Graphic Novels, October 5, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

For adults and teens interested in learning about the feminist perspective; an unexpected, idiosyncratic entry into the world of buying, selling, and designing dishware; great for fans of graphic memoirs or those interested in a deeper understanding of mental illness; pulp crime, film noir, and antihero fans will thoroughly enjoy

Week ending October 5, 2018

Emma. The Mental Load: A Feminist Comic. Seven Stories. Oct. 2018. 216p. tr. from French by Una Dimitrijevic. ISBN 9781609809188. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781609809195. COMICS
[DEBUT] In straightforward storytelling, acclaimed French cartoonist/activist Emma’s debut collection draws on her own experience and that of her friends to explore male/female work and household roles, childbirth, body image, work/family balance, and understanding the female anatomy (note an excellent comic about the clitoris). Other topics include police aggression toward immigrants in France and the overworked/underpaid employee. A thought-provoking fictional account of a country in which women do not cover their breasts reveals how something that seems liberating can become tyrannical when custom becomes law. Simple drawings, with lots of negative space so as not to overwhelm, present an enlightening and sometimes lighthearted look at women and society today and how it can be improved.
VERDICT For adults and teens interested in learning about the feminist perspective. [Previewed in Jody Osicki’s “Graphically Speaking,” LJ 6/15/18.]—Lucy Roehrig, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

Gaines, Julie (text) & Ben Lenovitz (illus.). Minding the Store: A Big Story About a Small Business. Algonquin. Oct. 2018. 176p. ISBN 9781616206628. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616208868. MEMOIR
[DEBUT] Fishs Eddy founder Gaines’s sweet memoir offers an unexpected, idiosyncratic entry into the world of buying, selling, and designing dishware—a very niche business in our mass-market world. Gaines clearly loves her work, weaving her fellow proprietor (and husband) Dave Lenovitz, their mothers (also their first extremely sassy employees), and her children into the story but always with “the dishes” in mind. From collecting dusty plates and cups from basements of famous hotels to dealing with rental and real estate challenges to elegizing the Twin Towers in iconic skyline plates, this is also a very New York tale. Paired with son Lenovitz’s playful, simple illustrations, Gaines’s simultaneously self-effacing and promotional tone feels quite recognizable, à la a less cynical Roz Chast or a down-to-earth Maira Kalman.
VERDICT An intriguing peek into the heart of an industry you didn’t know you could be interested in—and a love letter to carving out your own path in New York City. Great for graphic memoir fans of all ages.—Emilia Packard, Austin, TX

Lindsay, Rachel. Rx: A Graphic Memoir. Grand Central. Sept. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781455598540. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455598533. MEMOIR
DEBUT In early 2011, while working as an account executive in New York City, Lindsay (newspaper strip Rachel Lives Here Now) received a promotion that placed her on a team responsible for branding and advertising the antidepressant Pristiq. Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 19, the author found herself on familiar ground. Although she dreamed of life as an artist, she felt stuck in a corporate job just so she could afford her medications and doctor appointments. Her struggle to rectify this conflict in her day-to-day reality led to a manic episode that left her parents with no choice but to have her hospitalized. Creating this memoir was part of Lindsay’s healing process, as she recounts her experience with unflinching honesty and brutal self-awareness. Deceptively simple art rendered in stark black and white presents a cartoon style rich in texture, white space, and exaggeration, letting the images tell the emotional side of the story.
VERDICT A great choice for fans of graphic memoirs or those interested in a deeper understanding of mental illness.—E.W. Genovese, Andrew Bayne Memorial Lib., Pittsburgh

redstarNury, Fabien (text) & Brüno & Laurence Croix (illus.). Tyler Cross: Black Rock. Hard Case Crime: Titan Comics. Sept. 2018. 100p. tr. from French. ISBN 9781785867309. $24.99. Rated: Mature. MYS/CRIME FICTION
The oil-rich, Pragg family–owned backwater town of Black Rock, TX, is not a welcoming place in 1950 if you’re a mercenary carrying stolen heroin and running from Sicilian drug owners and a militia of law enforcement agencies. Finding himself in this hostile environment, Tyler Cross must formulate a plan to get out of town...hopefully alive. Black Rock beauty Stella Bidwell, a pawn of the Pragg patriarchy, could be helpful if she doesn’t lose her nerve, or become emotionally tied to Cross. Together, they might survive, but the odds aren’t looking good. Award-winning French writer Nury (The Death of Stalin; Death to the Tsar) and acclaimed German artist Brüno (Inner City Blues) craft a very stylish, hard-boiled thriller reminiscent of Elmore Leonard or Quentin Tarantino. The art is simple, bold, and pleasing; the readability and pace nearly perfect.
VERDICT Pulp crime, film noir, and antihero fans will thoroughly enjoy.—Russell Miller, formerly with Prescott P.L., AZ

Ohtake, Masao. Hinamatsuri. Vol. 1. One Peace. Sept. 2018. 206p. tr. from Japanese by Nathan Takase. ISBN 9781642730050. pap. $11.95. Rated: Teen+. MANGA
Low-level Yakuza member Nitta doesn’t know what to do with the strange girl named Hina who appeared in his apartment encased in a shell. When he frees her, she calmly takes over his apartment and his life, using unexplained telekinetic abilities to insinuate herself into the Yakuza world by becoming the power behind Nitta’s sudden rise within the organization. Hina’s obsession with food and Nitta’s state of near-nervous breakdown are constant themes running throughout an otherwise nonexistent plot. A hint of intrigue appears only in the last few pages, but it may not be enough to hold readers’ attention until the second volume is released. Originally serialized in Japan, this manga proved popular enough to become a collected volume, but the lack of story and art that alternates between well drawn and minimalistic may prove to be a yawner for some readers.
VERDICT Recommended only on patron demand.—Melanie C. Duncan, Washington Memorial Lib., Macon, GA

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