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Top 26 Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga:

September 2017

My goodness me - don’t you think we live in astonishing times for this medium we all love? Look below and I think you’ll find that we’re blessed to be able to enjoy so many great works of graphic literature, old and new. This September brings no less than three powerful, empathetic LGBTQ graphic novels, including standout British entry Breaks, and some riveting, exemplary autobiography from Canada’s treasured chronicler David Collier and Broken Frontier Young Talent superstar Tillie Walden. I hope you find a future favourite among my suggestions here in my latest PG Tips…


Baking with Kafka
by Tom Gauld
Drawn & Quarterly / Canongate
$19.95 / £12.99

The publisher says:
A best-of collection of literary humour cartoons from the critically-acclaimed Guardian cartoonist. In his inimitable style, British cartoonist Tom Gauld has opened comics to a crossover audience and challenged perceptions of what the medium can be. Noted as a “book-lover’s cartoonist,” Gauld’s weekly strips in The Guardian, Britain’s most well-regarded newspaper, stitch together the worlds of literary criticism and pop culture to create brilliantly executed, concise comics. Simultaneously silly and serious, Gauld adds an undeniable lightness to traditionally highbrow themes. From sarcastic panels about the health hazards of being a best-selling writer to a list of magical items for fantasy writers (such as the Amulet of Attraction, which summons mainstream acceptance, Hollywood money, and fresh coffee), Gauld’s cartoons are timely and droll―his trademark British humour, impeccable timing, and distinctive visual style sets him apart from the rest. Lauded both for his frequent contributions to New Scientist, The Guardian and The New York Times, and his Eisner-nominated graphic novels, Tom Gauld is one of the most celebrated cartoonists working today. In Baking with Kafka, he proves this with one witty, sly, ridiculous comic after another. 160pgs colour hardcover.



Beirut Won’t Cry
by Mazen Kerbaj
Fantagraphics
$30.00

The publisher says:
A diary of the 2006 war in Lebanon told in drawings, comics and prose.
Beirut Won’t Cry shows us how an artist views the world and everything in it ― his relationships, his family, and his creative pursuits ― as it violently crumbles around him. Both historically vital and hilarious, Beirut Won’t Cry introduces Mazen Kerbaj’s unique voice and urgent pen to an American audience for the very first time, teaching readers how to carry on and resist in times of war and oppression. 264pgs colour paperback.



Best Wishes
by Mike Richardson & Paul Chadwick
Dark Horse
$19.99

The publisher says:
When two strangers cast coins in a Central Park fountain, their dreams and desires become supernaturally intertwined. Cal wants fame and respect and Mary craves true love from her pro quarterback boyfriend, but destiny weaves a tangled fabric. From Mike Richardson (47 Ronin, Echoes) and Eisner Award winner Paul Chadwick (Concrete, The World Below) comes Best Wishes, a Woody Allen-esque tale of New York, meme madness, fame’s price, and secrets of the heart. 160pgs B&W paperback.


Breaks
by Malin Rydén & Emma Vieceli
Soaring Penguin Press
$25.99

The publisher says:
Cortland Hunt has made some dangerous mistakes. Now he’s waiting quietly for those mistakes to catch up with him. Ian Tanner coasts through life denying the spark of anger beneath his laid back exterior. When school politics and personal lives become a battleground, the pair find that what they share may just be their only safe haven. Bringing the world of LGBT young adult fiction into the realm of comic books, and collecting the first arc of the acclaimed weekly web series (2014-2016), Breaks is the story of two young men discovering who they were, who they are, and who they will become. It’s a love story…but a little broken. 152pgs colour hardcover.



