Ask Ben Aaronovitch a question

The Rivers of London graphic novel series stand alone from the novels, featuring brand new stories. However the graphic novels have very much the same tone, feel and character as the novels.  One important difference is that in the graphic novels Ben collaborates with Andrew Cartmel, who he initially worked with on Doctor Who.

One suspects that Ben and Andrew’s previous experience in television will help considerably in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s upcoming television adaption of the Rivers of London books.

And we are thrilled that in October Ben has agreed to do a pre-recorded Question and Answer online event–and we need your questions ideally by the end of this month.

So if you’ve ever wanted to ask Ben Aaronovitch a question, now’s your chance!

Simply send us your questions via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email until 30 September, and we’ll do our best to ask them during the event. And in the meantime, check out the selection of Ben’s work. Enjoy!


Rivers of London [1] : body work / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Peter Grant, having become the first English apprentice wizard in fifty years, must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases. In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers, and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Rivers of London [2] : night witch / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt for his missing daughter, PC Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London’s only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems! ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rivers of London [3] : black mould / Aaronovitch, Ben
“Something dark and slimy is dripping through the walls of suburban London. Not the usual stuff that smells funny and can be hell on the lungs, this mould is possessed by some dark power. Looks like it’s another case for London’s one and only trainee wizard cop, PC Peter Grant, and his reluctant partner, Sahra Guleed An all-new adventure for Ben Aaronvitch’s laconic, way-past-cool but slightly geeky trainee wizard and budding detective, Peter Grant.  ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

The 2020 Hugo nominees for Best Graphic Story

Since 2009, the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story has been given to comics, graphic novels and other illustrated works that best exemplify the possibilities of speculative fiction and the comics medium, and we have all six of the 2020 nominees available for you to catch up with!

The nominations are a stacked field this year. The final volumes of two beloved long-running Image Comics series, The Wicked + The Divine and Paper Girls, were nominated this year, the last chance for either creative team to get the award (Paper Girls having been nominated a previous four times!). Three-time Best Graphic Story Hugo winner Monstress has also been nominated for its fourth volume. But those three veteran series face some strong contenders in new books like the fantasy deconstruction DIE, witchy love story Mooncakes, and the sci-fi immigration tale LaGuardia by previous Hugo winner Nnedi Okorafor.

Who will win the Hugo? We won’t know until the award ceremony on August 1st, but till then, you can catch up on the nominated books below!

Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

Die. Volume 1, Fantasy heartbreaker / Gillen, Kieron
Pitched as “Jumanji meets Stephen King’s IT”, DIE follows five embittered adults returning the fantasy world they were trapped in as teenagers to rescue their friend who stayed there, only to find he’s gone native and is subjecting them to a deadly adventure campaign. Gillen, a former game journalist, wrote DIE to both critique and celebrate tabletop games and the fantasy genre overall, while Stephanie Hans renders the imaginary worlds of DIE with lush, dream-like detail. This is Hans’ first Hugo nomination, and Gillen is also nominated against himself this year for The Wicked + The Divine. Will DIE roll a nat 20 for the critical win?

Related Reading

DIE Volume 2. Split The Party — If you’re hooked on DIE after the first volume, check out the second volume ‘Split the Party’.

The Wicked + The Divine Volume 3. Commercial Suicide —  Stephanie Hans has also worked with Kieron Gillen on a issue of his series The Wicked + The Divine, collected in this volume.

The Adventure Zone Volume 1. Here there be gerblins — If you’re after more comics about Dungeons and Dragons, check out the first comic adaptation of the beloved roleplaying podcast ‘The Adventure Zone’.

LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)

LaGuardia : a very modern story of immigration / Okorafor, Nnedi
In a world where extraterrestrials regularly emigrate to Earth, a controversial travel ban goes into effect in America and separates a Nigerian-American couple who are expecting their first child. LaGuardia is a refreshingly sensitive science-fiction take on immigration and citizenship; Nnedi Okorafor has thought out every aspect of this all-too-familar sci-fi Earth, and Ford and Devlin depict the world and characters in lovingly dense detail, particularly with the alien designs. This is Ford and Devlin’s first nomination, while Okorafor has already won a Hugo for her novella Binti. Can LaGuardia net Okorafor her second Hugo win?

Related Reading

Black Panther: Long Live the King — Okorafor and Ford also worked together on this Black Panther series for Marvel Comics.

Binti — Check out Okorafor’s Hugo-winning series Binti here or on Overdrive.

