Graphic Novels Prepub Alert: Abe Lincoln, Coleridge’s Mariner & Lighthearted Lovecraft

At BookExpo America in New York this year, the buzz word was discovery: how readers can find books they want to read. One panel aimed at pointing out to publishers that‚ duh‚ libraries are discovery venues. They help readers discover books! And to help librarians discover great graphic novels to offer readers, GraphicNovelReporter’s John Hogan led a panel on the Hottest Graphic Novels of 2012. Some of these are in print already, some have been listed in earlier Prepub Alerts, and a few are included in the list for October, below. Thanks to Steve Raiteri for suggesting some of the titles.

Abouet, Marguerite (text) & Clément Oubrerie (illus.). Aya: Love in Yop City. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2012. 384p. ISBN 9781770460928. $24.95. F
Loosely based on Abouet’s late-1970s youth in Africa’s Ivory Coast, the Aya series has garnered numerous commendations and been tagged as great for teens by YALSA. Aya: Life in Yop City (July) reprints the three Aya installments already published in English. This second of the two omnibus volumes includes the final three episodes not previously translated. Now Aya and her friends are turning more seriously toward their futures, and Aya must deal with a lecherous professor. An appendix dishes out recipes, Ivorian slang, history and social background, and other extras valuable for the classroom as well as fun for casual readers.

Barry, Lynda. The Freddie Stories. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2012. 72p. ISBN 9781770460904. $19.95. F
Nobody does growing-up agonies like Barry. Excerpted from her long-running black-and-white strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek, these stories about Marlys Mullen’s quirky and sensitive younger brother were collected earlier, in 1999. Thankfully fictional, the dysfunctional Mullen family makes painfully real the kinds of angst that were transformed into comedy for the Wimpy Kid books, Kool-Aid compared with Barry’s grain alcohol.

The Best American Comics 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Oct. 2012. 352p. ed. by Françoise Mouly. ISBN 9780547691121. $25. GRAPHIC ARTS
Here is the sixth-annual edition of the series, the youngest of the HMH Best American family of series. What’s the oldest? Best American Short Stories, almost a century in age. Let’s hope that Best American Comics will still be around in 2100! Previous editors have been known for their art or writing. Winner of numerous honors from comics organizations, Mouly is art editor for The New Yorker, and she is known more as an editor, publisher, and advocate of graphic narrative than as a creator. Hopefully, this will open up the series editor role to other equally highly qualified people in the industry who are known for their work outside writing and drawing.

Clare, Cassandra (text) & HyeKyung Baek (illus.). The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel. Yen Pr. Oct. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780316200981. pap. $12.99. F
First came Clare’s popular six-book Mortal Instruments series about a New York teen drawn into a paranormal world of Shadowhunters, demons, werewolves, and vampires. Volume 6 is still to come, but before that Clare turned out The Infernal Devices, a three-volume prequel set. In it, a Victorian-era teen meets the Shadowhunters: Tessa Gray travels from America to London, searching for her brother. This graphic novel adapts the first book of the prequel‚ check out the attractive manga-style art. A film of the first of the Mortal Instruments books is reportedly in the works.

Crumb, R. & Aline Crumb. Drawn Together: The Collected Works of R. and A. Crumb. Liveright: Norton. Oct. 2012. 264p. ISBN 9780871404299. $29.95. MEMOIR
Robert and Aline Kominsky-Crumb started drawing together in 1972, quite literally: he drew part of each panel, and she drew part of each panel. Herewith are compiled all of their two-headed comics, from the earliest days of their collaboration through material created for The New Yorker to more recent work: marriage, parenting living in France, fame, and sex. Publishers Weekly quotes Aline: A lot of the fans are saying we’re getting soft, that Robert’s drawing the Bible now. So we decided, let’s give them what they want. Old people can have sex even if it is disgusting! Chacun √† son gout…et ses gouttes d’encre.

