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PG Previews:

May 2011

Below are the comics, manga and graphic novels I’m most looking forward to based on publisher advance listings due to be released in May 2011 (although actual dates may vary).



A Bride’s Story Vol 1
by Kaoru Mori
Yen Press
$16.99

The publisher says:
Amir is twenty years old when she marries her husband, a boy named Karluk from a neighboring village. Adjusting to life in a new household can be trying for any young bride, but Amir’s husband is eight years her junior! Amir was a strong, sophisticated hunter and horsewoman in her village, but though their villages were next to each other, their customs are very different. As Amir introduces Karluk to the foods and pastimes that were popular among her comrades back home, the warmth she feels for her young husband grows.

Paul Gravett says:
I rate Kaoru Mori’s Emma, an ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ romantic saga set in Victorian England, as one of the finest shojo or girls’ manga of recent years. So I have no hesitation in recommending this new series, also set in the 19th century, authentic and well-researched, but exploring love in a very different culture in Asia’s past and set along the Silk Road that connected Asia with the Mediterranean. This comes in a deluxe hardback format.



Celluloid
by Dave McKean
Fantagraphics
$35.00

Dave McKean says:
There are so many comics about violence. I’m not entertained or amused by violence, and I’d rather not have it in my life. Sex, on the other hand, is something the vast majority of us enjoy, yet it rarely seems to be the subject of comics. Pornography is usually bland, repetitive and ugly, and, at most, ‘does the job’. I always wanted to make a book that is pornographic, but is also, I hope, beautiful, and mysterious, and engages the mind.

Paul Gravett says:
What sparks our sexual impulses? More than anything, Cellulloid suggests, it is our imaginations. And better than film for doing this, of course, is the interactive language of comics. Here McKean lets us drifts from reality to flickering filmic fantasies in an impulsive flow of wordless imagery, driven by the desires and dreams of his female lead. While this is not perhaps the most significant or story-based offering by McKean, if you go with flow you’ll discover a sophisticated yet stimulating addition to the relatively underdeveloped genre of quality erotic graphic novels.



Chester 5000
by Jessica Fink
Top Shelf Productions
$14.95

The publisher says:
The Year: 1885, a time of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. The Heroine: Pricilla, a beautiful woman who knows what she wants… and wants it all the time. The Husband: Robert, a scientist and inventor - unfortunately, the only thing he can keep on his mind is his work. Ah, but what does a scientist love more than a problem to solve? Some gears, some springs, the proper appendages, a little extra lubricant, and a little extra love and voila. Chester 5000-XYV is born. Chester is the perfect tool to soothe Pricilla’s desires… but what if Chester is more than just a machine? What are the consequences of attempting to engineer love?

Paul Gravett says:
Another mostly wordless erotic graphic novel, this time by a woman webtoonist and vaguely steampunk in theme. Super robot lovers have been in comics before of course, from Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella and her metallic lothario to Magnus’s well-endowed Necron. Drawing crisply with grey washes, Jessica Fink’s approach is more playfully cartoonish and pseudo-Victorian, yet she can still get pretty raunchy. I like the way she lets her rectangular panels morph and undulate as passions rise, the borders sprouting ornate filigree flourishes. She’s also quite witty in her use of sound effects (‘Vert’ for a mechanical erection or ‘Spwoo’ for a robo-orgasm) and the full-page diagrams of Chester 5000’s advanced, pseudo-Latin attributes like ‘The Cunnilingua Nasum’ or the ‘Extendo Limbus’. The inventor-husband may become resentful of his robot creation servicing his wife so efficiently, but after all he was the one who invented and constructed this mechanical manservant and gave him his fully functioning parts.   



Chico & Rita
by Javier Mariscal & Fernando Trueba
SelfMadeHero
£15.99

The publisher says:
Cuba, 1948. Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unite them, but their journey - in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero - brings heartache and torment. From Havana to New York, Paris, Hollywood and Las Vegas, two passionate individuals battle impossible odds to unite in music and love.

