NEW BOOKS – Comics and Graphic Novels

Weapons of Mass Diplomacy by Lanzac & Blain

PN6747.L36 A2 2014

Winner of the Best Graphic Novel Award at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, 2013.

Following 9/11, President Bush’s “War on Terror” with plans to invade Iraq erupted into a cultural clash between French reluctance and American assurance over the case for “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” In Weapons of Mass Diplomacy, diplomat Abel Lanzac reveals the tension and politics through a French insider’s point of view, with satirical humor that softens the controversial subject matter. Readers follow Lanzac’s fictionalized self, Arthur Vlaminck, a speechwriter for the French Foreign Minister. As part of a team tasked with drafting France’s response to the growing international crisis in the Middle East, which is then delivered before the United Nations Security Council. A graphic milestone of diplomacy, Weapons of Mass Diplomacy—a bestseller in Europe—pro­vides a revelatory account of a period that saw French fries become “freedom fries” and an alternative perspective on the decisions leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

 

War of Streets and Houses by Sophie Yanow

PN6727.Y36 W37 2014

Ignatz award Nomination for Outstanding Graphic Novel

An American artist witnesses the Quebec spring 2012 student strike on the streets of Montreal. The brutal police response and their violent tactics trigger an exploration of urban planning and its hidden connections to military strategies. Marshal Bugeaud’s urban warfare tactics in Algeria, Haussmann’s plan for Paris, planning and repression in the New World; theory and personal experience collide into an ambitious and poetic cartoon memoir.

Writer Adam Rothstein wrote a very thoughtful review.                                          His piece appears at The State.

The point is not to answer the questions, but to try to understand how we ended up with unanswerable questions to begin with. Like any person building a house, we can’t erase the city around us. We have to figure out how to build what we want in the environment we have.

Shawn Starr posted an insightful essay on the book, offering commentary on Sophie’s use of the comics grid. The essay appears on Left Me Wanting More.

Yanow’s panels though are free drawn, weaving up and down, veering to the right a little or the left. It is in these inconsistencies that we see the artist’s hand first and foremost, the nature of her line, rather than the uniformity found at the edge of a ruler. This naturalism goes straight to the heart of War of Streets and Houses; the city/comics grid may have its place, but the eccentricities of the individual community or artist come through first and foremost.

 

 

The Strain book one by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

PN6727.L369 S87 2014  

When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK International Airport and goes dark on the runway, the Center for Disease Control, fearing a terrorist attack, calls in Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team of expert biological-threat first responders. Only an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem suspects a darker purpose behind the event–an ancient threat intent on covering mankind in darkness. In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country. In two months–the world.

This horrifying first chapter introduces an outbreak of diabolical proportions that puts a terrifying twist on the vampire genre! Collects issues #1 through #11.

Now an FX original series.

 

 

Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Artwork by Francesco Francavilla

PN6728.A72 A78 2014

When Jughead’s beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark magic, Sabrina returns him to the land of the living. But he’s not the same… and soon, the darkness he brings from beyond the grave spreads through Riverdale!

Adult take on the classic Archie characters.

 

The Castle by David Zane Mairowitz

PN6727.M347 C37 2013

 Like Kafka’s last novel, Mairowitz’s graphic adaptation ends midsentence. Neither Mairowitz nor any other reader can say whether the land surveyor K. ever meets the Count, his supposed employer, in the castle. Nor can they ever determine whether he meets the Count’s agent, who K. repeatedly tries to contact by way of a messenger and with whose disgraced family he ends up sheltering when he fails to discover whether he has actually been hired at all and everyone else in town has closed their doors on him. Of course, the villagers—ignorantly in thrall to the castle and its authority—haven’t helped him at all, regardless of any sympathy they might have for K. Critics have argued that the story might satirize bureaucracy, political authority, or religious salvation. Or might it be an allegory of the Jew in a Gentile society? Jaromír 99 perhaps bets on that last interpretation with artwork that is a matter of stark swatches and blocks of black, white, and gray, suggestive of woodcuts and expressionism in general and German artist Käthe Kollwitz in particular. –Ray Olson from Booklist

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