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Category: Graphica

24 Rep Picks to Read this Fall

by Brooke Kosty
Art & Photography + Biography & Memoir + Essays + Fiction + Food & Drink + Graphica + Humour + Kids + Picture Books + YA Fiction / October 03, 2016



Fall is here! And fall = not feeling guilty about staying in all weekend with your books. So if you're ready to curl up with a blanket and a good read, but not sure which book to pair with your pumpkin spice beverage, let some of the pros help you out with some of their favourite books of the fall season.
 

Judy Parker

The Guineveres
by Sarah Domet
"I am eagerly anticipating The Guineveres. The editors at Flatiron Books have not yet let me down as they have introduced me to new voices and new stories in the past. Debut author Domet’s story of the complicated nature of female friendship is already receiving early rave reviews, including a comparison to The Virgin Suicides. I can’t wait!"
 
Waiting for Snow
by Marsha Diane Arnold, illustrated by Renata Liwska
"Despite complaints about long winters, we prairie people love the first snow! Waiting for Snow charmingly reflects the excitement and impatience of children waiting for those first snowflakes. Renata Liwska’s adorable illustrations of the cast of animals coming together to try to make it snow and learning that everything happens in its own time are spot on. This is a wonderful celebration of snow and an ode to the virtues of patience!"

 

Dani Farmer

Bad Girls Throughout History
by Ann Shen
"I’m a fan of any book that puts historical figures like Ada Lovelace alongside modern heroines like Malala Yousafzai. These 100 women deserve to be remembered for challenging the establishment with their politics, innovations and talents; after all, in the immortal words of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, 'Bitches get stuff done.'”
 
Vassa in the Night
by Sarah Porter
"Urban fantasy and Russian folklore make for page-turning magic when Brooklyn is plunged into darkness and Baba Yaga is to blame."
 
 

Ryan Muscat

We Gon' Be Alright
by Jeff Chang
"Jeff Chang is one of America’s most astute cultural observers, and in We Gon’ Be Alright, he turns his attention to race in America in light of police killings of unarmed civilians, Ferguson, and Black Lives Matter. Chang is the acclaimed author of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, and Who We Be. Built around a central essay on Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown, We Gon’ Be Alright is an impassioned and charged look at the most contentious issues in the current discussion of race in America."
 
Gertie's Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
"In what’s sure to be an instant classic in the vein of Ramona Quimby, Gertie’s Leap to Greatness is a sweet and heartwarming story about a precocious and sassy young girl trying to be the best fifth grader ever, in order to show her absent mother what she’ll be missing if she leaves town. This is a masterful debut novel for Kate Beasley, and the book is also filled with gorgeous illustrations by the fantastic Toronto cartoonist Jillian Tamaki, a Governor General’s Award and Caldecott-winning veteran."
 
 

Laurie Martella

The Other Einstein
by Marie Benedict
"This is the untold story of Mileva Maric Einstein, a brilliant math scholar and Albert Einstein’s first wife. It’s the subject of debate just how much scientific contribution she had made to her husband’s famous works. A little more recognition would be nice."
 
The Trap (new in trade paper)
by Steven Arntson
"It’s A Wrinkle in Time set in the 1960s, small town Iowa. A sci-fi mystery that has four friends who travel through the “subtle plane” (sound familiar?) and discover that they are not the only ones with this amazing ability to have out-of-body experiences. Fun middle grade read!"

 

Lorna MacDonald

Table Manners
by Jeremiah Tower, illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg
"An entertaining and practical guide to manners for everyone and every occasion by Jeremiah Tower — a larger than life celebrity chef and food entrepreneur. Tower has advice on everything: food allergies, RSVPs, iPhones, running late, thank-yous, restaurant etiquette, even what to do when you are served something disgusting. Witty design and line drawings, couples with practical bits of advice make this an ideal gift for anyone of any age. This is Strunk & White for the table."
 
The Storybook Knight
by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty
"From the author illustrator team who brought us the best-selling Snatchabook, The Storybook Knight celebrates the power of reading and the love of a good book. Leo is a gentle knight — a reader not a fighter. But his parents want him to battle griffins and trolls and slay dragons. Leo sets out on a quest with a sword and a shield and plenty of books. He manages to tame a number of unruly beasts in his own way — through the power of a good story. Written in rhyming text and richly illustrated, this is a story to delight children and parents alike."
 
 

Saffron Beckwith

Small Victories
by Julia Turshen, foreword by Ina Garten
"This is a fantastic book filled with tricks and tips and more importantly, yummy things to eat!"
 
