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March 2013

It may be winter outside, but spring is already in the air as we look ahead to an especially strong month coming up in March for manga, both retro classics from Tezuka and Mizuki and bang up-to-date releases. The long-awaited sequel to James Vance and Dan Burr’s Kings in Disguise arrives, as well as the first original graphic novel by underground master cartoonist Kim Deitch and the debut of S.J. Harris’s much-anticipated Eustace. Mix in some illuminating history and theory, some classic reprints from American strips and comic books, and several more appetising items and you’ve got a tasty menu to choose from. Dig in!



Army of God
by David Axe & Tim Hamilton
New Press
$14.99

The publisher says:
Joseph Kony is the most dangerous guerilla leader in modern African history. It started with a visit from spirits. In 1991, Kony claimed that spiritual beings had come to him with instructions: he was to lead his group of rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army, in a series of brutal raids against ordinary Ugandan civilians. Decades later, Kony has sown chaos throughout Central Africa, kidnapping and terrorizing countless innocents—especially children. Yet despite an enormous global outcry, the Kony 2012 movement, and an international military intervention, the carnage has continued. Drawn from on-the-ground reporting by war correspondent David Axe and starkly illustrated by Tim Hamilton, Army of God is the first-ever graphic account of the global phenomenon surrounding Kony—from the devastation he has left behind to the long campaign to defeat him for good. 



Barry’s Best Buddy
by Renee French
Toon Books
$12.95

The publisher says:
What’s waiting for Barry at the end of the walk? The ridiculous hat his friend Polarhog forces on him? No, that’s only a distraction from the real surprise! Kids will crack up over this funny friendship and be all the more moved by the book’s genuinely poignant ending. From the talented mind of Eisner-nominated cartoonist Renée French, this Level 1 book will be a treat for the youngest beginning readers, to be read aloud with a grown-up or all on their own!


Bazooka Joe and His Gang
by Wesley Morse
Abrams ComicArts
$19.95 / £12.99

The publisher says:
Bazooka Joe and his Gang have been synonymous with bubble gum ever since their debut in 1953, providing an irresistible combination of cheap laughs wrapped around pink, sugary sweetness. This book celebrates the iconic mini-comics that are recognized the world over. The story of Bazooka Bubble Gum is also detailed with extensive essays, including a profile of Wesley Morse, the original illustrator of Bazooka Joe. Included are reproductions of more than 100 classic comics spanning six decades—including the complete first series, reprinted in its entirety for the first time—as well as jokes, fortunes, and tiny ads for mail-order merchandise. Like Bazooka Bubble Gum itself, the book is pure nostalgia and guaranteed to appeal to kids and adults alike. See more info and comics on the Bubblegum Comics site.



Comics and Narration
by Thierry Groensteen
University of Mississippi Press
$55.00

The publisher says:
This book is the follow-up to Thierry Groensteen’s ground-breaking The System of Comics, in which the leading French-language comics theorist set out to investigate how the medium functions, introducing the principle of iconic solidarity, and showing the systems that underlie the articulation between panels at three levels: page layout, linear sequence, and nonsequential links woven through the comic book as a whole. He now develops that analysis further, using examples from a very wide range of comics, including the work of American artists such as Chris Ware and Robert Crumb. He tests out his theoretical framework by bringing it up against cases that challenge it, such as abstract comics, digital comics and shojo manga, and offers insightful reflections on these innovations. In addition, he includes lengthy chapters on three areas not covered in the first book. First, he explores the role of the narrator, both verbal and visual, and the particular issues that arise out of narration in autobiographical comics. Second, Groensteen tackles the question of rhythm in comics, and the skill demonstrated by virtuoso artists in intertwining different rhythms over and above the basic beat provided by the discontinuity of the panels. And third he resets the relationship of comics to contemporary art, conditioned by cultural history and aesthetic traditions but evolving recently as comics artists move onto avant-garde terrain. Translated by Dr. Ann Miller.



