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September 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 September 2010 (although actual dates may vary).



Al Jaffee’s Mad Life
by Al Jaffee
Harper Collins / It Books
$27.99

The publisher says:
Al Jaffee’s inventive work has enlivened the pages of Mad since 1955. To date he has pickled three generations of American kids in the brine of satire, and continues to bring millions of childhoods to untimely ends with the knowledge that parents are hypocrites, teachers are dummies, politicians are liars, and life isn’t fair. Eighty-eight year-old Jaffee is probably best known as the inventor of the “fold-in” which he started in 1964 and has been doing ever since. He is the author of eight volumes of Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, two of which have sold over two million copies. Although Jaffee has become a cultural icon, the most compelling part of his life story has yet to be told. A synopsis of Jaffee’s formative years reads like a comic strip of traumatic cliff-hangers with cartoons by Jaffee and captions by Freud. By the time he was 12 years old, Jaffee was separated from his father, uprooted from his home in Savannah, Georgia, transplanted for a year in a shtetl in Lithuania, rescued by his father, returned to America, taken yet again by his mother back to the shtetl, this time for four years, and once again rescued by his father even as Hitler was on the march. His flamboyant perverse youth has made him the MAD man he is today: an artist, a writer, a raconteur, an arrested adolescent and an alien. Jaffee has drawn 65 originals for the book, illustrating his own life story and childhood memories. Plus 40 pieces of MAD and other previously published art and career highlights. 240-page colour softcover.

Paul Gravett says:
I used to love Jaffee’s Fold-Ins, even if it did mean having to fold the cover of your mint copy of Mad magazine. If you’ve not experienced his genius, making not only the pictures but the caption text beneath work perfectly from unfolded to folded, and often making some stinging observations to boot, try these amazing interactive Fold-Ins at the New York Times’ website. This artbook-cum-biography promises to be a treat.



Blondie Vol. 1
by Chic Young
IDW
$49.99

The publisher says:
Celebrating Blondie’s 80th anniversary, IDW’s Library of American Comics presents Blondie like you’ve never seen her before. This book collects the early strips by Chic Young for the first time ever, beginning with the first ones from October 1930. Blondie Boopadoop is a light-headed flapper who meets Dagwood Bumstead, the heir to a wealthy, high society fortune. Dagwood’s parents are aghast and refuse him permission to marry the blonde, but their son is in love. He and Blondie hatch a scheme-the voracious Dagwood goes on a hunger strike for 28 days, 7 hours, 8 minutes and 22 seconds. This first volume chronicles the amazing and hilarious courtship, and concludes with the spectacular wedding in February 1933! 280-page, part-colour hardcover.

Paul Gravett says:
Incredibly, eight decades on, the Blondie strip is still going strong under Chic Young’s son Dean and head artist John Marshall, assisted by Frank Cummings, and you can read it every day here online. To find out how it all started, check out what is sure to be another high-quality production joining IDW’s other classic American newspaper strip compendia.



Cross Game, Vol. 1
by Mitsuru Adachi
Viz Shonen Sunday
$19.99

The publisher says:
Cross Game is a moving drama that is heartfelt and true, yet in the brilliant hands of manga artist Mitsuru Adachi, delightfully flows with a light and amusing touch. The series centers around a boy named Ko, the family of four sisters who live down the street and the game of baseball. This poignant coming-of-age story will change your perception of what shonen manga can be. One of the biggest names in the manga industry today, Mitsuru Adachi made his debut in 1970 with Kieta Bakuon in the pages of Deluxe Shonen Sunday. The creator of numerous mega-hits such as Touch, Miyuki, and Cross Game, Adachi Sensei received the Shogakukan Manga Award for all three of the aforementioned series. Truly at the top echelon of the manga industry, his cumulative works have seen over 200 million copies sold, and many of his series have been adapted into anime, live-action TV series and film. A master of his medium, Adachi has come to be known for his genius handling of dramatic elements skillfully combined with romance, comedy and sports. He, along with Rumiko Takahashi, has become synonymous with the phenomenal success of Shonen Sunday in Japan.

Paul Gravett says:
It’s good to see a renewed commitment from Viz to bringing more of Adachi’s endearing manga dramas into English, after translating only two of his four Short Program short story collections in 2000 and 2004. The first Cross Game volume lumps three volumes into one bumper 576-page brick. To get a flavour, you can read chapters online here. Adachi is one of today’s national treasures of Japanese comics.