The Odyssey: A BabyLit Monsters Primer
by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alison Oliver
"What a great addition to this awesome series... finally I can get all those mythical creatures straight!"
 
 

Jenny Enriquez

Mooncop
by Tom Gauld
"I absolutely loved Tom Gauld’s Goliath so I’m very excited for Mooncop, the story of the last policeman on the moon. This may be a sci-fi tale, but at its core it’s a very human story about looking to connect with others that’s perfect for both sci-fi fans and the general reader."
 
Bunny Slopes
by Claudia Rueda
"This very entertaining interactive picture book is like Hervé Tullet’s Press Here, but with an adorable skiing bunny! Tilt, turn, and shake the book to help Bunny make it down the hill and avoid dangerous obstacles. Lots o’ fun!"
 
 

 Karen Beattie

Ont-Pot Pasta
by Sabrina Fauda-Role
"This cookbook is the answer to every exhausted-at-the-end-of-the-day person’s dreams. Find 1 pot. Put the simple and few ingredients into the pot. Cook this pot over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Let pot rest off the heat for 5 minutes. Pour yourself a glass of wine and dinner is ready. No kidding! The design is fresh and hip with each recipe shown in arty before and after full colour photos. The yummy solution for workweek meals."
 
Other-Wordly
by Yee-Lum Mak, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity-Riley
"Here’s this season’s gift book for word nerds: an illustrated collection of words and definitions for unexpected things — like the sunlight that filters thru’ the leaves of trees. The illustrations are done in a dreamy palette of soft pinks, greys and blues, giving this wee gem a wistful vibe."
 
 
Cheryl Fraser
 

The Travel Book
by Lonely Planet
"With 800 new images in this third edition, The Travel Book features images from every country in the world. A perfect gift for anyone curious about the world. The interior pictures are compelling and the updated cover demands that you pick up this beautiful edition."
 
Busy Builders: Airport
by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
"A book, and airport set and model pieces — what a great way to start a trip, or just learn about busy airports. Little travelers can read all they need to know about airports on the plane, and have a total entertainment package when they arrive at their destination."
 
 

Ali Hewitt

A Beauty Collected
by Rachel Garahan
"Graceful and meditative, the abecedarium of photos for adults encourages all of us to find the beauty in the natural world."
 
Muddle & Mo
by Nikki Slade Robinson 
"This charmingly illustrated picture book shows what happens when you realize that your friend isn’t the same as you. Fortunately Muddle and Mo learn that even though one is a duck, and the other a goat, they can still be best friends!"
 
 
Karen Stacey
 

The Other Paris (new in trade paper)
by Luc Sante
"The Other Paris is a cross between Brassai’s and Bresson’s world, albeit a slightly grittier side of Parisian life; the cabarets, the bohemian world, the darker side of the city of lights. With vivid narration, impeccable research and an aesthete’s taste for anecdotes, Luc Sante’s newest collection will intrigue. Highly recommended for all history and culture collections."
 
How Cities Work
by Lonely Planet
"For fans of David McAuley’s How Things Work, another fabulous book for kids (ages 6+) to discover the inner workings of their world!"
 
 
Scott Fraser
 

The African Svelte
by Daniel Menaker, illustrated by Roz Chast
"An illustrated collection of malapropisms, eggcorns, and unintentional wit, sure to please all lovers of language."
 
Apocalypse Bow Wow
by James Proimos
"Many dog parents wonder what their fur babies get up to when they’re not home. But what if there were no humans around at all? The dogs in Apocalypse Bow Wow are learning to live in a world without people. What will they do now that they’re the leaders of the pack?"
 

26 Rep Picks to Read this Spring

by Brooke Kosty
Art & Photography + Fiction + Food & Drink + Graphica + Humour + Picture Books + YA Fiction / May 04, 2016



Looking for something to read this spring? In a reading slump? Let some of the pros help you out with some of their favourite books of the season.
 

Cheryl Fraser

Spill Simmer Falter Wither
by Sara Baume
"A man and a dog — a who-rescues-who tale told in a beautiful language over four seasons. An absolute must read."
 
If I Was Your Girl
by Meredith Russo
"A great teen intro to the topic that left me both afraid for, and proud of, the main
character Amanda. A very honest approach to a very topical subject. This should
be read by all teens and their parents."

