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1. First Second Books to Launch the Science Comics Series

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2. Girl Power! Graphic Novel Favorites

I have been absolutely devouring graphic novels this summer. Everything from epic adult space sagas, to tales of imaginary unicorns (who occasionally rock leg warmers), and everything in-between has graced my desk this summer. I was very happy to read some stand-out graphic novels for youth that depicted positive female role models, heroines and generally solid lady-centric narratives. Below are a few of my new favorites!

Cleopatra in Space: Book Two- The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack; Graphix. 2015. This fun book would be a great choice for the 3rd -6th grade crowd hungry for some sci-fi adventures with a brave heroine. I particularly enjoy the futuristic Egyptian setting. If you have readers who are loved Zita the Spacegirl and are looking for similar graphic novels, be sure to name drop Cleopatra.

Unicorn on a Roll: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson; Andrews McMeel Publishing. 2015. Phoebe’s best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. If that isn’t enough to make you want to immediately pick this book up and read it, there is an incident referred to as “Boogergate” in this book. Older grade-schoolers will giggle at this gem.

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Truth About Stacey by Raina Telgemeier; Based on the novel by Ann M. Martin; Graphix. 2015. I grew up reading the original Baby-Sitter’s Club stories by Martin and am so excited that one of my favorite youth comic stars, Raina Telgemeier, is adapting those classics for a new generation to enjoy. This second book in the series contains vibrant art, an accessible story and Telgemeier already has a devoted following after her prior hits Drama and Smile. A perfect pick for older school-age and tween readers.

Ms. Marvel: Vol. 3- Crushed  by G. Willow Wilson; Marvel. 2015. Kamala is back for Volume 3 of the new Ms. Marvel and I really can’t say enough good things about this series. I know, I know, you are tired of hearing about how awesome these books are…but seriously read this right away. I’m sure it will become a go-to recommendation for your teen patrons. It’s full of personality, great artwork, a diverse cast and relatable young adult issues amidst the superhero stuff.

I’m a little late to the party on this title, but I recently picked up Lumberjanes: Vol. 1-Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson and it has made me laugh out loud multiple times already and I’m not even to the halfway point! Exclamations like, “What the Joan Jett?” will appeal to young adults (and librarians such as myself) as will the Lumberjanes sarcasm and rad fashion sense.

If you are new to the world of comic books and graphic novels for youth, I urge you to check out the stellar graphic novel booklists ALSC has put together for readers of all ages. They provide great starting points for newbies and can be a nice place to refer to if you aren’t sure what to recommend to interested patrons.

You can find more great resources, like discussion guides, educational information, and booklists from ilovelibraries.org and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  Extra bonus, if you end up loving Ms. Marvel as much as I do, the CBLDF put together an awesome page for using Ms. Marvel for education that you can access here! Happy reading!

___________________________________________________

Nicole Lee Martin is a Children’s Librarian at the Rocky River Public Library in Rocky River, OH. You can reach her at n.martin@rrpl.org.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Girl Power! Graphic Novel Favorites appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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3. Our Week in Books: August 16-22

TEXT HERE (2)

 

The Curious Garden by Peter BrownThe Curious Garden by Peter Brown. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009. Review copy received from publisher.
Read to: Huck.

Gorgeous art in this sweetly captivating tale of a boy who, wandering the sterile streets of a bleak city, finds a little outpost of thriving weeds and wildflowers on an abandoned elevated rail track. This Is Your Garden by Maggie SmithHe begins quietly tending the green and growing things, and his found garden begins to spread, gradually transforming the city—and its people.

We’ve loved every Peter Brown book that has walked through our doors, and this was no exception. It’s the art that makes it magical, the wave of vibrant green creeping across the city. Makes a lovely companion to an older picture book that has long been a favorite here: This Is Your Garden by Maggie Smith (now out of print, alas, but available used).


 

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing HahnTook: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion Books, to be published Sept. 15, 2105. Advanced review copy received from publisher via Netgalley. Read by: me.

Middle-grade horror story about a (formerly) wealthy Connecticut family who moves into an old West Virginia house near a haunted cabin in the woods. Every fifty years an evil, ancient ghost—known locally as Auntie—kidnaps and ensorcels a young girl. The main character is Daniel, a 13-year-0ld boy who doesn’t believe the wild tales he hears from kids at school—until his little sister goes missing. A suitably creepy tale which will appeal to readers of Vivian Vande Velde’s Stolen.


 

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. HarperTrophy. My copy: purchased with my employee discount at the children’s bookstore I worked at during grad school—with a dream in my heart of one day having children to read it to. Read to: Huck and Rilla (chapters 1-4).

After we finished Winnie-the-Pooh, my youngests picked this for their next read-aloud. Great joy is mine because they are the perfect ages (six and nine), just absolutely perfect.

*In related news, I need to add another row to my Rillabooks post. Conversations ensuing its publication resulted in the addition of four more books to her already overstuffed shelf:

Charlotte’s Web (which it turns out she didn’t remember hearing before—she was probably pretty little last time it came around);

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (because OBVIOUSLY, and what was I thinking, leaving it off?);

The Mysterious Benedict Society (which I had thought to save for another year or two, but I am informed I was mistaken); and

The Two Princesses of Bamarre (whose appearance in a photo of books that almost-but-didn’t-quite make the original list sparked a flurry of happy reminiscences among Jane, her 21-year-old cousin, and Alice’s oldest daughter, aged 22, causing me to reconsider its omission).

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg  The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart  The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine


 

Ginger Pye by Eleanor EstesGinger Pye by Eleanor Estes. Harcourt Young Classics. My copy purchased when Jane was about eight years old. Read to: Rilla. 

This was Rilla’s first read-aloud pick from the Rillabook shelf. She was quite keen to have me read it just to her (no brothers involved). She giggled mightily over the meet-cute of Mr. and Mrs. Pye (with Jane popping in to shriek over the startling fact—which went over her head at age eight—that Mrs. Pye was just seventeen when she married. We began this book the day after Rose’s seventeenth birthday, which put it into stark perspective). Methinks Rilla and I will have fun with this. I’m not sure I’ve read it aloud since that first time (gulp) twelve years ago.


 

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek MythsD’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths. Read to: Huck and Rilla. Rose’s copy, purchased some years ago to replace her first copy, which was read to tatters. Read to: Huck and Rilla.

Monday and Friday are our Greek Myths days. This week’s selections were about Hera and Io, and Hephaestus and Aphrodite.

The Lion Storyteller Bedtime BookThe Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book by Bob Hartman. Lion Children’s Books. Our copy, purchased for Beanie at age four. Read to: Huck and Rilla.

Tuesday and Thursday are folk and fairy tale days.* This week, they picked “Tortoise Brings Food: A Story from Africa.” A grumble with this otherwise charming book: that nonspecific from Africa. The other stories are “from Greece,” England, Finland, Puerto Rica, Australia, Wales, Japan, and so on. How about “from Kenya” or Ethiopia or Nigeria? Native American stories get a similarly vague treatment: “from North America.” I’d like a word with this book’s editor. But the stories themselves are amiably written and a good size for reading aloud.

*Any day is a great day for a fairy tale or Greek myth. I just assign them days in my head to ensure that I make the time. The kids don’t know about it.


 

among the dollsAmong the Dolls by William Sleator. Knopf Books for Young Readers. An old copy I brought home from work. Read by: Rilla.

Me: So how do you like it so far?
Rilla, emphatically: I DON’T.

Me: Too scary?

Rilla: It’s terrible! She’s trapped in the dollhouse and they’re being mean to her AND HER MOTHER WALKED RIGHT BY WITHOUT EVEN HEARING HER.

Me: Are you going to keep reading?

Rilla: ::doesn’t hear me, is already immersed again::


 

The Batman Adventures Rogues' GalleryBatman Adventures: Rogues Gallery by the devastatingly handsome Scott Peterson (oh, fine, and Dan Slott and Ty Templeton too). Read by: Wonderboy.

This is a digest-sized compilation of several Batman Adventures stories. The Batman Adventures and Gotham Adventures comics of the 90s were aimed at kids, unlike most Batman comics. It’s nice to see them a book-sized edition that can survive on a library shelf.

Huck enjoyed this collection too, and it only took him five times through to notice that his daddy was listed as an author.


 

The Story of the World Vol 4 Modern WorldThe Story of the World, Volume 4: The Modern Ages by Susan Wise Bauer. “The Boxer Rebellion” chapter. Read aloud to: Rose and Beanie.

The Usborne History of the Twentieth CenturyWhile aimed at slightly younger readers, I find the Bauer series to be useful in setting the stage for more advanced studies. We’re doing the 20th century this year, my teens and I.

The Usborne History of the Twentieth Century. Read/explored with: Rose and Beanie. Again, for context. Mostly we just pored over the overview page at the start of the century. We’d read about Teddy Roosevelt last week in Landmark History of the American People, and this week we found a few videos about him.


 

Boxers by Gene Luen YangBoxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang. First Second Books. Copies received from publisher. Read by: me. On deck for Rose this week. Bean has already read them.

Saints by Gene Luen YangGene is a friend of ours whom we see far too seldom (mainly at SDCC). He is spectacularly talented, but no one on the internet needs me to tell them that. I’d been meaning to read Boxers & Saints, his graphic novel duo about the Boxer Rebellion—told from two different points of view, thus the two books—since the day they were announced. Reaching this time period in my teen’s history studies meant now was the perfect time. Deeply absorbing, unsettling, moving, and educational. I always appreciate Gene’s thoughtful exploration of people’s motivations, and the fearless way he unpacks his characters flaws along with their strengths. Beautiful, beautiful books. Highly recommended.


 

Dancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild audiobookDancing Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. Audiobook. Listened to by: Rilla and me.

The current pick for our Saturday night sketchbook date. After all the Roald Dahl we enjoyed all summer, this Streatfeild gem got off to a bit of a slow start for Rilla, but she’s well and truly hooked now. Hilary is about to perform her Dulcie-Pulsie dance in the talent competition. Pulses racing. Delicious.


 

Best of H.P. LovecraftThe Best of H.P. Lovecraft. Scott’s copy. Read by: Rose.

Her first encounter with his work. I haven’t heard her reaction yet—looking forward to it.

An Old-Fashioned Girl An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcottby Louisa May Alcott. My old copy. Read by: Beanie. (And I need to revisit it this week.)

A friend of hers is reading it for her homeschool program, so we and some other chums have joined in. We’ll be discussing it soon. I’d better revisit it right quick!


 

To the Lighthouse by Virginia WoolfTo the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Kindle copy. Read by: me.

Woolf is one of my gaps, which is odd when I think of it—she’s so right for me. I’m sure we did A Room of One’s Own in women’s lit, but somehow she never appeared on a syllabus after that. I’ve been determined to rectify this glaring omission and this summer I have finally found the time. And OH MY. She’s just…she…I want to quote everything. Her prose—I mean, I knew that about her. But only from the outside. Now I’m inside and I can barely speak. I’ve highlighted so many passages, it’s a bit ridiculous. I’ll pull some quotes into a commonplace book when I can.


