Iconic legend of the comic book world, Stan Lee, has died

Stan Lee, co-creator of some of the most famous super heroes ever: including Spider-man, The Hulk, The X-men, The Fantastic Four, Thor and the Black Panther died yesterday (12th November 2018). It is no exaggeration to say that the comic creations he helped bring to life changed the global entertainment world profoundly. Some of those characters have permeated just about every aspect of world culture. His larger than life public persona often appeared as cameos in Marvel Universe films.

He will be greatly missed but there is no doubt those creations he helped to form will go on.

R.I.P. Stan Lee.

Syndetics book coverAmazing fantastic incredible : a marvelous memoir / Stan Lee and Peter David and Colleen Doran.
“In this gorgeously illustrated, full-color graphic memoir, Stan Lee–comic book legend and cocreator of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Incredible Hulk, and a legion of other Marvel superheroes–shares his iconic legacy and the story of how modern comics came to be.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpider-Man 2099 [6] : Apocalypse soon / Peter David, writer ; Will Sliney, artist.
“Spider-Man 2099 has learned the location of the headquarters of the Fist – the extremist anti-government offshoot of the Hand that put his fianc’e in a coma – and he’s ready to mount his attack! But it turns out that he’s not the only one investigating the radical group. Elektra Natchios, Marvel’s most deadly assassin, has her own reasons for hunting these terrorists. Can Miguel trust this mysterious newcomer, or is she yet another obstacle in his quest for vengeance?  (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStan Lee’s How to draw comics : from the legendary creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Iron Man / Stan Lee.
Contents of this book include: A brief history of comic books . . . by a guy who lived them! — Tools of the trade — Form, perspective & foreshortening — The human head — Amazing anatomy, action & acting — Characters & costumes — Bring on the backgrounds — The life behind the layouts — Peerless penciling — Imaginative inking — Lively lettering — Crafting the color — Commanding covers — and Creating the comic book.

 

October’s outstanding new graphic novels

Ever wonder what the inside of people’s heads look like? Graphic novels are an amazing way to peer into the imagination with a slew of styles that either make you go ‘what were they thinking?’ or ‘I totally get that’. This month’s graphic novels have a some unique stand alone titles and new chapters of worlds that expand on original themes and characters.

Lisa Hanawalt of BoJack Horseman fame (producer and production designer) has an original style. Bright watercolours reveal a a gritty character who’s rough world gets a poke in the ribs with a funny bone to keep those Western cliches clopping along. A nod to spookiness for Halloween with Idle Days Thomas Desaulniers-Brousseau’s haunting tale set in a remote cabin. And Giant Days full of gigantic living and beings of incredible size from the minds of Carlos Valderrama and John Allison. Have your heartstrings tugged with Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband, Volume 2 the concluding chapter in a family dealing with difference in Japan. Then top this off with some twisty mind-games in a Patricia Highsmith-esk Tumult from John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy and you have a small introduction to this month’s graphic novel collection.

Coyote Doggirl / Hanawalt, Lisa
“An homage to and a lampoon of Westerns like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Lisa Hanawalt’s Coyote Doggirl is a self-aware, playful subversion of tropes. As our fallible hero attempts to understand the culture of the wolves, we see a journey in understanding and misunderstanding, adopting and co-opting. Uncomfortable at times but nonetheless rewarding and empowering, the story of these flawed, anthropomorphized characters is nothing if not relentlessly hilarious and heartbreakingly human. Told in Hanawalt’s technicolor absurdist style, Coyote Doggirl is not just a send-up of the Western genre but a deeply personal story told by an enormously talented cartoonist.” (Catalogue)

Tumult / Dunning, John Harris
“A stylish psychological thriller set in London. Adam Whistler has it all, so why does he feel so empty? At a house party he meets the lovely Morgan. But when he encounters her a few days later she has no memory of him and introduces herself as Leila. Leila has dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities. People are being murdered and Leila fears that Morgan, the personality Adam first met, is the killer. He doesn’t believe that any part of her is capable of it, so he sets out to unravel the mystery of her past.” (Catalogue)

Idle days / Desaulniers-Brousseau, Thomas
“Depressed and unmoored by his father’s violent death, and drafted into the Canadian military to serve in World War II, Jerome has fled, taking refuge in a cabin his grandfather owns in a remote part of the countryside. But Jerome’s troubles are only beginning. A strange dread fills the woods, and rumors of murders and ghosts cast his refuge in a sinister light. As Jerome struggles to come to terms with his father’s death, he obsessively seeks to uncover the mystery of what, exactly, happened in his grandfather’s house.” (Catalogue)

My brother’s husband. Volume 2 / Tagame, Gengoroh
“The concluding volume in the story of Yaichi, his daughter Kana, and how their meeting Mike Flanagan changes their lives. As Mike continues his journey of discovery concerning Ryoji’s past, Yaichi gradually comes to understand that being gay is just another way of being human. And that, in many ways, remains a radical concept in Japan even today. In the meantime, the bond between Mike and young Kana grows ever stronger, and yet he is going to have to return to Canada soon. But not before more than a few revelations come to light.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Old man Hawkeye [1] : an eye for an eye / Sacks, Ethan
“The super heroes have fallen. The country has been divided into territories controlled by super villains. Among the wastelands lives Clint Barton – one of the few Avengers to survive. Trying to eke out a living any way he can, the former Hawkeye is confronted with a startling discovery: the sharpshooter is going blind. With time running short, Clint realizes there’s one last thing he wants to see: revenge for his fallen comrades-in-arms. Rising-star writer Ethan Sacks and superstar artist Marco Checchetto take you back to the Wastelands in a story set five years before the original classic Old man Logan.” (Catalogue)

