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Top 21 Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga:

August 2018

Here are my twenty-one PG Tips for upcoming titles being released starting from this August. Three compelling historical graphic novels from France stand out, all period pieces, the first about a thoroughly modern woman in Twenties England and Lapland, the second about the life of French novelist Colette, and the third about author Graham Greene in Prague in 1948, setting for Orson Welles’ movie adaptation of The Third Man

Asia this month is represented by a South Korean debut in translation, Ancco with her award-winning study of fraught friendships, and from Japan Shintaro Kago’s ‘fashionable paranoia’.

And the past comes alive in my US/UK PG Tips, both thoroughly researched graphic novels which reexamine Scotland’s role in slavery and the turbulent Weimar Republic in Germany. Jason Lutes has dedicated years to the making of Berlin and its completion is truly a landmark in the medium.

Bad Friends
by Ancco
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
Jinju is bad. She smokes, drinks, runs away from home, and has no qualms making her parents worry. Her mother and sister beg her to be a better student, sister, daughter; her beleaguered father expresses his concerns with his fists. Bad Friends is set in the 1990s in a South Korea torn between tradition and Western modernity and haunted by an air of generalised gloom. What unfolds is a story of female friendship, a Ferrante-esque connection formed through youthful excess, malaise, and struggle that stays with the young women into adulthood. 176pgs B&W paperback.

Berlin Complete Edition
by Jason Lutes
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
During the past two decades, Jason Lutes has quietly created one of the masterworks of the graphic novel golden age. Serialised in twenty-two issues, collected in two volumes, with a third to be co-released at the time of this omnibus, Berlin has over 100,000 copies in print. An intricate look at the fall of the Weimar Republic through the eyes of its citizens, Berlin will be one of the high-water marks of the medium: rich in its researched historical detail; compassionate in its character studies; and as timely as ever in its depiction of a society slowly awakening to the stranglehold of fascism. 580pgs B&W hardcover.

DC Comics Before Superman:
Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s Pulp Comics

by various
Hermes Press

The publisher says:
Before Batman and Superman were even a glimmer in Bill Finger and Jerry Siegel’s eyes, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson created National Allied Publications, which would then go on to become DC Comics; one of the largest comic publishers in the world. This groundbreaking book explores the history of DC Comics before it became the behemoth we know today; the pulp stories that formed the basis for all the different kinds of comics that exist today. Titles included in this historical reprint include Barry O’Neill and Fang Gow (script: Wheeler-Nicholson; art: Leo O’Mealia), Blood Pearls (script: Wheeler-Nicholson; art: Munson Paddock), Foe of the Borgias (script and art: Sven Elven), The Golden Dragon (script and art- Tom Hickey), and more. All the comics included in this tome have been painstakingly reproduced and repaired to show how they would have looked back in the 1930s; and also included are all the pulps that the comics were based on. With an essay from Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson on the formation of National Allied Publications, an introduction by Jim Steranko, and an afterward by comics historian Tom Andrae. 192pgs colour hardcover.

Dementia 21
by Shintaro Kago
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Yukie Sakai is a sprightly young home health aide eager to help her elderly clients. But what seems like a simple, straightforward job quickly turns into a series of increasingly surreal and bizarre adventures that put Yukie’s wits to the test. Shintaro Kago is well known for combining the traditional manga style with a hyper realistic illustration technique and an adventurous storytelling approach to create his own genre referred to as “fashionable paranoia.” All of his trademark virtues (and vices) are on full display in these darkly comedic tales that strain the bounds of the imagination. 300pgs B&W paperback.

Emma G. Wildford
by Zidrou & Edith
Titan Books / Statix Press

The publisher says:
Journey back in time to the roaring twenties, and across England and Lapland, to experience the charming and thrilling adventure of Emma G. Wildford, a tale that mixes mystery, grand adventure, and love. It’s been fourteen months since Emma G. Wildford’s fiancé, Roald Hodges, a member of the National Geographic Society, boarded the good ship Kinship and set sail for Norway… and she has had no news of him since. Every day, she questions the other members of the Society about his whereabouts, and his current situation, whether good or ill, but to no avail. Before he left, Roald gave Emma a mysterious envelope to open, but only in case something happened to him. Rejecting the very thought of Roald’s death, Emma decides to leave behind everything - her life, her comfort, her England, to go to Lapland in pursuit. 112pgs colour hardcover.

Femme Magnifique
by various writers & artists
IDW / Black Crown

The publisher says:
Fifty female trailblazers of yesterday and today get a four-color sequential tribute in Femme Magnifique. This collection features three-page short stories about women from the arenas of pop music, politics, art, and science. From astronauts and archaeologists to muckrakers and mathematicians, Femme Magnifique will stimulate and educate. Part mini biopic, part personal inspiration, this collection also features new material including a foreword by Cindy Whitehead, behind-the-scenes process pages, and more. Creators from South Africa, India, England, Denmark, the U.S. and other locales converge to share stories of personal heroines Kate Bush, Octavia Butler, Rumiko Takahashi, Ada Lovelace, Misty Copeland, Margaret Sanger, Michelle Obama, Sally Ride, Harriet Tubman, and more. Comic book luminaries Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kieron Gillen, Sanford Greene, Jill Thompson, Gilbert Hernandez, Gerard Way, and Marguerite Bennett, to name a few, lend their talents to a celebration of kickass women who are truly magnifique. 240pgs colour paperback.

