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Top 22 Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga:

February 2019

For my PG Trips due to be published from February 2019, the French are truly dominating the line-up, from their 19th century pioneer Cham, in a milestone collection of his seminal works annotated by expert historian David Kunzle, to several remarkable modern-day bandes dessinées translated into English… 

While on the American front, the country’s great songsmiths are celebrated in Lomax and Tales of the Music Makers, and Bloom from Panetta & Ganucheau promises a tender, slow-burning tale of young gay romance. Month-by-month, this ever-growing library of graphic novels really does offer that perfect comic for everyone…


Billie the Bee
by Mary Fleener
Fantagraphics Books
$14.99

The publisher says:
At once light and playful, dark and complex – the compelling graphic novel debut of comics legend Mary Fleener. Meet Billie, an oversized honeybee with an even bigger personality. She’s bold, boisterous, and always singin’ up a storm. Billie lives a sweet life exploring the marshes of San Diego and making friends with Kay the kind Fox, Rayleen the rattlesnake and Flo and Mo, the dirty joke-telling turtle sisters. But one day humans arrive and illegally release some rabid creatures into the marsh lands, upsetting the delicate ecological balance of the habitat. Can Billie and her woodland friends band together to repel these wild outsiders? And when a natural disaster strikes, does Billie have what it takes to lead the hive? Fleener’s intricate crosshatching and signature mind-bending forays into cubist storytelling masterfully conjure up the world of her plucky honeybee protagonist. A deep dive into the secret life of bees, Billie’s story is by turns both charming and harrowing. 128pgs colour hardcover.


Billy’s Boots
by Fred Baker & John Gillatt
Rebellion / 2000 AD
$18.99

The publisher says:
Fantasy meets football (Soccer!) in the magical story of a boy and his enchanted boots. Young Billy Dane was one of the most passionate football fans at Bingley Road Junior school… unfortunately he was also one of the worst players. Then, one afternoon, Billy’s grandmother got him to clean out her attic and Billy finds a pair of old fashioned football boots that belonged to “Dead-Shot” Keen, a famous centre forward who once played for England.

 


Bloom
by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
First Second
$24.99 / $17.99

The publisher says:
A thoughtful and endearing gay YA romance set in a bakery. Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band, if he can just convince his dad to let him quit their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away his days over rising doughs and hot ovens. But in the midst of interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easy-going guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of breads, love begins to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, where the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow. 368pgs B&W hardcover / paperback.


Cham: The Best Comic Strips and Graphic Novelettes 1839-1862
by Cham, edited and introduced by David Kunzle
University Press of Mississippi
$90.00

The publisher says:
Cham, real name Count Amédée de Noé and a serious rival to Daumier, may have been the epitome of a célèbre inconnu, a famous unknown. He is one much deserving, at last, of this first account of his huge oeuvre as a caricaturist. This book concentrates on his mastery of the important newcomer to the field of caricature, which we call comic strip, picture story, and graphic novel. The volume features facsimiles of nearly twenty of these from 1839 to 1863 and ranging from one page to forty (this last a parody of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables). In addition, summaries and sample illustrations of twenty-seven “minor works” demonstrate that Cham is by far the most important specialist of what was then a new genre in Europe. 538pgs B&W hardcover.



Credo: The Rose Wilder Lane Story
by Peter Bagge
Drawn & Quarterly
$22.95

The publisher says:
Peter Bagge returns with a biography of another fascinating twentieth-century trailblazer: the writer, feminist, war correspondent and libertarian Rose Wilder Lane. Credo is a fast-paced, charming, informative look at a founder of the American libertarian movement and a champion of her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in bringing the classic Little House on the Prairie series to the American public. Bagge’s portrait of Lane is heartfelt and affectionate, probing into the personal roots of her rugged individualism. 108pgs colour hardcover.

 


Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage
by Fabien Grolleau & Jérémie Royer
Nobrow Press
£16.99 / $22.95

The publisher says:
It is the year 1831. A gifted but distracted young man named Charles Darwin has been offered a place aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, in a chain of events that will change both his life and the course of modern science… This sweeping, intelligent and immersive graphic novel from award-winning duo Fabien Grolleau and Jéremie Royer joins legendary scientist Charles Darwin as he embarks on the voyage that began his career. Join him in a journey of thrilling discovery as he explores remote corners of the natural world and pieces together the very beginnings of his revolutionary theory of evolution. 184pgs colour hardcover.



Diabolical Summer
by Thierry Smolderen & Alexandre Clérisse
IDW
$24.99

The publisher says:
A groovy spy thriller and coming-of-age tale set in the Go-Go days of the 1960s, done in a chic, retro style sure to charm readers. For 15-year old Antoine, the summer of 1967 will prove to be an unforgettable one full of new discoveries: a secret agent from nowhere, a mysterious troubled girl, and the disappearance of his father-all happening within two days. These events and more conspire to turn his life upside down and into something he could never have imagined. The Atomic Empire creators turn their vintage-inspired style to the spy-thriller genre, recalling a time when James Bond was the biggest action-hero in the world. 168pgs colour hardcover.