The Arab of the future 3 : a graphic memoir : a childhood in the Middle East (1985-1987) / Sattouf, Riad
“In this third volume (1985-1987), Riad’s mother, fed up with the grinding reality of daily life in the village, decides she cannot take it any longer. When she resolves to move back to France, young Riad sees his father torn between his wife’s aspirations and the weight of family traditions.” (Catalogue)

Giants / Valderrama, Carlos
“Greed and ambition collide with survival and the love of family in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by giant monsters whose only goal is destruction .A cataclysm of unknown origin unleashed a race of massive creatures whose presence has driven humanity underground. There, two orphans discover that the most dangerous monster is ambition, which unchecked, will grow until it devours you. In their first work for American comics, the Valderrama Bros. have layered a modern day kaiju story with a personal tale of a friendship gone wrong, and how the decisions we make can change our world… and seal our fates” (Catalogue)

Giant days. Volume eight / Allison, John
“It’s the end of second year for best mates Susan, Daisy, and Esther, and cracks are appearing in the foundation of this unshakeable trio. Between (irritating) new loves, (secretive) old loves, (unlikely) new friendships and (terrible) old houses, they’ll be lucky to make it to third year alive!” (Catalogue)

Comic book gold! New graphic novels at WCL

The Adventure Zone book cover

Comic book titles hitting the library shelves this month feature award winners, best sellers, classics, antiheroes and more. Classics by Pearl S Buck, Octavia E Butler and Karl Marx have been transformed into visual narratives. Kindred has won awards and recognition in the form an Eisner award, and a Bram Stoker award. Maybe illustrator John Jennings’ colour samplings from bruises and blood had some influence there! This powerful adaptation is worth looking through, and if it’s the first taste you have of Octavia Butler’s work, lucky you! She is a fearless, insightful writer whose work deals with gender, race, age and class. Crime author Denise Mina, a recent Wellington visitor, is the writer for the latest John Constantine, Hellblazer.

The McElroy brothers playing Dungeons & Dragons with their dad is a different type of adaptation altogether. The Adventure Zone is a comic based on the podcast of the same name. Their fantasy characters are complete with ‘loafers of leaping and sprinting’ and proficiencies in wolf training and tea making. The graphic novel instantly became a New York Times trade paperback bestseller on release in August 2018.

Moon Knight [1] : crazy runs in the family / Bemis, Max
“Moon Knight has always been a protector from the shadows, but this new enemy is set to extinguish those shadows with blinding light and fire. Get ready for the introduction of Moon Knight’s greatest nemesis! But as the path of the Sun King brings him ever closer to Moon Knight, Marc has problems of his own: A man known as the Truth is driving people to suicide! Things get worse when Sun King and Bushman hit Marc where it hurts the most, and Jake Lockley’s dark secret is revealed! Will Moon Knight finally be eclipsed?” (Catalogue)

The good earth / Bertozzi, Nick
“Although more than eighty years have passed since Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth won the Pulitzer Prize, it has retained its popularity and become one of the great modern classics. This indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperor reigned and the vast political and social upheavals of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings, tells the moving story of honest farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-Lan. Bertozzi retraces the whole cycle of life depicted in Buck’s original novel: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions, and its rewards.” (Catalogue)

Kindred : a graphic novel adaptation / Duffy, Damian
“This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white – and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that is suddenly transformed into the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can’t explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Communist Manifesto / Rowson, Martin
“A graphic novel adaptation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s revolutionary pamphlet on the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth, published in 1848. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Manifesto for the Communist Party was at once a powerful critique of capitalism and a radical call to arms. Much of what it proposed continues to be at the heart of political debate into the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that The Communist Manifesto (as it was later renamed) is the second bestselling book of all time, surpassed only by the Bible.” (Catalogue)

The Adventure Zone : here there be gerblins / McElroy, Clint
“Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided (“guided”) by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it’s based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.” (Catalogue)

John Constantine, Hellblazer. 19, Red right hand / Mina, Denise
Constantine discovers he’s cursed with empathy for his fellow man as the multi-layered tale races forward. Seeking the origin of the Empathy curse, Constantine and Chris roll into Glasgow in search of Steve Evans, a “massively powerful magician” who is waiting for Constantine. Meanwhile John finds out that there has been a connection between himself and Chris before they even met. Written by award-winning crime novelist Denise Mina. Collects issues #216-229.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Made men : getting the gang back together / Tobin, Paul
“When Jutte Shelley and her squad are gunned down in an ambush, it looks like the end for the Detroit police officers, but Jutte comes from a very storied family… named Frankenstein. Using the secrets of her ancestors, Jutte enters the family business of resurrection, bringing her squad back from the dead. Sort of. As long as you don’t look too close. Eager for revenge, they’ve no choice but to team with the Detroit mob, using them for the resources to find the lowlifes who did them in, now that Jutte has quite literally gotten the gang back together.” (Catalogue)

The song of Aglaia / Simon, Anne
French illustrator Anne Simon, known for her biographies of Freud, Marx and Einstein, delves into whimsy and other worldliness. “Aglaia is a simple sea nymph. One day, a Merman seduces Aglaia, forever altering her life’s course. She is cast out of Oceanid by her chauvinistic father, forcing her to wander many days and nights, until one day she finds herself at the benefit of one Mr. Kite, whose traveling circus welcomes her (including the star attraction, a waltzing Horse named Henry) and once again alters her fate, sending her down many more unexpected paths.” (Catalogue)

New Graphic novels

Hasib book cover

Wellington City Libraries has a wealth of graphic novels for the edification and delight of Wellingtonians.  This month has seen some new voices added to the collection and some great compilations of seasoned artists and writers. British comic artist Shaky Kane has compiled all the Deadline strips and the Hoey siblings Coin-Op anthology has amassed twenty years of work. There are translated works, new episodes in long running series and original takes on conventional heroes as with DC’s Young Animal: Milk wars reworking Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman into a freaky Happy Days-esque version of “reality”.  The same trippy feel is echoed in Ice Cream Man: Rainbow sprinkles.

