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PG Previews:

May 2013

From a classic Franco-Belgian all-ages comedy by the creator of The Smurfs to the eagerly awaited debut graphic novel by the winner of the 2010 Observer/Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize (Stephen Collins’ amazing The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, above), the month of May 2013 brings another bountiful harvest. In translation, my suggestions take in creators from as far afield as Germany, Norway, Japan, Austria and Hong Kong, while the English-language choices include new work by major creators like Jim Woodring, Alan Moore, Paul Chadwick, Neil Gaiman, Gilbert Hernandez, Jim Rugg, C.F., Matt Kindt and Gary Northfield. I hope you find something among them to tickle your fancy! And to get your hands on the first pre-publication copies of The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil and get them signed by Mr Collins, come meet him at the free Spring Comica Comiket on Saturday April 20th at Central Saint Martins near King’s Cross London. Also signing will be Mark Stafford with his chilling adaptation of The Man Who Laughs and Gary Northfield with his dino-tastic new Teenytinysaurs book!

Benny Breakiron Vol 1: The Red Taxis
by Peyo & Will Maltaite
Papercutz $11.99

The publisher says:
Benny Breakiron is an honest, polite little boy with an en exceptional quality: he possesses superhuman strength, can leap over huge distances, and can run unbelievably fast! This little kid packs quite a punch, and he devotes his play time to stopping crime and injustice. In this first volume, a new taxi service has moved into Benny’s town threatening to put Benny’s friend, taxi driver Mr. Dussilifard, out of business. The more Benny learns about the Red Taxi Company, the more he realizes something isn’t right. Who’s behind this mysterious enterprise, and just what are they up to? Benny aims to find out and put a stop to it once and for all, and hopefully keep the property damage to a minimum! Read an interview with Jim Salicrup from Papercutz and some preview pages here…

by Ana Albero, Till Hafenbrak & Paul Paetzel
Nobrow Press

The publisher says:
Paramount Studios, Hollywood: Whilst watching the footage of his latest movie, Hollywood star Eddie Murphy immediately falls obsessively in love with his leading lady Lashandra. Unfortunately for the actor-slash-comedian, Lashandra is being played by Murphy himself. Realising this on-screen romance can never be, he descends into an inconsolable world of depression and drug abuse. Until one day a vision of The Nutty Professor appears before him with a way to make his ultimate erotic fantasy a reality…by extracting Lashandra’s DNA from his own so he may marry her. Berlin collective Edition Biografiktion make their UK publishing debut with this irreverent collection of skewed celebrity profiles and bold illustration work. Check out some Murphy sample pages here…

by Jim Woodring
Fantagraphics $19.99

The publisher says:
In this all-new, original graphic novel from an acknowledged master, Frank’s found a soulmate. For the past 20 years or so, Jim Woodring’s beloved trilobular chuckbuster Frank has enjoyed one mindbending catastrophe after another in the treacherous embrace of The Unifactor, the land into which he was born and from which escape seemed neither desirable nor likely. And then, abruptly, in 2011’s acclaimed Congress of the Animals (the second Woodring original graphic novel, following Weathercraft) Frank did leave the Unifactor for uncharted lands beyond—where, after a string of trials, he acquired a soulmate named Fran. This development raised far more questions than it answered. Would Frank become placid and domesticated? Would he be jilted? Would he turn out to be a dreadful cad? Would he become a downtrodden and exhausted paterfamilias staring vacantly into the dimming fire of life as obnoxious grandchildren pulled his peglike ears and stole his porridge? The answers to these fruitless speculations and many more are delivered in a devastatingly unpredictable fashion in Fran, which is in effect part two of Congress of the Animals. Fans of Frank, connoisseurs of bizarre romance, and spelunkers in the radiant depths of graphic metaphysical psychodrama will want to add this singular cartoon adventure story to their lifetime reading list. Black & white illustrations throughout. Watch Jim Woodring’s trailer at United States Artists Projects here…

Harlan Ellison’s Seven Against Chaos
by Harlan Ellison & Paul Chadwick
DC Comics $24.99