The Green Lantern Vol 1. Intergalactic Lawman — This sharp new take on the Green Lantern character sees him as an intergalactic beat cop, where even ordinary crimes happen on intergalactic scales.

Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)

Monstress. Volume four, The chosen / Liu, Marjorie M
A fusion of a war diary, a horror manga, and young adult fantasy, Monstress has been a critical and fan-favourite since it began in 2016. Set in a war-torn land inspired by 20th century Asia, Monstress follows the adventures of Maika Halfwolf, a magical ‘Arcanic’ who is hunted by an order of sorceresses who use her species as magical fuel for their spells. Every volume of Monstress has won the Hugo for Best Graphic Story for the past three years running. Will Volume 4 continue Liu and Takeda’s winning streak?

Related Reading

Monstress Volume 1. Awakening — Start reading Monstress from the beginning with the first volume here, or for download it on Overdrive.

The iron hunt — The first book in Marjorie Liu’s urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss, which follows a demon hunter trying to rescue her beloved from a bloodthirsty army.

Calamity Kate — In an urban fantasy world, a monster hunter moves to LA to find the ultimate bounty: the Seven Fabled Beasts of Yore.

Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)

Mooncakes / Walker, Suzanne
Young witch Nova and her werewolf friend Tam have reunited after ten years apart, but their reunion brings forth struggles both mundane and magical, including family conflicts, maturing to face new responsibilities, and battling weird horse demons. Originally a webcomic, Mooncakes was published as a a graphic novel by Lion Forge in 2019, earning praise for centering on the romance of its queer Chinese-American protagonists. This is Walker, Gil and Xu’s first Hugo nomination; could Mooncakes cast a spell on the Hugo judges?

Related Reading

For more young adult comics about witches, check out:

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth and Megan Levens.

Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)

Paper Girls. 6 / Vaughan, Brian K
Four paper girls in the 1980s get embroiled in a war between rival factions of time travellers, facing cavemen, mutants, pterodactyls, robots, and their own future selves as they attempts to find a way home. Recently concluding after 30 issues and this sixth collection, Paper Girls has been nominated four times for the Graphic Story Hugo. Will the last volume finally deliver a win for its creative team?

 

Related Reading

Paper Girls Volume 1  — Start Paper Girls from the beginning here or for download on Overdrive

Wonder Woman Volume 1: Blood — Check out the Paper Girls art team’s (Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson) recent work on Wonder Woman here, or download it on Overdrive.

Saga Volume 1 — Writer Brian K Vaughan won the Best Graphic Story Hugo for Saga‘s first volume in 2013.

The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: “Okay”, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

The wicked + the divine. Vol. 9, “Okay” / Gillen, Kieron
Every 90 years, twelve gods return to Earth in the form of teenagers to inspire humankind and gain followers, only to die after two years. In 2014, this ‘Pantheon’ of gods return as popstars. The Wicked + The Divine (or WicDiv to its fans) follows Pantheon super-fan Laura as she becomes embroiled in the god’s inner conflicts and tries to attain godhood for herself. Long-time comic collaborators Gillen, McKelvie, Wilson, and Cowles conclude the long-running series in this final volume, which has been a commercial and critical hit for its resonant themes on fame, death, religion, art, and artists. Volume 9 of the Wicked + The Divine is Jamie McKelvie’s first Hugo nomination and Gillen’s second with DIE, also nominated this year. Will this final offering be enough to sway the Hugos in their favour?

Related Reading

The Wicked + The Divine Volume 1. The Faust Act Start WicDiv from the beginning here or for download the first volume on Overdrive.

Young Avengers Volume 1. Style > substance  See how the WicDiv team first got together on the second iteration of Marvel’s teen superteam, the Young Avengers.

God complex: Dogma. Volume one — Another modern comic book take on the gods of antiquity, this cyberpunk thriller sees a forensic investigator meeting the god-like beings that secretly run the world.

A Halloween graphic novel for every type of horror fan

“I am a horror maniac who prefers to stay at home.”
― Junji Ito, writer of Uzumaki

If you’re a discerning horror fanatic, you know it can be difficult to find a story that scratches your particular genre itch; after all, those that scare easily don’t always scare equally. That’s why we’ve put together this list of recent horror graphic novels to help you feed your particular horror obsession (or maybe help you start a new one).

Are you into monsters? Then check out the new Swamp Thing collection Roots of Horror featuring the best of DC’s writers and artists, or The Immortal Hulk, featuring a new undead twist on Marvel’s Green Goliath.

