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THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS


Top 21 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: June 2017

Posted: April 15, 2017

My absolute stand-out PG Tip for June is Threads, Kate Evans’ sensitive and insightful graphic reportage on the real human beings caught up in the refugee crisis.
Music and comics also come together this month in two intriguing graphic novel debuts, Masters Of The Sun from Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, and Murder Ballads (below) involving Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys. There’s Philip Pullman’s long-awaited first complete comic, Seventies’ ‘sharksploitation’, a manga masterclass from the creator of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures, Italian erotica, preposterous superheroes and a pointed satire of the fickle art market in Etienne Davodeau’s The Cross-Eyed Mutt (below). These and more besides are presented here for your selection and delectation…


Top 35 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: May 2017

Posted: March 12, 2017

In all these monthly Previews I’ve compiled over the years, I honestly cannot recall one month offering so many varied and thrilling new comics, graphic novels and manga as this month, May 2017. The line-up of countries says a lot: the UK, US, France, Japan, of course, but also Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, South Korea and Spain. And such a smorgasbord of subject-matter, across the spectrum between factual and fantastical. To quote the title of Jillian Tamaki’s new gatherum from Drawn & Quarterly, the medium of comics is truly proving itself to be “Boundless”... Read my latest PG Tips right here…


Top 17 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: April 2017

Posted: February 4, 2017

Here we go with yet more reasons to be grateful for the variety and vitality of contemporary comics from around the globe, all about to be published for you in April 2017. A pair of true modern visionaries from the US and UK, Ron Regé, Jr. and Gareth Brookes, unveil their revelatory new graphic novels, What Parsifal Saw (Fantagraphics) and A Thousand Coloured Castles (Myriad). You have not read their like before.

And from Italy’s Seventies underground fumetti scene comes the eagerly anticipated debut in English of the late but timeless Andrea Pazienza, as his Zanardi is at long last put into the English language. These really ARE the good times for this medium which you and I so enjoy… Read my April 2017 PG Tips here…


Top 21 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: March 2017

Posted: January 21, 2017

I love the way comics can take anywhere and anywhen, real and imagined. The breadth of subject-matter and approaches in this medium we love continues to astonish and inspire. Who would have thought the familiar crossword puzzle could hide such an intriguing backstory? How did a Dane help establish Tibet’s first football team? What was it really like to grow up in The Philippines under the Marcos regime? Or flee Vietnam to found a whole new life in the New World? From the lives of pop musicians and painters to a photo-journalist’s self-discovery in the Big Apple, and even the never-read Terms and Conditions of iTunes made not only readable but enlightening, this medium is stretching its limits and breaking them. There’s no end to look forward to… See what March titles I’ve selected for your consideration…


Top 16 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga - February 2017

Posted: December 10, 2016

My first Top PG Tip for February 2017 is the jubilant return of that baroquely decadent marvel Starstruck, in an expanded and expansive reworking from creators Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta. It’s wonderful to plunge into more pages of one of true zeniths of recent science-fiction comics.

And my second PG Tip must be the overdue translation of one of the true ‘mistress-pieces’ of family history and autobiography, Pretending Is Lying by Dominique Goblet. Years ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dominique in Cambridge at Sarah Lightman’s first conference on comics by women. Speaking of which, you’ll find a fair few titles by ‘Comix Creatices’ among my international recommendations, as well as graphic biographies ranging from Caravaggio to Calamity Jane, and much more besides. Check out my suggestions here… 


Top 16 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga - January 2017

Posted: November 19, 2016

A Brand New Year beckons and here are my suggestions for the comics, manga and graphics novels to look forward to and look out for. 2017 marks several anniversaries - both Jack Kirby and Will Eisner would have been 100. So I am highlighting the sumptuous catalogue for the Will Eisner Centennial Celebration exhibition, to run on both side of the pond, at the Musée de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, France, and at The Society of Illustrators in New York. I am truly chuffed to have contributed one of the essays, exploring Eisner’s international influences. Take a look through my PG Tips for January 2017…


Top Ten Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: December 2016

Posted: November 6, 2016

As usual, slightly leaner pickings in the holiday month of December, but take a look through my suggestions below and you may find one or more essential reads before the end of this year. My personal PG Tip has to be Krazy, the substantial biography by Michael Tisserand of George Herriman, the genius behind Krazy Kat and other early American newspaper strip gems. At 560 pages, there’s never been such an in-depth life-story of this fascinating cartoonist. And if you’re looking for some Christmas-tinged manga-influenced fantasy, I’m drawn to Cassandra Jean’s Reindeer Boy. Happy Holiday Comics-Reading! Read my latest recommendations here…


Top 20 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: November 2016

Posted: October 11, 2016

Here are my suggestions for your comics reading this coming November as the pre-Christmas release schedule reaches its climax. Lots to choose from, hopefully something for pretty much everyone. As my most eagerly anticipated, I’ve picked out Untitled Ape’s Epic Adventure (above) by Steven Tillotson, a breakthrough multi-layered fable by a truly original British cartoonist, released by the UK’s feistiest small press graphic novel publisher, Avery Hill Press. This and more, all for your consideration…  Check out my PG Tips here…


Gaijin Mangaka: A Constant Light

Posted: September 18, 2016

Something extraordinary is happening right now in the wider global manga movement outside Japan, a further sea-change in its irrepressible revolution and evolution, and the special 25th issue of Latvian colour mini-format anthology š! captures a vital snapshot of this through 164 full-colour A6-size pages of brand-new work by some key current innovators working outside Japan. From the ceaseless two-way ebb-and-flow of influences between manga and Western comics, co-editors Berliac and David Schilter have gathered an exciting crop of contemporary ‘gaijin mangaka’, so-called ‘foreign comics creators’, predominantly young writer-artists from Europe and North and South America. Read my introduction to this landmark compilation here…


François Boucq : Twisted Tales

Posted: September 6, 2016

Meet the versatile French virtuoso who brings colourful life to the maverick westerns of movie-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky, the intrigues of novelist Jerome Charyn and his own delirious fantasies. In his award-winning graphic novel written by Jerome Charyn, The Magician’s Wife, a detective as dapper as Hercule Poirot observes: “People aren’t really like the image they try to project… they ignore their own mystery.” People, and things, are frequently not what they seem in the unnervingly skewed observations of the phenomenal comics creator François Boucq. Read my profile of Boucq here…


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