 

Dani Farmer

Literary Starbucks
by Nora Anderson Katz, Wilson Isaac Josephson, and Jill Madeline Poskanzer
"What would your favourite author or character order to drink at their local Starbucks? Who would be the most frustrating person to stand behind in line? (Definitely Hamlet.) I am a huge fan of the blog that inspired the book and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy for myself!"
 
D Is For Dress Up
by Maria Carluccio
"Celebrate just how fun clothes and dressing up can be with a cast of culturally diverse boys and girls. This is a great, modern twist on the classic ABC book with pages like 'Y is for Yoga Pants' that both kids and adults can get behind. Plus the art is fantastic!"
 

 Laurie Martella

The Book of Speculation (new in trade paper)
by Erika Swyler
"The Book of Speculation is magical. A book revolving around the circus, historical family sagas, and a mysterious antiquarian bookseller would be magical, of course. But this book had me bewitched with its quirky characters and their quirky house that is literally falling off of a cliff. Nothing to speculate — this is a fantastic read!"
 
Gena/Finn
by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson
"Gena/Finn is a book for digitally-minded young adults. It is a story of friendship between two young girls, written with varied forms of electronic communication, such as instant messaging, emails, and blogs. Good for a reluctant reader, and for the lover of fan fiction. This book is a fun read, it’s relatable to teens, and it’s a unique format."
 
 

Judy Parker

They May Not Mean To, But They Do
by Cathleen Schine
"I am always excited about a new Cathleen Schine novel and her upcoming title promises to have the heart and insight of The Three Weissmanns of Westport. As in that wonderful novel, Schine is examining how three generations of a family make the journey through life and into old age. I know that she will handle this “coming of age” in her usual perspective, empathetic and often very funny fashion."
 
The Bear and the Piano
by David Litchfield
"The Bear and the Piano is a beautifully illustrated book about finding a passion and following your dreams but also about the value of friendship and community. The illustrator has created evocative light-filled images that bring to life the bear’s journey from his home in the forest to the big city and the accolades of performing, and back again to the love and support of his forest friends. This is a lovely debut picture book from a very talented U.K. author."
 
 

Saffron Beckwith

The Pharos Gate
by Nick Bantock
"I am so thrilled that there is a new volume in this wonderful series; it is as charming and beautiful as the first three. Yay!"
 
The Square Root of Summer
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
"Time travel, romance and physics... what more do you need!"
 
 

Karen Beattie

Posh Toast
by Louise Hagger
"Toast is not just for breakfast anymore. Try it at lunch, dinner and snacktime too. Have it with savoury or sweet toppings. Move over cake pops and cupcakes, toast is the new, NEW THING! Pistachio Dukkah and Avocado on Rye anyone?"
 
 
Maybe Something Beautiful
by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael Lopez
"Mira is a little girl who lives in the heart of a gray city where she loves to draw in colour. She gives her colourful pictures to her neighbours until one day she meets a painter. The painter invites her to help him create a large picture on a city wall. Soon, everyone in the community joins in to create art on the walls and transform gray into beauty and joy. A truly inspiring picture book about how public art can transform the spirit."

 

Mark Penney

The Intelligent Conversationalist
by Imogen Lloyd Webber
"I think everyone has trouble sometimes making small talk — especially if you are a sales rep! This one gives you cheat sheets on all of the most important things in the world you know nothing about. Very handy."
 
Nobody Likes a Goblin
by Ben Hatke
"Except you — after you read this delightful tale of goblin fun! It’s like The Hobbit in reverse."
 
 

Ali Hewitt

I had an interesting French Artist to see me this summer
by Colin Browne
"A beautiful book that explores the relationship between the art of Austrian Wolfgang Paalen, Emily Carr and the monumental art of the Pacific Northwest."
 
Too Many Moose
by Lisa Bakos, illustrated by Mark Chambers
"My dealings with moose have been fairly limited, but this adorable picture book is making me reconsider. Perhaps a (single) moose, delivered by post, would make the perfect pet?"
 
 
Ryan Muscat
 

Grief Is the Thing with Feathers
by Max Porter
"Reviving Ted Hughes’ crow protagonist created in the wake of Sylvia Plath’s suicide, Max Porter’s Grief Is the Thing with Feathers promises to be a profound meditation on grief and loss. A brief book looking at the aftermath of the sudden death of a wife and mother, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers is experimental in the best sense of the word — effortlessly moving between prose and poetry. The book has also drawn comparisons to Jenny Offill’s masterful Dept. of Speculation, Heidi Julavits, and Ali Smith."
 