Paul Gravett says:
You’ve seen the movie, now read the graphic novel. Or maybe you’ve not seen the movie, in which case this is a great alternative and introduction, which neatly times with the DVD release here. Mark Kermode on the BBC’s Culture Show awarded Mariscal and Trueba with one of his alternative Oscars. Personally, I think something has been lost between the spirit and spontaneity of Mariscal’s original designs for Chico & Rita and what has ended up on the big screen. The result really looks closer to the work of Jacques de Loustal.  I am rather more excited about Mariscal’s next animated movie, based on his Garriris, Fermin and Piker, who are on exhibition now at Galerie Champaka in Brussels and feature in Art Review this month.



Even The Giants
by Jesse Jacobs
Adhouse Books
$9.95

The publisher says:
Jesse Jacobs bursts onto the comic scene with his first published work Even The Giants. The work beautifully captures the isolation of the Great White North while also giving the artist a sequential canvas to explore and experiment. Jesse’s work has been nominated for the Doug Wright award and has won the Gene Day award.

Paul Gravett says:
You’ve got to love a comic that shows an igloo being built step-by-step on one page. Life and lore from the frozen north in this Canadian cartoonist’s intriguing three-colour debut. Adhouse consistently select strong new voices for their list. They let you download a pdf preview so see what you think.



Farm 54
by Galit & Gilad Seliktar
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
$25.00

The publisher says:
Farm 54 is a collection of three semi-autobiographical stories addressing three important periods in the life of the protagonist, Noga, born at the start of the 1970’s and growing up in Israel’s rural periphery. Substitute Lifeguard (1981) finds her towards the end of her childhood as she experiences a family trauma, a blessing and a birthday. Spanish Perfume (1983) brings her to teenage in the wake of the First Lebanon War whilst Houses (1989) portrays her passage to adulthood and hence military service in the occupied territories. These stories present the disturbing underground dimensions of adolescence and the dangers and traumas that subvert the superficial tranquillity of youth in the countryside. While these Israeli childhood stories take place in the shadow of war and occupation, they eventually also reflect universal feelings, passions and experiences.

Paul Gravett says:
I met this Israeli duo, writer Galit and artist Gilad, in 2009 when their Farm 54 had been published in French and went on to be justly nominated for an Angoulême Essential prize. Gilad’s drawings have a lightness of touch and rare subtlety to them, lines evaporating, disappearing, replaced by blocks of colour. It’s perfect for evoking these memories and experiences of growing up in Israel from girl to young woman. I gather this is an expanded edition in English setting the story in context, including the war in Lebanon and the occupied territories. Plans are afoot to bring one or ideally both to London for the publication, hopefully to tie in with the Comics & Conflicts Conference at the Imperial War Museum in August.



Garden
by Yuichi Yokoyama
PictureBox
$24.95

The publisher says:
A group of friends is attempting to enter a garden just beyond a wall. When they succeed, the garden they finally enter is no Eden, but rather a massive landscape of machines, geometric forms and all manner of nonorganic objects. In Japanese comic-book artist Yuichi Yokoyama’s newest and longest (at 328 pages) work of graphic magic, his characters become enmeshed in a fantastic wonderland of distorted mirrors, photographic equipment, massive libraries and complex pathways. To his signature vivid visual style, Yokoyama has added more dialogue than in past works, fleshing out the characters and allowing them equal billing with his spectacular architectural creations, thus yielding a reflection on the myriad ways human interact with the complex mechanical world we have created. Douglas Wolk, writing in the New York Times Book Review, declared that few cartoonists of the moment are “weirder or more original than Yuichi Yokoyama.”

Paul Gravett says:
More strikingly inventive, at times graphically abstracted, manga amazement from the author of Travel, here allowed to expand his approach to 332 pages. You can read my article about him and enjoy his daily musings here.