Do your interests lean more toward folk horror? Try webcomic artist Emily Carroll’s collection of Brothers Grimm-style horror tales Through the Woods, or Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, which inspired the 2019 Hellboy film.

Like your horror incomprehensible and weird? Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s ultimate haunted-house-in-space comic Nameless, or Uzumaki from horror manga artist Junji Ito — where singular obsessions lead a small town to ruin — might have what you’re after.

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom
“On Halloween, the barrier between world’s grows thin–and only the Swamp Thing is strong enough to face the monsters that come from the other side. In addition, this book also features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster’s co-creator, Len Wein. Originally intended as the start of a new series, presented here with art by Kelley Jones. Collects Swamp Thing: Winter Special #1 and stories from Swamp Thing: Halloween Giant, Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, and Young Monsters in Love #1″ (Catalogue)

Uzumaki : spiral into horror / Itō, Junji
“Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!” (Catalogue)

The immortal Hulk. Vol. 1, Or is he both? / Ewing, Al
“You know Bruce Banner. He’s quiet, calm, never complains. He’s a man who believes he can use the darkest elements of his personality to do good in the world. If someone were to shoot him in the head… All he’d do is die. But the horror lives deeper. A horror that refuses to die. When night falls something other than the man gets up again. The horror is the Immortal Hulk.” (Catalogue)

Hellboy : the wild hunt / Mignola, Michael
“The inspiration for the new film from director Neil Marshall and starring Strangers Things’s David Harbour. Hellboy is called to England to take part in an ancient ritual of hunting giants, but quickly faces a much more dangerous enemy: Nimue, the Queen of Blood, who has risen with plans to create a monstrous army.”  (Adapted from catalogue

Through the woods / Carroll, Emily
“A collection of five spine-tingling short stories”– Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there. A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of ‘Grimm Tales’, ‘The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy’ and the works of Neil Gaiman.” (Catalogue)

Nameless / Morrison, Grant
“With the asteroid Xibalba on a collision course with Earth, a group of billionaire futurists recruits the occult hustler Nameless for a mission to save the world.” (Catalogue)

Kiwi-made graphic novels from He Matapihi Molesworth Library

Earlier this year Wellington City Libraries and the National Library of New Zealand hosted the biennial Comicfest, featuring panels and workshops with New Zealand comic artists such as Dylan Horrocks, Ross Murray, Ant Sang, Alex Cara, Roger Langridge and Sarah Laing.

Now you can check out their works (and more!) at the newly-opened He Matapihi Molesworth Library, in the National Library. From tales of action and adventure to the internal struggles of being a creative, there are stories for all sorts and all ages.

Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds . . .” (Adapted from catalogue)

Rufus Marigold / Murray, Ross
“Rufus Marigold is a primate with a problem. He suffers acutely from anxiety and every social encounter is a harrowing ordeal. A budding artist, Rufus spends his days working in an office. As life become increasingly more of a struggle, Rufus yearns to be defined as something other than an a complete nervous wreck. This volume collects and significantly expands upon the original web comic, resulting in a darkly hilarious yet moving account of living with anxiety.” (Catalogue)

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas / Sang, Anthony
“Kidnapped by time-travelling ninjas, Helen is thrust into the year 2355 – a ruined future with roving gangs and ‘Peace Balls’, giant humming devices that enslave and control people’s minds. The Go-Go Ninjas have one goal – to destroy the Peace Balls. They believe that Helen knows how. Can Helen use her knowledge of the past to help them save the future? An electrifying graphic novel by award-winning authors.” (Catalogue)

Dreams of here, far from home : being nine settler fancies in sequential pictorial form / Cara, Alex
“O! Fortunate reader You will find within these pages nine settler narratives, fun for “New Chums” and “Gone Natives” alike, and rendered in extravagant colour. Thrill to the fears and fancies of these exotic intruders, with their night-terrors and naiveties, and dreams of here, far from home.” (From author’s store)

Mansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Laing, Sarah
“Mansfield and Me charts Sarah Laing’s journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.” (From publisher’s summary)

Snarked! Book one, Forks and hope / Langridge, Roger
“The next great Roger Langridge graphic novel series begins as he brings Lewis Carroll’s imaginative world to new heights in a side-splitting adventure that can only be explained as…SNARKED. Presenting a fresh and incredibly modern “Langridge” spin on an already-warped classic, SNARKED starts here in an epic adventure featuring the Red Queen’s children, Princess Scarlett and her baby brother Rusty, as they set out in search of the missing Red King.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Like Studio Ghibli? Try these comics!

