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Top 32 Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga:

November 2018

For me absolute top billing this November has to be the brand-new graphic novel by British wonder Posy Simmonds, Cassandra Darke, her first since Tamara Drewe. I’ve read it and it may well be her best work yet. Also recommended from these shores is 24 Panels, a benefit book with a top-notch roster of contributors, led by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie.

Three European graphic novels finally make it into English this month, including German Calendar No December, another first-ever graphic novel from a literary publisher, in this case Cassava Republic Press, who have their second title already lined up for next year.

And finally two delirious and delightful oddities - a Salvador Dalí screenplay from 1937 for The Marx Brothers, once thought lost, has been rediscovered and adapted into a graphic novel. This is not a hoax! And the genius of the comically grotesque, Ken Reid, finally gets a deluxe reprinting of his Creepy Creations from the fondly fondled pages of Seventies British weekly comic Shiver & Shake. You’re invited to browse through my suggestions below, and I hope you find something to enjoy…



24 Panels
by various
Image Comics
$16.99

The publisher says:
In June 2017, the Grenfell fire killed 72 people in a 24-story tower block in West London. 24 Panels is an anthology comic to support the PTSD needs of the survivors. Curated by Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine), it features 24 stories, each no longer than 24 panels. Half drawn from professional creators who volunteered their time and half drawn from open submissions, 24 PANELS is about community, hope, and (most of all) raising as much money as possible. Written by Alan Moore, Al Ewing, Sara Kenney, Alex De Campi, Laurie Penny, Paul Cornell, Dilraj Mann, Antony Johnston, Lizz Lunney, Leigh Alexander, Dan Watters and Ram V. Drawn by Melinda Gebbie, Doug Braithwaite, Jan Wijngaard, Ted Brandt, Rosy Higgins, Gavin Mitchell, Rachael Smith, Dilraj Mann, Robin Hoelzemann, Lizz Lunney, Tom Humberstone, Sarah Gordon and Jess Taylor. Cover by Tula Lotay. 112pgs colour paperback.



Alison Bechdel Conversations
by Alison Bechdel, edited by Rachel R. Martin
University Press of Mississippi
$25.00

The publisher says:
Collected interviews with the trailblazing creator of the graphic memoir Fun Home and the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Spanning 1990 to 2017, Alison Bechdel: Conversations collects ten interviews that illustrate how Bechdel uses her own life, relationships, and contemporary events to expose the world to what she has referred to as the “fringes of acceptability”, the comics genre as well as queer culture and identity. These interviews reveal her intentionality in the use of characters, plots, structure, and cartooning to draw her readers toward disrupting the status quo. 144pgs B&W paperback.


Cassandra Darke
by Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Cape
£16.99

The publisher says:
Cassandra Darke is an art dealer, mean, selfish, solitary by nature, living in Chelsea in a house worth £7 million. She has become a social pariah, but doesn’t much care. Between one Christmas and the next, she has sullied the reputation of a West End gallery and has acquired a conviction for fraud, a suspended sentence and a bank balance drained by lawsuits. On the scale of villainy, fraud seems to Cassandra a rather paltry offence – her own crime involving ‘no violence, no weapon, no dead body’. But in Cassandra’s basement, her young ex-lodger, Nicki, has left a surprise, something which implies at least violence and probably a body… Something which forces Cassandra out of her rich enclave and onto the streets. Not those local streets paved with gold and lit with festive glitter, but grimmer, darker places, where she must make the choice between self-sacrifice and running for her life. 112pgs colour hardcover.


Che: A Revolutionary Life
by Jon Lee Anderson & José Hernández
Penguin Books / Faber & Faber
$35.00 / £25.00

The publisher says:
Che Guevara’s legend is unmatched in the modern world. Since his assassination in 1967 at the age of 39, the Argentine revolutionary has become an internationally recognised icon, as revered as he is controversial. In Che: A Revolutionary Life, Jon Lee Anderson and José Hernández present the man behind the myth, creating a complex and human portrait of this passionate idealist. Che vividly transports us from young Ernesto’s medical school days as a sensitive asthmatic to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from his place of power alongside Castro, to his disastrous sojourn in the Congo, and his violent end in Bolivia. Anderson and Hernández’s Che makes us a witness to the revolutionary life and times of Che Guevara.  432pgs colour hardcover.


