Continuing the march of best-of-the-year lists, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog has compiled its list of the Top 10 graphic novels for kids in 2013. It’s a pretty diverse group, ranging from historical fiction to fantasy to biography, with Abrams, First Second and Top Shelf well-represented:
- Fairy Tales Comics, edited by Chris Duffy(First Second)
- Odd Ducks, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party, by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
- Monster on the Hill: Book One, by Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
- Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix)
- Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
- March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
- Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
- The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book One: Spelling Trouble, by Frank Cammuso (Abrams)
Follow the link to read about the Good Comics For Kids bloggers have to say about each of the selections.
On the heels of Time magazine, National Public Radio has released a substantial list of the best books of 2013, which includes a dozen comics and graphic novels among its more than 200 titles (although, granted, not all of them are strictly “comics”). A handful of the selections should by now be familiar from previous best-of lists:
- Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy and Emma Rios (Marvel)
- Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly (Balzer+Bray)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
- Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
- New School, by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
- Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, by Tim Leong (Chronicle Books)
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
- You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons, by Tom Gauld (Drawn and Quarterly)
Between the chart-topping sales, rave reviews and widespread media coverage, it’s pretty easy to make a case for March: Book One as graphic novel of the year. To ensure that Rep. John Lewis’ congressional colleagues don’t miss out on the acclaimed civil-rights memoir, publisher Top Shelf is presenting all of the members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with digital copies of the book, along with the groundbreaking comic that inspired it, Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.
In a letter accompanying the gift, Lewis explained that March “is not just my story, it’s the story of a movement, the story of a generation that stood up for justice in our country.”
The Georgia Congressman continued, “Just like the comic book I read more than 50 years ago, it is my hope that this graphic novel can inspire new generations to speak up and speak out, to make their voice heard, and, hopefully, to make our nation a more just and peaceful place for all.”
Co-written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, the graphic novel recounts Lewis’ you in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King Jr., and the Selma to Montgomery marches. The second volume in the planned trilogy is set to arrive next year.
It’s December, which means best-of-the-year lists, both large and small, will begin appearing at a mind-boggling pace. And while not all of them are comics-specific, many include a smattering of graphic novels and collections. Here are three of the most recent offerings:
• For the Best Graphic Novel of 2013, GoodReads members selected Beautiful Creatures: The Manga (Yen Press), Cassandra Jean’s adaptation of the bestselling young-adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It beat out such contenders as March Book One, Boxers & Saints and Saga, Vol. 2.
• Slate’s list of the Overlooked Books of 2013 includes critic Tammy Oler’s recommendation of Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As a Weapon (Marvel), by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido. “Fraction’s smart writing comes to life in stunning art and innovative panel layouts,” Oler writes, “making Hawkeye deeply entertainingly and moving.”
• At Salon, Laura Miller recounts 10 unforgettable graphic novels from 2013: Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang; Calling Dr. Laura, by Nicole J. Georges; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard; Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg; How to Fake a Moon Landing, by Darryl Cunningham; Opera Adaptations, by P. Craig Russell; RASL, by Jeff Smith; The Freddie Stories, by Lynda Barry; The Property, by Rutu Modan; and When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael.
Four months after he surprised fans by announcing he’s working on a graphic-novel sequel to Fight Club, author Chuck Palahniuk has revealed the first significant plot details.
“The sequel will be told from the — at first — submerged perspective of Tyler Durden as he observes the day-to-day tedium of the narrator’s life,” he says in a recent interview with Hustler (via The Cult fan site). “Because 20th Century Fox created the convention of calling the protagonist Jack, I’m calling him Cornelius. He’s living a compromised life with a failing marriage, unsure about his passion for his wife. The typical midlife bullshit. Likewise, Marla is unsatisfied and dreams of accessing the wild man she’d once fallen in love with. She tampers with the small pharmacy of drugs that her husband needs to suppress Tyler, and — go figure — Tyler reemerges to terrorize their lives.”
Palahniuk’s 1996 debut novel was famously adapted by David Fincher as a 1999 film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Fight Club follows an anonymous and unreliable Narrator (typically referred to as Joe in the novel and Jack in the movie) who, while suffering from insomnia, begins attending support groups for people with problems much larger than his. At one, he meets a disturbed woman named Marla, and the two become involved in a sort-of love triangle with the charismatic and mysterious Tyler Durden. That leads him down a winding path involving an underground network of men who beat the hell out of each other for fun, large-scale destruction and human fat transformed into soap.