The publisher says:
Harlan Ellison, science fiction’s brightest luminary, has joined forces with multi-award winning artist Paul Chadwick, creator of the incomparable Concrete, to bring you Seven Against Chaos, a graphic novel that is singular, powerful and unpredictable. This extraordinary odyssey of mystery and adventure will take you to the rim of reality and beyond. In a distant future, Earth is in grave danger: The fabric of reality itself in unraveling, leading to catastrophic natural disasters, displaced souls appearing from bygone eras, and sudden, shocking cases of spontaneous combustion. The only hope for Earth’s survival is a force of seven warriors, each with his or her special abilities. But can these alien Seven Samurai learn to get along in time to find the source of the gathering chaos and save all of reality? Ellison talks to Comic Book Resources here…

Lost Cat
by Jason
Fantagraphics $24.99

The publisher says:
Jason’s full-length detective graphic novel revolves around a missing cat — and a missing woman. A detective is walking down the street. It is raining. He sees a “Lost Cat” poster. A minute later he sees the cat from the photo. He picks it up and goes back to the poster. He calls the number. A woman answers. He turns up at her place and gives her the cat. She invites him in from the rain for a cup of coffee. They talk and find out they have a lot in common: both are divorced and living alone. Some days later he invites her out for a dinner. She accepts. He shows up at the agreed time. She doesn’t. He calls her home and knocks on her door. No answer. He asks the neighbors. They haven’t seen her. She has disappeared. He makes some phone calls and investigates, but can’t find her. He gets a new client and has to start working on a new case. In his head he continues their conversation. Lost Cat, the new graphic novel by Jason (after years of “graphic novellas” of less than 50 pages, arguably his first genuine graphic novel) is both a playful take on the classic detective story, and a story about how difficult it is to find a sister spirit, someone you feel a real connection to—and what do you do if you lose that person? Two color throughout. Jason has posted some pages on his blog here…

Make Good Art
by Neil Gaiman & Chip Kidd
William Morrow $12.99

The publisher says:
In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he urged them to make good art. The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

Marble Season
by Gilbert Hernandez
Drawn & Quarterly / Faber & Faber $21.95 / £14.99

The publisher says:
The untold coming-of-age story from a contemporary comics master. Marble Season is the semiautobiographical novel by the acclaimed cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez, author of the epic masterpiece Palomar and cocreator, with his brothers, Jaime and Mario, of the groundbreaking Love and Rockets comic book series. Marble Season is his first book with Drawn & Quarterly, and one of the most anticipated books of 2013. It tells the untold stories from the early years of these American comics legends, but also portrays the reality of life in a large family in suburban 1960s California. Pop-culture references—TV shows, comic books, and music—saturate this evocative story of a young family navigating cultural and neighborhood norms set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics. Middle child Huey stages Captain America plays and treasures his older brother’s comic book collection almost as much as his approval. Marble Season subtly and deftly details how the innocent, joyfully creative play that children engage in (shooting marbles, backyard performances, and organizing treasure hunts) changes as they grow older and encounter name-calling naysayers, abusive bullies, and the value judgments of other kids. An all-ages story, Marble Season masterfully explores the redemptive and timeless power of storytelling and role play in childhood, making it a coming-of-age story that is as resonant with the children of today as with the children of the Sixties. Read a nine-page pdf preview here…

by C.F.
PictureBox $19.95

The publisher says:
In 2012, Providence-based artist and musician C.F. began to produce a series of more than a dozen zines, which he distributed via Twitter. Each zine offered a take on, and expansion upon, a classic comic strip genre-from crime and sci-fi to punk and sex-all of them infused throughout by C.F.‘s absurdist humor and loose improvisatory drawing. Less than 50 copies of each zine were printed; needless to say, they sold out instantly. Collected here for the first time, they constitute a kind of bravura display of C.F.‘s dexterity with pen and ink.

