Joe & Azat GN by (W/A) Jesse Lonergan
Joe is an American in the strange land of Turkmenistan, who finds a good friend in Azat, a Turkmen dreamer whose optimism knows no bounds. With tales of doomed desert cab rides, nights of endless vodka shots, unlikely business schemes, and secret girlfriends, Lonergan not only captures the bizarreness of the Peace Corps experience but also reveals the hope in seemingly hopeless situations. $10.95. Visit Lonergan here
Lee: Finding hope in a Peace Corp situation is a very difficult thing, indeed. It sounds interesting. Actually, it probably should be required reading for anyone foolish enough to want to join the PC.
Jim: Geez, now this sounds like something that I would really never want to read.
New York Review Books
Poem Strip GN by (W/A) Dino Buzzati
Dino Buzzati's pioneering graphic novel relocates the story of Orpheus and Eurydice to a ghostly version of modern Milan. The Orpheus figure is a guitarist and Eurydice is Eura, who is no sooner seen and desired than lost. Her lover follows her into an underworld of temptation and delusion, at once bar, strip joint, hall of mirrors, horror show, and tunnel of love. He tells stories to wake the dead and returns with a precious secret that may be everything or nothing. 240 pgs. $14.95
Lee: Ok. I picked this because it looked cool and found out it was something way more than I imagined. To start Buzzati, the author, wrote this 1968 and died in 1972. Buzzati apparently was quite the accomplished author and artist. Since I love Euro art, and classic literature, I’m going to give this a try. Not to mention 200+ pages for $15 is a very good deal.
Jim: Wow, now Lee is going heavily into stuff just because it is European. Sometimes certain things are just way away from what my interests are and these is another easy pass for me.
Classics Illustrated Vol. 06: Scarlet Letter HC by (W) Nathaniel Hawthorne, P. Craig Russell (A) Jill Thompson
In addition to his graphic adapations of opera and the fairy tales of Oscar Wilde, P. Craig Russell is known for both his collaborations with Neil Gaiman and his adaptations of Gaiman's prose works, all of which makes Russell an inspired choice to adapt The Scarlet Letter. Russell broke down the novel into script form and layouts, providing Jill Thompson the foundation for her beautifully painted pages that bring Hawthorne's tale of adultery and secrets to life. $9.95
Lee: I’ve gotten every one of these reprints and loved all of them. The art is always good and the stories are classics. What’s not to like ? In this case, I’m sold on Jill Thompson’s art.
Jim: What's not to like, how about just reading the actual classic novel itself. When I was a child these amused me, now if I was going to read the story I would read the source material.
How Obelix Fell Into the Magic Potion HC by (W) Rene Goscinny (A) Albert Uderzo
Every one of the Asterix stories refers to a decisive moment in Obelix's life - when he, as a six-year-old boy, fell into the Druid's cauldron of magic potion. As a consequence of this accident, he developed phenomenal physical strength. But what actually happened? How did Obelix make that life-altering plunge? Here, at last, is the full story of what took place on that incredible day! $12.95
Lee: Asterix is a classic all ages European book. I never met anyone who’s read it that didn’t like it. This is wonderful material in a great slightly, oversized format if you haven’t tried it before.
Jim: If you haven't tried it before, you probably won't be trying it again. For Part 2 I was praising Lee for great choices, now I think his trip to France has turned into a Euro-snob.
Best of Wizard of Id HC by (W/A) Johnny Hart, Brant Parker
The Wizard of Id has enjoyed great success; it was named best humor strip by the American National Cartoonists Society Set, and currently appears in 1,000 newspapers worldwide. Set in the oppressed, shabby, medieval kingdom of Id, the strips follow the ups and downs of the everyday lives of peoples of Id - from King, the dwarfish, tyrannical king; to Wiz, his wizard; Sir Rodney, his chief knight in faded armor; and a whole smorgasbord of dingbats, shysters, failed jesters and perpetually disgruntled peasants. Let The Wizard of Id take you on a satirical tour of modern day life and American culture! $19.95
Lee: This is very odd because last month Titan offered the Hagar the Horrible reprint. This month it has Wizard of Id. Since when did a British company get reprint rights to a bunch of American comic strips? When Johnny Hart wrote “Id,” it was a very humorous strip. Please note, he hasn’t written it in the past decade.