Film has a stylistic treatment in the form of Lawrence Block’s Eight million ways to die. Lawrence Block was so pleased with Snyder’s version he heaped praise on this artistic interpretation of his novel. Other artistic endeavors are explored in a translated Guardians of the Louvre. The classic Thousand and One Nights is also reprised with Hâsib and the Queen of Serpents. The sketchy world of Farel Dalrymple reveals an interlinking quest for some questionable characters in It Will All Hurt. And explore geography with Olivia Burton, as travel becomes an internal journey, beautifully laid out in her exploration of Algeria.

Delve into the newly acquired graphic novels at your library, with some choice selections below.

Hâsib & the queen of serpents : a tale of a thousand and one nights / B., David
“Heir to the wise Daniel, Hâsib is a young woodcutter promised to a great future. When his greedy companions abandon him in the middle of the forest, he meets the Queen of Serpents. She then tells her story, a fabulous adventure filled with gods and demons, princes and prophets. From Kabul to Cairo, journeys intertwine with intrigues and spiritual quests while the fabulous nights follow one another.” (Catalogue)

Redlands. Volume one, Sisters by blood / Bellaire, Jordie
“A mysterious coven of witches runs the town of Redlands, Florida–and in order to stay on top, sacrifices must be made. When possession turns into friendship, and when love evolves into spite, the witches’ reign is challenged.” (Catalogue)

Algeria is beautiful like America / Burton, Olivia
“Olivia had always heard stories about Algeria from her maternal grandmother, a Black Foot (a “Pied-Noir,” the French term for Christian and Jewish settlers of French Algeria who emigrated to France after the Algerian War of Independence). After her grandmother’s death, Olivia found some of her grandmother’s journals and letters describing her homeland. Now, ten years later, she resolves to travel to Algeria and experience the country for herself; she arrives alone, with her grandmother’s postcards and letters in tow, and a single phone number in her pocket of an Algerian, Djaffar, who will act as her guide.” (Catalogue)

Chainmail bikini : the anthology of women gamers
Chainmail Bikini is an anthology of comics by and about female gamers! Forty cartoonists have contributed comics about the games they’re passionate about — from video games to tabletop role-playing to collectible card games. The comics in Chainmail Bikini explore the real-life impact of entering a fantasy world, and how games can connect us with each other and teach us about ourselves. Alliances are forged, dice get rolled, and dragons get slain! Chainmail Bikini shows that while women are not always the target market for gaming, they are a vital and thoroughly engaged part of it, and are eager to express their personal take as players, makers, and critics of games.” (Catalogue)

It will all hurt / Dalrymple, Farel
“A weird, sad, silly, sketchy, and dreamy watercolor fantasy action quest in which Alemendra Clementine and her crew of anti-social adventurers all come together on a psych-apocalyptic world to take down an evil wizard.” (Catalogue)

Coin-Op comics anthology 1997-2017 / Hoey, Maria
“This first-ever collection by the award-winning team of siblings Peter and Maria Hoey encompasses the very best of their inventive and mysterious comics. The compilation ranges from the Hoeys’ early comics in Blab! Magazine to their groundbreaking newest series, Coin-Op. All in all, it’s more than twenty short stories and vignettes about music and film, the comic and the absurd, the past and the future all sparkling with innovative storytelling and design.” (Catalogue)

Good news bible : the complete Deadline strips of Shaky Kane. / Kane, Shaky
“This major retrospective of comics and illustration from essential British cartoonist Shaky Kane collects the entirety of his work from the classic ’90s magazine Deadline for the first time. Heavily influenced by the great Jack Kirby, Shaky produces comics that combine intensity and bombast with a psychedelic and unmistakably British cynicism.” (Catalogue)

DC/Young Animal : milk wars / Orlando, Steve
“What happens when the Doom Patrol team of misfits meets Justice League of America, or the new Gotham vigilante Mother Panic comes face to face with Batman? Will Shade the Changing Girl be able to appease Wonder Woman and will Cave Carson be able to team up with Swamp Thing to destroy the evil, interdimensional corporation called RetCo from the inside? Valid questions. Very valid. How will we ever find out the answer? Right here in DC/Young Animal: Milk Wars, of course!” (Catalogue)

Ice Cream Man. Volume one, Rainbow sprinkles / Prince, W. Maxwell
Ice Cream Man is a genre-defying comic book series, featuring disparate one-shot tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man–a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who with a snap of his fingers–lickety split!–can change the course of your life.” (Catalogue)

Lawrence Block’s Eight million ways to die / Snyder, John K.
“In crime-ravaged 1980s New York, a troubled ex-cop turned unlicensed detective takes on his most dangerous case, hunting down a serial killer-hitman, and ultimately coming face-to-face with his deadliest enemy, himself. The highly detailed, full-color artwork from John K. Snyder III perfectly complements the noir aesthetic of Block’s writing, making this a must have for fans of crime fiction, both in prose and graphic novel form.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Guardians of the Louvre / Taniguchi, Jirō
“After a group trip to Europe, a Japanese artist stops in Paris alone, intent on visiting the museums of the capital. But, bedridden in his hotel room with fever, he faces the absolute solitude of one suffering in a foreign land, deprived of any immediate or familiar recourse. When the fever breaks somewhat, he sets out on his visit and promptly gets lost in the crowded halls of the Louvre. Very soon, he discovers many unsuspected facets to this world in a museum in a journey oscillating between feverish hallucination and reality, actually able to speak with famous painters from various periods of history, led to crossroads between human and personal history by… the Guardians of the Louvre.” (Catalogue)