Dave Sim: Conversations
by Dave Sim, edited by Eric Hoffman & Domicik Grace
University of Mississippi Press
$40.00

The publisher says:
In 1977, Dave Sim (b. 1956) began to self-publish Cerebus, one of the earliest and most significant independent comics, which ran for 300 issues and ended, as Sim had planned from early on, in 2004. Over the run of the comic, Sim used it as a springboard to explore not only the potential of the comics medium but also many of the core assumptions of Western society. Through it he analyzed politics, the dynamics of love, religion, and, most controversially, the influence of feminism—which Sim believes has had a negative impact on society. Moreover, Sim inserted himself squarely into the comic as Cerebus’s creator, thereby inviting criticism not only of the creation, but also of the creator. What few interviews Sim gave often pushed the limits of what an interview might be in much the same way that Cerebus pushed the limits of what a comic might be. In interviews Sim is generous, expansive, provocative, and sometimes even antagonistic. Regardless of mood, he is always insightful and fascinating. His discursive style is not conducive to the sound bite or to easy summary. Many of these interviews have been out of print for years. And, while the interviews range from very general, career-spanning explorations of his complex work and ideas, to tightly focused discussions on specific details of Cerebus, all the interviews contained herein are engaging and revealing.

 


Elizabeth’s Canvas
by various writers & artists
IDW
$17.99

The publisher says:
Fighting cancer isn’t just a struggle to the body. It’s also a fight with the heart, and the soul, and the spirit. The non-profit organization Elizabeth’s Canvas has been helping with that struggle by providing cancer patients, survivors, and their family members with art, photography, dance and writing classes, at no charge, so that they can better cope with their symptoms and improve their well-being. Elizabeth’s Canvas classes are offered inside and outside hostpitals, and are grounded in the belief that the creative process can strengthen the spirit and empower the mind. Now Elizabeth’s Canvas, IDW Publishing and Jud Meyers and Scott Tipton, founders of Blaskoff Comics in North Hollywood, have come together to create this graphic novel, in which comic creators from across the industry interview the people behind the struggle with cancer the patients, the nurses, the survivors, the researchers and tell their stories; tales of defiance, perseverance, dedication and triumph. All proceeds from the sale of the graphic novel will go to further fund and grow Elizabeth’s Canvas’ efforts. Writers include Mark Waid, Gregg Hurwitz, Harlan Ellison, Chris Ryall, Scott Tipton, Judd Meyers. Artists include David Messina, Claudia Balboni, Ryan Benjamin, Sara Pichelli, Elea Casagrande and Todd Harris.  Read an interview with Jud Meyers and Scott Tipton about the book here.



Eustace
by S.J. Harris
Jonathan Cape
£14.99

The publisher says:
Poor Eustace is not very well. Convalescing in bed, a victim of the coughs and hiccups that rack his frail body, his world is confined to the four spare walls of his grand and gloomy room, in a tall house in London. His days are spent in wild imaginings, punctuated by the occasional visit from his mother, from prune-faced Mrs Perichief, who serves an unvarying menu of watery soup, and from a legion of cannibalistic Aunties, who fuss and smother poor Eustace with their bosoms and kisses. Relief comes from the odd behaviour and antics of his wicked uncle who is soon a regular fixture in Eustace’s bedroom, emerging from under the bed in a cloud of pipe smoke, accompanied by a swelling cast of prostitutes, hoodlums, drunkards and assorted hangers-on - a raucous party which seems in no danger of stopping. Eustace finds himself transformed from invalid to the star of a glittering and decadent social scene, serving drinks, offering assistance and holding court from his enormous bed. That is, until his Uncle’s past begins to catch up with him… A graphic novel vividly capturing a lonely and interior world, as well as the heady and tumultuous milieu of affluent London between the wars, Eustace is a blackly comic, surreal and exquisitely rendered work - and an assured debut.

