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Top 16 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga:

June 2016

June is busting out all over with very different and intriguing new titles and here are the ones I’m most looking forward to. Standouts for me are The Ghosts We Know by Canada’s Sean Karemaker and the new edition of Worry Doll by Hobart, Tasmania-resident Matt Coyle. What appeals to you the most? Happy hunting!

by Kim W. Anderson
Dark Horse Comics

The publisher says:
Alena’s life is a living hell. Since starting at the snobbish boarding school Alena’s been harassed every day by Philippa and the girls on the lacrosse team. But Alena’s best friend Josephine is not going to accept that anymore-not from the counselor or principal, not from Philippa, and not from anyone at that horrid school. If Alena does not fight back then Josephine will take matters into her own hands. There’s just one problem-Josephine has been dead for a year. English adaption of the award-winning Swedish graphic novel Alena, whose movie adaptation made its US debut in February. 136pgs colour paperback.

Bird In A Cage
by Rebecca Roher
Conundrum Press

The publisher says:
Once a sharp, strong-willed and independent woman, Roher’s grandmother’s life took an unexpected turn when an accident left her with a brain injury, leading to early onset dementia. An unlikely protagonist, grandma was an elderly woman trapped by her deteriorating mind, aging body and the walls around her. This story illuminates the often overlooked narrative of a senior, her complicated history and inner life. Loveable and tragic, she is determined to get back to a familiar place, to be home again. Roher digs deep into her grandmother’s personal history, learns to manage her escapes, and tries to create a safe environment for her. Exploring memory, the idea of place, and the power of song to transcend dementia, Bird In a Cage tells the story of one woman’s search for home and the strength of family to try and bring her back. 112pgs B&W paperback.

Boulet’s Notes Vol. 1: Born To Be Larve
by Boulet
Soaring Penguin Press

The publisher says:
In 2004, Boulet’s friends advised him to start a blog, a place to collect his reflections of everyday life. Based on entries in his sketchbooks, Notes is an on-going witty and inventive commentary on living in Paris, food (and sell-by dates), sex and the work of Mireille Mathieu, the French songstress. Volume 1 collects the entries from the first year, 2004. 192pgs part-colour paperback.


Breaking The 10: Vol. 1
by Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa

The publisher says:
When David loses his wife and child in a tragic car accident he decides, in anger at the cruelty of the event, to turn against God. He sets out to systematically break each of the Ten Commandments in order to both spite God and to get his attention! But will he go all the way, and break the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’? Two mysterious figures, Mr. White and Mr. Black, try to win David over to their side: the religious or the humanistic. Deeply sad in parts and comical in others, this modern story explores age old questions: Is there a God? And if there is, does that God care about us? 112pgs B&W paperback.


Hole In The Heart
by Henny Beaumont
Myriad Editions

The publisher says:
The mother of a daughter with Down’s Syndrome shares her family’s journey - in beautiful black and white drawings - from hospital to home, and from early -years to school, in this moving, wise and unsparing graphic memoir. On Mother’s Day 2004 Henny Beaumont gave birth to her third child. For the first few hours, her baby seemed no different to her two other little girls. With stunning art and refreshing honesty, Henny describes how family life changed the moment the registrar told her and her husband that their daughter might have Down’s Syndrome. She knew that her life was over. How can this weak little baby, who would demand so much more from Henny than her other two children, and who would need an operation in order to survive, provoke such feelings of hatred and resentment? How can Henny learn to love her? And if she can’t trust her own reactions to Beth, how can she expect other people to overcome their prejudices and ignorance about her condition? Henny’s wit and irony transforms a deeply personal experience into a story that will resonate with every parent: we are all anxious about our children, wondering where they fit in on a scale of achievement, whether we do enough for them, and whether we love them enough. Hole in the Heart is a must-read not only for those who have had a similar experience and for the medical professionals who help them, but also for all of us who may have wondered how to behave towards families with disabled children, or who may question our own ability to be a ‘good parent’. 240pgs B&W softcover.

