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Top 17 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga:

April 2017

Here we go with yet more reasons to be grateful for the variety and vitality of contemporary comics from around the globe, all about to be published for you in April 2017. A pair of true modern visionaries from the US and UK, Ron Regé, Jr. and Gareth Brookes, unveil their revelatory new graphic novels, What Parsifal Saw (Fantagraphics) and A Thousand Coloured Castles (Myriad). You have not read their like before.

And from Italy’s Seventies underground fumetti scene comes the eagerly anticipated debut in English of the late but timeless Andrea Pazienza, as his Zanardi is at long last put into the English language. These really ARE the good times for this medium which you and I so enjoy…

A Thousand Coloured Castles
by Gareth Brookes
Myriad Editions

The publisher says:
Myriam is a woman who sees things a little differently from other people. Strange figures in garish costumes accompany her to the post office, wild exotic plants sprout from supermarket shelves and phantom walls rise up to block her path. Her husband Fred doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Whenever he looks there’s nothing there, and besides it’s no excuse for his breakfast not being ready on time. But when Myriam sees a young boy shut up in the house next door, who is apparently being held captive, she is determined to investigate, much to her husband’s fury. Soon he brings in reinforcements - their daughter, Clare - who is concerned about her mother’s state of mind, and the state of her inheritance. Myriam’s only ally is her four-year-old grandson, Jack, who is more than happy to see things her way. A Thousand Coloured Castles is a graphic novel where the sleepy suburbs of southern England melt into a world of hallucination, taking the reader through the doors of perception into a life where the surreal co-exists with the banal. With his customary wit and unique artistic approach, Brookes conjures both sympathy and despair for his characters trapped by the routine of daily life. If only they could just see… 192pgs colour hardcover.

Eleanor & The Egret #1
by John Layman & Sam Kieth

The publisher says:
The most daring art thief in Paris has struck again, and the police have assigned their best detective to the case. His only clue? A single white feather left at the scene. Could this feather belong to the thief? To the thief’s accomplice, an oversized talking egret? Or will his investigation lead him to somewhere even stranger? (Answer: all of the above.) Presenting a peculiar and unforgettable tale of birds and banditry, paintings and pets, larceny, love and… lamprey-wielding assassins? From the legendary creator of The Maxx and co-creator of The Sandman, Sam Kieth, and the considerably less-legendary creator of Chew, John Layman. 32pgs colour comic book.

Everything Is Flammable
by Gabrielle Bell
Uncivilized Books

The publisher says:
In Gabrielle Bell’s much anticipated graphic memoir, Everything is Flammable, she returns from New York to her childhood town in rural Northern California after her mother’s home is destroyed by a fire. Acknowledging her issues with anxiety, financial hardships, memories of a semi-feral childhood, and a tenuous relationship with her mother, Bell helps her mother put together a new home on top of the ashes. A powerful, sometimes uncomfortable, examination of a mother-daughter relationship and one’s connection to place and sense of self. Spanning a single year, Everything is Flammable unfolds with humor and brutal honesty. Bell’s sharp, digressive style is inimitable. 160pgs colour hardcover.

by Rosario Villages
Fanfare / Ponent Mon
£9.99 / $14.95

The publisher says:
Let’s face it, what is it that identifies you to those who surround you? Your lovers, your friends, your colleagues, acquaintances or even strangers? What attracts or repulses them? Is it what they look at? Or what they see? What do YOU see when you look into a mirror? Creator Rosario Villajos looks closely at this topic and wonders about life without a face. In her own words: Face is a magical autobiography about identity, the escape of oneself towards love and the fight to fit in and be “normal” in our society.’ She does not tread carefully and maybe reflects some of the doubts and fears in your own Face book. Face is a magical autobiography about identity, the escape of oneself towards love and the fight to fit in and be “normal” in our society. 88pgs part-colour paperback.

Home Time: Book One
by Campbell Whyte
Top Shelf Productions / IDW

The publisher says:
The last school bell has rung and it’s finally Home TIme! Even though they’re twins, Lilly and David don’t agree on much… except that the last summer before high school is the perfect time for relaxing with friends. But their plans for sleepovers, fantasy games, and romance are thrown out the window when the whole gang falls into a river and wakes up in a village of fantastic creatures. Hailed as magical spirits and attacked by lizards, these kids must find their way home — if they don’t throttle each other first. Australian cartoonist Campbell Whyte combines the rich imagination of Dungeons & Dragons with puckishly charming characters and a touch of video-game geometry in his spectacular first graphic novel. 208pgs colour hardcover.

