“PTSD,” by Guillaume Singelin

“PTSD,” by Guillaume Singelin. First Second, February 2019. 208 pp. Hardcover, $24.99. Adult, maybe older teen (some graphic violence).

“PTSD” opens with the elements: wind, rain, cold and other forces beyond human control. A woman named Jun, striking for her red hair and eye patch, navigates a dark city teeming with sights, smells, sounds, and textures so rich as to be claustrophobic. A veteran, Jun spends much of the story struggling for control of her self, her life, and especially the addictions she’s been unable to shake since the war in which she served as a sharpshooter.

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“The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987,” by Riad Sattouf

“The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987,” by Riad Sattouf. Metropolitan Books. Aug. 2018. Translated from French by Sam Taylor. 160 pp. Paper, $27. Adult.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.

Many readers who love humor have a tendency to condescend to it, to see it as superficial. Franco-Syrian comics artist Riad Sattouf, however, dismisses this stereotype. “It’s very easy to make a drama. I prefer to make something funny out of a drama,” he told The Guardian in 2016, after the release of the first volume of his five-part series, “The Arab of the Future.”  “I think sad things are easier to accept and are even sadder when they’re told with humour.”

A rich and wrenching graphic memoir of Sattouf’s childhood, “The Arab of the Future” is set in Libya, small-town Syria, and France in the 70s and 80s. Sattouf packs complex emotional and historical resonance into a handful of colors and a simple-looking style. Volume three, released in the U.S. last August, hits readers full force on its first page with equal parts humor and tension:

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“The Dragon Slayer: Folk Tales from Latin America,” by Jaime Hernandez

“The Dragon Slayer: Folk Tales from Latin America,” by Jaime Hernandez. TOON Graphics. April 2018. 48 pp. Cloth $16.95, Paper $9.99. Ages 4-10.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.

At first it might seem unlikely that Jaime Hernandez, one of the creators of the edgy adult comics series “Love and Rockets,” famous for covers like this:

Image from kuow.org, courtesy of Fantagraphics

would publish on TOON Graphics, a comics press for kids, famous for covers like this:

It makes more sense, however, than you might think. In the past, Jaime Hernandez’s work has been decidedly NOT for kids, as you can see from the top right of the “Love and Rockets” cover above, and as I made sure to note at the beginning of my review of Hernandez’s “Love Bunglers” a few years back. Continue reading ““The Dragon Slayer: Folk Tales from Latin America,” by Jaime Hernandez”