Dance By The Light Of The Moon
by Judith Vanistendael
SelfMadeHero
£14.99

The publisher says:
“A love story of two parts.” A moving love story inspired by the author’s relationship with a political refugee from Togo. It began as a response to the publication of a short story, Message from the Fortress, written by the author’s father, Geert Vanistendael. In it, her father gives vent to his feelings about the relationship. At first angry with her father, the author publicly responded by reclaiming the story in this semi-autobiographical novel.  Originally published as two books and nominated for the prestigious Angoulême Festival Grand Prix, Belgian artist Judith Vanistendael creates comics ‘about life as it really is’. Her captivating, light brush style in this semi-autobiographical work has invoked comparisons with Craig Thompson’s epic graphic novel Blankets. Dance By the Light of the Moon is a beautiful, unexpected story, told from the heart, which reaches far beyond the love story that originally inspired it.

Paul Gravett says:
The Flemish new wave is unleashing some amazing graphic novels (Randal C.‘s Sleepyheads from Blank Slate and Brecht Evens’ Wrong Place from Drawn & Quarterly will also blow your socks off). So watch out for a strong Flemish focus at Comica 2010 this autumn. Judith Vanistendael will definitely be a part of this and come over to London. Hers is a standout work of ‘autobiofictionalography’, to use Lynda Barry’s perfect term. According to SelfMadeHero’s site, Judith ‘has just completed a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Her Spanish pilgrimage took her six weeks and she produced a stunning diary and sketchbook of her journey. She’s kept a diary in French, but you can enjoy her sketches without reading the entries.’ Here’s her wonderful Pilgrimage blog link to see this.



Duncan The Wonder Dog
by Adam Hines
AdHouse Books
$24.95

The publisher says:
What if animals could talk? Would some of them form a militant group in reaction to how humans treat them? Would humans treat them different? Come explore this dense tome of an alternate universe where the lavish renderings recall Dave McKean. 2009 Xeric winning Duncan the Wonder Dog will be one of the most talked about books of 2010. 400-page, B&W softcover.

Paul Gravett says:
OK, so who is this Hines chap? Where’s he come from? He won a Xeric grant for this in May 2009 and after checking out the 38-page preview, on top of McKean I spot a fair sprinkling of Chris Ware mixed in too, amongst others, and all to the good. But Hines is evolving his own approaches here and looks set to make a really significant piece of work with strong ecological and animal-welfare subtexts.



40: A Doonesbury Retrospective
by Garry Trudeau
Andrew McMeel Publishing
$100.00

The publisher says:
Created by the team that brought you The Complete Far Side and The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, this massive-yet-elegant, 664-page celebratory anthology marks Doonesbury’s 40th anniversary by examining in depth the characters that have given the strip such vitality. On October 26, 1970, college jock B.D. met his inept and geeky roommate, Mike. Fourteen thousand strips later, the world of Doonesbury has grown uniquely vast, sustained by an intricately woven web of relationships - over 40 major characters spanning three generations. This book opens with an in-depth essay in which G. B. Trudeau surveys his sprawling creation as only he could. The volume’s 1,800 beautifully displayed strips chronicle the key adventures and path crossings of the ever-evolving cast, from ur-characters such as Zonker, Joanie, Duke, and Honey, to relative newcomers such as Zipper, Alex, and Toggle. Dropped in throughout are 18 detailed essays in which Trudeau contemplates individual characters and groups of characters. The book’s literal centerpiece is a four-page foldout that maps in annotated detail the mind-boggling matrix of relationships. A feast of storytelling and a clarifying overview, 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective offers a unique way to experience one of the greatest comic strips ever. 2010 marks the 40th year since G. B. Trudeau began drawing Doonesbury. The strip has angered, irritated, and rebuked every president since Nixon.

Paul Gravett says:
You may have to widen the doors to get this fershlugginer tome into the house but it will be worth it. It’s one strip that has stayed as unflinchingly topical and truthful as it started out 40 years back. And a reminder that Trudeau is coming over August 23rd for the Edinburgh Book Festival to chat with Guardian stablemate Steve Bell. He just may be doing some London gigs and signings too.



