Tag Archive | non-US artist

Manga Classics : Emma, by Jane Austen (book review) – matchmaking & secrets

book cover of Emma by Jane Austen & Manga Classics published by Udon Entertainment | recommended on BooksYALove.comMatchmaking – so satisfying!
Seeing friends happy – so delightful!
Her own future so dull – oh, dear…

Emma is sure that her matchmaking will result in happy marriages for everyone in her social circle, but she will care for her elderly father instead of ever marrying. Of course, love has other plans, and secrets, too!

Enjoy the first chapter of this lively manga here free, courtesy of the publisher, then get your own copy at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.

Especially interesting are the information sections about adapting the classic text (available in full here) for use with this graphic format and creating these manga characters as reflections of each personality.

Another in Udon Entertainment’s great Manga Classics series, like Pride and Prejudice (my review here) and The Scarlet Letter (my review here), that will help first-time readers and long-time fans alike become more familiar with the characters and plots of classic stories while reading each author’s original words – back to front, of course.

So, what matchmaking have you witnessed lately?
**kmm

Book info: Emma / Jane Austen; adapted by Stacy King; art by Po Tse. Udon Entertainment, 2015.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ensuring the happiness of her friends through matchmaking leaves Emma Woodhouse little time for dreaming of her own future through marriage, but secrets and changes add to the complexities of her social circle in the English countryside.

Why is Mr. Fairfax so changeable around Emma?
Who sent Jane a piano as a gift?
What if Emma’s friends all marry and leave her alone?

Jane Austen’s 1815 tale of matchmaking and misunderstandings gains graphic form through Po Tse’s manga art, while Stacy King selects just the right passages from the classic text as each character speaks and thinks.

Birth of Kitaro, by Shigeru Mizuki (book review) – Japanese supernatural Yokai!

book cover of Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki published by Drawn & Quarterly | recommended on BooksYALove.com Last of the ghost tribe yokai,
helped by his magic hair (and dead eyeball dad),
fighting evil beings in Japan!

While I didn’t meet any (obvious) supernatural beings during my recent trip to Japan, I am delighted to share this first volume in a new English translation of Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro series. The Japanese manga master died in December 2015, leaving a legacy of yokai tales and other graphic novels, which Drawn & Quarterly is bringing to western readers.

Visit the publisher’s page here to download a free excerpt of Kitaro’s adventures. Next book in the series arrives soon!

Any supernatural folk in your neck of the woods?
**kmm

Book info: The Birth of Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro) / Shigeru Mizuki; text translated by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. [artist’s obituary]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting evil creatures is Kitaro’s specialty, but the one-eyed spirit boy and his eyeball-father aren’t always sure that the people of Japan are worth battling monstrous beings of legend.

Single-eyed newborn Kitaro digs out of his mother’s grave and quickly finds himself embroiled in struggles with malicious yokai who want to overrun modern Japan.

Can half-cat, half-girl Neko Mutsume help him outwit greedy Nezumi Otoko?
How long will his late father’s spirit animate the eyeball?
What’s the best way to banish a frightful buru-buru haunting the mountain highway?

Kitaro’s wooden geta sandals clip-clop away from each supernatural encounter, and a letter in just the right forest postbox will always bring him back, as these 7 episodes from his earliest manga appearances show. First in a series, with new English text by Zack Davisson complementing manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s well-loved illustrations.

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Huck, by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque (book review) – strong, brave, good…and hunted

book cover of Huck by Mark Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque published by Image Comics | recommended on BooksYALove.comOrphan makes good,
loved by town,
hunted by desperate evil!

With super-human strength, unbelievable speed, and the ability to find anything or anyone, Huck is a quiet, unassuming man who is loved and shielded by his small town – until a new neighbor alerts the media!

Now sought out by those missing loved ones and pets, he’s also on the radar of an evil Russian scientist… who’s been searching for his ability a very, very long time.

Just on sale this week, if you don’t see Huck at your local library, ask for it at an independent bookstore or comic book shop.

