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PREMIUM

The Pits of Hell

Not for everyone, but fans of surreal or psychological horror are sure to embrace this collection.
PREMIUM

Mitchum

While readers desiring a strong sense of narrative might not be impressed, Blutch successfully elicits a range of emotions through unforgettable illustrations in these stories, first published in French and available in English for the first time.

Seeds and Stems

Hilarious, upsetting, and thoroughly brilliant.
PREMIUM

The Labyrinth: An Existential Odyssey with Jean-Paul Sartre

A great primer for anyone, but especially YA readers interested in existentialism
PREMIUM

The Lab

An unsettling vision from an exciting and distinctly talented newcomer.

Dragman

Imaginative and uncommonly moving, with extra poignance provided via an afterword by the author detailing his personal connection to the text. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]
PREMIUM

Department of Mind-Blowing Theories

Gauld’s intelligence and wit permeate every page of this clever volume.

Phoolan Devi: Rebel Queen

A woman operating with an eye-for-an-eye attitude is a rare and powerful thing, and this heroic tale of Phoolan’s journey from despair and abuse to justice and renown, is intoxicating.

Paying the Land

Sacco’s reporting, accompanied by impressively drawn black-and-white illustrations, is occasionally overwhelmingly detailed, but with good reason: this is a vitally important story about an underrepresented people.

Eight-Lane Runaways

Fantastically ambitious, funny, and delightfully weird.
PREMIUM

Grafity’s Wall: Expanded Edition

Illustrator Radhakrishnan heaps images and faces together in a disorienting, dynamic jumble to capture the fast-paced hustle and bustle of life in Mumbai, and author V’s (These Savage Shores. Vol. 1) skillfully develops endearing characters and slyly, eschewing melodrama, establishes how economic inequality oppresses them all.

Black Hammer/Justice League: Hammer of Justice!

A delight for fans of either series and a surprisingly great jumping-on point for new readers.
PREMIUM

Everything Is an Emergency: An OCD Story in Words & Pictures

Katzenstein is witty and fearlessly honest. The rapid pace at which his story unfolds can be a little disorienting at times, but ultimately it proves the right choice for conveying the experience of his daily life.

Portrait of a Drunk

An uncommonly vicious swashbuckling romp with a cruel protagonist, but absolutely entertaining and fantastically illustrated.
PREMIUM

Berserker Unbound. Vol. 1

Lemire and Deodato Jr. put an unpredictably poignant spin on the sword-and-sorcery genre. This hardcover collects the entire four-issue series.
PREMIUM

Poems To See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry

Peters’s virtuosity as an illustrator and keen understanding of the texts included here results in a beautiful, memorable volume.

A Radical Shift of Gravity

A remarkably moving parable that captures the particular uncertainty of 21st-century life.
PREMIUM

Bites of Terror: Ten Frightfully Delicious Tales

Cutesy presentation, witty humor, and genuine depravity combine to create a memorably weird and wonderfully entertaining compilation.
PREMIUM

Bluebeard

Metaphrog (creative duo John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs; “Louis” series) offers a pastel-hewn modern take on the venerable tale that is delightfully offbeat and thrilling, with an actively heroic lead and unexpected magical menaces. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 4/20.]

The Daughters of Ys

National Book Award–winning author Anderson (Traitor to the Nation) and artist Rioux (Cat’s Cradle) present delicate, soft-hued picture-book imagery that disarmingly explores the corruptive legacy of raw power in this most compellingly philosophical and thoughtful fantasy. [Previewed in Douglas Rednour’s “Picture This,” LJ 4/20.]

Tinderella

A funny, extremely perceptive debut from a cartoonist to watch.

PREMIUM

Go To Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons from the Fog of New Parenthood

For a more narrative approach, consider Knisley’s earlier comic about her pregnancy and birth, Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos, which delves deeper and more satisfyingly into the topic than the sketchbook format allows. For a busy new (or veteran) parent, these bite-sized laughs are just what the pediatrician ordered.

PREMIUM

Taarna

While this Taarna isn’t as great a betrayal as her film version, it is still a huge missed opportunity

The Golden Age. Bk. 1

Debut writer Moreil joins cocreator Pedrosa (Portugal) on this first chapter in an ongoing series that is filled with enough intrigue, magic, and mystery for an entire saga. Pedrosa’s background working as an animator for Disney is clear in the fluid, expressive figures he renders, and his coloring gives each page a staggeringly impressive, vivid glow.