Harvey
by Hervé Bouchard & Janice Nadeau
Groundwood Books
$19.95

The publisher says:
Harvey and his little brother are playing in the slushy streets of early spring when they learn, out of the blue, that their father has died of a heart attack. Everything changes and Harvey’s favorite movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, suddenly begins to dominate his fantasy life. When relatives try to get him to look at his father in his coffin, Harvey finds himself disappearing. Brilliantly illustrated, emotionally true and devastatingly sad, this book is a very artful and yet utterly convincing look at the experience of extreme emotional trauma. Originally published in French by Montreal publisher Les Éditions de la Pastèque, this is the first English edition. The author and illustrator are currently working on a sequel.

Paul Gravett says:
Now this looks both beautiful and meaningful. Janice Nadeau has posted a few spreads and you can see and read more (in French) about the original Pastèque edition here.



How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less
by Sarah Glidden
Vertigo
$24.99

The publisher says:
A stunningly accomplished debut graphic novel, How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less is Sarah Glidden’s charming and funny travel memoir of her trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Masada and other historic locales, brought to life with lush watercolors in all of their quirky and breathtaking detail. At the same time, it’s a sensitive, deeply thoughtful and personal examination of a highly charged issue, an account of a journey Sarah never expected to take. Her experience clashes with her preconceived notions again and again, particularly when she tries to take a non-chaperoned excursion into the West Bank. As she struggles to “understand Israel,” Sarah is forced to question first her beliefs, then ultimately her own identity. Sarah Glidden won the prestigious Ignatz Award for “Most Promising New Talent” as well as the Masie Kukoc Award for Comics Inspiration. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies.

Paul Gravett says:
Another graduate from the self-publishing mini-comics scene, Sarah Glidden combines travelogue and autobiography with skill to deal with everyday life and highly sensitive issues, both political and personal. You can read a preview here. Both Glidden and Vanessa Davis (see below) are being featured in an exhibition curated by Michael Kaminer and Sarah Lightman entitled Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women, opening at The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco September 25th 2010, and then touring to The Koffler Centre for The Arts, Toronto, Canada, in April 2011.



Koko Be Good
by Jen Wang
First Second
$18.99

The publisher says:
Koko’s always got a new project cooking, even though they usually end in total disaster. This time will be different, Koko promises herself. This time, she’s decided to Be Good. But how can a girl whose greatest talent is causing trouble get her act cleaned up? If she’s being honest with herself, Koko isn’t even sure what “being good” means. Jon knows what being good means, and that’s why he’s going to Peru to support his girlfriend’s humanitarian mission. That’s good, all right, but is it what he wants? Jon has a promising future as a musician. Is he ready to give that up - maybe forever? Two very different people, both struggling for direction, find their way into each other’s lives in Jen Wang’s first graphic novel. Honest, wrenching, and incredibly funny, Koko Be Good is a tour-de-force debut about human nature and the inhuman efforts we make to find ourselves.

Paul Gravett says:
Koko Be Good: is going to ‘Be Good’! Jen Wang lets you flip through an advance copy of her lovely big 304-page wallop of book in a little mini-movie and reveals the timeline of the project’s gestation from her very first scripts in Winter 2006. 



Madwoman Of The Sacred Heart
by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius
Humanoids Inc.
$29.95

The publisher says:
Professor Alan Mangel’s journey of madness begins when he impregnates Elisabeth, a student, with what she believes is John the Baptist reincarnated, They meet and conspire with people convinced in bringing forth the Second Coming. Cult filmmaker The creators of The Incal, Alexandro Jodorowsky and the visionary French artist Moebius, have teamed up again, this time to bring us a comics about the coming of the new Messiah. University professor Mangel (drawn with a Jodorowsky likeness), a restless man haunted by inner demons, becomes involved in a plot by a group of religious fanatics to bring about the birth of a new Saviour: he has been chosen to be the reluctant father. Are they a sect of dangerous madmen, or is God really using them as his messengers? Count on Jodorowsky to provoke, challenge, and offend. Count on Moebius to provide the stunning graphics.

Paul Gravett says:
OK, I have the 1996 translation of this from Dark Horse but I noticed it has only 144 pages and smaller format, 9 x 6 inches and left you hanging. That’s because there was a whole third story from 1998 which finally appears in this new edition of 192 pages and at a larger size, 10 x 7 inches. I am sure the Dark Horse version was in black and white, but here it’s full colour throughout, so this is the one you want. You can sample a few French colour pages here. Profound and profane, this is an adults-only satirical extravaganza on contemporary religious fervour and sexual hypocrisy, all the more pertinent in these heightened times. 