Davis, Alan & various. Legends of the Dark Knight: Alan Davis. DC. Oct. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9781401236816. $39.99. F
Through 1986‚ 87, artist Alan Davis drew Batman’s adventures in DC’s Detective Comics, issues #569‚ 575. Never before collected, these vivid stories still excite fan interest as iconic Batman fare, as explained in some detail by a 2010 article on Comic Book Resources.

Gaiman, Neil (text) & Dave McKean (illus.). DEATH Deluxe Edition. Vertigo. Oct. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781401235482. $29.99. F
Drawn as a lovely young goth girl, Death has become one of the most popular woman characters in Gaiman’s Sandman series and in comics generally. Outside Sandman proper, Death has starred in two Gaiman miniseries, collected here: Death: The High Cost of Living and Death: The Time of Your Life. Both have been collected separately before, and a combined Absolute Death edition exists, but this appears to be the first appearance of both stories together in a lower-priced volume. A good bet for libraries just growing their adult graphic novel collections and not yet owning either miniseries. See a few samples of the art, plus a meditation on Gaiman’s approach to the character.

Hayes, Nick. The Rime of the Modern Mariner. Viking. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780670025800. $32. F/ENVIRONMENT
Hayes’s modern mariner puts to sea to find whalebone as raw material for making dominoes, taking potshots at floating garbage to escape boredom. A bird overhead offers more challenging sport, so he shoots that albatross as in the Coleridge poem. Now the floating detritus surging through the waves isn’t just something to shoot at for kicks, but a living nightmare showing him the consequences of human consumption. Swirling, evocative black-and-white ink with teal wash, both beautiful and haunting.

Kouga, Yun. Loveless. Vol. 1: 2-in-1. VIZ Media. Oct. 2012. 376p. ISBN 9781421549903. pap. $14.99. F
Another resuscitated manga from the late and lamented Tokyopop, this is coming out in an omnibus reprint of volumes 1-8 and then in new translated volumes. Beginning episodes of this complex and dark paranormal coming-of-age story are held in some 180 libraries, according to WorldCat, and now other libraries may be interested in collecting the series.

Launet, François. Unspeakable Vault (of Doom). KettleDrummer. Oct. 2012. 112p. ISBN 9788415153627. pap. $19.95. HUMOR
Eldritch giggles, anyone? This gag-strip webcomic claims to chronicle the daily lives of the Old Ones: Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, and the other H.P. Lovecraft creations whose names we can’t pronounce. Lovecraftian humor seems to be developing into its own subsubgenre, and KettleDrummer has published two volumes of the quite amusing Young Lovecraft.

L’Engle, Madeleine (text) & Hope Larson (illus. & adapt.). A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. Farrar. Oct. 2012. 392p. ISBN 9780374386153. $19.99. F
Although this beloved YA novel is a half-century old and has been adapted for film, no illustrated or comics version has ever been done. Unusual at the time for having a girl as a sci-fi protagonist, the story won numerous awards while attracting challenges owing to L’Engle’s use of Christian themes from her liberal perspective. Larson told WonderCon attendees last year that she’d mentioned in an interview about wanting to adapt L’Engle’s classic, and the word got back to the publisher. See article and sample drawing. Clearly an essential purchase to enchant fans of all ages as well as those new to the story.

McMillan, Stephanie. The Beginning of the American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Seven Stories. Oct. 2012. 144p. ISBN 9781609804527. pap. $26.95.
Winner of the 2012 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, McMillan (As the World Burns) reports on the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, which aims to protest social and economic injustice, and environmental exploitation in the service of corporate profits. See beginning pages here.

Meyer, Stephenie (text) & Young Kim (illus. & adapt.). New Moon: The Graphic Novel. Vol. 1. Yen Pr. (The Twilight Saga). Oct. 2012. 160p. ISBN 9780316217187. pap. $14.99. F
The fairy-tale romance runs aground in pain, as Edward abandons Bella in order to protect her from other vampires. But Bella does not understand and soon becomes enmeshed in werewolf-vampire politics. The two volumes of the first Twilight graphic novel topped the best-sellers charts, and are we in any doubt that the adaptation of the second book in the series will lag much behind? Also coming out in October: a one-volume edition of the first.