My Dirty Dumb Eyes
by Lisa Hanawalt
Drawn & Quarterly $19.95

The publisher says:
My Dirty Dumb Eyes introduces Lisa Hanawalt as a first-rank cartoonist/humorist/stalker for an audience that likes its humor idiosyncratic, at times anthropomorphic or scatological, often uncomfortable, and always sharp witted. Her world vision is intricately rendered in a full spectrum of color, unapologetically gorgeous and intensely bizarre.  With movie reviews, tips for her readers, laugh-out-loud lists and short pieces such as ‘Rumors I’ve Heard About Anna Wintour’, and ‘The Secret Lives of Chefs’,  Hanawalt’s comedy shines, making the quotidian silly and surreal, flatulent and facetious. Download an 8-page pdf extract here…

Occupy Comics #1 (of 3)
by Alan Moore, David Lloyd & various creators
Black Mask Studios $3.50

Occupy Comics brings together more than 50 comics pros to discuss and document the themes, goals, and ideals of the Occupy movement while also raising funds to support it. With a roster spanning from legends like Alan Moore & David Lloyd (V For Vendetta) to rising stars like Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead) to icons like Art Spiegelman (Maus), Occupy Comics is a once-in-a-lifetime coalition of intelligent creatives using sequential art to record history as it’s being made. 40 pages, full colour. See sneak previews and extra info here…


Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes
by Matt Kindt
First Second $26.99

The publisher says:
Welcome to the city of Red Wheelbarrow, where the world’s greatest detective has yet to meet the crime he can’t solve—every criminal in Red Wheelbarrow is caught and convicted thanks to Detective Gould’s brilliant mind and cutting-edge spy technology. But lately there has been a rash of crimes so eccentric and random that even Detective Gould is stumped. Will he discover the connection between the compulsive chair thief, the novelist who uses purloined street signs to write her magnum opus, and the photographer who secretly documents peoples’ most anguished personal moments? Or will Detective Gould finally meet his match? Matt Kindt operates with wit and perception in the genre of hard-boiled crime fiction. Red Handed owes as much to Paul Auster as Dashiell Hammett, and raises some genuinely sticky questions about human nature. 272 pages, full colour. First Second’s Gina Gagliano has some advance pics and comments here…


Roy Thomas Presents Frankenstein by Dick Briefer Vol 1
by Dick Briefer
PS Art Books $47.99

The publisher says:
Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein for Prize Comics is widely regarded as being America’s first ongoing horror series. Indeed, it was Briefer’s work that probably caused the creature to be actually named as Frankenstein instead of the nameless monstrosity from Shelley’s novel. Splitting the stories between two stools-humor and horror-Briefer’s tales are absorbing and unsettling in equal parts. Some of the humorous material has already been reprinted, though not necessarily in order nor in total. Until now, of course. Reprints Prize Comics stories from December 1940-November 1943. 288 pages, full colour, hardback.

Sunny Vol 1
by Taiyo Matsumoto
Viz Media $22.99

The publisher says:
The latest manga masterpiece from the Eisner Award-winning creator of Tekkonkinkreet. What is Sunny? Sunny is a car. Sunny is a car you take on a drive with your mind. It takes you to the place of your dreams. Sunny is the story of beating the odds, in the ways that count. It’s the brand-new masterwork from Eisner Award-winner Taiyo Matsumoto, one of Japan’s most innovative and acclaimed manga artists. Translated by Tekkonkinkreet film director Michael Arias. 224 pages, black and white with colour. Read a conversation, partly about Sunny between Matsumoto and Daisuke Igarashi here…

by Jim Rugg
AdHouse Books $9.95

The publisher says:
Supermag is Jim Rugg’s latest print project, a magazine-sized collection of comics and art. It showcases his interests in genre work, irreverent humour, graphic design, drawing, and typography. Supermag features new work as well as collecting the best of his recent anthology contributions. 56 pages, full colour. Download a PDF preview from AdHouse here…


The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs
by Gary Northfield
Walker Books £8.99

