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PG Previews:

May 2010

Below are the comics, manga and graphic novels I’m most looking forward to based on publisher advance listings due to be released in May 2010 (although actual dates may vary).



Afterschool Charisma
by Kumiko Suekane
Viz
$12.99

The publisher says:
History repeats itself… Or does it? St. Kleio Academy is a very exclusive school: all of the students are clones of famous historical figures such as Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth I, Napoleon, Mozart, and Freud. All of them, that is, except for Shiro Kamiya. As Shiro struggles to adapt to this unusual campus, St. Kleio’s first graduate, the clone of John F. Kennedy, is killed. Are the clones doomed to repeat the fate of their genetic progenitors, or can they create their own destinies? And how does a normal boy like Shiro fit in? 

Paul Gravett says:
Trust manga to deliver an off-the-wall concept - a classroom of cloned historical figures like Mozart and Joan of Arc, who may or may not be fated to re-enact the lives and deaths of their originals. We’ve been able to read all six chapters of this first volume on the SigIkki site since last July. I still have some reservations about the standardised genre art style and coy highschool romance formulas, but then it surprises out of the blue and the growing suspense gets you hooked. Send in the clones!



Bayou Vol 2
by Jeremy Love
DC/Zuda
$14.99

The publisher says:
South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters; a world parallel to our own, born from centuries of slavery, civil war, and hate. Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. Along the way she enlists the help of a benevolent, blues singing, swamp monster called Bayou. Together, Lee and Bayou trek across a hauntingly familiar Southern Neverland, confronting creatures both benign and malevolent, in an effort to rescue Lily and save Lee’s father from being lynched. Bayou Vol 2 collects four new chapters of the critically acclaimed webcomic series by Glyph Award nominee Jeremy Love.

Paul Gravett says:
The first volume was one of my Best Graphic Novels of last year and I’m eager to read this second compilation of Love’s online serial, because it’s far and away the most original and engaging webcomic on DC’s Zuda site, and frankly among the best of DC’s profusion of product.



Captain Long Ears
by Diana Thung
Slave Labor
$12.95

The publisher says:
Eight-year-old Michael embarks on an exciting adventure in a theme park with his imaginary friend, a purple gorilla named Jam, all in search of Captain Big Nose, Michael’s dead father. The two self-styled “space ninjas” are thrown off track when they decide to save the park’s elephant, who is being abused by his keepers. View the YouTube trailer here.

Paul Gravett says:
Another female cartoonist new to me, Diana Thung makes a confident debut here, with nods to Maurice Sendak and Taiyo Matsumoto maybe, as her young lead deals with losing his father and finding an imaginary friend.



Catland Empire
by Keith Jones
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95

The publisher says:
Catland Empire is a graphic novel that is a melding of a Philip K. Dick novel and a Saturday morning cartoon. There will exist a future world where “human beings have become empty husks stripped of all memory when it comes to things like how to have fun and play games,” or so says Mr. Space to his associate Mr. Time. The solution? Get the cats to teach humans how to have fun again. This is all the Cat People do with their lives. They are the fun and game masters.What follows is a tangled web of psychedelic science fiction blending anti-consumerist politics and intergalactic liaisons between cats and dogs - bitter enemies kept secret from each other to avoid a planetary race war. Victor Burg is plotting to wipe out all of mankind by having his brain-chipimplanted drones commit genocide.

Paul Gravett says:
This Vancouver oddballer straddling the art and comic worlds is unleashed on a 184-page square-format epic. Looks and sounds suitably unpredictable and out-there. For a taster, his own site shows a few more pages.



Dodgem Logic #2
by Alan Moore & Others
Knockabout Comics
$6.00

The publisher says:
After the appreciative reception afforded to its premier edition, lauded throughout the gutters of the world, the second issue of Alan Moore’s mystifying new underground publication Dodgem Logic is now available. Delivering 52 pages of full-colour solid content thanks to its flinty-eyed Puritan policy of no advertisements, this plucky bi-monthly periodical is stuffed to the gills with wisdom and wonderment. Behind three luscious variant (and random) covers, we have this issue’s cover feature, a sexy yet somehow sinister Burlesque photo spread from internationally acclaimed maestro Mitch Jenkins with an accompanying article on Burlesque past, present and future by our exotica expert, Melinda Gebbie. And extending the ingratiating policy of quaintly and nostalgically including a free gift with every issue, and replacing the astonishing free CD of our debut, Dodgem Logic‘s unkempt figurehead and founder also contributes a questionable eight-page mini-comic, Astounding Weird Penises, being the only solo comic book that he has managed to create in his otherwise lazy thirty year career.

