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Top 20 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga:

November 2016

Happy Birthday, Website! Today, September 25th 2016, is the 11th anniversary of site. Who would have thought it would still be going strong all these years later. It would never have started in 2005 without Tim Webber offering to develop the site for me to make my writings about comics more widely and permanently available online. Illimitable thanks to you, Tim, who has been running the Moment of Cerebus website for Dave Sim. And massive thanks to all of you who keep visiting and exploring my site, I’m really grateful for your interest and feedback.

Here are my suggestions for your comics reading this coming November as the pre-Christmas release schedule reaches its climax. Lots to choose from, hopefully something for pretty much everyone. As my most eagerly anticipated, I’ve picked out Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure (above) by Steven Tillotson, a breakthrough multi-layered fable by a truly original British cartoonist, released by the UK’s feistiest small press graphic novel publisher, Avery Hill Publishing. This and more, all for your consideration…



Beyond Time And Again
by George Metzger
Fantagraphics
$25.00

The publisher says:
Beyond Time and Again, George Metzger’s 1967 counter-culture comic strip, combines high fantasy with prescient views of science, climate change, and political authoritarianism. Faithfully reproduced from the original art and collected for the very first time, this reprint of a classic and seminal underground work brings Metzger’s exquisite craft and mind-bending imagination to a new generation. 48pgs colour paperback.


Brigada Vol. 1
by Enrique Fernandez
Magnetic Press Inc.
$19.99

The publisher says:
The veteran captain Ivro has been recruited to command a hard convict´s squadron, in the long war against the black elves. During the battle a mysterious fog traps them on a chaotic strange land, where they will have to fight another war, this time to survive as a group. 104pgs colour hardcover.

 


Glenn Gould: A Life Off Tempo
by Sandrine Revel
NBM
$25.99

The publisher says:
Glenn Gould was a Canadian pianist, a child genius who became a worldwide superstar of classical music remembered for, among others, his almost revolutionary interpretations of Bach. This graphic novel biography seeks to understand the eccentric personality behind the persona. Who is the mysterious Glenn Gould? Why did he abruptly end his career as a performing musician? Why did he become one of the very first of his peers to disappear from the public eye like J.D. Salinger? Sandrine Revel delves into the life of Gould with hand painted illustrations and the viewpoint of an adoring fan. 2017 marks a number of important anniversaries for Gould: the 85th of his birth and 35th of his death but also the 60th of his legendary tour of Russia, a first for a Western artist, and of his debuts with the worlds’ leading orchestras. 136pgs colour hardcover.



Laid Waste
by Julia Gfrörer
Fantagraphics
$14.99

The publisher says:
A supernaturally strong medieval widow must decide how to use her powers in this graphic novel. In a plague-ravaged medieval city, survival is a harsher fate than death. As corpses accumulate around her, Agnes, a young widow possessed of supernatural strength, must weigh her obligations to the dead and dying against her desire to protect what little remains. Laid Waste is a graphic novella about love and kindness among vermin in the putrid miasma at the end of the world. As with her evocative debut book, Black is the Color, Julia Gfrörer’s delicate, gothic drawing style perfectly complements the period era of the book’s setting, bringing the lyricism and romanticism of her prose to the fore. 84pgs B&W paperback.



Lake Jehovah
by Jillian Fleck
Conundrum Press
$20.00

The publisher says:
Lake Jehovah is a small town in northern Alberta known for its allegedly bottomless lake. It is there that Jay, a genderqueer individual, experiences a crisis of meaning regarding love in the face of a series of apocalypses. Jay’s fiance leaves him for his old university professor Asterix. This sends Jay into a tailspin, which causes him to spend the next few months sleeping. When he wakes up Jay discovers he has become a small time celebrity for writing an apocalyptic prophesy. The town’s obnoxious costumed mailman Greg has been giving tours to apocalypse pilgrims that go by Jay’s bedroom window. Two of these pilgrims are Betty and Mack, survivors of the Vancouver Apocalypse, who find solace in Jay’s prophesy. Now fully awake Jay seeks companionship with the reviled sadist poet Jackknife who introduces him to demons and chain-smoking wolves. Things in Jay’s world continue to unravel until he realises he needs to confront the Lake itself. Will Jay’s prophesy come to pass? If it’s all over, did it mean anything at all? Jillian Fleck is a fresh new voice in comics and Lake Jehovah is a breakout book. 216pgs colour paperback.