Make Me A Woman
by Vanessa Davis
Drawn & Quarterly
$25.95

The publisher says:
It’s easy to understand why Vanessa Davis has taken the comic industry by storm and is poised to do the same with the world-at-large, her comics are pure chutzpah, gorgeously illustrated in watercolors. No story is too painful to tell - like how much she enjoyed fat camp. Nor too off limits - like her critique of R. Crumb. Nor too personal - like her stories of growing up jewish in Florida. Using her sweet but biting wit, Davis effortlessly carves out a wholly original and refreshing niche in two well-worn territories: autobio comics and the jewish identity. Davis draws strips from her daily diary often centering on her relationships with men, her mother, and eventually her long-time boyfriend. Her intimacy, self deprecation and candor has deservedly earned her many accolades and awards. Her deft comedic touch will surely set her as the cartoonist counterpart to fellow humorists David Sedaris, Fran Lebowitz and Sloane Crosley.

Paul Gravett says:
Back in 2006 I earmarked Vanessa Davis’s Spaniel Rage from Buenaventura Press, so it’s great to see her back now with a brand-new bravura book. There’s an 8-page preview here.



Motel Art Improvement Service
by Jason Little
Dark Horse
$19.99

The publisher says:
From Jason Little, author of the Ignatz Award-winning Shutterbug Follies, comes another exciting “bubblegum noir” graphic novel, originally serialized in the acclaimed webcomic Bee! Eighteen-year-old Bee has finally saved up enough to embark on her long—planned cross—country bicycle trip. However, she doesn’t make it very far before disaster leaves her stranded at a motel. Her hormones surge when she meets a misunderstood young artist on a mission to “upgrade” the banal “artwork” that hangs on the walls of every motel room. Taking a job there as a housekeeper, Bee snoops around in the motel’s dirty laundry and finds herself entangled in a scary drug deal gone dangerously wrong. Featuring gorgeous artwork balancing grit with cuteness, Motel Art Improvement Service explores crime, young love, and the purpose of art, in a story that’s equal parts thrilling, funny, and sexy! 208-page colour hardcover.

Paul Gravett says:
Jason Little has been beavering away in pixels online and off-the-page, and now he’s back in paper and print. Find out why Scott McCloud hailed him as “one of the world’s most ingenious cartoonists”.



Psychiatric Tales
by J Darryl Cunningham
Blank Slate Books
£11.99

The publisher says:
This books delves inside the mysteries of mental disorders - presenting explanations and recollections using the cartoonist’s own experiences as both a psychiatric and care nurse and as someone who himself has suffered from depression. Being able to see the issue from both sides allows Darryl to present matters in a forthright and instantly accessible way which will allow many to understand the trials of both sufferers and those connected to them - perhaps for the first time. Topics covered include Bi-polar disorder, self harming, suicide, depression and the author also shows how for some famous people mental disorders were part of what may have made them great. Frank, hard hitting and moving.

Paul Gravett says:
I recently interviewed British small-press and webcomics creator Darryl Cunningham in a panel discussion with Brian Fies and Philippa Perry on autobiographical graphic novels about medical issues, as part of Ian Williams’ Comics & Medicine Conference. Darryl started out posting these strips about his challenging, sometimes harrowing, job caring for the mentally ill online, and received such supportive response that he kept creating more, which are now compiled into a 150-page hardback. They culminate in a particularly powerful piece about Darryl’s own depression and how creating these comics helped him to redeem himself. Blank Slate have already issued this book to some outlets, so look out for it, and it is garnering lots of praise. A revised and slightly expanded American edition is coming out next year from Bloomsbury, no less. Meanwhile, Darryl is being interviewed by Sarah McIntyre at this year’s Caption convention in Oxford. 



Shazam!
The Golden Age Of
The World’s Mightiest Mortal

by Chip Kidd
Abrams ComicArts
$35.00

The publisher says:
Shazam made his debut in Whiz Comics in 1940, and outsold his biggest competitor, Superman, by 14 million copies a month. It wasn’t long before a variety of merchandise was licensed - secret decoders, figurines, buttons, paper rockets, tin toys, puzzles, costumes - and a fan club was created to keep up with the demand. These collectibles now sell for outrageous prices on eBay or in comic book stores and conventions. Seventy years later, an unprecedented assortment of these collectibles are gathered together by award-winning writer/designer Chip Kidd and photographer Geoff Spear. Join Kidd, Spear, and the World’s Mightiest Mortal in this first, fully authorized celebration of ephemera, artwork, and rare, one-of-a-kind toys, and recapture the magic that was Shazam! Chip Kidd is an award-winning graphic designer and writer, and an editor-at-large for Pantheon Books. 224-page colour hardback.