Click: A Story Of Cyberbullying
by Alexandra Phillips & Garry Leach
Zuiker Press
$12.99

The publisher says:
Lexi’s story of cyberbullying is a shocking depiction of young teenager’s torment in the newfound world of online harassment. Lexi, from Northridge, California, is ganged up on by a few girls over a misunderstanding on the schoolyard. The incident escalates on social media, local chat boards, and gossip sites. Forced to change schools, Lexi gets her karmic revenge when she returns to her old school for a Winter Formal. In a gesture of pure bravery, Lexi turns the tables on the “clique” by landing the boy at the dance and her picture in the yearbook. 96pgs colour hardcover.


German Calendar No December
by Sylvia Ofili & Birgit Weyhe
Cassava Republic Press
£15.99

The publisher says:
Olivia Evezi’s childhood is a happy one; her days spent listening to highlife records with her father and poring over the colourful postcards her mother receives from Germany. But Olivia is a dreamer and longs for more, leaving her hometown of Warri behind to live out her Enid Blyton fantasies in boarding school in Lagos. Instead of adventure and lacrosse, however, she is met with punishments, endless chores and hazing rituals, as she struggles to overcome the terror and disdain of the seniors. Olivia’s restlessness takes her to Germany, her mother’s homeland, where she is thrown into a hidden world of workers and migrants; a world of constant vigilance, where a piece of paper can hold the key to survival. 192pgs colour hardcover.



Giraffes on Horseback Salad
by Josh Frank, Tim Heidecker & Manuela Pertega
Quirk Books
$29.99 / £25.00

The publisher says:
Surrealism meets Hollywood meets film history in this graphic novel, which turns an unproduced script by Salvador Dalí into a fantastic comedy starring Groucho, Chico, and Harpo Marx.  Grab some popcorn and take a seat…The curtain is about to rise on a film like no other! But first, the real-life backstory: Giraffes on Horseback Salad was a Marx Brothers film written by modern art icon Salvador Dali, who’d befriended Harpo. Rejected by MGM, the script was thought lost forever. But author Josh Frank found it, and with comedian Tim Heidecker and Spanish comics creator Manuela Pertega, he’s re-created the film as a graphic novel in all its gorgeous full-colour, cinematic, surreal glory. In the story, a businessman named Jimmy (played by Harpo) is drawn to the mysterious Surrealist Woman, whose very presence changes humdrum reality into Dalí-esque fantasy. With the help of Groucho and Chico, Jimmy seeks to join her fantastical world—but forces of normalcy threaten to end their romance. Includes new Marx Brothers songs and antics, plus the real-world story behind the historic collaboration. 224pgs colour hardcover.



Gypsy Omnibus
by Thierry Smolderen & Enrico Marini
Insight Comics
$60.00

The publisher says:
Set in the not-too-distant future, the world of Gypsy has it all: planetary highways, the coronation of a young Russian Tsar, the resurrection of a Mongol army on the trail of Genghis Khan, an all-powerful multinational corporation that controls all earthly transport - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! In the middle of all this, we have a Gypsy truck driver who, fortunately, knows how to look after himself. For the first time ever, the works of award-winning creators Thierry Smolderen and Enrico Marini are collected in this deluxe omnibus edition. Complete with a stylistic slipcase featuring exclusive new art from Enrico Marini, this collection breathes new life into the world of Gypsy! 368pgs colour hardcover.



Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life
by William Roy & Sylvain Dorange
Humanoids
$19.95

The publisher says:
From a childhood filled with curiosity and ambition despite the stereotypes imposed on her, to an abusive marriage that she ingeniously escaped from, to finding her way to stardom in the City of Angels in the face of rampant sexism and harassment, Hedy Lamarr would not only become a glamorous star of the Golden Age of Hollywood, alongside icons like Judy Garland and Clark Gable, but also an unparalleled inventor. She would fashion designs to revolutionize the planes built by Howard Hughes, and come up with a secret communication system that helped the Allies against the Nazis, a technology that would become the blueprint for what we know today as “Wi-Fi.” A visionary that never feared going after her goals and defied convention at every turn, Hedy Lamarr was a true woman of wonder. 176pgs colour paperback.


Hieronymous & Bosch
by Paul Kirchner
Editions Tanabis
$27.00

The publisher says:
Meet the medieval miscreant Hieronymus and his wooden duck Bosch. Since their tragic-comic death they are both living in a cartoonish Hell where lakes are made of lava (or, more often, poop) and an army of mischievous spiky-tailed devils go around playing pranks on their inmates. Despite many gag-filled attempts at escaping this literal hell, Hieronymus and Bosch always end up being the butt of their guards’ most humiliating and painful jokes. This book puts together about a hundred one-pagers filled with hilariously surrealistic and scatological gags by American comic book artist Paul Kirchner, inspired as much from medieval depictions of Hell as from the zany humour found in Warner Bros. cartoons such as the Road Runner Show. 100pgs colour hardcover.