Freedom Bound
by Warren Pleece
BHP Comics

The publisher says:
Freedom Bound explores Scotland’s uncomfortable connections with the history of slavery. We follow the interconnected stories of three enslaved people seeking freedom in Scotland in the decades before the legal case which decided that Scots Law could not tolerate slavery. Freedom Bound is the first book of its kind, one that will become an invaluable teaching resource, encompassing art, literature, history and politics, as well as a gripping historical novel for popular release. The book aims to make this difficult subject matter accessible for younger readers. 144pgs B&W hardcover.

Fruit of Knowledge
by Liv Stromquist
Fantagraphics Books / Virago
$22.99 / £14.99

The publisher says:
A runaway hit in Sweden, Fruit of Knowledge is a quirky, educational, funny and smart sex-positive graphic guide to the female reproductive system, with a great historical perspective on society’s love-hate relationship with women’s sexuality, from the Stone Age and the Ancient Greeks to Freud and Stieg Larsson, and up-to-date anatomy lessons. Fruit of Knowledge will be Virago’s first ever graphic novel, perfect for fans of Jacky Fleming and Alison Bechdel, as well as for readers of popular feminist authors like Laura Bates and Caitlin Moran. Liv Strömquist is a celebrated Swedish graphic novelist and Fruit of Knowledge, her first book to be translated into English, is being published in over sixteen countries around the world. 144pgs colour hardcover.

Girl Town
by Caroyln Nowak
IDW / Top Shelf Productions

The publisher says:
Diana got hurt-a lot-and she’s decided to deal with this fact by purchasing a life-sized robot boyfriend. Mary and La-La host a podcast about a movie no one’s ever seen. Kelly has dragged her friend Beth out of her comfort zone-and into a day at the fantasy market that neither of them will forget. Girl Town collects the Ignatz Award-winning stories “Radishes” and “Diana’s Electric Tongue” together with several other tales of young adulthood and the search for connection. Here are her most acclaimed mini-comics and anthology contributions, enhanced with new colours and joined by brand-new work. Bold, infatuated, wounded, or lost, Nowak’s girls shine with life and longing. Their stories-depicted with remarkable charm and insight-capture the spirit of our time. 160pgs colour paperback.

by Frank Gogol & various artists
Source Point Press

The publisher says:
Comics Experience and Source Point Press present Grief, an anthology unlike any other, that explores the various ways in which people experience and express grief. Using the Kubler-Ross outline of the five stages as a framework, Frank Gogol’s intensely personal stories will either resonate as a cathartic outlet, or a punch to the heart. Contributing artists are Dani Martins, Emily Elmer, Esther Gil-Munilla, Jey Soliva, Kim Holm, Luca Bulgheroni, Nenad Cvitivanin, Ryan Foust & Sean Rinehart. 92pgs B&W paperback.


Hey Kids! Comics! #1
by Howard Chaykin
Image Comics

Hey Kids! Comics! takes its cue from nearly a century of turbulence and triumph, despair and drama in the comic book racket. Artists and writers, con men and clowns, ganefs and gangsters, create the foundations of today’s biggest entertainment business-or at least the tail that wags the dog. Some of it really happened, and the names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty… although in the end, everyone was guilty of something… 32pgs colour comic book.


Idle Days
by Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau & Simon Leclerc
Firstb Second

The publisher says:
Depressed and unmoored by his father’s violent death, and drafted into the Canadian military to serve in World War II, Jerome has fled, taking refuge in a cabin his grandfather owns in a remote part of the countryside. But Jerome’s troubles are only beginning. A strange dread fills the woods, and rumours of murders and ghosts cast his refuge in a sinister light. As Jerome struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, he obsessively seeks to uncover the mystery of what, exactly, happened in his grandfather’s house. Simon Leclerc’s haunting, expressionistic artwork brings to life a quiet, layered, and deeply literary story from writer Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau, in a graphic novel that explores with tenderness and insight the wounds opened with the loss of a loved one. 272pgs colour paperback.

Incognegro: Renaissance
by Mat Johnson & Warren Pleece
Dark Horse / Berger Books

The publisher says:
When a black writer is found dead at a scandalous interracial party in 1920s’ New York, Harlem’s cub reporter Zane Pinchback is the only one determined to solve the murder. Zane must go “Incognegro” for the first time, using his light appearance to pass as a white man to find the true killer, in this prequel miniseries to the critically acclaimed Vertigo graphic novel, now available in a special new 10th Anniversary Edition. A page-turning thriller of racial divide, Incognegro: Renaissance explores segregation, secrets and self-image as our race-bending protagonist penetrates a world where he feels stranger than ever before. Collects the five-issue miniseries. 128pgs B&W hardcover.