Paul Gravett says:
OK, I’ll admit it, my brother Tony and I named our discotheque company Shazam Discos back in the early 1970s - we were the first people in Shenfield, Essex to have Van McCoy’s ‘The Hustle’! I’ve been thinking how different the evolution of American superhero comics might have been, if Captain Marvel, oops, er, sorry, Shazam, had not been dragged down by dear old National/DC Comics’ plagiarism lawsuit (a transparent ruse to put their most serious rival out of action) and Fawcett had been able to carry on after 1953 publishing this utterly charming, witty character. Just imagine if the whole world still knew and loved Shazam like they do Superman or Batman. Kidd is in his element here with ace photographer Geoff Spear, so we can expect a trove of Shazam treasures.



The Amazing Screw-On Head
& Other Curious Objects

by Mike Mignola
Dark Horse
$19.99

The publisher says:
Mike Mignola has deservedly become one of the biggest names in comics for his creation of Hellboy. But when Mignola needs a short break from the Hellboy universe, he turns to diversions such as The Amazing Screw-On Head, winner of the Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication. When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With the help of associates Mr. Groin (a faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (a dog), Screw-On Head must brave ancient tombs, a Victorian flying apparatus, and demons from a dimension inside a turnip. This new collection of oddball Mignola creations also includes “The Magician and the Snake” from Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings, and nearly fifty pages of brand new material, all as weird and hilarious as the beloved Screw-On Head. Amazing Screw-On Head was the source for the cult animated short starring Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, and Patton Oswalt.

Paul Gravett says:
Much as I like his Hellboy, part of me loves Mignola’s weirder, wilder, wackier side more, as evidenced here. I remember a ‘Making of’ promo on the second Hellboy movie, in which Mignola said for him ‘Less in more’, whereas for del Toro, ‘More is not enough.’  Guillermo del Toro will almost certainly not be adapting The Amazing Screw-On Head into an SFX-overloaded multiplex leviathan and it’s all the better because of that. 
 


The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry & Joann Sfar
Houghton Mifflin / Walker Books
$19.99 / £15.00

The publisher says:
For over sixty-five years Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince has captured the hearts and minds of its readers. The whimsical story with a fairy tale touch has sold over 80 million copies in 230 languages. This exciting graphic adaptation features beautiful, new artwork by Joann Sfar. Hand-chosen by Saint-Exupéry’s French publishers for his literary style and sensitivity to the original, Sfar has endeavored to recreate this beloved story, both honoring the original and stretching it to new heights. A vibrant, visual gift for longtime fans and those experiencing the story for the first time.

Paul Gravett says:
I’m re-reading the original version of The Little Prince right now, which was freshly translated by Richard Howard in 2000 for a quintessential edition with remastered design and illustrations, to mark the centenary of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s birth. Joann Sfar’s new book is not merely a faithful graphic novelization of a unique, inimitable masterpiece. Instead, as can happen with Sfar, for example in his debut movie, a supposed bio-pic about Serge Gainsbourg, he prefers not to stay strictly shackled to his source material but to expand and explore it in his own personal ways. 



The Zabime Sisters
by Aristophane
First Second
$16.99

The publisher says:
On the first day of summer vacation, teenaged sisters M’Rose, Elle, and Célina step out into the tropical heat of their island home and continue their headlong tumble toward adulthood. Boys, schoolyard fights, petty thievery, and even illicit alcohol make for a heady mix, as The Zabime Sisters indulge in a little summertime freedom. The dramatic backdrop of a Caribbean island provides a study of contrasts - a world that is both lush and wild, yet strangely small and intimate - which echoes the contrasts of the sisters themselves, who are at once worldly and wonderfully naïve. Master storyteller Aristophane’s The Zabime Sisters takes a keen look at some of the universal experiences of children on the cusp of growing up, in the fascinating setting of Guadeloupe. Aristophane’s bold, graphic brushwork weaves a wild texture through this gentle, clear-eyed tale. Aristophane Boulon, who published under his first name, was trained as a fine artist before moving into the world of narrative art, where he made an immediate splash in the French comics world. Not quite ten years after the initial publication of Les Soeurs Zabîme, Aristophane died in 2007. He is deeply missed.