I Am Young
by M. Dean
Fantagraphics Books
$19.99

The publisher says:
This story is told in dual perspective by Miriam (a second-generation Iranian immigrant living in Edinburgh with her family) and George (a visitor from Wales). Their relationship throughout the decades mirrors the Beatles’s. In the other stories in this book, thematically bound by relationship flux and the impact of culture, Dean experiments beautifully with style and storytelling devices in each piece. 108pgs colour hardcover.



Inside Mari Vol.1
by Shuzo Oshimi
Denpa Books
$12.95

The publisher says:
Yesterday college dropout Isao Komori was killing time playing video games and hitting up the convenience store. Today, he finds himself in the body of a popular and well-composed high school girl! How did this happen? What of the young lady whose body he now possesses? And how will he return them to their former selves. From Shuzo Oshimi, the best-selling author of Flowers of Evil and Happiness, comes a coming-of-age tale with a sci-fi twist. 192pgs part-colour paperback.



James Warren, Empire of Monsters: The Man Behind Creepy, Vampirella and Famous Monsters
by Bill Schelly
Fantagraphics Books
$29.99

The publisher says:
James Warren was the visionary publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine that fuelled the movie monster craze of the 1960s, and inspired such future filmmakers as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Joe Dante. Warren went on to publish Help!, Harvey Kurtzman’s satirical magazine that featured early work by Gloria Steinem, Terry Gilliam, Robert Crumb, and Diane Arbus. With Creepy and Eerie, Warren popularised the black-and-white comics magazine and ran covers by the legendary painter Frank Frazetta before Frazetta was a superstar. Warren’s magazines established a new category of popular fiction, a transitional step toward the graphic novel. They included art by over 30 Hall of Fame talents such as Wallace Wood, Steve Ditko, Alex Toth, Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, Al Williamson and many others. His most famous creation (co-created with Forrest J. Ackerman) was the sensual Vampirella, who debuted in her own magazine in 1969 and who continues to be published today. Bill Schelly’s Empire of Monsters features numerous eye-opening, often outrageous anecdotes about Warren, a colourful, larger-than-life figure whose ability as a publisher, promoter and provocateur makes him a fascinating character study.  272pgs colour hardcover.


Ken Reid’s Creepy Creations
by Ken Reid
Rebellion
£16.99

The publisher says:
BEWARE ALL YE WHO OPEN THIS BOOK! Spine-tingling humour horror comics from Ken Reid, the British comics master behind Faceache. The creatures contained within are some of the most bizarre, hilarious and hideous ever to haunt the pages of a comic. For the first time ever, marvel at The Many-Headed Monster from Monmouth! Tremble at the sight of Terry the Tellible! Recoil in horror from The Fork-Eating Spaghetti Spook! And much more besides! A testament to Ken Reid’s artistic genius and his hugely creative imagination, these illustrations have been collected and lovingly restored in all their (creepy) glory. 96pgs colour hardcover.


Kismet, Man of Fate
by A. David Lewis, Noel Tuazon & Rob Croonenborghs
A Wave Blue World Inc.
$19.99

The publisher says:
Kismet was the world’s first Muslim superhero, fighting Nazis behind enemy lines in WWII. Then, he disappeared. Gone without a trace… until now. Back from beyond, Kismet finds a new world of advanced technology and equal rights still fighting against the same old evils of bigotry, greed and ignorance. 160pgs colour paperback.

 

 



Letters for Lucardo: Fortunate Beasts
by Noora Heikkila
Iron Circus Comics
$15.99

The publisher says:
Ed has imposed self-exile to protect his immortal lover Lucardo from Ed’s ageing human transience, and Lucardo is livid. Suspecting his father’s hand in this latest development, he mounts a search to find his missing lover, which bears fruit… but ultimately brings them both face-to-face with their deepest fears. 152pgs B&W paperback.

 

 

 


Mandela and The General
by John Carlin & Oriol Malet
Plough Publishing House
$19.95

The publisher says:
Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid hero and first leader of the new South Africa, is an international symbol of the power of a popular movement to fight structural racism. But that nonviolent struggle for equality very nearly spiralled into an all-out race war. As the first post-apartheid elections approach in 1994, with South African blacks poised to take power, the nation’s whites fear reprisal. White nationalist militias stand ready to fight to the death to defend their cause. They need someone who can lead and unite them. That man is General Constand Viljoen, former chief of apartheid South Africa’s military. Mandela knows that he can’t avert a bloodbath on his own. He will have to count on his archenemy. Can they trust each other? Can they keep their followers and radical fringe elements from acts of violence? The mettle of these two men will determine the future of a nation. 112pgs colour paperback.