Paul Gravett says:
Yes, this was supposed to be out a while ago, and it’s on sale in the UK now, but the publishers had a problem with the printers and so had to return most of the copies to them, because they had neglected to insert Alan’s comic in every issue. Which of course is the main reason that most comics fans would purchase the mag in the first place. Moore’s “first” original comic entirely written and drawn by him is an almost unforgivably over-the-top, sci-fi sex-romp on eight A5-size colour pages. Watchmen, this is not! I did ask the Northampton magus if one of his inspirations for this might have been the late comedian Bob Monkhouse’s bizarre penis-headed aliens who fought his superhero The Tornado (as resurrected in Great British Fantasy Comic Book Heroes, my pick of the Best Reprint Comics volume of 2009). Alan told me no, though he has a copy of this fine tome. The life of the mind is all here between these variant burlesque covers, from the stars to the gutter and back again.



Drawing France: French Comics & The Republic
by Joel E. Vessels
University Of Mississippi Press
$50.00

The publisher says:
A sophisticated account of the evolving role of comics in recent French history. In France, Belgium, and other Francophone countries, comic strips—called bande dessinée or “BD” in French - have long been considered a major art form capable of addressing a host of contemporary issues. Among French speaking intelligentsia, graphic narratives were deemed worthy of canonization and critical study decades before the academy and the press in the United States embraced comics. The place that BD holds today, however, belies the contentious political route the art form has traveled. In Drawing France: French Comics & The Republic, author Joel E. Vessels examines the trek of BD from its being considered a fomenter of rebellion, to a medium suitable only for semi-literates, to an impediment to education, and most recently to an art capable of addressing social concerns in mainstream culture. In the mid-1800s, alarmists feared political caricatures might incite the ire of an illiterate working class. To counter this notion, proponents yoked the art to a particular articulation of “Frenchness” based on literacy and reason. With the post-World War II economic upswing, French consumers saw BD as a way to navigate the changes brought by modernization. After bande dessinée came to be understood as a compass for the masses, the government, especially François Mitterand’s administration, brought comics increasingly into “official” culture. Vessels argues that BD are central to the formation of France’s self-image and a self-awareness of what it means to be French.

Paul Gravett says:
Along similar lines to Laurence Grove’s new study Comics In French, here Vessels interprets the role of bande dessinée in French society. A very welcome addition to English-language scholarship which is helping to demystify the special evolution and revolution in comics across the Channel. “Fix your BD eyes!” (a pun we once put in an old Escape magazine!).



Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale (HC)
by Belle Yang
W. W. Norton
$23.95

The publisher says:
As a recent college grad, Belle Yang fled an abusive boyfriend who became a terrifying stalker. Back under the protection of her Old World Chinese parents, she sought escape in retelling and drawing her father’s stories about his family in Manchuria during the Second World War. Fleeing the ravages of war, four brothers had reunited in the family home, where (like Belle) they chafed against a traditional father, the patriarch. In Forget Sorrow, Belle weaves a story within a story as she sets her personal journey of self-discovery against her ancestral history - an epic drama of folly and betrayal, integrity and endurance during times of hunger, war, and Communist oppression. Recounting the lives and choices of her grandfather, his brothers, and her King Lear - like great-grandfather, Belle at last finds healing - and the strength to honor both her father and herself.

Paul Gravett says:
I first heard from Belle Yang back in 2007, when she wrote to me with kind compliments after having discovered my Graphic Novels book and told me about her own project. She later sent me the first dozen pages or so and in 2008 she let me exhibit four of them in the Manhua! China Comics Now exhibition in London. At the time she described Forget Sorrow to me as “A Chinese King Lear set during the turmoils of the Communist takeover from the 1930s to 1960s.” And now here I am with an advance proof copy of the book completed and poised for publication. In her transgenerational memoir, Belle Yang intertwines her own autobiography, as she seeks refuge from an abusive lover, with her father’s narrated biography as he recalls his own father, brothers and grandfather in Manchuria. Tensions here between parent and child over duties and expectations seem to echo and be repeated from one generation to the next, although change is inevitable, especially as Yang herself as a woman comes to enjoy greater opportunity and independence than some of her female forebears.