Chris Ware: Monograph
by Chris Ware
Rizzoli
$60.00

The publisher says:
A flabbergasting experiment in publishing hubris, Monograph charts the art and literary world’s increasing tolerance for the language of the empathetic doodle directly through the work of one of its most aesthetically constipated practitioners. For thirty years, writer and artist (i.e. cartoonist) Chris Ware (b. 1967) has been testing the patience of readers and fine art fans with his complicated and difficult-to-comprehend picture stories in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times and other charitable periodicals—to say nothing of challenging the walls of the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art with his unevocative delineations and diagrams. Arranged chronologically with all thoughtful critical and contemporary discussion common to the art book genre jettisoned in favour of Mr. Ware’s unchecked anecdotes and unscrupulous personal asides, the author-as-subject has nonetheless tried as clearly and convivially as possible to provide a contrite, companionable guide to an otherwise unnavigable jumble of product spanning his days as a pale magnet for athletic upperclassmen’s’ ire up to his contemporary life as a stay-at-home dad and agoraphobic graphic novelist. Shrewdly selected personal photos distract from justifiably little-seen early experiments littered among never-before-seen paintings and sculptures, all padded out with high-quality scans of original artwork publicising jottings, mistakes, blunders and, especially, Mr. Ware’s University juvenilia via which the reader can track a general cultural increase in tolerance for quality’s decline since his work first came on “the scene.” Expensive, heavy, and fashioned from the finest uncoated paper and soy-based ink, this thigh-crushing book is certain to cut off the circulation of all but the most active of comics boosters. 280pgs colour hardcover.


Egon Schiele: His Life and Death
by Xavier Coste
Firefly Books
$19.95

The publisher says:
The story of the artistic genius who provoked early 20th-century tolerance. Egon Schiele is an evocative depiction based on the life of the Austro-Hungarian artist whose short career spanned the turn of the 20th century. Schiele (1890-1918) was a painter known for full-frontal portraits of naked women (and on many occasions, himself). They were stark and disturbing. He painted his subjects in gaunt, twisting and unnatural poses. Their voyeuristic tone and blatant eroticism outraged society, landing him in prison for 24 days. Nevertheless, his works would have a strong influence on the development of expressionist art. The book focuses on the artist’s creative years, the development of his talent, his relationships with other artists, including Gustav Klimt, the women in his life, and his obsession with making provocative art. Quickly following Schiele’s early successes were his failures. In the end, it was the Spanish flu that killed him at the tragically young age of 28. Egon Schiele is a seductive and intimate portrait of an artistic genius who was both lauded and condemned for his brilliance. His works, at one time judged to be disgusting and perverse, are now considered masterpieces and are in museums all around the world. 72pgs colour hardcover


Escape From Syria
by Samya Kullab & Jackie Roche
Firefly Books
$19.95

The publisher says:
A graphic story of intense current events. From the pen of former Daily Star (Lebanon) reporter Samya Kullab comes a breathtaking and hard-hitting story of one family’s struggle to survive in the face of war, displacement, poverty and relocation. Escape from Syria is a fictionalised account that calls on real-life circumstances and true tales of refugee families to serve as a microcosm of the Syrian uprising and the war and refugee crisis that followed. The story spans six years in the lives of Walid, his wife Dalia, and their two children, Amina and Youssef. Forced to flee from Syria, they become asylum-seekers in Lebanon, and finally resettled refugees in the West. It is a story that has been replayed thousands of times by other families. When the family home in Aleppo is destroyed by a government-led bomb strike, Walid has no choice but to take his wife and children and flee their war-torn and much loved homeland. They struggle to survive in the wretched refugee camps of Lebanon, and when Youssef becomes fatally ill as a result of the poor hygienic conditions, his father is forced to take great personal risk to save his family. Walid’s daughter, the young Amina, a whip-smart grade-A student, tells the story. As she witnesses firsthand the harsh realities that her family must endure if they are to survive – swindling smugglers, treacherous ocean crossings, and jihadist militias – she is forced to grow up very quickly in order to help her parents and brother. Kullab’s narrative masterfully maps both the collapse and destruction of Syria, and the real-life tragedies faced by its citizens still today. The family’s escape from their homeland makes for a harrowing tale, but with their safe arrival in the West it serves as a hopeful endnote to this ongoing worldwide crisis. Beautiful illustrations by Jackie Roche –whose work on the viral web-comic, Syria’s Climate Conflict, was seen prominently in Symboliamag.com, Upworthy.com and Motherjones.com, among others – bring Kullab’s words to life in stunning imagery that captures both the horror of war and the dignity of human will. 96pgs colour hardcover.