Gil Jordan: Murder By High Tide
by Maurice Tillieux
Fantagraphics
$18.99

The publisher says:
Another never-before-translated classic from the Golden Age of Franco-Belgian comics, finally brought to American readers. Imagine the beautifully crisp images of Hergé put in service of a series of wise-cracking, fast-paced detective stories - punctuated with scenes of spectacular vehicular mayhem (including in this volume a dockside pursuit via car and bulldozer) - and you’ll see why 50 years later Gil Jordan is still considered a masterpiece in Europe. Gil Jordan is a nattily-dressed but tough-as-nails private eye, seconded by his trusty ex-burglar assistant Crackerjack and his eccentric friend Inspector Crouton (as well as the invaluable Miss Midge). Fantagraphics’ first Gil Jordan book combines two of Gil’s finest yarns in one splendid hardcover. In Murder by High Tide, Gil and his associates are hired to investigate the suspicious disappearance (death?) of an antiques dealer, while in Leap of Faith they get involved in trying to protect an attorney from Joe the Needle, a mysteriously escaped convict with apparent superhuman powers who has sworn vengeance.

Paul Gravett says:
I had to pinch myself! Here’s the first of two almost unbelievable translations of Franco-Belgian classics from the Fifties and Sixties this month. Fantagraphics’ Kim Thompson brings us this two-album complete case of Tillieux’s detective, Gil Jourdin in the original. Tillieux is a master storyteller and stylist, redolent of the period, and a formative influence on Serge Clerc, Yves Chaland and other later Atom Style artists. Another landmark bande dessinée in English at last.



Gingerbread Girl
by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
Top Shelf Productions
$12.95

The publisher says:
There are plenty of established facts concerning 26-year-old Annah Billips. She likes sushi and mountains, but hates paper cuts and beer breath. She dates girls and boys, and loves to travel. She may have a missing sister, or she might be insane. Did Annah invent an imaginary sister named Ginger during her parents’ ferocious divorce, or did her mad scientist father extract part of her brain and transform it into a living twin? In this graphic novel, a host of narrators including boyfriends, girlfriends, magicians, pigeons, bulldogs, and convenience store clerks follow Annah through a night in her life in an attempt to determine that one last fact about Annah… and the Gingerbread Girl. Square two-toned format totaling 112 pages.

Paul Gravett says:
I’ve admired Colleen Coover’s solo comics for a while now over at Eros Comics for their likeable Archie-esque breeziness, and here she really outdoes herself, delivering some of the most inventive sequential art of her career. She’s really responding to Paul Tobin’s clever, surprising scripting. From the outset, Annah Billips is addressing us directly, breaking that fourth wall and proving she is as much of a tease to us readers as to her co-stars, especially Chili, her Afro-haired lover. Whether human or creature, within this graphic novel everyone tries their hand at explaining to us the theories of Annah’s odd life. The more we learn about Annah and her sister, who seems to have stolen some of her sense of feeling, maybe some of her fear as well, and Annah’s very peculiar worldview and behaviour, the more she becomes a fascinating puzzle, a fantastical medical/psychological enigma, and someone we get to love, though never fully understand. A delightful surprise. 



I Will Bite You! & Other Stories
by Joseph Lambert
Secret Acres
$14.00

The publisher says:
Juxtaposing an economy of line with sophisticated, unusual narratives, this is the long-awaited debut of an artist many are watching with interest.  Joseph Lambert, a graduate of The Center for Cartoon Studies, lives in Vermont with his wife and dog. His comic ‘Turtle, Keep It Steady!’ was published in Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Comics 2008, for which he also designed the endpapers. His illustrations have appeared in Business Week, Popular Mechanics, 7Days, The Comics Journal and more.

Paul Gravett says:
A noteworthy name unfamiliar (to me) in last year’s American Best Comics survey, Lambert gets a compilation of assorted graphic stories. Secret Acres can always be relied upon for their sharp eye and good taste in promoting upcoming creators. He’s got loads of good-looking stuff on flickr.



If ‘N’ Oof
by Brian Chippendale
Picture Box
$29.95

The publisher says:
If ‘n’ Oof focuses on the misadventures of the mismatched eponymous duo Chippendale’s very own Laurel and Hardy. Comedy, horror, and out-and-out adventure in a story-driven, manga-style adventure, replete with the frenetic linework and concise, witty dialogue for which he has become known.

Paul Gravett says:
A giant chunky helping of Chippendale effervescence, like a momentum-fuelled, cartoon-brut video game.  Dip into these extracts to see the energy and fun of his world-building.