Egg Cream No. 1
by Liz Suburbia
Silver Sprocket
$11.99

The publisher says:
The newest and best that Liz Suburbia has to offer, including dog dreams, modern day saints, and the first instalment of the sequel to Sacred Heart (Fantagraphics) picking up ten years after the flood and piecing together why the kids of Alexandria were left to fend for themselves.

 

 

 



Grave
by Dan Fraga
IDW
$17.99

The publisher says:
For fans of coming-of-age stories similar to Stephen King’s The Body; the movie based on it, Stand By Me; IT; Stranger Things; and E.T. Drawn one panel per day over a year, follow the story of three boys who discover a shallow grave while on a weekend camping trip. But that’s just where the mystery begins. The unexpected find reveals a cigar box containing seven mysterious items: a knife, a coin, a pocket watch, a rare baseball card, a gold ring, a silver spoon, and a strange manga comic. How are these items connected? Whose body lies buried? Find out in this once in a lifetime tale of friendship, mystery, suspense and growing up. 112pgs colour paperback.



I, René Tardi, Prisoner of War in Stalag IIB: My Return Home
by Jacques Tardi
Fantagraphics Books
$29.99

The publisher says:
The conclusion to a magnum opus from one of our greatest contemporary cartoonists. Picking up where Vol. 1 left off, the second volume of Stalag IIB begins when captured French soldier René Tardi finally gets a taste of freedom, as prisoners and German officers alike are forced to evacuate the POW camp he has languished in for the past four years. Thus begins the long, gruelling journey eastward, where Tardi and his fellow POWs must evade the pursuing Russian Army, stave off their gnawing hunger and contend with the increasingly ill-tempered and vicious German soldiers accompanying them. Throughout this harrowing odyssey, the only thing that keeps him going is the hope that he’ll one day return home to France, where his wife Henriette patiently awaits him. Featuring meticulous line work punctuated by stunning splashes of colour, Jacques Tardi’s grim yet heartening biographical portrait of his father’s life as a soldier during WWII is a personal and artistic triumph. 192pgs colour hardcover.


Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos
by Lucy Knisley
First Second
$19.99

The publisher says:
If you work hard enough, if you want it enough, if you’re smart and talented and “good enough,” you can do anything. Except get pregnant. Her whole life, Lucy Knisley wanted to be a mother. But when it was finally the perfect time, conceiving turned out to be harder than anything she’d ever attempted. Fertility problems were followed by miscarriages, and her eventual successful pregnancy was plagued by health issues, up to a dramatic, near-death experience in labour and delivery. Kid Gloves follows Lucy’s personal transition into motherhood, and it also illustrates the history and science of reproductive health from all angles, full of curious facts and inspiring (and notorious) figures in medicine and midwifery. 256pgs colour paperback.


Leaving Richard’s Valley
by Michael Deforge
Drawn & Quarterly
$32.95

The publisher says:
Richard is a benevolent but tough leader who oversees everything that happens in the valley. When Lyle the Raccoon becomes sick, his ragtag group of friends take matters into their own hands, breaking Richard’s strict rules. Caroline Frog rats them out to Richard and they are immediately exiled from the only world they’ve ever known. DeForge’s tale expands from a bizarre hero’s quest into something more: they make it out of the valley and into the big city, and we see them coming to terms with different kinds of community: noise-rockers, gentrification protesters, squatters, and more. 480pgs B&W hardcover.


Letters to Survivors
by Gébé
New York Review Comics
$15.95

The publisher says:
A haunting and darkly funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel that follows an unusual postal worker on his very bizarre mail route. In the blasted ruins of what was once a picture-perfect suburb, nothing stirs, except the postman. Clad in a hazmat suit and mounted on a bicycle, he is still delivering the mail, nuclear apocalypse or no nuclear apocalypse. One family has taken refuge in an underground fallout shelter, and to them he brings - or, rather, shouts through the air vent - a series of odd, anonymous letters. This pioneering graphic novel was created in 1981 by famed French cartoonist Gébé and has never before been available in English. 128pgs B&W paperback.


Life on the Moon
by Robert Grossman
IDW / Yoe Books
$39.99

The publisher says:
From an artist who revelled in illustrating “the un-illustratable,” a historical graphic novel based on the “Great Moon Hoax,” the most successful newspaper hoax ever. In 1835, New York newspaper The Sun published a series of six articles declaring the discovery of life – and even civilisation – on the Moon, which the paper attributed to the famous contemporary astronomer Sir John Herschel. According to The Sun, the lunar inhabitants included unicorns, bison, bipedal tail-less beavers, and intelligent humanoids with bat-like wings. Life on the Moon is a full-length graphic novel capturing this mythical world. Creator Robert Grossman [who died March 15, 2018] said the book is set in a time when “many of the signal achievements of the 19th Century still lay well in the future, Andrew Jackson was president, the steamboat was the summit of technology, and news traveled slowly.” The unfettered novel includes real historical figures such as P.T. Barnum, Jean Jacques Audubon, Lorenzo Da Ponte, Charles Goodyear and Edgar Allan Poe. 400pgs B&W hardcover.