Paul Gravett says:
This is wondrous comics as pure, beautiful visual and verbal poetry. It’s long been one of my favourite modern bandes dessinées so I am totally delighted to find it coming out in English. Back in 2004, with mates Mark Nevins and Bart Beaty, I helped compile a list for Indy Magazine of ‘The Twenty Best European Graphic Novels You Haven’t Read’. I think I must have been outvoted and overruled, as Aristophane’s Faune got chosen over The Zabime Sisters, but as the three of us agreed and commented back then, ‘The success ratio of Aristophane, who passed away earlier this year, probably outstripped any of his contemporaries. His three major works, Faune, Conte Démoniaque (“Demonic Tale”), and Les Soeurs Zabîme (“The Zabime Sisters”), were each masterpieces, and he never produced a poor page of comics in his all-too-brief life.’ By the way, out of our ‘Twenty Best’, this is only the fourth to have been translated, with a fifth to come next year when Fantagraphics release the astonishing Stigmata by Claudio Piersanti and Lorenzo Mattotti.


Two Cents Plain
by Martin Lemelman
Bloomsbury
$26.00

The publisher says:
Family legacy and social upheaval collide in a graphic memoir set in the aisles of a neighborhood candy store. Martin Lemelman’s elegiac and bittersweet graphic memoir Two Cents Plain collects the memories and artifacts of the author’s childhood in Brooklyn. The son of Holocaust survivors, Lemelman grew up in the back of his family’s candy store in Brownsville during the 1950s and ‘60s, as the neighborhood, and much of the city, moved into a period of deep decline. In Two Cents Plain, Lemelman pieces together the fragments of his past in an effort to come to terms with a childhood that was marked by struggle both in and outside of the home. But his was not a childhood wholly without its pleasures. Lemelman’s Brooklyn is also the nostalgic place of egg creams and comic books, malteds and novelty toys, where the voices of Brownsville’s denizens - the deli man, the fish man, and the fruit man - all come to vivid life. Between the lingering strains of the Holocaust and the increasing violence on the city’s streets, Two Cents Plain reaches its dramatic climax in 1968, as Lemelman’s worlds explode, forcing him and his family to re-create their lives. Through his stirring narrative and richly rendered black-and-white drawings, family photographs, and found objects, Lemelman creates a lush, layered view of a long-lost time and place, the chronicle of a family and a city in crisis.

Paul Gravett says:
After the Holocaust family history of Mendel’s Daughter: A Memoir, Lemelman chronicles his youth in turbulent post-War America. Another substantial work from him, definitely worth checking out.



You’ll Never Know Vol 2: Collateral Damage
by Carol Tyler
Fantagraphics
$24.95

The publisher says:
The first volume of You’ll Never Know showed Carol’s initial, sometimes difficult attempts at grappling with her father Chuck’s traumatic World War II experiences by bringing them to light. As Book 2 begins, she is startled to discover that Chuck’s decision to suddenly, after 60 years, open up to her on the subject has motivations that go far beyond his desire to reveal his past - putting even more pressure on an already explosive relationship. In any event, Carol finally begins to delve into, and re-tell, Chuck’s horrific wartime experiences in Italy (which are worse than even she had imagined). But back in the present, the cycle of family dysfunction continues as Carol’s own daughter runs into her own trouble, leading Carol into further exploration of her family’s buried traumas and sorrows - with an expanded reprinting of the out-of-print The Hannah Story, Tyler’s superb chronicle of the short life and accidental death of her older sister, a heart-rending story (named one of the ‘100 Best Comics of the 20th Century’ in a Comics Journal survey) that in turn sheds light on her parents’ subsequent lives and patterns of behavior. Everything is connected, and the past is never just the past…

Paul Gravett says:
Tyler calls this her ‘Dad and WWII Book’ but it is of course also about herself as a daughter, sister and in turn mother of her family’s next generation. Book 1 was one of my graphic novels of the year and I would not be surprised of this sequel also makes my final selection. This is her master-work, or mistress-work, and comes highly recommended. Fantagraphics provide loads of glowing reviews and a slide-show video of Book 1.

Posted: July 18, 2010

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