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PG Previews:

November 2012

Welcome back to my monthly survey of what’s in store and in stores in two months time or so. November 2012 kicks of with perhaps an atypical choice, the extravagent widescreen science-fiction volume Anomaly, which does look like living up to its name by incorporating ‘augmented reality’ effects within its pages. I’ve experienced these for myself elsewhere, for example on François Schuiten’s first solo graphic novel La Douce from Casterman (not yet translated into English). This technology could seem gimmicky but I suspect it will push comics into some unexpected and intriguing directions. I’m also buzzed to see two chunky volumes of great manga by women out this month, from Moto Hagio’s Seventies classic (as featured in my 2004 book Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics), to Mari Yamazaki’s current best-seller about Ancient Roman baths (I saw her on a public panel at the Paris Salon du Livre last March for the French edition). My PG Tips range from single stapled comics books to ginormous bricks of graphic novels like Ulli Lust’s punk-era autobio gem, from the latest in IDW’s astonishing life-size facsimile books of the finest in American comic book artwork shot in hi-res direct from the originals to Chris Ware’s make-your-own-building cardboard model portfolio. The variety and quality here are really exciting. I hope you enjoy exploring my suggestions and discover some upcoming items to delight you, augmented or not!

by Brian Haberlin, Skip Brittenham & Geirrod Van Dyke
Anomaly Productions

The publisher says:
Earth 2717: The 3rd Golden Age. Building a better tomorrow today… The planet we call home slowly dies beneath us. Most humans now live in teeming surface “Terrarium Cities,” off world colonies or orbiting space stations. All of earth’s resources have been depleted. All corporations, nations and technologies have merged into The Conglomerate, whose Enforcer Battalions now conquer whole planets to feed its shareholders’ insatiable appetites. The Conglomerate, which began with the spirit of the best mankind had to offer, saved humanity from itself by taking us to the stars and has become the most ruthless profit machine to ever exist. Never use a robot when a human will do… Dishonorably discharged from the Conglomerate’s elite Enforcer Corps, Jon is doing a job too lowly for a robot. He leaps at the chance to go on a peaceful, first contact mission to an untainted world. Playing armed babysitter to Samantha, the daughter of a powerful Conglomerate executive, shouldn’t be too hard. What could go wrong? Everything… For Jon, it’s a relief to get away – on an easy assignment protecting a couple of do-gooders visiting a peaceful new planet. For Samantha, it’s a mission to change the world. For Jasson, it’s a chance to put his theories to the test. Being marooned on Anomaly where technology doesn’t work, the terrain is lethal and the creatures even more so, Jon quickly learns he’s not the man he once was. Dark secrets surround the various species that call this world home. Jon’s actions here have the potential to ripple across the void of space, and touch everything in it… Maybe even the Conglomerate. But when Anomaly sprouts synthetics-eating viruses, flesh-eating mutants and deadly magic, it becomes a race against which form of death will come first. Who will survive? Who will return? Join us on an adventure that reclaims our humanity and saves a world! Bonus: includes Anomaly UAR that integrates the print and virtual experience like never before.

Barnaby Vol 1
by Crockett Johnson

The publisher says:
Before authoring one of the most beloved children’s book series of all time, Harold and the Purple Crayon, cartoonist Crockett Johnson created the comic strip Barnaby for over ten years (1942 to 1952). Its subtle ironies and playful allusions never won a broad following, but the adventures of 5-year-old Barnaby Baxter and his fairy godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley was and is a critical favorite. Fantagraphics will introduce the wonders of Barnaby to a new generation of children and parents alike. Co-edited by Johnson biographer Philip Nel (Dr. Seuss: American Icon) and Fantagraphics Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds, with art direction by graphic novelist Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), this five-volume Barnaby series will collect the entirety of the original newspaper strips from 1942-1952. The first volume will collect all the strips from 1942 and 1943. Barnaby revolved around a precocious five-year-old named Barnaby Baxter and his fairly godfather Jackeen J. O’Malley. Yet O’Malley, a cigar-chomping, bumbling con-artist and fast-talker, was not your typical protector. His grasp of magic was usually specious at best, limited to occasional flashes, often aided and abetted by his fellow members in The Elves, Leprechauns, Gnomes, and Little Men’s Chowder & Marching Society. Barnaby’s deft balance of fantasy, political commentary, sophisticated wit, and elegantly spare images expanded our sense of what comic strips can do. With subtlety and economy, Barnaby proved that comics need not condescend to readers. Its small but influential readership took that message to heart.

