First Trade: Comic Reviews for Booksellers - November 2018

DBD introduces a new graphic novel review series by bookseller Bianca Walters. Every month, Bianca will provide reviews of three graphic novels, providing information on suitable audiences for each title, artistic comparisons, and sell-through suggestions.


Unnatural Volume 1: Awakening

CONTRIBUTORS: Mirka Andolfo  
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781534309821
ON SALE: 11/20/18
GENRE: Speculative Fiction, Fable

Originally an Italian comic, Unnatural is a dystopian fable that follows Leslie, an attractive pig woman, as she struggles with a government whose main goal is to control the reproductive lives and habits of its citizens, dreams about eatherial sex with a wolf that turn into creepy ritual nightmares, a slimy alligator boss at her job as a waitress, and some hooded figure that seems to be everywhere she is. She’s just trying to feed her dragon cat and live her life, but this is the year she’s turning 25, and that means she’s automatically enrolled in a dating (mating?) program..

Unnatural is sexy and calls out how sexualized people are when institutions (in Leslie’s case, there may also be a cult*) invade their autonomy. The process before the dating program is especially harsh, but society in general seems to be obsessed with the shape and size of her body.

*this thread seems to be the series-long arc, volume 2 will be out next year

For Fans of: Dystopia + animal characters = Animal Farm but there is a lot more lingerie stuff going on, and the figures are anthropomorphized.     

Art: Andolfo’s pages all have a bustling feeling to them - even the bookstore Trish goes to in search of answers about her roommate’s strange dreams. There’s a mysterious bookseller panda, and I’m inclined to think that’s great.  

Sell it: To manga readers. It’s a very different comic, but this work is in the same vein as Monstress as far as the East/West balance of layout and art style.

UNNATURAL BOOK TRAILER

[YouTube Link]


Watersnakes

CONTRIBUTORS: Tony Sandoval
PUBLISHER: Lion Forge
ISBN: 9781942367758
ON SALE: 11/20/18
GENRE: Mystical Horror (of the sea kind)

Mila meets Agnes one day, and it's clear right away that Agnes is unique. She appears and disappears, she calls Mila a watersnake and suggests they rob picnickers’ food baskets to pass the time.

They story veers in and out of reality, portraying tropes of a sleepy, lonely childhood while unravelling a centuries old mythology in the riddles of a little girl’s teeth.

As the supernatural conflict unfolds, the book becomes armor and swords and rivers of blood, the girls transforming into knights slicing their way through a nightmare battle. These scenes are extravagant, gratuitous, and gorgeous.   

For Fans of: Tim Burton, Dave McKean, Coraline, Stranger Things, Roald Dahl, Cthulhu.

Art: Stylized bodies in a storybook layout with a distinct creepy humor, in what looks like watercolor/colored pencil.     

Sell it: Those looking for new fairy tales that are gory and outlandish and queer

WATERSNAKES BOOK TRAILER

[Download mp4]


Mirenda Volume 1

CONTRIBUTORS: Grim Wilkins
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781534308442
ON SALE:  11/6/18
GENRE: Fantasy

A series originally released in issues of ISLAND magazine, Mirenda plays with the structure on comics, using almost no written word save for sparse narration from Katla, the hero of the story, or someone she is learning from. She searches for a way to rid herself of a supernatural being that has implanted itself into her thigh.

In place of worded dialogue is pictorial speech bubbles, overlapping panels and visually expressive characters with loud, intricate personalities.

For Fans of: Moebius, anime, mythological journeys.

Art: Statuesque figures and lush jungle, city, and forest. The characters are colored with mischief and stories in tattoo and scar. In an interview, Wilkins notes that he chose Image because they could produce the richest color on the page. In a story where visual queues are the main mode of communication, every detail is valuable and it is clear that goes for Wilkins as well. 

Sell it: To people who take joy in working for their narrative and those who are looking for creators that push boundaries.



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Bianca is a bookseller, a polite troublemaker, an eventual time traveller, and a graphic novel evangelist. She and her two cats are from Berwyn, IL and she currently works at The Book Table in Oak Park. Read more of her reviews are here: http://www.booktable.net/biancas-picks or catch her on the interwebs @beewaltz. 

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