 


Fanny & Romeo
by Yves Pelletier & Pascal Girard
Conundrum Press
$20.00

The publisher says:
It’s him or the cat in this charming collaboration between first time author (and renown Quebec comic actor) Yves Pelletier and the established artist Pascal Girard (winner of the Doug Wright Award for Bigfoot). The story concerns a young couple, Fanny wants to have children, and Fabien doesn’t feel ready. Then a cat called Romeo comes into their lives. She falls in love, but he’s allergic. Fanny becomes more and more attached to the cat, to the point where she actually rents a separate apartment for it. But it turns out her Romeo has actually been two-timing her. A perfect blend of Pelletier’s writing with Girard’s beautiful watercolours, this story will warm the hearts of cat lovers and people lovers alike! See sample colour pages here.

 


Good Riddance
by Cynthia Copeland
Abrams ComicArts
S17.95 / £12.99

The publisher says:
When you think you live in a Norman Rockwell painting—married 18 years, three kids, beautiful old house in the country, successful career as a writer—you don’t expect there’s another side to the canvas. Until you read a lovesick e-mail to your husband . . . that didn’t come from you!
Good Riddance is an honest and funny graphic memoir about suffering through and surviving divorce. Cynthia Copeland chronicles the deep pain, confusion, awkwardness, and breakthroughs she experiences in the “new normal” as a wife who’s been deceived, a mom who’s now single, a divorcée who’s dating, and a woman who’s on her own figuring out what she truly wants from her life. Copeland tells her story with an emotional candor and spot-on humor that makes Good Riddance poignant, painful, and hilarious all at once.

 


In the Sounds and Seas
by Marnie Galloway
Monkey Rope Press
$12.95

The publisher says:
In the style of ancient poems of myth and monsters, In the Sounds and Seas is a wordless, densely illustrated graphic novel that begins with an invocation to the singers of the story. The protagonist learns she is part of the story, and means to sail to the edge of the sea to find the singers and join their song. Marnie Galloway has transformed the first issue of her comic In the Sounds and Seas into a three foot tall pop-up book, with fabric pages, pulls, flaps, and a giant accordion section in the middle, which was displayed by MC Lyra Hill in tandem with a video of Marnie doing the same, at Brain Frame 9 on November 16th, 2012. Watch the video here.

 


Johnny Hazard: The Complete Sundays Vol. 1 1944-46
by Frank Robbins
Hermes Press
$60.00

The publisher says:
One of the truly great Sunday action/adventure newspaper strips of the 1940s is finally being reprinted in a deluxe archival edition. Frank Robbins’ masterpiece, Johnny Hazard, set the standard for action and adventure, and remains unequaled. Comics historian Ron Goulart observed that with Johnny Hazard, Robbins, “... staged his action like the movies. He had a lushly inked style, rich in black.” The Sunday version of the strip which ran different story lines from the dailies (also being offered by Hermes Press) features non-stop, wartime action with stories which are exciting today as they were when they were created.



Kitaro
by Shigeru Mizuki
Drawn & Quarterly
$24.95

The publisher says:
Meet Kitaro. He’s just like any other boy, except for a few small differences: he only has one eye, his hair is an antenna that senses paranormal activity, his geta sandals are jet-powered, and he can blend into his surroundings like a chameleon. Oh, and he’s a three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old yokai (spirit monster). With all the offbeat humor of an Addams Family story, Kitaro is a lighthearted romp in which the bad guys always get what’s coming to them. Kitaro is bestselling manga-ka Shigeru Mizuki’s most famous creation. The Kitaro series was inspired by a kamishibai, or storycard theatre, entitled Kitaro of the Graveyard. Mizuki began work on his interpretation of Kitaro in 1959. Originally the series was intended for boys, but once it was picked up by the influential Shonen Magazine, it quickly became a cultural landmark for young and old alike. Kitaro inspired half a dozen TV shows, plus numerous video games and films, and his cultural importance cannot be overstated. Presented to North American audiences for the first time in this lavish format, Mizuki’s photo-realist landscapes and cartoony characters blend the eerie with the comic.