Battlefields: The Green Fields Beyond 1 (of 6)
by Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra
Dynamite Entertainment

The publisher says:
While the hit series The Boys reaches its final issue with issue #72, writer Garth Ennis returns to his acclaimed Battlefields series one last time with Battlefields: The Green Fields Beyond Part 1, written by Ennis and drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, with an amazing cover by Garry Leach. On the killing fields of Korea, the Tankies find themselves back up the sharp end, as veteran Sergeant Stiles is finally given a tank that can take on any opposition. Unfortunately, the Chinese spring offensive of 1951 is on its way- leaving our heroes cut off, on their own, and outnumbered ten to one. It’s British steel against massed Communist hordes, as the last Battlefields series begins with a bang.

by Chris Lackey & Chad Fifer & I.N.J. Culbard

The publisher says:
On the run from the mob, a trio of 1920’s Chicago Jazz musicians take a job from an elderly reverend, playing for what they think is his wife’s funeral in the backwoods of Illinois. Unfortunately, the funeral is actually an elaborate cult ritual to raise the spirit of an evil sorcerer who swiftly begins raising the dead and terrorizing the innocent townsfolk. With monsters, moonshiners and mobsters on their trail, the friends must draw upon their various talents to stop this evil, save the townspeople and escape with their lives.

edited by JJ.T. Yost
Birdcage Bottom Books

The publisher says:
A 288-page anthology of comics dealing with the theme of food & eating and featuring over 50 indie comic artists! Originally the anthology was going to include half vegan artists and half carnivorous (omnivorous?) artists, but it has since expanded to include everyone in between those two extremes (there were just too many talented people, and we couldn’t bear to exclude them!). Each artist has approached the theme in a manner exclusive to their own personality. There are some autobiographical comics (both funny and heart-wrenching), some fictional comics, some akin to an essay and others that defy categorization altogether. With few exceptions, each contributing artist has experience in self-publishing. That is, these are mostly indie comic artists that draw for the love of it, not the financial rewards. Although many of the contributors are somewhat well known within the indie comic subculture, just as many are not. By pairing known artists with lesser known artists, we hope to introduce readers to new talent while they are enjoying artists they’re already familiar with. We also hope this anthology will spark a conversation about food and eating. We all have different feelings and experiences regarding food, and hopefully the comics will introduce readers to varying viewpoints. 
Contributors include: Darryl Ayo, Josh Bayer, Jonathan Baylis, Marc Bell, Marek Bennett, Berkeley Breathed, Neil Brideau, Box Brown, Jeffrey Brown, Josh Burggraf, C. M. Butzer, Kevin Cannon, William Cardini , Cha, Sungyoon Choi, J.T. Dockery, Nate Doyle, Gary Fields, Renee French, Nicole J. Georges, Ayun Halliday, Danny Hellman, Sam Henderson, Adam Hines, Paul Hoppe, K. Thor Jensen, Victor Kerlow, John Kerschbaum, Keith Knight, James Kochalka, Hawk Krall, Minty Lewis, Jonas Madden-Connor, Aaron Mew, Pranas T. Naujokaitis, Hazel Reed Newlevant, L. Nichols, Al Ortiz, Tod C. Parkhill, Dan Piraro, Liz Prince, Brian Ralph, Alex Robinson, Jungyeon Roh, Jess Ruliffson, Anuj Shrestha, Ben Snakepit, Aron Nels Steinke, Jeremy Tinder, James Turek, Noah Van Sciver, Sophia Wiedeman, J.T. Yost & Jeff Zwirek.

MAD: Artist’s Edition
by Harvey Kurtman & various artists
Price tbc

The publisher says:
Before MAD Magazine was read in nearly every household, there was Mad Comics. Written and edited by the brilliant Harvey Kurtzman, and drawn by the best and most creative cartoonists of the time, including Wally Wood, Bill Elder, Jack Davis, and Basil Wolverton, Mad was the most innovative satirical publication ever unleashed upon the youth of America. The MAD: Artist’s Edition will be approximately 160 pages and measure 15” x 22”. The expected release date is in December. It will include a dozen of the earliest covers and a selection of some of the finest and most memorable stories, including classics such as “Batboy and Rubin” by Wally Wood and “Howdy Dooit” by Elder. In the Artist’s Edition style, these covers and stories will be reproduced as very few people have ever seen them before.
What is an Artist’s Edition? Artist’s Editions are printed the same size as the original art. While appearing to be in black & white, each page has been scanned in COLOR to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—for example, you are able to clearly see paste-overs, blue pencils in the art, editorial notes, art corrections. Each page is printed the same size as drawn, and the paper selected is as close as possible to the original art board.