Literary Life Revisited
by Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Cape
£14.99

The publisher says:
First published in 2003, Literary Life became an instant classic as readers (and writers) delighted in watching Posy Simmonds skewer the pains and pretensions of the writer’s (and reader’s) calling with her inimitable flair for witty satire and sharp social observation. As well as all the cartoons and comic strips from the original edition, The Complete Literary Life includes 40 extra pages of cartoons, including the two series ‘Rick Raker’ and ‘Dr. Derek’, in which two very different heroes attempt to right the wrongs afflicting the writing world, one by brute force and skulduggery, the other with a silky bedside manner. 112pgs B&W hardcover.



Little Tulip
by Jerome Charyn & François Boucq
Dover Publications
$14.95

The publisher says:
A serial killer haunts the city streets, a stalker of isolated women who leaves a Santa Claus hat at the scene of his crimes. Pavel, a Russian émigré, assists the police investigation as a sketch artist. But Pavel’s true calling is as a tattoo artist, and the so-called Bad Santa killings conjure up memories of the nightmarish world in which he learned his craft: a Russian prison camp that shattered his childhood and destroyed his family. Shifting between the living hell of a 1940s Siberian gulag and the crime-ridden chaos of New York City during the 1970s, this graphic novel’s stunning artwork provides an atmospheric backdrop to its tale of corruption, murder, and revenge.
Author Jerome Charyn was acclaimed by The New York Review of Books as “a fearless writer. Brave and brazen.” This edition of Little Tulip, which was originally published in French, features Charyn’s new English translation. Award-winning illustrator François Boucq also collaborated with Charyn on the acclaimed graphic novels The Magician’s Wife and Billy Budd, KGB. 96pgs colour paperback.



Notes On A Thesis
by Tiphaine Rivière
Jonathan Cape
£16.99

The publisher says:
When Jeanne is accepted on to a PhD course, she is over the moon, brimming with excitement and grand plans – but is the world ready for her masterful analysis of labyrinth motifs in Kafka’s The Trial? At first Jeanne throws herself into research with great enthusiasm, but as time goes by, it becomes clear that things aren’t quite going according to plan. Notes on a Thesis is a reminder of the strangeness of academia, of every awful essay, every disastrous exam, and every insanity-inducing dissertation. If you’ve ever stared gloomily at a blank page, battled with office administrators or driven yourself (and everyone you know) mad by droning on about your work, then Notes on a Thesis will make you laugh (or cry) in recognition. 184pgs colour hardcover.



One Week in the Library
by W. Maxwell Prince, John Amor, Kathryn Layno & Tom Muller
Image
$9.99

The publisher says:
Welcome to the Library. It’s here that every story ever written is catalogued and monitored by a single man, who’s begun to notice something strange: the books are rebelling. Image Comics proudly presents this experimental graphic novella from writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist John Amor, which recounts a troublesome week in the Library via seven short stories—one for each day—that use comics, infographics, prose, and poetry to play with the graphic medium and explore the multivalent world of living narrative. 96pgs colour paperback.


Ravina The Witch
by Junko Mizuno
Titan Comics
$24.99

The publisher says:
Once upon a time, on the coast of a tiny European country, there was an enormous cloud of toxic fumes. In this cloud lived a young girl named Ravina. And she is about to be unleashed on the human world. A bewitching and beautiful tale of an orphan girl who was raised by crows in a trash heap. One day, a dying witch gifts her with a mysterious magic wand and her life changes forever! Now, the human world is hers to play with… Or will this land of fear and corruption prove too much for the fledgling witch? In a time of witch hunts, Ravina must have her wits about her. 48pgs colour hardcover


Saving Grace
by Grace Wilson
Jonathan Cape
£16.99

The publisher says:
Saving Grace is the story of four twenty-somethings – Grace, Vicky, Jess and Maxine – who live in a ramshackle house in a rapidly gentrifying East London…until the landlord announces he’s selling up and they’ve got four weeks to leave. New plans form effortlessly for the others, but the odds feel stacked against Grace as she struggles to find self-fulfilment, a half decent job or even a roof over her head.
128pgs colour hardcover.



