A comic book recommendation: The Prince of Cats by Ron Wimberly

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2mEedGs.
Not many comic artists have as much fun with words as they do with lines. But Wimberly clearly relishes the opportunity to stretch in different directions at once.
Book description from Google Books:
A hip-hop retelling of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that focuses on Tybalt (derisively referred to as “the Prince of Cats”) and his Capulet crew as they do battle nightly with the hated Montagues. Set in a Blade Runner-esque version of Brooklyn, PRINCE OF CATS is a mix of urban melodrama, samurai action and classic Shakespearean theater…all written in Iambic Pentameter!
The book is rated 3.95/5 at goodreads.com, from 407 ratings. See 100 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2mhSnpy.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tRGY5Q.

A comic book recommendation: The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2eIXutN.
Already a success in France, “The Arab of the Future” will do little to complicate most people’s perceptions of Libya or Syria. Life in both countries seems like a living hell, with no moments of relief or pleasure. But this book also has occasional flashes of beauty.
Book description from Google Books:
The Arab of the Future, the #1 French best-seller, tells the unforgettable story of Riad Sattouf’s childhood, spent in the shadows of 3 dictators–Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad, and his fatherIn striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria–but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation.Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents; his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner. And hold they do, though food is scarce, children kill dogs for sport, and with locks banned, the Sattoufs come home one day to discover another family occupying their apartment. The ultimate outsider, Riad, with his flowing blond hair, is called the ultimate insult… Jewish. And in no time at all, his father has come up with yet another grand plan, moving from building a new people to building his own great palace.Brimming with life and dark humor, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 4531 ratings. See 542 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1WEK7hl.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tgACcS.

A comic book recommendation: The Greatest of Marlys by Lynda Barry

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2cWL2Zp.
Entwining one quality inextricably with the other, she ensures that even her warmest moments are at least a little bit squirmy. All the better to capture what is, after all, a pretty weird world.
Book description from Google Books:
Welcome to the world of Marlys and Maybonne”Lynda Barry’s comics were my YA, before YA really even existed. She’s been writing teen stories with an incredibly clear voice since the early 80s. [The Greatest Of Marlys] is raw, ugly, hilarious, and poignant.” –Raina Telgemeier, Smile & DramaEight-year-old Marlys Mullen is Lynda Barry’s most famous character from her long-running and landmark comic strip Ernie Pook’s Comeek, and for good reason! Given her very own collection of strips, Marlys shines in all her freckled and pig-tailed groovy glory. The trailer park where she and her family live is the grand stage for her dramas big and small. Joining Marlys are her teenaged sister Maybonne, her younger brother Freddie, their mother, and an offbeat array of family members, neighbors, and classmates.Marlys’s enthusiasm for life knows no bounds. Her childhood is one where the neighborhood kids stay out all night playing kickball; the desire to be popular is unending; bullies are unrepentant; and parents make few appearances. The Greatest Of Marlys spotlights Barry’s masterful skill of chronicling childhood through adolescence in all of its wonder, awkwardness, humor, and pain.
The book is rated 4.43/5 at goodreads.com, from 1327 ratings. See 75 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dARmmP.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tOE79M.

A comic book recommendation: The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2eIXutN.
Already a success in France, “The Arab of the Future” will do little to complicate most people’s perceptions of Libya or Syria. Life in both countries seems like a living hell, with no moments of relief or pleasure. But this book also has occasional flashes of beauty.
Book description from Google Books:
The Arab of the Future, the #1 French best-seller, tells the unforgettable story of Riad Sattouf’s childhood, spent in the shadows of 3 dictators–Muammar Gaddafi, Hafez al-Assad, and his fatherIn striking, virtuoso graphic style that captures both the immediacy of childhood and the fervor of political idealism, Riad Sattouf recounts his nomadic childhood growing up in rural France, Gaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria–but always under the roof of his father, a Syrian Pan-Arabist who drags his family along in his pursuit of grandiose dreams for the Arab nation.Riad, delicate and wide-eyed, follows in the trail of his mismatched parents; his mother, a bookish French student, is as modest as his father is flamboyant. Venturing first to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab State and then joining the family tribe in Homs, Syria, they hold fast to the vision of the paradise that always lies just around the corner. And hold they do, though food is scarce, children kill dogs for sport, and with locks banned, the Sattoufs come home one day to discover another family occupying their apartment. The ultimate outsider, Riad, with his flowing blond hair, is called the ultimate insult… Jewish. And in no time at all, his father has come up with yet another grand plan, moving from building a new people to building his own great palace.Brimming with life and dark humor, The Arab of the Future reveals the truth and texture of one eccentric family in an absurd Middle East, and also introduces a master cartoonist in a work destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 4521 ratings. See 541 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1WEK7hl.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tgACcS.

