It is worth taking advantage of the last weeks of summer to recover some outstanding novelties in the field of comics. We start with national authors. Carlos Portela and Keko address in Contrition (Editorial Norma) issues as delicate as pedophilia, revenge or the right to reinsertion in the key of a thriller. The story is set in a small Florida neighborhood where sexual predators who have already served their prison sentences reside but, due to state laws, must live there, away from the rest of the world, in a kind of life sentence.
Fermín Solís from Cáceres publishes Elia (Reservoir Books) the emotional story of a young writer who changes the course of her life after suffering a sentimental setback and decides to go and live in a small town in Galicia. An intimate story where the everyday becomes the protagonist. This graphic novel supposes an important aesthetic change for the author of the acclaimed –and adapted to the cinema– Buñuel in the labyrinth of the turtles.
Halfway between the comic and the artistic catalogue, El enigma Pertierra (Astiberri) is presented, by the illustrator Javier Olivares and the novelist Fernando Marías. Both had collaborated on the novel El silencio se mueva giving life to a cartoonist who never existed but who many took for real. A stimulating metal artifact that played with the limits of fiction. Now, this album collects the works attributed to the mysterious Pertierra and at the same time serves as a tribute to the writer from Bilbao who died last year.
We continue with two reissues with an air of novelty. The first is a contemporary classic of those that should never cease to be present in bookstores: the definitive edition of Taxista (La Cúpula), by Martí, a character born in the pages of El Víbora in 1982 and who continues to be an absolutely modern work. . This particular comic Taxi driver pays homage to the North American cartoon and reinterprets in an underground key and dirty realism the forceful chiaroscuro aesthetic of Chester Gould, the creator of Dick Tracy.
The second edition is an ideal series to read during vacation times, Los buenos veranos (Editorial Norma), written by the Belgian Zidrou living in Spain and drawn by the Catalan Jordi Lafebre. Now it is published in full format in a volume of almost 350 pages that brings together the six albums of the adventures of the Faldéraults, a family that every year gets into the car to start a vacation that never goes as planned. Funny, emotional and endearing, the series has the ability to make us empathize with this family and revive the aesthetics of the 60s and 70s in which these episodes are set.
From Japan we get two outstanding titles although very different in their length and tone. The first is a small album by the author who shaped modern manga, Osamu Tezuka. La fortaleza de papel (Planeta Cómic) compiles seven semi-autobiographical stories published between 1970 and 1977, starting with one that portrays the author's first attempts in the world of comics and animated films. Despite its light and even comical tone, it contains a crude portrait of how the young Tezuka lived through the American bombing of the main cities of his country at the end of World War II. The bombing of Hiroshima is precisely what Keiji Nakazawa tells us in this monumental exercise in memory that is Barefoot. A Story of Hiroshima (Manga District). Nakazawa himself suffered the ravages of the atomic bomb when he was six years old and those memories were transferred into a monumental graphic novel of almost 3,000 pages that is now published in four volumes. The foreword to the first volume is by Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus.
Milo Manara, one of the most famous Italian cartoonists, immerses himself in the work of one of his country's most widely read novelists, Umberto Eco. The result is The Name of the Rose (Lumen), a diptych of which the first appears now. volume. A beautiful, wise and suggestive comic, which transfers the famous historical thriller by Umberto Eco to the language of cartoons. Also from Italy comes the new graphic novel by Manuele Fior, Hypericon (Salamandra Graphic), a story of love and desire set between the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb from 1922 and the bustling life in Berlin in the 1990s. The search for the famous tomb is combined with the search that the protagonist of this delicate story makes for herself.
The Israeli Rutu Modan publishes La propietat (Finestres) in Catalan. The author of Tunnels offers here a well-woven story about family, love and forgotten secrets. Regina travels to Warsaw with her granddaughter Mica hers to reclaim an old family property lost during World War II. Once there, memories of her past assail him and new episodes of her family history surface. With a very characteristic clean line style, Modan demonstrates her exceptional talent for bringing characters to life, especially the grandmother, who is unforgettable.
The French Maurane Mazars debuts in our country with ¡Baila! (Salamandra Graphic), a graphic novel about the freedom to dance and to love. Set in Germany in 1957, when the wounds of the war are still very present, it tells the story of Uli, a young man who dreams of becoming a dancer on Broadway. The American dream, love, heartbreak, racism and gender identity are mixed in this melancholic work that stands out for its vigorous color and for the plasticity of the bodies that dance.
A comic book author and a sociologist have joined forces to talk about fashion from different points of view: historical, social, psychological, environmental or economic. With a good dose of humor, Frédéric Godart and Zoé Thouron turn Naked Fashion (Norma Editorial) into an entertaining report in the form of a comic that allows us to understand the chiaroscuro of this important industry. Another unclassifiable and very funny essay is Astrología liviana / Astrologia lleugera (Reservoir Books / Finestres) by the Swedish cartoonist and journalist Liv Strömquist. The author of the excellent The Hall of Mirrors proposes here a journey through the signs of the zodiac and wonders if astrology is just a fad, an excuse to flirt or a waste of time. Linking wild anecdotes and examples drawn from highly popular characters, the book confirms Strömquist's ability to approach any subject with unparalleled grace and personality.
Pascal Rabaté has signed a great album in which political combat and love desire go hand in hand. Under the pebbles, the beach / Sota els còdols, la platja (Planeta Cómic / Finestres) recounts with enormous plastic and narrative talent the passage from adolescence to adulthood and how the paths traced by destiny can be changed when there is a will to do it. A story full of unexpected twists, which combines the police plot with social criticism.
For those interested in biographies, we recommend Louis Riel (Finestres), by Chester Brown, a work from two decades ago that had already been translated into Spanish but is now a novelty in Catalan. A rigorous and talentedly told non-fiction comic about the life of a revolutionary leader who fought for indigenous rights in 19th century Canada; a great pioneering documentation exercise in its format.
Mixing real data and fictional elements, Jean-David Morvan, Percio and Delpeche present La granja del niño wolf (Comic Planet), about six French resistance fighters installed in an abandoned farm in the Alps to stop the arrival of the Germans during the Second World War. A story of struggle and sacrifice to achieve freedom.
We end with two great series that put an end to it. On the one hand, the extraordinary adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, which end with a tenth volume entitled El bebé de Buttes Chaumont (Editorial Norma). The heroine created by Jacques Tardi in 1976 bids farewell to this saga with the aromas of a soap opera and which is a tribute to a city of Paris that no longer exists and that the cartoonist rescues with enormous expertise. For his part, Riad Sattouf ends his graphic autobiography with the sixth volume of The Arab of the Future (Salamandra Graphic), which recounts the childhood and adolescence of the author, the son of a French mother and a Syrian father. History takes us from Colonel Gaddafi's Libya to Hafez Al-Assad's Syria, from the early 1980s to the Arab Spring of 2011.