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Top 25 Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga:

March 2018

Spring is arriving early, as it comes marching in next March, judging by the variety and high quality of my suggestions for your comics reading this month. My PG Tips in particular include the deliciously subversive collection of love stories in Bizarre Romance teaming up literary power couple Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell.

Then there’s an overdue and substantial dose from Italian genius Gipi, re-exploring his themes of adolescence and masculinity in an even darker and deeper fable in Land of the Sons.

Let me also point out two other potential treasures -  in the first of four parts of Four Sisters and in John Porcellino’s quietly observant road trip From Lone Mountain...

And finally 250 years of, Britain’s history of comics and cartooning by women is examined and celebrated in not one, but two vital volumes from Myriad Editions.

Very Merry Comics-Reading to one and all!


Akissi: Tales of Mischief
by Marguerite About & Mathieu Sapin
Flying Eye Books
£12.99 / $20.95

The publisher says:
The three volumes of the Akissi series by critically acclaimed author Marguerite Abouet are collected in this first English edition. Poor Akissi! The neighbourhood cats are trying to steal her fish, her little monkey Boubou almost ends up in a frying pan and she’s nothing but a pest to her older brother Fofana… But Akissi is a true adventurer full of silliness and mischief, and nothing will scare her for long! 142pgs colour paperback.


A Strange and Beautiful Sound
by Zep
IDW Publishing

The publisher says:
William chose silence 25 years ago when he joined the Carthusian religious order. When an inheritance forces him to leave the monastery for Paris, he must master a whole new world and question certainties forged long ago. He meets Méry, a young woman whose days are numbered due to an incurable illness, and who is resolutely decided on making the most of the time she has left. Now William must face new questions-Where is life’s value? In the struggles, or in the peace?-and complicate his choices in a powerful story that truly addresses the meaning of life. For readers of quiet, introspective graphic novels like Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Julian Hanshaw’s Tim Ginger, Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder, Adrian Tomine’s Killing and Dying, and Manuela Fior’s 5,000 Kilometers Per Second. 88pgs colour hardcover.

BDQ: Essays and Interviews on Quebec Comics
Conundrum Press
Edited by Andy Brown

The publisher says:
The comics community in Quebec has long been heralded as unique, blending the clear line aesthetic of Europe with the underground influences of North America. Think Tintin meets R. Crumb. Of course, most of the work is in the French language. And while artists such as Michel Rabagliati, Guy Delisle, and Julie Doucet are now internationally recognized, much of it is still unknown outside the province. Conundrum Press started its BDANG imprint in 2004 to rectify this situation by translating and publishing work from Quebec comic artists. BDANG stands for Bande Dessinée en ANGlais, or French comics in English. This volume is a companion to the imprint, collecting interviews and essays on Quebec comics, to give context to the history and breadth of the work. Read about the early strips in Montreal newspapers at the turn of the century, Albert Chartier, cartoonist of rural Quebec, the zany antics of Red Ketchup, the underground minicomics boom of the 1990s, the anglophones who found themselves a part of the mix, and the hallucinogenic punk prophet Valium. 224pgs B&W paperback.

Bizarre Romance
by Audrey Niffenegger & Eddie Campbell
Abrams ComicArts / Jonathan Cape
$24.99/ £?

The publisher says:
Internationally bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, and graphic artist Eddie Campbell, of such seminal works as From Hell by Alan Moore, collaborate on a wonderfully bizarre collection that celebrates and satirizes love of all kinds. With 16 different stories told through illustrated prose or comic panels, the couple explores the idiosyncratic nature of relationships in a variety of genres from fractured fairy tales to historical fiction to paper dolls. With Niffenegger’s sharp, imaginative prose and Campbell’s diverse comic styles, Bizarre Romance is the debut collection by two of the most important storytellers of our time. 168pgs colour hardcover.

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked The World
by Pénélope Bagieu
First Second / Ebury Press
$17.99 / $24.99 / £17.99

The publisher says:
Celebrated cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu tells the true stories of daring women throughout history. With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of formidable female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison, or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, their stories are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies. 304pgs colour paperback / hardcover.



Captain Harlock:
The Classic Collection Volume 1

by Meiji Matsumoto
Seven Seas Entertainment

The publisher says:
The original Captain Harlock series, introducing one of the most revered and recognisable characters in science fiction history, released in English for the first time. After a mysterious sphere collides with Tokyo, legends seemingly born of the ancient Mayan civilisation appear. In truth, however, the beings are alien invaders known as the Mazone, plant women who wandered the earth in bygone ages - and have now returned to make it theirs. With a ragtag crew of renegades at his side, only the space pirate Captain Harlock has what it takes to save the planet. 400pgs B&W hardcover.

