Archive for the ‘Comics/Graphic Novels’ Category

SOONISH Sells Fast

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

9780399563829A graphic nonfiction work is zooming up Amazon’s sales rankings, Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything (PRH/Penguin, October 17, 2017; ISBN 9780399563829), well in advance of its October release date..

Created by Zach Weinersmith, who writes the webcomic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and has over 100,000 followers on Twitter, it is co-written with his wife, Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, an Adjunct Faculty in the BioSciences Department at Rice University and the cohost of the podcast Science… Sort Of.

Comics Beat says to think about it as “sort of in the vein of Randall Munro’s immensely popular science books, if by that you mean a book about science by a webcomics superstar.”

Weinersmith ran a pre-order book promotion on his site, promising to do certain feats if the book hit #1 on Amazon, such as eat an entire peanut butter pie.

The book reached #3 yesterday, saving him from having to consume the pie. It marks, however, a very impressive rise on Amazon, going from “no ranking” to #3  within just a few hours.

Order Alert: MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

9781606999592_9d70dAn out-of-the blue debut graphic novel is sweeping the industry, being compared to the greats in the field and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Norton/Fantagraphics) reviewer John Powers says “this extraordinary book has instantly rocketed Ferris into the graphic novel elite alongside Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel and Chris Ware. You see, she’s produced something rare, a page-turning story whose pages are so brilliantly drawn you don’t want to turn them.”

The story is set in in Chicago in the nineteen-sixties and features a ten-year old girl named Karen Reyes who investigates the death of a neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Powers says that Ferris uses the story to explore “the idea of monstrousness, from the small-scale cruelties of schoolyard bullying to Nazi death camps. Along the way, Karen learns to see a difference between what she calls ‘good monsters’ who are scary because they’re, quote, ‘weird looking and fangy’ and so-called ‘bad monsters.’ They’re scary because they want everyone to be scared so they can control them.”

Also covered in the NYT ‘s Art and Design section, it is described as “blood-tingling,” full of “grisly delights,” oozing “with the secrets and hungers that shadow childhood.” Art Spiegelman (Maus) tells the paper that “Emil Ferris is one of the most important comics artists of our time … She uses the sketchbook idea as a way to change the grammar and syntax of the comics page … And she came out of nowhere. Until recently, no one was aware of Emil — including Emil.”

The New Yorker offers an excerpt. Françoise Mouly, the influential art editor of the magazine and co-founder of the comics magazine Raw sets the story up, saying Ferris’s “mastery of comics, her pyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form.”

 

John Lewis On The MARCH

Friday, November 18th, 2016

9781603093958_0e365Winning the National Book Award has sent the March trilogy, by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf) zooming on Amazon, jumping from #1,321 to #17.

The individual volumes are all soaring up the sales ranks as well, each leapfrogging over a thousand other titles.

It has also resulted in a glowing NYT book review: “The three volumes of March … aren’t just a record of Lewis’s activism but one of its brilliant examples, designed to help new generations of readers visualize the possibilities of political engagement.”

The review continues, saying the comics are a:

“galvanizing account of [Lewis’s] coming-of-age in the movement, it’s a capsule lesson in courage of conscience, a story that inspires without moralizing or simplifying in hindsight … Emphasizing disruption, decentralization and cooperation over the mythic ascent of heroic leaders, this graphic novel’s presentation of civil rights is startlingly contemporary. Lewis may be one of the “great men” of the movement, but his memoir is humble and generous.”

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Collectively the trilogy has received a number of groundbreaking honors:

March: Book One is a Coretta Scott King honor book, a Margaret A. Edwards honor book, an ALA Notable Children’s Book, and is the first graphic novel to win a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. It was also nominated for three Eisner awards.

March: Book Two won the Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work.

March: Book Three won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. This is the first time a graphic novel has been so honored (there have been graphic novel finalists. Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts, Scholastic/GRAPHIX, was also a finalist this year).

For just a taste of the power of the comics, see our post on the Congressman’s recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Wonder Woman Gets Second Trailer

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The second look at the next comic film adaptation from DC, Wonder Woman, has just been released.

Fans first saw this version of the Amazon princess in Batman v Superman, followed by the Comic-Con trailer in July.

SlashFilm offers a frame-by-frame breakdown of the new trailer, pointing out that the dual-time period movie will tie “into the large DC movie universe and further push us toward [the upcoming film] Justice League.”

Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise) stars while Star Trek‘s Chris Pine co-starts as her romantic interest and ally. Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Lucy Davis, and Danny Huston round out the cast.

The film premieres on June 2, 2017. Tie-ins have yet to be announced.

