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Top 21 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga:

June 2017

My absolute stand-out PG Tip for June is Threads, Kate Evans’ sensitive and insightful graphic reportage on the real human beings caught up in the refugee crisis.
Music and comics also come together this month in two intriguing graphic novel debuts, Masters Of The Sun from of Black Eyed Peas, and Murder Ballads (below) involving Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys. There’s Philip Pullman’s long-awaited first complete comic, Seventies’ ‘sharksploitation’, a manga masterclass from the creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, Italian erotica, preposterous superheroes and a pointed satire of the fickle art market in Etienne Davodeau’s The Cross-Eyed Mutt (below). These and more besides are presented here for your selection and delectation…

A New Low
by Johnny Ryan
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Collects over ten years of transgressive cartoons originally featured in Vice magazine. For more than a decade, Johnny Ryan has been filling the back page of the glossy, national Vice magazine with some of the most transgressively hilarious and politically incorrect comics, ever. Ryan skewers Bill Cosby, Two and a Half Men, Wall Street, and so much more that can’t be so easily categorised (such as “Erotic Art-Collecting Squirrel” or “Whorenado”). A New Low collects this impressive body of work, as well as several other surprises. 128pgs colour paperback.

Black Eyed Peas Presents: Masters Of The Sun
by, Benjamin Jackendoff & Damion Scott

The publisher says:
From the mind of comes a futuristic B-Boy Zombie Thriller, fusing together the unlikeliest of genres with ease. Masters Of the Sun mixes L.A. Gang culture, B-Boy-ism and Egyptology to tell the heroic tale of a Hip-Hop group from East L.A. who must battle an ancient, alien God sent to earth to continue a Black Curse - which turns drug dealers and gangsters into zombies! With a deep love of the Hip-Hop culture, Zulu-X and his crew go head-to-head with a nefarious ancient order that has infiltrated the inner cities to settle an ancient score. What happens next can only be described as the perfect blend of action, ancient wisdom and street-smarts all rolled into one epic adventure. Boasting one of the most eclectic ensemble cast of characters, Masters of the Sun delivers a powerful social allegory in the form of a new movement… #stayWOKE!!! 120pgs colour paperback.

Bulletproof Coffin: The Thousand Yard Stare
by David Hine & Shaky Kane
Image Comics

The publisher says:
The long-awaited sequel to The Bulletproof Coffin! When indie publisher Image Nation hires Shaky Kane to write and draw his own comic book, the artist finally finds himself free from the tedium of visualising the geriatric ramblings of washed-up hack, David Hine. See the awful consequences as jealous rivalry leads to a bloody showdown on the convention floor. 32pgs colour comic book.


by Karine Bernadou
Big Planet / Retrofit Comics

The publisher says:
At the edge of a magical wood, a little girl named Canopy grows up with her family. When she is grown her mother makes her venture into the dark forest on her own, where she encounters a loving ogre, sirens, and a man without a face… all while trying to discover herself and grow into a woman. Interspersed with stories of her relationship with her father, Canopy is a fantastic fable told with Karine Bernadou’s amazing cartoon pantomime style. Shortlisted for the Slate Book Review 2017 Cartoonist Studio Prize. 80pgs part-colour paperback.

Fish Girl
by David Wiesner & Donna Jo Napoli
Clarion Books
$25.00 / $17.99

The publisher says:
The triple Caldecott winner David Wiesner brings his rich visual imagination and trademark artistry to the graphic novel format in a unique coming-of-age tale that begins underwater. A young mermaid, called Fish Girl, in a boardwalk aquarium has a chance encounter with an ordinary girl. Their growing friendship inspires Fish Girl’s longing for freedom, independence, and a life beyond the aquarium tank. Sparkling with humour and brilliantly visualised, Fish Girl’s story will resonate with every young person facing the challenges and rewards of growing up. 192pgs colour hardcover / paperback.