Mend: A Story Of Divorce
by Sophia Recca & Garry Leach
Zuiker Press
$12.99

The publisher says:
Sophia, the fourteen-year-old author and protagonist, tells the heart-wrenching story of her parents’ divorce. She was just eleven years old, happy and enjoying life with her mom, dad, and little brother in Las Vegas, Nevada. Unexpectedly, one night, a violent argument disrupted her sleep and shattered her life. The next morning, her parents told her the dreaded news - they were getting divorced. Her dad was moving to California, while Sophia and her brother would stay with their mom. First, she blamed herself. But then, she remembered a note a teacher once wrote on her report card, and was inspired to focus on bringing both parents back into her life. Even if they could not be under the same roof, she thought, they could still share in caring for her and her brother. The book includes helpful advice for parents, as well as a special Teacher’s Corner page. 96pgs colour hardcover.



Minding the Store: A Big Story about a Small Business
by Julie Gaines & Ben Lenovitz
Algonquin Books
$21.95 / £16.99

The publisher says:
In this charming graphic memoir, the founder of the iconic housewares shop Fishs Eddy recounts the ups and downs—and ups again—of starting a family business, starting a family, and staying true to one’s path while trying to make it in the Big City. Whether it’s a set of vintage plates from a 1920s steamship, a mug with a New Yorker cartoon on it, a tin of sprinkles designed by Amy Sedaris, or a juice glass from a Jazz Age hotel, Fishs Eddy products are distinctly recognisable. A New York institution, Fishs Eddy also remains a family business whose owners endured the same challenges as many family businesses—and lived to write about it in this tale filled with humorous characterisations of opinionated relatives, nosy neighbours, quirky employees, and above all the eccentric foibles of the founders themselves. Readers come to know author Julie Gaines and her husband, with whom she founded the store, and because this is a family business, the illustrations are all in the family, too: their son Ben Lenovitz’s drawings bring Fishs Eddy to life with a witty style à la Roz Chast and Ben Katchor. Over the years the store has collaborated with artists and celebrities such as Charley Harper and Todd Oldham, Alan Cumming, and many others to produce original designs that are now found in thousands of stores throughout the country, and Fishs Eddy has garnered a huge amount of media coverage. A great gift for anyone who has ever dreamed of opening a little business—or anyone with any kind of dream—Minding the Store offers wisdom, inspiration and an exceedingly entertaining story. 176pgs B&W hardcover.


Monster
by Enki Bilal
Titan Comics
$49.99

The publisher says:
In 2026, humanity is spurred onward to destruction by radical fundamentalists. Nike, Amir, and Leyla, three remarkable Yugoslav orphans, join hands to survive a world that seems determined to wipe out thought, science, culture and memory. This haunting, prescient masterpiece is beautifully painted by award-winning creator Enki Bilal, famed artist for Heavy Metal Magazine, The Nikopol Trilogy and Exterminator 17. 264pgs colour hardcover.

 



Our Wretched Town Hall
by Eric Kostiuk Williams
Retrofit Comics
$10.00

The publisher says:
How would you interpret that hammy, Lynchian dream about your ex? Has your house plant been judging you this entire time? Will you bother grappling with the ethics of your woke, but Machiavellian workplace-related revenge? Does anyone care if you don’t make it out to the party? How do you go forward when everything’s moving backwards? Town Hall’s in session, and we’ve got lots to talk about. Full-colour short story collections that will replenish your crops, singe your eyebrows and lightly tickle the back of your knees. 64pgs colour paperback.


Parallel Lives
by Olivier Schrauwen
Fantagraphics Books
$19.99

The publisher says:
This collects six wildly inventive short comics stories that might collectively be dubbed “speculative memoir.” Schrauwen’s deadpan depictions of his and his offspring’s upcoming lives include alien abduction, dialogue with future agents and coded messages in envelopes at breakfast. 128pgs colour flexibound.

 

 

 


Part Of It
by Ariel Schrag
Mariner Books
$17.99

The publisher says:
Ariel Schrag, a critically-acclaimed memoirist and screenwriter, takes us on a painfully funny tour of her formative years, from her childhood in Berkeley to her mid-twenties in Brooklyn, exploring what it means to connect to others when you don’t yet know who you are-when you want to be “part of it” but the “it” changes daily. We meet hippie babysitters, mean girls, best friends, former friends, prom dates, girlfriends, sex ed students and far too many LensCrafters sales associates. These frank, irreverent and honest comics revel in the uncomfortable, and occasionally cringe-inducing, moments from our early years that end up wiring us as people. 160pgs B&W paperback.



