Thomas L. Batten

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Good Night, Hem

Jason delivers an at times whimsical but overwhelmingly melancholic portrait, revealing reverence and sympathy for Hemingway without ignoring the author’s shortcomings. One of the best releases of 2021 so far.

1984: The Graphic Novel

Brazilian illustrator Fido Nesti employs a muted color palette and a tight nine-panel layout to stress the gloomy, hopelessly claustrophobic existence of those pinned under Big Brother’s thumb. An excellent adaptation of the novel.

Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness

An insightful and compassionate investigation of loneliness, which Radke convincingly calls “one of the most universal things any person can feel.”

Red Room: The Antisocial Network

While many readers may find the explicit violence displayed here repellent, aficionados of extreme horror and splatterpunk will thrill as nearly every page-turn reveals increasingly gruesome shocks.

No One Else

As he tracks a few days in the course of his characters’ lives, Johnson (Night Fisher) avoids the easy cliches typically deployed in tales that depict the grieving process; he eschews even catharsis in favor of conveying raw emotion with brutal realism.

Factory Summers

A carefully observed portrait of a time and place, as well as a deeply personal coming-of-age tale. Not to be missed.

Crisis Zone

Hanselmann (Seeds and Stems) proves the perfect author to capture American life in late 2020. His new volume escalates the depravity at a relentless pace and delivers both laugh-out-loud gags and genuine pathos, as his casts’ self-absorbed and self-destructive behavior reveals a desperate need for stability and a sense of belonging in an increasingly fractured and contentious culture.

Asadora!, Vol. 2

Answers remain elusive as to how Asa’s story connects to the modern-day kaiju rampage depicted in volume one of the series, but Urasawa’s masterful storytelling and brisk pacing result in an entertaining page-turner.

The Black Ghost

An appealingly gritty, hard-boiled tale reminiscent of classic pulp thrillers, featuring a charismatic, complex, and deeply human protagonist. This volume collects five issues originally available online through Comixology.

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