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April 2013

It’s not every month that you get significant new outings by several masters - and mistresses - of the medium like Rutu Modan, Audrey Niffenegger, Dash Shaw, Zander & Kevin Cannon, Lucy Knisley and Anders Nilsen. Other highlights include French phenomenon Blutch with his first ever full-length graphic novel appearing in English. My PG Tips for April 2013 also include some manga gems, past and present, notably debuts from Shigeru Sugiura and Gengorah Tagame, plus a pair of intriguing creators from Spain, and books by the Pleece Brothers, Mark Millar & Frank Quitely, and Robbie Morrison & Jim Murray, part of the ongoing British comics resurgence. The promising news is that DC Comics are apparently reprinting more than the two previously printed stories from the completed but mostly unpublished second issue of Jack Kirby’s 1970 gangster classic In The Days Of The Mob - the hardback volume runs to 108 pages, so presumably compiling both 52-page black-and-white magazines. So there’s plenty of great comics reading ahead!


Aesthetics: A Memoir
by Ivan Brunetti
Yale University Press $25.00

The publisher says:
The fascinating contemporary cartoonist Ivan Brunetti explains his creative process, artistic trajectory, and obscure interests in this eye-popping account filled with drawings, doodles, ephemera, and sketches spanning multiple decades. Ivan Brunetti has published several graphic novels and taught courses on editorial illustration and comics at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago.



Atomcat
by Osamu Tezuka
Digital Manga $12.95

The publisher says:
Reading the Astro Boy comic book with his dad is Tsugio’s one refuge from the bullies at his school. One day he finds an abandoned kitten, and names it after the robot hero to convince his family to keep it. But after a strange encounter with aliens honeymooning on Earth, Tsugio’s shocked to find his cat can speak - and has all of Astro Boy’s powers! Sworn to secrecy, Tsugio and Earth’s tiniest hero together fight raging fires, awakened mummies, and more!



Captain Pugwash Comic Book Collection
by John Ryan
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books $14.99

The publisher says:
This great value paperback collection brings together three classic stories about the much loved bumbling pirate told in comic book format. In the style of Tintin and Asterix, these stories will delight all Captain Pugwash fans as well as make a fantastic introduction to the cowardly captain, his greedy crew, their deadly rival Cut-throat Jake and the clever cabin boy Tom. In The Secret of the San Fiasco, Pugwash takes his crew on holiday to the wild west coast of Scotland. But in reality he is searching for the wreck of a ship from the Spanish Armada said to be laden with treasure. But Cut-throat Jake is not far behind and lifts the treasure from under the Captain’s nose. The Battle of Bunkum Bay sees Pugwash taking on the might of both English and French navies and becoming embroiled in a major battle, all for more treasure. And in The Quest of the Golden Handshake, Pugwash and crew snatch a genuine treasure map from under the nose of Cut-throat Jake and set sail for The Land of the Stinkas. Little do they know they have stowaways hiding on board, but cabin-boy Tom knows how to deal with them.



Crater XV
by Kevin Cannon
Top Shelf Productions $19.95

The publisher says:
Straight from the pages of the hit digital series Double Barrel! You’ve never seen a Cold War like this! In Crater XV, the follow-up to 2009’s Eisner-nominated Far Arden, Kevin Cannon weaves together an intoxicating tale of swashbuckling adventure, abandoned moon bases, bloodthirsty walruses, rogue astronauts, two-faced femme fatales, sailboat chases, Siberian pirates, international Arctic politics, and a gaggle of horny orphans. Mixed up in all of this are Army Shanks, our salty sea dog still reeling from a devastating loss, and Wendy Byrd, a plucky teenager who wants nothing more than a one-way ticket off the face of the Earth. For mystery, thrills, and Arctic chills, set a course for Crater XV!


Destination X
by John Martz
Nobrow £9.99

The publisher says:
Destination X is a science fiction parable about obsession and singlemindedness. It tells the story of young Sam, a grandson to a world-renowned space adventurer and author. Marvelled by his ailing grandfather’s stories of interstellar travel and alien romance, young Sam models his life after his famous relative - even though these stories may be untrue. So focussed is Sam on fulfilling what he thinks is his natural destiny, he becomes blind to his own reality. His follies and shortsightedness ultimately lead to heartache, disaster and an unsettling tragic end.