Indeh: A Story Of The Apache Wars
by Ethan Hawke & Greg Ruth
Grand Central Publishing

The publisher says:
The year is 1872. The place, the Apache nations, a region torn apart by decades of war. The people, like Goyahkla, lose his family and everything he loves. After having a vision, the young Goyahkla approaches the Apache leader Cochise, and the entire Apache nation, to lead an attack against the Mexican village of Azripe. It is this wild display of courage that transforms the young brave Goyakhla into the Native American hero Geronimo. But the war wages on. As they battle their enemies, lose loved ones, and desperately cling on to their land and culture, they would utter, “Indeh,” or “the dead.” When it looks like lasting peace has been reached, it seems like the war is over. Or is it? Indeh captures the deeply rich narrative of two nations at war-as told through the eyes of Naiches and Geronimo-who then try to find peace and forgiveness. Indeh not only paints a picture of some of the most magnificent characters in the history of our country, but it also reveals the spiritual and emotional cost of the Apache Wars. Based on exhaustive research, Indeh offers a remarkable glimpse into the raw themes of cultural differences, the horrors of war, the search for peace, and, ultimately, retribution. The Apache left an indelible mark on our perceptions about the American West, and Indeh shows us why. 240pgs B&W hardcover.

Laptop Guy
by Jack Lothian & Sha Nazir
Black Hearted Press

The publisher says:
When fast food worker Sha blows his life savings on creating a comic called Laptop Guy, it’s a move that might not just cause his finances to crumble… but his entire world as well. A brand new full colour sitcomic extravaganza about work, friendship and glorious failure. Written by scriptwriter Jack Lothian (Shameless, Ashes to Ashes, Dr. Who) and with artwork by acclaimed designer and illustrator Sha Nazir. 88pgs colour paperback.


LOVF: An Illustrated Vision Of A Man Losing His Mind
by Jesse Reklaw
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
This sketchbook chronicles the encounters, and the state of mind they create, of a mentally ill man on the run. LOVF is the sketchbook companion of a man literally losing his mind. Homeless and broke after giving all his stuff to punk-rock heroin dealers, he ends up off his meds and on a secret quest from Portland to Brooklyn, DC, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, LOVF is a travel journal and a mirror of the post-traumatic dreamworld its author can’t escape from, a Kerouacian meltdown of cross-hatching, spattered marker, crayons, glitter, tape, nail polish, Wite-Out, finger-painting, rain, wine, stickers, and word balloons. 176pgs colour paperback.

Monstress Vol. 1
by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Image Comics

The publisher says:
Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, Monstress tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.Monstress #1 debuted to critical praise, with The Hollywood Reporter remarking that the first issue was “world-building on a scale rare in mainstream comics” and declaring that the book “feels like a battle cry.” New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop. Ms. Liu’s extensive work includes the bestselling Astonishing X-Men for Marvel Comics, which featured the gay wedding of X-Man Northstar and was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Sana Takeda is an illustrator and comic book artist who was born in Niigata, and now resides in Tokyo, Japan. At age 20 she started out as a 3D CGI designer for SEGA, a Japanese video game company, and became a freelance artist when she was 25. She is still an artist, and has worked on titles such as X-23 and Ms. Marvel for Marvel Comics, and is an illustrator for trading card games in Japan. 192pgs colour paperback.

Musnet: The Mouse Of Monet
by Kickliy
Uncivilized Books/Odod Books

The publisher says:
A young boy mouse travels the country side looking for work and happens upon the Monet’s garden. He takes on a job and becomes inspired to learn to paint. Will he paint in the classical ways, or in the new style of the impressionist? Which way will his brush sway? Musnet is drawn and painted in a beautiful, lush and inky style popularized by Paul Pope and French comics masters such Blutch and Christophe Blain. Musnet is a breathtaking debut. Kickliy is something else; an entity that embodies creativity without limits. Kickliy is a thirst for knowledge and understanding. Kickliy may not be human. Kickliy is an enigma. 48pgs colour hardcover.

Stardust Nation
by Deborah Levy & Andrzej Klimowski

The publisher says:
“We are Stardust, Tom.” Nikos Gazidis is suffering from a strange psychiatric condition: he seems to have unwittingly crashed into the consciousness of his boss. Committed to an institution for the rich and unstable, Nikos is afflicted by the disturbing memories and violent emotions of a man who suffered from an abusive father and a neglectful mother. That man, Tom, feels nothing. But when Nikos’s sister begins preventing Tom from sharing his memories with his colleague, things begin to change…Adapted from one of the centrepieces of Levy’s short story collection Black Vodka, Stardust Nation is an absurdly funny, unsettling and unforgettable graphic novel about memory, empathy and how we are, all of us, connected. 96pgs colour paperback.