The beloved Japanese animation institution Studio Ghibli, creator of such films as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Kiki’s Delivery Service, has captured people’s imaginations for over twenty years. Their films explore themes of identity, family, social duty, culture and nature, through gorgeously rendered fantasy worlds, emotional coming-of-age stories, and meetings of the fantastic with the mundane. There’s a Studio Ghibli film for everyone, and if you’re a fan of their work, we think you’d like these comic recommendations from our Graphic Novel collection.


The Sandman : the dream hunters / Gaiman, Neil
“Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology and folklore with his own distinct narrative vision. Adapted by P. Craig Russell from the multi-award winning novella, The King of All Night’s Dreaming is drawn into a tale about a monk, a fox woman, and an evil man set in ancient Japan.” (Catalogue)

The Spire / Spurrier, Simon
“The Spire is a mountain of metal and stone, a vast city that rises out of the middle of the radioactive desert. Filled with twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, and ancient machinery, it is home to over a million human and non-human residents. Shå, the last of the species known as the Medusi, is responsible for keeping the hodgepodge of forgotten technology and new biology safe as Commander of the City Watch. But when a string of grisly murders are committed just as a new Baroness of the Spire is about to be sworn in, Shå will have to find the killer and bring that individual to justice.” (Catalogue)

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
“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.  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.” (Catalogue)

Wayward. Volume one, String theory / Zubkavich, Jim
“Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late? An all-new Image supernatural spectacle that combines the camaraderie and emotion of Buffy with the action and mystery of Hellboy.” (Catalogue)

Daytripper / Moon, Fábio
DAYTRIPPER follows the life of one man, Bras de Olivias Dominguez. Every chapter features an important period in Bras’ life in exotic Brazil, and each story ends the same way: with his death. The following story starts up at a different point in his life, oblivious to his death in the previous issue – and then also ends with him dying again. In every chapter, Bras dies at different moments in his life, as the story follows him through his entire existence – one filled with possibilities of happiness and sorrow, good and bad, love and loneliness” (Catalogue)

Beyond Wakanda: comics and graphic novels on Afrofuturism

Afrofuturism, the cultural movement that imagines science-fiction tropes through the lens of African and African-American perspectives, came bursting into the mainstream with the release of Black Panther. Now you can experience the world of Wakanda (and beyond) in these graphic novels, brought to four-colour life by some of the best artists the medium has to offer!

Featuring such celebrated authors as Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Evan Narcisse, and Nnedi Okorafor, these stories feature African and African-American heroes as they face political uprisings, street crime, oppressive corporations, super-science, planetary empires, and time travel.

Black Panther [6] : the intergalactic empire of Wakanda. Part one, Many thousands gone / Coates, Ta-Nehisi
“A bold new direction for the Black Panther! For years, T’Challa has kept foreign invaders out of his homeland, protecting his people from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. Jump on now and learn the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Ta-Nehisi Coates welcomes aboard fan-favorite artist Daniel Acuna for a Black Panther story unlike any other.” (Catalogue)

Black Panther : world of Wakanda / Gay, Roxane
“The world building of Wakanda continues in a love story where tenderness is matched only by brutality. You know them now as the Midnight Angels, but in this story they are just Ayo and Aneka, young women recruited to become Dora Milaje, an elite task force trained to protect the crown of Wakanda at all costs. Their first assignment will be to protect Queen Shuri… but what happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other? Meanwhile, former king T’Challa lies with bedfellows so dark, disgrace is inevitable. Plus, explore the true origins of the People’s mysterious leader, Zenzi. Black Panther thinks he knows who Zenzi is and how she got her powers – but he only knows part of the story!” (Catalogue)

Shuri [1] : the search for Black Panther, 1 / Okorafor, Nnedi
“The world fell in love with her in the movie. Now, the Black Panther’s techno-genius sister launches her own adventures – written by best-selling Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor and drawn by Eisner-nominated artist Leonardo Romero The Black Panther has disappeared, lost on a mission in space. And in his absence, everyone’s looking at the next in line for the throne. But Shuri is happiest in a lab, surrounded by gadgets of her own creation. She’d rather be testing gauntlets than throwing them. But a nation without a leader is a vulnerable one – and Shuri may have to choose between Wakanda’s welfare and her own.” (Catalogue)