Imagine Wanting Only This
by Kristen Radke
Pantheon Books

The publisher says:
A gorgeous graphic memoir about loss, love, and confronting grief. When Kristen Radtke was in college, the sudden death of a beloved uncle and the sight of an abandoned mining town after his funeral marked the beginning moments of a lifelong fascination with ruins and with people and places left behind. Over time, this fascination deepened until it triggered a journey around the world in search of ruined places. Now, in this genre-smashing graphic memoir, she leads us through deserted cities in the American Midwest, an Icelandic town buried in volcanic ash, islands in the Philippines, New York City, and the delicate passageways of the human heart. Along the way, we learn about her family and a rare genetic heart disease that has been passed down through generations, and revisit tragic events in America’s past. A narrative that is at once narrative and factual, historical and personal, Radtke’s stunning illustrations and piercing text never shy away from the big questions: Why are we here, and what will we leave behind? 288pgs B&W hardcover.

Invisible Emmie
by Terri Libenson
Balzer & Bray
$22.99 / $10.99

The publisher says:
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer L. Holm, Invisible Emmie is a humorous and surprising debut graphic novel by Terri Libenson, creator of the internationally syndicated, Reuben Award-winning comic strip The Pajama Diaries. This is the story of two totally different girls – quiet, shy, artistic Emmie, and popular, outgoing, athletic Katie – and how their lives unexpectedly intersect one day, when an embarrassing note falls into the wrong hands… All the crushes, humiliations, boredom, and drama of middle school are compressed into one surprising day in this extraordinary novel. 192pgs colour hardcover / paperback

Josephine Baker
by José-Louis Bocquet & Catel Muller
$22.95 / £14.99

The publisher says:
Paris, 1925. Over the course of a single evening, the Mississippi-born dancer Josephine Baker (1906–1975) becomes the darling of the Roaring Twenties. Some audience members in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées are scandalized by the African American’s performance in La Revue Nègre, but the city’s discerning cultural figures—among them Picasso and Cocteau—are enchanted by her exotic, bold, and uninhibited style. When her adopted country grants her citizenship in 1939, Baker sees her fame as a means of helping the French Resistance. She takes advantage of her globe-trotting lifestyle to pass on messages and gather information. A decade later, installed in a palatial 15th century château, she adopts 12 children from different ethnic backgrounds. Josephine Baker paints a glorious portrait of a spirited, principled, and thoroughly modern woman. 496pgs B&W paperback.

Kitaro and The Great Tanuki War
by Shigeru Mizuki
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
Kitaro faces off against a swamp monster, a paper screen come to life, and an army of mythical raccoon dogs. Kitaro and The Great Tanuki War features adventures of Shigeru Mizuki’s beloved yokai boy. In the epic title story, Kitaro battles the tanuki, a Japanese animal that features prominently in the country’s yokai legends. The furry beasts draw on the power of the blood moon to awaken the monstrous catfish that lives in the depths of the earth. The twisting of the catfish causes earthquakes that threaten to destroy all of Japan. With his yokai allies captured, Kitaro is the only one left who can take on the great tanuki and his army. Will he be up for the challenge? This volume contains two additional stories about traditional folklore monsters as seen through Mizuki’s whimsical and genre-defining lens. In “Mokumokuren,” Kitaro faces off against a paper screen come to life, while “The Obebenuma Yokai” introduces a grisly swamp creature. Kitaro and The Great Tanuki War showcases the golden age of the Gegege no Kitaro series from the 1960s―and has never before appeared in English. D+Q’s Kitaro series celebrates Mizuki’s expert blend of folklore, comedy, and horror, sharing the all-ages stories that made Kitaro one of Japan’s most beloved characters. This kid-friendly edition also features a “History of Kitaro” essay by the award-winning series translator and Mizuki scholar Zack Davisson. 176pgs B&W paperback.

by Jon Nielsen

The publisher says:
Artie is a droid programmed to endlessly perform a single task left in a world abandoned by humans. He is starting to wonder what meaning his task has. But when he and his only friend, Owen, a robotic bird, cast aside the only lives they’ve ever known in search of a brighter future, they encounter others that want nothing but to hold tight to the past. Join Artie the Robot and Owen the Vulture for a light-hearted, sci-fi adventure as they journey far and wide for the answer to one of life’s greatest questions: “Why are we here?” 144pgs B&W hardcover.

