Nota Benes: Comics

If You StealJason

If You Steal

Fantagraphics  

Norwegian cartoonist Jason follows up a decade of exceptional releases in English with If You Steal, a full-color collection of his droll and occasionally profound short comics. Deadpan in his delivery and never afraid to dip into the surreal to express the sublime, Jason’s comics continue to be among the most approachable in the literary comics sector.

 

The Red Shoes and Other TalesMetaphrog

The Red Shoes and Other Tales

Papercutz 

John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs, the creative duo known as Metaphrog, adapt a pair of Hans Christian Andersen tales that are probably one shade too macabre for kid’s lit but will impress adult readers with the gorgeous line work, muted color palette, and meticulous staging. This beautifully designed volume includes an original story that blends well in tone with the Andersen classics.

 

Shigeru Mizuki's HitlerShigeru Mizuki

Shigeru Mizuki’s Hitler

Trans. Zack Davisson

Drawn & Quarterly

Drawn & Quarterly adds another critical piece to the legacy of Shigeru Mizuki in the West with this translation of Mizuki’s demythologizing biography of Adolf Hitler. A companion piece, of sorts, to his Showa series, Mizuki uses his unassuming style to place Hitler in his time and to address still-relevant questions of how Germany came to see him as a savior.

  

Over the LineOver the Line: An Introduction to Poetry Comics

Ed. Chrissy Williams & Tom Humberstone

Sidekick Books 

This ambitious anthology, funded in part by the Arts Council of England, opens with an editorial discussion of the different ways that comics and poetry can intersect. The remainder of the volume offers up tangible examples of that intersection with strong points arising from individual cartoonists as well as collaborative efforts (e.g. “Breakable,” by Ivy Alvarez and Cristian Ortiz).

 

DemocracyAlecos Papadatos, Abraham Kawa, and Annie Di Donna

Democracy

Bloomsbury USA

A stunning follow-up to Papadatos’s LogicomixDemocracy mines similar territory of using a comics narrative to explore historical material—this time focusing on the birth of democracy in Athens. Both books excel in drawing out the “big questions” that haunt the subtext of their focus and make them painfully relevant to our time and place. Beautifully drawn, immaculately researched, and brilliantly executed.