The Hottest Graphic Novels of Summer 2011: Nonfiction
Onward Towards Our
by Shigeru Mizuki
Drawn & Quarterly
Shigeru Mizuki is the preeminent figure of Gekiga manga and one of the most famous working cartoonists in Japan today–a true living legend. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is his first book to be translated into English and is a semiautobiographical account of the desperate final weeks of a Japanese infantry unit at the end of WorldWar II. The soldiers are told that they must go into battle and die for the honor of their country, with certain execution facing them if they return alive. Mizuki was a soldier himself (he was severely injured and lost an arm) and uses his experiences to convey the devastating consequences and moral depravity of the war.
Paying for It
by Chester Brown
Drawn & Quarterly
Chester Brown has never shied away from tackling controversial subjects in his work. In his 1992 book, The Playboy, he explored his personal history with pornography. His bestselling 2003 graphic novel, Louis Riel, was a biographical examination of an extreme political figure. The book won wide acclaim and cemented Brown’s reputation as a true innovator. Paying for It is a natural progression for Brown as it combines the personal and sexual aspects of his autobiographical work with the polemical drive of Louis Riel. Brown calmly lays out the facts of how he became not only a willing participant in but a vocal proponent of one of the world’s most hot-button topics—prostitution. While this may appear overly sensational and just plain implausible to some, Brown’s story stands for itself. Paying for It offers an entirely contemporary exploration of sex work—from the timid john who rides his bike to his escorts, wonders how to tip so as not to offend, and reads Dan Savage for advice, to the modern-day transactions complete with online reviews, seemingly willing participants, and clean apartments devoid of clichéd street corners, drugs, or pimps.
Safe Area Gorazde: Special Edition
by Joe Sacco
On sale May 23
Joe Sacco’s bestselling follow-up to Palestine in a deluxe hardcover special edition. In the wake of his acclaimed Palestine, Joe Sacco spent four months in Bosnia in 1995-1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories rarely found in conventional news coverage. The book focuses on the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, which was besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war; Sacco spent four weeks in Gorazde, entering before the Muslims trapped inside had access to the outside world, electricity or running water.
Taking Punk to the Masses
by Jacob McMurray and Krist Novoselic
On sale May 23
Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind visually documents the explosion of grunge, the Seattle Sound, within the context of the underground punk subculture that was developing throughout the United States in the late 1970s and 1980s. The book serves as a companion and contextual backdrop to the Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses exhibition, which opens at Seattle’s Experience Music Project in 2011. This decade-and-a-half musical journey will be represented entirely through the lens of EMP’s oral history and permanent object collection, an invaluable and rich cultural archive of over 800 interviews and 140,000 objects—instruments, costumes, posters, records, and other ephemera dedicated to the pursuit of rock ’n’ roll.
Approximate Continuum Comics
by Lewis Trondheim
On sale June 15
One of the very first autobiographical graphic novels to come from France, Lewis Trondheim’s Approximate Continuum Comics set the standard for the honest, often hilarious chronicling of a cartoonist’s life. Trondheim’s typically graceful, confident cartooning shows him wrestling with his own demons (sometimes, in dream sequences, literally) and an often malevolent world, while trying to maintain his rising career as one of Europe’s most beloved cartoonists.
A Zoo in Winter
by Taniguchi Jiro
On sale June 23
The young Hamaguchi is working for a textile manufacturer whilst dreaming of becoming an artist, when an incident at the zoo forces his hand. He moves to Tokyo at the invitation of an old school friend who also arranges an "interview" at the studios of the famous mangaka Shiro Konda. Here he discovers both the long hours of meeting studio deadlines along with the nightlife and artistic haunts of the capital. For the first time ever, Taniguchi recalls his beginnings in manga and his youth spent in Tokyo in the '60s. It is a magnificent account of his apprenticeship where all the finesse and elegance of the creator are united to illustrate those first emotions of adulthood.
A Treasury of Murder: The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti
by Rick Geary
On sale August 17
Rick Geary tackles the most controversial case of the 20th century. Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of robbery and murder but so many supposedly damning pieces of evidence were questionable that their guilty verdict elicited massive protests around the world. Geary presents us with all the twists and turns, appeals and dubious evidence after presenting us with the human face of the two men, demonized by many, turned to martyrs by many others, in his usual unflappable way.
The Armed Garden
by David B.
On sale August 17
David B., the creator of the acclaimed Epileptic, gives full rein to his fascination with history, magic, and gods, not to mention grand battles, in this literate, witty, and absorbing collection of stories—all based on historical fact, or at least historical legend, and delineated in a striking stylized two-color format.
by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick
On sale August 30
In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of a Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death.
Drawing from Memory
by Allen Say
On sale September 1
Allen Say is one of the most beloved artists working today. He is the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for Grandfather’s Journey, and also won a Caldecott Honor and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award from The Boy of the Three-Year Nap, written by Dianne Snyder. His latest work,
Drawing from Memory, is his own story of his path to becoming the renowned artist he is today. Part memoir, part graphic novel, part narrative history, Drawing from Memory presents a complex look at the real-life relationship between a mentor—Noro Shinpei, Japan’s leading cartoonist and the man Say came to love as his “spiritual father”—and his student, Allen Say.