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me
by Ellen Forney
Gotham Books

The publisher says:
Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between “crazy” and “creative” in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers. Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passions and creativity. Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, she finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O’Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath. She also researches the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder, including the strengths and limitations of various treatments and medications, and what studies tell us about the conundrum of attempting to “cure” an otherwise brilliant mind. Darkly funny and intensely personal, Forney’s memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on an artist’s work, as she shares her own story through bold black-and-white images and evocative prose.

Multi-Story Building Model: A Chris Ware Portfolio
by Chris Ware
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
The first ever signed and numbered portfolio by Chris Ware. Presented as an absolutely unnecessary addendum to the already-unmanageable Building Stories graphic novel (Pantheon Books: October, 2012) this outrageously expensive signed limited edition print will find few interested parties or adherents to its demanding, labor-intensive brand of rainy day leisure — though it offers to the discriminating and unsocialized reader the promise of a complete 11” x 16” x 18” reference model of the multi-unit apartment building imagined therein, with the top floor represented by full furnishings, discarded clothing, one-sided conversations and even false memories. Sure to one day be a collector’s item when flammable tinder is at a premium, be prepared to start your post-apocalyptic campfire now with this 13 sheet collection of dry technical drawings, paper thin walls and cramped psychological spaces. This is a signed and numbered, limited edition of 1,000.

by Tessa Brunton
Sparkplug Comic Books

The publisher says:
A heartfelt ode to growing up with well-intentioned but embarrassing parents. Framed by her brother’s coming-of-age ceremony, Tessa recounts with minute details the experience of an oddball adolescence. Beautifully illustrated and perfectly toned. 32 interior pages, b&w with color cover.


Shattered: The Asian American Comics Anthology
by various
New Press

The publisher says:
Three years after the publication of the groundbreaking Asian American comics anthology Secret Identities, the same team is back with a new volume—bigger, bolder, and more breathtaking in scope. While the first collection focused on the conventions of superhero comics, this new book expands its horizon to include edgier genres, from hard-boiled pulp to horror, adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Using this darker range of hues, it seeks to subvert—to shatter—the hidebound stereotypes that have obscured the Asian image since the earliest days of immigration: the stoic brute, the prodigious brain, the exotic temptress, the inscrutable alien, the devious manipulator. The eclectic and impressive lineup of contributors includes leading Asian American comics creators Bernard Chang (Supergirl), Sean Chen (Iron Man), Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman), Larry Hama (G.I. Joe), Sonny Liew (Malinky Robot), Takeshi Miyazawa (Runaways), Christine Norrie (Hopeless Savages), Greg Pak (The Hulk), G.B. Tran (Vietnamerica), Gene Yang (American Born Chinese), and many others, as well as such film and literary standouts as Tanuj Chopra (Punching at the Sun), Michael Kang (The Motel), Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet), Gary Jackson (Missing You, Metropolis), and Bao Phi (Song I Sing). Their original graphic short stories cover topics from ethnic kiddie shows, China’s AIDS policy, and airline security procedures to the untold backstory of Flash Gordon’s nemesis Ming the Merciless and the gritty reality of a day in the life of a young Koreatown gangster. Shattered incorporates thrills, chills, and delights while exposing the hidden issues and vital truths of the nation’s fastest-growing and most dynamic community. For updates and samples see the Shattered blog.


Spit and Passion
by Cristy C. Road
Feminist Press

The publisher says:
At its core, Spit and Passion is about the transformative moment when music crashes into a stifling adolescent bedroom and saves you. Suddenly, you belong. At twelve years old, Cristy C. Road is trying to balance the values of a Cuban Catholic family with her newfound queer identity, and begins a chronic obsession with the punk band Green Day. In this stunning graphic memoir, Road renders the clash between her rich inner world of fantasy and the numbing suburban conformity she is surrounded by. She finds solace in the closet—where she lets her deep excitement about punk rock foment and, in that angst and euphoria, finds a path to self-acceptance. Cristy C. Road has reached cult status for work that captures the beauty of the imperfect. Her career began with Greenzine, a punk rock zine, which she made for ten years. She has since published Indestructible, an illustrated novel about high school; Distance Makes the Heart Grow Sick, a postcard book; and Bad Habits, a love story about self-destruction and healing. She has also illustrated countless album covers, book jackets, and political organization propaganda.

Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home, says:
I’m a big Cristy C. Road fan. Spit and Passion is a graphic delight, and the depiction of awkward youth is spot-on, weird, and familiar.

Storm Dogs 1 (of 6)
by David Hine & Dougie Braithwaite

The publisher says:
Hine and Briathwaite are re-united for Season One of this science-fiction crime thriller. A uniquely skilled team arrives on a frontier planet to investigate a series of bizarre and violent deaths. Forced to rely on primitive technology, they soon learn what it means to be aliens in a hostile environment. If they are to unravel the mysteries of Amaranth, they will also have to learn what it is to be human.

Tales From Beyond Science
by Mark Millar, Alan McKenzie & John Smith and Rian Hughes

The publisher says:
Follow your host Hilary Tremayne on eight surreal journeys into the unknown. Discover the truth behind the mysteries of spontaneous human combustion, the Bermuda Triangle, the lost 13th month, and the real reason men have nipples. Drawn by Rian Hughes and written by a Rogue’s Gallery of Britain’s finest comic writers including Mark Millar (Kick Ass, Wanted), Alan McKenzie (The Harrison Ford Story), and John Smith (Devlin Waugh), this hardcover volume collects the complete 2000AD series.

The Beginning of The American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement
by Stephanie McMillan
Seven Stories Press
$16.95 / £10.99

The publisher says:
Can a cartoonist and millions of random strangers change the world? The initial stages of their attempt are chronicled in this book of comics-journalism and written observations. Stephanie McMillan, long-time activist and cartoonist, has waited her entire life for the American people to rise up. Sparked by uprisings around the world, a new movement bursts onto the national scene against a system that denies the people a decent life and puts the planet at risk. With delightful drawings, interviews, dialogue, description, and insightful reflections, this book chronicles the first several months of the fragile and contradictory movement. It situates detailed personal experiences and representative narratives within the broad context of a truly unique and historical global conjuncture. This book will stand as a record of the emerging movement in accessible comics form.

The Book of Five Rings
by Seán Michael Wilson & Chie Kutsuwada

The publisher says:
This graphic novel version of The Book of Five Rings, the iconic book of confrontation and victory by the famed seventeenth-century duelist and undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, illuminates this brilliant manifesto, which has long inspired martial artists and anyone interested in cultivating a strategic mind. With evocative drawings and a distilled but faithful text adapted by acclaimed manga writer Sean Michael Wilson, The Book of Five Rings comes alive both as a guide to swordsmanship and strategy, and as a view into Musashi’s world. 

The Cartoon Utopia
by Ron Regé Jr.

The publisher says:
Ron Regé, Jr. is a very unusual yet accomplished storyteller whose work has a passionate moral, idealistic core that sets him apart from his peers. The Cartoon Utopia is his Magnum Opus, a unique work of comic art that, in the words of its author, “focuses on ideas that I’ve become intrigued by that stem from magical, alchemical, ancient ideas & mystery schools.” It’s part sci-fi, part philosophy, part visual poetry, and part social manifesto. Regé’s work exudes psychedelia, outsider rawness, and pure cartoonish joy. In The Cartoon Utopia, “Utopians” of the future world are attempting to send messages through consciousness, outside of the constricts of time as we understand it. They live in a world of advanced collective consciousness and want to help us understand how to achieve what they have accomplished. They get together to perform this task in a way that evolved out of our current system of consuming information and entertainment. In other words, the opposite of television. Instead, these messages appear in the form of art, music and storytelling.

