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Top 16 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga:

January 2017

A Brand New Year beckons and here are my suggestions for the comics, manga and graphics novels to look forward to and look out for. 2017 marks several anniversaries - both Jack Kirby and Will Eisner would have been 100. So I am highlighting the sumptuous catalogue for the Will Eisner Centennial Celebration exhibition, to run on both side of the pond, at the Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France, and at The Society of Illustrators in New York. I am truly chuffed to have contributed one of the essays, exploring Eisner’s international influences. Take a look through my PG Tips for January 2017…

Behaving Madly
written & compiled by Ger Apeldoorn & Craig Yoe

The publisher says:
When Mad was turned into a magazine in 1954, every publisher and his uncle came up with his own version, often using the same talent. “Behaving Madly” presents 200 pages of never reprinted material by Bill Elder, Jack Davis, John Severin, Al Jaffee, Joe Maneely, Jack Kirby, Ross Andru, Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Basil Wolverton, Steve Ditko, Lee Elias, and many others. This coffee table art book is produced by comic strip historian Ger Apeldoorn and Eisner-winner Craig Yoe. Looking for a little more excitement in your life? Get mad and get Snafu, Lunatickle, Cockeyed, Crazy, Thimk, Frenzy, Frantic, Loco, Panic and Zany, too! 200pgs colour hardcover.

Junji Ito’s Dissolving Classroom
by Junji Ito

The publisher says:
A new collection of horrific tales from the master of Japanese horror manga, Junji Ito. Detailing the depths at which a teen will go to get revenge on the world, Dissolving Classroom is J-Horror at its most beautifully grotesque. Teenager Yuma Azawa transfers to a new high school but something strange seems to have followed him there. Is it a curse? Or is he cursing those who have been putting him down? Dissolving Classroom collects seven new short horror stories from Japan’s master of horror comics Junji Ito. 202pgs B&W paperback.

by Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy & John Jennings
Abrams ComicArts

The publisher says:
A graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking science-fiction classic offers an unflinching look at slavery, race, and the role of women in society. Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre-Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him. 240pgs colour hardcover.

Map Of Days
by Robert Hunter
£12.99 / $18.95

The publisher says:
Richard can’t stop thinking about the clock. He lies in bed each night listening to its tick-tocking, to the pendulum s heavy swing. Why does his granddad open its old doors in secret and walk into the darkness beyond? One night, too inquisitive to sleep, Richard tiptoes from his bed, opens the cherry wood doors, and steps inside… 64pgs colour hardcover.


by Ru Xu
Scholastic Graphix

The publisher says:
A gorgeous, provocative debut graphic novel about the power of friendship and finding the courage to be one’s true self. Blue is an orphan who disguises herself as a newsboy. There’s a war going on, and girls are expected to help the struggling economy by selling cookies. But Blue loves living and working at the Bugle, the only paper in town that tells the truth. And what’s printed in the newspapers now matters more than ever. But Blue struggles with her secret, and worries that if her friends and adopted family at the Bugle find out she’s a girl, she’ll lose everything and everyone she cares about. And when she meets and befriends Crow, a boy who is also not what he seems, together they seek the freedom to be their true selves - and to save each other. 208pgs colour paperback.

Reefer Madness
edited by Craig Yoe
Dark Horse

Degradation! Crime! Madness! Hysteria surrounded marijuana as a perceived gateway drug from the 1930’s to the 1950’s and beyond. Adventure Comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and works by Frank Frazetta, Jerry Robinson, Jack Kirby, and many more, reveal the social reaction to this era of “Reefer Madness”. Like the anti-drug propaganda film, these stories range from comically misinformed to soberly concerned about the influence of Mary Jane on the youth of America. Eisner and Harvey Award winner Craig Yoe brings us his newest collection of wacky, wild, and culturally relevant comics. See how marijuana was perceived in the days of ignorance before it was legalised by the visionary people of Oregon, Washington, and Colorado! See marijuana demonised as a “Satan’s cigarettes” in 1950’s comics! 200pgs colour paperback.

Six Days in Cincinnati
by Dan Mendez Moore
Microcosm Publishing

The publisher says:
The graphic history of the 2001 Cincinnati riots, told for the first time from the perspective of the participants. This was the first major uprising of the 21st Century, matched only the LA riots a decade before and the protests in Ferguson over a decade later. Mendez Moore’s comics journalism account sensitively captures a fiery moment in U.S. history through interviews with protesters, community leaders, bystanders, and a frustrated looter. Six Days in Cincinnati is an all-American story of systemic racism and the power of popular movements, more relevant today than ever before. 96pgs B&W paperback.