A charming and humble superhero who does #onegooddeed daily, just as they taught him at the orphanage – join him in that challenge to fill the world with kindness, won’t you?
**kmm

Book info: Huck / Mike Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque. Image Comics, 2016. [author site]  [artist site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: His superpower is being able to find anything or anyone, but Huck stays humble and helpful, doing a good deed every day in his small seaside town.

When a newcomer blows the protective anonymity that his neighbors have built around the young man since he was found at the orphanage as a baby, the gas station attendant is inundated with requests to find missing persons (and dogs).

While on these missions (with super-human strength), Huck also finds the brother he never knew! Tom knows their mother’s name and that enough for Huck to be able to find her – if the evil Russian scientist’s bad guys don’t get them all first…

Meow meets wow in photos – Men & Cats, by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud

book cover of Men & Cats by Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud published by Perigee | recommended on BooksYALove.comIf kitty pix make you go “Awwww” and photos of gorgeous guys make you go “Rawr!” then this is your book!

Add it to your favorite indie bookstore wishlist (search here for a great bookstore near you: http://indiebound.org) or just go buy it now as a gift for the person who appreciates cat cute and masculine musculature.

And, yes, the French photographers are adding more fellow and feline picture-pairs to their tumblr!

**kmm

Book info: Men & Cats /Marie-Eva Gatuingt and Alice Chaygneaud. Perigee Books, 2015.  [authors’ tumblr]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Photos of men and cats in matching poses prove that no words are needed to communicate the concepts of “cute plus captivating” as the creators of the wildly popular Des Hommes et des Chatons tumblr have created 50 new combos for this book.

Whether shirtlessly lounging in the sunshine or dually dapper in bowties, each pair of pix has a particular shared visual element (the one with blue eyes!).

Praying and yawning, serene and playful – enjoy men, enjoy cats, enjoy this preview of the book:

750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé (book review) – 1 city block seen over 8 centuries

book cover of 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahe published by NoBrow | reviewed on BooksYALove.com“If these walls could only talk…”
People change (or do they?) –
The City of Light remains, a beacon!

Noted magazine illustrator Mahé has distilled centuries of French history into this wordless graphic novel, detailing the changes in a single block of buildings through good times and bad from 1270 to recent times.

Ask for this October 2015 release at your local library or independent bookstore or favorite comics shop, and enjoy his full-length publishing debut with all its verve and humorous/tense details.

What changes have you seen in your own town’s buildings over the years?
**kmm

Book info: 750 Years in Paris / Vincent Mahé. Nobrow Books, 2015. [author’s Facebook page]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Buildings rise and fall, as history’s parade of changes affects a single street in Paris over the centuries, as seen by a French illustrator with an eye for fascinating details.

Vincent Mahé four-color palette ably depicts military victories and invasions, celebrates society’s modernizations, and portrays the City of Light’s evolution from dirt-street hamlet to vibrant metropolis, all from the perspective of one short city block’s buildings.

As its narrow lens helps readers focus on history’s broad sweep, 750 Years in Paris uses human-scale details to wordlessly convey the gradual or abrupt changes that this single location has seen since the 13th century.

A timeline at the end of the book notes each of the 60 time-snapshots portrayed and what memorable event merited their inclusion. Enjoyable for all readers of all ages – especially good for fans of history, graphic design, and hidden pictures! (One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

MPH, by Mark Millar (book review) – street drug faster than speed

book cover of MPH by Mark Millar, art by Duncan Fegredo, published by Image ComicsTrapped in Detroit slum,
finding a magic pharmaceutical way out,
with a ticking clock to fuel their Robin Hood ways.

One bottle of MPH lets Roscoe, Rosa, Chevy, and Baseball run and rob faster than the human eye can see. Those 31 little pills help them ransack the banks that made millions by sending jobs overseas, give money to the downtrodden, and get the whole FBI on their trail.

Positive visualizations, a taste for the finer things of life, and a sense of duty to do some good for others while the MPH lasts – not your everyday thievery with these young folks who know their fast-running time is limited and that adding anything to this amazing drug could end it faster.

