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PG Tips No. 25:

Anticipated Graphic Novels Of 2009

Brand new Crumb! Moore & O’Neill! Sacco! Mazzucchelli! Talbot! Seth! and so much more. A New Year is a chance to look back but also a chance to look ahead and prepare yourself for some of the exciting English-language highlights to come over the next twelve months. Here are twenty-two advance PG Tips, month by month, for the most eagerly awaited graphic novels to come. The graphic novel movement shows no signs of slowing down in quality. If anything, it continues to gain momentum and may well defy the media- and corporate-driven doom and gloom. This Year of the Cow/Ox/Bull promises to deliver some of the medium’s most inspired and inspiring art and stories yet.


20th Century Boys
by Naoki Urasawa
Viz
Due in February 2009

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka
by Naoki Urasawa
Viz
Due in February 2009
Now that his 18-volume Monster masterpiece is completed, Viz can treat us to what Urasawa created before Monster: the 22-volume conspiracy thriller 20th Century Boys; and to what came after: his riveting re-working of Osamu Tezuka’s robot character Pluto, who originally appeared in a groundbreaking 1964 story arc of his Astro Boy series entitled ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’.


21
by Wilfred Santiago
Fantagraphics
Due in March 2009
A graphic biography of Puerto Rico’s greatest sports superstar, baseball player Robert Clemente, written and drawn by Puerto Rico-born Santiago. His striking two-toned artwork mixes cartoonish expression with documentary realism. Take a visit to 21 comix for trailers and previews.


Orange
by Benjamin
TokyoPop
Due in April 2009
He was the undisputed revelation of the Manhua! China Comics Now exhibition I curated in London last Spring. The wait is over, and finally mainland China’s poster-boy rock-star demon digital-painter of 21st century manhua storms into English with this baroque, histrionic, tragic rooftop romance between a suicidal high-school student and the brooding hunk Dashu who transforms her life. Together, they’ll take you to the very edge.


Sleepyheads
by Randall.C
Blank Slate Books
Due in December 2009
Flemish award-winner of the Debut Prizes for both the VPR Haarlem Festival and the Strip Turnhout Festival, Randal.C (pen-name of Randall Casaer), based in Ghent, Belgium, is certainly one stylish cartoonist. Here’s what they wrote about his striking first graphic novel after his win in Haarlem, Holland:

Suppose you are dreaming that you are falling asleep. And then you dream. That you are falling asleep and then yet again you are dreaming. This ad infinitum fantasy is the basis of Slaapkoppen, Randall Casaer’s debut comix, which in the final months of 2007 gripped the hearts of his readers. Slaapkoppen [Sleepyheads] is a highly original and funny juggling comix game of clouds and words, dream and reality, poetry and humour, philosophy and absurdity. With the compliments of Carlos Castaneda, Patricia Garfield and Lewis Carroll, Randall C. (from Ghent, Belgium) takes his readers on a dazzling adventure in a dreamed landscape. It’s a trip that can only be completed, grinning, eyebrow raising and laughing out loud. Randall Casaer’s innovative, idiosyncratic graphics and distinctive use of colour distinguish his work from the torrent of new comix published lately. What fantasy and what raw visual power! A masterly debut and a dream winner of the VPRO Debut Prize 2008.


League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 3: Century
by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill
Top Shelf/Knockabout
Part 1 of 3 due in April 2009
Freed from their DC contract, Messrs Moore and O’Neill elaborate the glorious achievements of their bizarre band through nearly 100 years in three 80-page self-contained episodes, the first set in 1910 "twelve years after the failed Martian invasion and nine years since England put a man upon the moon.


A Drifting Life
by Yoshihiro Tatsumi
Drawn & Quarterly
Due in April 2009
A true master of the short-story and inventor of the gekiga approach to dramatic comics in Japan,Yoshihiro Tatsumi has spent eleven years completing A Drifting Life, his 820-page memoir from his Osaka childhood to the dawn of the Sixties. This is a rare creature, a living mangaka’s own extended autobiography coveringfifteen key years from August 1945 to June 1960, edited and designed by Adrian Tomine.


George Sprott: (1894-1975)
by Seth
Drawn & Quarterly
Due in May 2009
And as the perfect complement and accompaniment to Tatsumi’s real autobiography,  Seth embroiders this biography of a fictional cartoonist’s multifaceted public and private lives. Parts of this ran in the New York Times Magazine but are expanded and revised for this book publication. Read a pdf preview here.


The Photographer
by Emmanuel Guibert
First Second
Due in May 2009
Uniting all three French bande dessinée hardback volumes into one, this blends Afghanistan frontline reportage and journalistic autobiography, graphic novel and news photography, to stunning effect.


Asterios Polyp
by David Mazzucchelli
Pantheon
Due in June 2009
The long-awaited return to the medium by the master behind Batman: Year One and Rubber Blanket, a wopping 344 pages about "a middle-aged, meagrely successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womaniser, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this ‘escape’ really about?"

