and Commando artist Keith Page to create a sumptuous, stunningly colored annual of fun containing a brand-new full-length adventure, a 1960s-set Untold Story, galleries, alternative full-page covers and trivia.



The Silver Darlings
by Will Morris
Blank Slate Books
$14.99

The publisher says:
Of all the superstitions held by the crew of Dunure fishing boat The Silver Darling, the most perilous of all is that under no circumstances should a white-handled knife ever be carried on board. Scotland, 1969. Ignoring this generation-long tradition, Danny the latest to help out the family business steps onto the boat with a mop top, oil-skinned jacket and an ivory-handled knife. Determined to bring an enlightened attitude aboard, Danny is biding his time until he moves on to college in Glasgow. Intricately researched and packed with humor, pathos and astonishing ink-washed art, Will Morris leaves no stone unturned as he transports the reader into the gruelling world of a Dunure fishing crew. As much a coming of age drama as it is a faithful tribute to Ayrshire s historic fishing industry, The Silver Darlings provides an exciting first look into a creator who may well be a master story-teller in the making.



The Understanding Monster Vol 1
by Theo Ellsworth
Secret Acres
$21.95

The publisher says:
Theo Ellsworth’s follow-up to his celebrated debut, Capacity, follows the displaced Izadore, currently in the form of a mouse, on his mindscape quest to regain his true form and full recall his true identity. The Understanding Monster Book One is an exquisitely rendered, often danger-fraught journey into the nature of creativity and inspiration.



The Zaucer of Zilk 1 (of 2)
by Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing
IDW
$3.99

The publisher says:
Get Zaucy! IDW is proud to announce this special collaboration with 2000 AD and Rebellion Publishing, The Zaucer of Zilk, Brendan McCarthy & Al Ewing’s phantasmagorical psychedelic extravaganza from beyond the fringes of imagination. This special 2-issue adventure features an inter-dimensional magician who travels across the realms to save his number-one fan from the dank clutches of arch-nemesis Errol Raine, as visualized by the brilliantly surreal artist McCarthy.



We Won’t See Auschwitz
by Jeremie Dres
SelfMadeHero
£14.99

The publisher says:
When his grandmother dies, Jeremie and his elder brother want to learn more about their family’s Polish roots. But Jeremie is less interested in finding out about how the Holocaust affected his family, and more interested to understand what it means to be Jewish and Polish today. They decide not to do the Holocaust trail…they won’t go to Auschwitz, but instead they go to a village Zelechow (where their grandfather was born), Warsaw (where their grandmother was raised) and Krakow, which hosts Europe’s largest festival of Jewish culture. During the course of a week, they discover a country that is still affected by its past. The brothers talk to lots of people including progressive rabbis and young Jewish Orthodox artists. Using their grandmother’s stories, they piece together pieces of their family history. This is a semi-autographical work: from a search for identity, emerges a profound optimism and a lust for life.

Posted: August 26, 2012

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