Jack Magic: The Life & Art Of Jack Kirby Vol 1
by Greg Theakston
Pure Imagination
$25.00

The publisher says:
The long-awaited biography of Jack Kirby, The King of Comics, written by Greg Theakston, Jack’s workmate and personal historian, it’s a detailed study of Kirby’s life and career. Included are extensive quotes from Kirby, Joe Simon, Will Eisner, and many more.

Paul Gravett says:
Both partners in the Simon & Kirby team have biographies out this month. This one has been some time coming, but Theakston is an insightful historian and while we wait for Mark Evanier’s exhaustive lifestory of the King of Comics, let’s enjoy his take on the subject.



Joe Simon: The Man Behind The Comics
by Joe Simon
Titan Publishing
$24.95

The publisher says:
In his own words, this is the life of Joe Simon, one of the most important figures in comics history and half of the famous creative team Simon and Kirby. Joe Simon co-created Captain America, star of this summer’s anticipated movie blockbuster, and was the first Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics (then known as Timely, where he hired Stan Lee for his first job in comics). He recounts the near-death of comics, the Congressional witch-hunts of the 1950s, and the scramble for creators to survive. In the process he reveals what it was like to bring comics out of their infancy, as they became an American art form.

Paul Gravett says:
A rare privilege to read an account of four-colour history from truly a living legend who played a key role in the birth and growth of American comic books. His previous biography The Comic Book Makers, reissued a while back by Vanguard, also comes highly recommended.



Kinky & Cosy
by Nix
NBM
$14.99

The publisher says:
Meet the most dangerous twin girls in the universe. Their record of wrong doings, on purpose or not, will raise your hair on end. A darkly subversive collection of cynical comics gags that is sweeping Europe. Nothing is sacred for these two lil’ monsters. South Park meets Monty Python.

Paul Gravett says:
The Flemish Invasion seems unstoppable! After Randall C., Judith Vanistendael and Brecht Evens comes the demented lunacy of this terrible twosome, an update of the grand tradition of pairs of junior trouble-makers, going back to Wilhelm Busch’s Max & Moritz. Mad Belgian fun from a funny Belgian madman! Read examples of these three-panel strips on Nix’s blog or this preview.



Level Up!
by Gene Luen Yang & Thien Pham
First Second
$19.99

The publisher says:
Smackdown! Video Games vs. Medical School! Which will win the battle for our hero’s attention in Gene Luen Yang’s new graphic novel? Dennis Ouyang lives in the shadow of his parents’ high expectations. They want him to go to med school and become a doctor. Dennis just wants to play video games - and he might actually be good enough to do it professionally. But four adorable, bossy, and occasionally terrifying angels arrive just in time to lead Dennis back onto the straight and narrow: the path to gastroenterology. It’s all part of the plan, they tell him. But is it? This powerful piece of magical realism brings into sharp relief the conflict many teens face between pursuing their dreams and living their parents’.

Paul Gravett says:
What is the right thing to do? Bowing to parental pressures or pursuing your passions? I for one was lucky to have parents who let me follow my obsession with comics, even though I got a degree in law and could have followed my father and become a solicitor. Level Up! explores this theme mixing down-to-earth realism and heaven-sent comedy. Check this preview of the first 11 pages.



Life With Mr Dangerous
by Paul Hornschemeier
Villard Books
$20.00

The publisher says:
Somewhere in the Midwest, Amy Breis is going nowhere. Amy has a job she hates, a creep boyfriend she’s just dumped, and a best friend she can’t reach on the phone. But at least her (often painfully passive-aggressive) mother bought her a pink unicorn sweatshirt for her birthday. Pink. Unicorn. For her twenty-seventh birthday. Gliding through the daydreams and realities of a young woman searching for definition, Life With Mr. Dangerous showcases acclaimed cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier’s gift for deadpan humor and dead-on insight with a droll aftertaste - an unlikely but welcome marriage of the bleak and the hopeful.

