It’s almost fall somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Fall, as in cool temperatures and the beginning of a new school year. As this is being written, it’s monsoon season in the Valley and school has been in session for weeks.
When we were kids somewhere else, Labor Day felt like New Year’s Day, only better, because a) frankly, we were over sweat and mosquitoes and b) it meant new clothes, new school supplies and best of all, new books. If we weren’t lucky enough to get at least one fat, shiny, spanking fresh text book with pristine pages and that luxurious new book smell, there were still the enticing Scholastic brochures promising brand new books that we got to pick ourselves and pay for with coins we shook out of our piggy banks. The books magically appeared in our classroom in a few weeks and we had the delicious pleasure of taking them home and binge-reading until they ran out. Then we waited for the next four-page newsprint brochure and our subsequent fresh book fix.
Let’s pretend that we’re somewhere else, somewhere where Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new book year. Here are 10 of the new fall crop of graphic books that we can’t wait to crack. They run the gamut of fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and biography.
Beef With Tomato
By Dean Haspiel, Alternative Comics
Haspiel has superhero drawing chops having drawn Batman and Wonder Woman for DC, among others. He also has alt-comic chops illustrating for Harvey Pekar, and picked up a primetime Emmy a few years back for graphic design; anything he has his hand in is going to look good. In this book, Haspiel is once again the star of his own show with a return to semi-autobiographical tales of his birthplace and hometown of New York.
Intro to Alien Invasion
By Owen King & Mark Jude Poirier, illustrations by Nancy Ahn
Published in September by Scribner
Respected novelists King and Poirier have teamed with first time illustrator Ahn for this alien invasion/campus culture/young love send-up. Mix overachieving astrobiology student Stacey with a hurricane that knocks out all power to tiny Fenton College, add space insects and newfound love, stir well. Sounds like a fun romp.
By Bill Griffith
Published by Fantagraphics Books
Iconic strip and underground creator Griffith presents his first long form. Fifteen minutes after Bill Griffith’s father died from a bicycle accident in 1972, his mother turned to him and said, “If I don’t tell you this now, I’ll never be able to tell you. I had a long and happy relationship with a man you knew slightly.” Invisible Ink is Griffith’s unraveling of his mother’s secret life. As Griffith’s Zippy would say, “Yow!! “
Killing and Dying
By Adrian Tomine
Published in October by Drawn & Quarterly
Imagine Raymond Carver’s writing sensibilities overlaid with Edward Hopper’s art (or vice versa) and the end result might be Adrian Tomine’s graphic short stories: they are serious literature in a graphic form. Tomine’s work is spare yet dense and every image and word counts. His new collection brings together six interconnected, yet stylistically diverse stories.
Out On the Wire
By Jessica Abel
Published August 25 by Broadway Books
Abel draws a behind the scenes look at the process of making narrative radio. Entertaining interviews with the creators of This American Life, Radiolab, Planet Money and others, are translated into comics, which work amazing well to show the stories of the stories we love to hear. Abel is the co-author of two texts on making comics; she’s made this book a great resource for those who wish to produce narrative radio.
By Peter Kuper
Published in September by SelfMadeHero
Kuper, the author of a dozen graphic novels and creator since 1997 of “Spy vs. Spy” for Mad Magazine, has mined his own experience of living in the Oaxaca for this story of survival and regeneration. Samantha and George, a couple poised for the adventure of a year’s sabbatical in Mexico, encounter unexpected personal and political events. The multi-generational monarch butterfly migrations serve as overarching observers to the tale.
By Ted Rall
Published August 25 by Seven Stories
Pulitzer finalist Rall (whom we interviewed in 2012) stirs the pot again with a graphic biography of Edward Snowden that illuminates Snowden’s life, speculates on the reasons for his choice to steal government files, documents his flight to Russia and explains surveillance technology in layman’s terms. Includes 20 pages of end notes.
Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection
By Kate Beaton
Published September 22 by Drawn & Quarterly
Collection number two of Canadian cartoonist Beaton’s highly popular literary and historical cartoon series. Number one spent five months on the NYT bestseller list and topped several best of lists. This one visits chauvinism, noir film tropes, the classic Japanese novel Kokoro and more, with Beaton’s signature dry-as-a- bone humor.
The Story of My Tits
By Jennifer Hayden
Published July 15 by Top Shelf
Hayden, who came to comics after writing fiction and illustrating children’s books, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 43. It was then she realized that her tits encompassed her story of self: hope and fear, pride and embarrassment, life and death. Hayden’s previous work has been excerpted in Best American comics.
By Derf Backderf
Published November 3 by Abrams ComicArts
If Beckderf can make an enjoyable (yes, it really was!) and best selling graphic novel about his friendship with mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer, you can bet that he’ll be able to handle a story based on his years as a trash collector and the role of trash in our society.