Let’s Play
by Hervé Tullet
"Let’s Play is the latest imaginative book by Hervé Tullet, a veritable rock star for the little kid set. Young readers follow along with an adventurous dot through the book, in typical Tullet fashion — the book is suffused with lots of colour, motion, and shape. Unlike his previous books, Let’s Play also delves into a new theme: emotion. The dot expresses humour, joy, fear, and more in this amazing follow-up to Press Here and Mix It Up!"
 
 

Lorna MacDonald

A History of the World in 500 Walks
by Sarah Baxter
"From prehistory to present day. A History of the World in 500 Walks relates the tales behind trekking routes that have shaped our society. Travel back in time as you read about convicts and conquistadores, silk traders and Buddhists. Whether you are inspired to lace up your boots and get walking or put up your feet and enjoy armchair travel — this book will give you a new perspective on the world. An intrepid walker, author Sarah Baxter writes for Wanderlust magazine and Lonely Planet publications."
 
Gator Dad
by Brian Lies
"A delightful romp about three little gators and their Dad who 'squeeze the day' — finding joy in the daily rhythm of meal times, shopping, household tasks, and of course the playful moments in between. The lyrical text is a perfect accompaniment to the lively illustrations. New York Times best-selling author Brian Lies (Bats at the Beach) captures the very special relationship between a father and his children."
 
 
Jenny Enriquez
 

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus
by Chester Brown
"Best-selling cartoonist Chester Brown is back with a graphic novel that offers a sure-to-be controversial interpretation of the Bible. In Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus, Brown posits that the Virgin Mary was actually a prostitute by trade and that biblical stories about sex work were clues to her profession. Compelling, well-researched, and sure to ruffle some feathers!"
 
The Star-touched Queen
by Roshani Chokshi
"A beautifully written and vividly imagined young adult fantasy inspired by Indian mythology that’s sure to satisfy readers yearning for diverse books!"
 
 
Scott Fraser
 

The Dog Master (new in paperback)
by W. Bruce Cameron
"I read this book on the couch in the living room with my beloved dog at my side. I don’t know if it was dusty in there, or someone was chopping onions, but there were many moments in this pre-historic action/adventure about the first dog where I had to pause because I guess there was something in my eye. We all know that W. Bruce Cameron knows how to turn on the waterworks. What I didn’t know is that he could spin such a transporting epic adventure. Plus DOGS! What more do you need to know?"
 
Anna & Froga: Out and About
by Anouk Ricard
"The Anna and Froga comics are quite simply hilarious. The adorable cast of characters never learn any life lessons, aren’t particularly nice to one another, and show no sign of self-improvement during the course of the series. They’re all kind of nitwits actually, but somehow you feel like they’ll be okay as long as they have each other. As fun for adults as children."
 
 
Karen Stacey
 

Doing the Devil’s Work (new in paperback)
by Bill Loehfelm
"Bill Loehfelm is the real deal — a lauded thriller writer in the modern tradition of Dennis Lehane, Richard Price, and Michael Connelly. New Orleans is his town and his lead character, Maureen Coughlin, is a tough, smart cop, still in uniform. This is the third in the series and each one just gets better!"
 
Booked
by Kwame Alexander
"Another perfectly pitched novel from poet Kwame Alexander, winner of the Newbery Medal. Soccer is the game, divorce, bullying and first love are the themes, all written in verse. Booked packs the same powerful emotional punch as his previous novel, The Crossover!"
 

New Releases: April 2015

by Dan
Fiction + Food & Drink + Graphica + Humour / April 06, 2015

Giants, witches and supermutants, a roadmap to get you on the right path, more F in Exams, baking with less sugar, and lots of other great reads in this month's highlights from Raincoast Books! 

FICTION

LITERARY

The Thunder of Giants 

Joel Fishbane
ISBN 9781250050847 | $29.99 cl

Mixing the eccentricity of the circus world and the heart of a love story, The Thunder of Giants is a warm and engaging debut about two exceptional women—both almost 8-feet tall.

Andorra Kelsey—7'11 and just over 320 pounds—is on her way to Hollywood to become a star. Hoping to escape both poverty and the ghost of her dead husband, she accepts an offer from the wily Rutherford Simone to star in a movie about the life of Anna Swan, the Nova Scotia giantess who toured the world in the 19th century.
 