 

Sandman by Neil GaimanT.A. Barron's Merlin novelsScott is rereading Sandman, and I couldn’t begin to tell you what my older girls are reading these days—I can only keep up with so much. Rose got a bunch of T.A. Barron’s Merlin novels for her birthday, I know that. (Since I wrapped them.) 😉 Beanie pops up with interesting tidbits gleaned from National Geographic (her favorite magazine). Jane was toiling through some Kant in preparation for a philosophy class she’ll take at school this year. I’ve also seen some Maggie Stiefvater in her library pile.


 

Do you know, I thought this would be a quick and easy post? I’d just dash off a list of things read around the house this past week. Turns out I am delusional. But it was fun!

Related:

books to read with my 9yo

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4. This summer, I read comics

I've been reading a lot of comics this summer, and it's the greatest.

I just finished Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed and the series continues to be fun, as was Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth. I love to read about girls kicking ass! (See also, Nimona) One thing I really appreciate about Rat Queens and Nimona is that it's fantasy kick-ass fun, but there's underlying basis of pain. It's not always there or the focus of the narrative, but it bubbles up to color the story in a way that's really compelling. (Plus, now I have an excuse to yell I'M A SHARK! and see who laughs--new bestie test)

Oh, and I also read Lumberjanes which I loved for it's kick-ass girls and silliness, but also its friendship and their long-suffering camp counselor. I love these girls as an ensemble and their relationships. FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX for reals.


Also in ongoing series... Fables Vol. 22: Farewell happened. The final Fairest, Fairest Vol. 5: The Clamour for Glamour comes out on Tuesday, but Fables is done. This is the series that turned me onto comics and my feelings about it ending are so bittersweet. I'm going to miss these characters and their stories and their lives and how Willingham played with meta-fiction and what happens when you put fictional characters in the real world. At the same time, the final volume was wonderful. I think it was a fitting tribute and end to the series and, in many ways, it was a farewell. It wrapped up the narrative arc nicely, left some loose ends, but not ones that will drive me batty, and let the characters say goodbye (sometimes very literally). I have been nervous lately because the last few volumes have been a bit of a blood bath, and there is some of that here, too, but... it's good. It's really, really good. My only complaint is that it's done and I very selfishly want more, more, more, more. (Also, I asked my friends at Secret Stacks what I should read to fill the Fables void, and they got Bill Willingham himself to answer and zomg.)

But also, I've been reading some new series!

I read the entirety of Y: The Last Man because Bellwether Friends did an episode about it. I am in love with Saga (which was also a Bellwether recommendation) which is also by Brian K Vaughn, so I thought I'd pick up all the Y before listening to their episode, so I'd be able to better understand. Y is the story of what happens when suddenly, all males (human and animal) drop dead. Except for Yorick and his monkey Ampersand. Science and governments want Yorick, but he just wants to get from New York to Australia where his girlfriend-maybe-fiance was when the gender-cide hit, but it also explores what happens when a gender dies. You get radical feminist movement burning sperm banks, countries that had higher gender equality do better than those who had more men in charge, and also a lot of people in deep morning. Plus little things-- it hit at rush hour so a lot of the highways are clogged with cars and what do you do with that many dead bodies? It was really interesting and good. I like the way it explored the different aspects of this new world as well as all the different theories people had for what caused it. (People have feelings about the ending. It wasn't the ending I necessarily wanted, but I think it was good for the story, if that makes sense. Fangirl Jennie was "eh" but literary critic Jennie was "oh, yes.") Also, let's talk Saga. I've read the four volumes that are out now and so good. It's about love and family and survival against the backdrop of intergalactic war! And their nanny is a ghost. (Basically, star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of this inter-galactic war have a kid and everyone wants them dead because there can't be proof that the two sides can get along and all they want to do is live and survive as a family, but always running puts strain on a relationship!) Also, let's just talk about how the romance novels are also political tracts wrapped in love story, because a romance reader, YES. There is meaning and metaphor and all the other trappings of HIGH LITERATURE in romance (and really, all genre) but it gets written off so often, but not here. That warms my heart.

I've also picked up the first four volumes of East of West. It's this story of a futuristic alternate history US where the country's fractured into several other countries and there's a religious cult and Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are reborn, except for Death, because he's left them for love and it all ties back to this religious cult and a prophesy and it's weird and not quite my usual thing, but really good at the same time.

Also for something amazing, but a little different than my usual fare, Secret Stacks also recommended I check out Pretty Deadly which is also about Death falling in love with a person. But this time it's Death's Daughter who's riding for revenge. And there's a girl in a feather cape and old man who travel from town to town to tell her story. It's hauntingly surreal and I cannot wait for more. (Please tell me there's more!)

What comics are you reading?


Books Provided by... my local library, except for Fables, which I bought.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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5. Rat Queens, Volume Two

cover artA friend of mine and I always laugh because on Tuesdays she generally has a time slip and thinks it’s Wednesday and of course ends up disappointed when she realizes that, no, it’s Tuesday. On Wednesdays I generally do the same thing expect I think it’s Thursday. So she’s decided what we need to do is just have Monday #1, Monday #2, Monday #3, Monday #4, and Friday. This, she believes, will solve the whole problem since nearly every day will be Monday. However, since they are numbered, I know I will think it is Monday #4 when really it’s Monday #3 but I’ll feel worse than I do now because it will be Monday. One Monday a week is enough for me, thanks, and today happens to be this week’s Monday.

So let’s stand clear of deep thinking this evening and have a brief moment over Rat Queens, Volume Two: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis Wiebe, art by Roc Upchurch and Stjepan Sejic. I read the first Rat Queens volume way back in January and as I began volume two I felt a bit wobbly on where the story was. I remembered the big outline but not so much the little details and the book assumed I remembered the details. So we got off to a slightly bumpy start.

No matter though because I was soon swept up in the new story which turned out to be all kinds of fun. The Rat Queens have to defeat a badass dude who has a grudge against their town of Palisade and unleashes some nasty memory and dream-sucking monsters to kill everyone. It’s a nice narrative trick that lets the back stories of a couple of the Rat Queens be told. So we get to find out why Violet the dwarf has shaved off her beard and left home. We discover what is beneath mage Hannah’s odd hairdo. We meet former priestess of N’rygoth Dee’s husband and she gets to work through her religious doubts. Sadly we don’t get much of Betty in this story, though there is a hilarious moment when she has some mushrooms that are a little more than culinary, if you know what I mean.

There is also a tiny moment where we get a glimmer of why these four call themselves the Rat Queens. Rats are harbingers of impending destruction. The Rat Queens are very good at destruction of various kinds.

It’s kind of a relief that the second volume continues the great fun of the first. I expect volume three will do the same. Hopefully the wait for it won’t be terribly long. If you need a little light fun to get you through a week of Mondays, the Rat Queens just might be what you are looking for.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, Reviews

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6. Picturing fantasy

Funny, action-packed, thought-provoking (and sometimes all of the above), these three graphic novels and one…well, what do you call Brian Selznick’s books? take readers on fantastic adventures.

selznick_marvelsBrian Selznick defined his own format with The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. He pushes the envelope even further in The Marvels. Black-and-white drawings (over four hundred pages’ worth) wordlessly tell the story of a storm, a shipwreck, and a rescue in a theater. In the text narrative that follows, a boy named Joseph runs away from boarding school to his uncle Albert’s house in London, a place that feels strangely from another time. Selznick is a unique and masterful storyteller, and his story-inside-a-story unfolds an emotional narrative that will leave readers marveling. (Scholastic, 10–12 years)

mccoola_baba yaga's assistantIn Marika McCoola’s Baba Yaga’s Assistant, Masha answers a help-wanted ad to become assistant to the mortar-and-pestle-riding, child-eating folkloric character. To win the position, she must creatively accomplish challenges set forth by Baba Yaga. Masha draws on lessons learned through her grandmother’s stories and her own inherited magical ability, uncovering her family’s complex connection to the witch along the way. Illustrator Emily Carroll‘s vividly colored digital art establishes setting and tone. Comprised of short chapters, this graphic novel shines in its pacing, harmony of image and text, and use of flashbacks to advance plot. (Candlewick, 12–14 years)

watson_princess decomposia and count spatulaWith her hypochondriac father taken to his bed, capable Princess Decomposia of the Underworld — star of Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula — is running the show…and running herself ragged. A baker named Count Spatula joins the castle staff, and his nourishing food and supportive demeanor help the princess get through her hectic days. When the king has him fired, the princess must decide whether to stand up to her father. Andi Watson’s unique and funny graphic novelpopulated by friendly creatures of the night — has a decidedly supernatural twist, but at its core is a relatable tale of self-actualization and blossoming romance. (Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–14 years)

stevenson_nimonaBallister Blackheart — ex-knight and current supervillain — is focused on the destruction of the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics. He also wouldn’t mind getting even with Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, a knight-school acquaintance who shot off Blackheart’s right arm. Just as Blackheart’s plans are coming to fruition, plucky young shapeshifter Nimona shows up on his doorstep claiming to be his new sidekick. Set in a medieval-type kingdom mixed with futuristic science, Noelle Stevenson’s webcomic-turned-graphic-novel Nimona entertainingly tweaks both the science-fiction and fantasy genres. Nimona herself is beautifully flawed and refreshingly unstereotypical. (HarperTeen, 11–15 years)

From the August 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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7. TOON at last

 Picture

Windmill Dragons :A Leah and Alan Adventure by David Nytra is a celebration of the imagination in detailed black and white.  Leah tells Alan a story that starts with windmills that turn into dragons.  Suddenly, Leah and Alan are fighting these monsters.   A giant chicken, St. George, a trick with a bit of string and a man-eating boat lead Alan and Leah on a wild adventure.  Just wait until you see what caused all the ruckus.
    Nytra adds an illustrated bibliography of sorts to help his readers understand some of the literary references in this wild and crazy comic book.

The Suspended Castle : a Philemon Adventure  by FRED.  OK. Philemon and his adventures make me itchy.  But if you enjoy the surreal, you will love Philemon.  Back in the 1960s, Philemon fell down a well and into a land that was shaped like an "A".  With the help of Mr. Bartholomew, Philemon got back to France.
     Now, Mr. Bartholomew is so bored, he wants to return to his life on a letter in the middle of the ocean (on a globe - you know one those spinning things?  I told you - surreal! Or maybe it was on a map.)  Thank goodness, Phil's Uncle Felix knows what to do.  You see, he just gets Phil to inflate this seashell....
     Well, Bartholomew and Phil both end up on the dot on the letter "i" and from there it just gets wilder and crazier - with owls that turn into lighthouses and whales with oars and mutinies and buccaneers who sail the skies in wooden pelican bills - or something - and of course, the suspended castle from the title.
   The artwork is colorful and suitably cartoonish.  The last two pages gives a bio of Fred (Frederic Othon Aristides) and background on his inspirations for this story. 

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8. Sex Criminals, Volume Two

cover artThe first volume of Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky was kind of quirky, fun and original. Jon and Suzie can both stop time when they orgasm. They each think they are the only one. They meet and what fun when they can stop time together. Suzie’s library is being foreclosed on by the bank where Jon works. They decide to “raise” the money by stopping time and robbing the bank. Except it turns out there are sex police, or at least three people who say that’s what they are. The robbery foiled and the police barely evaded, Jon and Suzie find themselves angry and confused.