Jim: Lee is right, when Hart wrote it it was funny. This strip gave me two lines I still use to this day. Remember the golden rule, those who have the gold, rule. The second someone yells "The Peasants are revolting" to which the King agrees, which still makes me laugh.
Nemi Vol. 03 HC by (W/A) Lise Myhre
Nemi Montoya is the vegetarian, cynical/romantic, hilariously honest twenty-something goth, star of this third hardcover collection of her strip by artist and writer Lise Myhre! Join Nemi, her blue-haired best friend Cyan, and a host of twenty-somethings as they discuss, life, the universe, dating, horror films, the Lord of the Rings, and everything else in between. 'Funny, honest, and strangely compelling. Who knew how irresistible the misadventures of a hot, rebellious, wise-cracking goth woman could be?' - Jeff Smith (Bone) $14.95 You can read a week of Nemi here
Lee: For this month’s oddest pick, we have Nemi. It’s actually a Norwegian daily comic strip that’s reprinted in various British newspapers. And, it’s darn good. I’ve started reading it daily and it’s quite funny.
Jim: Well send it onto me so I can make my decision based on something. I like the artwork.
Goth GN by (W) Otsuichi (A) Kendi Oiwa,
A notebook that leads to murder...a refrigerator filled with hands...a pit of dead dogs...an accidental suicide...a boy buried alive...In these haunting stories, two teenagers linked by an obsession with murder and torture explore the recesses of humanity's dark side. A dark, haunting collection that question's humanity's fascination with murder Shrinkwrapped with Parental Advisory sticker on the front cover, 192 pages. Content Indicator: Moderate Sexual Violence, Excessive Gore, Moderate Violence, $10.99
Lee: I don’t pick many manga books but how can you not pick one that has excessive gore? Hummmm, there’s something interesting the blurb says “Excessive Gore” but it only has “Moderate Violence.” How do you manage that?
Jim: Yeah, listen when someone ordered something like this from my store that I had back in the nineties I was waiting for the police to raid the place. Excessive gore, you mean outdoing the last issue of Invincible? Shrink wrapped with an advisory sticker, hell I'm afraid to read it now.
Top Shelf Productions
Alec: Years Have Pants Life Size Omnibus SC by (W/A) Eddie Campbell
For the first-time ever, the groundbreaking autobiographical comics of master cartoonist Eddie Campbell are collected in a single volume! Brilliantly observed and profoundly expressed, the Alec stories present a version of Eddie's own life, filtered through the alter ego of 'Alec MacGarry.' Witness Alec's progression 'from beer to wine' - wild nights at the pub, existential despair, the hunt for love, the quest for art, becoming a 'responsible breadwinner,' feeling lost at his own movie premiere, and much more! At every point, the author's uncanny eye for irony and wry self-awareness makes even the smallest occasion into an opportunity for wit and wisdom. This edition collects the previous Alec books, as well as a generous helping of rare and never-before-seen material, including an all-new 35-page book, The Years Have Pants. Available in HC and SC editions. $35.00
Lee: Alec has been in print for a long, long time but I’ve never read it. I’ve never heard anything bad about it and it’s been in print forever. So I’ll pick up a copy. BUT DAMMIT! They also offer a more expensive hardcover which is absolutely going to kill me. Actually, I’m just buying the hc.
Jim: Pass. I know this has gotten good reviews, but I still have no interest in it.
Book of Genesis Illustrated by Robert Crumb HC by (W/A) Robert Crumb
The eagerly awaited graphic work retells the first book of the Bible in a profoundly honest way. Peeling away the theological and scholarly interpretations, R. Crumb, using the actual text work for work, has imagined the Bible as it really was. First serialized in The New Yorker, this graphic work is now available in a collected edition. Also available in a Limited Hardcover Edition, slipcased with a signed print, limited to 500 copies. $24.95
Lee: I want Crumb in my collection. He’s too influential not to have something by him in your collection. The problem is I tried a reprint of his work from ’69-72. Uummm, I’m glad I read it but I have to keep it on the top shelf, behind some other books, turned sideways, and wrapped in plastic because it’s not for kids. But, this sounds better.