Foolish Questions & Other Odd Conversations: Rube Goldberg, Early Comics 1909-1919
by Rube Goldberg
Sunday Press

The publisher says:
Before his incredible inventions captivated the world, Rube Goldberg was one of the most popular comic strip artists in America. Here’s the complete run of his first hit comic, Foolish Questions, as expanded and colourised for the pages of the Sunday Chicago Tribune, 1909-1910. Plus a brain-scrambling assortment of the other panels from his daily comics series that originated this wise-cracking classic. Most are printed for the first time in over 100 years. 96pgs colour hardcover.

Garbage Night
by Jen Lee
Nobrow Press
£12.95 / $18.95

The publisher says:
In a barren and ransacked backyard, a dog named Simon lives with his two best friends: a raccoon and a deer. The unlikely gang spends their days looting the desolate supermarket and waiting for the return of the hallowed ‘garbage night’ – but week after week, the bins remain empty. While scavenging one day, the trio meet Barnaby – another abandoned dog who tells them about the ‘other town’ where humans are still rumoured to live. Spurred on by hunger and the promise of food, the trio joins up with Barnaby and set off into the unknown… With echoes of post-war, derelict places, Garbage Night explores how animals may internalise their changing environment and express their thoughts, fears and hopes. Jen Lee studied at the School of Visual Arts in NYC for a BFA in illustration, whilst also taking classes in comics, graphic design, and writing. Lee currently freelances in a farmhouse out of Idaho. Some of her clients include Drop Dead Clothing, Burton, Boom! Studios, and Nickelodeon. Her work is influenced by artists such as Marc Boutavant, Dave Cooper and Andrei Tarkovsky. 72pgs colour paperback.

Golden Kamuy Vol. 1
by Satoru Noda
Viz Media

The publisher says:
A tale of high adventure and survival on the Japanese frontier! In the early twentieth century, Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto scratches out a meagre existence during the postwar gold rush on the wild frontier of Hokkaido. When he stumbles across a map to a fortune in hidden Ainu gold, he sets off on a treacherous quest to find it. But Sugimoto is not the only interested party, and everyone who knows about the gold will kill to possess it! Faced with the harsh conditions of the northern wilderness, ruthless criminals and rogue Japanese soldiers, Sugimoto will need all his skills and luck—and the help of an Ainu girl named Asirpa—to survive. 192pgs B&W paperback.

Hook Jaw Archive
by Pat Mills, Ken Armstrong & Ramon Sola
Titan Comics

The publisher says:
Hook Jaw - the comic so controversial, it got banned. Pat Mills, Ken Armstrong and Ramon Sola’s classic 1970s ‘sharksploitation’ strip from the weekly comic Action is collected in one volume, featuring the great white shark that targets the corrupt and greedy. 136pgs part-colour hardcover.


adapted by Peter Kuper
Dover Publications

The publisher says:
In this hardcover collection, Eisner Award-winning artist Peter Kuper recaptures the dark humour underlying Kafka’s fiction with these graphic interpretations of ten tales - three of which are brand new. Moody, woodcut-style images reminiscent of the German Expressionist style bring a dramatic energy to these evocative adaptations. 96pgs colour hardcover.


Manga In Theory And Practice: The Craft Of Creating Manga
by Hirohito Araki
Viz Media

The publisher says:
Learn how to create manga from Hirohiko Araki—creator of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and a master of the medium. Araki is the author of one of the longest-running and most beloved manga of all time, the epic fan favoirite JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. According to him, manga is the ultimate synthesis of all forms of art, and in this book he reveals the secrets behind how to make the magic happen using concrete examples from his own work. Read all about his “golden ratio” for drawing, the character histories he draws up for each of the characters he creates, his methodology for storytelling inspired by the great Ernest Hemingway, and many more aspects of manga creation in this how-to guide penned by an industry legend. 280pgs B&W hardcover.