Seth’s Dominion
by Seth & Luc Chamberland
Drawn & Quarterly
$29.95

The publisher says:
An extravagantly designed portrait in comics, photos, and a DVD documentary of the world-building artist. When you live in an ornamented world where your home is a museum of 1940s design, you don’t leave the house without a hat and tie, and your wife owns a barber shop, which you designed, it’s hard to imagine letting a documentary about you go to press without constructing an exquisite package for it. In Seth’s Dominion, the National Film Board documentary by filmmaker Luc Chamberland about the acclaimed Canadian cartoonist, Seth has done just that. Presented here as an innovative double-spined hardcover that opens in two directions, one side opens with a photo essay narrating Seth’s life while the other offers a generous sampling of Seth’s art: comics and sketchbook pages, but also puppetry and New Yorker illustrations. Seth also speaks to the experience of making the documentary through a comics diary, constructed from rubber stamp images. Between these two halves lies Seth’s Dominion, a masterly portrait that mixes insightful biography with vivid animation in an artful fusion of filmmaking techniques that perfectly captures Seth’s manifold creative universe. From his melancholy reflections on childhood to his descriptions of his creative habits, Seth narrates his own life story enchantingly. With special features including two short animations and a taping of Seth speaking at the Drawn & Quarterly bookstore, Seth’s Dominion is a triumph. 80pgs colour hardcover with DVD.



Squalor
by Stefan Petrucha, Tom Sutton & Paul Mounts
Caliber Entertainment
$19.99

The publisher says:
Welcome to A-Time. Not another dimension, not a parallel world, but your very own neighbourhood without linear time. Here past, present, and future merge like expressway off-ramps. Collected in a single volume for the first time is the First Comic’s series Squalor with art by the legendary Tom Sutton. 120pgs colour paperback.

 

 


The Can Opener’s Daughter
by Rob Davis
SelfMadeHero
£12.99 / $19.95

The publisher says:
In the British Comic Award-winning The Motherless Oven, Scarper Lee asked: “Who the hell is Vera Pike?” In the second part of Rob Davis’ trilogy, we get a chance to find out. This is Vera’s story. Grave Acre is a cruel world of opportunity and control. Vera’s mother is the Weather Clock, the omnipotent and megalomaniacal Prime Minister of Chance. Her father is a can opener. Charting Vera’s unsettling childhood, the book takes us from her home in Parliament to suicide school, and from the Bear Park to the black woods that lie beyond. In the present day, Vera and Castro Smith are determined to see their friend Scarper again - but is he still alive? And if so, can they save him? Can anyone outlive their deathday? Both a sequel and a darkly inventive standalone graphic novel, The Can Opener’s Daughter answers many of the questions posed in The Motherless Oven, while asking plenty more of its own. 136pgs B&W paperback.



The 49th Key
by Erika Lewis & J.K. Woodward
Heavy Metal
$9.99

The publisher says:
One of Grant Morrison’s favourite Heavy Metal serials, The 49th Key is based on the 16th century legend of Enochian magic and tells of a secret language of angels. The first chapter in an expansive fantasy series tells of a rogue archeologist and a young autistic and mute boy on a treacherous journey through England to bring the boy home. The boy turns out to be the key to a gateway between our world and that of Enochia, a magical society that exists below the Earth’s surface, filled with fantasy creatures and highly advanced humans. 120pgs colour paperback.