Available April 14


MYSTERY

Slated for Death 

A Penny Brannigan Mystery

Elizabeth J. Duncan

ISBN 9781250055217 | $29.99 cl

The latest book in the award-winning Penny Brannigan series delivers another cunning mystery played out in a charming small Welsh tow.n

When the body of well-liked and respectable Glenda Roberts is discovered at the bottom of a former slate mine, now a busy tourist attraction, pandemonium erupts in the North Wales town of Llanelen. Penny Brannigan finds herself drawn into the investigation when jars of her house-brand hand cream are found among counterfeit inventory Glenda and her sister were selling.

Available April 14


SCIENCE FICTION

The Affinities 

Robert Charles Wilson

ISBN 9780765332622 | $29.99 hardcover

From the author of the Hugo-winning Spin, a compelling science fiction novel about the next ways that social media will be changing everything.

In our rapidly-changing world of social media, ordinary people are more and more able to sort themselves into social groups based on finer and finer criteria. In the near future of Robert Charles Wilson's The Affinities, this process is supercharged by new analytic technologies—genetic, brain-mapping, behavioral. To join one of the twenty-two Affinities is to change one's life.

"An intriguing and seriously innovative attempt to grapple with some of the issues raised by the 21st century’s obsession with social media."—Kirkus  Reviews (starred review)

"Wilson’s trademark well-developed characters and understated but compelling prose are very much in evidence in this quietly believable tale of the near future."—Publishers Weekly

Available April 21


HISTORICAL

The Silver Witch

Paula Brackston

ISBN 9781250028792 | $29.99 cl

From The New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston comes an enchanting tale of love and magic that weaves a modern day heroine together with the ancient Celtic past.

A year after her husband's sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat's death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her—a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she's near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

Available April 21


GRAPHIC NOVELS

SuperMutant Magic Academy 

Jillian Tamaki

ISBN 9781770461987 | $22.95 pb

The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

"The humor is sometimes slapstick, but more often it offers ultra-dry observations on modern disengagement. Tamaki is playful and loose with her art, unafraid to be experimental as she draws us into a world where true feelings are the greatest danger."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available April 28


NONFICTION

CAREERS

Roadmap

The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life

Roadtrip Nation

ISBN 9781452128450 | $27.95 pb

This welcome antidote to the fusty, no-longer-relevant career guide answers an old question—So, what are you going to do with your life?"—in a ground-breaking way. From the team behind the inspirational TV series and campus and online resource, it is presented in a motivational format that gets young people excited to think deeply about how they want to enter and thrive in the workforce by detailing how to take Roadtrip Nation's interest-based approach and apply it to one's life. 

 

Available April 7


HUMOUR

F in Exams: Pop Quiz

All New Awesomely Wrong Test Answers

Richard Benson

ISBN 9781452144030 | $13.95 pb

Will some students ever learn from their mistakes? We hope not! This all-new collection of hilarious, totally wrong, real test answers serves a fresh batch of A+ wit misapplied to F- quiz scores. A little studying would reveal that the most powerful light source known to man isn't "lightsabers," nor do we salt the roads when it snows "to make them taste better." But where's the fun in that? From the same wellspring of failure as the million-selling F in Exams series, this special pop quiz collection will amuse and entertain anyone preparing to face down a test paper as well as those just glad to be far away from a classroom."

Available April 7


People of Walmart: State of Emergency

Scott Simon

ISBN 9781492604396 | $16.99 pb

Take Cover! People of Walmart has issued an official state of emergency! Fortunately for you, all the survival gear you need is conveniently located at your favourite local super-centre, where these crazy, cringe-worthy shoppers are letting their freak flags fly high than ever.

Available April 15


FOOD & DRINK

Baking with Less Sugar 

Recipes for Desserts Using Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar

Joanne Chang

ISBN 9781452133003 | $35.95 cl

Trust Joanne Chang—beloved author of the bestselling Flour and a Harvard math major to boot—to come up with this winning formula: Minus the sugar equals plus the flavour. The 60-plus recipes here are an eye-opener for anyone who loves to bake and wants to cut back on the sugar. 

Available Now


Grill Eats & Drinks

Recipes for Good Times

Chronicle Books

ISBN 9781452141176 | $19.95 cl

A taste of the good life! This bite-size collection showcases 20 special recipes, all with photographs, that will inspire food lovers to take the party outside. Selected from some of Chronicle Books' best-loved cookbooks, here are easy-peasy drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic), quick appetizers, simple salads and sides, and great-for-the-grill main dishes. 