Mondo Erotica
by Roberto Baldazzini
Korero Press
$39.95 / £24.99

The publisher says:
This landmark collection of the acclaimed Italian comic book artist Roberto Baldazzini is a spectacular showcase of the outrageous and provocative work he has written and illustrated over the past three decades, such as Casa Howard (which recounts the sexual adventures of the transsexual residents of an apartment block) and Chiara Rosenberg (in which a meek housewife finds her dominant side). Also featured are his pin-ups, gallery work, and drawings of Bettie Page. This is a collection to excite the interest of comic book fans everywhere. 224pgs B&W hardcover.

Murder Ballads
by Gabe Soira & Paul Reinwand
Z2 Comics

The publisher says:
A meditation on music, race, obsession, and how far someone will go to see their vision become real, Murder Ballads follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failed record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter with his wife Mary, fleeing the wreckage of their business and heading towards the destruction of their marriage. But Nate is given an unexpected chance to redeem himself when, during an unscheduled detour, he “discovers” Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a singular version of doom-laden country blues. Featuring an original soundtrack by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and Robert Finlay. 144pgs colour paperback.

Reed Crandall: Illustrator Of The Comics
by Roger Hill

The publisher says:
From the 1940s to the 1970s, Reed Crandall brought a unique and masterful style to American comic art. Using an illustrator’s approach on everything he touched, Crandall gained a reputation as the “artist’s artist” through his skilful interpretations of Golden Age super-heroes Doll Man, The Ray and Blackhawk (his signature character); horror and sci-fi for the legendary EC Comics line; Warren Publishing’s Creepy, Eerie and Blazing Combat; the THUNDER Agents and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ characters; and even Flash Gordon for King Features. Comic art historian Roger Hill has compiled a complete and extensive history of Crandall’s life and career, from his early years and major successes, through his tragic decline and passing in 1982. This full-colour hardcover includes never-before-seen photos, a wealth of rare and unpublished artwork, and over eighty thousand words of insight into one of the true illustrators of the comics. 256pgs colour softcover.

Superman: The Persistence Of An American Icon
by Ian Gordon
Rutgers University Press

The publisher says:
After debuting in 1938, Superman soon became an American icon. But why has he maintained his iconic status for nearly 80 years? And how can he still be an American icon when the country itself has undergone so much change? Superman: Persistence of an American Icon examines the many iterations of the character in comic books, comic strips, radio series, movie serials, feature films, television shows, animation, toys and collectibles over the past eight decades. Demonstrating how Superman’s iconic popularity cannot be attributed to any single creator or text, comics expert Ian Gordon embarks on a deeper consideration of cultural myth-making as a collective and dynamic process. He also outlines the often contentious relationships between the various parties who have contributed to the Superman mythos, including corporate executives, comics writers, artists, nostalgic commentators and collectors. Armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Superman’s appearances in comics and other media, Gordon also digs into comics archives to reveal the prominent role that fans have played in remembering, interpreting and reimagining Superman’s iconography. Gordon considers how comics, film and TV producers have taken advantage of fan engagement and nostalgia when selling Superman products. Investigating a character who is equally an icon of American culture, fan culture and consumer culture, Superman: Persistence of an American Icon thus offers a provocative analysis of myth-making in the modern era. 200pgs part-colour paperback.

Super Weird Heroes: Preposterous But True!
edited by http://yoebooks.comCraig Yoe
Yoe! Books / IDW

The publisher says:
Weirdness from A to Z! From Airmale to The Zebra! This large-format book of full comic stories follows on the terrific success of Super Weird Heroes: Outrageous But Real! Here’s a new tome crammed with OMG, WTH, and LOL bizarro heroes of the Golden Age. Eisner-winner Craig Yoe provides both witty and fascinating context to heroes like Mr. Whiskers (a young actor who dresses like an old geezer), Hip Knox (who has an eye-ball on his chest and what looks like a woo-woo on his belt), and Pat Parker War Nurse (who fights Nazis in a skimpy nurse/superhero costume)!  Over 30 full comic stories in all! 328pgs colour hardcover.

