There is some fascinating reading for the holidays in this month’s selection of new graphic novels, with a re-telling of a Jim Thompson classic noir novel, the story of John Lennon in New York, the development of hip hop, and the true story of the kidnapping by terrorist of Christopher Andre, almost twenty years later. The most brilliant cover would go to animator Pieter Coudyzer’s graphic novel Outburst.
Outburst / written and illustrated by Pieter Coudyzer ; translated from the Dutch by Peter Mennen.
“Outburst is about a man who has a forest inside him. When we meet him, all his limbs end in squeezed branches (or roots) where hands and feet should be. He tells his story, that of a fat, nerdy boy always chosen last for teams and relentlessly bullied, whose only defense is to withdraw within himself. Growth to manhood puts an end to physical abuse but not to ostracism, and he has to take a job that suits him night watchman. Eventually, he experiences an outburst; he now awaits the police or a final decision.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Hostage / Guy Delisle ; translated by Helge Dascher.
“How does one survive when all hope is lost? In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe Andre was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, Andre was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, this award-winning cartoonist recounts Andre’s harrowing experience in Hostage, a book that attests to the power of one man’s determination in the face of a hopeless situation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Jim Thompson’s The killer inside me / writer, Devin Faraci ; artist, Vic Malhotra.
“Celebrated crime novelist Jim Thompson’s sinewy, brutal, and beloved novel comes to life in this graphic noir novel. Thompson went where few have dared, giving us a pitch-black glimpse into the evil mind of the American serial killer years before Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho. Lou Ford is the deputy sheriff of a small unsuspecting Texas town. The worst thing most people can say against him is that he’s a little slow and a little boring. But most people don’t know about the sickness,the sickness that almost got Lou put away when he was younger, the psychosis that is about to surface again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
My favorite thing is monsters. Book one / Emil Ferris.
“Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbour, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Lennon : the New York years / adaptation by Corbeyran ; illustration by Horne ; story by Foenkinos ; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
“In 1975 John Lennon moved to New York City, stopped being a Beatle, and started being a father. Though his life was cut tragically short in front of his home by a fan, John Lennon’s forty years on earth changed millions of lives and shaped the course of pop culture. Many know the Beatle, the activist, the man gone balmy over Yoko, but more lies beneath the surface. From the imagined couch of a fictional therapist in NYC’s posh Dakota building, Lennon recounts the many joys, shortcomings, failures, and triumphs that marked this pop culture juggernaut’s rise to superstardom.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Faith / Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage, Andrew Dalhouse.
“Faith Herbert has always wanted to be a superhero, just like the ones in her favorite comic books. When she unlocked her latent psiots powers and joined the Harbinger Renegades she finally had her shot. But now she’s going to see if she’s got what it takes to make it as a solo hero, secret identity and all. By day, she’s a mild-mannered pop-culture blogger, by night she’s L.A.’s leading superhero, the sky-soaring Zephyr. When other young psiots start going missing without a trace all over the City of Angels, it’s going to be up to her to find out why.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Cryptocracy / written by Van Jensen ; art by Pete Woods.
“For time beyond memory, the Nine Families watched from the shadows, believing themselves shepherds and manipulating whole societies as they saw fit. Nothing happened that they didn’t observe or control. Outsiders knew naught of the Families, much less threatened them, until now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Violenzia : and other deadly amusements / by Richard Sala.
“Is she a brave and reckless heroine taking on a monstrous evil? Or is she a deranged angel of death? One thing is clear: whether she is dropping from a high window into a crowd of red-robed fanatical cultists, or facing down a horde of psychotic hillbillies, you don’t want to get in her way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Gengoroh Tagame ; translated from the Japanese by Anne Ishii.
“Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Ghetto brother : warrior to peacemaker / Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering.
“From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighbourhood, wracked by drugs, poverty and violence, Benjy manages to extract an incredibly positive energy: his gang is multi-racial and peacemaking. Amongst its many accomplishments: weekly concerts on the asphalt of the streets or in abandoned buildings which see the emergence of hip-hop.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)