 

Available April 14


Flavorize

Great Marinades, Injections, Brines, Rubs, and Glazes

Ray "DR. BBQ" Lampe

ISBN 9781452125305 | $31.95 cl

In his latest lip-smackin' cookbook, Dr. BBQ shows how to dress up meat, vegetables, and fruits with 120 brand-new recipes for tantalizing marinades, mouthwatering injections, savoury brines, flavourful rubs, delectable glazes, and full recipes for what to make with them.

Available April 21


DESIGN

Icons of Women's Style 

Josh Sims

ISBN 9781780672717 | $40.95 pb

Behind nearly every item in the feminine wardrobe there is a first of its kind that has spawned countless others. While the definitive example—often created by a single—has achieved icon status, its various reinterpretations, season after season, have become fashion staples.

Icons of Women's Style examines, item by item, the most influential and legendary garments and accessories—their provenance and history, the stories of their design, the celebrities who made them famous, and the various ways they have shaped how women dress today.

Available April 28


My Favourite Book of 2014, Mark Penney

by Dan
Graphica / December 10, 2014

If you’ve seen Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line you’ll be well-prepared for what you’re getting into with Showa 1944-1953. The anti-war tone and island imagery are very similar; both tales also revolve around a central character whose positive experiences with native islanders contrast sharply with what they’re forced to endure fighting a short distance away.

I think that, like me, you too will be surprised when Shigeru Mizuki makes it out of the war alive (forgetting for a moment that there is a fourth volume coming that deals with events into the 1980s). It’s surprising that he survives not only physically, but also emotionally. If you’ve read the first two volumes, you know that Shigeru Mizuki’s possesses a unique sense of humour that is often expressed through his ravenous appetite and staggering capacity for punishment. That he didn’t lose his sense of humour or his life despite the severe mental and physical trials he went through is deeply affecting.
Mizuki’s escape from the war isn’t an escape from suffering. Postwar Japan was a hard place, and although Mizkui seems finally to have escaped regular beatings, his prodigious hunger rarely gets a break amid regular food shortages and frequent unemployment. Fishmongery will not contain Mizuki’s energies; running a boarding house merely provides an insecure launch pad into the world of professional art. We leave volume three with Mizuki poised for great accomplishment.

Showa 1953-1989 will be coming soon, but I really feel that Showa 1944-1953 is the heart of the story.

Mark Penney, Ampersand Inc
 


My Favourite Comics of 2013, Dan Wagstaff

by Dan
Graphica / December 19, 2013

delilah dirk

2013 was a GREAT year for comics. If you like fantasy, adventure, and superhero comics, there was Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples excellent space opera Saga, Matt Fraction and David Aja's erstwhile Avenger Hawkeye, and Kelly Sue Deconnick's Captain Marvel.

The latest Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman delivered more exquisitely drawn gothic horror, and The Joker returned in Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's nightmare-inducing run on Batman. And—speaking of nightmares—H. P. Lovecraft met Jules Verne in Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill (I'm looking forward to next year's sequel, The Roses of Berlin, a lot).

Then there was the epic, Moebius-meets-Jack Kirby Battling Boy by Paul Pope, and the deliciously pulpy The Black Beetle by Francesco Francavilla.

The luscious historical fantasy adventure Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Vancouver's very own Tony Cliff was just a joy from beginning to end. Not only did it look beautiful (Tony is also an animator), but the dialogue was sharp and snappy.

Online, I have been quietly addicted to the post-Harry Potter fantasy adventure Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. But that won't be out as a book until 2015! (You can, however, find one of Noelle's illustrations on the cover of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell).  

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack

Affectionately making fun of tight pants and all that heroic stuff was The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Halifax-based cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks (which I loved, loved, loved), and the brilliant You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld. While Superhero Girl dealt with the daily trials and tribulations of a novice superheroine, You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack mashed up literary classics with robots, astronauts, dinosaurs, sea monsters, Victoriana, and masked men (where else would you see a Batman-inspired steampunk Dickens?!).

Also somewhat affectionately deconstructing pop culture (but in an oh-so different way) was the bonkers and acidic My Dirty Dumb Eyes by illustrator Lisa Hanawalt. I'm not sure I'd describe it as comics exactly, but it was sure as hell funny (where else would you see Anna Wintour riding an ostrich?!).

For kids, the pair of eccentrics in Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon were lots of fun (the book's been a popular birthday gift), and I really liked Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson. Luke also contributed a really great story, 'The Boy Who Drew Cats', to the charming Fairy Tale Comics collection edited by Chris Duffy. (You can read my interview with Luke here).