Fred The Clown In… “The Iron Duchess”
by Roger Langridge
Fantagraphics
$19.99

The publisher says:
Fred the Clown is fit as a fiddle and looking for love in this ode to silent cinema by an acclaimed cartoonist. This nearly wordless romp from master cartoonist Roger Langridge is the author’s paean to the silent, slapstick comedies of the 1910s and ’20s, spun for a contemporary audience, starring his most popular character. It finds our hero Fred pitching the woo to a lovely equestrian. But with matrimony-minded fathers, boorish beaux, and malicious mad scientists interfering at every opportunity, what’s a clown―and his faithful pig companion―to do? Langridge’s velvety greys evoke the silent films of his patron saint, Buster Keaton (and, in this volume particularly, the latter’s masterpiece, The General). His craft is at a zenith, and captures every screwball twist and turn of the heiress’s and our hero’s romantic roundabout. 96pgs B&W paperback.


Generations
by Flavia Biondi
Lion Forge
$14.99

The publisher says:
After three years in Milan, Matteo returns home to the provincial country town where he was born and from which he had fled. Coming out as a young gay man in a provincial country town had led to ugly clashes with his conservative father, and the urban metropolis of Milan had been a welcome change from the stifling small town life of his childhood and the anger and bewilderment of some members of his family. But now, Matteo finds himself with little choice but to return home, with no money, no job, and an uncertain future, like so many other young people of his millennial generation. Afraid of encountering his estranged father, he instead takes refuge with his extended family, at a house shared by his grandmother, three aunts, and his very pregnant cousin. As he tries to rebuild his life, reconnecting with the women of his family and old hometown friends, he warily confronts a few truths about the other generations of his family―from their bigotry to their love, and tolerance, and acceptance―and a few truths about himself, including his fears of confrontation and commitment. 144pgs colour paperback.


How Comics Work
by Dave Gibbons & Tim Pilcher
Ilex
$24.99

The publisher says:
This “How It’s Done” series reveals insider hints, tips, and tricks from one of the world’s greatest comic creators in his own words. The artist behind juggernauts like Watchmen and Green Lantern, Dave Gibbons is here to teach you scriptwriting, page layouts, lettering, cover designs, and more, and he’s doing it with scans of original artwork and rarely seen workings to illustrate his personal creative processes. How Comics Work covers both Gibbons’ hand-drawn and digital design techniques in depth. An early adopter of computer design in comic creation, all his lettering is digital, and he even has his own ‘hand-lettered’ font. This is your chance to gain insight to Gibbons’ digital work, from his computer colouring and 3D modelling with Angus McKie on Give Me Liberty, to his work on The Originals using digital greytones. You’ll learn how he layers text for editing, creates effects such as flares and neon glows, and prepares artwork for print and online. 192pgs part-colour paperback.


I Am A Number
by Rian Hughes
IDW
$19.99

The publisher says:
This wordless collection of strips by renowned artist/designer Rian Hughes reveals the lighter side of our obsession with social rankings. When everyone has a number, everyone knows their place. Lower numbers are better, higher numbers are less important, and that’s just the way it is. But what if that number could change? You might try to buck the system and assert your individuality… or you might end up with a big fat zero. Big questions are explored and unexpected answers found in the first solo comics collection from award-winning designer & illustrator Rian Hughes. His whimsical, witty, and insightful strips will make you both smile and consider. Where do you stand in the pecking order? Is your number up? 120pgs colour hardcover.