Rise of the Black Panther / Narcisse, Evan
“Wakanda has always kept itself isolated from Western society, but that’s about to change. Young T’Challa knows he’s destined to become king, but when his father is murdered by outsiders, he finds himself taking up a mantle he may not be ready for. Experience the troubled reign of King T’Chaka! Discover the mother T’Challa never knew! And see how the world first learns of the wondrous nation of Wakanda – including Namor, King of Atlantis ; the Winter Soldier ; and the ruler of Latveria, Doctor Doom! Plus: as Erik Killmonger makes a devastating move, a missing chapter of T’Challa and Storm’s lifelong romance comes to light – and the Black Panther must decide his unique role in a world full of super heroes!” (Catalogue)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur [1] : BFF / Montclare, Brandon
(Overdrive)
“Lunella Lafayette is an inhuman preteen genius who wants to change the world! That job would be a lot easier if she wasn’t living in mortal fear of her latent inhuman gene. There’s no telling what she’ll turn into — but Luna’s got a plan. All she needs is an Omni-Wave Projector. Easy, right? That is, until a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call…today! Together they’re the most Marvelous Team-Up of all — the Inhuman Moon Girl and time-tossed Devil Dinosaur!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Deathlok : the souls of cyber-folk / McDuffie, Dwayne
“As if being duped by his evil ex-employers into becoming the cyborg soldier Deathlok isn’t enough, now Michael Collins is square in the sights of a mad villain collecting and disassembling cyborgs and androids. Can you guess the secret of Mechadoom? Hopefully Deathlok, with a little help from the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, can. Then, what happens when the man in the body of a killing machine meets the killing machine in the body of a man? Find out when Deathlok and the Punisher team up! And the nightmare is far from over for Collins – when he finds himself in battle with Ghost Rider, it’s time to fight hellfire with firepower” (Catalogue)

Black Lightning : cold dead hands / Isabella, Tony
“Iconic 70s comic character and now star of his own hit TV series on the CW, Black Lightning, comes thundering back into his hometown to right past wrongs and start a whole new crime-fighting era.  Black Lightning is back and things are not the same. In his home town of Cleveland, high school teacher Jefferson Pierce is a role model for his students. As Black Lightning, he’s fighting to keep them safe, even as his city’s streets are invaded by local gangs with deadly super-weapons. And wait until you see who their supplier is! Jefferson Pierce is reborn for a new era, as the titular character of the new CW series takes center stage in this new graphic novel.” (Catalogue)

Kindred : a graphic novel adaptation / Duffy, Damian
“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. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder – and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it. 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.” (Catalogue)

Crimes, calamities and capers: a caboodle of contemporary comics

The expressive world of ink on paper expands into vision with the latest comics to be found on our library shelves.  From espionage to architecture and filmmaking this month’s crop of new comics is loaded with talent both in storytelling and artistry.

Fior Manuele, the artist who created the Interview, connects to his training in architecture as he spins a mythic tale of a young man in the thrall of seeking perfection. Red Ultramarine, originally published in 2006, has been recently translated by Jamie Richardis. Michael Bendis and David Mack take the touring artist route into counterintelligence. Global travel and a storytelling cover leads to recruitment and an introduction to several comic artists as the con tour continues in Cover. The watercolour illustration bends in style, referencing the introduction of different artists.

The opposite to perfection sees Penny Nichols helping to create glorious schlock horror movie with a disreputable crew. And politics and family don’t mix in an ode to concrete, The Structure is Rotten, Comrade shows the difference between vision for building and the reality of social needs. Viken Berberian and Yann Kebbi have created a vivid comic with a dynamic style with figures sketched over the architecture that is the centre of the story.

It was tricky to select just a few from this month’s collection of comics, below are some of the great assortment of talent and styles. Enjoy!