New comics and graphic novels

Satellite Falling book cover

Illustrators and storytellers have poured their talents into graphic novels, telling of personal stories in response to terrorism and surgery; grand narratives, mysteries and bursts of imagination that have created worlds. Wellington City Libraries has sifted through and selected a swathe for our shelves. This month has translated international talents, compilations of miniseries presented in one volume, next chapters of current series and a republished title from Aotearoa New Zealand. It was tricky to choose from all our new material, below is a selection of highlights:

The ghost fleet [1] : the whole goddamned thing / Cates, Donny
“When you need to transport the world’s most valuable, dangerous, or secretive cargo, you don’t call just any trucking service… you call The Ghost Fleet. But when one of the world’s most elite combat-trained truckers takes a forbidden peek at his payload, he uncovers a vast conspiracy that threatens not just him, but possibly the entire planet!” (Catalogue)
Previously 1-8 episodes now presented in one volume.

Green almonds : letters from Palestine = Les amandes vertes / Hermans, Anaële
Green Almonds: Letters from Palestine is a personal look into a complex reality, through the prism of the experience of a young woman writing letters to her sister about her feelings and adventures in the occupied territories. Green Almonds is an intimate story with big implications. A young woman discovers a country, works there, makes friends, lives a love story, and is confronted with the plight of the Palestinians, the violence on a daily basis that we see on our screens and read in our newspapers.” (Catalogue)

Briggs Land. Volume 2, Lone wolves / Wood, Brian
“Grace Briggs is now the leader of the largest antigovernment secessionist group in the United States, having outmaneuvered both Federal law enforcement and an attempted takeover by white power stormtroopers. But troubles at home remain, and when a chance encounter with innocent civilians blows up into an ugly hostage situation, the privacy and integrity of Briggs Land is compromised. Meanwhile, Jim Briggs, humiliated at losing control of the family, seeks revenge.” (Catalogue)

Hicksville : a comic book / Horrocks, Dylan
“World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned millions and become the most powerful man in the comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand. A rich, and captivating book, one of the best graphic novels of the past decade.” (Catalogue)

Godshaper / Spurrier, Simon
“In 1958, the laws of physics stopped working. But an alternative was provided, and people found themselves each accompanied by their own personal god, the new fuel and currency of the world. Varying in shape, size, and influence, these companion deities changed everything. Ennay is a man without a god. Bud is a god without a human. Together, they might just survive.” (Catalogue)

About Betty’s boob / Cazot, Vero
“She lost her left breast, her job, and her guy. She does not know it yet, but this is the best day of her life. An inspiring and surprisingly comedic tale of loss and acceptance told largely through silent sequential narrative.” (Catalogue)

Out of nothing / Locke, Daniel
“Spanning millennia, Daniel Locke’s ambitious graphic novel explores humanity’s inherent ‘dreaming mind’ and its impact on our world. Surreal sequences take us from Gutenberg’s printing press to Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web via Picasso, Einstein, Grandmaster Flash and more. Locke shows hour our basic instinct to observe, record and connect has formed the basis for all human invention and progress.” (Catalogue)

Satellite falling / Horton, Steve
“She’s the only human on an alien world… and that’s the least of her problems. A sci-fi series filled with grit and wit. She fled a fallen Earth, her lover dead. Now, Lilly makes her way as a cabbie by day and a bounty hunter by night as the sole human on SATELLITE. When Lilly’s past catches up with her, it’s going to take her and an unlikely band of weird aliens to set things right. What has Lilly gotten herself into?” (Catalogue)

Strong female protagonist. Book two / Mulligan, Brennan Lee
“Alison Green used to be a superhero. With unlimited strength and invulnerablility she fought crime with a group of other teens under the alter ego Mega Girl. All that changed after an encounter with Menace, her mind-reading arch-enemy, who showed her evidence of a sinister conspiracy that made battling giant robots seem suddenly unimportant. Now Alison is going to college in New York City, trying to find ways to actually help the world while making friends and getting to class on time. It’s impossible to escape the past however and trouble comes in the form of mysterious murders ex-teammates with a grudge, robots with a straing sense of humor, an inconvenient crush, a contankerous professor, and many different kinds of people who think they know the best way to be a hero.” (Catalogue)

And from Mike Mignola, the Hellboy short story collection is featured below:

Hellboy : the complete short stories. Volume 1 / Mignola, Michael
“In 1994 Mike Mignola released the first Hellboy series, Seed of Destruction, as Hellboy faced his supposed destiny as Beast of the Apocalypse. Before that, he’d spent fifty years fighting monsters as a somewhat carefree member of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The Complete Short Stories volumes 1 & 2 present those early adventures. The Crooked Man and Double Feature of Evil, both of which earned Mignola and his legendary collaborator Richard Corben Eisner Awards, are collected with the complete Hellboy in Mexico saga, featuring collaborations with Corben, Mick McMahon, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon, as well as one of Mignola’s early masterpiece, The Corpse.” (Catalogue)

A few recommendations for lovers of Suicide Squad

The Victories book cover

In this post, which is part of our series of comic recommended readings, we are going to explore some graphic works that have some sort of connection visually, thematically or character based to one of the comic world’s most popular and enduring creations, Suicide Squad, so if you already like Suicide Squad why not try the following:

