Never read a graphic novel before? Haven’t read a comic book in years?
Here’s some brand new stuff that came out the week of December 3 that I think is worth a look-see for someone with little to no history with comics. That means you should be able to pick any of these up cold without having read anything else. So take a look and see if something doesn’t grab your fancy. If so, follow the publisher links or Amazon.com links to buy yourself a copy. Or, head to your local friendly comic book shop.
Disclaimer: For the most part, I have not read these yet, so I can’t vouch for their quality. But, from what I’ve heard and seen, odds are good they just might appeal to you.
A Very Zombie Christmas – $3.50
By Fred Perry, Joe Wight & David Hutchison
32 pages; published by Antarctic Press
We wish you a scary Christmas and a happy new fear!
Remember that classic holiday film about what the world would’ve been like if someone had never been alive? Well, this isn’t quite the same… This winter, the weather outside isn’t the only thing that’s frightful!
The wrong sort of holidays spirits are on the loose as zombies roam the streets, spreading their own gift that keeps on giving. You’d better watch out…
Three short stories of yuletide horror. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the holidays. Here’s a 13-page preview of Joe Wight’s story. Good lookin’ stuff!
Unthinkable – $19.99
By Mark Sable & Julian Totino Tedesco
128 pages; published by Boom! Studios; available at Amazon.com
They’ve been hired to think the UNTHINKABLE. But what happens when the unthinable actually happens? After 9-11, best-selling author Alan Ripley joins a government think tank consisting of the most imaginative minds in diverse fields. Their job? Think of nightmare scenarios and crippling terrorist attacks so the government can safeguard against them. But what happens when the think tank folds, and the attacks start to happen?
I can’t believe this has already been released. It seems like only yesterday the first issue of this mini-series came out. Anyway, great high concept, compelling premise, solid art. Here are links to 10-page previews from writer Mark Sable’s blog, which includes some comments from him about the story.
365 Samurai and a Few Bowls of Rice – $16.95
By J. P. Kalonji
392 pages; published by Dark Horse Comics; available at Amazon.com
J. P. Kalonji wields a clean, street-informed style to deliver a tale that glistens with blood and drama, yet is ultimately uplifting. Nearly four hundred pages long, this graphic novel employs full-page panels to tell the story of an Edo-era swordsman’s quest for survival and enlightenment. When Ningen leaves his dojo at the request of his master — to travel the world and grow as a swordsman — he embarks on a journey that becomes a metaphor for the cycle of life and every human’s possibility for spiritual growth.
* Collaborating with such international clients as Wyclef Jean, Amnesty International, Thrasher, and Burton snowboards, illustrator J. P. Kalonji has begun to enchant the world with his energetic art style. Now he’s ready to make a splash with his English-language graphic-novel debut!
* This engaging, nearly 400-page tale draws comparisons to both Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal and Jeff Smith’s Bone.
I can definitely see Jeff Smith’s influence. Great choices in framing and pacing make this feel like a Kurosawa film. Check out this big ol’ 33-page preview.
One Model Nation – $17.99
By Courtney Taylor & Jim Rugg
144 pages; published by Image Comics; available at Amazon.com
In Germany 1977, music is violence.
As the country is still shattered from the devastation of war, the youth fight back against a repressed nation with their only figurehead of this violent, well dressed revolution to be a band later forever lost in time, Das Model.
Dandy Warhols frontman COURTNEY TAYLOR and Street Angel illustrator JIM RUGG bring you the complete story of Das Model, revealing just how they kick started the revolution that revitalized a country and mysteriously disappeared without a trace only months later.
I’m a little unclear as to whether this is completely non-fiction or if this is about an actual German band from the ’70s. “Das Model” is the name of a song from the electronic band Kraftwerk. That’s about the extent of any real world connections I could find with the power of Google. Anyone with hipper music knowledge have any info? Regardless, check out this 6-page preview to see how good this looks.
Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary – $29.00
By Justin Green
64 pages; published by McSweeney’s; available at Amazon.com
A lost classic of underground cartooning, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is Justin Green’s autobiographical portrayal of his struggle with religion and his own neuroses. Binky Brown is a young Catholic battling all the usual problems of adolescence—puberty, parents, and the fear that the strange ray of energy emanating from his private parts will strike a picture of the Virgin Mary. Deeply confessional, with artwork that veers wildly between formalist and hallucinogenic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is the controversial masterpiece that invented the autobiographical graphic novel.
Following the original 1972 publication of this, Justin Green’s “neuroses” were reportedly diagnosed as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). Art Spiegelman has said that without this publication, his own Pulitzer-winning Maus would have never happened. Spiegelman writes an introduction in this re-release. Publisher’s Weekly has a great article on Binky Brown. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any previews.