James Brown: Black and Proud
by Xavier Fauthoux

The publisher says:
Born in the South during the height of segregation, James Brown went on to become a global sensation, using his immeasurable talent to grasp what he believed was the American Dream. Join the charismatic, hard-working, and sometimes tyrannical bandleader on a journey down the roads of America with a group of talented musicians spreading the sound of funk and soul throughout the country. Told against the backdrop of a changing America during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, this is the story of a man and his band that would go on to revolutionise the world of pop music. Xavier Fauthoux was the winner of the James Brown Music Video Challenge in 2012. 144pgs colour hardcover.

Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter
by Cecile Brun & Olivier Pichard
Tuttle Publishing

The publisher says:
Part fantasy, part travelogue, Onibi: Diary Of A Yokai Ghost Hunter follows the adventures of two foreign visitors as they tour Japan. When they buy an antique camera along the way, they discover they can capture images of Japan’s invisible spirit world. The forgotten spirits they meet can be kindly, mischievous, and some, downright dangerous. Armed with their magical camera, they enjoy local foods in each region and meet with people who tell them about the forgotten spirits who lie in wait ready to play tricks on them. Yokai, the Japanese word for supernatural monsters, ghosts, ghouls, and demons can be kindly, mischievous, and downright dangerous. Readers 10-18 who cherished books like Cool Japan Guide and Diary of a Tokyo Teen will delight in this comic book style adventure. The graphic novel format will appeal to diehard anime and manga fans while stressing the importance this ancient spirit world is to the Japanese culture. 128pgs colour paperback.

by Nick Thorburn
Fantagraphics Books

Told almost entirely without words, Penguins is a series of interconnected short strips that does more to showcase the breadth of emotion we as humans experience than most prose novels. As author Nick Thorburn explains, “Penguins go through a lot of hell that could be avoided if they had the ability to fly. This cruel irony lends itself to humor, as well as sadness. Death and the desperate search for love and companionship seem so tethered to life as a penguin, as well as for humans, and so the goal was to bridge those two and make them funny.” 288pgs colour hardcover.

Perdy Vol. 1
by Kickliy
Image Comics

The publisher says:
Perdy loves two things: sex and robbing banks-no particular order. After spending 15 years in Yuma prison, Perdy wastes no time in getting back to doing both. A lot has changed since Perdy’s been away, especially her looks, but that’s not gonna stop her from piecing together the biggest score of gold this side of the border. And if anyone gets in her way, they’ll be pushing up petunias. A new western series from Angoulême Award nominee, and international star, KICKLIY. 160pgs colour hardcover.


by Brenna Thummier
Lion Forge Cub House

The publisher says:
Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old girl who is left in charge of the family laundry business after her mother’s unexpected death. Her daily routine features unforgiving customers, her grieving father, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for. Wendell IS a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world. Sheets illustrates the determination of a young girl to fight, even when all parts of her world seem to be conspiring against her. It proves that second chances are possible whether life feels over or life is over. But above all, it is a story of the forgiveness and unlikely friendship that can only transpire inside a haunted laundromat. 240pgs colour paperback.

The Prague Coup
by Jean-Luc Fromental & Miles Hyman
Titan Comics / Hard Case Crime

The publisher says:
British author Graham Greene finds himself in the midst of an intricate plot to unseat the government of Czechoslovakia in an event that would be remembered as The Prague Coup. Winter 1948, the Austrian capital is under occupation by the allied powers. Debriefed by London Films, Graham Greene works on the writing of his next feature film, assisted by the enigmatic Elizabeth Montagu. A seemingly peaceful mission enters into a revolution that history will remember as the “coup de Prague”. 112pgs colour hardcover.

The Provocative Colette
by Annie Goetzinger

The publisher says:
The movie Colette is coming in September starring Keira Knightley. “One dies only from the first man,” she wrote in 1909. But this death was a new beginning, and the one that signed “Colette” from 1910 onward gradually opened her eyes to her condition of a woman who was an exploited writer and a betrayed wife, and who will emancipate herself by writing, and with what talent! Incredibly complex, powerfully determined, truly gifted, Colette challenged herself to reinvent her life and assert herself as a free woman. In her day, her behaviour scandalised and vexed the establishment. But in the end, she helped to free women in their thinking and became member and then president of France’s prestigious Académie Goncourt, among many other honours as one of France’s preeminent authors. For mature readers. 128pgs colour hardcover.

by Duncan Tonatiuh
Abrams ComicArts

The publisher says:
Undocumented is the story of immigrant workers who have come to the United States without papers. Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields, struggling for money he crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker. Though he is able to get a job he receives less than half of the minimum wage! Risking his boss reporting him to the authorities Juan risks everything and stands up for himself and others like him. Undocumented is told via the ancient Mixtec codex-accordion fold-format. 128pgs colour hardcover.


Woman World
by Aminder Dhaliwal
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
With her startling humour, it’s no surprise that Aminder Dhaliwal’s web comic Woman World has a devoted audience of over 120,000 readers. When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny Instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilisation of segway-riding mall cops, Blockbusters movie rental shops, and “That’s What She Said” jokes. Woman World is an uproarious and insightful graphic novel from a talented and funny new voice. 256pgs B&W paperback.

Posted: June 1, 2018


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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