A funny adventure for young readers starring a young giant-slayer with a lack of giants, a fascinating look at two sisters growing up in New York’s Lower East Side in the early 1900s, and a classic super-hero story from the ’70s – check out our picks for this week’s new releases.
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.
Make way for Claudette the giant slayer in this delightful, fantastical adventure! Claudette’s fondest wish is to slay a giant. But her village is so safe and quiet! What’s a future giant slayer to do?
With her best friend Marie (an aspiring princess), and her brother Gaston (a pastry-chef-to-be), Claudette embarks on a super-secret quest to find a giant-without parental permission. Can they find and defeat the giant before their parents find them and drag them back home?
Giants Beware! offers up a wondrous, self-contained world in the tradition of the very best of Pixar. Claudette and her friends will have you laughing out loud from page one.
A mesmerizing, heartbreaking graphic novel of immigrant life on New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of twin sisters whose lives take radically and tragically different paths.
For six-year-old Esther and Fanya, the teeming streets of New York’s Lower East Side circa 1910 are both a fascinating playground and a place where life’s lessons are learned quickly and often cruelly. In drawings that capture both the tumult and the telling details of that street life, Unterzakhn (Yiddish for “Underthings”) tells the story of these sisters: as wide-eyed little girls absorbing the sights and sounds of a neighborhood of struggling immigrants; as teenagers taking their own tentative steps into the wider world (Esther working for a woman who runs both a burlesque theater and a whorehouse, Fanya for an obstetrician who also performs illegal abortions); and, finally, as adults battling for their own piece of the “golden land,” where the difference between just barely surviving and triumphantly succeeding involves, for each of them, painful decisions that will have unavoidably tragic repercussions.
An epic tale of triumph and tragedy! When the Dark Phoenix rises, suns grow cold and universes die! The X-Men embark on an adventure that will span the cosmos as one of their own, Jean Grey, has unwittingly attained power beyond conception – and been corrupted, absolutely.
The X-Men must decide: Is the life of the woman they cherish worth the existence of an entire universe? This touching tale of ultimate power and the triumph of the human spirit has been a cornerstone of the X-Men mythos for more than three decades.
Now, relive the Dark Phoenix Saga with this deluxe collection, bursting at the seams with extra stories that illuminate new and different facets of the world of the Phoenix!
Happy Holidays, everyone. Now stop using the internet. That appears to be the message from a number of comics publishers, however unintentional.
On Thursday, December 22, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), released a list of supporters of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This bill is an attempt by lawmakers to address intellectual property security concerns on the internet. However, it has been flagged by various organizations and individuals for going too far, giving broad power without due process, limiting free speech and discouraging technical innovation. Graphic Policy has a great summary of the bill’s weaknesses and how it relates to the comic book industry. Some are claiming it could cripple social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Tumblr, along with thousands of harmless fan-sites and any other sites sharing their IP addresses.
Among the corporations and organizations listed as supporters of SOPA are the following comic book and graphic novel publishers:
- Marvel Entertainment, LLC (Disney-owned corporate name of Marvel Comics)
- Disney Publishing Worldwide, Inc.
- Time Warner (parent company of DC Comics)
- Hachette Book Group (imprints include manga publisher Yen Press and occasional graphic novel publisher Little, Brown and Company)
- HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, Inc.
- Hyperion Books (owned by Disney)
- Macmillan (include First Second Books and Hill and Wang imprints)
- Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
- Random House (includes Pantheon Graphic Novels imprint; distributes for manga publisher Kodansha Comics)
- Scholastic, Inc. (includes graphic novel imprint Graphix)
- The Perseus Books Group (includes one-time graphic novel imprint Running Press)
- W.W. Norton & Company
Also included is the Association of American Publishers, which counts DC Comics, Disney Publishing and more among their members.
As we come out of the holidays, many of these organizations might have to start responding to a vocal outpouring of concern among customers and partners, and in some cases, threats of organized boycotts.
There has been considerable push back already, and from public pressure some organizations have dropped their support of SOPA. The Graphic Artists Guild has retracted their support, stating “We are concerned that the bill may have unintended consequences that may do more harm than good.” They also added that they “have not spent a dime on any lobbyist in Congress for this bill”. The largest domain name registrar GoDaddy faced massive threats of boycotts, and has also reversed their position. Time will tell if more will shift their support.
(via Graphic Policy)
With Hurricane Irene still a fresh and costly memory for parts of the east coast, and Tropical Storm Lee recently hitting the Gulf Coast, it seems like a perfect time to revisit this excellent graphic novel by comics journalist Josh Neufeld, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (published by Pantheon Books).
Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst storms this country has ever faced and much of the aftermath was felt in the city of New Orleans. Neufeld used comics to recount the experiences of five people who made it through the 2005 storm. The material was originally serialized in a slightly different form as a webcomic on SMITH Magazine‘s website in 2007 and 2008.
As you might expect, A.D. can be a tough read since it’s not exactly a feel-good romantic comedy. But Neufeld’s art style and use of colors, as well as his choices in when his narrative checks back in with each character, make it easier to take in. The book could’ve been much more brutal in depicting the nightmare that happened during and especially after Katrina. Instead it wisely focuses on the human experience, trying to neither sugar coat nor sensationalize.
While the hard cover appears to be out-of-print right now, the book is also recommended for high school and college courses. The publisher has a teacher’s guide available (thank you for the updated link, Josh). You can also find an excerpt of the teacher’s guide at GraphicNovelReporter.com.
For a glimpse at the making of the book, check out this segment from the discontinued Pulp Secret show: