This week's guide is for manga, recently released graphic novels and backlist graphic novel titles.

1. Cowboy Bebop by Yutaka Nanten and Jajime Yatate (Tokyopop). This popular anime and manga series features the adventures of Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed, cowboys on the interplanetary frontier. These space-traveling hoodlums will do anything for the right price.

2. Dragonball Z by Akira Toriyama (Viz). The focus is on the earth-shaking battles and exploits of young Goku, a super-powerful martial arts master who seems to be in continual battle with some new threat to the earth. Incredibly popular, the series is also a hit anime show that generates an enormous amount of merchandising.

3. Gundam Wing by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yadate (Viz, Tokyopop). Launched in 1979, Gundam Wing is generally credited with sparking a new phase in the popularity of the giant robot craze in Japan and around the world. Set in the future, the series details a civil war between earth and its orbiting colonies and explores such themes as the nature of war, honor and wartime atrocity. It's a wildy popular anime series as well.

Recent Releases
1. The Summer of Love by Debbie Drechsler (D&Q). It's the late 1960s, and Lily Maier's family has just moved into a new tract house in a nondescript suburban town. Lily's skepticism about the move dissolves when she begins to make friends, particularly with one boy who seems more mature than the rest. But boys can be hurtful and on top of all this Lily's sister develops a romantic attachment to a neighborhood girl, all of which Drechsler handles with sensitivity, taste and emotional depth.

2. The Festering Season: A Tale of Urban Vodou by Kevin Tinsley and Tim Smith (Stickman Graphics). Rene Duboise, a young Haitian-American woman, returns to New York after her mother is mysteriously murdered, apparently by the cops. The city is already on edge--police charged with another murder are on trial. In a story filled with spells, zombies and supernatural explanations for real events, Rene uncovers a hair-raising plot to destroy the city. A polemical supernatural thriller, pointedly critical of the NYPD during the Giuliani years.

3. Caricature by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics). Nine stories by the author of Ghost World. Clowes offers variations on the inner monologues of a series of articulate, geeky loners. The title story provides a portrait of an itinerant country fair caricaturist and the unstable, hipster brat-chick who insinuates herself into his life. In Blue Italian Shit, he relates the story of a secret virgin and poseur and his journey through a succession of bad late-1970s styles and peculiar roommates. Expressive, meticulously glum drawings and a constant undertone of mocking, oddball hilarity distinguish Clowes's work.

1. Ultimate Marvel. A popular series of graphic novel collections on the X-men and Spiderman, cash cows of the Marvel universe, that brings these classic superheroes up to date.

2. Love and Rockets by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics). Acclaimed for their vivid re-creation of southern California punk/chicano youth culture as well as their nuanced fictional portrayals, Los Bros Hernandez are credited with bringing a new generation of serious fiction readers to literary comics.

3. My Troubles With Women by R. Crumb (Last Gasp). Hilarious and exquisitely drawn stories focusing on a topic that is at once Crumb's favorite subject and his harshest critic.

This article originally appeared in the October 18, 2002 issue of PW Daily for Booksellers. For more information about PW Daily, including a sample and subscription information, click here.