In Sex Criminals Volume Two, Two Worlds One Cop, Jon and Suzie discover they can be tracked. They become paranoid and pretty much cease having sex. And then their relationship begins to fall apart. Jon sees the head of the sex police at the bank and finds out her real name and address and decides to break into her house. It does not go well. He also discovers one of the other members of the police is a very wealthy man who invests a lot of money through the bank. And suddenly the grace period the bank had given the library is revoked and the bank immediately forecloses and knocks down the library. But they discover another person who can also stop time and has met the “police.” They form a plan. What that plan is we really don’t know because that’s pretty much where this volume ends.

It also ended with me feeling pretty meh about this whole series and doubting that I will even bother with volume three whenever it should be published. After the novelty of the first volume you have to double down and really make an effort to have a good and interesting story because, well, the novelty has worn off. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the story all that interesting. I still don’t know who the sex police are or what they are doing since they aren’t really police at all. The story introduces a couple of new characters and tries to do some character development particularly with Jon, but it just didn’t work for me. When the best thing about the book is the “extras” at the end, I have to say the series is no longer that interesting for me.

And how about those extras? The “Sex Tips” were laugh out loud funny and I kept interrupting Bookman to read them to him. Here is one of my favorites:

Shower sex is great because you can fantasize that you’re having sex out in the rain, but the rain is hot because these are the End Times.

Heh.

There’s really nothing else to be said about this one.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, Reviews Tagged: Chip Zdarsky, Matt Fraction

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9. SDCC ’15 Interview: Mariko Tamaki talks about “This One Summer”

Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki

By Nick Eskey

Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian born artist of mixed Japanese and Jewish descent. In school she studied literature and writing, later on publishing the book “Cover Me,” as well as graphic novels “Skim” and “Emiko Superstar.”  Her recent work is another graphic novel entitled “This One Summer.” Jillian Tamaki, Mariko’s cousin, did the illustrations for both this novel and for “Skim.”

“This One Summer” gives a glimpse into the life of two young girls as they spend one summer at a cottage by the beach. We get to see them learn and experience new things, as well as see the contrast between lives of adults and kids. During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I got to sit down and talk about this book with writer Mariko Tamaki. Unfortunately, Jillian could not attend.

The First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

The First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

How long have you been doing comics?

The first comic I did was with Jillian. It was a mini-comic called “Skim.” I believe it was the early summer of 2008 I did the first mini-comic for a literary magazine in Canada called “Kiss Machine.” So… this woman, Emily Pulari, commissioned these mini-comics from women who never really had a lot of experience with comics. So we did a mini-comic through that. It’s kind of like a “test case.” Kind of like a low pressure to try something out. So we did the mini-comic of “Skim,” and that got purchased by “Groundwood Books.” And that was our first graphic novel together. That was my first work in comics.

ThisOneSummer2Did you ever think you’d get into comics?

I had no aspirations to work in comics. But I always really liked working on collaborations. I’ve actually done a lot of theatre, and I’ve done a lot of performance art, which for me was like a more accessible version of theatre. So I’ve done a lot of actors work, and a lot of work in sort of feminist collectives and stuff. I was really into the idea of working with another artist than I was in comics per say. But I would say now that I’ve done comics, I think that they’re just an incredible medium for telling stories. The way that stories get told in my experience in comics is that it opens opportunities to tell [them] in so many different angles.

What were some of your ideas for writing this story?

I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada. And every summer, you went to the cottage. So it was this like solid, integral part of my childhood… When it comes to comics, especially with this one, I thought of the atmosphere. I felt the background would be a good setting for a story. And I’m also kind of obsessed with transitional moments. So for me, the idea of being these young girls, and having this chunk of their lives, and analyzing that part, and all the sort of changes that would happen, even if [those changes] were all going to be during this one summer of their lives… it was something I wanted to show.

Would you say this mirrors any of your life?

Well I use to go to the cottage, but I didn’t have any of those challenges. I used some things as a beginning point, and created something fictional from that. Obviously I was a young girl at the cottage, and I had the fat young friend there too, but the characters are not really that connected to my life. The experiences that they have are not my experiences, aside from the fact that I also did go to Saint Joseph in Huron, which is the park that they go to in the book. Actually, Jillian and I as part of our research (that’s what we call it, “research”), went to Saint Joseph in Huron, went to the cottage, and spent a week in Nova Scotia which is I think one of the best places to write a book.

I think the dialogue is very down to Earth, and very easy to relate to. Is there anything that was hard for you to talk about?

During the initial draft, it was sort of a struggle to write the character of the mother because it’s hard to write somebody who’s not talking about what’s bothering them. And I think that’s so much of what Jillian brought to that character in terms of the details. Even the t-shirts that the mom wears have all these details that kind of build up that character. And we sort of went back and re-edited [her] a lot, because who wants to read about this upset mom who’s just having a bad day? I think that’s like the archetype of the “pissed-off-mom” from like ancient times on. And we wanted to see the layers of that experience. That was a really challenging thing to write, and it ended up being one of the more intriguing stuff. For whatever reason, the writing for Wendy and Rose was for me kind of easy. Their banter was just fun and easy, and it’s hard to write for someone that’s just not pleasant… it’s hard to lovingly write that.

ThisOneSummer1

The kids seemed to be able to live in the moment, where the older characters were concerned with other things. How was it to show that dynamic of the two?

My archetype for stuff like that has always been the “Roseanne” show. It’s about the kids, and it’s about the adults. And the problems of the kids are not entirely linked to the adults, but their completely meshed. It’s like you have these people in this microcosm and their like push-pull on each other, where they’re struggling with the same struggles. So for me, I think it’s that kind of step forward from “Skim” to this book. That challenge of really creating a story that’s not just about the kids in this little bubble; to see these layered connections between the kids in the town, these kids in their respective homes, and all other different relationships. To me some of the most interesting scenes are the ones were something of the adults reverberate to the kids; their parents get into a fight, and that trickles down from the parents and then to the kid. And I think that sort of chain reaction is a super interesting one… It’s great to see someone on an adventure, fighting for their family or what have you, but at the same time most of our reality as teenagers is connected to our parents.

It really is interesting seeing these kids’ “bubbles” being formed and shaped by their parents.

It’s like a book about trying to be an adult, just as much for the adults as it is for the kids. These parents are trying to be adults, they’re trying to do the right thing. These teenagers are trying to be adults. And it’s all these varying groups of people that have this notion of what it means to be a grownup, and that depressing challenge of it being out of your reach.

Have you found yourself open to other avenues because of your exposure to graphic novels?

I ended up doing this short film called “Happy Sixteenth Birthday Kevin,” which is a movie about a sixteen year old Goth boy, but the cast is like me and my 30 year old friends. So I did that, because comics showed me how much I love dialogue, and I try to incorporate that as much as I can in the work that I’m doing.

“This One Summer” is available now. You can buy it online, or at your local book store.

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10. The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, Edited by Russ Kick | Book Review

Part of the remarkable Graphic Canon Series, The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature brings together a diverse range of contemporary writers and illustrators who give their own take on well-known works from an international selection of children’s literature.

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11. SDCC ’15: Barnes & Nobles doubles size of graphic novel sections

 

 

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I don’t have time to do much more than copy the PR on this but…great news for the physical book side of the business, which continues to grow against all odds. And check out the factors that are fueling the growth.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the nation’s largest retail bookseller and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced that it has expanded its selection of Graphic Novels and Manga to double the size at all stores nationwide.  The company said the expansion is due to strong customer demand and the growing popularity of these genres. The expanded section features eye-catching signage on bookshelves that directs customers to series and characters they’ll want to know more about, making for easier browsing and discovery.

 

“Barnes & Noble has seen tremendous growth in Graphic Novels and Manga in recent years, which is why we’re so excited to be able to roll out an expanded selection for our customers to explore at all stores nationwide,” said Mary Amicucci, Vice President, Adult Trade and Children’s Books. “Featuring eye-catching signage and top picks displays that highlight key series and characters, the expanded selection will not only meet the growing demand from fans, but will also drive discovery among new customers that may not have been familiar with Graphic Novels and Manga in a way that only Barnes & Noble can do.”

 

The newly expanded selection is perfectly timed with this year’s Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble campaign, which will celebrate Graphic Novels and Manga with events and promotions including DC Comics Days (July 8-12), Manga Mania (July 19) and Fangirl Friday (July 24). During DC Comics Days, customers can get an incredible special offer of buy two get the third free on all DC Comics Graphic Novels through Sunday, July 12. For more information on Get Pop-Cultured with Barnes & Noble, visit www.bn.com/getpop-cultured.

 

Keys Facts About the Expanded Graphic Novels and Manga Selection at Barnes & Noble:

  • Barnes & Noble has achieved growth in Graphic Novels and Manga sales over the last 10 years, with a significant surge in customer demand over the last few years. This expansion is a direct result of this rapidly growing demand.
  • All Barnes & Noble stores across the country have doubled the space dedicated to Graphic Novels and Manga.
  • This doubling in space gives Barnes & Noble the opportunity to continue to meet the rapidly growing demand for Graphic Novels and Manga by:

o   Increasing the selection of new releases.

o   Keeping backlist books on the shelves longer.

o   Driving sales through eye-catching signage that highlights series and characters for customers to discover, through improved organization of books alphabetically by series for easy browsing and discovery, and through a permanent promotional space to feature top picks in Graphic Novels and Manga, highlighting bestsellers, new releases, can’t miss characters, must-read series, and more.

 

Jim Killen, Buyer at Barnes & Noble, added: “As a fan, I’m excited by the dynamic changes in the genres including raised levels of artistic talent reacting to and engendering a shift in the readership and the maturing of the category and its new voices and artists and the stories they tell. As a bookseller, I’m thrilled about the opportunity to introduce new people to the medium of Graphic Novels and Manga.”

 

Graphic Novels and Manga are two genres that independent readers of all ages are coming to and the increased interest is driven by new readers. These new readers are discovering Graphic Novels and Manga for many reasons, including publishers recognizing the growing diversity of new audiences, the growth of new channels like digital comics and online webcomics, as well as events, comic conventions, book festivals, social media buzz and media exposure through movies, TV series and web series. Additionally, the popularity of the Fangirl movement is driving growth among females with titles like Ms. Marvel, The Walking Dead and Saga presenting heroes for this audience.

 

Top Graphic Novels series at Barnes & Noble include Batman (DC Comics), Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy(Marvel Comics), Walking Dead and Saga (Image Comics), and the characters that are currently trending at stores nationwide include Batman, Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics), Suicide Squad (DC Comics), Deadpool and Flash (DC Comics). Bestsellers include Civil War (Marvel Comics), Batman: The Killing Joke and Watchmen (DC Comics), Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 1 (Image Comics) and Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal (Marvel Comics).

 

Leading the way in Manga series are Attack on Titan (Kodansha), Naruto (Viz), Assassination Classroom (Viz), Fairy Tail(Kodansha) and Blue Exorcist (Viz), with new and hot-selling titles including Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 (Viz), Big Hero 6 (Yen Press), Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 1 (Yen Press), Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1 (Viz) andSeraph of the End, Vol. 1 (Viz).

Customers should visit their local Barnes & Noble to discover and shop all of these great titles and much more in the expanded selection of Graphic Novels and Manga today.

