It’s international week! From Japan to Italy to Ireland, experience three exceptional graphic novels that provide all new experiences and perspectives: a poetic journey through childhood memories of a grandmother, a fantastical creature examining the day-to-day lives of residents of an apartment building, and the legendary story of an 11th Century king who changed history.
Wednesday is New Comics Day! Each week, The Comics Observer picks three brand new releases worth checking out that should be suitable for someone who has never read comic books, graphic novels or manga before.
If you like what you see here, click the links to see previews and learn more about them. Then head to your local comic book store, or check out online retailers like Things From Another World and Amazon. Let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook.
Written and illustrated by Shigeru Mizuki
Published by Drawn and Quarterly
Genre: Drama, Memoir
NonNonBa is the definitive work by acclaimed gekiga-ka Shigeru Mizuki, a poetic memoir detailing his interest in yokai (spirit monsters). Mizuki’s childhood experiences with yokai influenced the course of his life and oeuvre; he is now known as the forefather of yokai manga. His spring 2011 book, Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, was featured on PRI’s The World, where Marco Werman scored a coveted interview with one of the most famous visual artists working in Japan today.
Within the pages of NonNonBa, Mizuki explores the legacy left him by his childhood explorations of the spirit world, explorations encouraged by his grandmother, a grumpy old woman named NonNonBa.
NonNonBa is a touching work about childhood and growing up, as well as a fascinating portrayal of Japan in a moment of transition. NonNonBa was the first manga to win the Angouleme Prize for Best Album. Much like its namesake, NonNonBa is at once funny and nostalgic, firmly grounded in a socio-historical context and floating in the world of the supernatural.
A high-rise apartment building in an unnamed European city. Its inhabitants come and go, meet each other, talk, dream, regret, hope… in short, live. A ghostly, shape-shifting anthropomorphic white rabbit roams from apartment to apartment, surveying and keeping track of all this humanity… and at the end of every night, he floats down to the basement where he delivers his report to the “great dark one.”
Lushly delineated in penciled halftones, this moody graphic novel was originally serialized in Fantagraphics’ acclaimed “Ignatz” series of upscale saddle-stitched booklets in duotone form, but this complete edition restores the artist’s original striking full-color treatment.
Brian Boru: Ireland’s Warrior King
Written and illustrated by Damien Goodfellow
Published by O’Brien Press
Genre: History, Biography
Men’s lives are controlled by powerful warlords. Brutal tribal warfare ensures glory and riches for some, slavery and destruction for others.
From the dark misty shores west of the Shannon, Brian Boru battles his way to become High King, ending the six-hundred-year reign of the Northern O’Neill’s. But status, once gained, must be retained; the Norse and Danes, new migrants to Irish shores, fight to stem Brian’s increasing power, while fierce Irish tribes also seek control.
As Brian spends his days in a whirlwind of constant conflict, his wife, Gormfhlaith, battles to save her family – at any cost …