The Complete Rainbow Orchid
by Garen Ewing

The publisher says:
This is the complete three-volume saga available in one volume for the first time, together with extra pages of fascinating bonus material showing how the adventure was created. You can follow adventurer Julius Chancer and his friends as they attempt to stop the villainous Urkaz Grope getting his hands on the mysterious Rainbow Orchid. In Volume One, follow Chancer as he embarks on a hazardous quest for the rainbow orchid - a mythical flower last mentioned by the ancient Greek philosopher, Theophrastus, and steeped in legend. His epic journey takes him from 1920s Britain to the Indian subcontinent and its mysterious lost valleys. In Volume Two he discovers he has enemies more dangerous than he could ever have imagined who are determined to prevent him from finding the Rainbow Orchid. In Volume Three, what does the future hold for Evelyn Crow and her gang of desperate villains? Do Julius and Lily have the strength to prevent Urkaz Grope from enacting his evil plans?  The Rainbow Orchid is an ambitious blend of classic storytelling, and cinematic artwork, in which adventure, historical drama and legend are seamlessly intertwined.

The Cycle of Violence
by Grayson Perry
Atlas Press

The publisher says:
Since winning the Turner Prize in 2003 and exhibiting at The British Museum in 2011, Grayson Perry seems doomed to become `a national treasure’. ‘They’re preparing the embroidered slippers,’ he remarks. Now one of his virtually unknown works - the graphic novel Cycle of Violence - is available to the public in a beautiful case bound edition. Originally issued as a private publication in 1992, the story features an idealised male hero with tones of crossdressing and bondage, which Perry created as an adolescent and developed while facing up to becoming a dad. Hardback with new forward by the author.

The Heart of Thomas
by Moto Hagio

The publisher says:
A shojo classic in english for the first time. The setting: A boys’ boarding school in Germany, sometime in the latter 20th Century. Fourteen year-old Thomas Werner falls from a lonely pedestrian overpass to his death immediately after sending a single, brief letter to a schoolmate:
To Juli, one last time
This is my love
This is the sound of my heart
Surely you must understand

Thus begins the legendary and enigmatic Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio. Inspired by Jean Delannoy’s 1964 film, Les Amitiés Particulières, The Heart of Thomas was nearly cancelled early in its serialization, in 1974, until Hagio’s first trade paperback, The Poe Clan, Volume 1, sold out in a single day, giving her new series a new lease on life. The result was a story more complex, less accessible, and yet so compelling it can be found near or at the top of any list of classic shojo manga. Translated by manga scholar Matt Thorn and packaged with the same loving attention to detail as Hagio’s Eisner Award nominated A Drunken Dream, The Heart of Thomas is already the most eagerly anticipated manga translation of the new decade.

Thermae Romae
by Mari Yamazaki
Yen Press

The publisher says:
When Roman architect Lucius is criticized for his “outdated” thermae designs, he retreats to the local bath to collect his thoughts. All Lucius wants is to recapture the Rome of earlier days, when one could enjoy a relaxing bath without the pressure of merchants and roughhousing patrons. Slipping deeper into the warm water, Lucius is suddenly caught in the suction and dragged through the drainage at the bottom of the bath! He emerges coughing and sputtering amid a group of strange-looking foreigners with the most peculiar bathhouse customs…over 1,500 years in the future in modern-day Japan! His contemporaries wanted him to modernize, and so, borrowing the customs of these mysterious bath-loving people, Lucius opens what quickly becomes the most popular new bathhouse in Rome - Thermae Romae!

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

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.

Tune: Vanishing Point
by Derek Kirk Kim
First Second

The publisher says:
Andy’s life is going nowhere, fast. He left art school with his career all worked out ahead of time, but say it didn’t work out is the understatement of the century. Unemployed and living with his overbearing parents, Andy struggles to keep sight of the lofty goals that once drove him. But it’s hard, even when he reconnects with his old art school crush, Yumi. Things look better, briefly, with Yumi back in the picture and an actual job offer on the table. But then Andy takes the job offer—to work at a zoo—and finds himself in an alternate dimension. The zoo? Is run by aliens. The exhibit? Is him. Derek Kirk Kim is back with an offbeat, poignant new project. The first volume of a series, Tune is a science fiction comedy, but it’s also a smart and affectionate examination of human nature.

Worse Things Happen At Sea
by Kellie Strom

The publisher says:
Inspired by tales mythical sea creatures and the tall stories of doomed voyages passed down from sailor to son Kellie Strom has created a rich tapestry of wonderment. Historical ships are attacked, enveloped and engorged by monstrous creatures surfacing from the deepest depths of the darkest oceans. This monster of a concertina book contains over 20 panels with each image unfolding like a foreboding fable from the cracked lips of an old sea captain. An intricate and elaborate masterpiece of fantastical creatures and the most beautiful vessels to grace the seven seas.

Posted: September 23, 2012


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