Red Range: A Wild Western Adventure
by Joe R. Lansdale & Sam Glanzman

The publisher says:
A tale of hope set amongst the hyper violence of the 19th century, Red Range tells the tale of Red Mask, a tough vigilante that rides against the tragic racism of a klan-dominated Texas. Written by Joe Lansdale and illustrated by the legendary Sam Glanzman, Red Range offers an unerring ear for exotic period and regional dialect, racial unrest and strange happenings that find their mark 18 years after its original publication. 112pgs colour hardcover.

by Jeff Lemire
Gallery Books

The publisher says:
From the New York Times bestselling author and award-winning creator of Essex County, Descender, and The Underwater Welder comes an all-original graphic novel about a brother and sister who must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family. Derek Ouellette’s glory days are behind him. His hockey career ended a decade earlier in a violent incident on ice, and since then he’s been living off his reputation in the remote northern community where he grew up, drinking too much and fighting anyone who crosses him. When his long-lost sister Beth shows up, on the run from an abusive boyfriend, the two escape to a secluded hunting camp in the woods. There, living off the land, they reconnect with each other, the painful secrets of their past, and their Cree heritage…and start to heal. But Beth’s ex-boyfriend is hunting them. As he circles closer, he threatens to shatter this newfound peace and pull both Derek and Beth back into the world of self-destruction they’ve fought so hard to leave behind. Touching and harrowing, this is a deeply moving and beautifully illustrated story about family, heritage, and breaking the cycle of violence. 272pgs colour hardcover.

The Art of Nestor Redondo
by Manuel Auad & Nestor Redondo
Auad Publishing

The publisher says:
Nestor Redondo was Philippine’s foremost comic book illustrator since the early Fifties. His love to draw started early on from his childhood and never wavered for as long as he could use his cheap Chinese brush. He believed very strongly that there isn’t a bad pen or brush for a good artist. And he proved this time and time again.  He drew only what the story required and left space for the reader’s imagination to take flight. He was really more of an illustrator than a cartoonist. His lines seemed to flow easily and were always pleasant to look at. The hero was always handsome, the heroine was always beautiful and there was no doubt how the dastardly looked. It was noted one time that he had more fans than any other artist in the country. As talented as he was with drawing for the comic books he was just as adept with other media, like watercolor and oil paintings, He was the most emulated artist and the most admired and respected by his peers. There won’t be the likes of him again.  80pgs B&W softcover.

The High School Life of a Fudanshi
by Michinoku Atami
Seven Seas Entertainment Llc

The publisher says:
An all new comedy about one man’s obsession with BL. Ryo Sakaguchi has a deep, dark secret: he’s a fudanshi―a straight boy obsessed with boys’ love (BL), the genre of stories revolving around the romance between two men. While he has trouble understanding how others don’t find the same bliss he does from his unusual hobbies, that doesn’t make it any easier for Ryo to buy his precious manga from the “girls” section of the store, or any simpler explaining the world of boys’ love, shipping wars, and doujinshi circles to his best friend Nakamura. Will Ryo find other fanboys to share his hobby with, or is he doomed to sit alone on his throne of BL romance? 180pgs B&W paperback.

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity
by Grant Snider
Abrams ComicArts

The publisher says:
What does an idea look like? And where do they come from? Grant Snider’s illustrations will motivate you to explore these questions, inspire you to come up with your own answers and, like all Gordian knots, prompt even more questions. Whether you are a professional artist or designer, a student pursuing a creative career, a person of faith, someone who likes walks on the beach, or a dreamer who sits on the front porch contemplating life, this collection of one- and two-page comics will provide insight into the joys and frustrations of creativity, inspiration, and process—no matter your age or creative background. 144pgs colour hardcover.

What Parsifal Saw
by Ron Regé, Jr.

The publisher says:
A psychedelic collection of comics that includes an adaptation of 19th century occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s work. What Parsifal Saw collects work produced by artist Ron Regé, Jr., whose interest in esoteric ideas and spirituality has permeated into all aspects of his comics, as highlighted by “Cosmogenesis,” which concerns magical, alchemical, ancient, and mysterious ideas; cosmic consciousness, psychedelia, outsider rawness, and pure cartoonish joy. 80pgs colour softcover.

by Andrea Pazienza

The publisher says:
In this graphic novel, presented in English for the first time, the Italian “Crumb” portrays a lost generation of late 1970s/early 1980s teenagers coping with family problems, school, sex, and drugs. A true visionary, with a fluid line and an uncanny sense of color and composition, Pazienza’s innovative graphic style served up stories that were iconoclastic, outrageous, humorous, and deeply personal, often based on himself and his microcosm of friends and collaborators. Pazienza was a revolutionary cartoonist who ushered an underground sensibility to Italian and European comics, breaking from the more staid tradition of genteel adult (and children’s) graphic albums. 256pgs part-colour hardcover.

Posted: February 4, 2017


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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