Archive for the ‘Graphic Books’ Category

Eisner Award Nominees Announced

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

The Oscars of the comics world, the Eisner Awards, honoring outstanding comics creator, Will Eisner, announced its nominees this week. Topping the lists are Bandette, March: Book Two, Hip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, and The Eternaut

Each received three nominations across the many categories the award recognizes, more than any of the other nominated titles.

41Npu9e+qKL9781616556686_1989dBandette is an ongoing online comic featuring a teen burglar the publisher says “treads a thin line between Tintin and Nancy Drew.” The webcomic earned nominations for Best Continuing Series, Best Digital/Webcomic, and Best Painter (for Coover). It has also been released in two paper editions thus far, Bandette Volume 1: Presto! and Bandette Volume 2: Stealers Keepers! both by Paul Tobin with art by Coleen Coover (Dark Horse, 2013 and 2015).

march_book_two_72dpi_lgMarch: Book Two,by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powell (Top Shelf, 2015) counts among its nomination nods both Best Reality-Based Work and Best Publication for Teens. As we have noted, the award-winning comic memoir series has become a must-buy in libraries. March: Book Three publishes this August. The Washington Post offers a first look at the cover.

9781606998489_4108dHip Hop Family Tree, Book 3: 1983–1984, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is up for Best Reality-Based Work and creator  Piskor is up for Best Writer/Artist and Best Cover Artist. Piskor won the 2015 Eisner for the best nonfiction graphic work for Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2: 1981-1983. Book 3 covers the rise of Run DMC and more. Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 comes out this August.

9781606998502_81c82The Eternaut by Héctor Germán Oesterheld and Francisco Solano Lòpez (Norton/Fantagraphics, 2015) is nominated for Best Archival Collection–Comic Strips, Best U.S. Edition of International Material, and Best Publication Design. The Argentinian science fiction graphic novel originally ran as a weekly, starting in 1957. In its starred review, PW says it is:

“one of the great alien-invasion stories of the golden age of SF … [with a] taut against-all-odds plot … As with much ’50s science fiction, the political subtext—made more poignant by the knowledge that Oesterheld agitated against the Argentinean government and was “disappeared” in 1977—is so smoothly embedded … that it slides right past most readers while still resonating once the true masterminds are revealed.”

Beyond these four, 2016 also turns out to be a good year for women. Comic-Con points out that “49 women have received a record 61 nominations (compared to 44 last year) and are represented in 27 of the 30 categories.” The judging panel included librarian Jason M. Poole of Webster Public Library, Webster, NY.

The full list of nominees as well as rich commentary from Comic-Con is available online.

Robert Kirkman TV

Friday, April 1st, 2016

OutcastVol1_CoverNot only does Robert Kirkman rule the horror/thriller airwaves with his hit AMC series The Wallking Dead, he is about to get more screen exposure as Outcast premieres on Cinemax in a 10 episode run starting June 3.

Based on the comic Kirkman writes and Paul Azaceta illustrates, the supernatural horror tale stars Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl) and Philip Glenister (Life on Mars) as two characters caught in a web of demonic possession.

According to ScreenCrush, before the show even airs it has been renewed for a second season in 2017.

ScreenRant reports that Krikman began working on the TV adaptation before the first print issue of Outcast was published and plans for the series to be an epic horror tale full of scares.

Two collected editions are currently in print with a third to follow on June 15.

Below is the latest trailer for the show, released yesterday:

Outcast news arrives just in time to tease the season end of The Walking Dead on April 3, which AMC is pushing hard with the reveal of Negan, a character Den of Geek calls “a force of nature, unflinching in his cruelty, and the most formidable opponent Rick and his group have ever faced.”

Entertainment Weekly reports that the final episode is very rough and made star “Andrew Lincoln was so distraught, it was the only time he’s ever shown up late for work. Lauren Cohan says she didn’t even want to go to work. Josh McDermitt threw his script across the room [and] Norman Reedus … couldn’t speak after [watching] it.”

Season 7 of The Walking Dead will air sometime this October, as was announced back in 2015 by a very confident AMC.

Black Panther Redux

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

serveimageThe first black superhero in mainstream American comics, the Black Panther, appeared in 1966 in an issue of Marvel comics Fantastic Four. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Jump ahead decades and he is about to debut again, in a story written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the best-selling author of the National Book Award winner Between the World and Me.

STL001673The first issue of the comic, with art by Brian Stelfreeze, will appear on April 6th. It is the first of eleven that will be releases in paperback complications, beginning with #1-4, Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Hachette/Marvel; Sept. 27, 2016; ISBN: 9781302900533; $16.99).

