Thursday, December 27, 2012

Graphic Novel Book Club Selections May through August 2013

Hi all, it's that time again to choose your semi distant future reading selections for the club.  Here are nine of my personal selections, we need to narrow them down to four.  By all means, let me know if you'd like to add your own selections.  

Mother Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier

Mother, Come Home quietly studies the inner lives of recently widowed David and his 7-year-old son, Thomas. Thomas struggles desperately to keep up appearances while his father, a professor of symbolic logic, becomes lost in abstractions. Father and son begin to retreat into their fantasies, but only one emerges. Mother, Come Home is masterfully drawn: Eisner-, Harvey-and Ignatz-Award-nominated Hornschemeier's controlled brushwork is clean, and his nine-panel page layouts pace David's inexorable descent into utter despair. Hornschemeier is equally precise when it comes to Mother, Come Home's color palette: subdued but warm, which suits the story's melancholy and contemplative mode. Mother, Come Home is a powerful work, and, because of its universal themes of anguish and loss, has resonance beyond its core audience of alternative-comics readers.
 
Preacher series by Garth Ennis

Jesse Custer begins a violent and riotous journey across the country joined by his girlfriend Tulip and the hard-drinking Irish vampire Cassidy.
 
RASL series by Jeff Smith 

Cartoon Books proudly presents Jeff Smith's new adventure series, RASL - a stark, sci-fi series about a dimension-jumping art thief, a man unplugged from the world who races through space and time searching for his next big score - and trying to escape his past. In this first of three graphic novels, Rasl faces an assassin's bullet and stumbles across a mystery that not only threatens to expose his own illicit activities, but could also uncover one of the world's most dangerous and sought after secrets!

Heads or Tails by Lilli Carre

The creator of 2008’s acclaimed graphic novel The Lagoon — named to many annual critics’ lists including Publishers Weekly and USA Today’s Pop Candy — is back with a stunningly designed and packaged collection of some of the most poetic and confident short fiction being produced in comics today. Carr√©’s elegant short stories read like the gothic, family narratives of Flannery O’Connor or Carson McCullers, but told visually. Poetic rhythms — a coin flip, a circling ferris wheel — are punctuated by elements of melancholy fantasy pushed forward by character-driven, naturalistic dialogue. The stories in Heads Or Tails display a virtuosic breadth of visual styles and color palettes, each in perfect service of the story, and range from experimental one-pagers to short masterpieces like “The Thing About Madeline” (featured in The Best American Comics 2008), to graphic novellas like “The Carnival” (featured in David Sedaris’ and Dave Eggers’ 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading, originally published in MOME).

50 Girls 50 and Other Stories by Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson

Barely old enough to drink when he joined the EC Comics stable, Al Williamson may have been the new kid on the block, but a lifetime of studying such classic adventure cartoonists as Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon) and Hal Foster (Prince Valiant) had made him a kid to reckon with — as he proved again and again in the stories he created for EC’s legendary “New Trend” comics, in particular Weird Science and Weird Fantasy. As a result of Williamson’s focus, it’s possible to compile all of Williamson’s “New Trend” EC work into one book — which Fantagraphics is finally doing here. Sci-fi aficionados should note that although most of the stories were written by Al Feldstein, 50 Girls 50 features three of EC’s legendary Ray Bradbury adaptations, including “I, Rocket” and “A Sound of Thunder” — and a unique curiosity, a strip adapted from a short story submitted by a teenage Harlan Ellison. Williamson ran with a gang of like-minded young Turks dubbed the “Fleagle Gang,” who would help one another out on assignments. Thus this book includes three stories upon which Williamson was joined by the legendary Frank Frazetta, and one story (“Food for Thought”) where Roy Krenkel provided his exquisite alien landscapes, to make it one of the most gorgeous EC stories ever printed. As a supplementary bonus, 50 Girls 50 includes three stories drawn by Fleagles sans Williamson: Frazetta’s Shock SuspenStories short “Squeeze Play”; Krenkel’s meticulous “Time to Leave”; and Angelo Torres’s “An Eye for an Eye,” an EC story that famously fell prey to censorship and was not released until the 1970s. As with other Fantagraphics EC titles, 50 Girls 50 will also include extensive story notes by EC experts.
 
Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kaczynski

Beta Testing includes approximately 10 short stories, most notably “The New,” a brand new story created expressly for this book. It’s Kaczynski’s longest story to date. “The New” is set in an un-named third-world megalopolis. It could be Dhaka, Lagos or Mumbai. The city creaks under the pressure of explosive growth. Whole districts are built in a week. The story follows an internationally renowned starchitect as he struggles to impose his vision on the metropolis. A vision threatened by the massive dispossessed slum-proletariat inhabiting the slums and favelas on the edges of the city. From the fetid ferment of garbage dumps and shanties emerges a new feral architecture.

Batman and the Court of Owls vol. 1 by Scott Snyder

After a series of brutal murders rocks Gotham City, Batman begins to realize that perhaps these crimes go far deeper than appearances suggest. As the Caped Crusader begins to unravel this deadly mystery, he discovers a conspiracy going back to his youth and beyond to the origins of the city he's sworn to protect. Could the Court of Owls, once thought to be nothing more than an urban legend, be behind the crime and corruption? Or is Bruce Wayne losing his grip on sanity and falling prey to the pressures of his war on crime?