Syndetics book coverSuicide Squad : the official movie novelization / based on the Warner Bros. Pictures film written by David Ayer ; based on characters from DC comics ; novelization by Marv Wolfman.
“Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous imprisoned super criminals, provide them the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them to defeat an enigmatic, unstoppable enemy.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSecret Six. Volume 1, Villains united / Gail Simone, writer ; Dale Eaglesham, Val Semeiks, Brad Walker, pencillers ; Wade Von Grawbadger [and 4 others], inkers.
“Collecting the series that led into INFINITE CRISIS! Six of justice’s deadliest enemies band together to start a revolution. Together, they want to take a stand to stop the super-heroic community from tampering with their minds and to prove how deadly they can be! But not everyone agrees to this agenda. Six rogues are recruited by the enigmatic Mockingbird, charged with opposing the Society and given assignments to thwart their rivals and even help their enemies. Who is Mockingbird? Could it be one of the six?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Paybacks. Volume 1 / script by Donny Cates and Eliot Rahal ; art by Geoff Shaw.
“Heroism doesn’t come cheap, so when superheroes borrow money to finance their genetic enhancements, robotic suits or crime-fighting supercomputers, their debts make student loans look like IOUs. Enter the Paybacks, a repo squad composed of bankrupt former heroes like Night Knight and Miss Adventure, here to foreclose on everybody’s secret lairs. But now the Paybacks have discovered a fate far worse than debt: a murderer is on the loose. and it just may be one of their own.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Victories [1] : touched / story and art, Michael Avon Oeming.
“Not long from now, all that will stand between you and evil are THE VICTORIES: heroes sworn to protect us from crime, corruption, and the weird designer drug known as Float. As one member hits the streets looking for blood, he discovers himself touched by a painful past through the powers of a psychic. Will this trauma cause him to self-destruct or to rejoin the good fight? Collects the five-issue miniseries.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJustice League vs. Suicide Squad / Joshua Williamson, Tim Seeley, Rob Williams, Si Spurrier, writers ; Jason Fabok, Tony S. Daniel, Jesus Merino, Fernando Pasarin [and fifteen others], artists.
“This was a day that Amanda Waller–the government liaison in charge of Task Force X–always knew would come: the Justice League discovers the existence of the Suicide Squad! The government-sponsored black-ops team of super-villains with bombs implanted in their brains is obviously a dealbreaker for the World’s Greatest Superheroes. But you can bet the Wall and her gang won’t go down without the fight to end all fights!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Top picks from our latest graphic novels

Sirens book cover

Graphic novels continue to delight, thrill and amaze with their rich diversity of style and content and this months selection of releases are no exception from tales of jazz greats to primitive tribes existing on a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Mudbite featuring Dave Cooper’s Eddy Table. / Cooper, Dave
Mudbite compiles two all-new Eddy Table stories, ‘Mud River’ and ‘Bug Bite’, in which Eddy Table returns to his roots, acting as Dave’s alter ego in the dreamlike narratives. Eddy first appeared in the early ’90s in Dave Cooper’s award-winning underground comic series, Weasel. The stories are based on baffling dreams and a unique kind of logical nonsense, centering on encounters with voluptuous women and fantasy technology.” (Catalogue)

Total jazz / Blutch
“In these freewheeling short stories, vignettes, and sketches that originally appeared in Jazzman magazine, the famed French cartoonist examines not only the genre and its creators but the nature of the subculture. The grumpy festival-goer, the curmudgeonly collector, the anxious auditioner, and many others are his targets. As improvisional as Coltrane and Mingus, Blutch captures the excitement of live performance and of creating and listening to music.” (Catalogue)

Niourk / Vatine, Olivier
“On a post-apocalyptic Earth, where mankind has regressed to a handful of primitive tribes hunting and foraging for a meager, oppressed existence, a lone black child, shunned by other members of his tribe, sets out on an epic journey to what used to be known as New York, land of the gods! Written by Stefan Wul, author of cult favorite Fantastic Planet, illustrated by acclaimed French comics artist Olivier Vatine, this unusual hero’s journey is a memorable examination of a child’s compassion — and the human race’s cruelty.”(Catalogue)

Kill six billion demons. Book two, Wielder of dreams. / Parkinson-Morgan, Tom
“When her boyfriend is kidnapped by genocidal angels, Allison Ruth rushes to save him. Now this sorority sister/barista/business major is stranded in an alternate dimension and endowed with awesome – but incredibly inconvenient – power. There’s a way out, but it’ll take everything Allison has.” (Catalogue)

Sirens / Pérez, George
“As an intergalactic force enslaves planets across the galaxy, the legendary team known only as the Sirens must reunite to save the galaxy–but is that even possible when the Sirens themselves don’t remember who they are? And the rest of the universe only remembers them as…villains?” (Catalogue)

Secret weapons / Heisserer, Eric
“The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure.” (Catalogue)

Shadows on the grave / Corben, Richard
“Richard Corben follows up 2014’s Spirits of the Dead with a new collection of original short stories, ranging from gothic tales worthy of Poe, to Twilight Zone-style encounters with the weird, to a full-length fantasy epic featuring a barbarian reminiscent of Corben’s most notorious creation, Den, immortalized in the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal. Corben rose to prominence with short horror and science fiction stories in the early 1970s in Creepy and Eerie, which were later collected in Creepy Presents Richard Corben.” (Catalogue)

Get naked / Seagle, Steven T
“Where would you get naked? In the spirit of essayist David Sedaris and the sardonic travel monologues of Spalding Grey, comic writer Steven T. Seagle… turns his eye to a new form–the graphic essay. Nineteen emerging global cartoonists journey through Seagle’s personal observations of global attitudes about nudeness. Balancing raw comedy, raw emotions, and raw cartooning, the essays honestly chronicle Seagle’s place as an undressed, metaphorical fish out of water on different continents – from not recognizing a famous unclothed celebrity in Hollywood, to finding himself nude on the roof of a Berlin high-rise, to being eaten by literal fish in Tokyo.” (Catalogue)