Coates writes about creating a new vision for Black Panther, writing comics, and the role of comics in his life for the newest issue of The Atlantic, where he is a national correspondent, explaining why he found the opportunity irresistible,

“Some of the best days of my life were spent poring over the back issues of The Uncanny X-Men and The Amazing Spider-Man. As a child of the crack-riddled West Baltimore of the 1980s, I found the tales of comic books to be an escape, another reality where, very often, the weak and mocked could transform their fallibility into fantastic power.”

The story is getting coverage elsewhere as well, with a piece on the NYT‘s Web site today, an illustrated story on the pop culture site The Mary Sue earlier the month, and a Speakeasy interview in the WSJ with the Editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.

All this comes as the Black Panther set to make his big-screen debut on May 5th in Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War. As we reported earlier, Chadwick Boseman will play the superhero monarch. The most recent movie trailer, below:

For background on the character, SuperHeroHype provides an illustrated look.

Neil Gaiman on FRESH AIR

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

9781401248963_423a7Interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, Neil Gaiman talked about his latest book, The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition, (DC Comics/Vertigo) which has held the #1 spot on the NYT Hardcover Graphic Books since it’s release 4 weeks ago. It collects a 6-part prequel to his Sandman stories.

In the introduction to the interview, Terry Gross says that Norman Mailer called the series “a comic strip for intellectuals.”

There have been several efforts to turn the books into a movie or TV series. Currently a film version is in the works and may begin shooting next year (Fox’s upcoming series Lucifer is based on one of the Sandman characters, featured in a spin-off written by Mike Carey).

In the interview, Gaiman declares that comics are no longer a “gender-determined medium, which always seemed completely barking mad to me.”

COATES and The BLACK PANTHER

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Screen-Shot-2015-09-23-at-10.55.10-AMNational Book Award Winner, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s next project is to create a Black Panther comic for Marvel. Set to be published next spring, Coates gives a sneak peek at the work in progress in The Atlantic and promises more updates to come.

Black Panther, the first black superhero, was introduced in 1966. He will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released May 6, 2016 (the trailer for it, released this week, broke viewing records) and as the lead in a film scheduled for 2018, He is played in both by Chadwick Boseman.

Admitting that this kind of writing is much different than his usual form, Coates explains why he accepted this challenge, “I took it on for the same reason I take on new stories—to grow intellectually and artistically. In this case it’s another genre—fictional, serial story-telling—one a good distance away from journalism, memoir, and essays.”

Comics Super Hero, The NextGen

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Saga_Vol5-1_362_557_s_c1The Last Man VaughnOne of the leading creators of massively popular and critically praised comics deeply appreciates librarians.

In a feature posted this week in The Daily Beast, writer Emil Lendof introduces Brian K. Vaughan to readers as:

“the golden boy of modern comic book writing… He has the reputation and awards (10 Eisner wins and 10 Eisner nominations) to hold the title, and he’s been compared to comics titans like Frank Miller and Alan Moore. From blockbuster hits like Y: The Last Man, the space opera Saga, and TV writing/producing credits on some of the best seasons of Lost and Under the Dome, Vaughan has become one of the preeminent comics authors.”

The pair sat down for an interview that ranged from Vaughan’s appreciation for the artists he works with to the ways he works out his fears and anxieties in comic form. He also discussed the frequent calls for banning his series Saga and in the process gives a shout-out to librarians:

“The main reason why it hasn’t been banned is because of librarians, who are at the forefront of anti-censorship. They’ve been so great about saying, “It’s fine if you don’t want your children to read Saga, but this is not how libraries work.” It’s frustrating that some people challenge it, but I am so grateful for librarians that let people check out whatever materials they want.”

Librarians who do not yet know his name are likely to be hearing much more about him. The Hollywood Reporter has news that Vaughan’s comic Y: The Last Man, which he created with artist Pia Guerra, has just been bought by FX with plans to make it into a live action series. Nina Jacobson (Hunger Games) and Brad Simpson (World War Z) will produce and Vaughan will co-write. An air date has yet to be set as the project is still in its very early days.

Zombies: Choose Your
Favorite Flavor

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

walking-dead-graphic  walking-dead

In what’s become a rite of October, The Walking Dead return in several flavors next week.

If you prefer your zombies televised, AMC’s version appears in its sixth season next week.

Fans of the print comic, which manges to be even more violent than the TV series, will have been following the monthly installments. Those willing to wait for the compendiums can enjoy The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 3 (Image Comics) arriving next week.

Also coming is the next in the novel series, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Invasion by Jay Bonansinga  (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne; and in yet another version, Macmillan is also releasing it in audio), which uses characters from both the TV series and the comics.

