All's Faire in Middle School, a wonderful graphic novel about misfits, middle school and the middle ages

In 2016, Victoria Jamieson won the prestigious Newberry Honor Award for Roller Girl, a beautiful, moving, hilarious middle-grades graphic novel about friendship, girlhood and roller-derby; her 2017 followup All's Faire in Middle School will delight everyone who loved Roller Girl with a tale of Ren Faire, misfits, forgiveness and resilience.

Saga Volume 8: the best space opera in comics tackles abortion, gender identity, and vengeance

Saga is the best space opera in comics, a masterpiece of serial storytelling from Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan, whose character designs -- a cross between Vaughn Bode and the Mos Eisley Cantina -- and fearless war-scenes combine with masterful cliff-hanger storytelling to weave a tale that hurts even as it makes you bellow with laughter. The eighth collection in the series ships today and the story shows no sign of slowing down.

Lumberjanes 7: friendship, courtship, gender conformity, and kittehs!

Lumberjanes is the hilarious, sweet, exciting series of graphic novels created by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen and energized by a roster of brilliant collaborators. The latest collection, Lumberjanes Vol. 7: A Bird's-Eye View, is a delight to read, brought a tear to my eye, and features intergenerational conflict, giant mythological birds, some great genderbending, and a whole menagerie of superpowered, supernatural kittens.

Hamster Princess: charming, funny, subversive middle-grades illustrated fantasy about a totally ass-kicking hamster princess

When Princess Harriet Hamsterbone was born, her royal parents naturally didn't invite the evil fairy, and so of course the evil fairy cursed her to prick herself on a hamster wheel on her twelfth birthday and die; and of course the three good fairies softened the curse -- and that's where things get really funny in Ursula Vernon's 2015 middle-grades fantasy Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible, the first in a wildly successful series.

The original legacy of Wendy and Richard Pini's ElfQuest

In this excerpt from Dark Horse Comics's 40th Anniversary Ashcan issue of ElfQuest, available today in comic stores, Hannah Means-Shannon explains how Wendy and Richard Pini showed indies the way in an age before crowdfunding.

The Wild Storm: Warren Ellis reboots DC's Wildstorm

Wildstorm started life as an independent, creator-owned comics universe of enormous verve and originality; following its acquisition by comics behemoth DC in 1998, it grew moribund, leading to its shuttering in 2010. Now it's back, in a revival helmed by Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis, who has reimagined the complex geopolitics of this paranoid superspy/shadow government/black ops world into a brutally fast-paced, dynamic tale that's full of real bad guys and ambiguous good guys who may or may not be trustworthy. The first six issues are collected in The Wild Storm Vol. 1, out this week.

Excerpt from Lynda Barry's new illustrated novella, The Good Times are Killing Me

Drawn & Quarterly has a new edition of Lynda Barry’s coming-of-age novella, The Good Times are Killing Me

Young Edna Arkins lives in a neighborhood that is rapidly changing, thanks to white flight from urban Seattle in the late 1960s. As the world changes around her, Edna is exposed to the callous racism of adults―sometimes subtle and other times blatant, but always stinging. By weaving the importance of music in adolescence with the forbidden friendship between Edna, who is white, and Bonna Willis, who is Black, Lynda Barry captures the earnest, awkward, yet always honest adolescent voice as perfectly in prose as she does in comics.

The publisher kindly gave us permission to run Barry’s afterword. Enjoy!

Seattle photo: MILKOVÍ Read the rest

William Gibson's Archangel: a graphic story of the unfolding jackpot apocalypse

William Gibson's 2014 novel The Peripheral was the first futuristic book he published in the 21st century, and it showed us a distant future in which some event, "The Jackpot," had killed nearly everyone on Earth, leaving behind a class of ruthless oligarchs and their bootlickers; in the 2018 sequel, Agency, we're promised a closer look at the events of The Jackpot. Between then and now is Archangel, a time-traveling, alt-history, dieselpunk story of power-mad leaders and nuclear armageddon.

