Alias the Cat

By Kim Deitch
136 pages, black and white
Published by Pantheon Books

I’m not entirely sure why I hadn’t read anything by Kim Deitch up until now. Maybe it was a bad first impression, glancing at his scratchy, slightly blocky art and not giving it a chance. Maybe it was just a lack of finding a book that seemed to instantly appeal. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t until Alias the Cat showed up that I sat down and gave Deitch’s comics the respect they deserved. Collecting Deitch’s The Stuff of Dreams mini-series, it’s a remarkably clever piece of metafiction that blurs the lines of reality and make-believe in a way that works far better than any description could even begin to try and tackle.

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Age of Bronze #20-25

By Eric Shanower
24 pages, black and white
Published by Image Comics

People who say that history is boring merely aren’t experiencing it very well. Be it a better teacher, or book, or movie, or some other form that it’s being told, historical stories can in fact be quite enthralling. Some events are more interesting than others, of course, and you’ve got to pick and choose carefully. When you’ve got an extremely talented creator like Eric Shanower recounting the story of the Trojan War? Now that is truly the fabled gift from the gods.

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Professor’s Daughter

Written by Joann Sfar
Art by Emmanuel Guibert
80 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

One of the great things about so many foreign language comics not yet being translated means that there’s forever a wealth of comics that may be old to its original audience, but about to become new to someone else. Joann Sfar and Emmanual Guibert’s The Professor’s Daughter is one of those books; it may be relegated to little more than a footnote in France, but in its new English-language edition it’s something to get excited about. Having seen Guibert and Sfar team up for Sardine in Outer Space already, I figured this would be another silly but fun romp. The end product, though, was something a little more peculiar and intriguing, almost determined to keep itself from being pigeon-holed in any one genre.

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Garage Band

By Gipi
128 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

Up until now, the only works by Gipi that I’d seen in English were Wish You Were Here and They Found The Car, stories of people with dubious morals in noir settings. The idea of a book by Gipi not only being in full color but involving young adults starting a band seemed rather alien to me. Was this really the same Gipi? And would I be able to get the same level of enjoyment out of Garage Band? Well, as it turned out, the answer was yes and no.

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