Each are different, but tying them all together is the Dead‘s originator, Robert Kirkman, who is involved with all three properties.

Below is the latest trailer for AMC’s version:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Comic Book Author

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.55.10 AMNational Book Award nominee Ta-Nehisi Coates is a comic book superfan, particularly of the Marvel Comics universe.

According to The New York Times, it has been a childhood dream of Coates to write comics and he gets his chance with Black Panther, the first black superhero, introduced in 1966. T’Challa, Black Panther’s real name, was born in Wakanda, a fictional African country. According to the Marvel site, his superhuman powers were enhanced by a heart-shaped herb. Coates’s version is expected next spring.

As Entertainment Weekly reports, diversity is a focus of Marvel and the new Black Panther series “will launch as part of the All-New All-Different Marvel initiative, which promises to bring changes and shake-ups with numerous new titles, including an Sam Wilson as Captain America, Kamala Khan as an Avenger, and the recently announced Asian-American Hulk by Greg Pak and Frank Cho.”

Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel, told the NYT that Black Panther “has the baddest costume in comics and is a dude who is smarter and better than everyone.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.57.10 AMNot only is the comic being written by a National Book Award nominee, but it may be the first comic inspired by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, a history of the black political struggle in the U.S., A Nation Under Our Feet by Steven Hahn (Belknap Press).

“It’s going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers,” Mr. Alonso told the NYT, “It really moves him forward.”

Black Panther will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released in 2016 and as the lead in a film scheduled for 2018.

Kid’s Graphic Novel on LATE NIGHT

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.06.09 AMStephen Colbert isn’t the only one trying to shake up late night TV. Seth Meyers has broken ground by featuring novelists on Late Night. Last night, he highlighted graphic novelist Judd Winick, author of the new kid’s series Hilo (RH Books for Young Readers).

As The New York Times reports, the hero of the planned six-book multicultural series “is an enigmatic boy who crashes to Earth and befriends two children, D.J. and Gina … D.J. is the only one of five Asian-American siblings who is not “awesome at something,” and his best friend, Gina, who is black, has two aggressively positive sisters who are cheerleaders. Each book will reveal more about the characters and the mystery of Hilo’s destiny.”

Winick and Meyers know each other from Winick’s time writing for The Awesomes, an animated series created by Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. He has also worked on Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Justice League, and Star Wars comics. He has also had experience on TV, having been one of the housemates on season 3 of MTV’s Real World.

Winick decided to write the series so his own children could read his work, after he got a bit jealous of his son’s avid fanboy reaction to Jeff Smith’s Bone.

NPR.org on Graphic Novels

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Offering a few comics and graphic novels for late summer reads, NPR.org’s reviewer Etelka Lehoczky suggests titles she says areperfect to pore over in a patch of muggy sunlight.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.18.21 PMFirst up is Pénélope Bagieu’s English language debut, Exquisite Corpse (Macmillan/First Second). Bagieu is a French comic artist who turns her hand here to a short subversive story that has a “fiendishly unexpected denouement that combines feminist politics with a generous affection for [the] heroine.”

Bagieu’s artwork is particularly engrossing, full of wry observations and saturated colors, which Lehoczky characterizes as “eloquent” and “deceptively unsophisticated.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.20.15 PMNext is Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW) by Eric Shanower (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist), winner of this year’s Eisner Award for best limited series and an extension of the groundbreaking Winsor McKay original newspaper strips that began in the early 1900s.

Lehoczky does not admire it as fully. While she saysthere’s much here to divert open-minded readers,” she is put off by the style It’s utterly at odds with the original strip’s ambience, and it’s hardly narcoleptic. In fact, there’s something downright wakey-wakey about such assertive shades — they practically smack you in the eye.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.22.13 PMLast comes Five Ghosts vol. 3 by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham (Image Comics). It features “macho treasure hunter Fabian Gray [who] is possessed by five literary spirits whose abilities he can manifest: The Wizard, the Archer, the Detective, the Samurai and the Vampire.”

Calling it “adventure of the highest order” Lehoczky details Gray’s tribulations,  which begins with our hero fighting zombies in Romania and winds up with him strapped to Dr. Moreau’s operating table.”

The Syfy channel announced a deal to adapt the series last fall.

Nancy Pearl on Graphic Bios

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.32.35 PMOn her weekly radio appearance on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW, librarian Nancy Pearl talks about Jessie Hartland’s Steve Jobs: Insanely Great (RH/Schwartz & Wade).

It is a graphic biography Nancy thinks would be perfect for middle and high school students, making it an alternative tie-in to the upcoming biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s 600+ page tome about the computer legend.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.33.48 PMFilled with black, white, and gray free-flowing images and text that often breaks out of speech bubbles, the nonfiction work details Jobs’s achievements and personality. Hartland’s website gives a quick glimpse of her style.