2 Comments on SDCC ’15: Barnes & Nobles doubles size of graphic novel sections, last added: 7/10/2015
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12. Sailor Twain

Sailor Twain

Mark Siegel, editorial director and founder of Macmillan’s graphic novel–only imprint First Second Books

also author/illustrator of Moving House

illustrator of several picture books (Seadogs by Lisa Wheeler, Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant) and another graphic novel for children (Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler)

my first introduction to Siegel was To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel, his wife Siena Cherson Siegel’s memoir of her experiences as a preprofessional student in the School of American Ballet.

With Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson (First Second, October 2012), Seigel

surreal magical realism

hefty graphic novel

Captain Twain, captain of a steamboat on the Hudson River, rescues a harpooned mermaid and nurses her back to health.

 

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13. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

cover artWhen I began reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, I did something I usually don’t do. I posted how great the book is and how everyone needed to, right then and there, request a copy from the library or buy one of their own. Now that I have actually finished it, I still stand by that assertion.

The book is a graphic novel like no other I have read (which is more than some and less than a good many). Sure the stories are told with great black and white drawings, some of them very detailed like the visual explanation in the appendix of how the Analytical Engine would have worked if it were ever built. Wait, appendix? A graphic novel with an appendix? Yup. And that is just one way this book is different. It also has footnotes and endnotes. In fact, the graphic part of it is almost beside the point. To be sure, the graphics tell a story, but the real action, where all the fun and humor is, is in the footnotes and endnotes. Crazy!

Padua has clearly done extensive research, she even got a scholarly slam dunk by finding a letter in an obscure archive somewhere that settled a dispute about just how much Ada Lovelace had to do with Babbage and maths and the Analytical Engine and computer programming (a lot!). Booyah! And Padua clearly enjoys her subjects as well, expressing great knowledge and affection for them and all their quirks and foibles.

Since Lovelace died when was 36 and the Analytical Engine was never built, Padua takes liberties with the story, moving the pair to a pocket universe in which Ada lives and the Engine is built. Still, she remains true to certain biographical events, even quoting them directly at times in the stories. When she veers far off course there is a handy footnote to tell us so.

I say stories because that is what these are, short stories in graphic form. So we have a story about the Person from Porlock, one in which Lovelace and Babbage meet Queen Victoria and give her a demonstration of the Analytical Engine. Except the Engine crashes, (even when computers were only theoretical there were provisions for what to do when they crashed) and Ada runs off to fix it and save the day while Babbage bores the Queen with stories about how great he is. The Queen, not understanding why the Engine is a useful thing is losing interest until Lovelace’s programming produces a picture of a cat. Heh. Cats and computers belong together apparently. We meet George Boole whose Boolean logic will be familiar to both computer geeks and librarians. And there are often hilarious run-ins with many other famous personages.

One that a good many of you will be familiar with is George Eliot. She and Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Thomas Carlyle and others are summoned for a “mandatory spell-check” of their most recent manuscripts. Lovelace really did theorize that the Analytical Engine should be able to analyze symbols as well as crunch numbers. Eliot’s manuscript gets fed into the Engine but it being her only copy she immediately changes her mind. Thus follows a long pursuit through the workings of the Engine to try and get the manuscript back. But horror of horrors, the Engine uses “destructive analysis” and the manuscript gets ripped to shreds! And then it crashes the Engine. The huge joke at the end of this is that there had been a tussle at the beginning and Eliot and Carlyle got their manuscripts mixed up and it is actually Carlyle’s manuscript on the history of the French Revolution that is destroyed. In real life Carlyle’s manuscript was indeed destroyed. He had given it to his friend John Stewart Mill to read. The only copy. Mill left it sitting out and the servants thought it was waste paper and used it for starting fires. Oops. Carlyle had to rewrite the who book, but personally, from what I have actually read about the incident in other places, it was probably for the best because the rewrite by accounts was better than the original. Still, Carlyle was devastated and I don’t remember if he and Mill continued to be friends afterwards.

Anyway, this is a right fun book. Babbage and Lovelace were real characters even before they were fictionalized in a pocket universe. If you would like a taste of the book including a few stories that didn’t make it in, there is a website! The Science Museum of London also built Babbage’s Difference Engine, the precursor to the Analytical Engine, in 1991 and because of the magic of the internet, you can watch a video demonstration:

Is that thing ever loud!

If you are looking for something fun, geeky, madcap and sometimes just plain silly, you can’t go wrong with The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, Reviews Tagged: Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, George Eliot, madcap adventures, Thomas Carlyle

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14. Annual 2015: Graphic Novels, Comics, and San Francisco

This is a guest post from Trevor Calvert, a member of the Local Arrangements Committee for ALA 2015 in San Francisco.

San Francisco is a literary city and as such a wealth of comic book stores merit a visit if you are eager to experience some of SF’s comic-book culture. Every year SF hosts the Alternative Press Expo highlighting local creators, and even has a Comic Art Museum which showcases both classics Golden Age shows all the way to hosting local-artist workshops. So let’s pack a light sweater (or maybe a cape?) and walk over to a few of these awesome spots!

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Our first stop is Isotope: The Comic Lounge; not only is the design of the store sweet, the comic selection great, but you can stop by it’s lounge--the first of its kind--where you can relax, put your feet up, and feel free to read some sequential narratives from their on-site library. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, its Special Project Director, Kirsten Baldock, is an Oakland Public librarian! Also, the owner is both a real person and a comic character.
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As we continue our journey, brave adventurers, let’s visit Mission Comics and Art. Proprietor Leef Smith knows a lot about comics. He also knows a lot about San Francisco, has traveled the world, and has a passion for fine art. These facets help make his Mission Comics a definite on your list of places to visit.  From his site:

“Leef’s intention is for “Mission: Comics & Art” to help facilitate a greater cross-pollution between the worlds of fine art and commercially produced sequential art i.e. comic books, re-contextualizing both and creating a new community focal point, both locally in the neighborhood, and in the larger artistic world.”

That his store is in the Mission district should not be overlooked: the Mission is a fantastic area in which to wander around, eat delicious food, and see some of the best San Francisco has to offer. If on Friday at 7:30 you are looking for something to do, Mission Comics is hosting writers Jeff Parker, Mike Tanner and Jef Burandt--all with new books with Oni Press!

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 8.45.25 AMIf your travels take you to the Castro district, be sure to check out Whatever: Get Your Geek On. They’re known not only for their great comic collection, but for their collectibles and figure collection. They’ve been around since 2006 and have a super friendly staff and, despite their non-committal store-name, completely love what they do.

While this store is not named after this famous aardvark in comics, it does reference the animal, so can be none other than Aardvark Books, home of Owen the Cat and countless used and new books (mostly hardcover). And while this is not a comic book store, it’s been open since 1978 and much beloved by many. Aardvark’s staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and if wandering a good bookstore (because they’re not classified in DDC or LCS) and petting friendly cats is your thing, then this is a must.

There are so many great bookstores, comic or otherwise, in San Francisco: Green Apple Books, City Lights, Booksmith, Borderlands (one of the best Science Fiction / Horror / Fantasy stores around--and in the Mission!) just to list a small few (not to mention across the bridge in Oakland). If you have the time, checking out the local bookstores (and maybe a few watering holes along the way) is one of the best ways to see this city. Be intrepid, curious, and inspired!

 

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15. Thrilling! Adventures! Fun!

cover artI have been waiting my turn in the library holds queue quite some time for The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. It is a graphic novel by Sydney Padua. I’ve just begun it and it is so much more than I ever could have hoped for.

It is not your average graphic novel. There is as much text as there are pictures. There are footnotes. There are endnotes. The art is great and the whole thing is absolutely bonkers and laugh out loud funny.

Don’t know who Lovelace and Babbage are? Charles Babbage invented the first computer but for various reasons mostly to do with Babbage, it never got built. Ada Lovelace is the daughter of Lord Byron and the first computer programmer. Lovelace died at age thirty-six. Babbage lived to be a crotchety old man.

After writing a story about Lovelace and Babbage, Padua thought it a real shame the computer never got built and the pair didn’t get to work together for very long. So she went all wibbly wobbly timey wimey and discovered a pocket universe where Lovelace and Babbage built the computer, have thrilling adventures, and, of course, fight crime, because why not? The first adventure has to do with the person from Porlock.

As I said, I have not read much but what I have read has been pure delight and I couldn’t keep it to myself until I finished. So I am telling you about it now. Check your library. If they have the book, get yourself on the list for it. Now. Go. No dilly-dallying.


Filed under: Books, Graphic Novels, In Progress Tagged: Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage

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16. Z2 expands with fall GN line, including Abaddon, Pawn Shop and Ashes

Z2 Comics just made news last week with a new line of periodicals, and here’s their fall graphic novel line, courtesy of Publishers Weekly. The slate includes a collection of Koren Shadmi’s awesome webcomic THE ABADDON, as well as a new edition of Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnent, and print editions of two Kickstarted projects: ASHES: A FIREFIGHTER’S TALE by Mario Candelaria and Karl Slominski; and PAWN SHOP by Joey Esposito and Sean Von Gorman.

“With the addition of three new books to Z2 Comics, the return of Harvey Pekar’s CLEVELAND to print and the recently announced launch of the Z2 Comics periodical line, this year promises to be our most ambitious yet. And it’s just the beginning,’ said publisher Josh Frankel.

The Eisner-nominated Cleveland was previously distributed by Top Shelf, but has sold out of its 10,000 copy initial print run, Frankel told PW.

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We’ve admired The Abaddon (above) here at the Beat many times before; it’s gorgeous and getting it in a nice print edition is a real treat.

Here’s the full Z2 line-up:

 

ASHES.jpeg
ASHES: A FIREFIGHTER’S TALE written by Mario Candelaria with art by Karl Slominski.
(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; black and white)

Matt always had an easygoing life. Girls liked him, his friends were more like family, and being a firefighter came naturally. Then the accident happened. Now, after the loss of his leg, Matt struggles to cope with his new handicap as he attempts to rebuild his shattered family and once budding career. A riveting tale about perseverance, hard work, and overcoming the odds, ASHES is a gripping tale told in stunning black and white.

PAWN SHOP.jpeg
PAWN SHOP written by Joey Esposito with art by Sean Von Gorman
(September 22, 2015; $19.99; 120 pages; full color)

A widower. A nurse. A punk. A Long Island Railroad employee. New York City is an ecosystem where everybody is connected, if only by the streets they walk on. This original graphic novel is the story of four people, in a city of eight million, whose lives unknowingly intersect through a Manhattan pawn shop.
Written by Joey Esposito (Footprints) and illustrated with a gorgeous mixture of watercolor and digital elements by Sean Von Gorman (Toe Tag Riot), PAWN SHOP explores the big things that separate us and the little moments that inexplicably unite us.

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THE ABADDON written and illustrated by Koren Shadmi
(November 10, 2015; $24.99; 240 pages; full color)

Loosely based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, THE ABADDON is the story of a young man who finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill-matched roommates. He discovers that his new home doesn’t adhere to any rational laws of nature and comes to realize that everyone living in the apartment is missing crucial parts of their memories and identities.

CLEVELAND by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant
(November DATE TK; Price TK; 128; black and white)

A lifelong resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) pioneered autobiographical comics, mining the mundane for magic since 1976 in his critically acclaimed series American Splendor. Legendary comic book writer Harvey Pekar’s collaboration with artist Joseph Remnant, titled CLEVELAND, was originally published by Top Shelf Shelf Comics and Zip Comics in 2012 and includes an introduction by Alan Moore. The book presents key moments and characters from the city’s history, intertwined with Harvey’s own ups and downs, as relayed to us by Our Man and meticulously researched and rendered by artist Joseph Remnant. At once a history of Cleveland and a portrait of Harvey, it’s a tribute to the ordinary greatness of both.