Comics fan may not have heard of Don Hertzfeldt, but within the walls of animation houses he’s a legend. In 2008, a Comedy Central said his work “influenced an entire generation of filmmakers,” and much of the aesthetic of Adult Swim is rooted in Hertzfeldt’s work. And now the animator is breaking out into comics.
Debuting in December from indie book publisher ANTIBOOKCLUB, the 216-page graphic novel The End of the World is a project Hertzfeldt has been working on for a decade between animation projects.
Goodreads has released the semifinalists for its 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards, which, as the name suggests, is a list of the best books of the year as selected by the website’s readers. The nominees for best graphic novels and comics are:
- The Walking Dead, Vol. 18, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
- Blue Bloods: The Graphic Novel, by Melissa de la Cruz, Robert Venditti and Alina Urusov (Disney Press)
- Batman, Vol. 2, by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Fabok, Becky Cloonan, Andy Clarke, Sandu Florea and James Tynion IV
- Kick-Ass 2, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. (Marvel/Icon)
- Raven Girl, by Audrey Niffenegger (Abrams ComicArts)
- Fables, Vol. 18, by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham and Gene Ha (Vertigo)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Search, Part 1, by Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Gurihiru (Dark Horse)
- Chew, Vol. 6, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
- Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, by Nicole J. Georges (Mariner Books)
- Saga, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, creators of the bestselling Feynman, have reteamed for a graphic novel biography of renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, to be published in 2016 by First Second.
Titled Hawking, the book “will tell the story of how he made his place in the many worlds he inhabits, from the scientific to the celebrity… and how his discoveries have shown everyone how to understand our place in the universe.” Boing Boing has the official announcement and a preview.
“July 4, 2012 was a good day in physics and for Gordy Kane, Leland and me,” Ottaviani said in a statement. “Not only was the Higgs boson revealed to the world, but Gordy — a prominent physicist and author of The Particle Garden — won a long-standing $100 bet with his friend Stephen Hawking on whether there even was a Higgs. And in an email letting us know about these things, Gordy and his wife Lois also added an ‘Oh, by the way …’ They told us that Stephen had read and enjoyed our Feynman book (!) and invited us to come to Cambridge and talk about doing a book about him. We didn’t get on a plane that same afternoon, but we did start planning our trip, and this book. Like I said, a good day.”
With the holidays rapidly approaching, you may be wondering what to buy that special Neil Gaiman fan in your life. If you have a generous budget, and really like this person, you may want to consider the limited-edition Sandman Omnibus Silver Edition from DC Comics.
Like the standard Omnibus, it’s a two-volume hardcover collection of the entire 75-issue run of The Sandman, released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the landmark series. Of course, it comes with additional bells and whistles, like a slipcase, silver-gilded pages and a numbered art page autographed by Gaiman himself. Only 500 copies will be printed, so you’ll score serious points with that Sandman enthusiast.
But here’s where you have to decide just how special that Gaiman fan is to you: The Sandman Omnibus Silver Edition costs a whopping $499.95 … plus shipping. It’s limited to one per customer, in case you had any ideas about stocking stuffers.
Lagging behind the rest of its list, Publishers Weekly has released its rundown of the best children’s books — split into fiction and nonfiction — which, unsurprisingly, includes a smattering of graphic novels. They are:
• Bad Machinery: The Case of the Team Spirit, by John Allison (Oni Press)
• Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, by Tony Cliff (First Second)
• Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
• Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
You’ll undoubtedly notice that three of the four books are from First Second, which, while it’s still early in the best-of season (sure, it’s a season), is off to a strong start: Relish and Boxers & Saints, along with Paul Pope’s Battling Boy, also made it onto the Amazon list, while Yang’s book(s) appears twice on PW’s best of 2013.
Shortlisted just last month for the National Book Award, Boxers & Saints is shaping up to be a strong contender for the big graphic novel of the year, too.
Last night, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show devoted a full 10-minute segment to March, its creators Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and to Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the 1958 comic that helped to inspire the civil-rights movement.
While many authors, musicians and politicians have cited increased sales and profiles following their appearances on The Colbert Report — the frequently mentioned, by Stephen Colbert himself, “Colbert Bump” — March seems seems to be the beneficiary of the lesser-known “Maddow Bump”: Following last night’s episode, the book rocketed to No. 12 on the Amazon Best Seller list, its peak position.