N.K. Jemisin on Peter S. Beagle and New SFF

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

The 2016 Hugo Award-winning novelist, N.K. Jemisin, returns with another of her NYT‘s columns focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy.

As we have written, she is a demanding and discriminating consumer of fiction. As a critic she is vibrantly engaged and is not willing to let much slide. As a reader she is interested in meaningful content rather than plot, values beautiful language, and appreciates in-depth characterizations. Since last December she has been sharing her views on Science Fiction and Fantasy in the NYT book review column “Otherwordly,” a bi-monthly roundup.

This month she takes on four works, a space opera, a graphic novel, the return of a beloved voice in Fantasy, and creepy speculative fiction.

9781616962449_ff216The work she clearly likes best is the long awaited return of Peter S. Beagle, a favorite of Fantasy readers for books such as The Last Unicorn. His newest novel in 17 years is Summerlong (Tachyon Publications), a contemporary take on the Persephone myth.

Jemisin writes that the characters are “fully textured,” the story is about “how ordinary people change, and are changed by, the numinous,” and the setting is beautifully realized:

“It’s a rare story of summer that feels like the summer — like dreamy intense passions rising and arcing and then spinning away; like beauty underlaid with a tinge of sadness because it is ephemeral. Beagle has captured that seasonal warmth here, beautifully, magically.”

9781632156945_bb8a6She also writes favorably about Pretty Deadly Volume 2: The Bear by Kelly Sue De Connick with art by Emma Ríos (Image Comics; OverDrive Sample), saying at its core it is “a masterpiece of mythopoeism that many literary fantasists struggle to emulate.”

She describes the story as a “weird western saga [that] gleefully, dreamily fuses a Greek chorus, spaghetti westerns, American trickster tales and creepy Japanese shoujo (girls’) manga.”

She is not a complete fan of the coloring in the comic, but says “This is a minor flaw. Every other element of this tale is a perfectly balanced mixture of the macabre with pure human poignancy. New readers will need Volume 1 too, but the return on investment is more than worthwhile.”

Vol.1 is Pretty Deadly: The Shrike (Image Comics; OverDrive Sample).

The full column is online. it ran in last week’s Sunday Book Review.

LUKE CAGE: To Watch and To Read

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

mv5bmtcymzc1mji5mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmze4ody2ote-_v1_sy1000_cr007041000_al_The premiere of Netflix’s new 13-episode Luke Cage series, based on the Marvel comics’ character, was so successful that it may have caused the streaming service to go down for two hours on Saturday.

The NYT television critic offers a lukewarm take on the new run, but he is in the minority. Most other critics agree with Deadline Hollywood which calls it “one of the most socially relevant and smartest shows on the small screen you will see this year.”

New York magazine calls the comic book Cage “one of the most important black characters in sequential art,” noting, however, that over his 44-year history, Marvel struggled to “make the character relevant in a world where conceptions of black characters in American pop culture were rapidly evolving.”

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-02-06-pmCharting the character’s evolution in “5 Comics to Read Before You Watch Luke Cage,” New York magazine writes that the first stories, collected in Luke Cage, Hero For Hire vol. 1, represent “Marvel Comics’ blatant attempt to cash in on the Blaxploitation craze.” As a result, the collection is “somewhat awkward to read today, with its urban patois (penned by white men, of course) and simplistic depictions of avarice.”

The Netflix series is quite the opposite. As the show’s creator Ched Hodari Coulter tells Wired magazine in a cover feature on the series, “There have been African ­American super­heroes on our screens before—such as Wesley Snipes’ titular turn in Blade—but Luke Cage is the first to be surrounded by an almost completely black cast and writing team and whose powers and challenges are so explicitly linked to the black experience in America.”

A collection of comics featuring the character was released in August,  Luke Cage: Avenger, (Marvel).

ZITA Blasts Off

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

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Heading off the comic page and onto the silver screen is Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (Macmillan/First Second; 2/1/11; OverDrive Sample) reports Deadline Hollywood. Fox Animation has acquired rights to the trilogy. Morgan Jurgenson and Alex Ankeles (Robodog) will adapt the books.

The graphic novel trilogy, created by award-winning Hatke, follows the adventures of Zita as she learns to be brave and navigate her far out world. Bleeding Cool lists it as one of the “Essential 8 Comics For Kids,” writing:

“… everything I love about comic books; adventure, humor, humanity and a big heaping dose of wonder … Hatke has made something really special here … original and fun. It’s completely appropriate for kids but like the best stories, I think everyone will appreciate it.”

97815964380649781626720589_8fe46The other books in the trilogy are:

Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (9/4/12; OverDrive Sample)

The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (5/13/14; OverDrive Sample)

Hatke won an Eisner Award for Little Robot. His other books include Nobody Likes a Goblin, and Julia’s House for Lost Creatures.