PREMIUM

Feminism: A Graphic Guide

No single volume could encapsulate such a complex subject--thankfully there are primers such as this to give readers the essential basics, plus suggestions as to how they might continue their learning. Recommended for all nonfiction collections with an area for feminism.

PREMIUM

Faithless

In this first collection in an ongoing series, Azzarello (Batman: Damned) and Llovet (Loud) turn in an unusually compelling, erotically charged horror romance that offers philosophic gems to enrich the lovely boudoir action.
PREMIUM

A Letter to Jo

Leaning hard on cultural wartime tropes and cartoonish bouts of combat, this tale misses an opportunity to share a meaningful, specific story by painting in the broadest of strokes.
PREMIUM

In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

Let cynics and snobs consider this project Proust for Dummies--kudos to Heuet and translator Marris (creative writing, Boston Univ.) for bringing Proust to both new audiences and the paneled page with class. Recommended to lovers of classic literature, fans of nonsuperhero sequential art, and anyone putting off tackling Proust.
PREMIUM

Year of the Rabbit

A powerful portrayal of one of the most sorrowful events of the 20th century.

The Winter of the Cartoonist

While structurally challenging, Roca’s massively appealing illustration and masterly sense of narrative make this true story exceptionally compelling.
PREMIUM

Space Bandits

Watching Cody and Thena wreak havoc is a total blast in this fast-paced, Day-Glo romp.
PREMIUM

Oscar Martin’s Solo: Survivors of Chaos

A beautifully drawn, gripping action-adventure, coming-of-age story in which the protagonist must grapple with ferocious enemies and an existential crisis.
PREMIUM

Sea of Stars. Vol. 1: Lost in the Wild Heavens

If Sam Peckinpah had directed a Pixar film, it would probably a lot like what coauthors Aaron (War of the Realms) and Hallum (Star Wars: Vader

Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës

Greenberg not only shows how the juvenile “scribblemania” of the Brontës prefigured later literary accomplishments, such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, but also crafts a story that resonates within our own century. Engrossing for both adults and teens attracted to alt-history fantasy or the Brontës. (See also, Catherynne M. Valente’s The Glass Town Game, SLJ 6/17.)

The Strange Ones

A sensitive, understated depiction of how miraculous it feels to encounter a soul similar to one’s own.

PREMIUM

A Is for Anonymous: How a Mysterious Hacker Collective Transformed the World

A thought-provoking history of an oft-misunderstood subject, as well as the evolution of social protests over the past three decades.
PREMIUM

Becoming Horses

Wallander’s ideas about art are provocative, and her illustrations are incredibly striking in this memorable debut.

Familiar Face

DeForge (Leaving Richard’s Valley) pushes his ability to wring pathos out of surreal situations further than ever in this dazzling satire of technology run rampant that doubles as a meditation on the sense of alienation that often grows out of heartbreak.
PREMIUM

Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams

Allred’s pop art–style illustration, heavily influenced by 1960s and 1970s fashion, pop culture, and psychedelia, is perfectly suited to the era, and his adoration for his subject shines through carefully captured period details and likenesses and lovingly re-created famous photographs and album covers. Most impressive, Allred employs superimposed imagery and surrealistic flourishes to capture the raw energy of live musical performances in scenes depicting Bowie and the band in concert.
PREMIUM

Battle Born: Lapis Lazuli

Uriarte’s attempts at exploring the ideological differences between members of the squad (especially between a self-described redneck and a Hispanic woman) are admirable but rely on slightly cliché dialog; the story works best as a tragic meditation on the value of honor and justice in a world ruled by violence. [See Prepub Alert, 12/3/18.]
PREMIUM

A Gift for a Ghost

Elegantly crafted, with delicate cartooning and a brilliant autumnal color palette, González’s first full-length work delivers a quietly emotional evocation of the universal hopes and desires linking characters across centuries.

Big Black: Stand at Attica

Améziane’s (Muhammad Ali) gritty, expressive illustration and muted color palette present this unflinching depiction of the brutal price the Attica inmates paid for demanding civil rights in a style evocative of the 1970s Hollywood Renaissance aesthetic. Sure to be one of the most discussed books this year.

Sports Is Hell

A lacerating, darkly hilarious howl against racism, sports fandom, and tribalism in general by an artist with a distinct and necessary vision.

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio

An incendiary corrective to the myths and misconceptions surrounding these events and a memorial to the lives lost or forever altered that should be required reading for all Americans.
PREMIUM

House of X/Powers of X

Intricately plotted, dense with new ideas and daring reinterpretations of beloved characters, but more important, a lot of fun.
PREMIUM

Silver Surfer: Black Treasury Edition

A gorgeous interstellar adventure dedicated to Silver Surfer cocreator Stan Lee.
PREMIUM

Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival

A stunning collection that viscerally highlights the pervasiveness of sexual violence and the multitude of ways survivors process trauma.
PREMIUM

DCeased

A successfully scary and thrilling vision of the apocalypse, and a surprisingly moving examination of how beacons of hope cope with the realization that the end is nigh. Collects the entire best-selling miniseries.
PREMIUM

Pittsburgh

A thoughtful account of family and place that will be especially enjoyed by fans of graphic memoir. [Previewed in Ingrid Bohnenkamp’s “Mass Appeal,” LJ 6/19.]
PREMIUM

La Voz De M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo. Vol. 1

Barajas’s passion for his subject is clear, but haphazard pacing and a lack of context regarding the legal and tribal issues involved in the dispute make for an occasionally confusing read. Nevertheless, this is still an essential volume in what Frederick Luis Aldama’s introduction calls “reclaiming, restoring, and affirming Lantinxs as significant shapers of the historical record.”
PREMIUM

Witchfinder: Omnibus. Vol. 1

Riveting mysteries and thrilling action combine in stories with ongoing ramifications for the larger Hellboy universe. A solid purchase.
PREMIUM

Naomi: Season One

An exciting mystery and coming-of-age superhero origin story introducing an original heroine and a cliff-hanger ending sure to have readers eager for future installments. [Previewed in Ingrid Bohnenkamp’s “Mass Appeal,” LJ 6/19.]
PREMIUM

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights

An incredibly comprehensive resource for readers seeking a look at women’s history that diverges from what is typically taught in school.

Lupus

Peeters is a compositional genius, utilizing stunning swaths of negative space and thick fields of inky darkness that imbue nearly every panel on every page of this volume with dynamism and pathos.

Holy Hannah

Dinksi (Trying Not To Notice) borrows heavily from the life of charismatic cult leader Jim Jones and the tragic events at Jonestown to create commentary on social media and the dangers of group think, illustrated in a deceptively simple cartooning style that makes the inevitable tragic ending truly jarring.
PREMIUM

The Man Without Talent

While the opening chapters deliver a portrait of an artist’s ennui, later scenes depicting Sukesawa’s interactions with the owner of a bird store and a bookseller in his village reveal that Tsgue’s (Nejishiki) actual interest lies in a withering dissection of male entitlement in a rapidly changing society.

Street Angel: Deadliest Girl Alive

Unimpressed at meeting Santa Claus but ebullient while serving out a prison sentence, Jesse is a scrappy yet supremely confident spitfire with appeal to readers of all ages.

No Longer Human

If the internationally acclaimed master of horror Ito (Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection) seems at first a strange choice to adapt Dazai’s 1948 novel, his skill for stories mixing existential dread, body horror, and nightmarishly surreal imagery quickly prove him matched to the material. This unsparingly intense vision of life as a journey through hell, reminiscent of Dostoyevsky and Kafka, just might be Ito’s magnum opus.
PREMIUM

The House

Celebrated Spanish creator Roca’s (Twist of Fate) cartoonishly drawn characters are juxtaposed against highly detailed backgrounds, showcasing the strange dislocation they feel inhabiting a space that ought to feel much more like home in this melancholy and deeply sympathetic meditation on sibling dynamics and the role memory plays in the grieving process. [Note: a simultaneously released Spanish-language edition is also available from the publisher.
PREMIUM

Swimming in Darkness

Harari’s adept skills as a storyteller are elevated even further by his talents as a designer with a strong sense of color, as pleasantly round, cartoonish characters wander angular planes and inhabit a world filled with warm, glowing red rooms and grainy, foreboding purple skies.

Inappropriate

Memoir and fiction stand side by side, often in the same story, in this frequently hilarious, occasionally melancholy collection that affirms Bell’s status as one of the best cartoonists of her generation.