Moore, Dan P. Mark Twain Was Right: The 2001 Cincinnati Riots. Microcosm. Oct. 2012. 96p. ISBN 9781934620212. pap. $8.95. HIST
Mark Twain allegedly said, When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.” Perhaps this was the quote Moore drew on to title his account of the 2001 Cincinnati riots, the worst U.S. urban unrest since the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The four-day-long tumultuous cocktail of incidents included nonviolence civil protests, looting, and general mayhem. The trigger was the funeral of a young black man killed by police, the latest in a string of deaths at the hands of law officers, as well as a long-term pattern of racially biased treatment.

Moores, Dick & Frank King. Gasoline Alley. Vol. 1. IDW. Oct. 2012. 288p. ISBN 9781613774403. $49.99. F
Among newspaper comics with staying power, only Blondie is older than Gasoline Alley. This family strip was the first to age its characters in real time, and baby Skeezix adopted in the early years is now himself a retired grandfather. In the 1960s when the middle-aged Skeezix had a family, Moores took over the strip from originator King. Some of these strips have been included in now out-of-print collections, although apparently not systematically for the full run.

Morinaga, Milk. Girl Friends: The Complete Collection. Vol. 1. Seven Seas. Oct. 2012. 496p. ISBN 9781935934899. pap. $17.99. F
Quiet, studious Mari becomes best friends with the ebullient Akko, who helps her become more fashionable and enter more fully into the usual high school life, becoming involved with other girls, boys, diets, clothes, and classes. But as the story continues, Mari and Akko develop feelings for each other beyond simple friendship. Morinaga is a favorite author among fans of yuri manga (female same-sex romances), and this appears to be the first of her works to be translated into English. Running to five volumes in Japan, the full story appears here in two volumes. Mostly centered on romance and relationships, there is also kissing plus some nudity and sex.

Randolph, Grace (text) & Russell Dauterman (illus.). Grace Randolph’s Supurbia. BOOM! Studios. Oct. 2012. 112p. ISBN 9781608862795. pap. $14.99. F
A suburbia-set soap opera starring superhero families, and focusing on the spouses and partners of the spandex set. The individual issues of this limited series are getting good marks from bloggers like this one. Randolph writes YouTube’s Beyond the Trailer as well as comics for several A-list publishers. See some of the attractive art here.

Roskosch, Louis. Leeroy and Popo. Nobrow. Oct. 2012. 52p. ISBN 9781907704321. pap. $13.95. HUMOR
These two slackers love to play videogames, get high, and try to get laid while avoiding anything productive. Leeroy, though, happens to be a bear and Popo a dinosaur. They have a Facebook page, too. (Only fictionally.) Check out the amusing art in this full-color satire. Roskosch is British, and Nobrow is new to the American market.

Siegel, Mark. Sailor Twain, Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson. First Second. Oct. 2012. 400p. ISBN 9781596436367. $24.99. F
This mystery involves a reclusive author, a French nobleman, and a riverboat captain who rescues an injured mermaid. Siegel’s webcomic in moody charcoals is billed as a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense set a century ago. Siegel is the editorial director of First Second Books, and he has a background in illustration as well as editing. Thank goodness he keeps his hand in with projects like this.

Simon, Joe (text) & Jack Kirby & others (illus.). The Simon & Kirby Library: Science Fiction. Titan. Oct. 2012. 320p. ISBN 9781848569614. $49.95. F
A sort of spacedragon with human hands clings to a tiny satellite, snarling at a horrified space-suited human. And that’s just the cover. Simon and Kirby created Captain America and over several decades of collaboration broke new ground in speculative fiction and romance comics. Simon died just last December (Kirby in 1994), and Titan has the official license from the estates of both creators to republish their work together, including the 1940s Blue Bolt adventures and Race for the Moon. The introduction is from Watchmen‘s Dave Gibbons. The Simon & Kirby Library: Crime made the New York Times best-sellers list last November, and a horror collection is forthcoming next year.