Red ultramarine / Fior, Manuele
“The Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus is woven into this psychologically complex graphic novel, for the first time in English! Fausto, a young architect, is a prisoner of his own obsession: the search for perfection. Only the love of Silvia, his girlfriend, can save him. To help him, she goes to a strange doctor, who will guide her on a journey between reality and myth. This is an early work of the internationally acclaimed cartoonist Mauele Fior, rendered in a striking red and black two-color palette.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cover. Volume one / Bendis, Brian Michael
“Based on a true story, the intelligence community figures out that the traveling band of social misfits who make comic books are an exact match to the profiles of candidates recruited for intelligence and counterintelligence gathering.  A very well-known comics creator is recruited by the agency to live a double life as a spy…And convention season is upon us. With a nod to films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and The In-Laws, this comic celebrates comics, comic creators, readers and of course, spies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The structure is rotten, comrade / Berberian, Viken
“More in love with the alluring properties of cement than he is with his girlfriend, Frunz’s overriding ambition is to become the next legendary architect. His father, known as Mr. Cement, is a builder in bed with the autocrats who run Yerevan, the capital of post-Soviet Armenia. As father and son team up to transform the city into a post-modern mecca of Trumpian high-rises, outraged citizens rise up in Revolution against them and Yerevan’s corrupt regime.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little girls / Aflleje, Nicholas
“Sam and Lielet are two new friends living in Ethiopia who are dealing with the kind of problems that all kids have: judgmental social cliques, condescending adults, alienation, and a legendary brain-eating monster of folklore. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, but all they have to do is live through it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hot comb / Flowers, Ebony
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories. Ebony Flowers re-creates classic magazine ads idealizing women’s need for hair relaxers and products. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories and ads, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.  From her black-and-white drawings to her color construction-paper collages, Hot Comb is a propitious display of talent from a new cartoonist who has already made her mark.” (Catalogue)

Penny Nichols / Reed, M. K
“Stuck working mind-numbing temp jobs, Penny Nichols yearns to break free from the rut she’s found herself in. When, by chance, she falls in with a group of misfits making a no-budget horror movie called “Blood Wedding,” everything goes sideways. Soon her days are overrun with gory props, a horny cameraman, and a disappearing director. This hilarious original graphic novel is a loving tribute to the chaos and camaraderie of DIY filmmaking, and the ways we find our future and our family in the unlikeliest of places.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The dreaming. Volume one, Pathways and emanations / Spurrier, Simon
“Twenty-three years after he was anointed as its master, the lord of dreams has inexplicably abandoned his domain. Lord Daniel’s absence triggers a series of crimes and calamities that consume the lives of those already tangled in his fate. The most senior storytellers are tormented by invasive secrets, the warden Lucien is doubting his own mind, and beyond the gates, something horrific awaits with tooth and talon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Outer darkness [1] : each other’s throats / Layman, John
“Sci-fi and horror collide in this new series from the creator of Chew. Mankind has colonized the galaxy, but during our interstellar travels, we’ve discovered a terrifying secret out in the Outer Darkness of space. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they encounter demonic possessions, hauntings, cosmic horror and more. Collects Outer darkness #1-6.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Grace : the Jeff Buckley story / DeBartolo, Tiffanie
“California, 1991. All his life, people have told Jeff Buckley how much he looks like his father, the famous ’60s folksinger he barely knew. But Jeff believes he has gifts of his own: a rare, octave-spanning voice and a songwriting genius that has only started to show itself. What follows are six turbulent years of music, heartbreak, hope, and daring. This graphic novel biography uses archival material provided by Jeff’s mother, Mary Guibert, to reveal the young songwriter in the process of becoming a legend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

No Moore! Alan Moore announces his retirement from the graphic novel world

None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME. ― Alan Moore, Watchmen

Legendary, iconic, genre-breaking and redefining graphic novelist Alan Moore has just announced he will do one last graphic novel before he retires – the final installment of his The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series.

His works have attracted in turn rapturous praise and acclaim, as well as controversy and outrage. Works such as his Swamp Man series, V for Vendetta, Watchman and arguably his masterwork The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen have no doubt revolutionised the graphic novel genre elevating it to the lofty position of high serious art.

His uncompromisingly brutal, honest and occasionally explicit approach to his work has gained him a huge legion of fans but has often put his works in conflict with more conservative reviewers and authorities. A self-confessed anarchist, his V for Vendetta masked protagonist has been widely adopted by activists in various protest movements.

He started his career writing Future Shocks for 2000AD before being head hunted by DC Comics where he chose to write for one of their lesser known characters Swamp Thing, turning it into a masterpiece about ecology and humanity way beyond the original confines of the character. What followed was a remarkable list of ground breaking works such as Batman: the Killing Joke, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, Providence, Neonomicon, From Hell and Promethea to name but a few.

It is beyond doubt that his influence on the graphic novel world and on culture and society beyond those confines has been substantial.