While the influence of Maus and Persepolis is evident in the directness of the black-and-white art, and at times that of David B’s bold graphics in Epileptic sticks out, Yang brings her own bold brushstroke drawing to the fore to convey the period’s characters and locations. Once you adjust to family members in the past being referred to almost always by their relation name, such as Second Aunt or Third Brother, you can gradually become wrapped up in this family drama and build up an understanding of how different so many societal customs in China used to be. My only caution was I did wonder if she could have shared slightly more about her own story and her shattered romance with “Rotten Egg”. For example, in one caption we learn that “Rotten Egg shot up the office of Russell Thomson, the lawyer who befriended us”. It seems strange that Yang would consign something so dramatic to an incidental aside. But then this book is not only about her. The real revelations here are far more concerned with her family’s survival through tumultuous change, as bonds and ties are stretched sometimes to breaking point. And then there is the miracle of Yang herself as she eventually regains her freedom and confidence and chooses the comics medium to express her redemptive journey so evocatively.



Greetings From Cartoonia:
The Essential Guide Of The Land Of Comics

by various
Top Shelf/Stripburger
$20.00

The publisher says:
In Greetings From Cartoonia, 12 modern comic creators, half of them from Slovenia and the other half from various European countries, entered a colorful comic-book-styled intercultural dialogue. The results of this irresponsible behavior are fantasy-filled postcards from the involved countries that don’t pay attention to stereotypes. Slovene authors used their foreign colleagues’ homelands (Italy, Finland, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Romania) as motifs for their comics. Slovenia was used in the same manner by other artists. All authors have used ‘objects of inspiration’ gathered from the cultural treasuries of the involved countries. Among these are architectural types, animal species, car models, traditional folk products, mythological beings and so on. Each artist created a comic story that takes place in the chosen land based on a handful of objects typical for that country. The emerged comic-portraits of the countries quickly got out of hand and mutated to Cartoonia, a completely new, original trans-national entity. A safe haven for those that think the world lacks sympathy for comics, an art form they create or worship. The book is an indispensable guide to this unpredictable, sometimes dangerous, wonderfully bizarre and bizarrely wonderful country.

Paul Gravett says:
There are few more inventive and inspired comics collectives on the planet now than Stripburger, based in Ljubljana in Slovenia and their latest anthology invites a mix of Slovene and other Euro-creators to imagine each others countries through three key national objects. “Oh to see ourselves as others see us”, as you might say, resulting in an entertainingly warped, imaginary travel guidebook in strip form. So from Slovenia, Jakob Klemencic tackles Italy, Marko Kociper reports on Poland, Kaja Avbersek visits Portugal, Matej Stupica goes Finnish, Gasper Rus checks out Norway, and Matej Lavrencic tours Romania. Then in turn, Slovenia is reimagined by Andrea Bruno (Italy),  Mateusz Skutnik (Poland), Filipe Abranches (Portugal), Jyrki Heikkinen (Finland), Bendik Kaltenborn (Norway) and Matei Branea (Romania). They artists also produced some striking silkscreens, a quirky update on traditional travel holiday posters. Here’s a link to the accompanying exhibition’s photos and the posters themselves, which were exhibited early this year at the Comica ComiXmas exhibition at the London Print Studio Gallery.



Indoor Voice
by Jillian Tamaki
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95

The publisher says:
Sketches, thoughts, and comics from the artist of Skim. Jillian Tamaki has taken the visual world by storm. A sought-after illustrator, she has racked up accolades and awards from the Society of Illustrators and Society of Publication Designers, and has a client list that includes The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Esquire. Her breathtaking talent was further established with the debut of the graphic novel Skim - selected by The NewYork Times as a Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2008 - which was written by her cousin Mariko Tamaki, and drawn with moody black-and-white nuance by Tamaki. Skim completely reinvented the young adult graphic novel genre with an utterly original and sincere portrait of being a teenage outsider. Indoor Voice collects pen, brush, ink, watercolor, and collage experiments that show how Tamaki arrives at her illustration work, as well as more polished and personal comics work examining her relationship to her parents and their influence on her art.