Sweet Tooth series by Jeff Lemire (August)

A cross between Bambi and Cormac McCarthy's The Road, SWEET TOOTH tells the story of Gus, a rare new breed of human/animal hybrid children, has been raised in isolation following an inexplicable pandemic that struck a decade earlier. Now, with the death of his father he's left to fend for himself . . . until he meets a hulking drifter named Jepperd who promises to help him. Jepperd and Gus set out on a post-apocalyptic journey into the devastated American landscape to find 'The Preserve' a refuge for hybrids. (series finishes with its sixth trade in June 2013)

Sandman Mystery Theatre series by Matt Wagner

The hero of Sandman Mystery Theatre shares little more than a moniker with Neil Gaiman's Sandman, star of one of the most successful graphic novel series ever, but those who prefer the down and dirty to the airy and fantastic may also prefer SMT, which features the comics' original Sandman, millionaire Wesley Dodds, who, clad in trench coat and gas mask and armed with sleep-inducing gas, fought criminals in the 1940s. Wagner backtracks Dodds to pre-World War II New York City and models Dodds' adventures less on superhero comics than on 1930s pulp magazines. He and cowriter Steven T. Seagle create twisted crime stories--the arc this volume collects involves a series of grisly murders--that Guy Davis illustrates by expertly evoking the period looks of the pulps. SMT story lines are far franker than their 1930s inspirations. This one depicts, besides the killings, a circle of lesbian lovers, and the dialogue is R-rated. Although it hasn't matched the popularity of Gaiman's creation, SMT is one of the most successful revivals of a vintage costumed crime fighter.

Hawkeye vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble...and stealing from the rich never looked so good.

Batgirl vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection by Gail Simone

The nightmare-inducing brute known as Mirror is destroying the lives of Gotham City citizens seemingly at random. Will Barbara be able to survive her explosive confrontation with this new villain, as well as facing dark secrets from her past? A new chapter in the riveting adventures of Batgirl continue in stunning fashion, with script by fan-favorite Gail Simone and stellar art by superstar Ardian Syaf!


Queen and Country The Definitive Edition vol. 1 by Greg Rucka

Queen & Country, the Eisner Award-winning and critically lauded espionage series from acclaimed novelist and comic book author Greg Rucka, is back in a new series of definitive editions collecting the entire classic series in just four affordable soft covers. In this first collection, readers are introduced to the thrilling and often-times devastating world of international espionage as SIS field agent Tara Chase is sent all over the world in service to her Queen & Country all the while Director of Operations Paul Crocker walks a narrow tightrope between his loyalty to his people and the political masters that must be served!

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan follows THE ARRIVAL with a collection of off-the-wall tales combined with his genius illustrations in a unique hybrid format that will build on our current success.  An exchange student who's really an alien, a secret room that becomes the perfect place for a quick escape, a typical tale of grandfatherly exaggeration that is actually even more bizarre than he says... These are the odd details of everyday life that grow and take on an incredible life of their own in tales and illustrations that Shaun Tan's many fans will love.


reMIND vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker

All Sonja wanted was to find her missing cat, Victuals, but when he washes up on the shore of her sleepy coastal town several days later with a head full of stitches and the startling ability to speak and no memory of how he got that way her quiet life is forever changed. Together they set out to solve the mystery of his disappearance, embarking on a journey that leads to a strange kingdom under the waves and into the heart of a royal power struggle, where the answer to Victual s true identity could save or doom them all!

Ignition City vol. 1 by Warren Ellis

Grounded space pilot Mary Raven has come to the interzone settlement in the middle of Ignition City, Earth's largest spaceport, to recover the effects of her dead father... or so people think. Mary really wants to know how he died, and who was responsible. But today might be her last day on Earth, trapped on the last spaceport where no one cares about murder, and the only real currency is fear. She has her dead father's ray gun, and that's enough for space hero-turned-arms dealer Lightning Bowman to want her dead. But when she finds her father's lost diary she discovers something nobody else in Ignition City knows... and they'll want her dead for that, too. From Warren Ellis, the writer who reinvented science fiction in comics, comes IGNITION CITY, a retropunk "future of the past" where spaceships belch smoke and arguments are settled with blaster pistols.

 

4 comments:

  1. I would like to submit for consideration...

    * "Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As a Weapon" by Matt Fraction (first TPB released March 2013).

    This has been touted as a book where we see what a superhero does in his downtime. Been getting fantastic reviews thus far.


    * Batgirl by Gail Simone ("Batgirl Vol. I: The Darkest Reflection" is out, and "Vol. II: Knightfall Descends," is due in February).

    Some say Gail Simone was born to write Batgirl, but mysteriously, she was fired last month, only to be re-hired a few weeks later. Would love to read a superhero book that actually has an interesting depiction of a female superhero.

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  2. I second the notion of a Gaile Simone book. I have only read her Wonder Women graphic novels, so I would be interested in checking out Batgirl.

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  3. Alright gents, added as requested.

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  4. Hey, have we read as a group any Queen and Country? I would be interested in reading this!
    Other books I have read about:
    I heard good things about Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan.
    Maybe this book reMind by Jason Brubaker is good? Some newspapers think so.
    Additionally I like the idea of reading Ignition by Warren Ellis. According to the internet it was inspired by: Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Deadwood, Metropolis, Rocket Summer by Bradbury, and the Berlin airport.

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