10 BOOKS TO SEEK OUT THIS FREE COMIC BOOK DAY

Free Comic Book Day is just around the corner! There’s no better time to get down to your local comic book shop and celebrate. There’ll be events going on around the world, including signings, live-drawings and in-store competitions (as well, of course, as some free comics!).

Whether you’re a comics newbie or a seasoned collector, use this Saturday 5th of May to explore some new worlds, meet some new people and pick up some great new reads.

Here are 10 books to keep an eye out for:

1. The Many Deaths of Scott Koblish by Scott Koblish

You might know Scott Koblish from his work on Deadpool and Spider-Man for Marvel Comics, but he’s been illustrating his own demise for many years in these morbidly funny 4-panel black-and-white comics. Full of comic imagination and recognisable irrational fears, this little book is one to turn to when you just need to laugh at it all.

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2. My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

If you’ve found yourself hooked on recent TV shows like Making A Murderer and Mindhunter, then keep an eye out for the film adaptation of Derf Backderf’s national bestseller, My Friend Dahmer. It release in the UK on the 1st of June 2018 – which makes now the perfect time to read the haunting and original graphic novel.

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3. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Thi Bui’s intimate and poignant graphic novel was one of the best reviewed books of 2017. It’s an evocative memoir exploring the anguish of immigration, documenting Bui’s family’s escape from South Vietnam in the 70’s.

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4. The Bridge by Peter J. Tomasi (illus. Sara DuVall)

With praise from comics royalty such as Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka and Scott Snyder, The Bridge has only just published and already won plaudits. It’s the story of the family behind one of New York City’s most famous landmarks.

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5. Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! and The Moon Is Up by Mariko Tamaki (illus. Brooklyn Allen)

For kids (and adults!), the middle-grade novel adaptation of the Lumberjanes is just as charming and empowering as the original. Unicorn Power! and the just-published The Moon Is Up are brand new adventures at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore lady Types!

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6. March: Stationery, Postcards & Journal by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin, art by Nate Powell

The March stationery & gift line from Chronicle Books celebrates the words and artwork of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel about the life of Congressman John Lewis. They’re designed to encourage the next generation of activists to dream, plan and fight for what’s right.

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7. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: An Art Book
by Reinhard Kleist

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Reinhard Kleist published his graphic biography of Nick Cave to much acclaim last year (Nick Cave: Mercy On Me). Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: An Art Book collects his moody and expressive portraits of the musician and his band, spanning 30 years, and including comic book re-imaginings of his songs. It’s also vinyl-sized!

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8. Spinning by Tillie Walden

Tillie Walden’s graphic memoir movingly captures what it’s like to come of age, to come out and come to terms with leaving a sport you’ve committed so much of ten years to.

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9. The Corbyn Comic Book (by multiple contributors) 

When SelfMadeHero put out a call for submissions for The Corbyn Comic Book, the response was incredible. The result is this anthology, which really has to be seen.

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10. Kirby: King of Comics (Anniversary Edition) by Mark Evanier, introduction by Neil Gaiman

This is the essential overview of the man who changed comics forever. Jack Kirby would have been 100 in 2017. This is his story by one who knew him well and includes an introduction by Neil Gaiman.

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#FiveYearsOfBooks | Top Five Graphic Novels

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Seconds
Seconds A Graphic Novel Bryan Lee O’Malley SelfMadeHero

We had the privilege last year to be involved with the release of Seconds; the highly anticipated new standalone full-colour graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series.

Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom.
3. Go to sleep.
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

This madcap tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise is without a doubt the perfect way to launch our list of Top 5 Graphic Novels.

The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis
Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis, The
Matt Groening
Abrams

It’s the meeting of two mind-boggling comedy creations from Matt Groening! They said it couldn’t be done. But we don’t listen to naysayers, refuseniks, and non-believers. So here it is, folks!

This Simpsons saga filled with Futurama, this Futurama fable suffused with the Simpsons, blew our minds 5 years ago and is still a firm favourite!