Tipton, Scott & J.K. Woodward. Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2. IDW. Oct. 2012. 104p. ISBN 9781613774038. pap. $17.99. F
IDW is billing this as a cross-over of the two greatest science-fiction properties of all time, but we could debate that, couldn’t we? Where are the Stormtroopers and Jedi? Oh, well. It seems that a major enemy of the United Federation of Planets has teamed up with a major enemy of the Doctor, and all hell breaks loose. Naturally, the two sets of good guys have to team up themselves, and the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. (What, again?!) Good fun for all.

Usui, Yoshito. Crayon Shinchan. Vol. 1. One Peace Bks. Oct. 2012. 360p. ISBN 9781935548133. pap. $12.95. HUMOR
Very popular worldwide for its slapstick mix of rude children and adult satire (imagine a Dennis the Menace enrolled in South Park kindergarten), the earlier volumes of the Crayon Shinchan manga have been released before in English by ComicsOne, DrMaster, and DC’s CMX imprint. The One Peace editions each include three of the Japanese volumes, which reached a count of 50 before Usui passed away. An animated version has been aired on Adult Swim.

VanSciver. Noah. The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln. Fantagraphics. Oct. 2012. 188p. ISBN 9781606996195. $24.99. BIOG
Lincoln has long been considered one of our greatest presidents, especially admired for progressing from a modest rural background to a career in law and then politics, primarily through self-education. But Lincoln suffered from depression all his life, no worse so than during the period in his early thirties, when he became engaged to his future wife, Mary Todd, while suffering career setbacks. Lincoln’s term for his depressions was the Hypo, short for hypochondriasis, that is, debilitating but unjustified concern about disease. Today, of course, depression is recognized as a real and crippling disease. Not knowing that, Lincoln managed to overcome his moods and succeed. Looks like an essential purchase for teen and adult collections. See several pages of the moody, cross-hatched art here.

Ware, Chris. Building Stories. Pantheon. Oct. 2012. paging unknown. ISBN 9780375424335. $50. F
Ware’s latest foray into people-being-alone-together peers at inhabitants of a Chicago apartment building: a thirty-something singleton, a couple united in holy deadlock, and the building’s elderly landlady. Episodes first appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker and the Sunday New York Times Magazine. See this amazing doll-house-style cutaway on the promotional brochure.

Wong, David H.T. Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America. Arsenal Pulp Pr. Oct. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9781551524764. $19.95. HIST
Flocking in numbers to the West Coast for the California gold rush, Chinese working people helped build the first transcontinental railway and labored in agriculture and fisheries, and yet suffered decades of anti-Chinese policies and discrimination. Wong is an architect and historian originally from Vancouver, with a reputation for green building design in a number of countries. His family first came to North American from China some 130 years ago, and he draws on the Wong family story to present this history of the Chinese immigrant experience since the 1800s. Wong’s background in architectural drawing translates to eloquent, lyrical black-and-gray panels that conjure the environment and living conditions as well as the people.

Young, Frank M. & David Lasky. The Carter Family: Don’t Forget This Song. Abrams ComicArts. Oct. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780810988361. $24.95 with audio CD. BIOG/MUSIC
Five years ago, Young and Lasky began their blog about creating this documentary of country music’s first family: the Carter Family. A.P., Maybelle, and Sara Carter recorded between 1927 and 1956, having enormous influence upon country music, folk music, and guitar technique with such iconic songs as Wildwood Flower, Keep on the Sunny Side, and Can the Circle Be Unbroken. Inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame, the group was also honored through a 1993 U.S. postage stamp. See blog with sample clear-line art in subdued colors. An important candidate for collections in Americana and popular culture as well as music.

Martha Cornog About Martha Cornog

Martha Cornog is a longtime reviewer for LJ and, with Timothy Perper, edited Graphic Novels Beyond the Basics: Insights and Issues for Libraries (Libraries Unlimited, 2009).