Incognegro : a graphic mystery / Johnson, Mat
“This tenth anniversary edition of the acclaimed and fearless graphic novel features enhanced toned art, an afterword by Mat Johnson, character sketches, and other additional material. In the early 20th Century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could ‘pass’ among the white folks. They called this dangerous assignment going ‘incognegro’. (Catalogue)

The Battle of Churubusco : American rebels in the Mexican-American War / Ferraris, Andrea
“A soldier under fire faces a crisis of conscience in this remarkable work of historical graphic fiction. In 1847, Mexican suburb Churubusco was the stronghold of the San Patricios, a motley battalion of soldiers–even some runaway American slaves–who deserted the United States army for a just, if suicidal, cause.” (Catalogue)

Selected picks from our latest graphic novels

Brazen

There is a rich diversity in this month’s graphic novel picks, from continuations of acclaimed series such as Arthur De Pins’ The Revolution of the Crabs to historic seminal cult works such as the DC House of Horror anthology to a wonderful graphic novel celebrating the rebel ladies who rocked the world. All in all it’s a rich cornucopia with works to suit all tastes.

Syndetics book coverThe death of Stalin / writer, Fabien Nury ; artist, Thierry Robin.
“On March 1, 1953, the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, had a severe stroke. A doctor could not be called until the Central Committee had convened, voted, and agreed on which doctor to use, a task made more complex by the fact that Stalin had just ordered the deaths of many of the Soviet Union’s leading physicians. And so began the bureaucratic merry-go-round that became the intense and underhanded struggle for control of a nation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe green hand and other stories / Nicole Claveloux with Edith Zha ; introduction by Daniel Clowes ; translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith.
“Nicole Claveloux’s short stories–originally published in the late 1970s and never before collected in English–are among the most beautiful comics ever drawn: whimsical, intoxicating, with the freshness and splendor of dreams. In hallucinatory colour or elegant black-and-white, she brings us into lands that are strange but oddly recognizable, filled with murderous grandmothers and lonely city dwellers, bad-tempered vegetables and walls that are surprisingly easy to fall through. This new selection, designed and introduced by Daniel Clowes, presents the full achievement of an unforgettable, unjustly neglected master of French comics.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrion’s outcasts / Corbeyran & Jorge Miguel ; Corbeyran, writer ; Jorge Miguel, artist & colorist ; Mark Bence, translator.
“Now, instead of Kolhen’s warrior tattoo, the young man wears the mark of the rejected, the ‘outcasts’ as they are known on the planet Absalon. Determined to prove his innocence and to get revenge on those who framed him, Kolhen escapes captivity with the help of the fiery Tryana, another of society’s pariahs. On his quest, Kolhen meets a mysterious woman with golden hair, who’s armed with strange and powerful weaponry, and who claims to be an envoy from another planet: Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRashomon : a Commissioner Heigo Kobayashi case / story and art by Victor Santos ; translations by Katie LaBarbera.
“Victor Santos (Polar, Violent Love) writes and illustrates a crime and mystery story inspired by Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s tales featuring the heroic commissioner Heigo Kobayashi. When the body of a skilled samurai is found along the road to Yamashina in feudal Japan, the search begins for his killer. Detective Heigo Kobayashi takes the case but finds only dead-end clues and no first-hand witnesses.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe walking dead. Volume 29, Lines we cross / Robert Kirkman, creator, writer ; Charlie Adlard, penciler ; Stefano Gaudiano, inker.
“Recent events have thrown Alexandria into turmoil, and now Rick, Dwight, Eugene and Negan all have something to prove.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBrazen : rebel ladies who rocked the world / Pénélope Bagieu ; English translation by Montana Kane.
“Throughout history and across the globe, one characteristic connects the daring women of Brazen : their indomitable spirit.With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Hellblazer. Vol. 3, The inspiration game / Tim Seeley, Richard Kadrey, writers ; Jesús Merino, Davide Fabbri, José Marzán Jr., artists.
“Death doesn’t just become John Constantine–it shadows the poor bastard’s every step, from his home turf of London to the streets of San Francisco. What’s more, it has a nasty habit of striking where the DC Universe’s street-level sorcerer least expects it–like his dreams. After waking from a vengeful drunken nightmare, Constantine finds that a real-life murder has been committed. Could he have done the deed himself in a blacked-out rage? Or is some sinister force turning his subconscious mind into the ultimate untraceable weapon?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe march of the crabs [3] : the revolution of the crabs / written and illustrated by Arthur de Pins ; translated by Edward Gauvin.
The March of the Crabs concludes in the third volume of the Eisner Award-nominated series. Inhabiting the Gironde estuary, there is a race of crabs known for their strange defect: unable to evolve, they are condemned to spend their lives walking a single straight line. When Sunny, Boater, and Guitar, discovered a way to spur their biology and change directions, their bold moves broke the crabs into two clans: the rigid (who walk straight) and the turners (who change direction). Now, these two factions are prepared for battle as the other underwater creatures look on, ready to take a side. But the stunning rebellion comes in the crosshairs of another species on the brink of their own cataclysmic change of course… humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBullseye : the Colombian connection.
“He’s a ruthless hitman who never misses, a deadly foe who can turn any object into a lethal weapon! But why is the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous assassin heading to Colombia to take aim at a drug cartel? Find out as Bullseye takes charge!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRock Candy Mountain. Volume one / written & drawn by Kyle Starks.
“It’s the first collection of the manic, hobo fighting epic that is Rock Candy Mountain. Come inside and meet the mysterious, unbeatable hobo Jackson on his quest to find the mythical hobo heaven. Meet his sidekick Pomona Slim. But watch out for the Devil! And the FBI! And the Hobo Mafia too! It’s a fantastical fisticuff frolic through post- World War II America via the rails and backroads through underground fight clubs, prison and the hobo jungles wrought with dangers, hobo fights, jokes and locomotive excitement.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRom [3] : long roads to ruin / plot and script by Chris Ryall & Christos Gage ; art by David Messina ; pencils by Guy Dorian, Sr. ; inks by Michele Pasta and Sal Buscema.
“Rom now has help in his war against the Dire Wraiths in the form of additional Solstar Knights and super-powered human allies both… so why is the battle going from bad to worse? The Wraiths’ master plan grows and Rom can’t even see it, let alone find any way to stop it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Comedians + crows: New graphic novels

