Rent Girl

Written by Michelle Tea
Art by Laurenn McCubbin
240 pages, two-color
Published by Last Gasp

More often than not, when I read a new book it’s all at once, having grabbed some free time for myself and not knowing when I’ll next get the chance. On rare occasions, though, I find myself holding back, forcing myself to only read one chapter at a time. That’s the sign of a great book, one that I don’t want to end, and that’s exactly what happened with Michelle Tea and Laurenn McCubbin’s Rent Girl.

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Everyman Vol. 1: Be the People

Written by the Brothers Goldman
Art by Joe Bucco
96 pages, black and white
Published by FWDbooks

With the United States’s 2004 Presidential Election just a matter of days away, the country’s political views are at a fevered pitch. Polls are compiled and analyzed daily, and fears and conspiracy theories run hand-in-hand. It’s the perfect time for the new graphic novel Everyman Vol. 1: Be the People, which takes the country down a theoretical road from this upcoming election… and asks the question on if the real world could follow.

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Kwaidan

Written by Jung and Jee-Yun
Art by Jung
144 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse

Ghost stories are often centered around the emotion of love. It makes sense, if you follow the idea that ghosts are kept in our world through a strong emotion. It’s what Jung and Jee-Yun use in their graphic novel Kwadan, as a pair of spirits in 12th Century Japan are killed prematurely and struggle to be reunited even after death. What we get here, though, is a bit more than it first appears.

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In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot

By Graham Roumieu
40 pages, color
Published by Manic D Press

Celebrity autobiography is a strange, unique genre unto its own. Maybe it’s because most celebrities don’t have a particular knack for writing, meaning that one of two things happen: they work with a ghostwriter who cleans up the language and makes the book sound nothing like the supposed author, or the celebrity writes it on their own and it’s wonderfully incomprehensible, just like them. I think that’s just one of the many reasons why Graham Roumieu’s In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot is so utterly brilliant. You don’t get much more of a dead-on parody than this.

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Noble Causes Vol. 4 #1-2

Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Fran Bueno
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

When Noble Causes first burst onto the scene, it was easy to see that creator Jay Faerber had used the soap opera as one of his inspirations for the series of mini-series. Now, after three mini-series (and several one-shots), Noble Causes is back as an ongoing series… and the series has definitely inherited both all of the strengths and weaknesses of its spiritual parent.

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Othello Vol. 1

Othello Vol. 1
By Satomi Ikezawa
208 pages, black and white
Published by Del Rey

Before you get your hopes up, I feel it should be pointed out that Othello is not an adaptation of the same-titled play by William Shakespeare, nor is it about the competitive world of playing the game of Othello (like other game mangas such as Hikaru no Go). It does refer to the black and white two-sided pieces of Othello, though, with opposites existing in the same unit. So it’s not such a bad title after all.

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Boy Trouble #5

Edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly
80 pages, black and white
Published by Boy Trouble Books, distributed by Top Shelf Productions

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the last issue of Boy Trouble was published. A gay-themed anthology, Boy Trouble‘s previous issues had a nice mix of humor and drama between its covers, spotlighting creators whose works you might never see otherwise. In the time since then, the Internet has really come into its own, making it suddenly much easier to find specific genres and styles of comic creators’s works. In this new techno-savvy world, it’s understandable if someone then asks if a book like Boy Trouble is really necessary. After reading the high level of quality the editors have assembled, you quickly realize that the answer is a resounding yes.

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I Am Legion: The Dancing Faun

Written by Fabien Nury
Art by John Cassaday
64 pages, color
Published by Humanoids/DC Comics

When Humanoids first announced I Am Legion, I was pretty excited about the news. John Cassaday, drawing a trilogy of oversized graphic albums printed with Humanoids’s typical high production values? Sounded like a real winner to me. Since that original signing and now, though, Humanoids has decided to team up with DC Comics for their English-language releases, and the finished project isn’t quite what I was expecting.

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Scandalous

Written by J. Torres
Art by Scott Chantler
104 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

J. Torres and Scott Chantler’s first collaboration was Days Like This, chronicling the rise of a singing group in the 1960s. It was a fun, fresh project that made me really want to see what they’d do together next. Now, a year and a half later, the wait is over: Scandalous, focusing on 1950s Hollywood. If it turned out to be as good as Days Like This, I’d be a happy reader indeed.

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Gutsman Comics Vol. 1

By Erik Kriek
128 pages, black and white
Co-Published by Oog & Blik and Top Shelf Productions

In the past decade or so, one of the trends I’ve embraced the most is the importing and publishing of comic books from different countries. It’s something that’s obviously been going on for quite some time, but the rate in which they’ve arrived in the English-language markets is certainly on the rise. Of course, it helps when your comic doesn’t have any actual dialogue, like Erik Kriek’s Gutsman Comics. This is a book where you certainly don’t need to know Dutch to get the full meaning of Kriek’s hysterically funny relationship drama comic.

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