Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Trillium

Jeff Lemire. DC/Vertigo, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-4012-4900-7

Writer/artist Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Essex County) turns his gaze to the stars in this mind- and reality-bending science fiction graphic novel. Nika and William are thousands of years and millions of miles apart—she, a scientist in a dark future where humanity is on the run from a sentient disease; he, a haunted ex-soldier in early-20th-century Britain. When they each discover a hidden temple, they form a mental connection destined to rewrite space and time. In his first solo project in years, Lemire’s art excels, combining his trademark sketchiness with gorgeous watercolors. But it’s the layouts that take the book to new heights of creativity. Lemire tells two stories at once by turning the panels upside down, disorienting the reader as much as his heroes. It’s a technique that worked long ago in Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and it works even better here, with clever parallels between plot lines. The script isn’t quite as tight, and refers to grandiose concepts in vague language throughout. Those with the patience to reread and decode Lemire’s alien messages—both literal and figurative—will be rewarded. This book represents a challenge to other creators: the bar for creativity in comics continues to be raised. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/15/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
I Was the Cat

Paul Tobin. Oni, $24.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-62010-139-1

An intriguing premise—a cat tells tales of his nine lives and appearances through history—is undercut by slow pacing and a general lack of excitement. While the details of Tobin’s (Bandette) the art are lovely, the overall experience of reading the book is unsatisfying... unless the reader is so cat crazy that any feline-centric story will do. Modern reporter (she blogs) Allison has been hired to write the memoirs of a rich stranger, who turns out to be the talking cat Burma. Sections recount Burma’s stories about his time in ancient Egypt, as Puss in Boots, meeting Napoleon and U.S. Presidents, in World War I trenches, playing Cat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and facing off with secret agents, all actions which represent attempts to take over the world. The history is interspersed with hints of a current conspiracy. In spite of all this material, the story is a chore to finish. There’s an awful lot of dialogue that reveals very little: everyone rattles on telling what the art is already showing, and the historical digressions take much too long. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/15/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Gast

Carol Swain. Fantagraphics, $22.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-60699-755-0

English cartoonist Swain’s first graphic novel in a decade is a spooky and beautiful journey into the mind of a confused young girl who has moved to the Scottish countryside near the border of England. Helen spends her days alone, picking up what facts she can about her neighbor Emrys, who recently committed suicide. Through conversations with Emrys’s dogs and ram—the most endearing and vividly drawn characters in the book—and other neighbors and townspeople, Helen slowly paints a picture of the eccentric, divisive character she’ll never meet. The drawings are elegantly rendered with sharp contrast and subtle emotional force. Swain is an accomplished draftsman, and switches up angles and perspectives in her mostly unchanging nine-panel grid. Our view of Helen’s interior life comes mostly from her journal. Helen’s drawings are amazing, cruder and livelier versions of Swain’s own, and they betray the child’s deep and wild imagination. The weakness of the book lies in a certain emotional vacancy in Helen. We never really know why Emrys is important to her, though we do sense her profound isolation; the suggestion is that she’s investigating, in some ways, her own future. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/15/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
Juice Squeezers

David Lapham. Dark Horse, $13.99 ISBN 978-1-61655-438-5

Weeville, Calif., is afflicted with a plague of giant bugs, who live in caves around town, but the Juice Squeezers, a team of kids who, posing as a basket-weaving club to misdirect adults, go underground and slaughter the bugs before they do harm. The idea is that only kids are small enough to fit in the caves, though some caves look pretty spacious, and there are probably more efficient ways to combat overgrown insects. Lapham’s (Stray Bullets) story hits the right buttons for a preteen audience, filled with action, snarky banter, a bit of kid drama, and a likable, capable girl lead, but its allure doesn’t transcend the surface presentation. Like the 1980s children’s science fiction it apes, there’s rousing adventure held together by very little once the thrill of the first encounter has passed, and the set-up demands the reader not think too much about the logic behind it, giant bugs aside. While the world-building is weak, the story still motors along. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 08/15/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Hospital Suite

John Porcellino. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 trade paper (250p) ISBN 978-1-77046-164-2

Best-known for his long-running King-Cat mini-comics, Porcellino’s memoir is sometimes brutal but exceptionally honest. The illnesses that plague Porcellino—chronic pain from an unknown cause and OCD—are exhausting and endless. The toll these various health challenges ultimately take on Porcellino’s life range from minor irritations—the avoidance of certain foods, worries about “contamination”—to major disruptions, including stress on his marriage. Porcellino is well aware of his quirks, but like many OCD sufferers, unable to resist them; he’s already a victim of anxiety and a rare disorder called hyperacusis before the afflictions detailed here begin. The ups and downs of his largely undiagnosed ailments and the endless parade of doctors, specialists, and hospitals only heighten his paralyzing anxiety. In King Cat, Porcellino excels at peaceful Zen moments of observation. Here, his simple, black lines and bare-bones drawings have a powerful economy that present the story cleanly, without flourish, detailing a frightening and inescapable spiral into dysfunction without hyperbole. The result is a clear-eyed, penetrating book about the helplessness of illness which should bring Porcellino a wider audience beyond his cult following. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 08/15/2014 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.