Pepita: Inoue Meets Gaudi

By Takehiko Inoue
108 pages, color
Published by Viz

I’ve been a fan of Takehiko Inoue’s for quite a while, especially with his series Slam Dunk, Vagabond, and Real. When I saw that a new art book by Inoue titled Pepita: Inoue meets Gaudi was coming out, I reserved a copy without even thinking twice. I figured based on the cover art that it would be perhaps a travel journal of sorts involving the Catalan architect. What I found was actually a historical telling of Gaudi’s life with some art and photographs mixed in. And while it’s an interesting book, it was definitely not what I was expecting.

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Transposes

By Dylan Edwards
128 pages, black and white
Published by Northwest Press

Dylan Edwards’ Transposes is, on the surface, a book that you might think you’ve seen before. The story of seven different female-to-male transmen, you probably think that it treads the same ground that so many other books on the subject have tackled. But as soon as you read Edwards’ introduction, where he deftly takes all of the well-meaning questions that are normally asked and explains that this isn’t about any of them, you’ll realize that Transposes is in fact something much better. In taking away the biological questions and just focusing on these men’s lives, Transposes separates the people from science, and that’s why it’s a winner.

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Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

By Lucy Knisley
176 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

When I read Lucy Knisley’s travel/food memoir French Milk back in 2009, I closed out the review by saying, "Knisley is definitely a creator to watch; she’s on her way towards greatness." You might think this is me leading up to gloating that I was completely right, that Knisley’s new memoir Relish: My Life in the Kitchen—a book about growing up around food—in fact proves that earlier prediction. As it turns out? I am. Relish is one of those charming books that delivers everything it promises and more.

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Reviews Return Next Week

Bad news: Well, getting things up and moving again took a little longer than I thought.

Good news: The project that took up a lot of my time this year had a very happy ending, and I think it was worth the time off here.

Even better news: Next week’s reviews are already written and are in the queue for publication. See you on June 17th!

New Posts Soon, Honest

You may (or may not) have noticed that there have been no posts since October 2012. I feel like I should explain why that happened.

Originally, the plan was simple: take a week’s break while I took care of some real world commitments, ones that were going to take up all the free time I normally had to write reviews for Read About Comics. Except those commitments grew. And grew. And grew. And by the time they started to die down, a lot of time had passed.

“I’m going to start back up next weekend,” I’d tell myself each Sunday night. And then more things would rear their ugly head, and every time I thought I was free and clear… well, you get the idea by now. These aren’t excuses, rather just an explanation of what’s been going on.

That said, in the next few weeks, I promise reviews will return. Honest. I’ve got a stack of great books here that I want to cover. One way or another, it will happen.

So thanks for your patience, and sorry for the ridiculously long delay.

Sumo

By Thien Pham
112 pages, color
Published by First Second Books

Thien Pham is one of those creators whose comics I’ve seen in small doses here and there over the years, primarily in mini-comic form. So with the release of Sumo, his first graphic novel as both writer and artist, I was eager to see just what he’d turn out. His minis have always been pleasing but short, and the expanded page count had the potential to deliver something quite interesting. As it turns out, Sumo is a book that uses its page length perfectly.

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Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man

By Carl Barks
240 pages, color
Published by Fantagraphics Books

Reading the first of Carl Barks’ Duck comic collections from Fantagraphics last year, I found myself struck by how quickly I’d fallen in love with Barks’ entertaining stories of all lengths. After the review was published, though, I had several friends sidle up to me and warn me that the best was yet to come. They were referring to Barks’ Uncle Scrooge comics, which they swore up and down were even better. And now that Uncle Scrooge: Only a Poor Old Man is out and I’ve had a chance to sit down and digest it? Well, sorry Donald, but I have a new favorite Duck and he’s the one with all the money.

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The Red Diary/The Re[a]d Diary

Written by Teddy Kristiansen and Steven T. Seagle
Art by Teddy Kristiansen
144 pages, color
Published by Image Comics

The Red Diary/The Re[a]d Diary is one of the strangest and most inventive graphic novels I’ve seen in a while, but it takes a little explaining. Teddy Kristiansen wrote and painted a graphic novel published in France titled Le Carnet Rouge (or The Red Diary). In bringing it to North America and an English translation, he came to his friend and often-collaborator Steven T. Seagle. He’s part of the Man of Action Studios collective, which has a deal with Image, but (as Seagle explains in the book) he needed to be a co-creator in order to publish it, and he wasn’t sure that just providing a translation would suffice.

So, Seagle came up with an inventive plan. He’d take the French graphic novel and on his own write a brand-new script over top the art, trying to fit his script into the narration boxes and word balloons, and keeping in any names that didn’t require translation. Then, once he’d done that, he’d also (with the help of Kristiansen) script an actual translation of the graphic novel, and the two would be published side-by-side. The end result? The Red Diary, which contains Kristiansen’s original story, and The Re[a]d Diary, with Seagle’s brand new story "remixed" into Kristiansen’s art. It’s bizarre and off the wall, and yet? It utterly works.

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A Fine and Private Place #1

Original story by Peter S. Beagle
Adaptated by Peter Gillis
Art by Eduardo Francisco
32 pages, color
Published by IDW

With IDW’s successful comic adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s novel The Last Unicorn, it only makes sense that they’d dip back into that well again with another novel-to-comic conversion. This one is from Beagle’s first novel A Fine and Private Place, with Peter Gillis scripting and Eduardo Francisco tackling the art. And while A Fine and Private Place doesn’t have the same instant hook that a project like The Last Unicorn possessed, this quieter story is a pleasant and interesting read.

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Polterguys Vol. 1

Written by Laurianne Uy and Nathan Go
Art by Laurianne Uy
192 pages, black and white
Published by Mumo Press

Laurianne Uy and Nathan Go’s Polterguys Volume 1 was one of those books that randomly showed up in my mailbox one day. I’m always a sucker for a book that won a Xeric Grant, and with the foundation having handed out its final publishing grants, getting hold of one of those books was a pleasant surprise. What I found was a book that clearly gets its main inspiration from certain manga tropes, but also adds enough of its own twist to keep it from being too predictable.

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