Marney the Fox
by Scott M. Goodall & John Stokes
Rebellion
$23.99 / £17.99

The publisher says:
Marney the Fox is a Lassie-style tale of a lone fox up against wicked humans via Watership Down and Fantastic Mr Fox, written by the late M. Scott Goodall and beautifully illustrated by John Stokes. Marney is a young fox trying to survive against the odds, from dodging blood-thirsty humans to encountering other wild animals. This is a beautifully illustrated story capturing the British countryside and wildlife in astonishing detail showcases Stokes’ finest work, a masterpiece that has lain un-reprinted for decades and makes an ideal children’s book and early Christmas present. 224pgs B&W hardcover.

 



Morton: A Cross-Country Rail Journey
by David Collier
Conundrum Press
$20.00

The publisher says:
A graphic memoir lamenting the loss of train travel, the grip of family, mortality, art, and the human condition, with many other digressions thrown in for good measure. David Collier’s dream is to travel with his wife and son across the country by rail before it is too late. Through the passing landscape he tries to track down the many characters with whom he has lost touch. With Morton, Collier, who has been called “a national treasure,” has produced his most ambitious work to date. 160pgs B&W paperback.


Now #1
by various artists
Fantagraphics
$9.99

The publisher says:
This is the launch of brand-new, periodic anthology of comics from some of the best cartoonists in the world. Now is an affordable and ongoing (three times a year) anthology of new comics that appeals both to the comics-curious as well as the serious aficionado. It’s a platform for short fiction, experimentation, and for showcasing diversity in the comics field. The only common denominator to each piece is an exemplary use of the comics form, with a lineup of established and up-and-coming talent from around the globe. The first issue includes new work from acclaimed creators such as Noah Van Sciver (Fante Bukowski), Gabrielle Bell (Lucky), Dash Shaw (Cosplayers), Sammy Markham (Crickets), and Malachi Ward (Ancestor), as well as international stars such as J.C. Menu, Conxita Herrerro, Tobias Schalken, and Antoine Cosse. Plus strips from Tommi Parrish, Sara Corbett, Daria Tessler, and Kaela Graham, as well as a gorgeous painted cover by Rebecca Morgan. 128pgs colour paperback.



Peppy in the Wild West
by Hergé
Fantagraphics
$16.99

The publisher says:
A lost, all-ages, classic graphic novel by the creator of Tintin! Created by Hergé when he was drawing the first few Tintin comics, and first serialised in black and white in 1934, this is the first publication of his lighthearted adventure Peppy in the Wild West ― and the only English translation since 1969. When his hat business fails, the bear Peppy heads to the Old West to start a new life, accompanied by his sweet wife, Virginny, and his faithful steed, Bluebell. They find a patch of grass somewhere in California, where Peppy’s hats start a craze among the local Rabbit-Ears tribe. What follows is a rollicking cascade of one thing after another: not one, but two kidnappings, a river full of gold, a bulldog outlaw, and a side trip to Santa Barbara!  56pgs colour hardcover.


Pride Of A Decent Man
by T. J. Kirsch
NBM
$19.99

The publisher says:
In a sleepy New England town, Andrew Peters is born into an abusive family. As he grows older, he seems to be on the right track, using writing as his outlet—but his best friend Whitey is always pulling him in the opposite direction. Andrew eventually lands himself in prison, and shortly thereafter, learns he has a daughter. The shock resolves him to a path of redemption and an attempt to live his life as a decent man. 96pgs colour hardcover.