The Cloud
by K.I. Zachopoulos & Vincenzo Balzano

The publisher says:
“What is a wish?” That is the question the boy must answer for himself as he and his wolf, Cloud, embark on a grand voyage to find the boy’s father and return the wish that was stolen from him. The Cloud is a beautiful, and at times, heartbreaking journey of a reluctant hero forced to outwit a cast of colorful characters: a thieving girl, bizarre creatures from the Great Before, and the Mad King. It’s a quest of self-discovery where the boy will learn that not all wishes can or should come true. Fans of Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet or the beloved children’s fantasy The Never Ending Story will delight in The Cloud. A grand adventure story filled with unexpected allies and enemies alike, The Cloud beautifully examines themes of strength, bravery, love and loss. 144pgs colour hardcover.

The Fun Family
by Benjamin Frisch
Top Shelf Productions

The publisher says:
Beloved cartoonist Robert Fun has earned a devoted following for his circular daily comic strip, celebrating the wholesome American family by drawing inspiration from his real home life… but the Fun Family bears some dark secrets. As their idyllic world collapses and the kids are forced to pick up the pieces, will their family circle become a broken mirror, or a portal to a nightmare world? In his debut graphic novel, Benjamin Frisch presents a surreal deconstruction of childhood, adulthood and good old American obsession. 240 pgs colour paperback.

The Ghosts We Know
by Sean Karemaker
Conundrum Press

The publisher says:
In his debut book Sean Karemaker presents stories of his wild British Columbia country childhood contrasted with his downtown Vancouver bus riding adventures. In between are stories of small town parties, drawing in cafes, school misfits, scrolls, street people of all kinds, and winding through it all are the ghosts, both known and unknown. Karemaker has a distinct panelless style of comics in which the narrative and art blend seamlessly. Journal writing has always been an instinctive foundation for him—most often of an observational, autobiographical nature—and here he combines it with flowing, murky images to make wholly original comics. 144pgs part-colour paperback.

The Stranger
by Albert Camus & Jacques Ferrandez
Pegasus Books

The publisher says:
A visually stunning adaptation of Albert Camus’ masterpiece that offers an exciting new graphic interpretation while retaining the book’s unique atmosphere. The day his mother dies, Meursault notices that it is very hot on the bus that is taking him from Algiers to the retirement home where his mother lived; so hot that he falls asleep. Later, while waiting for the wake to begin, the harsh electric lights in the room make him extremely uncomfortable, so he gratefully accepts the coffee the caretaker offers him and smokes a cigarette. The same burning sun that so oppresses him during the funeral walk will once again blind the calm, reserved Meursault as he walks along a deserted beach a few days later―leading him to commit an irreparable act. This new illustrated edition of Camus’s classic novel The Stranger portrays an enigmatic man who commits a senseless crime and then calmly, and apparently indifferently, sits through his trial and hears himself condemned to death. 144pgs colour hardcover.

Time Clock: An Original Graphic Novel
by Leslie Stein
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Brooklynite Larrybear catches up with her anthropomorphic friends, copes with a drinking problem, and tries to manage a restaurant during a hurricane in the latest installment of the surreal graphic novel series. In the third volume of her series, our protagonist Larrybear meets her new nemesis, visits her anthropomorphic guitar Marshmallow, and ponders her future as she manages a restaurant in Brooklyn. Things go awry when a hurricane arrives and the bar is packed, with no deliveries and plumbing problems. This is doing nothing to help Larry’s ever-worsening drinking problem… 144pgs B&W paperback.

Worry Doll
by Matt Coyle
Dover Publications

The publisher says:
A group of dolls find their hosts murdered and flee the crime scene, setting out on a nightmarish road trip. Matt Coyle’s inspired gothic noir, disguised as a children’s book and filled with hauntingly lifelike pen-and-ink illustrations, offers a dark and disturbing vision that won’t soon be forgotten. This edition features a new Foreword by Shaun Tan (The Lost Thing). British-born Matt Coyle studied painting at the Sydney College of the Arts before turning his attention to drawing. His work has been exhibited throughout Australia, and the full suite of Worry Doll appeared at the Gallery of Modern Art in Queensland and at Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island festival. Originally published by MAM TOR in 2007. 80pgs part-colour paperback.

Posted: April 18, 2016


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My Books

1001 Comics  You Must Read Before You Die edited by Paul Gravett

Comics Unmasked by Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning from The British Library

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing