There is a wonderful variation of theme in this month’s selection of new graphic novels. Included is The Customer is Always Wrong, a semi-autobiographical graphic novel from Mimi Pond, who will be in Wellington for the 2018 Writers & Readers. Also highly recommended is our own Brent Williams’s Out of the Woods: a journey through depression and anxiety.
Alone / Chabouté ; translation by Ivanka Hahnenberger.
“On a tiny lighthouse island far from the rest of the world, a lonely hermit lives out his existence. Every week a supply boat leaves provisions, its occupants never meeting him, never asking the obvious questions: Who are you? Why do you hide? Why do you never leave? What is it like to be so alone? Years spent on a deserted rock, a lifetime really; with imagination his sole companion has made the lighthouse keeper something more than alone, something else entirely. For him, what lies beyond the horizon might be nothing. And so, why not stay put? But one day, as a new boatman starts asking the questions all others have avoided, a chain of events unfolds that will irrevocably upend the hermit’s solitary life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The can opener’s daughter / Rob Davis.
“In the British Comic Award-winning The Motherless Oven , Scarper Lee asked: “Who the hell is Vera Pike?” In the second part of Rob Davis’ trilogy, we get a chance to find out. This is Vera’s story. Grave Acre is a cruel world of opportunity and control. Vera’s mother is the Weather Clock, the omnipotent and megalomaniacal Prime Minister of Chance. Her father is a can opener. Charting Vera’s unsettling childhood, the book takes us from her home in Parliament to suicide school and from the Bear Park to the black woods that lie beyond. In the present day, Vera and Castro Smith are determined to see their friend Scarper again, but is he still alive? And if so, can they save him? Can anyone outlive their deathday?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The ladies-in-waiting / Santiago Garcia, Javier Olivares ; translation by Erica Mena.
“In 1656, Diego Velazquez, leading figure in the Spanish Golden Age of painting, created one of the most enigmatic works in the history of art: Las Meninas (The Ladies-in-Waiting). This graphic novel, written and drawn by two of Spain’s most sophisticated comics’ creators, examines its legacy as one of the first paintings to explore the relationship among the viewer, reality, and unreality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Education / John Hankiewicz.
“A father and son go on a road trip to discover train station relics, a professor explains his intricate grading methods, and a pen-pal correspondence gets more suggestive and dangerous. These are all interconnected in John Hankiewicz’s Education through reveries, memories, and nostalgic abstraction to tell a story that only the medium of comics could do justice” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The magical twins / Alexandro Jodorowsky & Georges Bess ; Montana Kane, translator.
“When the King is taken prisoner by Tartarath, the ‘Dark Master’, twins Prince Aram and Princess Mara, set out to rescue their father and save the kingdom. But when the use of magic is forbidden, the twins have to find new ways to prove themselves worthy of restoring the throne.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Few / written by Sean Lewis ; art by Hayden Sherman.
“Hale is a US Palace Soldier who when witnessing a massacre while under cover, escapes through the forgotten American badlands with a gas mask wearing baby in tow. Now hunted by her country and the cult she was watching her life falls in the hands of two survivalist brothers. This edition collects issues 1 to 6.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Reborn. Book one / Mark Millar, writer ; Greg Capullo, penciller ; Jonathan Glapion, inker.
“Where do you go when you die? Not heaven or hell; somewhere else, somewhere you have to fight to survive. Somewhere the people from the past are waiting for you, the good and the bad.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The customer is always wrong / by Mimi Pond.
“This is the saga of a young naive artist named Madge working in a restaurant of charming drunks, junkies, thieves, and creeps. Oakland in the late seventies is a cheap and quirky haven for eccentrics and the tales of the fascinating sleaze-ball characters that surround young Madge into her workaday waitressing life unfold. Outrageous and loving tributes and takedowns of her co-workers and satellites of the Imperial Cafe create a snapshot of a time in Madge’s life where she encounters who she is, and who she is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Fog over Tolbiac Bridge / adapted by Jacques Tardi from the novel by Léo Malet ; [translated by Kim Thompson].
“Paris, 1950s. Nestor Burma’s past comes knocking when Belita, a young woman, leads him to the Salpetriere hospital, where he discovers the recently deceased Abel Benoit, an old buddy from his anarchist days. While Burma has chosen to move onto the (more or less) straight and narrow as a private eye, his friend had stayed on the other side of the law as a counterfeiter and worse, until his own past caught up with him lethally. So now it’s up to Malet to avenge his friend, and hopefully unravel a mystery whose roots run far and deep back into the past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Out of the woods : a journey through depression and anxiety / Brent Williams ; illustrator, Korkut Öztekin.
“Out of the Woods is a book to help people understand and overcome depression and anxiety. It is the author’s own story told entirely through 700 beautifully hand drawn watercolor illustrations. It is an immensely practical guide for sufferers, their loved ones, and professionals working in the area too. The book’s graphic memoir format blends a compelling personal story with the latest medical research, ideal for people who are in the depths of depression and struggling to read and take on board information. The book doesn’t pretend there is a quick way out of these illnesses and instead encourages people to make small steps to slowly build their own lasting recoveries. This is an inspiring story that will give vital information and hope to many people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)