 


On The Ropes
by James Vance & Dan Burr
WW Norton
$24.95

The publisher says:
In this long-awaited sequel to the legendary graphic novel Kings in Disguise, a young circus hand gets involved in dangerous underground activity. Kings in Disguise was praised by the likes of Art Spiegelman, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore. It won two Eisner Awards and has been hailed as one of the ten best graphic novels of all time (The Guardian). This highly anticipated sequel tells the story of a young man’s coming of age in a world where the capacity to dream may be a fatal flaw. Set in 1937, On the Ropes continues the story of Fred Bloch, now apprenticed to escape artist Gordon Corey, a star attraction in a traveling WPA circus. Though damaged by the Depression and haunted by past mistakes, each man holds the key to the other’s salvation—but each also harbors a secret that could lead to their mutual destruction. Enacted against a backdrop of violent labor unrest and a nation’s faltering recovery, On the Ropes is a breathtaking visual achievement that delivers a powerful, timeless story.

 


Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy
DC Vertigo
$16.99

The publisher says:
A reality TV show starring a clone of Jesus Christ causes chaos across the U.S. of the near future in Punk Rock Jesus, a new graphic novel written and drawn by Sean Murphy, the acclaimed illustrator of Joe the Barbarian and American Vamire. J2 causes both outrage and adulation. Religious zealots either love or hate the show, angry politicians worry about its influence on the nation, and members of the scientific community fear the implications of cloning a human being at all, let alone the Son of God. Thomas McKael is the clones’s bodyguard and former IRA operative, who despite his turbulent past is hired to protect the new Jesus—a baby who captivates the world, but grows up to become an angry teenager. When falling ratings force the network to cut Jesus’s mother from the series the young star runs away, renounces his religious heritage and forms a punk rock band. And what starts off as babysitting for Thomas becomes an epic battle, as Jesus goes to war against the corporate media complex that created him.

 


The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley
by Kim Deitch
Fantagraphics
$29.99

The publisher says:
Kim Deitch’s first work conceived of and executed as a graphic novel follows the scandalous adventures of a young woman whom an eccentric wants to put in a film serial. This is a story about a girl, born at the beginning of the 20th century. She grows up in a small river town in upstate New York. One day the mysterious Charles Varnay, an eccentric who dresses in the style of an 18th century dandy, comes to town, his sole companion a remarkably intelligent dog named Rousseau. Varnay wants to star Katherine in a movie serial he plans to make, called The Goddess of Enlightenment. Katherine is rather put off when she discovers that he expects her to appear nude in this film. But even more strange is the film’s subject matter: It has to do with 12 metal cylinders that Varnay claims are actual recordings of the voice of Jesus Christ which, he says, contain an urgent message that the modern world needs to hear! Varnay also claims that his dog, Rousseau, is the product of experiments he has been making in advanced selective breeding. He’s eager to continue these experiments with human subjects; Katherine realizes that he’s expecting her to be a part of this, and it worries her… The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is a full-length graphic novel created in a striking “widescreen” landscape format that allows Deitch to give full rein to his astonishing graphics. B&W illustrations throughout.

 


The Demon’s Sermon on the Martial Arts
by Sean Michael Wilson, Issai Chazan-shi & Michiru Morikawa
Shambhala
$16.95

The publisher says:
This collection of parables written by Issai Chozanshi, an eighteenth-century samurai, is a classic of martial arts literature. The tales are concerned with themes such as perception of conflict, self-transformation, the cultivation of chi (life energy), and understanding yin and yang. The “demon” in the title story refers to the mythical tengu, a group of demons who guard the secrets of swordsmanship. A swordsman travels to Tengu Mountain and in a series of conversations learns about mushin (no-mind), strategy, the transformation of chi, and how the path of the sword leads to the understanding of life itself. Some of the fables in the collection—such as “The Mysterious Technique of the Cat”—are iconic.