Paul Gravett says:
Maybe like me you’ve been following the spasmodic episodes of this in Fantagraphics’ Mome. After the acclaim for Hornschemeier’s affecting Mother Come Home, he’s delivered some intriguing follow-ups but this one looks by far the most substantial and significant leap forward in his oeuvre.



Luchadores
by Peggy Adam
Blank Slate Books
£12.99

The publisher says:
Since 1993, a grievous shadow has been cast over the Mexican border-city of Juárez. A tragic symbol of misogynist violence, Cuidad Juárez has been the scene of hundreds of feminicidios - the abduction and brutal murders of female victims aged between 12 and 22. Referred to as ‘Las Muertas de Juárez’, many of these victims are found tortured, sexually abused, or disfigured - senseless atrocities that have caught international attention. With many of these cases still unresolved, some sources suggest the number of victims may even reach into the thousands. It is in this harrowing real setting that we are introduced to Alma, a woman courageously attempting to escape her abusive gang-member fiancé. Following a violent altercation, she flees in the night, cementing her vow to never return by beginning a new relationship with a considerate stranger. In this story of survival by any means necessary, Peggy Adam explores the complex issues surrounding the murders through the humanity of her characters. Truly a graphic novel of substance, Luchadoras asks the reader to consider where exactly the extents of morality lie in a corrupt society. Chosen as part of the 2007 Sélection Officielle at the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

Paul Gravett says:
No wonder menace has the word men in it. French artist Peggy Adam delivers a harrowing indictment here of sexist masculine aggression, violence and killing of women, and presents a strong female lead in Alma who is determined to keep her women’s support centre going to make this terrible situation change, above all ‘for our daughters’ sakes’. In fact, it’s Alma’s little daughter Laura who brings such pathos and vulnerability to this dark aspect of modern Mexico, through her discovering a woman’s dismembered corpse, or hiding inside a blanket from her ‘mean Daddy’, Alma’s insanely jealous financé Romel, or by playing at ‘fixing’ a dead cat, ‘Mr Kitty’. Somehow, even her playful puncturing of a pinata seems sinister in this context. We learn more about these outrages through Alma’s explanations to tourist and photographer Jean, but can their deepening relationship become anything more than a holiday fling and enable Alma to escape her predicament? The worst of this corrupt system is how Alma resorts to using it herself to pay to get rid of her pathological ex-lover. I’m impressed by Adam’s crisp linework, placing and contrasting stark black-and-white art, and the way she makes us uncomfortably aware of the male gaze, inserting cropped shots of her lead character Alma to heighten the tension. Her speech balloons are effectively used too, putting swearing and loud exclamations roughly lettered into cramped-to-bursting crooked bubbles. Though much shorter at 97 ages, Luchadores is a concise, focussed gem that deserves to sit up there alongside epics like Los Bros Hernandez’ Love & Rockets and Jessica Abel’s La Perdida as another empathic, perceptive portrayal of troubling aspects of contemporary Mexican society.



Paying For It
by Chester Brown
Drawn & Quarterly
$24.95

The publisher says:
Chester Brown has never shied away from tackling controversial subjects in his work. In his 1992 book, The Playboy, he explored his personal history with pornography. His bestselling 2003 graphic novel, Louis Riel, was a biographical examination of an extreme political figure. In Paying For It Chester Brown calmly lays out the facts of how he became not only a willing participant in but a vocal proponent of one of the world’s most hot-button topics - prostitution. While this may appear overly sensational and just plain implausible to some, Brown’s story stands for itself. Paying For It offers an entirely contemporary exploration of sex work - from the timid john who rides his bike to his escorts, wonders how to tip so as not to offend, and reads Dan Savage for advice, to the modern-day transactions complete with online reviews, seemingly willing participants, and clean apartments devoid of clichéd street corners, drugs, or pimps.

Paul Gravett says:
I remember hearing about this one back in 2007 when I was kindly invited to the Toronto Comic Art Festival and met Chester Brown again. I heard he has been on the radio being interviewed about his biography Louis Riel, all very historical, researched and respectable, and he was asked what his next graphic novel would be about. When he replied that it would be about his experiences with prostitutes, this caused something of a shock and threw the interviewer off. And now it’s done and due out. I’ve just received the complete pdf so a full review will follow. I can assure you this will be one of 2011’s most remarkable graphic memoirs and will stir up those thorny issues surrounding prostitution.



