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December 2012

Traditionally, December has been a somewhat low-key month for publishing, and as a result I’ve found no more than a Baker’s Dozen of my PG Tips to alert you to this time. Even so, there are some gems amongst this lucky thirteen, ranging in price ticket from a new comic-book mini-series co-created by a favourite of mine, Maxx inventor Sam Kieth, to Unearthing, Alan Moore’s collaboration with photographer Mitch Jenkins paying tribute to the other Moore of British comics writing, Steve Moore. In 2010, I saw Alan’s memorable live performance of this piece in the cavernous, low-lit Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo station (photo above courtesy of Matthew Rees), so it’s great there’s now a more affordable available edition of its £100 boxed-set print-audio version. Also check out here some of the all-original graphic novels, reprints from the Golden Age and modern era, and translations from Europe and Japan.



Babble
by Lee Robson & Brian Coyle
Com.X
$16.99

The publisher says:
Carrie Hartnoll is a girl lost in a life going nowhere fast, until a chance encounter with an ex-boyfriend affords her the opportunity of a whole new career in Ivy League America, as part of a research team attempting to resurrect the language of Babel – a language, it is theorised, that can be understood by any human, from anywhere in the world. As Carrie pieces together her fractured personal life, she becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the apparent suicide of the project’s original team leader, which propels her to uncover the horrific truth about the language and why it was written out of the history books…



Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir
by Nicole J. Georges
Mariner Books
$16.95

The publisher says:
When Nicole Georges was two years old, her mother told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her half-sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice. Packed cover-to-cover with heartfelt and disarming black-and-white illustrations, Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source. Part coming-of-age and part coming-out story, Calling Dr. Laura marks the arrival of an exciting and winning new voice in graphic literature.


Kaoru Mori: Anything and Something
by Kaoru Mori
Yen Press
$16.99

The publisher says:
At times hilarious, at others heartwarming, this collection of short stories penned by one of Japan’s most talented artists is a perfect addition to any library! A young girl discovers that new glasses give her a whole new perspective on the world, a bunny-girl waitress learns to cope with her male customers with dignity, an introverted art student inspires her fellow club members even as she takes inspiration from them, and more! Fans of Mori will enjoy seeing concept designs and historical notes from her award-winning series, Emma and A Bride’s Story, as well as Mori’s own brand of enthusiastic commentary throughout.



Koma
by Wazem & Peeters
USharp Comics
£21.99

The publisher says:
Addidas is a bright and quirky young girl who spends most of her time helping her widowed father in his job as a chimney sweep in the industrial metropolis they live in. When Addidas ventures too far into a chimney, she encounters a bizarre new friend. Their meeting will topple the mysterious forces at work… From prolific independent European creators Wazem and Peeters comes a poetic tale that brilliantly balances its fantastical elements with poignant, realistic sentiments.



Lost In Fog
by Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz & Matthieu Berthod
Fanfare/Ponent Mon
$18.95

The publisher says:
Snowbound for several days in the family chalet during a particularly bad winter in the Swiss Alps, comic artist Matthieu Berthod began reading some of the fascinating books in his grandfather’s library. Included on those bookshelves were volumes of the complete works of C. F. Ramuz in a pale yellow moleskin binding which, by their very luster, were just begging to be taken down from the shelves. He chose the volume Nouvelles et Morceaux (1910) and began to read the stories. The old man recalling the time in his youth when he was totally lost in fog on the mountain and thought himself dead for sure. The village trollop whose history brings normal moral judgment into question. The final days of an old man who thought himself possessed and then a tale which crosses the threshold of the supernatural to delight in paradise. These four short works by Swiss literary great Ramuz have been wonderfully adapted in a contemporary woodcut-style comic form by Swiss artist Berthod.

 


Mark Twain Was Right: The 2001 Cincinnati Riots
by Dan P. Moore
Microcosm Publishing
$8.95

The publisher says:
In the format of a graphic novel and using journalism as a narrative, the story of the 2001 Cincinnati riots—the largest urban unrest since the 1992 Los Angeles riots—is charted in this visual history. The book traces the riot’s genesis from the police killing of a 19-year-old African American man to his funeral six days later. What resulted from the killing was a tumultuous cocktail of nonviolent civil disobedience, frustration-fueled looting, and police violence. Told from a series of varying perspectives—activists, community leaders, and bystanders—this is a tale of an inner-city community coming together. An overlooked yet crucial piece of American history is retold in a contemporary format with an engaging narrative.