The publisher says:
Is it possible to fly to the moon in a bubble of snot? Can you really have an argument with a cloud? Are there bogey monsters at the bottom of the garden? All these questions and more are explored in an hysterical and charming collection of comic strip adventures, following a teeny tiny gang of dinosaurs as they wind each other up and muddle their way through the myths and mysteries of prehistoric life. Gary has posted his teaser work-in-progress gallery here…


The From Hell Companion
by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
Top Shelf Productions / Knockabout Comics $29.95 / £19.99

The publisher says:
From Hell occupies a monumental place in the history of the graphic novel: a Victorian masterpiece of murder and madness which has won numerous awards, spawned a major Hollywood film, and remained a favorite of readers around the world for over two decades. Now, Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout Comics present The From Hell Companion, an astonishing selection of Alan Moore’s original scripts and sketches for the landmark graphic novel, with copious annotations, commentary, and illustrations by Eddie Campbell. Here for the first time are a set of pages, including some of Moore’s greatest writing, which have never been seen by anyone except his collaborator. Joining them are Campbell’s first-hand accounts of the project’s decade-long development, complete with photos, anecdotes, disagreements, and wry confessions. Arranged in narrative order, these perspectives form a fascinating mosaic, an opportunity to read From Hell with fresh eyes, and a tour inside the minds of two giants of their field. Comics Alliance has some preview pages here…


The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil
by Stephen Collins
Jonathan Cape £14.99

The publisher says:
‘The job of the skin is to keep things in.’ On the buttoned-down island of Here, all is well. By which we mean: orderly, neat, contained and, moreover, beardless. Or at least it is until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying,*! (*We mean a gigantic beard, basically.) Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what, most importantly, are they going to do with Dave? The first book from a new leading light of UK comics, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is an off-beat fable worthy of Roald Dahl. It is about life, death and the meaning of beards. 240 pages. Get a taster courtesy of Forbidden Planet International here…

The Grey Museum
by Lorenz Peter
Conundrum Press $20.00

The publisher says:
Set in the future, The Grey Museum is a galactic romp, following a small group of survivors as they fend with mystic beings, interstellar parasites and themselves. Everything here is decided by narcissistic gods and goddesses, disturbed spirits, and bored aliens. Our clueless captives are left to wander, meandering their way among ruins, souvenirs, and impossible trails, and the 300-year-old television station attempts to capture it all. The Greys, a cloned race of coffee-drinking pseudo-humanity, have created a machine to “contemplate” things from a distance and annihilate them by turning them into “Awht”. We experience death, rebirth and everything in between. The fate of all Earthly life is up to these eight hairy humans preserved in jelly, they just don’t know it yet. Lorenz Peter was born in Montreal in 1971 and spent his youth in northern Alberta in the 1980s. After a brief passage in art school there in 1990, Lorenz decided to apply his skill to comics full time. In 1997, he released his first self-published graphic novel, The Last Remaining Ancient Mellish Bird. He also produced Side Effect, a series of mini comics that was collected and published in 2007 by Pedlar Press. Pedlar also released the autobiographical graphic novels Chaos Mission (2003) and the Doug Wright award winning Dark Adaptation (2005). Lorenz now lives and works in Toronto, manages an artists co-op and record boutique. The Grey Museum is his return to fiction.


The Last of the Mohicans
by Shigeru Sugiura, edited & translated by Ryan Holmberg
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 Library
by Chihoi
Conundrum International $20.00

Christian Gasser in his introduction says:
To debut our new Conundrum International Imprint we have chosen the stories of Chihoi, a young Hong Kong artist, who has had books published in Chinese, Italian and French. The Library is the first English edition of his work. Reading the short stories included in this volume is like reading someone else’s dreams. “The Library” or “Father” reminds one of Kafka; “I’m with my Saint” feels Gauginesque. All the stories feel like smudged emotions, they speak to regular hurt and deprivation, strength in silence and loneliness in numbers. Questions are asked without question marks and are left unanswered even as the stories end. The Library is book of beautiful pencil lines, written to illustrate the tales we know in our heart but have never witnessed. Chihoi is a poet of the quotidian, of life’s minutia, of little gestures, of silences. He is also the poet of the invisible, invoking the spirit of a dead person or a lost love, and rendering him/her real. He offers us his stories with a little melancholy at the corner of his smile and he illuminates them with a warm spark. He imbues them with a rhythm, like a conversation, by the pauses. His stories are more complicated than they appear, they are open and complex and full of little contradictions and they resonate long after we turn the last page. They are like the calm after a storm, when the wind finally dies down and the landscape is revealed anew. Conundrum have some snapshots and extracts to look at here…