Jim: Ha, ha, I know what Lee means, but just because someone was influential does not mean I have to own it.
Stitches HC by (W/A) David Small
One day David Small awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he had been transformed into a virtual mute. A vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot, the young boy had not been told that he had throat cancer and was expected to die. Small, a prize-winning children's author, re-creates a life story that might have been imagined by Kafka. Readers will be riveted by his journey from speechless victim to his decision to flee his home at sixteen with nothing more than dreams of becoming an artist. Stitches will transform adolescent and adult readers alike with its deeply liberating vision. The official site is here limited previews but worth looking into. $23.95
Lee: To borrow another sites term, this is definitely a ‘buzz book.’ At least in the world of indies it is. There is lots and lots of hype about this and I can see why. It sounds like an incredible, uplifting journey with fantastic art to go with it. I’m sold.
Jim: Okay I have ripped Lee for some picks in Part 3, but this one sounds like a great story. I may have to climb aboard this train.
Spy vs. Spy: Danger, Intrigue, Stupidity SC by (W/A) Antonio Prohias
Spy Vs. Spy was a long-running feature of MAD Magazine. These stories, some of which has been out of print for over 40 years, are now collected into three volumes - Danger, Intrigue, Stupidity; Masters of Mayhem; and Missions of Madness. The crazed work of Antonio Prohias enthralled readers with its madcap adventure and derring-do; now these stories are introduced by longtime MAD editor John Ficarra. $11.99
Lee: Spy v. Spy is one of the Mad Magazine properties that always seems to be in print. They did a nice hc collection several years ago which I missed. But, I won’t miss them this time. This is a collection of the original SvS shorts that started it all. Very, very funny stuff.
Jim: I loved Spy v Spy and for $12 this is well worth your time if you have never read this material before.
With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child Vol. 05 GN by (W/A) Keiko Tobe
Hikaru is in the 6th grade now, reaching the end of his elementary school years and preparing for junior high. Sachiko had hoped for Hikaru to attend the local junior high, but not only is the special education system inadequate, there are bullies there who will try to take advantage of Hikaru. Sachiko will have to work harder than ever to find a perfect school for Hikaru while fighting the Board of Education that wants Hikaru to attend a school for the disabled. $14.99
Lee: Call it a sign of weakness or whatever but this is one book I know I cannot handle. Do I think it will be good? Oh yeah, this sounds great. Do I bet it’s an absolute sob fest? Oh yeah, sobbius Festivus. I’ll letting everyone else know that they should read it, but I’m not going there.
Jim: You know I going to take the politically unpopular view and say maybe the kid should be going to a handicapped school. I think all of the "nice" thinking that every child should be in a regular school is actually some sort of fantasy world view. I was on a Board of Education in New Jersey and actually fought some of these battles.
Yotsuba & I Vol. 05 GN by (W/A) Kiyohiko Azuma
Enjoy Everything! That's Yotsuba's motto! In this Eisner-nominated series, a little green haired girl delights in enjoying the things that the rest of tend to take for granted; a perfect series for kids of all ages. Yotsuba encounters Cardbo! Lends a helping (hindering?) hand! Goes stargazing and even swimming! And starts an all out war with her dad's assistant who she mistakes for an intruder trying to break into their house?! $10.99
Lee: I’m a huge fan of all ages books, from Amelia Rules to Bone, I love them all. And this easily fits the bill. I’m really curious to see how manga handles the same material so I’m all over this.
Jim: Lee has worn me out, too many picks. I'm not a huge magna fan and therefore pass.
Lee: This was an amazing month for indies. Actually, I wish the publishers had spaces some of the books out because I can't afford eveything I want this month. So much to choose from and not enough money.
Jim: Part 2 cost me a fortune, this page not so much. Still tons of stuff to consider and something that should hit almost anyone's taste in graphic entertainment who reads more then super hero material,