The complete Alan Moore Future shocks / Moore, Alan
“The entire run of short stories created for 2000 AD by the most celebrated author in comics history, Alan Moore. Each one is like a small episode of the Twilight Zone. For the Future Shocks series of short stories with a twist ending, Alan Moore created some of his most exciting, memorable and explicitly entertaining work. Also featured in this collection are his short Time Twister tales – including the famous and poignant story The Reversible Man where one man’s life is told in reverse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Providence. Act 1 / Moore, Alan
“Alan Moore’s quintessential horror series has set the standard for a terrifying examination 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, unparalleled in tone and content, and a true must have addition to his essential works in the field.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Batman: The Killing Joke, Alan Moore (ebook)
“This is the unforgettable work that forever changed Batman’s world, adding a new element of darkness with its unflinching portrayal of The Joker’s twisted psyche. Writer Alan Moore, acclaimed author of WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA, offers his take on the disturbing relationship between The Dark Knight and his greatest foe. The Clown Prince of Crime has never been more ruthless than in this brutal tale.” (Overdrive description)

Watchmen / Moore, Alan
“Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance.” (Catalogue)

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / Moore, Alan
“Created out of the swamp by a freak accident, Swamp Thing is an elemental creature who uses the forces of nature and wisdom of the plant kingdom to fight the polluted world’s self-destruction. Alan Moore took the Swamp Thing to new heights in the 1980s with his unique narrative approach. His provocative and groundbreaking writing, combined with masterly artwork by some of the medium’s top artists, made SWAMP THING one of the great comics of the late twentieth century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Volume I, 1898 / Moore, Alan
“The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions. In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover V for Vendetta, Alan Moore (ebook)
“A powerful story about loss of freedom and individuality, V FOR VENDETTA takes place in a totalitarian England following a devastating war that changed the face of the planet. In a world without political freedom, personal freedom and precious little faith in anything, comes a mysterious man in a white porcelain mask who fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly absurd acts in this gripping tale of the blurred lines between ideological good and evil.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Chain Reaction: Complete Series 5, BBC (Audiobook)
Chain Reaction is the entertaining BBC Radio 4 tag talk show where this week’s guest is next week’s interviewer. Famous names from the world of show business choose who they would like to chat to, and must submit to being questioned in their turn the week after. In this fifth series, guests (and hosts) include Jenny Éclair, Jimmy Carr, Matt Lucas, Johnny Vegas, Stewart Lee, Alan Moore and Brian Eno.” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Infinite Monkey Cage, Series 2, Brian Cox (Audiobook)
“The second series of the Sony Radio Academy Gold Award-winning BBC Radio 4 show in which physicist Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince take a witty, irreverent and unashamedly rational look at the world according to science. Episode 3 sees special guests Jonathan Ross, graphic novelist Alan Moore and string theorist Brian Greene joining Brian Cox and Robin Ince for a special science-fiction-themed edition of the show.” (Overdrive description)

Different ways of telling stories: New Graphic Novels

This month’s selection of newly acquired Graphic Novels is a deliciously rich cornucopia of voices, graphic styles and different ways of telling stories. From the wonderfully poignant, funny and  compassionate story that is Ross Murray’s Rufus Marigold about a primate suffering from anxiety to legendary graphic novelists Frank Millers latest outing called Xerxes: the fall of the House of Darius and the rise of Alexander, from Max de Radigues unique mother and son take on the Bonnie and Clyde story to the second much anticipated Kabul disco instalment by Nicolas Wild. The rich variety of the graphic novel World is show cased to its fullest extent. Enjoy.