The Man Who Laughs
by David Hine & Mark Stafford
SelfMadeHero £14.99

The publisher says:
Victor Hugo’s scathing indictment of the injustice and inequality within Britain’s political system tells a story of abduction, mutilation, loss and prejudice. The narrative follows Gwynplaine, the two-year-old heir to a rebel lord, who is abducted upon the orders of a vindictive monarch, who has him mutilated (to produce a permanent, grisly smile), then abandoned. After years of living frugally he is re-introduced to the aristocratic life, and resolves to become the voice of the voiceless, whether he is heard or not. Alex Fitch interviews Hine & Stafford on Panel Borders for Resonance FM here…

The Reason for Dragons
by Chris Northrop & Jeff Stokely
Archaia Entertainment $19.95

The publisher says:
Wendell lives a lonely, suburban existence, losing himself in books in order to avoid his motorcycle-driving stepfather, Ted. When the school bullies convince Wendell to venture into the forest around their neighborhood and explore the long-abandoned Renaissance Fair grounds they all believe to be haunted, Wendell is surprised to find a man living in the barn - and even more surprised by the man himself. Believing himself to be a medieval knight named Sir Habaersham tasked with the duty of slaying the dragon he insists is wandering the woods, Wendell’s new acquaintance seems the definition of crackpot. But, when Wendell starts hearing rumblings - and listening to Habaersham’s stories - he starts to wonder if perhaps it could all be true! In a heartfelt coming of age story, Wendell must defy logic in order to follow his heart… a face the dragon of the forest! 128 pages, full colour. Publisher Archaia lets you peek inside here…

Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
by Ulli Lust
Fantagraphics $35.00

The publisher says:
Back in 1984, a rebellious,17-year-old, punked-out Ulli Lust set out for a wild hitchhiking trip across Italy, from Naples through Verona and Rome and ending up in Sicily. Twenty-five years later, this talented Austrian cartoonist has looked back at that tumultuous summer and delivered a long, dense, sensitive,and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece. Miraculously combining a perfect memory for both emotional and physical detail with the sometimes painful lucidity two and half decades’ distance have brought to her understanding of the events, Lust meticulously shows the who, where, when, and how (specifically, how an often penniless young girl can survive for months on the road) of a sometimes dangerous and sometimes exhilarating journey. Particularly haunting is her portrait of her fellow traveler, the gangly, promiscuous devil-may-care Edi who veers from being her spunky, funny best friend in the world to an out-of-control lunatic with no consideration for anything but her own whims and desires. Universally considered one of the very finest examples of the new breed of graphic novels coming from Europe, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life won the 2011 Angoulême “Revelation” prize, and Fantagraphics is proud to bring it to English speaking readers. Two color throughout, 460 pages. Ulli offers four samplers from it on her Electrocomics site here…

Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist Omnibus TP
by Asumiko Nakamura
Vertical Inc. $18.95

The publisher says:
Young author Aki Fujino appeared poised to making it big in the world of publishing. Her debut title Utsubora was being pitched about to a number of editors and at least one person felt it was set to propel her into stardom. However, before she could ever have her book published, the young woman was found dead. Some believe it was a suicide, but those close to her feel there is something more sinister involved in this young talent’s death. Aki’s death has become something straight out of a mystery. Much like the story behind Utsubora, there is something more to Aki, Sakura and their relationship with Misoro than meets the eye. And it is possible that the only way to solve this mystery may be to uncover all their secrets. B&W, 460 pages. Otaku Champloo shares some pages here…

Posted: March 24, 2013


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