This month's first Panel Mania spotlights the upcoming translation of French comics maestro Annie Goetzinger - Girl in Dior.
A love letter to fashion, Paris, and the House of Dior, NBM brings French superstar Annie Goetzinger to conquer the US, following in the footsteps of the titular designer. One of the rare Grandes Dames of comics in France, Goetzinger is well known for her blend of the historical and nostalgic, most often with a societal sting in the tale.
Her works (Agence Hardy, Paquebot, Le Tango du disparu), with their sumptuous Art Nouveau-influenced style, have rarely been translated for the English market, but Jeune fille en Dior perhaps has a wider audience than most – the world of fashion is rarely restricted by mere geographical borders.
My interview of Scott McCloud's The Sculptor in tomorrow's Independent on Sunday is up early on the website, and the graphic novel is an early contender for comic of the year.
"If Understanding Comics was the research, The Sculptor is the finished thesis – far more than the sum of its parts, and a wonderful testament to the power of comics."
The latest issue of SciFiNow Magazine (#102) features my review of Brass Sun by Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard, a brilliant science-fiction clockpunk tale of a real life orrery solar system.
This is a really accessible read, and one I highly recommend to all.
"While the sheer sense of fun and adventure call to mind the works of Ursula K Le Guin, and the early films of Terry Gilliam, the true triumph of Brass Sun is the characterisation of our entire cast. From evil religious tyrants to untrustworthy allies, the secretive monks who run the rails of the clockwork to crazed looking bounty hunters, a terrifying metallic enemy to Wren herself, each character leaps from the page with alarming force."
Touching and relatable, New York Times best-selling artist Lucy Knisley follows up her previous hit autobiographies with a travel journal of her trip aboard a cruise ship with her elderly grandparents.
With memories of a childhood shared with an active grandma and grandpa, Knisley is forced to confront the mortality of those dear to her alongside the sheer exhaustion of being their temporary carer.
Knisley’s previous works have focused on a trip to Paris with her mother (French Milk), her love of food (Relish), and a travel memoir of her adventures in Europe (An Age of License). Travel then is certainly a topic of speciality but the focus here is very much upon feelings of grief, guilt and compassion rather than youthful adventure.
As part of an upcoming review of Love: The Tiger, my mind turned to one of my favourite topics - the silent or wordless comic. Silent comics are, for whatever reasons, not often covered despite their unique accessibility and pure artistic focus.
I first encountered the idea of silent comics during my MLitt in Comic Studies - a module on International Comics featured 3" (2011) by Marc-Antoine Mathieu and Arzach (1975) by Moebius - and I was immediately transfixed.
Both comics utilised the concept of complete silence and yet they could not be more different, with 3" spanning a whole 3 seconds in moment to moment transitions that bounced between perspectives like a manic pinball in contrast to the sweeping epic of the fantastical and phallical Arzach.
In a year already tragically marked by the ever familiar battle between art and religion, freedom of speech and religious (in)tolerance, this fable about faith, identity, and art within an oppressive society from the critically acclaimed Miss Lasko-Gross has been noted as being particularly timely.
It's a tale that will be relevant for a long time to come, commenting not only on fundamentalist beliefs but societal oppression of women, rebellion against repression, and the power of art.
Underground comix star Lasko-Gross is well known for her celebrated semi-autobiographical graphic novels Escape from "Special" and A Mess of Everything (available from Fantagraphics), as well as featuring in the Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women touring exhibition.