A comic book recommendation: In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer by Teva Harrison

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2cJeXUP.
Between optimism and the sober assessment of reality, Harrison always seems to err on the side of hope, because, as she writes, what does she have to lose?
Book description from Google Books:
2016 Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist Teva Harrison was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at the age of 37. In this brilliant and inspiring graphic memoir, she documents through comic illustration and short personal essays what it means to live with the disease. She confronts with heartbreaking honesty the crises of identity that cancer brings: a lifelong vegetarian, Teva agrees to use experimental drugs that have been tested on animals. She struggles to reconcile her long-term goals with an uncertain future, balancing the innate sadness of cancer with everyday acts of hope and wonder. She also examines those quiet moments of helplessness and loving with her husband, her family, and her friends, while they all adjust to the new normal. Ultimately, In-Between Days is redemptive and uplifting, reminding each one of us of how beautiful life is, and what a gift.
The book is rated 4.27/5 at goodreads.com, from 273 ratings. See 62 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dikxLm.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uyOlzw.

A comic book recommendation: Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 (Vol. 4) (Hip Hop Family Tree) by Ed Piskor

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2dx5UEC.
…it’s only natural that, after four books, he would be looking for new ways to draw turntables, emcees and dancing crowds. If his ingenuity here is any indication, the twists — and the hits — will just keep coming.
Book description from Google Books:
Book 4 charts the rise of Dr. Dre and Def Jam records, and introduces new branches on the "tree": Will Smith, Salt-N-Pepa, Rakim, and Biz Markie. This volume is also jam-packed with films Hollywood released in an attempt to cash in on the phenomenon, like Breakin’, Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo, Beat Street, Krush Groove and more.
The book is rated 4.25/5 at goodreads.com, from 138 ratings. See 21 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2dde0Hu.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tUT6D7.
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A comic book recommendation: March: Book Three by John Lewis

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2gwOBbN.
March: Book Three will shake and destroy that belief. The life that Rep. Lewis has given to America is just one more in this nations’ struggle to come to terms with the sin that was and is slavery.
Book description from Google Books:
2016 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature #1 New York Times Bestseller Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world. By the fall of 1963, the Civil Rights Movement has penetrated deep into the American consciousness, and as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, John Lewis is guiding the tip of the spear. Through relentless direct action, SNCC continues to force the nation to confront its own blatant injustice, but for every step forward, the danger grows more intense: Jim Crow strikes back through legal tricks, intimidation, violence, and death. The only hope for lasting change is to give voice to the millions of Americans silenced by voter suppression: “One Man, One Vote.” To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative campaigns, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and an all-out battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television. With these new struggles come new allies, new opponents, and an unpredictable new president who might be both at once. But fractures within the movement are deepening … even as 25-year-old John Lewis prepares to risk everything in a historic showdown high above the Alabama river, in a town called Selma.
The book is rated 4.72/5 at goodreads.com, from 6003 ratings. See 1216 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2gb580K.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tztYBD.

A comic book recommendation: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2s2LIEV.
Thoughtful young readers will remember Cat and Maya warmly as they face their own life-and-death struggles long after reading this heartfelt graphic novel, a typically empathetic and complex work from a gifted comics creator who is gaining confidence with every book.
Book description from Google Books:
Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahia de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahia de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake — and her own. Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible.”
The book is rated 4.22/5 at goodreads.com, from 14986 ratings. See 2322 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2qJD9ej.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2qJpjst.