 


Drowntown
by Robbie Morrison & Jim Murray
Jonathan Cape £14.99

The publisher says:
Just had a romantic Waterloo sunset spoiled by the sight of a corpse being dredged from the Thames? Welcome to Drowntown.
‘The name’s Noiret, Leo Noiret. I’m a Minder, which means people hire me to protect them, figuring that my beer belly and monumental streak of bad luck are big enough to intercept any blades, bullets or bad feelings heading their way. Staying alive isn’t easy, though, when everyone who’s anyone in Drowntown wants your new client dead in the water. I’m going to need a bigger belly.’
The world has changed forever, ravaged by climatic upheaval. The flooded metropolis of London has adapted to the rising sea levels, remaining a centre for international commerce and a magnet for environmental refugees. The elite gaze out over the ever-expanding Thames from their ivory towers, while the denizens of submerged pubs peer into the sunken streets like specimens in an aquarium. Hired by notorious underworld figure Alexandra Bastet, Leo Noiret uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that stretches from the depths of Drowntown to the highest echelons of power and influence. Struggling aqua-courier Gina Cassel learns that young love can be a dangerous game when she becomes romantically involved with the heir to the Drakenberg Corporation, which aims to control both the environment and the future of human evolution. There’s a storm brewing in Drowntown, with Gina and Noiret at its heart.



Heck
by Zander Cannon
Top Shelf Productions $19.95

The publisher says:
It’s his own personal Hell! After the funeral of his estranged father, faded hometown hero Hector “Heck” Hammarskjold finds himself the new owner of the old man’s house… and inside it, a portal to the underworld! With few other prospects on the horizon, Heck goes into business settling inheritance disputes by contacting the recently deceased, accompanied by his faithful sidekick Elliot. But when an old flame knocks on their door with an important message for her late husband, Heck and Elliot embark on a terrifying journey down into the nine circles, braving the horrors of Hell for an assignment that will reveal more than they ever imagined! Award-winning cartoonist Zander Cannon (The Replacement God, Top 10, Smax, The Stuff of Life) collects his serial from the hit digital magazine http://www.barrelmag.com/Double Barrel into his long-awaited first graphic novel: a story of memory, friendship, and regret, where the past is dead and buried… but not out of reach.



In The Days OF The Mob
by Jack Kirby, VInce Colletta & Mike Royer
DC Comics $39.99

The publisher says:
After leaving Marvel Comics at the end of the 1960s, Jack Kirby came to DC, where he soon created the series of super-hero comics known collectively as “The Fourth World.” One of his first projects for DC was the black and white magazine In The Days of the Mob, which featured stories of organized crime in the 1930s in the style of the TV series “The Untouchables” and “The Godfather” movies. Now this hard-to-find magazine is reprinted for the first time, plus stories from Amazing World of DC Comics #1 and #10.



Jerusalem: The Story of a City and a Family
by Boaz Yakin & Nick Bertozzi
First Second $24.99

The publisher says:
Jerusalem is a sweeping, epic work that follows a single family—three generations and fifteen very different people—as they are swept up in chaos, war, and nation-making from 1940-1948. Faith, family, and politics are the heady mix that fuel this ambitious, cinematic graphic novel. With Jerusalem, author-filmmaker Boaz Yakin turns his finely-honed storytelling skills to a topic near to his heart: Yakin’s family lived in Palestine during this period and was caught up in the turmoil of war just as his characters are. This is a personal work, but it is not a book with a political ax to grind. Rather, this comic seeks to tell the stories of a huge cast of memorable characters as they wrestle with a time when nothing was clear and no path was smooth.


Jupiter’s Legacy #1
by Mark Millar & Frank Quitely
Image $2.99

The publisher says:
The comic-book event of 2013 finally arrives as superstar creators Mark Miller and Frank Quitely give us the superhero epic that all future comics will be measured by. The world’s greatest heroes have grown old and their legacy is a poisonous one to the children who will never live up to their remarkable parents. Unmissable.