First Second reports that “Of all our books, Zita the Spacegirl has earned the most fan photos and cosplay” and provides some images to prove it.

Wired interviewed the author shortly after the second book in the trilogy hit shelves (accompanied by bonus illustrations).

Alan Moore, The Interviews

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

9781631491344_48f16Hitting shelves today with a hardy thunk is Jerusalem (Norton/Liveright), Alan Moore’s 1,000-plus page modernist novel that addresses “a secular theory of the afterlife,” the metaphysics of time, and poverty and class. So heavy is it (it is almost 10 inches thick and weighs more than some laptops) that the publisher is offering it in a boxed set of three volumes to make reading it more manageable.

It is fitting then that the most recent interviews with Moore, one published by New York magazine and another by The New York Times are weighty, too.

The New York magazine interview captures the author in a good, if reflective, mood, except for his take on certain comics. Known for many pioneering comics, including The Watchmen (DC Comics), he says, “I am really in a bad mood about superheroes,” and goes on to say about film adaptations that cycle through the same material, “What are these movies doing other than entertaining us with stories and characters that were meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of 50 years ago?”

Despairing about much of the comic industry and his own role in creating some of the most iconic comics of the past few decades he says “I probably only have about 250 pages of comics left in me to write. With regard to the superhero characters, my opinion is that they were what I was given to play with when I was starting out in the industry. That’s it. It wasn’t as if I had ever expressed any particular desire to do them.”

The NYT caught Moore in a worse mood, one in which he is both evasive and self-indulgent, but did manage to illicit the news that he is currently obsessed with David Foster Wallace and particularly  Infinite Jest.

Embracing GHOSTS

Monday, September 12th, 2016

GhostsGraphic novelist Raina Telgemeier was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition yesterday, causing her new book Ghosts (Scholastic/GRAPHIX) to jump to #8 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

She tells interviewer Barrie Handyman that she hopes the book will serve as a way to talk to children about a difficult subject, death.

The book will be published tomorrow.

MARCH Continues

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

9781603093958_0e365Congressman John Lewis appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night and talked about his graphic memoir March, set for release next week as a three-volume boxed set, March (Trilogy Slipcase Set), John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions).

He told Colbert that the ten-cent comic Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story served for him as a road map into the Civil Rights movement.

He hopes that March will become the road map for another generation, making history and civil action plain and real, so it “jumps off the pages and sings and dances” for readers.

The pair also talked about the sit-in recently held in Congress to draw attention to gun violence and how it is an example of finding a way to get into what Congressman Lewis calls “good and necessary trouble.”

Be sure to watch the segment to the end — it’s not to be missed.

BLACK PANTHER Takes Another Star Turn

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

5792a1f455b04Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay are collaborating on a Black Panther spin-off, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, reports The New York Times. The poet Yona Harvey is also writing scripts.

It is the first time Gay will work on a comic, as it was the first time for Coates when he wrote the Black Panther re-launch earlier this year. As we have noted, that comic was a top seller and made King T’Challa of Wakanda a major player in the Marvel universe.

Now Coates is pushing to expand that world, recruiting both Gay and Harvey, says the NYT, because “he thought it was important to have female voices help breathe life into these characters.”

Describing her story in an interview posted on the Marvel site, Gay said: “my book is going to be pretty intimate. There’s going to be all kinds of action, but I’m also really excited to show Ayo and Aneka’s relationship, build on that love story, and also introduce some other members of the Dora Milaje … I love being able to focus on women who are fierce enough to fight but still tender enough to love.” (Ed. note. the Dora Milaje is the security force protecting the Black Panther).

“It’s the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done, and I mean that in the best possible way,” she told the NYT, continuing “The opportunity to write black women and queer black women into the Marvel universe, there’s no saying no to that.” In the same Marvel interview Coates says, “Wakanda is a deep, rich world. And I think Roxane is the perfect person to begin the literary excavations.”

As for Harvey, Coates told the NYT, “I have found that poetry is so correlated with writing comic books … That’s just so little space, and you have to speak with so much power. I thought she’d be a natural.” Her first story will be a “10-page second story … about Zenzi, a female revolutionary who incited a riot in the first issue of the Black Panther series.”

The Verge reports that “Coates recruited Gay and Harvey personally, and emphasized the importance of having diversity both on the page and on the payroll at Marvel.”

The start of the spin-off series is expected this November.

The “Oscars of Comics” Go To …

Monday, July 25th, 2016

The 28th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Oscars of the format, were announced on Friday during Comic-Con.