Robert Capa: A Graphic Biography
by Florent Sillaray
Firefly Books
$19.95

The publisher says:
Robert Capa: A Graphic Biography is a brilliant portrayal of the career of the great war photographer who, at the time of his death in 1954, had only one wish: to be an unemployed war photographer. “It is not always easy” he said, “to stand aside and be unable to do anything except record the suffering.” Born in 1913 to a Jewish family in Budapest, Endre Friedmann left home at 18 for Germany where he studied journalism and political science and worked in a photo agency darkroom. In 1933, Friedmann went to Paris where he shared a darkroom with Henri Cartier-Bresson and lived with Gerda Taro, also a photographer. Together they contrived the name and image “Robert Capa, famous American photographer”. Capa made several trips to document the Spanish Civil War, where he took the seminal image, “Death of a Loyalist Soldier” for which he was heralded as “the greatest war photographer in the world”. By the start of World War II, Capa was in New York freelancing for LIFE, Time, and other publications. He went abroad with the US army to record Allied involvement in WWII, including D-Day on Omaha beach. Disembarking from a landing boat, he took the only images of the invasion. He went on to cover the war in Leipzig, Nuremberg, Berlin, London and Paris. Even now, it is the D-Day images that marked him as the world’s greatest war photographer.
Robert Capa: A Graphic Biography, written in the first person, follows his personal and professional life and through his eyes, the social upheaval and earth-shattering wars of the 20th century. It shows his intimate life and his relationships with the day’s larger-than-life personalities: Ingrid Bergman, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and many others. Sepia watercolours wash the book in the fog of war and recall Capa’s generation on the cusp of colour film. They show his professional work, his personal battles, his victories and struggles, and his legacy: the founding of the Magnum, a cooperative photo agency which gives photographers control of their work. In 1954, having sworn off war photography but in need of money, he left to cover his fifth war, in Indochina. Driven by his conviction that “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough,” he was with a French patrol when he stepped on a landmine and was killed, camera in hand. 88pgs colour hardcover.


Spinning
by Tillie Walden
First Second / SelfMadeHero
$17.99 / $22.99
£14.99

The publisher says:
Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden’s powerful graphic memoir captures what it’s like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know. It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark. Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again. She was good. She won. And she hated it. For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden’s life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. Skating was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realised she’d outgrown her passion―and she finally needed to find her own voice. 400pgs two-colour paperback / hardcover.


Starstruck: Old Proldiers Never Die
by Elaine Lee & Michael Kaluta
IDW
$39.99

The publisher says:
The second volume of Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta’s classic science fiction epic narrative continues with all digitally remastered art and brand new colours, more than half of which is collected here for the very first time! What does a guy do when his droid goes missing? And not just any droid, an extremely rare pleasure droid that’s a dead ringer for his long-lost love! As bartender Harry Palmer – ex-rebel, ex-mercenary “proldier” – combs Rec 97, a perilous, planet-sized, vacation station, following clues and fending off enemies, he must also delve into his own past to do battle with his personal demons. Will Annie’s abductor be an old pal, a hidden foe, or two inebriated fem-fighters that frequent his bar? 176pgs colour hardcover.



Super Tokyoland
by
Taproot
by
Keezy Young
Lion Forge: Roar
$10.99

The publisher says:
Blue is having a hard time moving on. He’s in love with his best friend. He’s also dead. Luckily, Hamal can see ghosts, leaving Blue free to haunt him to his heart’s content. But something eerie is happening in town, leaving the local afterlife unsettled, and when Blue realises Hamal’s strange ability may be putting him in danger, Blue has to find a way to protect him, even if it means… leaving him. 128pgs colour paperback.


The Gritterman
by Orlando Weeks
Particular Books
£16.99

The publisher says:
‘Sometimes it feels like I might be the only person awake in the whole country. People might find that a lonely thought. Not me…’ As the rest of the world sleeps, the Gritterman goes out to work. Through the wind and the snow. Through the blue-black hours when time slips away, he grits the paths and the pavements and the roads. For him, a life without gritting is no life at all… A song for the unsung hero, this is a story about stoicism, dignity and a man leaving behind the work that he loves. It is accompanied by the author’s own illustrations. 64pgs colour hardcover.


The Hunting Accident
by David L. Carlson & Landis Blair
First Second
$34.99

The publisher says:
It was a hunting accident―that much Charlie is sure of. That’s how his father, Matt Rizzo―a gentle intellectual who writes epic poems in Braille―had lost his vision. It’s not until Charlie’s troubled teenage years, when he’s facing time for his petty crimes, that he learns the truth. Matt Rizzo was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face―but it was while participating in an armed robbery. Newly blind and without hope, Matt began his bleak new life at Stateville Prison. But in this unlikely place, Matt’s life and very soul were saved by one of America’s most notorious killers: Nathan Leopold Jr., of the infamous Leopold and Loeb. From David Carlson and Landis Blair comes the unbelievable true story of a father, a son, and remarkable journey from despair to enlightenment. 464pgs B&W hardcover.