 

 


Montague Terrace
by Warren Pleece & Gary Pleece
Jonathan Cape £14.99

The publisher says:
Meet the residents of Montague Terrace: landlocked sailors, fake pet psychics, hounded inventors and randy postmen, unsuccessful megalomaniacs, nervous magicians, 1930s detectives. And all under one roof. In Montague Terrace, nothing is quite what is seems. Within its boundaries live an array of strange and extraordinary residents, including Paul Gregory, self-exiled pop crooner holed up in his Montague hovel for close to forty years, with only fading memories of a semi-successful music career and a bottle of JD for company. Mrs Beatrice Green, codename Babushka, an aged former special ops agent fighting a new war against overzealous council officials. Marvo the Magic Bunny and Mystical Marvin, a pair of down-on-their luck entertainers, shielding a disturbing past. The Puppeteer, toiling away day and night, pulling the strings of world events and causing chaos out of order. Landlocked sailors, fake pet psychics, hounded inventors and randy postmen. Welcome to Montague Terrace.



New School
by Dash Shaw
Fantagraphics $35.00

The publisher says:
In Dash Shaw’s new, full-color original graphic novel, a boy goes to seek his brother on a theme-park island. In this brand new graphic novel from the acclaimed author of Bottomless Belly Button and BodyWorld, Dash Shaw dramatizes the story of a boy moving to an exotic country and his infatuation with an unfamiliar culture that quickly shifts to disillusionment. A sense of “being different” grows to alienation, until he angrily blames this once-enchanting land for his feelings of isolation. All of this is told through the fantastical eyes of young Danny, a boy growing up in the ’90s fed on dramatic adventure stories like Jurassic Park and X-Men. Danny’s older brother, Luke, travels to a remote island to teach English to the employees of ClockWorld, an ambitious new amusement park that recreates historical events. When Luke doesn’t return after two years, Danny travels to ClockWorld to convince Luke to return to America. But Luke has made a new life, new family, and even a new personality for himself on ClockWorld, rendering him almost unrecognizable to his own brother. Danny comes of age as he explores the island, ClockWorld, and fights to bring his brother home. New School is unlike anything in the history of the comics medium: at once funny and deadly serious, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new. Full-color illustrations throughout, 340 pages.



Raven Girl
by Audrey Niffenegger
Abrams ComicArts $19.95

The publisher says:
Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven. So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her. One of the world’s most beloved storytellers has crafted a dark fairy tale full of wonderment and longing. Complete with Audrey Niffenegger’s bewitching etchings and paintings, Raven Girl explores the bounds of transformation and possibility.

 


Recounting Streets
by Juan Berrio
Kettledrummer Books / Diablo Ediciones $24.95

The publisher says:
Composed of urban vignettes, the illustrated tales presented give a whimsical and humorous portrayal of a city. A parade of familiar characters comes in and out of focus through the storytelling—dog walkers, doormen, shopkeepers, cell-phone obsessed passersby—to paint a relatable picture of modern living. Such stories as a man crossing paths with a lamppost, a girl watering potted plants in a window, and a young man who finds an interesting advertisement in the street are told through vibrant color illustrations with plenty of visual puns and fanciful humor. Juan Berrio is an illustrator and graphic designer with a background in advertising. His work has been published in magazines such as Bloomberg Businessweek, Elle, GQ, Marie Claire, Newsweek and Vanity magazine.

 


Relish: My Life In The Kitchen
by Lucy Knisley
First Second $17.99

The publisher says:
Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions. A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product.

 


So Long, Silver Screen
by Blutch
PictureBox $22.95

The publisher says:
What are the movies? What effect do they have on us? Why do we love them so much? The influential, award-winning French cartoonist Blutch (born 1967) addresses these questions in a series of interlocking short comics that combine scholarly history with ribald romanticism, and feature a motley cast of actors and characters, including Claudia Cardinale, Jean-Luc Godard, Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Michel Piccoli, Tarzan and Luchino Visconti. Blutch has published over a dozen books since debuting in 1988 in the legendary avant-garde magazine Fluide Glacial: among his books are Mitchum, Peplum and Le Petit Christian, and his illustrations regularly appear in Les Inrockuptibles, Libération and The New Yorker. As much visual essay as graphic novel, a daydream and fantastic meditation on the other art of telling stories with images, So Long, Silver Screen is the finest work yet from an uncontested master of contemporary cartooning, as well as his first full-length work to be published in English. It is designed by famed cartoonist David Mazzucchelli.