Paul Gravett says:
Her wondrous Skim with cousin and writer Mariko was my Graphic Novel of 2008. This is more of a selection box offering smaller, assorted treats, but is sure to be delectable.



Kenk:
A Graphic Novel Portrait Of The World’s Most Prolific Bicyle Thief

by Rick Poplak & Nick Marinkovich
Pop Sandbox
$tba

The publisher says:
A journalistic graphic novel profiling Igor Kenk and his notorious used bicycle shop, located in the rapidly gentrifying West Queen West neighbourhood of Toronto. In Summer 2008 Kenk was arrested after 3,000 bicycles were seized in a highly publicized bust that received international attention, heralding Kenk as “the world’s most prolific bicycle thief” (The Guardian and Telegraph). This is a New Yorker style portrait of an outsize neighbourhood figure and a city in flux, both wracked by the forces of gentrification and by a burgeoning global environmental and economic crisis that promises to define our generation. Alex Jansen and Jason Gilmore followed Kenk extensively for more than a year prior to his high profile arrest in Summer 2008. Acclaimed Penguin author, Richard Poplak, was attached to the project in Fall 2008 following his stand-out article on Kenk in Toronto Life Magazine, and Toronto-based comic artist, Nick Marinkovich is illustrating.

Paul Gravett says:
More krazy Canadians -  well you’ve got to admit this sounds like a pretty weird subject for a 256-page graphic novel, and there’s an animated movie in development too. On your bike!



Korea: As Viewed By 17 Creators
by various
Fanfare
$19.95/£11.99

Nicolas Finet says:
In the very heart of Seoul, close to the Central Station and a stone’s throw from the hotel where the French authors of this collection stayed, a huge billboard illustrates a visionary picture. The French high-speed TGV train route (KTX in Korean) links Seoul to Paris and Paris to Seoul with just a single line. For the Koreans it is not a joke, nor wild imagination, it is a project! So while you are waiting to travel to Seoul by land, here is the magic of the graphic novel with twelve Korean and French stories: escape to Korea for a while. Bon voyage.

Paul Gravett says:
It’s taken a while to come out, but it’s great to see Fanfare/Ponent Mon follow up their translation of the Japan anthology from Casterman with this 2006 sequel by Korean and Francophone creators. Catel Muller, Igort (from Italy, currently creating Baobab), Guillaume Bouzard, Hervé Tanquerelle, Vanyda (whose The Building Opposite is also published by Fanfare) and Mathieu Sapin share these 224 pages with Koreans: Lee Doo-ho, Park Heung-yong, Choi Kyu-sok, Byun Ki-hyun, Chae Min and Lee Hee-jae. This sort of Asia-Europe exchange can only help foster a richer world comics culture. It also demonstrates yet again that there’s a great deal more to manhwa than imitations of manga.



Long Tail Kitty
by Lark Pien
Blue Apple Books
$tba

The publisher says:
Lark Pien’s clever, precise, unique comics are favorites with graphic-novel fans, and Long Tail Kitty marks her debut in the children’s-book world. Meet Long Tail Kitty and his friends and neighbors: a bee who’s friends with the flowers (at least the nice ones); Good Tall Mouse, who likes ice skating; and a family of aliens who drop in for one night of fun. The warmth and visual wit of these stories are sure to win over young readers, who will want to return again and again to Long Tail Kitty’s house, by the hill, by the meadow, by the lake, by the river, by the town, by the bridge on the street where he lives.

Paul Gravett says:
From self-published cult to big-time cloth-spined mass-market children’s hardback, her moggie has come a long way. I’m convinced Pien will do still greater things to come like her graphic novel Stories from the Ward for First Second, but if you’ve not done so already, do check out her super-minimal, super-cute, super-feline funnies.



Manga Impact:
The World of Japanese Animation

by various
Phaidon
$39.95

The publisher says:
An easily accessible A-Z guide to the world of Japanese anime and manga, Manga Impact details everything from world-famous movies to the very latest cutting-edge projects by emerging directors and animators. Thematic essays and directory-style entries on the most influential creators and characters in manga and anime are included in this book that covers acclaimed directors such as Miyazaki Hayao (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) and Otomo Katsuhiro (Akira), as well as exhaustive background information on myriad TV series, studios and artists such as Pokemon, Studio Ghibli and Tezuka Osamu. Lavishly illustrated with a wealth of iconographic images and presented in a dynamic comic book design, Manga Impact is an essential reference book that will delight newcomers, fans and cineastes alike.