The Limbo Lounge
by David Calver
IDW / Yoe Books
$29.99

The publisher says:
An original graphic novel where newly dead people in Limbo await their fate at a bar while surrounded by bored interlopers from hell. This trippy, surreal, full-colour adventure brings us from the hot, swirling sands of hell to the colourfully bizarre “Limbo Lounge,” filled with the recently deceased as well as bored oddball interlopers from hell. Meet flower-headed freaks, Bud and Lou. Root for their new friend, a spry, elderly nun, Sister Eunice, as she works remotely in Limbo continuing to rid earth of despicable dirtbags. And, by all means, avoid the knife-wielding little pageant-princess-gone-bad as she plots for anything she can get at anyone’s expense. 168pgs colour hardcover.



The Man From The Great North
by Hugo Pratt
IDW EuroComics
$24.99

The publisher says:
Hugo Pratt, hailed as the “inventor of the literary comic strip”, offers an provocative story whose protagonist is a seemingly wanton murderer, driven by a religious obsession with the absolute. This is the story Jesuit Joe, a lone traveler of French-Canadian and Mohawk descent. In northern Canada, circa 1920, he wanders the icy wastes, engaged in an obsessive religious search for the absolute. He wears the red jacket of the Canadian Mounties that he found in a hut—which gives rise to a series of misunderstandings when he is mistaken for a member of the Mounted Police. His actions in response to complex moral choices highlight his unusual ethical code and his disturbing and complex personality. He kills with terrible ease and shows an unmatched cruelty and ferocity, yet his mood suddenly shifts and he performs unexpected acts of kindness and compassion. All the while, he is tracked by his nemesis, Sergeant Fox, whose mission is to capture Jesuit Joe and bring him to justice. This is the first English language edition of Pratt’s 1980 classic, and includes an incomplete second story of Jesuit Joe, plus Pratt’s storyboards drawn for the movie version. 112pgs colour hardcover.

 


The Poppies of Iraq
by Brigitte Findakly & Lewis Trondheim
Drawn & Quarterly
$21.95

The publisher says:
A personal account of an Iraqi childhood. Poppies of Iraq is Brigitte Findakly’s nuanced tender chronicle of her relationship with her homeland Iraq, co-written and drawn by her husband, the acclaimed cartoonist Lewis Trondheim. In spare and elegant detail, they share memories of her middle class childhood touching on cultural practices, the education system, Saddam Hussein’s state control, and her family’s history as Orthodox Christians in the Arab world. Poppies of Iraq is intimate and wide-ranging; the story of how one can become separated from one’s homeland and still feel intimately connected yet ultimately estranged. Signs of an oppressive regime permeate a seemingly normal life: magazines arrive edited by customs; the colour red is banned after the execution of General Kassim; Baathist militiamen are publicly hanged and school kids are bussed past them to bear witness. As conditions in Mosul worsen over her childhood, Brigitte’s father is always hopeful that life in Iraq will return to being secular and prosperous. The family eventually feels compelled to move to Paris, however, where Brigitte finds herself not quite belonging to either culture. Trondheim brings to life Findakly’s memories to create a poignant family portrait that covers loss, tragedy, love, and the loneliness of exile. 112pgs colour hardcover.



The Retreat
by Pierre Wazem & Tom Tirabosco
Humanoids
$14.95

The publisher says:
Two friends take off for a weekend getaway to a remote mountain area to reminisce about their third friend, now gone. From mundane conversations to intimate confidences, the two remaining pals remember their departed companion, their unique friendship, and all those things that are often left unsaid, but that remain floating in the silence. 112pgs B&W paperback.

Posted: July 10, 2017

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