Surfside Girls: The Secret of Danger Point
by Kim Dwindle
Top Shelf Productions / IDW

The publisher says:
Things are getting weird in Surfside. Lately, Samantha’s best friend Jade explodes into fits of giggles whenever she sees a boy, and it’s throwing a wrench into the kick-back summer of surfing and hanging-out that Sam had planned. But after swimming through a secret underwater cave, Sam starts to… see things. Like ghosts. And pirates. And maybe something even scarier! Can she and Jade get to the bottom of this mystery in time to save their town? 232pgs colour paperback.

The Adventures of John Blake Vol. 1: Mystery Of The Ghost Ship
by Philip Pullman & Fred Fordham
David Fickling Books / Graphix
£14.99 / $19.99

The publisher says:
Far out at sea, and hidden by the fog of time, sails the Mary Alice and her crew - searching for a way home. But the mysterious ship is being hunted by a villain who will go to ANY lengths to track her down ...When a storm hits a small family yacht throwing a young girl overboard, John Blake dives in to save her and brings her aboard the so-called ghost ship. But trying to return her to her own time means going back to the one place where they run the greatest risk of being completely annihilated. Join Philip Pullman’s John Blake and the crew of the Mary Alice in an unforgettable time-travelling adventure on the high seas. 160pgs colour hardcover

The Cross-Eyed Mutt
by Etienne Davodeau

The publisher says:
Fabian is supervisor at the Louvre. He loves his job. He also loves Mathilde. When it comes time, she presents him to her family in their vast country house and not without some apprehension, as the Benion clan is a bit special. There’s her father, Louis, who heads since 1975 the family furniture company founded in 1947, and two brothers, Maxime and Joseph. They’re not bad guys, just rather clumsy and with a decidedly unsubtle sense of humour. The fact that Fabian works in the Louvre is a welcome coincidence, since they just found in the attic a painting by an ancestor in the nineteenth century. It’s a sorry representation of a cross-eyed mutt. What is the value? ask the Benions. Is this an eyesore or a masterpiece? Fabian, pretty embarrassed, punts on the question. So for the Benions, case closed, if it ain’t an eyesore, then no doubt it has its place on the walls of the Louvre! Fabian is left hoping the whole delusion will just go away, until one day the two brothers show up at the Louvre and ask. Getting The Cross-Eyed Mutt into the Louvre would demonstrate his commitment to becoming a member of the Benion family! Fabian is now in a pickle, when he meets Mr. André Balouchi, an oddball frequent visitor of the museum who turns out to have quite a bit of clout… A raucous satirical comedy that asks: Who decides what makes a work of art worthy of being in a major museum? 144pgs B&W hardcover.

Threads: From the Refugee Crisis
by Kate Evans
Verso Books
£14.99 / $24.95

The publisher says:
A heartbreaking, full-colour graphic novel of the refugee drama. In the French port town of Calais, famous for its historic lace industry, a city within a city arose. This new town, known as the Jungle, was home to thousands of refugees, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, all hoping, somehow, to get to the UK. Into this squalid shantytown of shipping containers and tents, full of rats and trash and devoid of toilets and safety, the artist Kate Evans brought a sketchbook and an open mind. Combining the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling, Evans has produced this unforgettable book, filled with poignant images—by turns shocking, infuriating, wry, and heartbreaking. Accompanying the story of Kate’s time spent among the refugees—the insights acquired and the lives recounted—is the harsh counterpoint of prejudice and scapegoating arising from the political right. Threads addresses one of the most pressing issues of modern times to make a compelling case, through intimate evidence, for the compassionate treatment of refugees and the free movement of peoples. Evans’s creativity and passion as an artist, activist, and mother shine through. 176pgs colour hardcover.

Vague Tales
by Eric Haven
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
A man telepathically visits other worlds while sitting in his apartment in the first full-length graphic novel from the cult cartoonist. A solitary figure has telepathic encounters with a demonic aviatrix, a wandering crystalline being, a flaming sword-wielding warrior and a mysterious sorceress, all within the confines of his own apartment. Haven’s work is dark, absurdist and deadpan, reflecting the apocalyptic undercurrent of modern times. His inky, rubbery drawings buttress his black humour. 68pgs colour hardcover.

Posted: April 15, 2017


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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