Phenomenal artwork, use of color, and panel placements (there’s this one I’m remembering – epic!) make MPH a must-read graphic novel; check out the alternate covers, too.

If you could slip between raindrops without getting wet, where would you go?

**kmm

Book info: MPH / Mark Millar; art by Duncan Fegredo. Image Comics, 2015.  [author site]   [illustrator site]   [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.

My book talk: A mysterious drug gives super-speed powers to four friends who leave behind the drugs and guns of their Detroit neighborhood to rob big banks, give money to the needy, and grab the good stuff before that tiny bottle of MPH is gone – but where did it come from?

Learning that his boss set him up for a drug bust to get his girlfriend, Roscoe is finally desperate enough to take a pill from the prison pusher, a pill that freezes time so that the young man can escape and run miles before the next second ticks.

The young man easily convinces Rosa, her brother Baseball, and longtime pal Chevy that MPH will let them take what they want, share with those who need it, and still be richer than Roscoe’s vision board ever promised – as long as they can do it before those 31 pills are gone.

Robin Hoods on a nationwide robbery spree, the four are chased by the FBI who have an unlikely ally in a man who’s spent 30 years in solitary confinement.

No warning labels on this bottle, so adding drugs, alcohol, or jealousy could be deadly….  Graphic novel greatness.

 

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter (book review) – adultery, shaming & revenge!

book cover of Manga Classics  The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, adapted by Crystal S. Chan, script by Stacy King, art by SunNeko Lee. Published by Udon/ MorpheusA husband missing at sea ,
a forbidden relationship,
one parent punished, the other unknown…

As an error in judgment leads to years of being outcast, Hester must wear the scarlet A for adultery, yet refuses to unmask the father of her child.

Ask at your local library or independent bookstore for this clear retelling of the Hawthorne classic, whether you’re returning to a favorite tale or reading it for the first time.  And if The Scarlet Letter is a school assignment, read the complete original text here for free – getting the story and characters firmly in mind with this manga will make things much easier!

Yes, this book is in true manga format, like Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice,  so start at the back (helpful refresher on format-reading there) and dive into this Puritan-era conflict between passion and society’s expectations.

How long can revenge brew without burning the soul?
**kmm

Book info: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter /  Nathaniel Hawthorne; adapted by Crystal S. Chan, English script by Stacy King; art by SunNeko Lee. Udon Entertainment/Morpheus, 2015.  [publisher site]  [series Facebook page] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The red A for adultery blazes upon Hester Prynne’s dark clothes, but another has a burning coal in his chest as the unwed mother bears her shame in the Puritan village alone… for now.

Hester wasn’t in love with the older scholar she married at her parents’ insistence, but after his disappearance at sea, she found happiness with another man. Pregnant and judged as a sinner, she is scorned and shunned, especially when she won’t say who Pearl’s father is.

A learned man arrives in the New England village and begins keeping company with their inspiring young pastor. As Rev. Dimmesdale becomes ill, mysterious Dr. Chillingsworth seeks secrets.

Praised for her needlework through the years, Hester is still shunned.
Growing into a lovely and rambunctious child, Pearl is thought to be evil.
Is there any escape for the repentant?

With SunNeko’s art to enhance the carefully adapted text, this true manga (read from back to front) brings new life to Hawthorne’s classic tale of love, passion, and revenge.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

So many stories

Looking through oval window into gallery at Rembrandt's house in AmsterdamGaze out?
Peer inward?
Focus on something unseen?

Art, music, and books can help us do all these things.

But please don’t let preference for favorites keep you from trying new genres and types of books!

Grab a graphic novel like Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks and Canaan White to go into WWI trenches with underappreciated African American heroes – these aren’t “just comic books” for sure.

Read books aimed at younger readers that can bring important issues and hard truths to light. Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath gives voice to victims of the Armenian Holocaust.

If you think all novels about death are depressing, reconsider with funny yet realistic Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark.

So, about my photo here: I visited Rembrandthuis to see how the great artist lived and worked, others were there for his paintings up close, a few were obviously dragged there by art-loving companions.