The Strange World of Your Dreams
by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
IDW Yoe Books
$29.99

The publisher says:
The complete 1950s comics in this innovative and rare series are lovingly restored for this large format full color hardback. Produced by the greatest team in the history of the Golden Age of Comics, Simon and Kirby, this book is a dream come true. Edited and designed by Eisner Award winner Craig Yoe.  Quoting from Robert Greenberger’s commentary, “According to Joe Simon, the series’ idea came from their studiomate Mort Meskin, earning him the associate editor title in the credits. The series’ regular was a fictitious expert named Richard Temple and according to a legend in the first issue he was a ‘student of dreams and fantasy – is a man who has delved into the mystery of this vast, subconscious jigsaw puzzle which affects even our waking hours – he fits the pieces together…’
“What helped set this series apart from all others is that the editors solicited readers for their dreams to be dramatized and the winning letters earned the dreamer $25, which was a nice pay day back then. According to the Kirby Museum website, ‘The stories can be divided into three categories. The first is dream analysis, well that is how they present it. Despite the ads offering to pay for dreams, it is hard to believe that these stories portray real dreams. After all where is the one (where) in the middle of giving a book report in front of the class you realize you are not wearing any clothes? The analysis does not look any more authentic than the dreams, no Oedipus complex here. What is real is the opportunity for Kirby to go wild, which Jack takes full advantage of. Most of the dream analysis stories were done by Jack, and most of the stories he did in this series were dream analysis. I can only conclude that he relished this chance, he certainly makes effective use of it.’ “



Unico
by Osamu Tezuka
Digital Manga Publishing
$34.95

The publisher says:
Unico is a little unicorn with the power to bring happiness to those who love him. But when the goddess of beauty, Venus, sees the good fortune he brings to mortals, she orders him flung across the world! On his journey, Unico meets new companions - human, animal and otherwise - and learns what a true friend really is. From Osamu Tezuka, internationally beloved creator of Astro Boy, comes an adorable adventure for kids and parents alike! 410 pages, full colour.



Wake Up, Percy Gloom
by Cathy Malkasian
Fantagraphics
$24.99

The publisher says:
The immortal little man with the light-up head returns in Cathy Malkasian’s new graphic novel, which can be read as a sequel or a standalone book. Cartoonist and animator Cathy Malkasian follows up her 2007 graphic novel Percy Gloom (a minor classic) with the further adventures of the small, immortal man with a light-up head. In Wake Up, Percy Gloom, kindhearted Percy awakens from (what he thinks is) a 200-year nap and finds himself in a strange new land. As Percy goes on a quest to locate his mother, he encounters many inspired inventions and bizarre, and sometimes dangerous, characters and situations, such as singing goats and furniture parades. Through it all he pines for his long-lost love and soul mate, Miss Margaret—but his love may not be as doomed as he thinks. Malkasian’s lush and detailed pencil drawings, surreal humor, absurdist characters and stunning visual storytelling ensure that fans of the first graphic novel will find the sequel just as fantastical, touching, and hilarious; new readers will discover a gorgeously rendered world of luminous landscapes, gentle humor, and a cast composed variously of wise, naïve, and flawed characters in a wide-ranging story that stands on its own. Two-color illustrations throughout



You’re Just Jealous of My Jetpack
by Tom Gauld
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95

The publisher says:
The New York Times Magazine cartoonist Tom Gauld follows up his widely praised graphic novel Goliath with You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, a collection of cartoons made for The Guardian. Over the past eight years, Gauld has produced a weekly cartoon for the Saturday Review section of Britain’s best-regarded newspaper. Only a handful of comics from this huge and hilarious body of work have ever been printed in North America—and these have been available exclusively within the pages of the prestigious Believer magazine. You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack distills perfectly Gauld’s dark humor, impeccable timing, and distinctive style. Arrests by the fiction police and imaginary towns designed by Tom Waits intermingle hilariously with piercing observations about human behavior and whimsical imaginings of the future. Again and again, Gauld reaffirms his position as a first-rank cartoonist, creating work infused with a deep understanding of both literary and cartoon history.

Posted: January 19, 2013

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