Soviet Daughter
by Julia Alekseyeva

The publisher says:
Soviet Daughter provides a window into the life of a rebellious, independent woman coming of age in the USSR, and the impact of her story and spirit on her American great-granddaughter. Julia’s great-grandmother Lola lived through the Bolshevik revolution, civil war, Stalinist purges, and the Holocaust. She taught herself to read and worked as a secretary for the NKVD (which became the KGB) and as a lieutenant for the Red Army. Interwoven with Lola’s history we find Julia’s own struggles of coming of age in an immigrant family in Chicago, and her political awakening in the midst of the radical politics of the turn of the millennium. 192pgs B&W paperback.

by Charles Glaubitz

The publisher says:
Multimedia artist Charles Glaubitz’s first graphic novel is a work of myth and cosmology that combines religion, and spirituality with comics, sci-fi, alchemy and science. Starseeds fits in perfectly with artists such as Matthew Barney, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Gary Panter, Marcel Dzama and Ernesto Caivano - in other words, work that is epic, mythological, fantastical, enigmatic, and visually arresting. 240pgs colour hardcover.

The Abominable Mr. Seabrook
by Joe Ullmann
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
Journalist and travel writer William Buehler Seabrook was willing to go deeper than any outsider had before, participating in voodoo ceremonies, riding camels cross the Sahara desert, communing with cannibals and most notably, popularising the term “zombie” in the West. A string of his bestselling books show an engaged, sympathetic gentleman hoping to share these strange, hidden delights with the rest of the world. But, of course, there was a dark side. Seabrook was a barely functioning alcoholic who was deeply obsessed with bondage and the so-called mystical properties of pain and degradation. What led the popular and vivid writer to such a sad state? 316pgs B&W paperback.

The British Invasion
by Greg Carpenter

The publisher says:
Moore. Gaiman. Morrison. They came from Northampton, West Sussex and Glasgow, and even though they spoke with different dialects, they gave American comics a new voice, one loud and clear enough to speak to the postmodern world. Like a triple-helix strand of some advanced form of DNA, their careers have remained irrevocably intertwined. Taken individually, their professional histories provide an incomplete picture of the British Invasion, but together they redefined the concept of what it means to be a comic book writer. Collectively, their story becomes the story of mainstream comics in the modern era. It’s the story you’re about to read. Cover by Kevin Colden.  490pgs B&W paperback.

The Complete Scarlet Traces Vol. 1
by Ian Edington &’Israeli” target=“_blank”>D’Israeli
Rebellion / 2000 AD
£15.99 / $19.99

The publisher says:
The celebrated comic book sequel to H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds in a brand-new omnibus edition, complete with an adaptation of the original novel. Beginning with a visionary adaptation of the seminal novel, the collection also includes the first of three stories set a decade after the Martian invasion. Great Britain has cannibalised Martian technology and now Hansom cabs scuttle along on multi-limbed crab legs, and the Martian heat-ray has become the weapon with which the British Empire dominates the world. When the bodies of several young women are found washed up on the banks of the Thames, Captain Robert Autumn and his former Sergeant-Manjor Archie Currie are drawn into a mystery that leads them from gin palaces to the corridors of power and the very Hall of the Martian King. 176pgs colour paperback.

The Excavation
by Max Andersson

The publisher says:
Based on the author’s dreams, this German Expressionist-influenced graphic novel is about a couple who go to an underground site to visit his family, and surreal events ensue. Drawn in a slashing pen-and-ink style with raw crosshatching and heavy blacks, the author’s visual approach adds to the intense, claustrophobic feel of the graphic novel, while its surreal verisimilitude recalls cult films like Eraserhead and The Forbidden Zone. 376pgs B&W hardcover.

The Lighthouse
by Paco Roca

The publisher says:
Francisco, a wounded, despairing 16-year-old Republican Guard in the Spanish Civil War, attempts to flee to freedom by crossing the French border. In his escape, he encounters a remote lighthouse, far from the warring factions. He is granted shelter by Telmo, the ageing operator of the lighthouse. As Francisco recuperates, Telmo’s tales of epic adventurers who sailed the lost seas and discovered worlds unknown reignite the spark of life in the young soldier. 64pgs two-colour hardcover.

Will Eisner Centennial Celebration
by Will Eisner, with Jean-Pierre Mercier, Denis Kitchen, Paul Gravett & John Lind
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Will Eisner’s innovative storytelling, layouts, and art on The Spirit inspired a generation, and his acclaimed run of graphic novels beginning with 1978’s A Contract with God helped pioneer the form. This catalogue includes original artwork from the landmark Will Eisner Centennial Celebration exhibitions taking place in 2017 at Le Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France and the Society of Illustrators in New York. Dual English/French text. 176pgs colour hardcover.

You Might Be An Artist If…
by Lauren Purje
Top Shelf / IDW

The publisher says:
With a BFA, solo exhibitions, and work experience at a New York gallery, Lauren Purje has spent plenty of time in the art world…consider this her cry for help. You Might Be An Artist If… collects several years of her comic strips about the ups and downs of life in the arts. Her wry and relatable sense of humour animates every page, tying together flights of fancy, bitter grumblings, motivational pep-talks, self-doubt,
procrastination, and inspiration. Capturing the moments that remind us why we take art seriously - but not TOO seriously - Purje’s comics are a perfect handbook for anyone living the creative life. 144pgs B&W hardcover.

Posted: November 19, 2016


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My Books

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

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

Comics Art by Paul Gravett from Tate Publishing