Casey Ruggles Volume 1
by Warren Tufts
Classic Comics Press

The publisher says:
Casey Ruggles by Warren Tufts appeared in American newspapers from May 2, 1949 to October 30, 1955. Classic Comics Press is very pleased to present Casey Ruggles Volume 1. This strip is unique in that it started as a Sunday only, then added a daily to the Sunday storyline on September 19, 1959, only to splint the Sunday and daily’s storylines into their own continuities on January 9, 1951. For volume 1 we will be reprinting the first 34 Sundays in glorious color until the daily and Sunday continuities split, followed by dailies to October 30, 1955. 312pgs part-colour hardcover.


Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists
by Martha H. Kennedy
University Press of Mississippi

The publisher says:
Published in partnership with the Library of Congress, Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists presents an overarching survey of women in American illustration, from the late nineteenth into the twenty-first century. Martha H. Kennedy brings special attention to forms that have heretofore received scant notice—cover designs, editorial illustrations, and political cartoons—and reveals the contributions of acclaimed cartoonists and illustrators, along with many whose work has been overlooked. Featuring over 250 color illustrations, including eye-catching original art from the collections of the Library of Congress, Drawn to Purpose provides insight into the personal and professional experiences of eighty women who created these works. Included are artists Roz Chast, Lynda Barry, Lynn Johnston and Jillian Tamaki. The artists’ stories, shaped by their access to artistic training, the impact of marriage and children on careers, and experiences of gender bias in the marketplace, serve as vivid reminders of social change during a period in which the roles and interests of women broadened from the private to the public sphere. The vast, often neglected, body of artistic achievement by women remains an important part of our visual culture. The lives and work of the women responsible for it merit much further attention than they have received thus far. For readers who care about cartooning and illustration, Drawn to Purpose provides valuable insight into this rich heritage. 255pgs colour hardcover.

Four Sisters, Vol. 1: Enid
by Malika Ferdjoukh & Cati Baur
IDW Publishing / EuroComics

The publisher says:
Bereaved by the death of their parents, five sisters live in a seaside villa full of nooks and mystery-growing up together, sharing their grief, experiences, and love. The oldest becomes the head of the family. Book One is narrated by the youngest sister, Enid. A free spirit, she enjoys wandering alone and talking to animals and anything she meets. Her best friend Gulliver is, like her, offbeat and creative. When Enid begins hearing ghost-like screams, the two friends embark on a scary adventure. These sisters are not perfect, and they may not always get along, but in times of need, they can always count on one another. Each of the four books in the series is narrated by a different one of the younger sisters. Nominated for the Best Children’s Graphic Novel Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. 160pgs colour hardcover.

From Lone Mountain
by John Porcelain
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
John Porcellino makes his love of home and of nature the anchors in an increasingly turbulent world. He slows down and visits the forests, fields, streams, and overgrown abandoned lots that surround every city. He studies the flora and fauna around us. He looks at the overlooked. Porcellino also digs deep into a quintessential American endeavour, the road trip. Uprooting his comfortable life several times in From Lone Mountain, John drives through the country weaving from small town to small town, experiencing America in slow motion, avoiding the sameness of airports and overwhelming hustle of major cities. Grand themes of King-Cat are visited and stated more eloquently than ever before: serendipity, memory, and the quest for meaning in the everyday. 304pgs B&W paperback.

Jack Kirby Checklist:
Centennial Limited Ediiton

Compiled by Jon Morrow & colleagues
TwoMorrows Publishing

The publisher says:
The ultimate listing of Jack “King” Kirby’s work. With a decade of extensively researched corrections and additions since the 2008 “Gold Edition,” this final, fully-updated, definitive Centennial Edition clocks in at double its previous length, in a new 256-page Limited Edition Hardcover of only 1,000 copies to celebrate Kirby’s Centennial! In addition to a detailed listing of all of Kirby’s published comic book work (with dates, story titles, page counts, and inkers, plus reprints cross-referenced to help collectors locate less-expensive versions of key issues), it documents his work in: Pulp magazines, books, foreign editions, newspaper strips, fine art and collages, periodicals, fanzines, convention booklets, novels and short stories, essays, interviews, speeches and convention panels, art exhibitions, portfolios, posters, calendars, cards, stamps, stickers, radio and television appearances, audio and video recordings, animation, even Jack’s unpublished work. 256pgs B&W hardcover.