 


Roy Thomas Presents Phantom Lady: The Collected Works Volume 1
by Roy Thomas, Matt Baker & various
PS Art Books
$47.99

The publisher says:
Ah, if only real life was like the panels in this one! The delectable heroine drops jaws as often as she drops wrongdoers… The first volume of the Classic Phantom Lady features a brand new essay by Roy Thomas. Phantom Lady, one of the legendary characters of Quality Comics, returns in this collected edition. Reprinting Phantom Lady stories from Police Comics #1-23 and Phantom Lady #13-15, this full-color hardcover is limited to just 1,700 copies worldwide. This title will be available in both standard Bookshop and Deluxe Slipcase editions.



Susceptible
by Genevieve Castree
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95

The publisher says:

Geneviève Castrée has long been beloved for her mini-comics, comics, visual art, and music. There is a unique quality to all of her artistic endeavors—quiet, serene, depressing. Castrée’s keen eye for detail and her fearless ability to probe the depths of her troubled past make Susceptible a stirring portrait of an artist coming into her own. Susceptible is the story of Goglu (Geneviève), a daydreamer growing up in Quebec in the ’80s and ’90s with a single mother. From a skillful artist comes a moving, beautiful story about families, loss, and growing up. Whether she’s discussing nature versus nurture or the story of her birth, Castrée imbues her storytelling with a quiet power and a confidence in the strength of imagery. Check out this extract online.

 


The Freddie Stories
by Lynda Barry
Drawn & Quarterly
$19.95

The publisher says:
The Freddie Stories traces a year in the life of Freddie, the youngest member of the dysfunctional Mullen family. These four-panel entries–each representing an episode in the life of Freddie–bring to life adolescence, pimples and all. No matter what happens, it all seems to go wrong for Freddie–he’s set up as an arsonist, mercilessly teased in school, and bossed around by classmates. With consummate skill, Lynda Barry writes about the cruelty of children at this most vulnerable age when the friends they make and the paths they choose can forever change their lives. In The Freddie Stories every word of dialogue, every piece of narration, and every dark line evokes adolescent angst. These short, moving stories are collected from Barry’s beloved Ernie Pook’s Comeek, which was serialized across North America for two decades. Re-packaged here with a brand-new introduction from Lynda Barry, The Freddie Stories is an adult tale about just how hard it is to be a teenager–a classic Barry work alongside her cult masterpiece novel Cruddy–poignant, insightful, and true. Read a seven-page preview here.



The Hollows #1 (of 4)
by Chris Ryall & Sam Kieth
IDW
$3.99

The publisher says:
An all-new four-part mini-series from the creator of The Maxx and the co-creator of Zombies vs Robots. Sam Kieth and Chris Ryall transport you to a near-future Japan, where burned-out husks—the Hollows—wantonly devour souls throughout the city. Far above, a segment of society lives safely in giant tree-cities, but the problems below have a way of growing out of control…

 



The Louvre Collection: An Enchantment
by Christian Durieux
NBM Publishing
$19.99

The publisher says:
Beautifully constructed in a semi-classical style, this graphic novel features a light-spirited romantic story. This latest installment in the Louvre collection tells the tale of a museum director in a waking dream after his retirement dinner where he wanders the vast halls of the museum before eloping with a muse. The magic of the vast museum melds with the ethereal storytelling to create a unique graphic novel that stands as an unforgettable experience. Preview page here.



Tune Sumo
by Thien Pham
First Second
$14.95

The publisher says:
Scott is a washed-up football player who never made it, and whose girlfriend abandoned him along with his dreams of playing pro football. But things have a way of working out, in this sweet, poetic tale - and a new chapter in Scott’s life begins as the old one ends. Offered a position in a Japanese sumo training ‘stable,’ Scott abandons his old life, his old name, and even his old hair color, and becomes an aspiring sumo wrestler. And in so doing, he begins to find some kind of center in himself, a center that had seemed lost for good. See some sample pages here.

 


Unearthing
by Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins
Top Shelf Productions / Knockabout
$29.95 / £19.99 or $79.95 / £49.99

The publisher says:
Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout Comics are truly pleased to announce a project several years in the making: a sumptuous new book from Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins, serving as a biography of Alan’s close friend and mentor Steve Moore (no relation), a history of London, a mystical journey, and a tribute to human imagination. Called by the New York Times a “poetic and densely allusive text,” Unearthing has now been transformed by Alan Moore and photographer Mitch Jenkins into a stunning narrative art-book. Take a look at this YouTube preview video.

The New York Times says:
A tribute to a colleague and mentor and a demonstration that Moore has transcended the boundaries of the graphic novel.

Posted: October 21, 2012

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