Sibyl-Anne vs Ratticus
by Raymond Macherot
Fantagraphics
$16.99

The publisher says:
Part of Fantagraphics’ program of translating into English the best of post-Tintin Franco-Belgian all-ages comics, Macherot’s Sibylline series (as it is called in French) is widely regarded as one of the great classics of the field, and is part of a Complete Sibylline project. Sibyl-Anne and her fiancé Boomer live in blissful peace in the French countryside until the evil rat Ratticus, evicted from his previous residence, sets his eye on the quiet acre that the couple share with their friends (a porcupine, a crow, and a rabbit). After a hilariously unsuccessful attempt to infiltrate the quiet little community in drag (which leaves a member of the cast smitten, Some Like It Hot-style), the devious Ratticus engineers the takeover of a neighboring rat colony and builds it into an army that sweeps Sibyl-Anne and her friends off their homestead and onto an island. Battles by land, by sea, and even by air ensue, until finally the wicked are defeated and peace is restored. Macherot’s charming mouse’s-eye views of bucolic idyll and his fast-paced, witty storytelling turn this book into something like a Pixar version of The Wind in the Willows.

Paul Gravett says:
And here’s the other gem of a bande dessinée this month, by another grand master unavailable before in translation. Macherot is almost the Barks of BD, taking the funny animal genre and infusing it with multiple levels of humour and pathos. He deserves far greater fame internationally. I do hope Fantagraphics get round to also doing another of his chefs-d’oeuvre, Chlorophylle.



Tank Tankuro
by Gajo Sakamoto
Presspop Inc
$29.95

The publisher says:
First published in 1934, Tank Tankuro was one of the most famous manga characters during the time, lining up next to Norakuro. He is said to be one of the first robot ever to appear in Japanese manga and may be the first superhero in manga. Tank Tankuro influenced greatly, many manga artists, such as Shigeru Sugiura, Osamu Tezuka, Fujio Fujiko etc, and is the foundation stone from which many masterpieces of manga art would spring from. Tankuro became the archetype for various Japanese manga heroes that were to follow. This work is famous for its innovative and captivating adventure stories full of surrealism, nonsense, innocence, absurdity, and eccentricity. But it got lost in the turmoil of the World War II for a long time.

Chris Ware says:
I considered it a pleasant diversion and a distinct honor working on the cover design of Tank Tankuro... Sakamoto’s pages seemed wonderfully energetic, almost willfully naive and playful, yet also strangely dire, given their overriding military theme. The immediate Western association I saw was with cartoonist Milt Gross, of the so-called ‘screwball’ school whose work captured the slam-bang of vaudeville, Yiddish humor and never took itself seriously, while at the same time getting at some of the common frustrations and societal anger that ‘higher arts’ don’t necessarily directly address. Gross’s frenetic, loopy pen style is analogous somewhat to Sakamoto’s, and I get the same sort of feeling of hectic happiness when looking at their work.

Paul Gravett says:
Chris Ware‘s design is the icing on the cake of this gorgeous slipcased English edition of a foundational pre-War robot manga gem. There are wonders in early Japanese comics before Tezuka waiting to be discovered in translation and waiting for their often un-‘cinematic’ techniques and approaches to be appreciated and perhaps applied to comics-making worldwide. Let’s hope this leads to more examples, like a facsimile of Norakuro by Tagawa perhaps? Meantime, you can visit Sakamoto’s website (in Japanese) and download ten sample pages (in Japanese).



The Floundering Time
by Katy Weselcouch
Slave Labor Graphics
$12.95

The publisher says:
Best friends Emma and Joey are in their senior year at a women’s college, navigating through their last days in the school’s isolated scene. Emma is harboring a long standing crush on her transgender friend Elliott, while messy Joey works her way through stoic bad-girl types. They stumble through drunken parties, rock shows and day trips, avoiding the looming questions of their ‘futures’ in pursuit of misguided crushes and cool girl status.

