By Gerry Alanguilan
144 pages, black and white
Published by SLG Publishing

I’ll start by addressing the proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to Gerry Alanguilan’s Elmer. Yes. It’s a book where the main character is a talking chicken. And no, it’s not a comedy. It’s actually a clever alternate history from Alanguilan, answering a question that seems simple enough on the surface but turns out to be anything but: what would happen if chickens suddenly gained full sentience and could speak? What results from this simple premise turns into an excellently written and drawn story that will pull just about any reader into its pages.

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Summit of the Gods Vol. 1

Based on a book by Baku Yumemakura
Art and adaptation by Jiro Taniguchi
328 pages, black and white
Published by Fanfare/Ponent Mon

I love that Jiro Taniguchi’s projects vary wildly from one to the next. One day it’s a story about a businessman who is transported back to his childhood (A Distant Neighborhood), the next it’s about someone who goes on long, almost entirely silent walks through his town (The Walking Man). Summit of the Gods is yet another jump for Taniguchi’s works translated into English; an adaptation of Baku Yumemakura’s novel about the world of mountain climbing. In many ways, I think it’s my favorite of Taniguchi’s works yet, because for the first time I found myself actually holding my breath while reading one of his comics.

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Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny!: Chapter 1

Written by Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton
Art by Brittney Sabo
96 pages, black and white

I get a little excited every time I find myself looking at a new comic funded by the Xeric Grant. For those unfamiliar with the Xeric Grant, it’s a fund set up by Peter Laird that chooses comic book projects and gives them money to actually publish their comic. It’s an extremely competitive field, and the end result is a lot of worthy, interesting comics that we might have otherwise never seen. Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton’s book Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny!: Chapter 1 is part of the latest batch of Xeric-powered books to appear, and it’s such a fun book that I’m thankful yet again that Laird set the grant up.

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