Making Comics

An engaging combination of how-to and why-you-must, perfect for Barry superfans, budding cartoonists, and anyone with a story itching to be told. [See the author interview, p. 77.]
PREMIUM

Blade Runner 2019. Vol. 1

This first chapter in an ongoing series that promises to bridge the gap between the classic 1982 film and the 2017 sequel from coauthors Green (Blade Runner 2049) and Johnson (Star Trek vs. Transformers) and artist Guinaldo (Justice League Dark) cleverly captures the tone of the source material while thrillingly expanding the scope of the larger world only hinted at in the films, resulting in the rare licensed title that feels essential instead of perfunctory.
PREMIUM

Bradley of Him

Willumsen pokes fun at the vapidity of celebrity culture and seems interested in satirizing a particularly American sense of entitlement, but ultimately he obscures whatever point he has in mind in favor of remaining willfully, and fascinatingly, perplexing.

Spider-Man: Life Story

A fantastic collection suggesting that Peter Parker, even more than his spandex-clad alter ego, is actually one of the greatest comic book characters of all time.
PREMIUM

Doomsday Clock: Part 1

A tense and gripping homage to Watchmen’s dissection of costumed crime fighters that also seems interested in probing the limits of its ongoing influence. A must for series followers, and a boon for DC fans seeking next chapters in its ever-expanding universe.
PREMIUM

Blossoms 666

The horrors of teen cliques as well as the machinations of demonic forces blossom throughout this latest from Bunn (Harrow County), Braga (Bombshells), and colorist Herms (Sonic Boom), unleashing a tense high school terror tale with vibrant visuals reminiscent of Patrick Nagel. [Previewed in Ingrid Bohnenkamp’s Graphic Novels spotlight, “Mass Appeal,” LJ 6/19.]
PREMIUM

Batman: Damned

Bermejo’s richly painted vision of Gotham City is brilliantly gritty and terrifying, and Azzarello’s script is ambitious and complex if occasionally hard to follow, as mood and tone tend to trump narrative drive.
PREMIUM

Creation

An uncommonly empathic, beautifully illustrated examination of the conflict between the desire to serve and improve one’s community and the reality of the (underprivileged) community itself.
PREMIUM

Press Enter To Continue

While visually compelling, these five stories might not satisfy if taken individually. When read in sequence, however, the aggregated ambiguity and absurdity results in a sense of unease and eventually awe at Galvañ’s originality and technical expertise.
PREMIUM

EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest

Long before diversity became a buzzword and rallying cry throughout publishing, the notorious EC Comics sneaked socially conscious stories about civil rights and justice for minorities into its 1950s sensationalist anthologies...
PREMIUM

Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater

Since 1934, Harlem’s Apollo theater has married devoted, multiracial audiences with the best among African American performers—who thought of the place as “home...
PREMIUM

Hot Comb

DEBUT It’s not just “hair,” but a symbol of female beauty, incubator of relationships, lifelong obsession, race and status indicator...

BTTM FDRS

Escaping her upwardly mobile parents, Darla moves back to their old neighborhood in Chicago’s Bottomyards to find bare-bones housing where she can grow her design business on the cheap...
PREMIUM

James Brown: Black and Proud

“The Godfather of Soul” came to fame during the 1960s civil rights movement...
PREMIUM

The Be-Bop Barbarians: Comic Book Bohemians to a 1950s Jazz Beat

In 1955 Harlem, three African American comikkers battle Cold War politics, prejudice, and temptation...
PREMIUM

Blues for Lady Day: The Story of Billie Holliday

Known for her recording of “Strange Fruit,” a lyrical ballad about lynchings, Billie Holiday became one of the greatest jazz singers of all time despite a troubled life of poverty, jail, violence, discrimination, ill-fated love, and substance abuse...

Sleepless

The illegitimate daughter of the late King of Harbeny, Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia would like nothing better than to retire from court...
PREMIUM

Baaaad Muthaz

They’re Afro Desia, Cali Vera, Alley Bastard, Candy Ass, and Katana Jade: “The all-female space pirates who double as a James Brown revival band!” exclaims Pamela, an alligator-like pwanta seeking music to mate by...
PREMIUM

Bitter Root. Vol. 1: Family Business

The Sangereye family—Ma Etta, Blink, Cullen, Berg, Ford, and Uncle Enoch—blends potions of roots and other conjurings to rid souls of hate and racism...
PREMIUM

Angola Janga: Kingdom of Runaway Slaves

Brazil’s east coast, 1600–1740...

LaGuardia

Here, the stigmatized immigrant aliens are aliens from outer space, the Nigerians are the good guys, a family’s “putting down roots” acquires novel implications, prosthetic body parts bypass the usual assumptions, and genocide turns up where you least expect it...