My kids are still a bit young for them, but I fully expect My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Adventure Time Fionna & Cake will soon be in required reading in our house...        

Relish

But comics continued to explore new territory beyond the typical genres associated with the medium. Lucy Knisley's Relish was a tender food memoir with recipes; Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, a colourful look at the work of primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg was a series of strange, funny, and magical stories. Gilbert Hernandez had two remarkable books out this year: Marble Season, a heartfelt, semi-autobiographical comic about childhood in 1960s southern California, and the haunting Julio's Day, a fictional account of man's life from his birth in 1900 to his death 2000. Peter Bagge returned with Woman Rebel, a surprising and fascinating biography of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood.

(I actually had the pleasure of meeting both Beto and Peter this year. Peter was terrific at this year's IFOA—smart and disarmingly funny—but sight of Elvira Kurt sprinting from one side of a CBC studio to the other to meet Beto was something else entirely!)

The Property

Rutu Modan's The Property was an extraordinary follow-up to her debut graphic novel Exit Wounds. Lovingly observed, it told the story of an Israeli woman accompanying her elderly grandmother to Warsaw, ostensibly to reclaim property lost during World War II. It was funny, heartbreaking, beautiful and poignant. Literary in the best sense, it was still criminally overlooked by the critics.

And I didn't even get to Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, The Great War by Joe Sacco... 

Louis Riel 10th Anniversary Edition

2013 was the 10th anniversary of Chester Brown's monumental Louis Riel—a book that changed how we thought about comics and, I think, profoundly expanded the possibilities of the medium. Would a book like Rebel Woman have been possible without it? I don't think so. Nor would my favourite comic of the year, Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang, which shared some of its sensibility.

The result of 5 years work, Boxers and Saints is a remarkable achievement. The two volume graphic novel told the intertwined stories of two young people on opposites of the Boxer Rebellion in 19th century China. While Boxers was a brightly coloured adventure story inspired by Chinese opera and superhero comics, Saints delivered an introspective story of identity and faith, drawing more from the personal narratives found in independent comics. Both books were beautifully coloured by Lark Pien (a cartoonist in her own right) and they are visually stunning. But it was the complex storytelling—in turn funny and tragic—and Gene's unique magical realism that made the books truly extraordinary.

boxers and saints

Shortly after the release of Boxers and Saints, Gene came to Toronto and delivered two brilliant presentations about becoming a cartoonist and his career from self-published indie comics to the present day. If you ever get chance to hear Gene talk about his work you should definitely take it. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with him just talking comics and superheroes. It was one of the highlights of my year.

 

Dan, Online Marketing Manager


Battling Boy Toronto Launch Party

by Dan
Events + Graphica / October 01, 2013

Paul Pope Battling Boy Launch Toronto

Paul Pope's long-awaited graphic novel Battling Boy is finally released next week, and the award-winning American comic book artist will be in Toronto to launch the book with The Beguiling on the evening October 15th!

"A straight-up, kick-butt superhero book for kids and grown-ups alike," Battling Boy is the story of an untested hero charged with defending a city infested with monsters. The first of two hotly anticipated volumes, it's already the subject of much excitement in the comics world.

Starting at 7:00pm at the Revival Night Club, Pope — whose previous work includes the acclaimed 100%, Heavy Liquid, and Batman Year 100 — will be on stage to talk about his new work, before taking questions from the audience and signing copies of the book.  

Join us if you can! 

BATTLING BOY BOOK LAUNCH
Featuring author Paul Pope

@ Revival, 783 College Street, Toronto
Tuesday, October 15th, 2013
Doors at 7PM. Event starts at 7:30pm

 


Rutu Modan Returns with The Property

by Dan
Graphica / June 11, 2013

The Property Rutu Modan

Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan, first published by Drawn Quarterly in 2007 (and now available in paperback), is one of my favourite debut graphic novels of recent years. Set in modern-day Tel Aviv, and drawn and coloured in a beautiful, contemporary ‘ligne claire’ style, the book is a portrait of modern Israel, a place where sudden death and dissolution of family ties is an everyday reality. 

I met Rutu in Toronto at the International Festival of Authors shortly after Exit Wounds. One of the first cartoonists to be invited to the literary festival, she was a witty, charming and down-to-earth advocate for both the medium and women in comics. It's not surprising that they have invited many more cartoonists since.  