When asked by host Marcie Sillman, Nancy said that she thought Jobs would adore it, as she did, putting her on the hunt for Harland’s previous graphic biography, Bon Appétit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child (RH/Schwartz & Wade, 2012).

 

THIS ONE SUMMER Wins
Top Eisner

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Analyzng the Eisner Awards, announced earlier this month at Comic-Con, the  LA Times views them as reflecting a “creative swell in children’s comics,” with several titles winning in categories not defined by age.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.53.00 AM  Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 12.01.13 PM  9780545540605_83d0b

Caldecott honoree This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/First Second; OverDrive Sample) won for best New Graphic Album (essentially the best graphic novel of the year) and Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, and Shannon Watters (S&S/BOOM! Box; OverDrive Sample) won the Best New Series award while Raina Telgemeier’s middle-grade Sisters (Scholastic, a companion to her previous title, Smile) won in the Writer/Artist category.

9781596436978_2cd2cTor.com views the awards as making a leap beyond superheroes, noting that the Best Writer Awards have traditionally gone to “an author producing pamphlet comics—serial, monthly works—rather than graphic novels.” This year breaks precedence with the award going to The Shadow Hero (Macmillan/First Second) by Gene Luen Yang “a writer who has made his name in the graphic novel industry, where he wrote and illustrated the first ever graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award [Boxers and Saints]—and the first ever graphic novel to win the Printz Award [American Born Chinese].” They also note the number of women writers winning awards this year, with titles addressing subjects never before covered in graphic novels indicates that “the depth and breadth of what comics are—and can become—are reaching ever new heights.” This change was noted earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.54.12 AMThe award for the best nonfiction graphic work went to Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics).Volume one was published in 2013; volume three is coming in August.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.56.31 AMEmily Carroll’s Through the Woods (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry) won for Best Graphic Album-Reprint, giving those who do not yet own this beautifully creepy work all the more reason to buy it. Carroll also won the Eisner for Best Short Story.

Bechdel and the LATE NIGHT Bump

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Fun Home  CD_funhome2015_194x194

Continuing his somewhat incongruous attention to books, Seth Meyers featured graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel on yesterday’s Late Night show, devoting the entire second half to her book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2006) and its Tony-winning Broadway musical adaptation.

Meyers asked Bechdel to share the impetus behind Fun Home. Although it’s covered in the book, Bechdel’s recounting added emotional depth to  the story of  her coming out while in college and how that ultimately revealed her father’s hidden homosexual infidelity. He died shortly after in an accident that may have actually been a suicide.

That sad moment was balanced against a scene from the play, staged on Meyers set, in which the Broadway cast performed “Changing My Major.”

Holds are spiking in some libraries beyond ratios of 6:1 while a few libraries we checked had copies on the shelf.

A cast album is also available:

Tesori, Jeanine, composer, Fun home: a new Broadway musical(PS Classics)

Congressman As Superhero

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.21.24 AM  Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.21.39 AM

Highlighting Congressman John Lewis’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement, CBS Sunday Morning profiled the Representative and his award-winning graphic memoirs March: Book One and March: Book Two (both from Top Shelf).

Fittingly, the profile includes clips of Rep. Lewis at ComicCon, wearing, as tradition dictates, his own superhero outfit: a coat and backpack similar to those he wore as he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the Selma March in 1965.

A third March volume is expected early next year.

Graphic Novelist to Know:
Scott Snyder

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.01.26 PMOn the comics fast track, Scott Snyder has won an Eisner award for both The Wake (DC/Vertigo, 2014) and for American Vampire (DC/Vertigo, Vol 8 coming in January) and has worked on various superhero comics.

He may become a household name with his new comic Wytches (Image Comics, July 9, collects the original issues 1-6). In an interview with the authorNew York magazine calls it “a tale of remarkably visceral terror” and notes that Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is adapting it as a feature film.

When Wytches came out in serial form in 2014 it was covered by Entertainment Weekly (with a follow-up last month), USA Today, Nerdist (and a recent follow-up), and BuzzFeed.

The story, which takes place in a tiny remote area of New Hampshire, follows the Rooks family as they encounter a terrifying evil lurking in the woods. Each episode ends with a personal essay by Snyder addressing anxiety and depression. Illustrated with creepy genius by Jock (himself a cult figure in comics), the experience is pretty intense. Libraries that own it are showing heavy holds on light orders.

For more on Snyder, see the 2011 profile in the LA Times “Hero Complex”  (Parts One, Two and Three).