Land of the Sons
by Gipi
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Land of the Sons is Gipi’s most artistically accomplished work to date, juxtaposing the stark savagery of the post-apocalyptic narrative with the Italian master’s dense and expressive line work. While similar tonally, Land of the Sons, unlike Lord of the Flies, lays the groundwork for humanity overcoming sheer brutality and personal desires, while commenting on the fragile state of masculinity and human nature itself. 288pgs B&W hardcover.

Lone Wolf and Cub Gallery Edition
by Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima
Dark Horse

The publisher says:
Kazuo Koike’s samurai epic is a tour-de-force of graphic fiction, and the Lone Wolf and Cub Gallery Edition features selections of the late Goseki Kojima’s spectacular illustration reproduced at original size on heavy-stock art paper to preserve the work in detail as it exists today, as close as one can come to owning these rarest of artworks. Including in its entirety the final titanic clash between Ogami Ittō and Yagyū Retsudō. This deluxe volume is a must have for collectors and enthusiasts of the finest comic art ever created. Reproduced from high-resolution scans at original size from the original art created over forty years ago. Accompanied by corresponding reproductions in English. 228pgs colour oversized hardcover.

Marie Duval
by Simon Brennan, Roger Sabin & Julian White
Myriad Editions
£19.99 / $24.95

The publisher says:
http://www.marieduval.orgMarie Duval (1847–1890) was a groundbreaking Victorian female cartoonist whose wide range of work, depicting an urban, often working class milieu, has been largely forgotten. This is a book for pleasure: the first to celebrate her life and work. What did it mean to be a woman working in the man’s world of cartooning? Marie Duval is a celebration of the art and times of Marie Duval – a unique, pioneering, innovative and highly entertaining visual journalist, cartoonist and illustrator whose work appeared in serial magazines and books at a time when the identity of the artist, in Victorian England, was in radical flux. Both a stage actress as well as an artist, Duval was uniquely placed to take advantage of the first appearance of a mass leisure culture by contributing to the weekly magazines that combined current affairs and theatrics with a focus on urban life. The work of Marie Duval confounds one of our most commonplace ideas of the Victorian era––that women were not supposed to create or even to participate in public life and certainly not meant to be either comic or professional. Her comic strips were not only pioneering in terms of what we have come to call ‘comics,’ but present a vernacular comedy that frequently undercuts and supercedes the work of her male contemporaries. The book provides an entertaining visual account of the work of Duval as she struggled and succeeded in creating a new urban visual culture. It will look in turn at key aspects of Victorian mass leisure industry, such as tourism, day-tripping, fashion, the theatre, art and the ‘season.’ Placing Duval in the visual context of the emerging profession of visual journalism, this illustrated book offers an enticing glimpse of the exciting, strange and world-changing media environment of London in the last part of the nineteenth century. 144pgs B&W hardcover.

Mean Girls Club
by Ryan Heshka
Nobrow Press
£14.99 / $20.95

The Mean Girls Club have been laying waste to the town for years, and Mayor Schlomo is hell-bent on their destruction. He has other plans for the town’s young women… brainwashing and sexual servitude. And so the Mayor blackmails a young mechanic by the name of Roxy to infiltrate the Clubhouse - but Roxy’s feisty attitude lands her an initiation into the Club instead! Torn between her obligations to her dying grandfather, the Mayor’s dirty threats, and her unexpected friendships with the Mean Girls, will Roxy help the Girls to bring down the Mayor’s cult once and for all? 96pgs two-colour hardcover.

by Dave Cooper
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
Eddy Table first appeared in Dave Cooper’s award-winning underground comics series, Weasel and Mudbite compiles two all-new Eddy Table stories. In “Mud River,” Eddy can’t resist taking advantage of an Amazon who has received a bonk on the head, even as a river of mud approaches. In “Bug Bite,” Eddy gets distracted and misplaces his family whilst on vacation in Europe, ending up in a dark corridor inhabited by slimy black eels. Mudbite marks the first new graphic novel by fan favorite Dave Cooper in more than 15 years, marking a welcome return to the medium. 72pgs colour hardcover.

by Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky
Boom! Studios

The publisher says:
French author Loïc Locatelli-Kournwsky presents a modern-day retelling of the Greek myth of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in an exciting universe that blends high fantasy adventure with visuals reminiscent of Japanese anime and 1950s American-style comics. Persephone may be the adopted daughter of the famous magician Demeter, but she struggles to find her place alongside such a force of nature. Persephone’s desire to find out where she belongs takes her on an epic adventure deep into the Underworld, where she’ll discover who, or what, she is. 144pgs colour hardcover.