Disclosure: Just to be upfront, Z2 and The Beat have partnered on several events in the past, and they are an occasional client of my consulting company.

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17. Congrats to Raina Telgemeier for three straight years on the NYT Bestseller list

raina_three.jpg

This news arrived via an email ad blast in my inbox, but it doesn’t change the import of it: Raina Telgemeier’s Smile has been on the New York Times bestseller list for three straight years, and she also recently achieved a rare top four sweep of the spots with Smile, Sisters, Drama and the reissued colorized Babysitter’s Club.

Raina’s selection as Person of the Year was deeply deserved, but it’s significant to me that her stature in the publishing world is probably larger than her profile in the comics world—which isn’t to say that she isn’t a big deal in comics, but kids book are still finding their place at the table usually reserved for superheroes and adult literary comics.

With at least 1.4 million copies of Smile in print, it’s definitely one of the best selling graphic novels in the US. And she has more books on the way—currently Telgemeier is working on a new book that will include “paranormal elements.” Can she have FIVE books on the list at the same time? Stay tuned.

1 Comments on Congrats to Raina Telgemeier for three straight years on the NYT Bestseller list, last added: 6/25/2015
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18. Sailor Twain

Sailor Twain

Mark Siegel, editorial director and founder of Macmillan’s graphic novel–only imprint First Second Books

also author/illustrator of Moving House

illustrator of several picture books (Seadogs by Lisa Wheeler, Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant) and another graphic novel for children (Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler)

my first introduction to Siegel was To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel, his wife Siena Cherson Siegel’s memoir of her experiences as a preprofessional student in the School of American Ballet.

With Sailor Twain: Or, The Mermaid in the Hudson (First Second, October 2012), Seigel

surreal magical realism

hefty graphic novel

Captain Twain, captain of a steamboat on the Hudson River, rescues a harpooned mermaid and nurses her back to health.

 

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19. Thursday Review: LAST MAN 1: THE STRANGER

Summary: A collaboration by French comics and animation luminaries Balak, Bastien Vivès, and Michaël Sanlaville, Last Man 1: The Stranger is the first installment in a series that's been popular in France and is now being released in the U.S. by... Read the rest of this post

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20. Hilo - The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, by Judd Winick

There are never enough graphic novels for kids.  This is a simple truth. When I look to our circulation at school, out of the top 50 circulating titles during the school year 44 were graphic novels.  88%!  So I was pretty delighted when my colleague Karyn told me there was a graphic novel for kids I needed to check out.  I finally got my hands on the arc and sat down to give it a go.

DJ is just an average kid in the middle of an above average family.  The one thing he was really good at was being a good friend to Gina, but Gina moved away 3 years ago.

DJ is sitting on the roof of his club house when he sees something crash out of the sky.  Imagine his surprise when a blond boy in silver undies climbs out of the newly formed crater in the earth.  This kid has a lot of energy and even more questions since his "memory is a busted book" and he's not quite sure where he's from or what he's doing on earth.  DJ takes Hilo in without much of a plan, and quickly finds himself with his hands full.

DJ is surprised when Gina ends up back in town, and notices that she's changed quite a bit in the 3 years she's been out of Berke County which makes DJ notice that he hasn't really changed. At all.

As Hilo's past is revealed to him in his dreams bit by bit, it soon becomes apparent that danger is on the way.  And now maybe DJ will realize he's not so ordinary after all.

This outstanding graphic novel needs to be purchased in multiples.  Winick has created lovable, funny and real characters that readers will laugh with and cheer for.  The movement in the art is reminiscent of both Watterson and Gownley and I defy anyone to read Hilo without feeling moments of joy.  While reviewers have pegged this as a 9-12 title, I'm saying all ages.  I know we will have kids from 6 to 14 eager to check this one out.

I heart Hilo.

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21. Interview: Jack Baxter returns to Tel Aviv for Mike’s Place

MikesPlace-300RGB

By Cal Cleary

Jack Baxter, an American filmmaker, went to Israel in 2003 to make a documentary. When his initial subject fell through, he found a new story in the form of Mike’s Place, a Tel Aviv blues bar where people from all over could meet in peace amidst all the turmoil. There, he met Joshua Faudem, an American-Israeli filmmaker, and the two teamed up to tell the story of Mike’s Place, unaware that the bar would soon be targeted by suicide bombers. They kept the cameras rolling through the aftermath of the bombing and the bar’s rebirth, and Blues By the Beach, their documentary, came out in 2004. Baxter’s newest project finds him re-teaming with Faudem and working with cartoonist Koren Shadmi to dig deeper into both the bombing and the lives of the men and women who frequented the bar. We recently got a chance to speak with Baxter about Mike’s Place, the transition from filmmaking to making graphic novels, and much more.

You come from a history of documentary filmmaking. In addition to producing Blues By the Beach, the making of which you detail here, you also wrote, produced and directed Brother Minister: The Assassination of Malcolm X. What was it about the graphic novel format that interested you as an alternative to filmmaking or a more traditional book?

A graphic novel is essentially the same as a movie storyboard: A continuous storyline with written dialogue and description and illustrations in both mediums.

Actually, in 2006, literary agent Jerry Rudes did pitch a nonfiction book idea to major publishers that I was supposed to write. Long story, didn’t happen. I kept thinking about slogging away on my great American novel for years and years rehashing a tale of woe. I’m glad that book never happened.

Filmmaking is a hassle from day one to the finish line. But the satisfaction quotient from watching a live audience experience something you helped create makes all the work worth it. So when my co-writer and the director of Blues, Joshua Faudem, said we should write a movie screenplay I was all-in. MIKE’S PLACE was born of the screenplay.

Was it challenging to write a graphic novel script, or did the experience you had from crafting narrative out of documentary footage translate easily to the new format?

MikesPlace_combined_100-28We already had a fully realized screenplay filled with description, dialogue, locations, and a fast-paced narrative. When it served the story we used actual scenes and outtakes from Blues by the Beach. First Second provided us with their graphic novel format template, and we re-worked some scenes and dialogue where it was suggested. Once it passed the collective smell test, we were off to the races.

In terms of storytelling, did you find the graphic novel medium better than film or vice versa?

Creating a graphic novel and making a film are in the same ballpark for me. The big advantage of film is SOUND. The advantage of the graphic novel is that you ingest at your own pace so you can really focus and ruminate. No wonder to me Hollywood is snatching-up this storytelling format left and right. It’s not a giant leap from paper to film. You have built-in visuals that weary-eyed studio readers can more easily rate and recommend.

Blues By the Beach was released very soon after the suicide bombing. With Mike’s Place, you have the added perspective that comes with more than a decade’s distance. Has that changed the way you see the bar, its mission, or the bombing itself?

The mission of Mike’s Place remains the same today as every bar and live-music venue anywhere in the world – social interaction and making a buck. The terrorist conspiracy that tried to send a message to a Tel Aviv beachfront bar, next-door to the American Embassy, failed. Yes, they killed and wounded people, but they didn’t get the “last word” in Israel or here in the USA.

Mike’s Place is bigger than ever and has locations all over Israel and is soon expanding into Europe, and who knows, maybe even another Mike’s Place in a hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Do you see Blues by the Beach and Mike’s Place as companion pieces, or separate works with separate goals?

I think they both stand on their own. The big difference is, in the graphic novel, we were able to dig deeper into our characters, chart the journey and reveal the true motivation of the terrorists. It shows the historical significance of why Mike’s Place was chosen for attack after midnight on April 30, 2003.

Mike’s Place strays so thoroughly from the way we typically see this region. In a lot of ways, the bar at the center of this story wouldn’t feel out-of-place anywhere in the U.S., something you mention being important in the book. Do you think that the way the media portrays this conflict has helped desensitize or dissuade people from believing a lasting peace can be achieved?

There are lots of voices crying in the wilderness. If you don’t like Fox, MSNBC or CNN – change the channel and MikesPlace_combined_100-27check out Al Jazeera and the BBC every once in a while. Meet some Palestinians and Israelis face to face. They don’t have horns on their heads.

If Mike’s Place can serve as an example of a modern Middle East then we’re on to something. And if you go there and you don’t drink, you can always get some falafel or a cheeseburger and listen to free live music. Just make sure no matter what, that you tip the bartenders and waitresses and when the musicians pass the hat, don’t pretend your texting on your iPhone. Now that could really start a war…

What made you choose First Second as the publisher for Mike’s Place?

First Second publisher-editor Mark Siegel is a family friend of the Faudem Family from Michigan. Matter-of-fact, I met Mark’s mother and father at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival eight years before I met him. Joshua suggested I drop off our screenplay and Blues DVD to him at his office, a couple blocks from here. A year later, after Mark finished his own Sailor Twain graphic novel, he saw the film and read the screenplay.

As I see it, all these connections and stars aligning is Bashert – that’s Yiddish for Fate.

How did you meet artist Koren Shadmi?

Through Mark Siegel. He told us he’d always wanted to hire Koren and our project was perfect for him. And when we saw his work, we wanted him too.

Autobiographical and journalistic graphic novels are big right now, and getting bigger every year. Are there any that particularly inspired you?

Hands down, Zahra’s Paradise by Amir & Khalil about the 2009 Iranian elections and Arne Bellstorf’s Baby’s in Black about Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe and the Beatles in early 1960s Hamburg.

Although much of the story is shown from your perspective, there are a lot of bits that you weren’t present for. Did you go back and talk to any of the Mike’s Place family to fill in those gaps? What kind of research did you do to piece together the parts from the bombers’ perspectives?

Jack.Baxter1.credit.Gerry.LernerI went back to Israel for two months in March of 2006 for more medical treatments. I interviewed every person I could who was at Mike’s Place that night. Back then I still thought I’d write my great American novel. I compiled everything as part of my research for that prospective book. One survivor, who I was next to that night, “Sugar Shiri” Mirvis, showed me where we were and where security guard Avi Tabib had landed inside the bar.

I read everything I could about the British terrorists Asif Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif – their seemingly happy boyhood in England, their radicalization and friendship with Mohammad Sidique Khan – the future mastermind of the July 7, 2005 London Transit Attack. And I studied detailed timelines published online by Israeli and British investigators. I think we have a good handle on who they were and what they believed.

http://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2003/Pages/Details%20of%20April%2030-%202003%20Tel%20Aviv%20suicide%20bombing.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Sidique_Khan

In the book, you come across as incredibly optimistic, as though all it would take for peace in the Middle East is for everyone to just listen to one another for a moment. Would you still consider yourself optimistic about the situation? Are there any hopeful signs you see for the region?

I really come off that naive?

Besides Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer is my favorite philosopher. I’ve read both volumes of his The World As Will And Representation. And Schopenhauer’s the patron saint of pessimists.

Forgive me for being a wiseass. It’s getting late here.

I do hope for a lasting peace in the Middle East. But pragmatism urges me to caution. In the present, I try and see past stereotypes. But people and situations are often typecast for good reasons. Like I said to Gal Ganzman when I first met him tending bar at Mike’s Place: “It’s not easy trying to solve the Middle East Conflict.”