Maddow, an avowed comics fan, recently conducted a one-hour interview with Lewis about March at the Kentucky Author Forum. CBR spoke with the March team in June, and in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
As we reported earlier this week, publisher Top Shelf Productions has partnered with Fellowship of Reconciliation to offer Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story in a digital bundle with March. Watch the Maddow segment below.
Congressman John Lewis has been asked in numerous interviews why he chose the graphic novel format for March, his memoir of the civil-rights movement, and his answer is that he and many others involved with that movement had been inspired, in part, by a comic book. And now Top Shelf is publishing that original comic as part of a digital bundle with March — and also releasing a special print edition.
The 1957 comic Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, published by the interfaith peace organization Fellowship of Reconciliation, told the story of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, starting with the arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger, and concluding with a section on “The Montgomery Method,” advice for other civil-rights advocates. The comic showed the brutal treatment of black people in the South, but it also preached a message of nonviolent protest, drawing on Mahatma Gandhi as an example to be emulated. It was translated into a number of different languages and circulated around the world.
It was some 50 years later, when Lewis was a member of Congress, that he mentioned the comic to his aide Andrew Aydin, who researched the title (and ultimately wrote his master’s thesis about it); he also co-wrote March with Lewis.
Now Top Shelf and Fellowship of Reconciliation are offering Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story as part of a bundle with the digital edition of March; it is available on comiXology for $9.99, which is the same price as March alone.
And for those who prefer their comics on paper, Top Shelf and the Fellowship of Reconciliation are also publishing a commemorative print edition of the 16-page comic, priced at $5. Top Shelf and comiXology will donate their share of the proceeds to Fellowship of Reconciliation, which continues its nonviolence work to this day.
Former Vertigo editor Casey Seijas has a story he wants to tell — a story about Jamaican gangsters, Rastafarian ghost stories and the dark summer of 1978 in Kingston.
In the upcoming graphic novel Duppy ’78, by Seijas and artist Amancay Nahuelpan, a group of Jamaican crime lords are fighting to control ancient and malevolent Rastafarian spirits known as the Duppy. When one of the crime lords is killed over control of these spirits, the Kingston underworld erupts as the remaining players vie for control over the Duppy and the young mystics who are said to be able to control them. Mixing Jamaican history and Rastafarian religious ideas, Duppy ’78 looks to meld two distinct genres into something that could be surprises.
In time for the U.S. theatrical release next spring of the sci-fi action thriller Snowpiercer, Titan Comics will publish the first English translation of Le Transperceneige, the French graphic novels on which the film is based.
Written by Jacques Lob and Benjamin Legrand and illustrated by Jean-Marc Rochette, was originally published between 1984 and 2000 by Casterman.
Here’s the synopsis, as provided by Titan: Coursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels Snowpiercer, a train one thousand and one carriages long. From fearsome engine to final car, all surviving human life is here: a complete hierarchy of the society we lost … The elite, as ever, travel in luxury at the front of the train – but for those in the rear coaches, life is squalid, miserable and short. Proloff is a refugee from the tail, determined never to go back. In his journey forward through the train, he hopes to reach the mythical engine and, perhaps, find some hope for the future.”
Snowpiercer, Vol. 1: The Escape will be published on Jan. 29, followed by Snowpiercer, Vol. 2: The Explorers on Feb. 25. You can see the covers and a couple of pages below, along with the trailer for director Joon-ho Bong’s film adaptation, which stars Chris Evans, Alison Pill, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris and John Hurt.
Compared by the publisher to Avatar: The Last Airbender and Jeff Smith’s Bone, The Nameless City is set in an intricate world inspired by Central Asia and the Silk Road, where “the besieged inhabitants of an ancient city are desperate to learn the secrets of the perished civilization which carved the city out of living rock.” The story centers on Nameless City native Rat, and Kai, whose country recently conquered her home, as they form an unlikely friendship as they try to foil an unlikely conspiracy.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that First Second Books will be publishing The Nameless City,” Hicks said in a statement. “It’s a story that’s very close to my heart and something I’ve been working on for a few years.”
Hicks’ previous works include Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere, Friends With Boys and The Adventures of Superhero Girl.