PREMIUM

Vindication. Vol. 1

Meet two cops gone rogue (one with good intentions), their two ex-girlfriend gumshoes who collaborate, three murder victims, three former jurors in dire straits—and one man with family problems who did ten years in prison but shouldn’t have...

PREMIUM

Bury the Lede

Featuring graphic sex, nudity, some gory violence, and disturbing themes, this is an overall flawed but ultimately promising comics debut from a popular multimedia creator.

The Art of Nothing: 25 Years of Mutts and the Art of Patrick McDonnell

This gorgeous volume celebrates the brilliance of McDonnell and pure cartooning. Animal lovers, the artist’s fans, and connoisseurs of art history will enjoy.

Grass

Gendry-Kim’s thoughtful storytelling and exquisite brushwork brilliantly convey Ok-sun’s story, producing an uncommonly powerful reading experience about one woman’s enduring struggle for agency over her own life and body.

Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

This brilliant record of Jacob’s attempt at navigating personal and political issues in modern America manages the feat of being provocative and entertaining in equal measure. Highly recommended for all collections.

LaGuardia

Speaking to the global immigration and refugee crises through the lens of Afrofuturism, this brilliant and decidedly progressive work will be an essential addition to most adult graphic novels collections. [See Martha Cornog’s “Afrofuturism and More,” LJ 11/19.]
PREMIUM

The Man Who Came Down the Attic Stairs

Sporting elusive black-and-white art that utilizes the power of the comic form to heighten the emotional resonance of the story, Loup (Bad Boyfriends) creates a strikingly literary horror by externalizing and incarnating the miasma of postpartum depression. A solid addition for adult graphic novel collections.

Is This How You See Me? A Locas Story

Beautifully drawn, humorous, bittersweet, and poignant, this important chapter in the “Love and Rockets” universe, which stands as a self-contained graphic novel in its own right, is essential for most collections, especially those carrying the other books in the series.
PREMIUM

Maria M. Vol. 1 & 2

Some fans might miss the emotional intricacies present in much of Hernandez’s best work, but the combination of classic cartooning and cinematic storytelling, as well as graphic sex and violence, pushed to near surrealistic extremes, should satisfy most devotees and inspire the creation of even more.
PREMIUM

Our Encounters with Evil: Adventures of Professor J.T. Meinhardt and His Assistant Mr. Knox

Johnson-Cadwell shares Mignola’s taste for stories-within-stories, gruesome mythologies, and a reminiscent, though less refined, illustration style, resulting in a work that is satisfyingly horrific but refreshingly imaginative and playful.

Qualification: A Graphic Memoir in Twelve Steps

Whether the painful, incredibly personal details Heatley shares are an expression of uncommon bravery or narcissism is debatable, but readers will find themselves moved by this stunning memoir, and perhaps even grateful for the author’s refusal to shy away from depicting the complexity of his ongoing development as an artist and a human being.

Nancy: A Comic Collection

Jaimes manages to maintain Bushmiller’s minimalism and penchant for formal experimentation while creating something fresh, relevant, and most important, very funny.
PREMIUM

Animal Farm: The Graphic Novel

While Orwell’s classic 1945 novella is a specific satire of the Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union under Stalin, this skillful adaptation highlights the relevance of Orwell’s warning to stay vigilant against the gradual erosion of freedom and to resist leaders who preach equality but demand absolute fealty.
PREMIUM

The Best American Comics 2019

A terrific collection that perfectly captures the zeitgeist.

The Death of the Master

Kyle’s odd pacing and deadpan sense of humor work together to highlight the absurdity of this off-kilter and occasionally achingly familiar world.
PREMIUM

Little Bird. Vol. 1: The Fight for Elder’s Hope

While the story seems heavily inspired by European sf epics such as The Incal, it feels totally original owing to Van Poelgeest’s smart and sincere script and Bertram’s fantastic use of jittery lines and intricate detail to depict awe-inspiring landscapes, weird technology, and intense violence.
PREMIUM

Bloodlust & Bonnets

McGovern’s purposefully crude character designs are offset by her knack for pacing, slapstick, and composing scenes that convey character development through legitimately witty dialog in this exuberant debut.
PREMIUM

The Twilight Man: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television

Shadmi (Highywayman) cleverly allows his subject to narrate his own story, adding poignancy and depth to this comprehensive, entertaining biography.

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