Comics, graphic novels and manga
Comics, graphic novels and manga
Our picks include unexpected names (Hayao Miyazaki!), classics (Milestone Media!), and more.
Eliza Victoria and Mervin Malonzo (Tuttle) $16.99
Manila is home to two linked realities in this melancholy yet ultimately hopeful urban fantasy inspired by Filipino folklore. Since a civil war in the magical kingdom of Lambana, people have been dying of a disease that painfully causes flowers to bloom from their bodies, while apparitions of the living roam the streets. Conrad Mendoza de Luna, a young man with a rose on his heart, follows a mysterious stranger in search of a healer. The noir-tinged story unfolds with satisfying layers and carries sharp echoes of the current political climate in the Philippines.
Valentina Grande and Sergio Varbella, trans. from Italian by Katharine Cofer (Prestel) $24.95
This philosophical love letter to the Bauhaus school of design (1919-1933) conveys the academy’s influence via comics with layouts that embody its fundamental principle of form married to function. Grande leads readers from the founding of the Bauhaus in the German Weimar Republic to its closure at the hands of the Gestapo, coming across key figures such as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee. Varbella’s illustrations are striking, with each page designed in the Bauhaus style to combine bold, evocative visuals with readability and clarity of information.
Bleach (20th Anniversary ed., Vol. 1)
Tite Kubo (Viz) $9.99
With the 2001 series launch cover in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, this landmark publication for superstar mangaka Kubo landed on TPthe bestseller list in its first week of sale; the original edition sold hundreds of thousands of copies in print in the United States. The story follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a part-time college student and full-time soul reaper tasked with guarding the afterlife.
Fine: a gender comic
Rhea Ewing (Liveright) $21
Ewing conducts and draws dozens of interviews over a decade to chart the troubled waters of the genre. The portraiture is pared down but nuanced enough to handle the diversity of characters, among them black trans tomboy Monei and Ignacio, a two-spirited person who complicates Ewing’s view of race. The author also sheds light on cis-identified perspectives and how they too are not immune to the social ramifications of gender. This challenging work will appeal to those seeking a personal and grounded exploration of how gender shapes life.
The Ghost in the Shell: Fully Compiled
Shirow Masamune (Kodansha) $54.99
First published in English in 1995 and set in the mid-21st century, Masamume’s classic cyberpunk seinen manga follows a special task force that hunts down criminals, spies and terrorists who hack into networks or illegally copy ghosts (souls) of enslaved humans in black market cyborgs. This heavy, hardcover collector’s edition collects volumes 1, 2, and 1.5, which were released in that order.
Kelcey Ervick (Avery) $27
Ervick, a young nationally competitive soccer player in the 1980s, unpacks the context of being in this first generation of American girls to grow up under Title IX, through the history of women’s sports and the first “female soccer players.” Like the best sports books, it’s really about life: it tackles feminism, freedom, art, women’s bodies and goalkeeper loneliness, making a winning case for women’s sport. as a gateway to freedom and self-determination.
Let there be light
Liana Finck (random house) $28.99
In an irreverent but profound account from the Book of Genesis, Finck presents God as a female artist wearing a Burger King-style crown who struggles with existential questions and intermittent depression (the beginning of creation is also “the beginning of disappointment “). The author-illustrator delves into biblical idiosyncrasies while taking humanity very seriously; throughout, God and readers are reminded that light cannot exist without darkness, or creation without destruction. Finck’s exploration offers a lot of light in both directions: lightness and illumination.
Milestone Compendium 1
Dwayne McDuffie, Bob Smith and Ivan Velez Jr., ill. by Denys Cowan and MD Bright (DC) $59.99
This giant paperback – all 1,300 pages – collects the first episodes of the Milestone Media Black superhero universe, with the first appearances of Hardware, Icon and Static, to name a few. The founding in 1993, in conjunction with DC Comics, of Milestone Media – a black-owned publisher producing original comic books featuring black superhero characters created by black comic book artists – was a landmark event. in comic book publishing.
number one walk
Steve Martin and Harry Bliss (Celadon) $30
Martin and New Yorker cartoonist Bliss teams up again (after 2020 A wealth of pigeons) for a walk through Martin’s film career. In Bliss’ whimsical cartoons, celebrities rub shoulders with comic book characters, and Martin periodically wanders away from the narrative to talk to Bliss’ dog. The actor retains his comedic persona of candid arrogance, but his memories reveal a thoughtful performer. Movie buffs, comedy fans and the actor and entertainer’s legion of admirers will find themselves smiling from start to finish.