Standing in his recreated studio was decidedly worth climbing all the narrow, twisting stairways. But I was most pleased by seeing how the same etching looked when printed on different papers – the same story, with a slightly changed look.

How have you experienced different stories lately?

Staying off the tourist track in Amsterdam and meeting booklovers from all over (hi, Izzie and Mom and Dad!),
**kmm

League of Regrettable Superheroes, by Jon Morris (book review) – 100 also-rans from real comics!

book cover of The League of Regrettable Superheroes by Jon Morris published by Quirk BooksKid Eternity for justice!
Moon Girl fighting crime!
3-D Man against bad guys!
Who???

Jon Morris has spent years locating and verifying these not-very-super characters on his Gone and Forgotten blog – now, he’s collected them into a book filled with pages of rare comics, from the Golden Age to now.

Just published yesterday, this encyclopedic array of one hundred has-beens is a must-have for comic fans. Ask for it at your local library or independent bookstore.

If you were inventing a new not-so-superhero, what powers would s/he have?
**kmm

Book info: The League of Regrettable Superheroes / Jon Morris. Quirk Books, 2015.  [author blog]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For every blockbuster action superhero, there are scores of not-so-super characters who tried and failed to make an impact in comics – a veritable League of Regrettable Superheroes, in fact.

This colorful compendium of so-so superheroes is divided into chronological sections: the Golden Age of Comics (1938-1949) with a propensity for Nazi-hunting during World War II, the Silver Age (1950-1969) with gimmicks galore, and the Modern Age (1970-present) with grim and gritty storylines.

The 100 regrettable superheroes are arranged alphabetically in each age, with full-color comic pages, date of first appearance, and more.

Meet Captain Tootsie, Kangaroo Man, Speed Centaur, and early female superbeing Fantomah of the Golden Age. Puzzle over the mindset of the creators of Congorilla and Pow-Girl of the Silver Age, as well as Brother Voodoo, Squirrel Girl, and Thunderbunny in the Modern Age.

There were also groundbreaking superheroes who never got the recognition they deserved, like Nelvana of the Northern Lights (a Canadian pre-Wonder Woman superhero). Many of the early characters in this book are now in the public domain, so revivals of Nelvana, DollMan, and others may appear in new incarnations.

A must for any comic fan and an interesting look at the concerns of mainstream society during each age, The League of Regrettable Superheroes captures fleeting pages from America’s collective youth.

G is Garage Band, graphic novel by Gipi (book review) – guys+music=rock band?

book cover of Garage Band by Gipi, translated by Spectrum, published by First Second Books One borrowed garage, four teen guys,
four instruments, four opinions,
their own garage band!

The new band’s problems, from equipment problems to practice schedules, mix with Gipi’s gritty sketch-plus-watercolor art to show just how far four working-class Italian teens will go to make their music.

This 2007 graphic novel is still in print, definitely worth your time to read.

Have you ever given it your all striving for a goal?
**kmm

Book info: Garage Band / Gipi; translation by Spectrum. First Second Books, 2007.  [artist/author info – English]  [artist/author blog – Italian]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a blown amplifier short-circuits their band’s big audition, four Italian teens must decide whether their integrity or their potential rock music future is more important in this graphic novel by Gipi.

If he’ll stay out of trouble, Giuliano can use his dad’s old garage – perfect place for the band to practice! Also a refuge from the not-so-wonderful family lives of the four guys in the band: Giuliano (obsessed with his music even more than with his girlfriend), Stephano (obsessed with dread diseases after his brother died), Alex (obsessed with all things Nazi after his father fled), and Alberto (obsessed with his father’s precarious health).

Stefano’s dad gets the guys a chance to have a record company listen to their demo songs, so that means lots of practice.

Then their old amp shorts out and can’t be fixed – now what?
“Borrowing” some equipment, that’ll work!
But who they borrow it from…

Italian graphic novelist Gipi’s edgy line art and earth-based watercolors convey all the grit of working class kids trying to make music and make sense of the world on their own terms. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)