As someone who is clearly familiar with this struggle, are there any books or documentaries on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that you’d recommend to readers who enjoyed Mike’s Place and want to learn more?

For books: Samuel P. Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the T.E. Lawrence masterpiece The Seven Pillars of Wisdom. A great movie comedic tragedy is Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s Divine Intervention. For documentaries: the brilliant Israeli documentary filmmaker Ram Loevey’s Close, Closed, Closure. And of course, check out Blues by the Beach.

Do you have any upcoming projects, either in film or in graphic novel, planned right now?

Israeli producer Avi Bohbot, director Joshua Faudem and I want to make a documentary about a friend of mine, Imam Benjamin Bilal, who was my Islamic Consultant for Brother Minister and also helped choose the Quran verses showcased in MIKE’S PLACE. Long story short, Ben is a charismatic Muslim-American leader on the rise. He was born a Black Israelite and raised Jewish in Harlem. At thirteen he joined the Nation of Islam, eventually becoming a traditional Muslim. We want to show Ben Bilal in action at his mosque in Trenton, New Jersey, and follow him preaching around North America and Europe. We all wind up in Jerusalem where Islam, Christianity and Judaism meet.

My hope is Ben comes across incredibly optimistic.

IMAM BENJAMIN BILAL May 15, 2015: http://muslimjournal.net/?p=1720

BILAL Trailer: https://vimeo.com/98628538

Mike’s Place is on sale from First Second as of June 9th and can be purchased at your local book retailer.

Be sure to check out the trailer for Mike’s Place : http://www.mikesplacebook.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxFzZGm4nuk

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22. Great French Comics I Want To Read In English!

Recently, right before BookExpo America commenced, the French Embassy sponsored an invitation-only symposium on French comics, the American market, and how both can benefit from the other.

Heidi has already posted statistics and video from the event, so I’ll just post a smattering of bandes dessinées which were featured at the event.  If  I can a public edition of the PDF, I’ll link to it as well! Otherwise, click on the links in each title! Many publishers offer previews!


Casterman

Founded in 1780, Casterman, a Belgian publisher, started publishing comics in 1930! Since the publication of the first Tintin, which is still the pride of its prestigious catalogue, Casterman has remained faithful to its initial approach: to make quality books available to everyone, and published artists such as Tardi, Hugo Pratt or François Schuiten and Benoit Peeters. Casterman also publishes children’s books with novelties, pictures books and characters, from Ernest & Celestine to Émilie or Martine

Year of creation: 1780
Titles in catalogue: 3000
Titles published annually: 250

[Their website]  [Their Foreign Rights Guide for Spring 2015]

Billie Holliday, Édition du Centenaire/ Billie Holliday, Centennial Edition
Munoz, Sampayo
On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth, Munoz and Sampayo tell the story of the legendary American jazz singer, in a context of widespread racism and the emergence of the blues culture in the US. Munoz transcends his art to convey all the intensity of Billie Holliday’s larger-than-life personality.
Rights sold in Spain, Italy, Serbia.
Biographies, graphic novels, non-fiction, jazz
240 × 320 mm / 80 pages / 20 €
One shot









Egon Schiele
Xavier Coste
Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890–October 31, 1918) was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity, and the many self-portraits the artist produced. The twisted body shapes and expressive line that characterize Schiele’s paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism.
Rights sold in Germany, Spain, Korea.
Biographies, graphic novels, non-fiction, arts
240 × 320 mm / 64 pages /18 €
One shot





Le piano oriental / The Oriental Piano
Zeina Abirached
In The Oriental Piano, Lebanese author Zeira Abirached writes and draws about one particular member of her family: her uncle. He worked as a civil servant (or at least he pretended to); in fact he spent all his working time on the invention of a very special piano. Abirached captures the atmosphere of Lebanon in peace of the 60s, before civil war tore the country apart for two decades. A touching tale, surprisingly poetic. Zeina Abirached has won numerous awards: A Game for Swallows was named an ALA Notable Children’s book and a Yalser Great Graphic Novel for Teens, as well as being shortlisted in the Angouleme 2008 selection.
Graphic novels, non-fiction, historical testimonial
200 pages / 16 €
One shot




Niki –Le jardin des secrets /
Niki –The Garden of Secrets
Dominique Osuch, Sandrine Martin
A biography of Niki de Saint-Phalle (1930-2002), sculptor, painter and film maker. She was famous for her “shooting paintings” in the 1960’s and her “Nanas”, illustrations of women’s status in society at the time. A unique personality that inspired fascination and controversy all through her life.
Biographies, graphic novels, non-fiction, arts
200 × 260 mm / 200 pages / 20 €
One shot





Rose Profond/Deep Pink
Dionnet, Pirrus
Malcolm is a cartoon character who looks like Mickey Mouse. But he does not share his ethics and good manner! He has a problem with alcohol and he can be violent. The fun is based on a host of famous cartoon characters depicted with a touch of irony. Despite its charming and colourful artwork, Rose Profond is NOT a children’s book; rather the strange encounter of Mickey Mouse and Crumb’s Fritz the Cat.
Fiction, drama, survival
165 × 345 mm / 96 pages /25 €
One shot





Dargaud–Dupuis–Le Lombard/Mediatoon

Dargaud, Le Lombard and Dupuis are among the oldest publishers of comic books in the French language. The three brands are now imprints of the Media-Participations group, the European leader in comic book publishing and animated series production. Their catalogues are jampacked with best-selling series, such as Dupuis’ Spirou and Marsupilami, Le Lombard’s Thorgal and Yakari, and Dargaud’s Lucky Luke and XIII. The group has already penetrated the US market with titles such as Blacksad, The Rabbi’s Cat and The Photographer. The list of 2.000 series and more than 6.000 titles can be viewed on the website http://mfr.mediatoon.com/en/

Year of creation: 1898 (Dupuis) 1936 (Dargaud–Le Lombard)
Titles in catalogue: 3000 (Dupuis) 5000 (Dargaud–Le Lombard)
Titles published annually: 175 (Dupuis) / 170 (Dargaud)/ 160 (Le Lombard)

[The Dupuis catalog, en English]  [Dargaud’s site Web]  [Le Lombard]


Les Campbell/The Campbells
Munuera
After the murder of his wife, Campbell, a legendary pirate, quits the business in the hope of raising his daughters far from the painful memories of his past. But of course, no such luck. The man who murdered Campbell’s wife, Inferno, wants to be rid of the entire Campbell family, once and for all. Campbell and his daughters flee, but it’s just a matter of time before Inferno catches up with them…
Adventure, action / All ages
Dupuis / 220 × 290 mm / 56 pages / 13,95 €
2 titles in the series





Les Esclaves oubliés du Tromelin/
The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin Island
Savoia
In 1760, the Utile, a slave ship sailing from Africa, is abandoned by her crew and shipwrecked on a tiny, remote island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The surviving slaves inhabit this desolate land for fifteen years. Two hundred years on, the artist Sylvain Savoia accompanies the first archaeological mission to find out how these men and women survived. This is the story of that mission, and the slaves of many years ago.
Graphic novel, non-fiction / 16+
220 × 290 mm / 120 pages/20,50 €
1 title in the series





Pascale Bourgaux, grand reporter /
Pascale Bourgaux,
International Correspondent
Campi, Bourgaux, Zabus
For ten years, she followed the story of Mamour Hasan, a warlord in northern Afghanistan. In 2001, he put his personal army at the service of the famous commander Massoud to fight against the Taliban. Pascale Bourgaux, TV journalist, was only ever behind the camera. This comic turns the camera around to take a look at Bourgaux’s experiences, feelings, and the difficulties she faced as, against all odds, Hasan’s fighters switched sides in favour of the Taliban.
Graphic novel / 16+
220 × 290 mm / 80 pages / 16,50 €
1 title in the series






Superdupont/Super-Dupont
Gotlib, Boucq
Super-Dupont is back, rising up like a phoenix from the ashes! The unique and truly French super hero is here to save France once again! Superdupont’s reboot gets a kick-start with the birth of his son who, astonishingly, has inherited his father’s supernatural powers. Perhaps together they can finally bring down the enemies of their beloved country: finance and globalization!
Comedy/ All ages
235 × 310 mm / 46 pages /13,99 €
1 title in the series




Glenn Gould
Sandrine Ravel
This is the biography of the prodigious Canadian pianist. At three years old, he gave his first recital. At five, he played one of his own compositions in public for the first time. At twelve, he passed the professional soloist exam and gave his first professional concert. This man, signed up by Columbia, was a musician through-and-through. However, in 1964, he decided to withdraw from public life, his sole aim being to live the life of a true artist.
Graphic novel / 16+
210 × 280 mm / 128 pages / 21 €
1 title in the series




Violette autour du Monde/
Violette around the World
Turconi, Radice
Through the wanderings of the “Moon Circus” at the end of 1800, Viola travels Europe, America and Asia. During her travels she runs into all sorts of magic and intrigue. Accompanied by her animal friends and the circus family, Viola meets Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, and later Antonin Leopold Dvorak. This is a real coming-of-age story which celebrates art and beauty on every page.
Kid comics / 8-12 years
210 × 278 mm / 48 pages / 9,99 €
2 titles in the series





[Charmant!  Take a look!]

Yallah ByeYallah Bye
Safieddine, Kyungeun
24 years ago, Mustapha was forced to let go of his revolutionary ideologies and flee his native Lebanon for France. He finally returns in 2006 for what is supposed to be a family holiday, only to find himself with his French wife and children in the midst of conflict once again, as Israel drops bombs in the name of the fight against Hezbollah. He sees a chance to vindicate his flight all those years ago. A poignant eyewitness account of Israel’s actions from an Arab perspective.
Graphic novel, non-fiction / 16+
237 × 310 mm / 168 pages / 20,50 €
1 title in the series




NietzscheNietzsche
Le Roy
A century after Nietzsche’s death, we have yet to fully examine the revolutionary implications of his philosophy. A philosophical biography is not a substitute for reading the philosopher’s own work, but it does offer a unique perspective on the origins and meaning of his thought. Here, the much-discussed philosopher Onfray and the artist Leroy offer a portrait, or a pre-sketch for a portrait. This is Nietzsche as poet, as traveller, as loner, and as free-thinker.
Biography/ 16+
227 × 318 mm / 126 pages / 19,99 €
1 title in the series




The trooperLe Soldat / The Soldier
Efa, Jouvray
Henry Fleming is a peasant with dreams of adventure and glory, just like any other young man. He enlists as a soldier for the Union and spends several months playing out the role he has created for himself. But now that the Confederate cannons have started firing, and his friends are dropping like flies, the time for dreaming is over. Henry must decide what he really wants: a heroic fantasy, or his life. An adaptation of The Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane.
Action, adventure / 16+
241 × 318 mm / 62 pages / 16,45 €
1 title in the series





The CrocodilesLes Crocodiles /Crocodiles
Thomas Mathieu
Thomas Mathieu retells true stories as told to him by young women, about issues surrounding street harassment, machismo, and sexism. His thoughtful and feminist approach prompts us to pause and reflect on some of the ways that men, and women, behave in today’s society.
Comedy/ 16+
202 × 268 mm / 176 pages /17,95 €
1 title in the series




[More information on the project!]