 


Strange Attractors
by Charles Soule, Greg Scott & Robert Saywitz
Archaia Entertainment $19.95

The publisher says:
In 1978, Dr. Spencer Brownfield saved New York City from itself, bringing the city back from the verge of collapse and ruin. And for thirty years, his small, minute, and unnoticed adjustments to the city’s systems have, a la: the Butterfly Effect, kept the city afloat. Or so he claims to Heller Wilson, a young graduate student that Dr. Brownfield has chosen as his successor. But are Dr. Brownfield’s claims about “complexity math” and its application to the city’s patterns of life real, or are they the ravings of a man broken by the death of his wife and daughter, desperate to find some kind of control over the world around him? Strange Attractors is about control; what you can control in your life and what you can’t, and how important it is to recognize the difference.

 


Terry and the Pirates: The George Wunder Years: Vol 1 1946-48
by George Wunder
Hermes Press $60.00

The publisher says:
Now for the first time George Wunder’s continuation of Milton Caniff’s masterpiece, Terry and the Pirates, the dailies and Sundays, is available! Volume 1 continues the stories of Terry, The Dragon Lady, Connie, Flip Corkin, Hotshot Charlie, and all of the characters immortalized by this ground-breaking classic strip!

 


The End
by Anders Nilsen
Fantagraphics $19.99


The publisher says:
This is an expanded version of Anders Nilsen’s (Big Questions) comics meditation on his fiancée’s death. Assembled from work done in Anders Nilsen’s sketchbooks over the course of the year following the death of his fiancée in 2005, The End is a collection of short strips about loss, paralysis, waiting, and transformation. It is a concept album in different styles, a meditation on paying attention, an abstracted autobiography and a travelogue, reflecting the progress of his struggle to reconcile the great upheaval of a death, and finding a new life on the other side. The book blends Nilsen’s disparate styles, from the iconic simplicity and collaged drawings of his Monologues for the Coming Plague to the finely rendered Dogs and Water and Big Questions. Originally released in magazine form in 2007, The End has been updated and expanded to 80 pages, more than twice its original length, including a 16-page full-color section. Two color with 16 pages of full color.



The Last of the Mohicans
by Shigeru Sugiura
PictureBox £14.99

The publisher says:
Sugiura Shigeru (1908-2000) is widely regarded as one of the masters of Japanese comics. His 1953 adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans sold over 60,000 copies, quickly establishing him as one of the most sought-after children’s manga artists of the 50s. His popularity had faded by the mid-60s, but he made a comeback later in the decade with a number of highly surrealistic, collage-like works, and he chose to rework Mohicans in this new style in 1974. Considered a masterpiece of postwar manga, The Last of the Mohicans is as beautiful to look at as it is a delight to read. This PictureBox edition—the first book-length publication of Sugiura in English—is edited and translated by Ryan Holmberg, who also provides an introduction, and is the inaugural volume in PictureBox’s Ten Cent Manga series, focusing on mass-produced genre works in Japanese postwar comics.

 


The North End of the World
by Dave Hunsaker & Christopher Shy
Black Watch Comics $49.99

The publisher says:
Enter the world of Edward Curtis: A man who would photograph the native peoples of North America, and the demons he would face as he traveled to North End of the World to film In The Land of the War Canoes, with the help of the Kwakiutl Indians. This would be his most important work, and the journey that would take him to the darkest corners of mankind, as he faced the task of recording this vanishing race. There, with the help of his best friend George Hunt, and his daughter Beth Curtis - he would learn of the Cannibal at The End Of The World, and that perhaps the greatest thing he would come to fear, would be himself.

 


The Passion of Gengorah Tagame: Master of Gay Erotic Manga
by Gengorah Tagame
PictureBox $29.95

The publisher says:
Violent, visceral and provocative, to say the least, Gengoroh Tagame’s unquestionable talent for story and illustration is already the stuff of legend. His gay BDSM stories are now widely celebrated for both their virtuosic drawing and their unparalleled passion. Produced by a veteran Japanist—Anne Ishii—The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame is a project that began some years ago, when Ishii was translating Chip Kidd’s personal Tagame collection and decided to reach out to him. Inspired by filmmaker Graham Kolbeins’ online work with gay comics, the project took on new ambitious proportions, materializing in this exciting celebration of one of the world’s most poignant erotic artists. This hefty Tagame omnibus includes ten English editions of short stories dating from the late 1990s to 2012. The newest work is an original story commissioned by Kidd himself: Tagame’s very first foray into writing directly for an American reader. Celebrated novelist and biographer Edmund White contributes an introduction to the volume. Gengoroh Tagame (born 1964) is a legend in gay comics throughout the world and in the American underground, where loyal fans have quietly shared foreign-language editions of his groundbreaking work in the outermost edges of bondage and pornography. Beyond the comic book format, Tagame’s original artwork has been exhibited internationally and paired with the works of Tom of Finland. Tagame was also the founding Editor and Art Director of Japan’s most widely circulated gay journal, G-Men.