The Palace Of Champions
by Henriette Valium
Conundrum Press
$25.00

The publisher says:
Henriette Valium has been called the greatest French-Canadian cartoonist of all time. He’s one of underground comic’s elder statesmen. Over the past three decades his creations have been widely dispersed in numerous anthologies, fanzines, self-published oversized silkscreened comics, and various mixed-media collaborations. He’s become a regular in almost every independent zine, compilation and catalogue in North America and Europe. Yet he has never had an original graphic novel published in English, until now! The heavy black lines and psychotic detailing of Valium’s comics demand attention, weeding out any casual readers. His style is like the bastard love child of S. Clay Wilson and Derf Backderf as raised by French avant-garde collective Le Dernier Cri. In his peculiar way, Valium explores decay, as in the rotting urban environments he obsessively renders, and his fascination with the various corruptions of the human body and mind, our illness and madness. His comics rant on subjects like “Science” or “Crisis,” horrifically, sometimes nonsensically, often hilariously exposing our culture’s fears and hypocrisies. The Palace of Champions is a historical document, finally bringing to light this underground legend. It includes an introduction and interview to give context for Valium’s long career and expansive body of work. 64pgs colour hardcover

 


The Shadow Glass
by Aly Fell
Dark Horse
$19.99

The publisher says:
A young student to England’s greatest occultist learns her real father is in league with the devil. When Rose finds out that the man who raised her isn’t her father, she ignores his warnings about the terrible secrets of her own past and seeks answers from childhood teacher Dr. John Dee, the queen’s occult advisor. 200pgs colour paperback.

 



The Theory Of The Grain Of Sand
by Benoît Peeters & François Schuiten
IDW
$19.99

The publisher says:
Gholam Mortiza Khan comes to Brüsel to sell some jewellery, but before the sale can be closed, Khan dies in an accident. Thus begins events sparking an investigation by Mary von Rathen: accumulation of sand in the apartment of Kristin Antipova; accumulation of stones in the house of Constant Abeels and Maurice who is loosing weight by the day. The events have a catastrophic effect on Brüsel and time is of the essence. Newly translated into English by Ivanka Hahnenberger and Steve Smith, and edited by Steve Smith (translator of The Leaning Girl and The Beauty) and Karen Copeland at Alaxis Press for publication by IDW. 128pgs part-colour paperback.



Tonoharu: Part 3
by Lars Martinson
Top Shelf / IDW
$24.95

The publisher says:
The long awaited final volume of the critically acclaimed Tonoharu series rejoins Dan Wells several months into his tenure as an English teacher in the Japanese village of Tonoharu. As personal stresses push Dan to the breaking point, he decides to take an extended cross-country vacation to let off steam. His time away grants him a fresh perspective on his troubles, but upon his return to Tonoharu, Dan discovers that dramatic change has occurred in his absence. Will this upheaval render his new-found epiphany moot? With hundreds of beautiful, detailed illustrations that evoke 19th century line engravings, Tonoharu provides a nuanced portrayal of the joys and frustrations of living abroad. 208pgs part-colour hardcover.


Trish Trash: Rollergirl From Mars Vol 1
by Jessica Abel
Papercutz / Super Genius
$14.99

The publisher says:
Two centuries from now, Trish “Trash” Nupindju lives on the newly inhabited Mars, whose settlers live under harsh and ruthless conditions. Trish dreams of only one thing: becoming a hoverderby star. It seems like making the professional derby team is the only way to escape a future of poverty on her parents’ farm. But, what happens when a half-dead Martian shows up on her doorstep and changes everything? Find out in the first volume of Trish Trash, the new science fiction trilogy created by Jessica Abel. 64pgs colour hardcover.


Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure
by Steven Tillotson
Avery Hill Publishing
£12.99

The publisher says:
On this particular morning in this particular place, Untitled Ape (a giant purple ghost-beast) has decided he needs to see his family. His friend Cat (a cat) doesn’t think it’s a particularly good idea, but at this very moment a massive storm rolls in, and their epic adventure begins. Without a map or much of a plan, they journey through flooded cities and stormy seas, across frozen plains and snowy mountains, and even up into the world of the clouds on their quest to find Ape’s home in the jungle. Along the way they make the acquaintance of a cast of incredible characters, who both help and hinder them to equal degree. Meanwhile and elsewhere, Ape’s past is starting to catch up with him, and it becomes more and more difficult to keep his dark past from Cat… What happened to Ape? Why doesn’t he have a name? And can he resist the pressure to return to his old life and make sure his friends and family are safe? These are the questions that Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize Runner-Up Steven Tillotson wrestles with and ultimately answers in his long-awaited saga of trial, tribulation, and friendship. 132pgs colour paperback.

Posted: September 25, 2016

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