Pez
by Hiroyuki Asada
Denpa Books
$24.95

The publisher says:
Pez is on a journey. She is out searching for a place where there is life and society is still bustling. The world she knows now is far from that. It is a cold and lonely place. And even with her partner, Deco, at her side, she knows that there isn’t much left for her in this place. But along her way, she runs into places and people who remind her of what life used to be. They also give her motivation and hope for what she would to have life be once more. 72pgs colour hardcover.

 

 


The Antifa Comic Book: 100 Years of Fascism and Antifa Movements
by
The Art of Graphic Memoir
by
Tom Hart
Griffin Books
$25.99

The publisher says:
New York Times-bestselling author and Eisner-nominated cartoonist Tom Hart has written a poignant and instructive guide for all aspiring graphic memoirists detailing the tenets of artistry and story-telling inherent in the medium. Hart examines what makes a graphic memoir great, and shows you how to do it. With two dozen professional examples and a deep-dive into his own story, Hart encourages readers to hone their signature style in the best way to represent their journeys on the page. With clear examples and visual aids, The Art of the Graphic Memoir is emotive, creative and accessible. 176pgs part-colour paperback.



The Complete Matinee Junkie: Five Years At The Movies
by Jordan Jeffries
Birdcage Bottom Books
$20.00

The publisher says:
The Complete Matinee Junkie collects the entire run of Jordan Jeffries’ ongoing comic series, plus a full year of new material. Part autobiography, part cultural review, Matinee Junkie contains entries for every movie the author saw in theatres each year, with the complete collection spanning almost 250 movies over five years, from 2013-2017. In-depth rants about bland cinematography and stories of nightmarish theatre experiences combine with five years’ worth of autobiography, reflecting the way our own lives intersect with the stories we love to lose ourselves in. 288pgs colour paperback.



The Problem of Susan and Other Stories
by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton & Paul Chadwick
Dark Horse
$17.99

The publisher says:
From New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman and Eisner-award winning artist P. Craig Russell, Scott Hampton, and Paul Chadwick comes a fantasy graphic novel anthology of essential Gaiman stories. Two stories and two poems, all wondrous and imaginative about the tales we tell and experience. Where the incarnations of the months of the year sit around a campfire sharing stories, where an older college professor recounts a Narnian childhood, where the apocalypse unfolds, and where the importance of generational storytelling is seen through the Goldilocks fairytale. These four comic adaptations have something for everyone and are a must for Gaiman fans. 72pgs colour hardcover.


The Vagabond Valise
by Siris
Conundrum Press
$25.00

The publisher says:
The first graphic novel from a founding father of the Quebec comix underground. A poignant account of an alcoholic father who drags his family into misfortune, The Vagabond Valise is the heart-breaking autobiographical story of Siris, represented by his chicken-headed alter ego. Siris paints a sincere and poetic portrait of a troubled childhood spent in and out of foster homes, and the working-class, post-war Quebec where it took place. Winner of the Quebec Graphic Novel of the Year.  252pgs colour paperback.

 


Thimble Theatre And The Pre-Popeye Cartoons Of E.C. Segar
by E.C. Segar
Sunday Press Books
$85.00

The publisher says:
More than a decade before creating the world’s most famous cartoon sailor, E. C. Segar drew the Charlie Chaplin comic strip, a daily strip about Chicago entertainment, and then Thimble Theatre, where Popeye was to be born. This volume features examples of all of Segar’s early comics and over 100 pre-Popeye Thimble Theatre Sunday pages, including the complete run of the famed Western desert saga, a series that rivals his later work in art, storytelling and humour. These comics, most of which have never been reprinted before, are here for the whole popeyed world to see. 144pgs colour oversized hardcover.


Through A Life
by Tom Haugomat
Nobrow
£16.99 / $18.95

The publisher says:
Rodney spends his life looking through. Windows give way to screens as he comes to age, dreaming of what lies beyond Earth’s atmosphere… This powerfully silent graphic novel by Tom Haugomat follows the saga of a boy who grows up to be an astronaut, just like he always wanted…until a fatal shuttle crash upends his life, and he begins to find solace in beauty here on earth. Told through a series of poignant vignettes, Through A Life is a sweeping story of dreams, expectations, nature and loss. 184pgs colour hardcover.



Watersnakes
by Tony Sandoval
Lion Forge / Magnetic Collection
$19.99

The publisher says:
Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors. Three-time Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval presents a wondrous world of secret places and dreamlike magic hidden in the everyday corners of our sleeping imagination.  144pgs colour hardcover.

Posted: September 1, 2018

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