Delcourt

Ranked as the 1st publisher of comics in France, Delcourt seeks to embrace the full spectrum of creativity within the comic genre, with authors from all over the world. Our list caters to all ages, covering the entire gamut of styles in all categories from fiction to non-fiction. Editions Delcourt is part of the Groupe Delcourt, 1st independent publisher of comics in the French language.

Year of creation: 1986
Titles in catalogue: +5000
Titles published annually: 350

[The website, in French]

Les Secrets du chocolat /
The Secrets of Chocolate
Franckie Alarcon
A journey into the fabulous world of chocolate with one of the greatest French chocolate masters. Passion, an educated sweet tooth, tips and recipes from the chef! For an entire year, the author followed Jacques Génin. From selecting the cocoa beans in the plantations to supervising their roasting, researching new flavours at his Parisian boutique –every moment is an opportunity for the reader to follow the master almost from his childhood, to share his experience and his passion.
15 +
198 × 263 mm / 112 pages /15,95 €
1 title in the series





Ce n’est pas toi que j’attendais/
Unexpected Encounter
Fabien Toulmé
In this autobiographical account, Fabien Toulmé speaks with emotion, humour and humility about an unexpected encounter, that of a couple facing the birth of a handicapped child – an experience like a sudden storm, a hurricane. When his little girl is born with an undiagnosed trisomy, Fabien’s life completely falls apart. Oscillating from fury to rejection, from acceptance to love, the writer tells us about discovering what it is like to be different.
15 +
165 × 230 mm / 256 pages / 18,95 €
1 title in the series





Au fil de l’Art /Travelling through Art
Gradimir & Ivana Smudja (Script),
Gradimir Smudja (Art)
A little girl, accompanied by her mischievous cat, discovers successively the Caves of Lascaux, flying machines, Leonard de Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s murals in the Sistine Chapel, Albrecht Dürer’s famous Hare and Velasquez’ famous painting Las Meninas. She then moves on to famous works by Brueghel, Rubens, El Greco, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, Goya, Van Gogh and Picasso… An enchanting and instructive journey, gleaned through the graphic virtuosity of Smudja.
9+
240 × 320 mm / 192 pages / 19,99 €
2 titles in the series





S.E.N.S.
Marc-Antoine Mathieu
Without a word, from frame to frame in a comic presentation, Marc-Antoine Mathieu shows us the initiatory voyage of a man. What is he looking for? Where is he going? This anonymous walker wanders through a stark labyrinth where only arrows guide him. Time, space, chance: the writer offers us a poetic story, exploring once again the limits of the comic book genre, closer than ever to the other major art forms.
15 +
172 × 237 mm / 256 pages / 25,50 €
1 title in the series





Futuropolis

1974: Étienne Robial founds Futuropolis. 2005: Futuropolis is reborn, with an ambitious and renewed program and the same undimmed desire to promote authors both renowned and as yet undiscovered in pursuing their dreams and creations. Instead of following schools and fashions, Futuropolis features only original works, free from preconceived styles and assumptions. Futuropolis loves books with a strong sense of personality, books that move readers’ hearts and minds, make them think and feel. To better support the varied approaches and intentions of its creators, Futuropolis publishes books whose design reflects their diversity of content: black and white, color, paperback, hardcover, formats large and small.

Year of creation: 2005
Titles in catalogue: 300
Titles published annually: 30

[The French website]

Catharsis
Luz
On January 7, 2015, Luz lost not only friends in the attack on Charlie Hebdo, but also his desire to draw. At first there was tragedy, pain, rage, grief. And then, little by little, Luz’s need to draw returned —not the desire to bear witness, but to bare himself, free himself. From this came Catharsis, a book from the therapeutic process where, in brief vignettes, Luz shares what his life has been like since the day it was turned upside down. An instant classic.
For grown-ups
195×265 mm / 128 pages / 14,50 €
One-off




Énergies extrêmes/ Extreme energies
Sylvain Lapoix, Daniel Blancou
Extreme Energies is a thoroughly researched look into shale gas and the consequences of fracking. An absolutely essential book for all readers. In Extreme Energies, Sylvain Lapoix and Daniel Blancou explain how shale gas came to be, and how major American developed an interest in it after the fuel shortages of the 1970s. Readers will also learn about the role of lobbies on both sides. This book shoes us how this new energy source is reshaping geopolitics on a global scale.
For grown-ups
195×265 mm / 128 pages / 19 €
One-off




I comb Jesus
Jean-Philippe Stassen
I Comb Jesus is a book of five dispatches composed by Stassen between July 2007 and September 2013, from Rwanda, the Congo, Belgium, Spain, Morocco, France, and South Africa. At the heart of all these reportages are the migrations of victims of war and poverty. Stassen refutes clichés right off the bat, in order to tell of places he knows, especially the African Great Lakes, with a sharp eye for observation; simple, splendid writing; and subtle, finely honed art.
For grown-ups
195×265 mm/160 pages/22,50 €
One-off




48497Le Journal d’un fantôme/
Diary of a ghost
Nicolas de Crécy
A new edition of one of the most important works by de Crécy, whose sketchbook is his traveling companion… In Diary of a Ghost, the actual journey the author offers us is that of the creative process –the most liberating of journeys. How to reconcile artistic creation and commissioned work? With inimitable humor Nicolas de Crécy uses the occasion as a springboard to ask a few important questions about reality and mimesis, as well as the status not only of images in our society, but of creators.
For grown-ups
195×265 mm/224 pages/ 25 €
One-off

Un Certain Cervantès
Christian Lax
Back from Afghanistan, where he left an arm, Mike Cervantes discovers Don Quixote, the novel by his famous namesake, and it proves a revelation! The book by Miguel de Cervantès inspires Mike to become a new Don Quixote, taking up arms against all modern day inquisitions –economic, political, intellectual, and religious– while fighting injustice in all its forms… Joyous and despairing, tender and violent, tragic and funny, A Certain Cervantes is an ambitious graphic adventure of unusual evocative force.
For grown-ups
195×265 mm/208 pages/26 €
One-off

Le Vieil Homme et la mer /
The Old man and the sea
Thierry Murat,
based upon Ernest Hemingway
Published in 1952, The Old Man and the Sea won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, and paved the way for Hemingway’s Nobel win for his body of work a year later. Thierry Murat has elegantly adapted this masterpiece with images that transcend the writer’s words while respecting his style and rhythm.
For teens & grown-ups
195×265 mm/128 pages/19 €
One-off






















Gallimard

Gallimard has developed three lines of graphic novels:
–“Bayou”: directed by Joann Sfar, a series that offers authors 100 pages or so, and allows them to embark on long adventures
–“Fétiche”: every author has his heart set on a text: a childhood memory or a recent discovery, a great classic, a forgotten masterpiece or a contemporary work, a text he enjoyed adapting for a graphic novel
–“Hors-collection”: a variety of formats, adapted to the many facet of the graphic novel, from children’s stories to culinary books or detective stories.


Year of creation: 2006
Titles in catalogue: 110
Titles published annually: 20

[Their catalog]

Les Rêveurs Lunaires/Lunar Dreamers
Cédric Villani, Edmond Baudoin
Virtuosic portraits of four geniuses who changed the course of World War II: Werner Heisenberg, Alan Turing, Leó Szilárd, and Hugh Dowding. The poetic force of Baudoin’s brush meets the miraculous mind of mathematician Cédric Villani, winner of the 2010 Fields Medal. A thrilling account of the dramatic roles scientists play in our society. How did they see themselves in the twilight of their lives? Were they proud, ashamed, bitter, distraught?
For grown-ups
190 × 260 mm / 192 pages / 22 €
One-off




L’Étranger / The Stranger
Jacques Ferrandez,
based on the book by Albert Camus
The Stranger, by Albert Camus, has fascinated millions of readers the world over: Jacques Ferrandez delivers an exciting new comics interpretation of the classic that preserves every ounce of its enigmatic power. Expert mise en scène, luminous watercolours, richly detailed settings: Ferrandez, a specialist of colonial Algeria, faithfully and powerfully recreates all the drama and symbolic reach of Camus’ essential novel.
For teens & grown-ups
210 × 280 mm / 136 pages / 22 €
One-off





Dispersés dans Babylone/Scattered in Babylon
Jérémie Dries
A return to origins investigating the ties between Judaism and black people. A quest for identity from Ethiopia to the U.S., by the author of We Won’t See Auschwitz. Halfway between reportage, memoir and non-fiction comics. Why does reggae reference Judaism so often? This question soon becomes an obsession for Dres, leading him from Addis-Ababa to New York in an exciting quest where individual fates and larger-than-life myths collide.
For grown-ups
190 × 260 mm / 184 pages / 22 €
One-off




Hasib et la Reine des serpents /
Hasib and the Queen of the Snakes
David B, based upon
The Thousand and One Arabian Nights
David B. turns his genius to The Thousand and One Arabian Nights to bring us a sublime adaptation of a vast epic tale, a mythological world full of fantastical creatures and deities. Heir to Daniel, the Grecian sage, Hasib is a young woodcutter destined for great things. When his comrades –out of greed– abandon him in the middle of the woods, he meets the Queen of the Snakes. She tells him her story, a fabulous adventure full of gods and demons, princes and prophets…
For teens & grown-ups
230 × 310 mm / 64 pages / 15 €
1 title in the series (will be in 2 volumes)






À boire et à manger/Eating and Drinking
Guillaume Long
Eating & Drinking is a cookbook for all ages, given a humorous spin by a comics creator. How do you stew a rabbit in beer, make perfect cannelloni sushi rolls with leeks, or order coffee in Paris? Building his book around such existential questions fundamental to any self-respecting gourmand, Guillaume Long continues his exploration of everyday food and cooking with unflagging humour.
For grown-ups
225 × 295 mm / 144 pages /21 €
3 titles in the series




[I discovered this in German, specifically, his article on coffee and Moka Pots.]


Glénat

Founded in 1969, Glenat is one of the largest independent comic book and graphic novel publishers in France with average sales of 7 million copies a year. Its list ranges from mass market humour to intimate graphic novels with something for every reader. Glenat also publishes children’s illustrated books and picture books on mountaineering, sailing, travel, food & wine and cultural heritage.