Paul Gravett says:
OK, I’m slightly biased as I wrote an essay for this, which will be posted in this site soon. Still, it should be a sharp-looking artbook-cum-reference in the reliable hands of Jonathan Clements and other Japanophile brainiacs, even if the title blissfully ignores the distinction between comics and animated film and should have been Anime Impact. Do publishers really think the word Manga sells books better in a title than Anime?



Moving Pictures
by Kathrynn & Stuart Immonen
Top Shelf
$14.95

The publisher says:
Moving Pictures is the story of the awkward and dangerous relationship between curator Ila Gardner and officer Rolf Hauptmann, as they are forced by circumstances to play out their private lives in a public power struggle. The narrative unfolds along two timelines which collide with the revelation of a terrible secret, an enigmatic decision that not many would make, and the realization that sometimes the only choice left is the refusal to choose.

Paul Gravett says:
I fondly remember meeting the Immonens from Canada back in the 1990s over breakfast at the TrevisoComics festival in Italy. Far-removed from their genre mainstream comic book output, this drama centres around the tense, heated questioning in occupied Paris of Ila Gardner, a Canadian “minor curator for a major museum”, obviously the Louvre, by a German officer, intercut with the background of the schemes to secrete France’s priceless art treasures from the invaders. Under such conditions, it is no wonder Ila despairs at one point, “I don’t know what anything’s worth anymore.” Stuart Immonen pares down his art to stark chiaroscuro and the crisp lines, dotted eyes, pointed noses and refined elegance appropriately associated with the stylings of “Ligne Claire” and “Atom Style” bande dessinée, as well as fashion illustrations of the 1930s/1940s period. This is contrasted with careful, detailed drawings of some of the masterpieces of painting and sculpture being hidden from the Nazis. The text is entirely in dialogue, characterful and well paced, conveying the shifts in thought and feeling. A wonderful, poignant surprise.



Neko Ramen Vol 1 (of 3): Hey! Order Up!
by Kenji Sonishi
TokyoPop
$10.99

The publisher says:
Taishou was a former kitten model, who ran away from home and had a hard life on the streets… until the day he was saved by a kind ramen shop owner who later served as his mentor. Now Taishou takes pride in his noodles… and is easily angered when customers are dissatisfied. So step aside, Soup Nazi - there’s a new cat in town.

Paul Gravett says:
You can never have too many krazy kats! Here are the original bonkers Japanese four-panel comedy strips, which have been animated and are airing on Crunchy Roll. I just happened across a live-action movie based on it too! Watch a trailer for this first manga volume and more here.



Parade Of Pleasure
by Geoffrey Wagner
Pure Imagination
$25.00

The publisher says:
This legendary book on comics has been out of print for over half a century. If you can find it, the cost is over $500. See for yourself what the reference POP actually means, and view one of the books that almost killed the Comics. A must-have for comics historians, and the casual reader as well.

Paul Gravett says:
I just fished out my copy from the library of this “study of popular iconography in the U.S.A.” published in 1954 by Derek Verschoyle, London. I paid all of £3 for it second-hand, though without its teasing colour dustjacket. It went on to be published in the States in 1955 by Library Publishers, New York. This was an era of media panic and anti-comics campaigns on both side of the Atlantic. Parade of Pleasure (POP) has been called the British equivalent to Dr. Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent (SOTI), though only one of its four chapters is devoted to comics (pages 69-112); the others are devoted to movies, sexy pin-ups and “teevee”, radio, magazines & detective fiction. A “Britisher” in America, Geoffrey Wagner was not a noted psychiatrist like Wertham, but a rising journalist, writer, translator and intellectual with degrees from Christ Church, Oxford and a Ph.D. from Columbia, no doubt when he first came into contact with American comics. By the time of POP, he had written two volumes of poetry, three novels and translations of Baudelaire and was a journalist for serious British periodicals such as The Manchester Guardian, The Spectator, Tribune, Sight & Sound and New Statesman & Nation, where some of the material in this book originally appeared. Based on a research period of only “the latter half of 1952 and the beginning of 1953”, his expert position on these four-colour imports is clear from the chapter’s subtitle - “The Curse of the Kids” - to its conclusion: “...in depicting violence and horror in glamorous guises the comic-book surely stands guilty of a crime against us all.”

