First Trade: Comic Reviews for Booksellers - January 2019

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.


The New World

CONTRIBUTORS: Ales Kot, Tradd Moore, Heather Moore, Clayton Cowles, Tom Muller
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781534308725
ON SALE: 1/22/19
GENRE: Dystopia, Speculative Fiction

Revolution! Romance! Ridiculously dope fashion! In this irreverent tale of star-crossed love and a cat named Godzilla, the U.S. has been divided into four new countries after a nuclear event and subsequent civil war. Our technicolor tale takes place on the west coast, now The New California.

In a widely watched reality show, police officers - in what I can only describe as full Judge Dredd in a club at the end of the world mech-suits - pursue criminals and then, once they are captured, wait for an audience poll to decide whether to jail or execute the suspect. Like American Idol, but for the death penalty. Stella is the most popular officer on said reality show, even though she has yet to heed to the public’s desire to murder all criminals, choosing to arrest them instead. She is the orphaned granddaughter of President Herod, living in a penthouse under surveillance in every possible sense.

Outside of this compound where the show is produced and the world is monitored, Kirby Shikaku Miyazaki lives with his drunk veteran father and does whatever he can as a hacker to dismantle a government that is violent to its people. This gets him onto the radar of Herod and his Guardians after he hacks the show, interrupting the broadcast to display the words “SMASH THE POLICE STATE” in bold black on red.

Later, Kirby and Stella lock eyes across a fabulous dance floor and after dancing the night away, consummate their respective hotness on the bathroom sink at the club. It’s gorgeous. Less gorgeous is the next morning when in they wake up, he in the apartment he shares with his dad and she in her penthouse, to find that Kirby is now enemy of the state du jour.

For Fans of: Akira/Katsuhiro Otomo, Moebius, DBZ, vintage vengeance flicks, The Wicked + The Divine, American War by Omar El Akkad, and Romeo + Juliet (1996.)

Art: Colors deep and bold, bright and electric almost make you forget that the linework could cut you.  

Sell it: Anime people, Fifth Element fanatics, people who love a good AI character, those who plan to dance through the apocalypse.


Farmhand

CONTRIBUTORS: Rob Guillory
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ISBN: 9781534309852
ON SALE: 1/22/19
GENRE: Horror, Mystery

Transplants are dangerous, prosthetics can be so expensive. What if we could just grow the new parts we needed?

Zeke left the farm as of his father as a young man to make comics, but he’s grown a lot since then, and now he’s called home in the interest of cutting costs. He makes his return to Freetown with his wife, Mae and their two children to find that while Freetown looks like it hasn’t changed since the ‘60’s, the small town is going through a lot. Zeke’s sister Andy has returned from the army, there’s a mayoral race gathering steam, and his father Jedidiah has transformed the family farm into a giant “Farmecutical Institute” where human body parts are grown and implanted into people.  

Each chapter opens with dream sequence flashbacks, slowly revealing the history of the Jenkins Family Farm, Abby’s military past, and the development of the Jedidiah Seed. Guillory is infinitely crafty in his foreshadowing and often breaks the fourth wall to joke with the reader.          

For Fans of: Nailbiter by Joshua Williamson, Ladykiller by Joelle Jones, Chew by John Layman.

Art: One can tell that “stuff that would be dope to draw” was a factor in the development of this mythos. When a body part garden is the center of the artistic endeavor, it’s bound to get wilder every issue.

Sell it: Horror buffs, dads, Deadpool lovers, those still whistling tunes from The Little Shop of Horrors remake because it’s just too cathartic to see plants mess with people.


Proxima Centauri

CONTRIBUTORS: Farel Dalrymple
PUBLISHER: Image
ISBN: 9781534310292
ON SALE: 1/29/19
GENRE: Sci-Fi, Coming of Age

Proxima Centauri is a manufactured dimensional sphere 4.243 light-years from Earth and home to "The Scientist" Duke Herzog, Dr. EXT the Time Traveler, the ghost M. Parasol, Shakey the Space Wizard, the ever-loyal Dhog Dahog, and Sherwood Breadcoat.

Sherwood is not the wide-eyed pre-adolescent adventurer-hero he once was. The novelty of sprawling, wild universes and legendary battles is swallowed up by his frustrating, hormonal ascent into adulthood. While the psychedelic science wonderland that is Proxima Centauri rages in the periphery, Sherwood navigates his confusing love for the ghost M. Parasol and his desire to be reunited with his brother after they were separated years ago.   

For Fans of: Mirenda, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Calvin and Hobbes, Where the Wild Things Are, Labirynth and Neverending Story aesthetics.   

Art: Oscillates between notebook doodle and finished masterpiece, visually reinforcing the fluidity of Sherwood’s surroundings. Dalrymple’s work is singular in comics today, Proxima Centauri to my brain looks like the pages of a children’s book enchanted to tell the secret of what happens after the boy is welcomed into the fantastic world he discovered, like Where the Wild Things are soaked in Joker Juice and teenage angst.    

Sell it: Grown-Up Sendak fans, Moebius people, etc.

BOOK TRAILER




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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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