Los Angeles: Come see Ben Hatke and me at Once Upon a Time books tonight!

Ben Hatke -- the living superhero who wrote such wonderful illustrated kids' books as Zita the Spacegirl, Little Robot and Mighty Jack is touring his new graphic novel, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, and tonight's stop is 7PM at Once Upon A Time Bookstore in Montrose (near Pasadena), where I'll be serving as interlocutor. Read the rest

House Without Windows: a harrowing online graphic novel about the lives of children in the Central African Republic

My friend and fellow cartoonist Matt Wuerker pointed me to this incredible graphic novel that was just published online. House Without Windows, by cartoonist Didier Kassai and photojournalist Marc Ellison, uses an innovative mixture of cartooning, photos, fumetti, and 360-video to depict the lives of children in the Central African Republic.

It is amazing, accomplished storytelling, but far more importantly, the stories being told, of children subjected to the horrors of chaos in that war-torn nation, are absolutely harrowing and heartbreaking.

The title "House Without Windows" is a reference to the fact that media coverage of the crisis in this forgotten country has been minimal or nonexistent. I hope the tragic stories of these children can help correct that.

Read the rest

Paper Girls volume 3: the all-girl, time-traveling Stranger Things gets even better

In Paper Girls, the celebrated comics creator Brian K Vaughan (Saga, Y: The Last Man, etc) teams up with Cliff Chiang to tell a story that's like an all-girl Stranger Things, with time-travel. Read the rest

Shade the Changing Girl v. 1: On sidequels and writing the teenage alien.

This week (and next due to the nature of different release dates for the direct market and the book market) marks the release of the first collection of SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL v.1: Earth Girl Made Easy, which compiles issues 1-6 (previously). It’s a heavy load to recreate a character that giants before you have written. Steve Ditko is a master of the strange. His mind a merry-go-round of experimentation.

The Private Eye: a supervillain tries to bring the internet back to a world where the press are the cops

Brian K Vaughan and artists Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente started syndicating The Private Eye just before the first Snowden revelations hit, which was a fortuitous bit of timing for them, since their surreal science fictional tale was set in a future where the rupture of all internet security had provoked humanity into banning the internet altogether, replacing it with a world where cable news was so dominant that the police had been replaced by reporters.

Kickstarting a new Girl Genius collection

Phil Foglio (previously) writes, "Studio Foglio is kickstarting a new Girl Genius Collection! The Incorruptible Library covers the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne and her friends as they journey beneath the streets of Paris. There they encounter hidden subterranean civilizations, forgotten labyrinths filled with secrets, and a healthy dollop of Adventure, Romance, and Mad Science!" Read the rest

The Big Bad Fox: hilarious tale of predators, parenting, and poultry

Benjamin Renner's hit French comic The Big Bad Fox isn't just being adapted as an animated feature, it's also now available in English, thanks to the good graces of Firstsecond, whose translation keeps and even enhances all the comic timing of the original.

Kickstarting gorgeous, illustrated slipcased classics with art from Pope, Shimuzu and Sienkiewicz

Zachary Zmith writes, "A Kickstarter is funding beautifully-designed and illustrated editions of classic stories, with illustrations from Paul Pope, Yuko Shimizu and Bill Sienkiewicz. They have already met their initial goal to fund a version of Algernon Blackwood's 'The Willows' with art by Paul Pope. If they reach $100k, Bill Sienkiewicz will illustrate H.G. Wells' vivisection classic." Read the rest

The Realist: trenchant, beautifully surreal Israeli comics about a sweet and complicated existence

Asaf Hanuka is a celebrated Israeli cartoonist whose astonishing, surreal illustrations serve as counterpoint to sweet (sometimes too-sweet) depictions of his family life, his complicated existence as a member of a visible minority in Israel, the fear he and his family live with, and his own pleasures and secret shames -- a heady, confessional, autobiographical brew that has just been collected into The Realist: Plug and Play, the second volume of Hanuka's comics.

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