Year of creation: 1969
Titles in catalogue: 8000
(4000 Graphic novels)
Titles published annually: 650


[The website]

Ils ont fait l’histoire/ They Made History
They Made History is a collection of 48-pages biographies of important historical figures. Each story is written jointly by a comic book artist and a noted historian to ensure that the works are factual representations of these great historic figures’ lives and achievements. Each volume also contains 8 bonus pages written by the historian, to give more insight on the character.
History / 12 +
240 × 320 mm / 48+8 pages / 14,50 €
10 titles in the series (more to come)

Operation Overlord
Michaël Le Galli (text),
Davide Fabbri (Artwork)
This series looks at battles on strategic D-Day locations:
–Omaha Beach, where the first American division disembarked and experienced the bloodiest battle of the landings.
–Sainte-Mère-L’Eglise, the first French town liberated by the GIs of the 82nd Airborne.
–The Merville Battery, heroically taken from the Germans by the 9th Battalion of the British Parachutists (6th Airborne).
History / 12 +
240 × 320 mm / 48 pages / 13,90 €
3 titles in the series (volume 4 to come)

La leçon de pêche/ The Fishing Lesson
Heinrich Böll (original short story),
Bernard Friot (adaptation),
Émile Bravo (Artwork)
Adapted from a short story by Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Böll. In a small harbour, an old fisherman is taking a nap in his old boat when a tourist wakes him up and starts chatting. The tourist is thinking big: he explains to the old man how going out to sea again would mean catching more fish, making more money, buying bigger boats, catching even more fish, and eventually being able to… take a nap!
5+
262 × 198 mm / 40 pages / 12,20 €
1 title in the series

























Love in Vain –Robert Johnson, 1911-1938
JM Dupont (text), Mezzo (artwork)
A graphic novel portrait of Robert Johnson, father of the blues and a music legend. Robert Johnson is known as one of the best guitar players ever. They say he sold his soul to the Devil at a crossroads in exchange for his extraordinary talent. Against a background of segregationist Mississippi in the 1930s, this master guitarist and poet leads his rambling life until its tragic end –supposedly poisoned by a love rival.
Graphic Novel, biography
305 × 196 mm / 72 pages / 19,50 €
1 title in the series




Le roman de Boddah–Comment j’ai tué Kurt Cobain /Boddah’s Diary–How I Killed Kurt Cobain
Nicolas Otero
Kurt Cobain is one of the most influential music and pop-culture characters of the end of the 20th century. Boddah knew him well. He was his best friend. Boddah tells us Kurt’s story: the consuming relationship with Courtney Love, drugs, fame and the difficulty of coping with them, the ups and the downs… and by the way, Boddah was Kurt’s imaginary friend…
Graphic Novel, biography
195 × 278 mm / 152 pages / 25,50 €
1 title in the series





Rue de Sèvres

Since our creation in 2013, our main concern has been to give special attention to every book we publish and to present ambitious stories within beautiful objects. This is why we publish a restricted number of titles each year. Our intention is to not put any limits on genre, but rather to welcome into our catalogue books as varied as they are essential. We want our readers to discover high-quality books they can enjoy and read many times throughout the years.

Year of creation: 2013
Titles in catalogue: 50
Titles published annually: 30

[Their website.]

Le château des étoiles / Castle in the Stars (series)
Alex Alice
What if space exploration had begun one century earlier? A stunning universe that unites the styles of Jules Verne and Hayao Miyazaki with the theme of the conquest of space! In the first volume, Séraphin is invited to visit the Bavarian king who wants to finance the research on ether, a substance that would allow the exploration of the skies. We follow Séraphin and his friends in their quest to build an Ethership, escape from their enemies and take off to the Moon!
All public
240 × 320 mm / 64 pages/13,50 €
1 title in the series




Julio Popper
Matz, Léonard Chemineau
This story takes us to Argentina, where we follow Julio Popper, an engineer and adventurer with an exceptional destiny. Capable of thinking quickly and accurately and putting words into action, he had big ideas and plenty of them, and nothing could stop him. He liked ridiculing his enemies and was afraid of nothing and no-one. He enjoyed a fight right to the finish. Born in 1857 in Romania, he died under strange circumstances at the age of 35, after making a fortune in gold from Patagonia and founding a state within a state.
Adults
210 × 275 mm / 104 pages / 18 €
One shot




[Wow. ]

Astrid Bromure/ Astrid Bromide
Vol 1: How to Wipe Out the Little Mouse
Fabrice Parme
Astrid is a spoiled little girl who feels very lonely in her palace: her only goal is to find friends! She has just lost a tooth and discovers the legend of the little mouse, but she doesn’t believe one single word! She needs proof, and decides to set some clever traps to capture it. She fails, but to her stupefaction, the little mouse leaves a tube of toothpaste under her pillow. So it does exist! Extremely motivated, Astrid will do anything to catch her first friend!
Children
210 × 275 mm / 40 pages /10,50 €
1 title in the series






Sarbacane

Editions Sarbacane: twelve years of creation, of passion shared with astonishingly talented authors, and a list renowned for its quality and diversity, openness and selectivity. With more than 450 titles, the catalogue proposes picture books, young adult fiction, comics for adults and children, game books, cross-over titles, illustrated classics and graphic novels, many of them with unusual formats.

Year of creation: 2003
Titles in catalogue: 100
(comics and graphic novels)
Titles published annually: 10
(comics and graphic novels)



[The website]

Emmett Till
Arnaud Floc’h
This enlightening and necessary book tells a true story. Emmett Till, a black boy of fourteen from Chicago, comes to spend his vacation in Mississippi. When he gets off the train on August 24, 1955, he has no idea he only has five more days to live. He has the misfortune of walking into a grocery store “reserved” for Whites and behaving in a “provocative manner” to grocer Roy Bryant’s wife. Bryant, along with his half-brother, goes on a manhunt. After kidnapping Emmett, the pair torture him before tossing his body in the river…
For teens & grown-ups
215 × 290 mm / 80 pages / 19,50 €
One-off




Black Face Banjo
Frantz Duchazeau
Duchazeau turns his talent to the myths of rural America with a powerful style and black and white graphics. His perfect, free-flowing line packs a great emotional punch. USA, late 19th century. Roaming acts called “Minstrels” or “Medicine Shows” are proliferating throughout the country, with whites made up as clowns, caricatures of blacks. Our hero, a young black vagrant with a wooden leg, is hired as a dancer and sideshow curiosity after an act in the street…
For teens & grown-ups
200 × 280 mm / 144 pages /23,50 €
One-off




[Yes… this is problematic on a wide variety of levels…subject matter, cartoony abstract style, fiction…]

The Corner
Lorenzo Palloni, Andrea Settimo
1920, Boston. Dozens of bodies stretched out on the pier: poor Italian immigrants who died during the crossing. Italo Serpio is summoned by the police to identify his brother’s body. Serpio, an anarchist who infiltrated the Mafia in order to destroy it, is convinced his brother was murdered, and wants revenge… Chases, unexpected twists, reversals, betrayals: non-stop pulse-pounding suspense! In this game, there’s no telling cat from mouse, cop from gangster from anarchist.
For grown-ups
210 × 285 mm / 152 pages / 23,50 €
One-off




Le Pont des arts
Catherine Meurisse
Catherine Meurisse surrounds herself with her favourite authors and artists, highlighting the intimate ties between writing and painting. Proust and Vermeer’s View of Delft, Zola and Cézanne (and the Impressionists), George Sand and Delacroix, Apollinaire and Picasso… they can all be found at Le Pont des Arts! Her way with words, her sure hand, her lively, quick, evocative line work: Catherine Meurisse could capture Balzac’s entire Comédie Humaine in a single sketch.
For grown-ups
210 × 285 mm / 112 pages / 19,90 €
One-off




Râ & Co
Matthieu Roda
Children’s favourite mythological universe: Egypt at the time of pyramids! In the beginning, there was nothing… Then came a cry from the silence and darkness: Râââââââ! The God of all Gods was born. When you’re a God, you must do everything: create the sky, the birds, the sea; create other Gods and a People to worship them. No small task! With humour and rigor, Roda tells us the painful (and hilarious) story of the creation of the World according to ancient Egyptians.
For 6 +
210 × 285 mm / 48 pages / 12,50 €
1 title in the series




A.S.T. /The Apprentice Lord of Darkness
Ced, Jean-Philippe Morin
In an anachronistic fantasy realm, a tiny antihero dreams of becoming the most feared and dreaded Lord of Darkness of all time! Not easy when all you have for henchmen are a dumb, hunchbacked goblin and a monster as sweet as he is gentle. For fans of hilarious medieval settings, à la Monty Python, a graphic novel full of unbridled whimsy and anachronistic comedy: guaranteed reading pleasure!
For 8 +
210 × 285 mm / 48 pages /12,50 €
2 titles in the series






 

3 Comments on Great French Comics I Want To Read In English!, last added: 6/10/2015
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23. First Second Announces Pashima, a YA Bildungsroman that Seeks to Change the Way You See India

Today, cartoonist Nidhi Chanani announced that her first graphic novel, Pashima, has been picked up by First Second to be released in 2017.  Pashima is the story of a Indian-American girl named Priyanka Das who lives in Orange County and seeks to reconnect with her mother’s Indian roots.  She finds a pashima shawl that whisks her away from America and takes her on a “fantastical journey to understand her heritage – and herself.”  Think 1001 Arabian Nights meets Persepolis.pashima001

Chanani describes her story as an attempt to undo the decades of misconceptions surrounding India.  Instead of a land filled with “poverty, hokey gurus, and the kama sutra,” Chanani wants readers to experience the India that she knows, filled with “strong family ties, deep spirituality, and beautiful landscapes.”  Unlike other graphic novels that deal with topics of “otherness” from a racial perspective like Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, Chanani’s book does not seek to cut or scathe.  She does not seek to confront a group of oppressors, but rather empower children that currently share the struggle that she once faced in her youth.  From the announcement:

My teenage understanding of India was tainted by poverty stricken, third world imagery. How wonderful would it be if a young person learned about their culture through only positive representations? That’s the root of Pashmina; opening a suitcase and traveling to a fantasy version of India where a character can learn about their heritage in a favorable light.

pashima002

Chanani is a newcomer to the world of comics, but is well known as an illustrator and social activist.  She was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Asians and Pacific Islanders and runs a portfolio and studio site called Everyday Love.  As a first generation kid myself, I think it’s great to see stories that seek to embrace the duality of the culture minorities live in in America rather than seeking to separate from one or the other.

pashima003

2 Comments on First Second Announces Pashima, a YA Bildungsroman that Seeks to Change the Way You See India, last added: 6/13/2015
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24. Making Comics with Bitstrips

Near the end of the school year, I introduced my students to Bitstrips. "Introduced" means I showed them where to find all the tools, gave them the login code and got out of the way.

After spending a ton of time creating their avatars, they got down to the (funny) business of making comics. You can imagine that with an available background of a bathroom, there were plenty of cartoons that would appeal mostly to a 10 year-old sense of humor. What surprised me the most were the comics that captured a moment in our classroom



or a moment in their lives



or something completely random that shows they were playing with the tools and wound up making something that made some kind of sense!


Every year, I have students who read graphic novels and want to make their own in writing workshop. I've never had success supporting these students because of the limitations of students to draw their own stories, the limitations of the digital tools I had tried in the past, and the lack of an accessible mentor text for beginning graphic novelists.

I think this coming year might be the year of the student-created graphic novel. Instead of renewing the three subscriptions to magazines no students in my classroom have read for the past two years, I am going to pay for a subscription to Bitstrips (digital tool -- √).

And I'm going to share this book (mentor text -- √) with my writers as a graphic novel/comic strip mentor text:


by Chris Giarrusso
Image Comics, 2012

The book starts with a longer story, but the ones I really want to share with/study with my students are the 1-2 page "Comic Bits" and the two-panel "Mean Brother/Idiot Bother" strips. Every budding Kazu Kibuishi has to start somewhere, right?


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25. Thursday Review: EXQUISITE CORPSE by Penelope Bagieu

Summary: This graphic novel isn't technically a YA book, but since it's about a 22-year-old young woman trying to muddle along in early adulthood, it makes a great crossover title. And because I loved it so much I want to hug it, I'm going to review... Read the rest of this post

0 Comments on Thursday Review: EXQUISITE CORPSE by Penelope Bagieu as of 6/18/2015 3:01:00 PM
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