Wagner reinforces this with a 12-page picture section (the biggest in the book) of provocative pre-Code comics, 4 of them showing interior pages in colour on special pulpy paper stock, bang slap in the middle of the book. Among his choices are: a cover & page from Stan Lee & Joe Maneely’s rabid Red-baiting Combat Kelly; a cover & opening splash (showing the murder about to happen) from Classics Illustrated’s Crime and Punishment adaptation by sweaty Rudy Palais, billed as from “a typical classic-comic”; Tales From The Crypt #31 cover - “an ‘entertaining comic’ as the publishers describe it”; and Adventure Comics #189, misdescribing Superboy as “Superman’s brother”. All those issues highlighted to this day as “used in POP” in the Overstreet Price Guide are itemised here. Wagner cites all sorts of media coverage, studies and critics, in particular Gershon Legman, whose Love & Death seems to have been a strong influence throughout. I was surprised to find that Wagner was living then in Harlem, New York and despite knowing of Wertham and his Harlem clinic, he never thought to interview him for the book. I doubt Wagner’s more cheekily British, titillating, wide-ranging survey had anything like the impact of Wertham’s focussed, sledge-hammering SOTI, but as an intriguing time capsule POP reiterates those fears in the Fifties about “the danger of mass conformity being gushed at us from the unofficial reservoirs of the American dream.” Plus ça change?



Revolver (HC)
by Matt Kindt
DC/Vertigo
$24.99

The publisher says:
Revolver is an original graphic novel by acclaimed writer/artist Matt Kindt (Super Spy, 3 Story: The Secret History of The Giant Man) that’s a tale of two worlds - and how both test a man to his limits. Stuck in a dead-end job with a boss he can’t stand and a materialistic girlfriend, Sam rises from a late night of barhopping to discover his whole world has changed. Literally. An avian flu outbreak has killed millions, the nation’s infrastructure has crashed and a dirty bomb has destroyed Seattle. Forced to go on the run, Sam awakes to a normal world the next day - and to chaos again the day after that. A single constant between the two worlds will undo all the damage, if he can find it - but that seems impossible. In one world, anything goes. In the other, he’s out of danger and sleepwalking through life. So Sam’s got an even bigger problem: Which world to choose?

Paul Gravett says:
This two-toned, 192-page original graphic novel from Top Shelf protegé Matt Kindt has a really intriguing premise, reinvigorating the old parallel worlds, Earth 1/Earth2 dichotomy. Just wondering whether Kindt might switch those two tones, blue and bandage, around to distinguish one world from another?



Sense & Sensibility #1
by Nancy Butler & Sonny Liew
Marvel
$3.99

The publisher says:
Award-winning writer Nancy Butler, returns to Marvel with another Jane Austen classic: Sense & Sensibility. Alongside incredible artist Sonny Liew (My Faith in Frankie, Wonderland), Butler brings to life the world of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, two daughters without parents or means, forced to experience hardship, romance, and heartbreak, all in the hopes of achieving love and lasting happiness.

Paul Gravett says:
It’s surreal these days to thumb through Marvel’s Previews catalogue, bulging with hyped events and ripped physiques, and stumble across one category for Jane Austen (and no, not with zombies). Liew’s been doing some lovely work on Alice in Wonderland as well as his own Malinky Robot stories in Liquid City and elsewhere. From a look at his character designs he’s going to really shine here. Austen-tacious!



7 Psychopaths
by Fabien Vehlmann & Sean Phillips
Boom Studios
$11.99

The publisher says:
1941. Joshua Goldschmidt developed a plan to finish the war : to recruit 7 men to assassinate Hitler and choose these 7 killers among those which one calls insane or psychopaths, the only capable of reasoning standards except and whose actions will not be anticipated by the enemy. Churchill having given its agreement, they are parachuted behind enemy lines in Germany…

Paul Gravett says:
Vehlmann is one of the more interesting current French comics scribes. You might have caught his Green Manor from CineBook for example, he had a hand in the haunting Jolies Tenèbres, just about my favourite colour hardcover bande dessinée of 2009, and in his latest book, Le Diable Amoureux, et autres films jamais tournés par Méliès with artist Duchazeau, he partly fictionalises the life and career of pioneer director Méliès and recounts the stories behind the films he never made. As for Sean Phillips, he is simply one of the very best British realist comic artists of his generation. This is Phillips’ first and to date only stab at the French market. It’s one album out of Vehlmann’s series with different artists all about septets of protagonists (female warriors, missionaries, thieves, pirates, you name it), in this case wannabe Hitler assassins. It comes out first as a three-issue mini-series of pamphlets with a collection later in the year.