Paul Gravett says:
There’s no doubt Katy Weselcouch has got a gift for a telling turn of phrase and the awkwardnesses of conversations and chat-up lines. Her drawing in outlines and line shading and patterns is unpolished but direct and observant. I read the 23-page opener and wanted to know how this develops. Here’s the preview, so judge for yourself.



The Influencing Machine
by Brooke Gladstone & Josh Neufeld
WW Norton
$23.95

The publisher says:
Nearly one million weekly listeners trust NPR’s Brooke Gladstone to guide them through the distortions and complexities of the modern media. This brilliant radio personality now bursts onto the page as an illustrated character in vivid comics drawn by acclaimed artist Josh Neufeld. The cartoon of Brooke conducts the reader through two millennia of history-from the newspapers in Caesar’s Rome to the penny press of the American Revolution and the manipulations of contemporary journalism. Gladstone’s manifesto debunks the notion that ‘The Media’ is an external force, outside of our control, since we’ve begun directly constructing, filtering, and responding to what we watch and read. With fascinating digressions, sobering anecdotes, and brave analytical wit, The Influencing Machine equips us to be smart, savvy, informed consumers and shapers of the media. It shows that we have met the media and it is us. So now what?

Paul Gravett says:
Another smart, accessible docu-comic or graphic non-fiction, imaginatively visualised by Neufeld, author of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge. We Brits may be largely unaware of American public radio’s Brooke Gladstone, but her insights into the media’s effects are revealing and relevant to us all.  Scribd has some sample pages here.



The Next Day
by Paul Peterson, Jason Gilmore & John Porcellino
Pop Sandbox
$16.95

The publisher says:
Around the world, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. The number of attempts is up to 20 times greater… What if they had waited just one more day? The Next Day is a ground-breaking print graphic novel and a separate interactive animated online documentary, both constructed from interviews with survivors of near-fatal suicide attempts. In this poetic and profound philosophical exploration, four seemingly ordinary people each offer haunting insight into life, the decision to end it, and what comes after… The graphic novel presents a powerful collection of key moments from these four people’s lives while the interactive online experience allows viewers the opportunity to create their own path through the original audio interviews, coupled with stunning animations based on the illustrations of John Porcellino. Co-written by a social worker turned playwright, directed by a filmmaker, illustrated by an acclaimed fine artist and cartoonist, and developed for the web by an award-winning animation and technical production team, The Next Day is an exciting new hybrid of documentary film, animation, comic book and interactive storytelling.

Paul Gravett says:
A major addition to the sector of Graphic Medicine, comics tackling medical and psychological issues, The Next Day gives a voice to those who have lived another day and chosen life over suicide. I can think of few artists more sensitive and appropriate to the task of illustrating these tales than Porcellino. I met Pop Sandbox’s Alex Jansen in London last year and heard about this exciting project, which is not just a graphic novel but also a robust interactive animated online documentary co-produced with the prestigious National Film Board of Canada now in production. Porcellino is guesting at TCAF in Toronto this May as part of the book’s launch.



Walt Kelly: The Life & Art Of The Creator Of Pogo
by Thomas Andrae, Carsten Laqua, Mark Burstein & Scott Daley
Hermes Press
$49.99

The publisher says:
For the first time, an exhaustive look at the art and career of Walt Kelly, from his days at Disney working on such films as Snow White, Fantasia, and Dumbo to his work for Dell comics culminating with his work on Pogo, this full color art book has it all! Full of original never-before seen artwork,beautiful examples of Kelly’s comic book and book covers, and animation art, this definitive survey of Kelly’s career presents essays by scholars Tom Andrae, Carsten Laqua, and Mark Burstein together with an appreciation by Kelly’s stepson, Scott Daley.

Paul Gravett says:
Frankly, Hermes Press may not always come up with the sharpest of graphic design, but the contents and reproduction are typically top-notch and this promises to be an all-in-colour treaure-trove and an informative biography-cum-artbook. It also serves as a fine warm-up and appetiser for Fantagraphics’ complete hardback reprinting of Walt Kelly’s newspaper strip masterpiece, which begins this coming October.

Posted: March 27, 2011

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