 


The Property
by Rutu Modan
Drawn & Quarterly $24.95

The publisher says:
The award-winning author of Exit Wounds returns with a story about families, secrets, and the bonds of love. The Property is a work that will inspire, fascinate, and delight readers and critics alike. Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, Rutu Modan’s second full-length graphic novel is a triumph of storytelling and fine lines. After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during the Second World War. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren’t a little different than what her grandmother led her to believe. Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, smart-alecky public servants, and stubborn women—a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people’s behavior and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices. Modan’s ever-present wit is articulated perfectly in her clear-line style, while a subtle, almost muted color palette complements the true-to-life nuances of her characterization. Exit Wounds made a huge splash for this signature combination of wit, style, and realism, and The Property will cement Modan’s status as one of the foremost cartoonists working today.


The Superhero Reader
edited by Charles Hatfield, Jeet Heer & Kent Worcester
University Press of Mississippi $30.00

The publisher says:
Despite their commercial appeal and cross-media reach, superheroes are only recently starting to attract sustained scholarly attention. This groundbreaking collection brings together essays and book excerpts by major writers on comics and popular culture. While superhero comics are a distinct and sometimes disdained branch of comics creation, they are integral to the development of the North American comic book and the history of the medium. For the past half-century they have also been the one overwhelmingly dominant market genre. The sheer volume of superhero comics that have been published over the years is staggering. Major superhero universes constitute one of the most expansive storytelling canvases ever fashioned. Moreover, characters inhabiting these fictional universes are immensely influential, having achieved iconic recognition around the globe. Their images and adventures have shaped many other media, such as film, videogames, and even prose fiction. The primary aim of this reader is twofold: first, to collect in a single volume a sampling of the most sophisticated commentary on superheroes, and second, to bring into sharper focus the ways in which superheroes connect with larger social, cultural, literary, aesthetic, and historical themes that are of interest to a great many readers both in the academy and beyond.



Tyrex
by Mauro Entrialgo
Kettledrummer Books / Diablo Ediciones $15.95

The publisher says:
An offbeat tale with wonderful character-driven humor, this cartoon follows Tyrex, the victim of a rare mental disorder that prevents him from removing the mask he uses in his professional wrestling career. Tyrex shares an apartment with three friends: Ralph, a fellow wrestler, sex aficionado, and womanizer; Atom, permanently stingy and frugal; and Higueras, a bald-headed punk with charisma and a unique outlook on life. Absurd in its humor, this work’s surreal and zany tones make it a memorable addition to the world of comic books.

 


Who Is AC?
by Hope Larson & Tintin Pantoja
Atheneum Books $14.99

The publisher says:
In this breakthrough graphic novel from the award-winning author of Mercury, there’s a new superhero in town—and she’s got kick-butt cyberpowers. Meet Lin, a formerly average teenage girl whose cell phone zaps her with magical powers. But just as superpowers can travel through the ether, so can evil. As Lin starts to get a handle on her new abilities (while still observing her curfew!), she realises she has to go head-to-head with a nefarious villain who spreads his influence through binary code. And as if that weren’t enough, a teen blogger has dubbed her an “anonymous coward!” Can Lin detect the cyber-criminal’s vulnerability, save the day, and restore her reputation? With ingenious scripting from graphic novel phenom Hope Larson and striking art from manga illustrator Tintin Pantoja, this action-packed story brims with magical realism and girl-power goodness.

 


William and the Lost Spirit
by Gwen De Bonneval & Mattieu Bonhomme
Lerner Publishing Group $9.95

The publisher says:
William knows his father is dead. Everyone knows it . . . everyone except William’s sister, who hears him calling to her. Despite William’s warnings, she disappears in the night to find their father. To rescue his sister, William must travel through dangerous forests swarming with bandits. But human foes are the least of his problems. His quest will take him beyond the world he knows and into far-off lands—where monsters are real, the dead can speak, and lies become truths. With an enchanted goat as his guide, William follows a strange path that may lead to his sister . . . and perhaps his father as well. 160 colour pages.

Posted: February 23, 2013

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