9781906838980_6b68c  9781603094009_40654  9780062278234_536a7

What is essentially the best book of the year award went to Ruins by Peter Kuper (Abrams/SelfMadeHero, Oct. 2015) for “Best Graphic Album—New. “The publisher describes it as exploring “the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present as encountered by an array of characters. The real and surreal intermingle to paint an unforgettable portrait of life south of the Rio Grande.”

March: Book Two, John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (Diamond/Top Shelf, Jan. 2015) won “Best Reality-Based Work.” Book Three in the series is schedule for release on Aug 2. PW reports that a delighted Lewis “bounded from his seat and ran to the stage at the announcement.”

Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HC/Harper Teen, May 2015) won the Eisner for “Best Graphic Novel Reprint.” Librarians will recall it was a National Book Award finalist for Young Peoples Literature last year.

Image Comics swept the series stakes, winning all three categories:

9781632156747_6e544  9781632156105_f7388  9781632159113_688e0

Paper Girls: Volume 1, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chian (Diamond/Image Comics, Apr. 2016) won “Best New Series.” Paper Girls: Volume 2 is forthcoming in December.

“Best Continuing Series” went to Southern Bastards, Jason Aaron and Jason LaTour. Southern Bastards Volume 3: Homecoming is the most recent (Diamond/Image Comics, July 2016).

The Fade Out, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Diamond/Image Comics; OverDrive Sample) won for “Best Limited Series.” It was issued in three volumes starting in 2015 (vol 1, 2, 3) and will be released in a complete deluxe edition with added material this fall.

9781626720800_998b0  9781608868360_93990  9781770461987_1627b

“Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8)” went to Little Robot, Ben Hatke (Macmillan/First Second, Sept. 2015; OverDrive Sample).

“Best Publication for Kids (ages 9-12)” was snagged by Over the Garden Wall, Pat McHale, Amalia Levari, and Jim Campbell (S&S/Boom! Studios, Sept. 2016; OverDrive Sample). Volume 2 is forthcoming in Feb. 2017.

SuperMutant Magic Academy, Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Apr. 2015) won “Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17).”

9781770462083_6c2d3In a year that was particularly notable for the number of women nominees, Kate Beaton’s Step Aside Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection (Macmillan/Drawn and Quarterly, Sept. 2015) won best humor publication, which The Hollywood Reporter points out, is “the first time in the Eisners’ long history that a woman has ever won that category solo.”

In addition, Lynda Barry and Matt Groening were voted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame. The full list of winners is available online.

HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS,
Book Trailer

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

A trailer for the comic book based on Neil Gaiman’s short story, “How to talk to Girls at Parties,” (available online in both text and audio) was just released and is getting picked up by many entertainment news sites.

The graphic novel, released on Tuesday, is also set to be adapted as a movie, starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman and Alex Sharp. Gaiman is the executive producer for the project, set to begin filming in November.

9781616559557_1d4fbNeil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon
Dark Horse Books,:July 5, 2016
9781616559557, 1616559551
Hardcover
$17.99 USD, $23.99 CAD

Sneak Peek: ANGEL CATBIRD

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

9781506700632_97656Get an early look at Margaret Atwood’s first graphic novel via BuzzFeed. A mix of advocacy (for cats and wildlife) and storytelling, it pairs Atwood with noted illustrator Johnnie Christmas in a tale featuring a superhero scientist who is a part cat and part bird, Angel Catbird (PRH/Dark Horse; Sept. 6, 2016; ISBN: 9781506700632; $14.99).

As we noted in May, Dark Horse acquiring editor says it will be “a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired story … [with] …a lot of cat puns …. a strange mix of Will Eisner’s The Spirit, Grant Morrison and Chas Truog’s Animal Man, and Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s Squirrel Girl.”

Atwood told BuzzFeed that comics are not new to her, saying “I grew up in the 1940s drawing comics, and I’ve continued: I even drew a strip in the 1970s.”

9781506700991_1ada3Angel Catbird is not the only comic Atwood has in the works. She is part of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls: Expanded Edition, Hope Nicholson (PRH/Dark Horse; on sale Oct. 18), an anthology that started as a kickstarter campaign, reports The Guardian.

Atwood tweeted about it last year:

Live from Comic-Con

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

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If you’ve longed to attend San Diego Comic-Con, this year you can experience it vicariously. Syfy Presents Live From Comic-Con will run on the network the three nights of the show, July 21-23.

Host Will Arnett will, according to Deadline, “invite fans at the network’s outdoor stage to discuss and engage in the Con’s breaking news, insider party coverage, and exclusive content, along with sneak peeks of the most anticipated films and TV series.”

Too bad they don’t mention actual comics, but perhaps, at least, they will cover the Eisner winners. This year, by the way, a record number of women have been nominated for the award