Crow of Whareatua

This month’s selection of new graphic novels illustrates the diversity of this collection. The narratives range from comedy to tragedy, from modern life to horror, from the sublime to the surreal, some classic re-releases, and all have extraordinary artwork.

Syndetics book coverIs this guy for real? : the unbelievable Andy Kaufman / Box Brown.
“Comedian and performer Andy Kaufman’s resume was impressive–a popular role on the beloved sitcom Taxi, a high-profile stand-up career, and a surprisingly successful stint in professional wrestling. Although he was by all accounts a sensitive and thoughtful person, he’s ironically best remembered for his various contemptible personas, which were so committed and so convincing that all but his closest family and friends were completely taken in. Why would someone so gentle-natured and sensitive build an entire career seeking the hatred of his audience? What drives a performer to solicit that reaction? With the same nuance and sympathy with which he approached Andre the Giant in his 2014 biography, graphic novelist Box Brown’s Is This Guy For Real? takes on the complex and often hilarious life of Andy Kaufman.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverProvidence. Act 2 / story, Alan Moore ; art, Jacen Burrows.
“Robert Black came looking for a story but what he found is a world of misery and woe. He’s becoming a broken man, only beginning to accept the horrors of the Lovecraftian world are real and hiding in plain sight. Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying reinvention of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. It is being universally hailed as one of Moore’s most realized works in which the master scribe has controlled every iota of the story, art, and presentation. The result has been a masterpiece like no other and a true must-have addition to his essential work in the field.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Crow of WhareatuaCrow of Whareatua : a New Zealand war story : a graphic novel / Marsh, Sid
“Set in 1869, Te Kooti Arikirangi te Turuki is founder of the Ringatū religion and the commander of the deadliest Māori guerilla force of the nineteenth century. Te Urewera is the battleground a wilderness of forest and bird, mountain and waterway. A war fought with a ruthlessness and ferocity that even Vietnam, one hundred years later cannot surpass. Kupapa warrior and colonist trooper pitted against Tuhoe toa and Ringatū land-grunt. Crow of Whareatua seeks to bring life to a one month period of a bitter four year war.” (Catalogue summary)

Syndetics book coverBingo love / written by Tee Franklin ; art by Jenn St-Onge.
“When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. Bingo Love is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unquotable Trump / compiled and drawn by R. Sikoryak.
“R. Sikoryak is famous for taking classic comics and mashing them with famous literature as he did in Masterpiece Comics or even using comics to visualize the iTunes Terms and Conditions contract. Now in these uncertain times, cartoonist R. Sikoryak draws upon the power of comics and satire to frame President Trump and his controversial declarations as the words and actions of the most notable villains and antagonists in comic book history. Reimagining the most famous comic covers, Sikoryak transforms Wonder Woman into Nasty Woman; Tubby Tompkins into Trump; Black Panther into the Black Voter; the Fantastic Four into the Hombres Fantasticos and Trump into Magneto fighting the Ex-Men.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPortugal / Pedrosa ; translation by Montana Kane.
“From the author of the acclaimed Equinoxes comes a return to roots that serves as spiritual renewal. Comics artist Simon Muchat is stuck. Suffering writer’s block, uninspired, vegetating as a school art teacher, he is losing direction and his taste for life, until one day he is invited to appear at a comics convention in Portugal, the country his family came from and which he hadn’t seen since his childhood. Even though he is a foreigner there, so many elements of the country are familiar to him. Meeting its lively citizens and recounting early memories brought by back his distant yet welcoming family all prove reinvigorating–the breath of fresh air he so badly needed. Based on his own experience, Pedrosa narrates this return to his roots in a deeply compelling and warmly human way.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe ghost of Gaudí / written by El Torres ; illustrated by Jesús Alonso Iglesias ; translation by Ester Villardon Grande.
“Someone is committing barbarous murders throughout Barcelona, focusing on locations designed by renowned visionary architect Antoni Gaudi. The police have no clues, but a young woman is thrust into the investigation by a man resembling the late Gaudi himself, led to the scenes of the crimes before they even occur… could be a precognizant ghost? A visual tour through the beautiful streets of Barcelona on a true edge-of-your-seat thriller written by El Torres and illustrated by Jesus Alonso, both natives of the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSamaris ; and, The mysteries of Pâhry / written by Benoît Peeters ; illustrated by François Schuiten.
“Against the urging of his friends and his lover, Franz, a young officer in the Xhystos government, is sent on a mission to the remote and elusive city of Samaris to investigate the disappearance of several of his colleagues. After weeks of travel, Franz reaches Samaris, to find a practically deserted city of enveloping and deceptive architecture. He is immediately bewitched by a mysterious young woman, drawing the suspicion of the other residents. Can Franz escape the impending doom of this sprawling metropolis?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSaga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / written by Alan Moore, Len Wein ; art by Stephen Bissette…[et al.]
“In this second collection Swamp Thing hardcover featuring SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #28-34 and SWAMP THING ANNUAL #2, the Earth Elemental says goodbye to the illusion of his own humanity after learning that he is 100 percent plant, meets a crew of benevolent alien invaders inspired by the classic swamp-based comic strip Pogo, and consummates his relationship with Abigail Arcane as only he could.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lie and how we told it / Tommi Parrish.
“Parrish’s emotionally loaded, painted graphic novel is is a visual tour de force, always in the service of the author’s themes: navigating queer desire, masculinity, fear, and the ever-in-flux state of friendships.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Graphic Novels featuring revolutionary writer & artist Andrea Pazienza