Featuring a plethora of pleasing plot devices including: evil brain spawn, lactose-intolerant space aliens, a giant ball of yarn, flying cars, mistaken identities, world domination, the brittle fabric of reality torn asunder, this is a comic book – collecting sentient planet, the Dewey Decimal system, self-eating watermelons, slave labour, space pirates, power-crazed vampires, super hero battles, unflattering underwear, mad science run amok, and much, much more! It’s a comic convergence on a reality ripping, time altering, space travelling, intergalactic scale!

First published in 2002 and 2005 as two two-part, comic book mini-series (“Futurama/Simpsons Infinitely Secret Crossover Crisis” and “The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crises II”), these four hard-to-find comics were collected together for the first time in a hardcover collection, encased in a die-cut slipcase, and packaged with a facsimile of the very first Eisner Award-winning issue of “Simpsons Comics” from 1993. How could it not have a space on our Top 5 Graphic Novels list?

My Friend Dahmer
My Friend Dahmer
Derf Backderf
Abrams

We knew this haunting original graphic novel by Derf Backderf, the award winning political cartoonist, was something special the first time we opened it. The crisp black and white illustrations both detailed and disturbing tell the story of a young Jeffrey Dahmer, a story we didn’t expect. It earned it’s place on our Top 5 Graphic Novels list because this story stayed with us since the moment we closed the back cover.

In these pages, Backderf tries to make sense of Jeffery Dahmer, the future serial killer with whom he shared classrooms, hallways, libraries and car rides. What emerges is a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a young man struggling helplessly against the urges, some ghastly, bubbling up from the deep recesses of his psyche. The Dahmer recounted here, although universally regarded as an inhumane monster, is a lonely oddball who, in reality, is all too human. A shy kid sucked inexorably into madness while the adults in his life fail him. The crimes Dahmer committed are incredibly depraved, infamous and unforgettable, but in My Friend Dahmer, Backderf provides profound insight into how, and more important, why Jeffery Dahmer transformed from a high school loner into the most depraved serial killer since Jack the Ripper, coming as close as anyone yet has to explaining the seemingly unexplainable phenomenon of Jeffery Dahmer.

The Nao of Brown
Nao of Brown, The Glyn Dillon SelfMadeHero

 

This unique, life-affirming story about the power of love and the importance of spirituality made graphic novel readers our of our entire office. Our Top 5 Graphic Novels list would not be complete without The Nao Of Brown.

Nao Brown is not well. A 28 year-old half-Japanese, half-English girl tormented by her OCD and struggling to get her design and illustration career off the ground, she embarks on a spiritual journey to calm her mind, meeting Gregory, a washing machine repairman, along the way.

The Sculptor Scott McCloud SelfMadeHero
The Sculptor
Scott McCloud
SelfMadeHero

Our final pick for our Top 5 Graphic Novels list is The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. This highly anticipated graphic novel, from a legend in the community tells the story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond; of the frantic, clumsy dance steps of young love; and a gorgeous, street-level portrait of the world’s greatest city. It’s about the small, warm, human moments of everyday life… and the great surging forces that lie just under the surface. Scott McCloud wrote the book on how comics work; now he vaults into breathtaking, funny, and unforgettable fiction.

David Smith is giving his life for his art – literally. Thanks to a deal with Death, the young sculptor gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with his bare hands. But now that he only has 200 days to live, deciding what to create is harder than he thought, and discovering the love of his life at the eleventh hour isn’t making it any easier.

“The best graphic novel I’ve read in years. It’s about art and love and why we keep on trying. It will break your heart.” Neil Gaiman

“But now that he has everything – the talent and the girl – David doesn’t have time. In 200 days he will die…This book is a diamond-bright treasure-trove of beautiful observations about art and loneliness and a soul-touching examination of the joys and pain of being in love and you really need to discover it for yourself.” Starburst Magazine

Did your favourite not make the list? Tweet us @abramschronicle!