Puerto Rico Strong
by various creators
Lion Forge

The publisher says:
An anthology celebrating Pueryo Rican culture, history, strength and pride. Puerto Rico Strong is a comics anthology that explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept, from today’s most exciting Puerto Rican comics creators. All profits will go to towards Disaster Relief and Recovery Programs to Support Puerto Rico. 160pgs colour paperback.


Shock Anthology
by various creators
Aftrershock Comics

The publisher says:
AfterShock Comics continues to push boundaries by presenting its very first anthology collection featuring a slew of today’s top writers and artists. Presented in the European Album format (same as the recent Animosity: the Rise hardcover for LCSD), this handsome hardcover features the creative talents of Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli, Charles Vess, Michael Gaydos, Andy Clarke, Andrew Robinson, Mike Carey, Jim Starlin, Phil Hester, Paul Jenkins, Dalibor Talajic, Bill Willingham, Travis Moore, Brian Azzarello, Francesco Francavilla, Cullen Bunn, Marc Guggenheim, Marguerite Bennett, Frank Tieri, Brian Stelfreeze and more. Cover art by John Cassaday. From the multiple Eisner and Havery Award-nominated editor of the classic Negative Burn anthology series. 160pgs colour oversized hardcover.

The Dragon Slayer
by Jaime Hernandez
Toon Graphics
$9.99 / $16.95

The publisher says:
How would a kitchen maid fare against a seven-headed dragon? What happens when a woman marries a mouse? And what can a young man learn from a thousand leaf cutter ants? Famed Love and Rockets creator Jaime Hernandez asks these questions and more as he transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning, and utterly contemporary comics. Guided by the classic works of F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, Hernandez’s first book for young readers brings the sights and stories of Latin America to a new generation of graphic-novel fans around the world. 40pgs colour paperback / hardcover.

The Inking Woman
by Nicola Streeten & Cath Tate
Myriad Editions
£19.99 / $24.95

The publisher says:
The Inking Woman is a groundbreaking picture-led celebration of the work of over 100 named British artists, and a few more anonymous ones, revealing a wealth of women’s wit and insight spanning 250 years. For many years, the world of cartoons and comics was seen as a male preserve. The reality is that women have been drawing and publishing cartoons for longer than most people realise. In the early 1760s, Mary Darly illustrated, wrote and published the first book on caricature drawing published in England, A Book of Caricaturas. In the nineteenth century, Britain’s first comic character, Ally Sloper, was developed by the actress and cartoonist Marie Duval (1847–1890). Cartoons were used by the suffragettes, and, during the Great War, artists such as Flora White and Agnes Richardson produced light-hearted propaganda comic postcards. From the 1920s, a few women cartoonists began to appear regularly in newspapers. The practice was for artists to sign with their surname, so most readers were unaware of the cartoonist’s gender. In 1920, Mary Tourtel created Rupert Bear for the Daily Express, and nearly a hundred years later her character is still going strong. From the 1960s, feminism inspired cartoonists to question the roles assigned to them and address subjects such as patriarchy, equal rights, sexuality and child rearing, previously unseen in cartoons. Over the last thirty years, women have come increasingly to the fore in comics, zines and particularly graphic novels. This wide-ranging curation of women’s comics work includes prints, caricatures, joke, editorial and strip cartoons, postcards, comics, zines, graphic novels and digital comics, covering all genres and topics. It addresses inclusion of art by women of underrepresented backgrounds. Based on an exhibition of the same name, held at the Cartoon Museum in 2017, this book demonstrates that women have always had a wicked sense of humour and a perceptive view of the world. 144pgs B&W hardcover.