Image from Syndetics

This month’s selection of new graphic novels includes a collection of stories by the late Italian writer and artist Andrea Pazienza. Although he died in 1988, his art work was innovative and he was considered revolutionary, his stories tell of the problems faced by the lost generation of 1970/1980’s teenagers. Also included are the first volumes of two new series, Starslayer by Mike Grell and Romulus by Brian Hill.

Syndetics book coverThe last contract / written & lettered by Ed Brisson ; illustrated by Lisandro Estherren.
“After a lifetime spent as a gun-for-hire, a retired hitman known only as “The Man” has finally found a sense of peace. But when a list of his kills is leaked by a mysterious blackmailer, making targets of anyone associated with one of The Man’s previous jobs, he’s forced back into the game he left behind. As he fights to protect those exposed by the list, The Man sets off to uncover the identity of the blackmailer, unaware of the consequences the truth he’s chasing may hold.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe cross-eyed mutt / a story written and drawn by Étienne Davodeau ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“Fabian is supervisor at the Louvre. He loves his job. He also loves Mathilde. After some time, she presents him to her family in their vast country house and not without some apprehension, as the Benion clan is a bit special. When they find a peculiar painting of a cross-eyed mutt by an ancestor from the nineteenth century, they decide that it’s a masterpiece. Fabian hopes the delusion will go away, until the two brothers show up at the Louvre. Getting the Cross-Eyed Mutt into the Louvre would demonstrate his commitment to becoming a member of the Benion family!” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStarslayer [1] : the log of the Jolly Roger / script and art, Mike Grell ; created by Mike Grell.
“A Celtic warrior from the days of the Roman Empire is transported into the distant future by his wife’s descendant and compelled to join the crew of the spaceship Jolly Roger in their resistance to totalitarian rule on Earth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRomulus. Volume 1 / Bryan Hill, writer ; Nelson Blake II, artist ; created by Bryan Hill & Nelson Blake.
“Our world isn’t free. All of us, for generations, have lived under the secret control of The Ancient Order of Romulus. One young woman, raised by them, trained and betrayed by them, must push through her fear to take a stand against the silent evil that masters our world. Her name is Ashlar, and her war begins with the brutal first chapter of this new series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSombra / created by Justin Jordan & Raúl Treviño ; written by Justin Jordan ; illustrated by Raúl Treviño.
“Conrad Marlowe was a respected DEA agent when he disappeared in Mexico while investigating the ruthless drug cartels. Years later he has resurfaced as a cult leader who has made it his mission to out-brutalize the cartels terrorizing the country. The only DEA agent willing to follow his trail of violence is his own daughter, and with the help of a journalist on the ground, she’ll have to face the horrors of what her father has become if she wants to survive and bring him to justice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHerman by trade / Chris W. Kim.
“Herman is a reclusive, straight-laced street cleaner,or so it seems to those he works with on the city’s waterfront. But he has an extraordinary hidden talent: the ability to transform his appearance at will. On the fourth day, Herman joins a queue of people at an open audition for a new movie. As he waits, swept up in the frenzy of creative ambition that has overcome the city, his past life becomes increasingly remote. By the time he enters the audition room, he might have lost his job, but his talent remains. Dazzled by Herman’s ability to adapt to any role, the director deems the rest of the cast redundant, sparking a furious outcry. When the cult director’s new film premieres, with Herman performing every role, it doesn’t get the reaction she expects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHenry & Glenn forever & ever / by Tom Neely & friends.
“The greatest love story ever told has finally been released in graphic novel form, featuring 20 short stories about the domestic life of “Henry” and “Glenn” and sometimes their neighbors “Daryl” and “John.” Glenn deals with issues with his mother while Henry, “a loud guy with a good work ethic,” shows his darker side and indifference to a fan as he drinks black coffee and bonds with Glenn over their distaste for their own bands. These are two men who truly suffer best together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHaddon Hall : when David invented Bowie / written and illustrated by Néjib; translated from the French by Edward Gauvin.
“Charting Bowie’s personal life, the development of his music, and the transformation of his image, Haddon Hall is an evocative portrait of a young artist presiding over a musical revolution.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZanardi / Andrea Pazienza.
“A true visionary, with a fluid line and an uncanny sense of color and composition, Pazienza’s innovative graphic style served up stories that were iconoclastic, outrageous, humorous, and deeply personal, often based on himself and his microcosm of friends and collaborators. Pazienza was a revolutionary cartoonist who ushered an underground sensibility to Italian and European comics.”
(Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDriving short distances / by Joff Winterhart.
“Sam is 27 and needs to get a job. Keith, who claims to be a second cousin of his (absent) father, offers him one. On Keith’s card it says he does ‘distribution and delivery’, which seems to consist of ‘a lot of driving around, getting out of the car for a few minutes and then getting back in’, Sam tells his mother, and so the days go by, Keith driving while telling Sam stories about his first boss, Geoff Crozier, his mentor in distribution and delivery. As the weeks pass, Sam gets to know Keith’s friends, flirty Hazel-Claire from whom they buy two pasties every day at lunchtime, a variety of receptionists, and a few tantalizing secrets from Keith’s past.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)