The Property (interior)

Now six years(!) later, Rutu has brought a similar combination of wit, style and realism, to her second full-length graphic novel The Property. Like Exit Wounds, it's a book that deals with family, relationships, and harsh truths. In a recent interview with The Comics Journal, Rutu discussed her own background and family, as well as the influences and ideas that informed The Property:  

The idea for The Property came to me after I finished “Mixed Emotions.” One of the stories was about my grandmother. She was this tough, unpleasant old woman, the type that is called in the US “Yiddisher Mama” and in Israel “a Polish lady.” I got very emotional responses to this story in particular. It seems that everyone in the world has “a Yiddisher grandmother,” Italians, Koreans, Japanese, everyone. Maybe it’s not so much about being Jewish. So one night I was lying in bed, just about to fall asleep when suddenly it just came to me. I said, ‘I’ll do a story about this young woman who is going with her grandmother to look at the property.’ I thought it would be a good combination of family relations and money and history, with the Holocaust in the background, but only in the background.

It’s funny because I met Joe Sacco at Angoulême a year ago and we were talking about this book and I said ‘It’s not a Holocaust book, but the Holocaust is in the background.’ I told him I didn’t want to make the grandmother a Holocaust victim. That’s why she came to Israel before the war, because making her the victim is like saying that you can’t touch her. I said, ‘for me, it’s more interesting for the characters to be attached to the drama but not in the middle of it,’ and he said, ‘wow, that’s exactly like Exit Wounds.’ <laughs> I said, ‘oh, I didn’t think about it, but actually, yes. It’s the same.’ <laughs>

The Property is available now.


Julie Morstad Toronto and Montreal Events!

by Dan
Events + Graphica / November 20, 2012

Julie Morstad The Wayside

Artist Julie Morstad, author of The Wayside and Milk Teeth, is busy, busy, busy. 

Hot on the heels of her recent event in Vancouver, Julie will be in conversation with Fieldguided blogger Anabela Piersol at Toronto's TYPE Books on Queen West this Friday (November 23).

The following night (Saturday November 24), Julie will be at Librairie D+Q in Montreal for an "evening of beautiful art, good conversations, and the occasional book signing."

Julie Morstad The Wayside Cover

Julie Morstad in conversation with Anabela Piersol
Friday, November 23 2012
6PM, with Q&A at 7PM
TYPE Books, 883 Queen Street West, Toronto

Julie Morstad at Librairie D+Q
Saturday, November 24 2012, 7PM
Librairie D+Q, 211 Bernard Ouest, Montreal


Julie Morstad at Lucky’s This Weekend!

by Dan
Events + Graphica + Vancouver / October 30, 2012

Julie Morstad The Wayside Launch

Join award-winning, Vancouver-based illustrator Julie Morstad launch The Wayside, her new book from Drawn + Quarterly, on Saturday evening at Vancouver comics store Lucky's starting at 7pm! 

Julie Morstad
Saturday November 3rd, 7pm
Lucky's Comics
3972 Main Street, Vancouver
T: 604-875-9858

PS: If you don't live in Vancouver, Julie will also have events in Toronto at TYPE, and at the Librairie D+Q in Montreal next month! (Yay!)


Michael Cho at Type Books May 23rd

by Dan
Art & Photography + Events + Graphica / May 10, 2012

Toronto-based illustrator and hometown hero Michael Cho will be signing copies of his new book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes 6pm–8pm on May 23rd at Type Books on Queen Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park. TYPE will also be featuring a gallery show of selected work from the book. 

Backalleys Michael Cho

Michael began creating drawings of the back alleys near his Toronto home in 2008. Collected together in this book, the work speaks to the beauty of the urban landscape: sometimes gritty and citified, sometimes unexpectedly pastoral, but always beautifully rendered. Michael is a brilliant draftsman, and Back Alleys shines with loving attention to detail – from expletive-filled graffiti splayed across backyard fences to the graceful twists of power lines over a bend in the road. 

Michael Cho Back Alleys

Last weekend, Michael joined a host of other super-talented cartoonists – including Kate Beaton, Guy Delisle and Tom Gauld to name a few  signing books at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival at the Toronto Reference Library. Unsurprisingly (in retrospect!) Backalleys was in big demand and we sold out of the book in no time at all, so make sure you come by early on the 23rd if you are want to get your hands on a copy! 

Michael Cho
Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes
 
Book signing featuring a gallery show of selected work

@ TYPE Books
883 Queen Street West, Toronto
May 23rd, 6pm - 8pm
Typebooks.ca
  


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