Jon Chad (first second) $24.99
Chad recounts the pinball craze from the game’s earliest iterations (the trifle, which European immigrants brought to America in the 19th century), through its heyday in the 1930s, to the technological revolutions that sparked narrative games in the 1980s, until its re-emergence in popularity in the 21st century. The folder includes basic tips and tricks, pinball anatomy, a glossary, and player resources. The opening of it evokes the pleasure of putting the launcher back in the arcade.
Hayao Miyazaki, trans. from Japanese by Alex Dudok de Wit (First Second) $27.99
An animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki has only released a few comics in his career; this lush fantasy, available in English for the first time, is cause for celebration. First published in Japan in 1983, it is inspired by a Tibetan folk tale, transformed into an original story with Miyazaki’s humanistic and imaginative touch. His art is timelessly beautiful, and the theme of small kindnesses that redeem a cruel and dehumanizing world seems more relevant than ever.
Who will make the pancakes
Megan Kelso. Fantagraphs, $29.99
This collection of versatile comic stories sparkles with wit and wisdom. Kelso proves a talented storyteller, her prose as sharp as her deceptively simple art, who accomplishes a great deal of narrative elevation. The five distinct stories, created over the past 15 years, find quiet triumphs amid the challenges faced by women and families over time. This showcase of the brilliance of the accomplished independent artist should appeal to her wider readership.
Children’s and YA comics
Illustrated stories of real life and imaginary worlds are ideal for intermediate level students.
Bunnicula: the graphic novel
James Howe and Andrew Donkin, ill. by Stephen Gilpin (Atheneum, ages 8-12) $19.99
Over 40 years after Deborah and James Howe launched their Vegetarian Vampire Bunny to the world, Bunnicula is back in a new format for a new generation. The graphic novel expands on the original story, further developing the relationship between Harold the even-tempered dog and Chester the neurotic cat, sharing more of their inner lives (like Chester’s vampire-hunting fantasies) while keeping the balance intact. idiot-sinister.
Machine Boy Everyday Hero
Irma Kniivila and Tri Vuong (Image, ages 9-12) $12.99
An armed robot resembling a human boy crashes into the domed city of Mega 416 and wreaks havoc before being subdued and taken care of by retired dojo owner Mei, whose husband Goh was killed in the melee. Machine Boy learns karate, does various errands, and enrolls in high school, his misadventures punctuated with emotional upheaval – his sometimes strained relationship with Mei as they deal with Goh’s grief, the citizens’ continued mistrust of the sudden appearance of Machine Boy – that add up to a warm bildungsrobot.
The first space cat ate pizza
MacBarnet, ill. by Shawn Harris (HarperCollins/Tegen, ages 8-12) $15.99
When rats from another galaxy begin to devour the moon, Earth’s smartest scientists send in a cybernetically enhanced cat – the first space cat – to deal with the threat. Accompanied by a naive robot and nail clippers named LOZ 4000 and the proud Moon Queen, First Cat travels through crazy geography (frozen deserts, violent seas, living forests) to face the Rat King. Barnett and Harris adapted the graphic novel from their popular “Live Cartoon” collaboration, which they launched on Instagram during the pandemic.
The pink flamingo
Guojing (Random House Studio, ages 5-8) $18.99
In this almost wordless story, a grandchild flies alone to visit their excitedly waving Lao Lao, who tells the story of a child who encounters an egg at the beach, brings it home, and finds himself the guardian of a baby flamingo. Vibrant sequences depict the bird, the child and a terrier growing closer, but it’s soon time for the two children to say goodbye – to the flamingo and Lao Lao. The parallels between human love and migrating birds are evident in this elegant parable of the faithful return.
Gale Galligan (Graphix, ages 8-12) $24.99
Cory is an ardent member of a middle school dance team, but when his grades plummet and his parents hire classmate Sunna to tutor him, extra study sessions cut into his practice time. Tutor and tutee quickly become friends after Sunna shows off her superb yo-yo throwing skills, and Cory is soon caught between established relationships and new interests.
Claribel A. Ortega, ill. by Rose Bousamra (First Second, ages 8-12) $21.99
The worst moment of the week for Dominican schoolgirl Marlene? Going to the salon, where her naturally curly hair is subject to painful blowouts. But over the course of this thought-provoking graphic novel, she learns to embrace its texture and her tía Ruby’s simple mantra: “All hair is good hair.” Ortega expertly examines themes of colorism, generational trauma and toxic beauty standards, resulting in a satisfying and heartwarming exploration of self-expression and self-love.
My Hero Academia Box
Kohei Horikoshi (Viz) $179.99
This heavy hitter collects volumes 1-20 of the popular superhero shonen manga, packaged with a double-sided poster and a booklet with bonus artwork and author commentary.
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A version of this article originally appeared in the 03/10/2022 issue of Weekly editors under the title: Holiday Gift Guide 2022