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PG Tips No. 3:

Paul Gravett's Recommended Reading

In a regular series of PG Tips articles, Paul Gravett reviews books of and about comics from his recommended reading list.


El Largo Tren Oscuro
by Sam Hiti
La Luz Comics
$9.95
Much admired by Mike Mignola and already optioned for a movie, Tiempos Finales was the break-out success of last year’s U.S. Small Press Expo. Now Hiti is back with another masterfully paced cartoon chiller, this time on board a ‘long, dark train’ full of rotting, one-way passengers and Day-of-the-Dead, skull-faced staff, destination hell. The few words are in Spanish but that’s no obstacle. Hiti sells direct and sells fast, without Diamond distribution. Catch his train and let the flow of pictures transport you.


Juicy Mother
by various
Soft Skull Press
$10.95
Under the theme of celebration, editor Jennifer Camper corrals 15 other writers and artists, among them Howard Cruse, Alison Bechdel, mainstream writer Ivan Velez Jr, and Italian Serena Pillai, to create this 90-page anthology of "comix for discerning homosexuals, uppity ladies, fierce people of color and all their friends." From an Arab Muslim dyke’s search for her identity to an African-American gay man’s coming of age, these are the sort of diverse, personal, human stories you’ll rarely find in the straight, white, male-dominated mainstream.


Pictures & Words
edited by Roanne Bell & Mark Sinclair
Laurence King
£19.95
Across 144 pages of brief commentary, grey grids and lots of cool white space, Bell and Sinclair shortlist 33 visual storytellers of the moment from 17 countries, with a quirky British/Royal College of Art slant and a bias towards the elegantly naive and minimalist. This works best as a handsome, if select, sampler to flick through, so you can source more work online and in print.


The Darkness
by Rachel Cattle
Kingly Books
£10
Bears and other hairy monsters, sharp of tooth and claw, growling their wordless balloons, lurk in the wild woods at night. Like some ominous aftermath, no human is around, only severed treetrunks and a burning cabin in this enigmatic, 100-copy tabloid drawn by Rachel Cattle in pulsing charcoal.


Swimini Purpose
by Brendan McCarthy
Self-published
£25
From one of the most feverishly fertile and influential brains in Britain gushes this 220+ page ‘visual autobiography’ spanning McCarthy’s multiple disciplines in graphic novels, movie design, computer animation and more. This first self-published UK edition of 500 copies flew out of the shops. Maybe now some enlightened publisher will snap up the chance to do a mass-market global edition.


Pure Trance
by Junko Mizuno
Last Gasp
$19.99
She is Japan’s undisputed queen of the cute and creepy. Finally her darkly adorable debut manga gets translated into English. indulge in her 192-page postnuclear fest about a life-sustaining drug that causes severe overeating disorders. Check out www.mizuno-junko.com for a taster.


Baobab #1
by Igort
Fantagraphics Books,
$7.95
From the creator of 5 Is The Perfect Number (Cape) comes this double-sided drama from the Edwardian age about parallel dreams embodied in folktales and vintage comic papers. Italy’s Igort helms the first in his new Ignatz collection of smart, two-toned, dustjacketed, stapled booklets.


99 Ways To Tell A Story: Exercises In Style
by Matt Madden
Chamberlain Brothers,
$16.95
Inspired by the wacky literary shenanigans of Frenchman Raymond Queneau and their current comics equivalent in the OuBaPo experimental movement, American Madden retells the same single, simple scenario in all kinds of styles. He demonstrates how supple and surprising the narrative techniques of comics can be. Visit www.mattmadden.com to sample some examples.

Posted: June 25, 2006

PG Tips is a monthly sidebar to Paul Gravett’s Novel Graphics column in Comics International providing shorter reviews of the latest recommended books of and about comics.

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PG Tips
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Featured Books

El Largo Tren Oscuro
El Largo Tren Oscuro
by Sam Hiti

Juicy Mother
Juicy Mother
by various

Pictures & Words
Pictures & Words
edited by Roanne Bell
& Mark Sinclair

The Darkness
The Darkness
by Rachel Cattle

Swimini Purpose
Swimini Purpose
by Brendan McCarthy

Pure Trance
Pure Trance
by Junko Mizuno

Baobab
Baobab #1
by Igort

99 Ways To Tell A Story
99 Ways To Tell A Story:
Exercises In Style

by Matt Madden