Syndetics book coverA fire story / Brian Fies.
“Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures were destroyed. Author Brian Fies’s first hand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had that didn’t fit into the back of their car. In the days that followed, as the fires continued to burn through the area, Brian hastily pulled together A Fire Story and posted it online–it immediately went viral.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe weatherman. Vol. 1 / writer, Jody LeHeup ; artist, Nathan Fox.
“Local weatherman and fun-loving amnesiac Nathan Bright was just a normal guy living the good life on terraformed Mars. But the past Nathan didn’t know he had comes back to murder him when he’s accused of carrying out the worst terrorist attack in human history–an event that wiped out nearly the entire population of Earth. Collecting The Weatherman#1-6” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Xerxes : the fall of the House of Darius and the rise of Alexander / Miller, Frank
The ongoing Greek rebellion against Persian tyranny reaches a turning point after the destruction of the city of Sardis and the later battle of Marathon: on a military campaign to vanquish the city of Athens and silence the Greeks once and for all, Xerxes, Persian Prince, watches as his father, King Darius, falls in battle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rufus Marigold / Murray, Ross
“Rufus Marigold is a primate with a problem. He suffers acutely from anxiety and every social encounter is a harrowing ordeal. A budding artist, Rufus spends his days working in an office. As life become increasingly more of a struggle, Rufus yearns to be defined as something other than an a complete nervous wreck. This volume collects and significantly expands upon the original web comic, resulting in a darkly hilarious yet moving account of living with anxiety.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ice Cream Man. Volume two, Strange Neapolitan / Prince, W. Maxwell
“This critically acclaimed series of not-so-sweet singular stories continues with four more tales of woe, redemption, and unlimited toppings. Collects ICE CREAM MAN #5-8
” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bastard / Radiguès, Max de
“A mother and son “Bonnie & Clyde” star in this internationally acclaimed graphic novel thriller! After taking part in a historic heist — 52 simultaneous robberies at the same time, in the same city — May and Eugene, a young mother and her preteen son, are on the run not only from the law and double-crossed former accomplices, but also their violent past. They crisscross the United States, encountering mysterious truckers, ambitious bandits, and senior citizens living off the grid — while flashbacks show the reader how they got into this deadly situation. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kabul disco. Book 2, How I managed not to get addicted to opium in Afghanistan / Wild, Nicolas
“It’s 2005. Nicolas Wild is a French cartoonist. He’s broke and about to be homeless. He’s a man without a plan. That is until destiny shows up in his email box: a paid job . . . In Afghanistan In his graphic Travelogue series, Nicolas Wild brilliantly explores the differences between the Afghan cultures around him and his own, as he and his fellow expat friends crash Asura celebrations, avoid the afterlife and muse on the differences between Christian Easter egg hunts and Islamic penance.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Polar. Came from the cold / Santos, Victor
“Ripped out of retirement by an assassination attempt, the world’s most deadly spy–the former agent known as Black Kaiser–is a wanted man that’s wanted . . . dead On a collision course with his former employer, the Damocles Agency, Black Kaiser goes head to head with a stab-happy, psychotic torture expert and a seductive but deadly redhead. His mission only ends if he dies or kills everyone out to get him, and he’s not in the habit of dying. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Avengers readers, assemble! New Marvel comics are on Overdrive!

Continuing on from Comicfest 2019, that happened on May 4th, and the box-office smash hit Avengers: Endgame, we’ve updated our Overdrive collection with new comics and classic comics from the House of Ideas, Marvel Comics! From the tales that inspired the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to new hits that have been the critical darlings of the comic world, there’s enough to satisfy any True Believer!


Overdrive cover Black Panther (2016), Volume 1, Ta-Nehisi Coates (ebook)
“A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) takes the helm, confronting T’Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group calling itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Iron Man: Extremis, Warren Ellis (ebook)
“A landscape of terrifying new technologies threatens to overwhelm fragile mankind! What is Extremis, who has unleashed it, and what does its emergence portend for the world?” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Planet Hulk, Greg Pak (ebook)
“Savage alien planet. Oppressed barbarian tribes. Corrupt emperor. Deadly woman warrior. Gladiators and slaves. Battle axes and hand blasters. Monsters and heroes…and the Incredible Hulk!” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover New Avengers (2004), Volume 1, Brian Michael Bendis (ebook)
“In the wake of the systematic destruction of the original Avengers, just what sort of threat to the world could persuade Captain America to assemble an all-new team? How does Cap, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Wolverine sound? Fate has brought them together, and now Captain America wants to make it permanent! Who will take his hand and join the new Avengers? And will they be strong enough to fight the mysterious forces at play around them?” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Amazing Spider-Man (2014), Volume 3, Dan Slott (ebook)
“When the evil Inheritors begin exterminating spider-characters throughout the multiverse, every single Spider-Man ever is needed to save the day! A spider-army gathers to fight Morlun and his deadly family, and the Superior Spider-Man intends to lead it! Our universe’s amazing Spider-Man has an issue with that, but the army doesn’t have time for this in-fighting! When the Prophecy comes to fruition, every spider must fight — and no spider is safe!” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Ms. Marvel (2014), Volume 1, G. Willow Wilson (ebook)
“Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City – until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! As Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle? Kamala has no idea either.” (adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2015), Volume 1, Amy M. Reeder (ebook)
“Lunella Lafayette is a preteen genius who wants to change the world, but lives in fear of the Inhuman genes inside her! Now, Lunella’s life is turned upside down when a red-scaled beast is teleported from the prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call…today! Together they’re the most Marvelous Team-Up of all — Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur! But will they be BFFs forever, or just until DD’s dinner time?” (adapted from Overdrive description)