This story pulls you in from the word go, opening aloft with a fearsome thunderstorm in cyan and purple as we come down to earth and float through a dishevilled apartment, piles of dirty plates and unpaid bills, the sounds emerging of a porn video and our drowsy, stubbly protagonist flat out on his bed. He flips his cigarette lighter and at that precise moment, a lightning bolt strikes the building and sets it on fire. Rushing to evacuate, what’s the one thing he chooses to take with him? A cigarette lighter, a watch and a Swiss army knife?  His home, his whole life, go up in flames, and so does shelf-after-shelf, month-after-month of, presumably, his diary journals. His history and fate are then narrated by Ignazio Polyp, his identical twin who died in childbirth: "If it were possible for me to narrate this story, I’d begin here." I’ll be returning to this and giving a detailed Early Bird Review on this site soon.


A Distant Neighborhood
by Jiro Taniguchi
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
Vol 1 due in June, Vol 2 due in September 2009
This is the Taniguchi wonder I’ve been waiting ages to see translated. It won Erlangen’s Max & Moritz prize as the Best International Graphic Novel of last year. I’ve read the Casterman French edition and was deeply moved by this "time-travel" family tale of a man who is magically returned to his childhood but with all his adult memoriesintact, like Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married or Alex Robinson’s Too Cool To Be Forgotten. Taniguchi goes back to try to understand why his father disappeared and perhaps prevent it happening again. Can he rewrite his past?


Spider-Man & Doctor Strange: Fever
by Brendan McCarthy
Marvel Knights
Due in Summer 2009
Brendan McCarthy was telling me about this at Comica last November, and I can’t wait to see his Ditko-inspired debut at Marvel. Here’s what he told me just recently:

"I’m writing and drawing a Dr Strange and Spider-man graphic novel that will appear as a three part mini series, sometime this summer. Marvel approached me after seeing my ‘freak-out’ final issue of Solo that I created in the previous year for DC Comics. I was asked what I’d like to draw, and like any artist with a taste for the bizarre, I chose Dr Strange. Marvel asked me to add Spidey to help the sales, which was fine by me - plus, one of my favourite comic strips ever was the team-up created by Lee and Ditko in the second Spider-Man Annual in 1965. The thread spun through all of this is, of course, the incomparable imagination displayed by Dr Strange’s creator and artist, Steve Ditko. I am always attracted to higly original and bizarre art.

Of course, I can never hope to match the astonishing beauty and oddness of Ditko’s visual style, but to pay homage and have alot of fun was the basic idea! I’m getting a bit bored with the ‘hard edged’ comic vibe prevalent at the moment in the industry, so I prefer to create a comic strip that owes more to The Wizard of Oz, Yellow Submarine and The Mighty Boosh, and simply, to put out a comic that is a bit different… A light-hearted and surreal yarn that evokes the fantastic 60s Ditko weirdness of Dr Strange and Spidey. TWIP!"


A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge
by Josh Neufeld
Pantheon
Due in August 2009
On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans comes this hardcover collection of Neufeld’s online serialisation at Smith Mag charting six survivors’ experiences. Worth exploring the online original for its interactivity with readers and weblinks to related people and places, audio, video and more.


The Year Of The Elephant
by Willy Linthout
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
Due in August 2009
Pretty much unknown internationally, Willy Linthout is massive in Belgium and the Netherlands, famed for getting on for 130 albums starring raucous comedy hero Urbanus. In 2004, his son Sam unexpectedly took his own life. As some way to come to terms with this dreadful tragedy, Linthout decided two years later to express his emotional journey through comics. His unfinished pencils add a raw immediacy to this award-winning, immensely moving graphic novel, from a father to his son. It has also proved valuable in helping others to deal with a family member’s suicide.


Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis
by Robert Crumb
W.W. Norton/Jonathan Cape
Due in October 2009
In the beginning… and everything else transferred intact from the Bible to Crumb’s unique cartooning. According to the Crumb family’s official site: "This winter Robert hopes to complete the Genesis project. He’s on page 190 and has about 14 pages left, with the cover, introduction and various small pages related his agreement with Norton Publishers. It’s been an tremendous undertaking, and a commitment which has taken him four years to complete."


Grandville
by Bryan Talbot
Jonathan Cape/Dark Horse
Due in October 2009
Titled in honour of the French pioneer of satirical anthropomorphism, this is a rollicking steampunk noir fantasy with badger detective Inspector LeBrock and a wild ensemble of humorous, humanised animals. Bryan’s been showing round sneak peaks and it looks and reads like enormous fun, packed with visual and verbal extras.


Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers
by John Harris Dunning & Nikhil Singh
Walker Books
Due in October 2009
I’ve been following this one closely since it premiered in Sylvia Farago’s classy anthology Sturgeon White Moss. And now, reworked and expanded from its SWM serialisation, it’s getting the oversized hardback treatment it deserves. This new century demands a new charismatic comic-book magician to weave his spells on us and by updating classic conjurers like Mandrake and Doctor Strange with a twist of Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, Dunning and Singh have crafted a haunting, hypnotising master of the mystic arts in Salem Brownstone. Their sharp, surprising storytelling and intense, imaginative illustration combine to create real magic on the page.


Walking The Dog
by David Hughes
Jonathan Cape
Due in January 2010
Dan Franklin could barely contain himself when he was showing me sample pages from this 296-page original graphic novel by one of Britain’s greatest, multi-talented artists. Here’s how it’s been billed: "Approaching fifty, and warned by his doctor that he’s drinking too much and needs to take more exercise, David Hughes is given a dog for his birthday - Dexter, a wire-haired fox terrier. Hughes’ daily walks with Dexter form the spine of Walking The Dog. We eavesdrop on their encounters with fellow dog-walkers (‘Hello Hector’, ‘Hello Chester’...) and on Hughes’ thoughts as he plods along carrying a plastic bag of poo. He begins to remember moments from his past, dark memories of murder and violence. He explores his own fantasies and obsessions. From the gentle comedy of the early pages, Walking The Dog is transformed into something deeper and more disturbing. This will be a landmark book in the field of graphic literature. The drawing is sublime, the imagination extraordinary, the ambition unequalled."


Footnotes In Gaza
by Joe Sacco
Metropolitan Books/Jonathan Cape
Due in Fall 2009
The much-anticipated Footnotes in Gaza by comics journalist Joe Sacco is a sequel of sorts to his landmark graphic novel Palestine. Sacco returns to Gaza and makes a little-known and violent incident in a refugee camp in 1956 the basis for a 400-page history of Gaza that takes the reader from 1956 to the present.


You’ll Never Know Book 1: A Good & Decent Man
By Carol Tyler
Fantagraphics Books
Due in Fall 2009
You’ll Never Know is the first graphic novel from Carol Tyler (Late Bloomer) and tells the story of the 50-something author’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, and how his war experience shaped her childhood and affected her relationships in adulthood. You’ll Never Know refers not only to the title of her parents courtship song from that era, but also to the many challenges the author encountered in uncovering the difficult and painful truths about her Dad’s service challenges exacerbated by her own tumultuous family life.


Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary
by Justin Green, introduction by Art Spiegelman
McSweeney’s
Due in Fall 2009
Art Spiegelman was telling me about this project at Comica. All of the original artwork by Green from this seminal milestone/millstone of autobio confessional comix, the wellspring of Maus and so much more since, (as highlighted in both my Graphic Novels and The Leather Nun/Holy Sh*t! books), has been recovered intact and was on exhibition at the Krazy! show last year in Vancouver, Canada. So the idea now is to reprint the whole story shooting directly from the originals and printing it oversized in a deluxe binding, aptly almost like some religious artifact or sacred tome. Art is writing a new intro for it, maybe Justin Green will also contribute some new text, and Dave Eggers and McSweeney’s are handling the publishing, as I understand, though I’m not sure yet of the precise release date.


Genius
by Steven Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen
First Second
Delayed until 2011
I can’t wait for this one. The American writer and the Danish illustrator who crafted It’s A Bird in 2004, one of the rare original modern gems of Superman comics, join forces again to tell the tale of a profound lost secret entrusted by Einstein to a struggling quantum physicist’s ageing father-in-law. Meantime, The Red Diary, Kristiansen’s own album for Soleil in France, is crying out for an English version please!

Posted: January 18, 2009

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Featured Books


20th Century Boys
by Naoki Urasawa


Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka
by Naoki Urasawa


21
by Wilfred Santiago


Orange
by Benjamin


Sleepyheads
by Randall.C


League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Volume 3: Century
by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill


A Drifting Life
by Yoshihiro Tatsumi


George Sprott:
(1894-1975)

by Seth


The Photographer
by Emmanuel Guibert


Asterios Polyp
by David Mazzucchelli


A Distant Neighborhood
by Jiro Taniguchi


Spider-Man & Doctor Strange: Fever
by Brendan McCarthy


A.D.: New Orleans
After The Deluge

by Josh Neufeld


The Year Of The Elephant
by Willy Linthout


Robert Crumb’s
Book of Genesis

by Robert Crumb


Grandville
by Bryan Talbot


Salem Brownstone:
All Along the Watchtowers

by John Harris Dunning
& Nikhil Singh


Walking The Dog
by David Hughes


Footnotes In Gaza
by Joe Sacco


You’ll Never Know Book 1: A Good & Decent Man
By Carol Tyler


Binky Brown Meets The Holy Virgin Mary
by Justin Green


Genius
by Steven Seagle & Teddy Kristiansen