The Art Of Osamu Tezuka: God Of Manga (HC)
by Helen McCarthy
Abrams
$40.00

The publisher says:
Osamu Tezuka has often been called “the god of manga” and “the Walt Disney of Japan”, but he was far more than that. Tezuka was Walt Disney, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Tim Burton, and Carl Sagan all rolled into one incredibly prolific creator, changing the face of Japanese culture forever. Best known for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, Tezuka was instrumental in developing Japanese animation and modern manga comics. The Art of Osamu Tezuka is the first authorized biography celebrating his work and life and featuring over 300 images - many of which have never been seen outside of Japan. With text by respected manga expert Helen McCarthy, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga pays tribute to the work of an artist, writer, animator, doctor, entrepreneur, and traveler whose curious mind spawned dozens of animated films, and over 170,000 pages of comics art in one astonishingly creative lifetime. The Art of Osamu Tezuka also includes an exclusive 45-minute DVD documentary covering Tezuka’s prolific career, from his early manga characters to his later animation work.

Paul Gravett says:
You could choose no finer guide through the extraordinary binary, interwoven and stratospheric career trajectories, in both manga and anime, of legend Osamu Tezuka than English expert Helen McCarthy. She has crafted a beautifully written, selected and designed survey which could never be exhaustive (that would require many massive tomes) but which does offer plentiful information and insights about many of his masterworks in comics and film, whether familiar items or others so far untranslated. What is incredible, truly incredible, is that all of this, and much more, came from just one exceptional human being. No wonder the Japanese worship him as their God of Manga - and of Anime too.



The Life & Opinions Of Tristram Shandy (HC)
by Martin Rowson
SelfMadeHero
£20.00

The publisher says:
Tristram Shandy is one of English literature’s most curious, complex and comic novels - perfectly suited to the distinctive, anarchic style of the celebrated cartoonist and illustrator Martin Rowson. Here Rowson travels with his faithful companion Pete through the tortuous paths of Laurence Sterne’s infinitely digressive world interpreting the great novel in a new way.

Paul Gravett says:
Great move to bring this adaptation back into print. I doubt though if we’ll see Rowson’s first “Classics Illustrated”, The Wasteland, originally put out by Penguin, ever reprinted, because apparently the Eliot estate subsequently objected. I suppose we’ll have to wait till it gets into the public domain.



XIII: The Day of the Black Sun
by Jean Van Hamme & William Vance
CineBook
$11.95

The publisher says:
A man washes ashore near an old couple’s house, barely alive. He has forgotten everything, including his name. The only clues to his identity: a key sewn into his clothes, a bullet wound to the head. and the number XIII tattooed on his shoulder. A meager start to reconstructing one’s self.

Paul Gravett says:
Take One! Catalan Communications started translating this mega-popular Belgian thriller in 1989 but dropped out after three volumes in 1990 when the company closed down. Take Two! On the back of the 2003 hit computer game, Dabiel Brothers restart the series in 2006 and release the first three albums, with some distinctly dodgy translations, in one compilation via Marvel in 2007 and then leave us all hanging again. And now, at last, Take Three! I’ve been on at Olivier Cadic almost from the start of CineBook to do this series, so I’m pleased that this May he takes on the whole run, undertaking to publish a new album every two months and wrap up the mystery of XIII appropriately in 2013. To launch the series, Jean Van Hamme will be coming to London on May 5th for a special Comica event generously supported by the French Institute, CineBook and CinéMoi. As well as talking about XIII and his other bande dessinée series, Van Hamme will introduce an exclusive big-screen showing in the Lumière Cinema of the 2008 Largo Winch live-action movie, based on the comics, which is finally getting a DVD release here through Optimum. Booking details soon on the Comica site.

Posted: March 14, 2010

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