The Instinct for Cooperation
by Jeffrey Wilson & Eliseu Zeu Gouveia
Seven Stories Press

The publisher says:
In the tradition of Joe Sacco’s graphic journalism comes the first interview-based graphic novel treatment of Noam Chomsky’s political ideas and activism. An astonishing graphic novel that brings Chomsky’s political analysis to bear on real people’s stories on the frontlines of America’s struggle for economic justice and human dignity. The Instinct for Cooperation innovatively balances those real-life stories of struggle with conversations the author has had with Chomsky on how best to understand them. Although the themes are wide-ranging, this book is ultimately about the importance and need for spaces of resistance in countering state and other institutional forms of violence. For example, when discussing the removal of books by police and sanitation workers from Zuccotti Park in November of 2011, Chomsky paused to say “Arizona knows all about that,” referring to the 2010 ban of Mexican American Studies in Tucson schools under Arizona House Bill 2281, which deemed classes that taught “ethnic solidarity” to be illegal. Rather than footnote the reference, Wilson tells that story. Like Joe Sacco’s animated political journalism, this book offers a unique perspective on current issues, while providing a major contribution to the understanding of Chomsky’s political theories. 112pgs B&W paperback.,

The Reprieve
by Jean-Pierre Gibrat
IDW Publishing / EuroComics

The publisher says:
Escaped prisoner-of-war Julien Sarlat is hiding in the small village of Cambeyrac, using a secret observation post overlooking the village square to watch the permanent theatre that people offer in the course of the day. Loves, hatreds, jealousies, cowardices, acts of heroism… nothing escapes the observer’s eye, especially not the beautiful waitress Cécile. Until the moment comes when, spectator no more, he must become an actor himself and meet his destiny. This hidden life he had hoped to live was just a reprieve. Winner of the Best Artist Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Prequel to the award-winning graphic novel Flight of the Raven. The book also includes a portfolio of Jean-Pierre Gibrat’s pinups and sketches featuring its heroine. 136pgs colour paperback.

The True Death of Billy the Kid
by Rick Geary

The publisher says:
One of the folk legends of the Wild West, William H. Bonney went from cowboy and gunslinger for a rancher to pure outlawry. On the one hand, he was charming, fun-loving (often at social events like dances), and quite appealing to the ladies. Also conversant in Spanish, “Billito” was popular with the Spanish speaking crowd. On the other hand, he had no compunction to coldly kill a man, a sheriff, a deputy - anyone who got in his way rustling cattle or horses for an illicit living. He also proved hard to keep in jail even when caught. It is probably his feats of derring-do escaping from jails that made him most famous and this is the main subject of this biography following him until he is shot in pitch darkness by lawmen obsessed with getting rid of him. 56pgs colour hardcover.

Truth, Justice, and The American Way:
The Joe Shuster Story

by Julian Voloj & Thomas Campi
Papercutz / Super Genius
$19.99 / $29.99

The publisher says:
Everyone knows Superman, but not everyone knows the story of two youngsters from Cleveland who created Superman. Based on archival material and original sources, Truth, Justice, and the American Way: The Joe Shuster Story tells the story of the friendship between writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, their creation of an American icon, and puts the work into the wider context of the American comic book industry. 180pgs colour paperback / hardcover.

Von Spatz
by Anna Haifisch
Drawn & Quarterly

The publisher says:
Walt Disney is exhausted both physically and mentally. After a breakdown where he trashes his office, his wife Lilian brings him to a retreat to recover - the Von Spatz Rehabilitation Center. With a campus that includes studio buildings, a gallery, an art supply store, a hot dog booth, and a penguin pool, the clinic is a paradise for artists in crisis. There Disney meets Tomi Ungerer and Saul Steinberg, and together, they embark on a regimen of relaxation and art therapy. Haifisch looks at the fervent drive and crippling insecurities of the average artist and places those same issues on the shoulders of three celebrated 20th century artists. Part study of isolation, part tale of a begrudging camaraderie, daily life at the center mixes with reminiscences from the world outside. 68pgs part-colour paperback.

We Ate Wonder Bread
by Nicole Hollander
Fantagraphics Books

The publisher says:
We Ate Wonder Bread is veteran cartoonist Nicole Hollander’s (Sylvia) first graphic novel, a coming-of-age story set in Chicago starring the gangsters, the bed bugs, the Catholic girls, the police, the jukebox, the fortune teller, and the family’s blue Hudson. Not only does this illustrated memoir give insight into how Hollander developed her style and wit, it’s also a chronicle of a Chicago community that has since disappeared into an expressway. Introduction by Alison Bechdel. 160pgs colour paperback.

Window Horses
by Ann Marie Fleming & Kevin Langdale
Renegade Arts Entertainment

The publisher says:
Window Horses is based on the award-winning National Film Board of Canada animated feature starring Sandra Oh. Rosie Ming travels from Vancouver to Shiraz, Iran to discover the beauty of Persian poetry and culture and learn the secrets of her long-estranged father. Watch the film’s trailer here… 276pgs colour paperback.

Posted: December 29, 2017


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