Lomax: Collectors of Folk Songs
by Frantz Duchazeau
SelfMadeHero
£12.99 / $19.99

The publisher says:
In 1933, folklorists John (1867–1948) and Alan (1915–2002) Lomax roamed the southern United States in search of songs. Equipped with a portable tape recorder, the father-and-son team visited churches, plantations, and penitentiaries to seek out and record the raw, authentic sound of American folk music. Among those they found were the bluesmen Muddy Waters and Son House, and the ex-con folk singer Lead Belly. From ballads to work songs, ragtime to blues, the songs collected by the Lomax family on this and subsequent expeditions formed an archive that preserved the heritage of American folk music. More than that, these “field recordings” changed the course of popular music, influencing the blues-driven rock ’n’ roll of the 1950s and the folk revival of the 1960s. Frantz Duchazeau’s graphic novel is at once a fascinating portrait of 1930s America and a captivating story about a father and son who, despite many differences in outlook and approach, were united by a commitment to cultural preservation and a passion for music. 120pgs B&W paperback.


Maiden Railways
by Asumiko Nakamura
Denpa
$12.95

The publisher says:
All aboard! This book is your ticket to seven romances, from confessions in Iruda to proposals in Enoshima and all points in between. Beloved josei/boy’s love mangaka Asumiko Nakamura returns to the English market with a unique collection of romance shorts each set around the Kanagawa railway system, the Odakyu. Combing moments of yuri, shojo, josei, and teen love, Maiden Railways is a ride to romance rarely seen in manga these days. 210pgs B&W paperback.

 



New Kid
by Jerry Craft
Harper Collins
$21.99 / $12.99

The publisher says:
In this full-colour, contemporary graphic novel for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, a twelve-year-old kid from Washington Heights starts his seventh-grade year at a new posh private school, where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real. Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enrol him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of colour in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds, and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighbourhood friends and staying true to himself?  256pgs B&W hardcover / paperback.


PTSD
by Guillaume Singelin
First Second
$24.99

The publisher says:
In this uniquely imagined work of speculative fiction, a veteran finds herself marooned in her own city and haunted by her memories. After returning home from an unpopular war, Jun becomes an outsider in an indifferent world. Alone, desperate and suffering from wounds both mental and physical, she seeks relief in the illicit drugs she manages to purchase or steal. Jun’s tough exterior served her well in combat, but she’ll need to nurture her vulnerability and humanity to survive at home. With the support of her fellow vets, the kindness of a stranger who refuses to turn away, and the companionship of a dog named Red, Jun learns to navigate the psychological trauma that she experienced in the war. 208pgs colour hardcover.


Springtime in Chernobyl
by Emmanuel Lepage
IDW
$24.99

The publisher says:
April 26, 1986, Chernobyl: the reactor core of the nuclear power plant begins to melt. It is the greatest nuclear disaster of the twentieth century. A cloud laden with radionuclides travels thousands of miles in every direction, contaminating a populace unaware of its danger and who cannot protect themselves. At that time, Emmanuel Lepage was 19 years old watching and listening, incredulous, to the news on television. 22 years later, April 2008: he travels to Chernobyl to report, both in writing and drawings, about the lives of the survivors and their children living on the highly contaminated land. Upon making the decision to travel there, Emmanuel has the feeling that he is defying death, and when he finds himself on a train to Ukraine, where the old power station is located, a question keeps popping up in his mind: What am I doing here? A memoir of disaster, death and tragedy, linking the events of the nuclear meltdown to the survivors who are still dealing with its effects. 160pgs colour hardcover.


Tales of the Music Makers
by Gary Dumm
Z2 Comics
$21.99

The publisher says:
Produced in conjunction with The Music Maker Relief Foundation, Tales of the Music Makers contains autobiographical comics about some of the best musicians you may have never heard of. Also featuring a soundtrack with songs by them. Artists include Taj Mahal, Robert Finley, Essie May Brooks and many more. Some of the strips were written by the late Harvey Pekar of American Splendor fame. All proceeds from the book will go to the creators and The Music Maker Relief Foundation whose mission is to take care of old musicians in need. 128pgs B&W paperback.

 


The Perineum Technique
by Florent Ruppert & Jérôme Mulot
Fantagraphics Books
$19.99

JH and Sarah meet online, connecting on a regular basis for virtual hookups. Their unromantic connections, brief and solitary, eventually obsess JH, who tries to convince Sarah to meet him in person. A strange game of seduction ensues, eventually resulting in JH accepting a challenge of abstinence in the hopes of gaining intimacy with Sarah. The Perineum Technique is a masterful meditation on intimacy in our era of hyperconnectivity, brilliantly employing visual metaphor in lieu of sexual explicitness - the couple’s acts of online congress often begin with naked plunges off giant obelisks - to create a wildly original graphic novel tour through the subconscious of young romance. Originally serialised in the pages of Le Monde, the prestigious French newspaper, The Perineum Technique is one of the country’s most acclaimed graphic novels of recent years, by two of its most exciting creators. 112pgs colour hardcover.

Posted: December 3, 2018

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