A comic book recommendation: Red’s Planet: Book 1 by Eddie Pittman

A critic review (source Financial Times) can be read at: http://on.ft.com/1WKMJup.
Pittman’s fluid brushwork recalls that of Jeff Smith, author of peerless comic-book fantasy saga Bone, while the tone and narrative drive of Red’s Planet bring to mind Pixar at its best.
Book description from Google Books:
Red’s Planet, an intergalactic graphic novel fantasy series from award-winning cartoonist Eddie Pittman (writer/story artist for Disney’s hit TV series Phineas and Ferb), is a nonstop adventure with a unique cast of characters unlike any you’ve ever seen before.   Meet Red, a quirky, headstrong 10-year-old who longs to live in her own perfect paradise far away from her annoying foster family. But when a UFO mistakenly kidnaps her, Red finds herself farther away than she could have possibly imagined–across the galaxy and aboard an enormous spaceship owned by the Aquilari, an ancient creature with a taste for rare and unusual treasures. Before Red can be discovered as a stowaway, the great ship crashes on a small deserted planet, leaving her marooned with a menagerie of misfit aliens. With her newfound friend, a small gray alien named Tawee, Red must find a way to survive the hostile castaways, evade the ravenous wildlife, and contend with Goose, the planet’s grumpy, felinoid custodian. Surely this can’t be the paradise she’s been hoping for.   Fans of Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space and Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl will embrace Red’s Planet, a boldly illustrated and imaginative new series for readers of all ages. “Fun, sharp, hilarious, and rip-roaringly original!””– Jeff Smith, Bone  “The only thing that’s missing is seeing Red’s Planet on my bookshelf– sandwiched between Jeff Smith’s Bone and my library of Pixar Films.”– Mike Maihack, Cleopatra in Space  “Red’s Planet is a fantastic and fun journey for young readers, but it’s also a great trip down memory lane for their parents. The story weaves together a lot of the fun stories we watched  and read in the ’80s and ’90s and spins them into something new.” — Kazu Kibuishi, creator of Amulet, Flight, and Explorer “Filled with genuine sense of childlike awe and style of story, art, and filmmaking reminiscent of Jeff Smith’s Bone. Eddie Pittman really has the goods.” — Dan Povenmire, co-creator of Disney’s Phineas and Ferb  “A meeting of everything that is great about comic books…incredible art, spellbinding storytelling, rich characters, fun, adventure, humor…and heart.” — Tom Richmond, Mad Magazine artist and President of the National Cartoonist Society   
The book is rated 3.78/5 at goodreads.com, from 333 ratings. See 78 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1WKNyTU.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tSKVXT.

A comic book recommendation: Cousin Joseph: A Graphic Novel by Jules Feiffer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2cuUYcl.
Feiffer skates around characters, circling closer, retreating and returning to them, weaving the plot tighter until the pieces fall into place. This is pulp at its best.
Book description from Google Books:
With the New York Times bestseller Kill My Mother, legendary cartoonist Jules Feiffer began an epic saga of American noir fiction. With Cousin Joseph, a prequel that introduces us to bare-knuckled Detective Sam Hannigan, head of the Bay City’s Red Squad and patriarch of the Hannigan family featured in Kill My Mother, Feiffer brings us the second installment in this highly anticipated graphic trilogy.Our story opens in Bay City in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression. Big Sam sees himself as a righteous, truth-seeking patriot, defending the American way, as his Irish immigrant father would have wanted, against a rising tide of left-wing unionism, strikes, and disruption that plague his home town. At the same time he makes monthly, secret overnight trips on behalf of Cousin Joseph, a mysterious man on the phone he has never laid eyes on, to pay off Hollywood producers to ensure that they will film only upbeat films that idealize a mythic America: no warts, no injustice uncorrected, only happy endings.But Sam, himself, is not in for a happy ending, as step by step the secret of his unseen mentor’s duplicity is revealed to him. Fast-moving action, violence, and murder in the noir style of pulps and forties films are melded in the satiric, sociopolitical Feifferian style to dig up the buried fearmongering of the past and expose how closely it matches the headlines, happenings, and violence of today.With Cousin Joseph, Feiffer builds on his late-life conversion to cinematic noir, bowing, as ever, to youthful heroes Will Eisner and Milton Caniff, but ultimately creating a masterpiece that through his unique perspective and comic-strip noir style illuminates the very origins of Hollywood and its role in creating the bipolar nation we’ve become.
The book is rated 3.32/5 at goodreads.com, from 171 ratings. See 36 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2cWLJ1R.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2mfmqhm.