Graphic Novels Prepub Alert: Jane Austen, Jim Henson & MetaMausBy Martha Cornog Jun 16, 2011
A fantastic month for comics, this October! Look for Jane Austen, CLAMP, Jim Henson, MetaMaus, and a Tezuka fave. Meanwhile, classics just keep moving into comics. In January this year, a new line was released in the United States: Graphic Dickens, from UK publishers Evans Brothers. David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol are out by now, with two more coming in September. Dickens adaptations have already been published by multiple houses, including Papercutz, Classic Comics, Saddleback, Jack Lake, and Barron's, with Sterling joining the club in August. As with the Sherlock Holmes stories, there's plenty of fruit to pick on this tree. Sterling and Classic Comics are also British concerns, so let's see who's going for the most Dickens titles.
Arcudi, John (text) & Doug Mahnke (illus.). The Complete Major Bummer Super Slacktacular! Dark Horse. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9781595825346. pap. $29.99. F
DC's late 1990s "Major Bummer" series attracted a "small but loyal fan following" but not huge sales and was cancelled after 15 issues and not collected-until now. The wackorama plot involves a couple of alien college students doing their thesis on Earth culture, gifting various humans with superpowers to study what happens. Of course, the wrong creatures get powers, including a seriously lazy slacker, a cat, and an absent-minded granny. Oh, and there's a Nazi dinosaur from a parallel universe named Tyrannosaurus Reich. Sounds like great fun. Dopy aliens seem to be hot now: note D.R. & Quinch (2000 AD), Zorphbert & Fred (webcomic), Eek & Ack (Capstone/Stone Arch), and Kaput & Zösky (First Second). The versatile Arcudi deconstructed superheroes as tragedy in the recent A God Somewhere (DC: Wildstorm).
Austen, Jane (text) & Janet Lee (illus.). Emma. Marvel. Oct. 2011. 120p. adap. by Nancy Butler. ISBN 9780785156857. $19.99. F
Three Austens down, three to go! Lee is the artist for the five-Eisner-nominated Return of the Dapper Men (see LJ's starred Xpress Review), so there could be additional interest on that basis.
Barry, Lynda. Everything. Vol. 1. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2011. 176p. ISBN 9781770460522. $24.95. F
The uncollected (until now) Lynda Barry: the weekly Ernie Pook's Comeek, Girls and Boys, Big Ideas, and other early work. With an introduction by Barry plus photographs; D&Q says it covers "the more adult subjects of bad love, bad perms, being single, Prince, and miserable break-ups-resulting in one of the most oft-quoted Barry sayings: 'Love is an exploding cigar which we all willingly smoke.'" And somehow, we never run out of matches.
Bocquet, Jose-Louis & Jean-Luc Fromental (text) & Stanislas Barthélémy (illus.). The Adventures of Hergé. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2011. 64p. ISBN 9781770460591. $19.95. BIOG
The world-famous "father" of Tintin, real name Georges Prosper Remi, becomes the subject of a comic himself drawn in his trademark clear line style. The original appeared in France in 2007 and includes personal as well as professional adventures, plus a bibliography and minibios for the main characters. For all libraries with Tintin books or otherwise collecting Franco-Belgian bande dessinée graphic novels.
Case, Jonathan. Dear Creature. Tor. Oct. 2011. 192p. ISBN 9780765331113. pap. $15.99. F
Sea monster falls in love with human girl, and she loves him, too. Gene Yang (American Born Chinese) and several other notables have endorsed this. See a preview of Case's black-and-white art.
CLAMP. Gate 7. Vol. 1. Dark Horse. Oct. 2011. 192p. ISBN 9781595828064. pap. $10.99. F
Another hapless high school student gets pulled into a mystical realm to join a group of magical warriors fighting demons. The student Chikahito isn't sure about all this warrior stuff, but he's certain about his feelings for the beautiful warrior Hana. The all-woman manga collective CLAMP is well known for its gorgeous art and best sellers Chobits, Cardcaptor Sakura, Tsubasa, and many more. This could be another biggie.
Dickens, Charles (text) & Chris Rowlatt (illus.). Great Expectations. ISBN 9780237536220.
Dickens, Charles (text) & Chris Rowlatt (illus.). Oliver Twist. ISBN 9780237536541.
ea. vol: Evans Brothers. (Graphic Dickens). Sept. 2011. 72p. adap. by Hilary Burningham. pap. $12.99. F
Great Expectations starts off with the orphaned Pip struggling with a convict in a graveyard and morphs into a coming-of-age story involving weird people, hopeless love, slackerdom, and a mysterious mister moneybags. In Oliver Twist, another orphan must dodge a gallery of colorful characters trying to turn him into a criminal. Lots of plot twists here for tweens and up.
Henson, Jim & Jerry Juhl (text) & Ramon Perez (illus.). A Tale of Sand. Archaia. Oct. 2011. 120p. ISBN 9781936393091. $24.95. F
The late Muppeteer's death in 1990 left behind an unproduced, feature-length screenplay by Henson and his writing partner, Juhl, that originated in the 1960s–70s. Mac wakes up in a strange Southwestern town and finds himself in the desert, running from all kinds of beasts and men. Archaia is translating this dark, existential parable into a graphic novel with input from Henson's children. Apparently not for kids, the screenplay has been likened to Henson's 1969 televised film, The Cube. Archaia also publishes Henson-based Fraggle Rock comics for all ages.
Innes, Lora. The Dreamer: The Consequence of Nathan Hale. Vol. 2. IDW. Oct. 2011. 152p. ISBN 9781613770313. pap. $19.99. F
Bea Whaley's dreams plunk her right in the middle of the Revolutionary War, with soldier Alan Warren as her handsome protector. Now she's wavering about her present-day crush, Ben Cato. Which is real life? Read about Volume 1 of this collected webcomic romance. Innes writes on her website: "I've found that the people I spend the most time with these days have been dead for 200 years. But not anymore. 1776 is back. Enjoy the Revolution."
Lyon, George Ella (text) & Christopher Cardinale (illus.). Which Side Are You On?: The Story of a Song. Cinco Puntos. Oct. 2011. 40p. ISBN 9781933693965. $17.05. HIST/MUSIC
It's 1930s Kentucky, and the coal miners are striking for better wages and working conditions. As the company fights back with thugs and bullets, the Reece kids are all hiding under the bed. Thinking about her husband on the picket line, Florence Reece tells the kids, "We need a song." The kids aren't so sure about that, but history proved her more right than they thought. The song she wrote became a rallying cry for the union movement and has been recorded by dozens of artists since Florence, including Pete Seeger, and been sung by people all over the world. For tweens/teens but relevant more broadly.
Manning, Matthew. The Batman Files. Andrews McMeel. Oct. 2011. 308p. ISBN 9781449408220. $100. F
The ultimate gift for Batophiles: a sumptuous collection of Bruce Wayne's childhood drawings, a time line of significant events in the Batman continuity, a dossier of Batman's friends and foes, chronicles of Batman's war on crime (news articles, crime scene photos, blueprints, maps), and lots more. All in high production values at a corresponding price, but discounts will doubtless be available.
McCreery, Conor & Anthony Del Col (text) & Andy Belanger (illus.). Kill Shakespeare. Vol. 2. IDW. Oct. 2011. 148p. ISBN 9781613770252. pap. $19.99. F
LJ's Steve Raiteri recommended Volume 1 of this "massively multi-character crossover comic set in a fantasy 'Bardverse,'" which was a YALSA pick for teens. An all-out war has developed between Richard III, teamed up with Lady Macbeth and Iago, and the rebel Prodigals led by Juliet, teamed up with Hamlet, Falstaff, and Othello. With both sides drawing unexpectedly upon magic, the showdown approaches, and Father Will finally shows himself. Libraries that bought Volume 1 will want this, and others will now want the complete two-volume story. And who will wind up with Juliet? Romeo-or Hamlet?
Meyer, Stephenie (text) & Young Kim (adapt. & illus.). Twilight: The Graphic Novel. Vol. 2. Yen Pr. Oct. 2011. 240p. ISBN 9780316133197. $19.99. F
The lovely Volume 1 grabbed the No.1 spot on New York Times Graphic Books best-sellers list, selling 66,000 copies. This volume, with the swoon-worthy Edward on the cover, completes the adaptation of the first novel.
Nilson, Stephan (text) & Karl Waller (illus.). The Pound. IDW. Oct. 2011. 120p. ISBN 9781613770542. pap. $19.99. F
This is a horror/comedy about a couple of laid-off municipal animal control guys who decide to start their own critter-collection service (a lost raccoons, cats-up-trees sort of thing). And then they run into some beasties that aren't what they seem-like, maybe, werewolves and other fiendish thingies. Monsters. Monsters plotting to take over! Read episode 1 free.
Powell, Eric. Chimichanga. Dark Horse. Oct. 2011. 104p. ISBN 9781595827555. $14.99. F
Known for his goofy-but-edgy Eisner Award-winning paranormal series The Goon, Powell came up with a goofy, all-ages fable. Wrinkle's Traveling (freak) Circus must suddenly deal with an unpredictable but likable ogre that appears out of a witch's egg traded to Lula, the little bearded girl, for a lock of beard hair. Of course, the witch is up to no good, and it's up to Lula, the Boy-Faced-Fish, and Chimichanga-the-ogre to save the day. Kids will glom onto the odd characters, and adults will see the message about empowerment and accepting your own uniquenesses.
Seth. The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2011. 136p. ISBN 9781770460539. $24.95. F
No, there's not a real Canadian cartoonist organization like this, but don't you wish there were? Seth conjures a mix of real and imaginary cartoon history the way he calls up an imaginary comics collector in Wimbleton Green and an imaginary search for a fictional cartoonist in It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken. See sample pages toward the end of an interview with Seth.
Spiegelman, Art. MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus. Pantheon. Oct. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780375423949. $35 with DVD. GRAPHIC ARTS
Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? For the 25th anniversary of the only graphic narrative to have won a Pulitzer Prize, Spiegelman creates a companion volume about the how and the why plus background sketches and drafts, private Maus notebooks, essays about Maus and about cartooning, and Holocaust survivor drawings. An accompanying DVD provides an e-copy of Maus, home movies, audio interviews with father Vladek, and more.
Star Wars Art: Comics. selected & curated by George Lucas. Abrams. Oct. 2011. 180p. ISBN 9781419700767. $40. GRAPHIC ARTS
The second in Abrams's series on Star Wars art turns to comics. The debut film appeared in 1977, and so did the first comics: a Marvel adaptation of the film. By now, there have been so many Star Wars–themed comics that the Wikipedia entry "List of Star War Comic Books" would run to 20 pages if printed out. Abrams promises that Lucas has brought together the "very best" sequential Stars Wars artwork in the Galaxy, er, industry, plus new work created exclusively for the book by more than 20 well-known artists, may the Force be with them.
Tezuka, Osamu. Princess Knight. Vol. 1. Vertical. Oct. 2011. 384p. ISBN 9781935654254. pap. $13.95. F
Running in a 1953-56 Kodansha manga magazine, the playful Princess Knight (Ribon no Kishi) was among the first so-called shojo (girls) manga. It is also one of the most famous for establishing the gender-bending so common in manga today. Tezuka is said to have been influenced by his fondness for the Takarazuka review, an all-female musical theater troupe where male roles are played by women. In a fairy-tale-type kingdom, young Princess Sapphire must pretend to be a prince so she can inherit the throne. Actually, she's doesn't have to pretend completely, since before birth she was accidentally given both male and female hearts by an angel-in-training. Volume 2 will complete the story in December. Kodansha released a bilingual version in the 2001, which has been out of print.
Waid, Mark (text) & Jackson Guice (illus.). Ruse: The Victorian Guide to Murder. Marvel. Oct. 2011. 96p. ISBN 9780785155867. pap. $14.99. F
Known as the greatest detective in the Victorian world, Simon Archard meets his match in the appealing and elusive Emma Bishop. So, is this a vision for what could have happened if Sherlock Holmes had associated further with Irene Adler? Or if Nick and Nora Charles had lived 50 years earlier? But perhaps Miss Bishop is the villain.
Watson, Andi (text) & Tommy Ohtsuka (illus.). 15-Love. Marvel. Oct. 2011. 144p. ISBN 9780785113348 pap. $14.99. F
Marvel developed this title in 2003 but shelved it. Looks like they finally noticed that sports manga have been getting readers (e.g., Crimson Hero, Girl Got Game, Prince of Tennis, Real). As a bottom-of-the-barrel student scholastics-wise at her tennis academy, Mill Collins is about to lose her scholarship and her dream to be a tennis champ. Her only supporter is a "washed-up drunk." See the attractive action pics, and scroll down. Duh, girls play sports! And with girls in scanty outfits, getting physical, how can this fail with guys?
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