Tag Archives: clement baloup

Review: The Beatles in Comics

The Beatles in Comics

I remember the first time I heard of the Beatles. It was when I discovered vinyl for the firs time. I was six years old and enamored with the way they looked. One of my parents many records in their collection was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club. When my Mom first put the record on there was no more distinct and beautiful a sound than that first spark you hear when the needle touches the record. When the music came on Ringo’s drumming and Paul and John’s vocals sounded like nothing I ever heard before.

I instantly understood why these luminaries influenced so many artists to this day. As the magic of “Yesterday,” says all you need to know of how poetic they were and for the surviving members, still are. Their dexterity when it came to speak to tapping on the nerve of the times and still making these songs timeless, is almost unfair. Their combined talents are enough to day for a supergroup. In this collection of stories and practical love letters to the group, Beatles In Comics, gives fans, a rare rendering of who these men were and are, and how hey still leave an indelible mark on music fans everywhere.

In” John, Paul & George,” we get to see how the initial band was formed. These three young men became a band and friends over their love of music. In “Astrid Kirchher,” we get to know the photographer who took their first professional photos and her impression of each band member. In “The Man who refused to sign the Beatles,” we find out about Mike Smith and how he thought they would not amount to much outside of Liverpool. In “The Queen’s Rebels,” we get a personal account of the very first time they played in front of Queen Elizabeth. In “The Ed Sullivan Show,” we get to see first hand how Beatlemania had taken over America and how they were one of Sullivan’s most popular guests. In “Yesterday,” we find about the genesis of this eternally loved song, one which has created many pale covers. In “The Beatles and Elvis,” talks about this rare meeting of the titans at Graceland.  In “New Musical Horizons,” we find out about the group’s experimenting with drugs, specifically LSD. In “Goodbye Brian,” the band loses their longtime manager and who was considered the “Fifth Beatle” as he is found dead at his house. As they struggle to move forward and record their first flop of an album. In “Yoko Ono,” John meets his soulmate and muse, Yoko, as this is also what lead ultimately to their breakup. In the last story I will highlight, “Post Beatles,” we find out what exactly happened to each member after their breakup and just how fractured their relationships became.

Overall, an engrossing and articulate collection of stories which captures the spirit of the group and the love the world had for them. The stories by Michels Mabel are well researched and endearing. The art by the different artists gives fans a gorgeous kaleidoscope of images to see the band through. Altogether, one of the best books about this gifted group and just how they affected everyone around them.

Story: Michels Mabel
Art: Lu-K, Vox, Anne Sophie Servantie, Ludivine Stock, Amandine Puntous, Romuald Gleyse, Julien Lamanda, Efix, Pierre Brallon, Ben Lebegue, Anthony Audibert, Bloop, Victor Gimenez, Akita, Laurent Houssin, Richard Di Martino, Piero Ruggeri et Filipo Neri, Martin Trystram, Clement Baloup, Edwna Cosmet et Christophe Billard, Patrick Lacan, Virginie De Lambert, Joel Alessandra and Odile Santi

Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Vietnamese Memories Vol. 2: Little Saigon

Vietnamese Memories Vol. 2: Little Saigon

As 2018 ends, it’s a year where hate in all of its disgusting forms was very prevalent in the news and in every community. World leaders became more vocal about their own biases, it became apparent to all, that tolerance had increasingly became a rare belief.

“Love for your fellow man” and “content of your character” are sentiments that feel like relics in this new world. Instead of defying abhorrence it was welcomed. We find heads of state making excuses for hate mongers and having difficulty with saying their associated actions are deplorable.

This new world that all of us has gotten used to makes it a very scary place for immigrants and especially refugees. Life of the refugee in their intended new world is no longer certain. This is what makes immigrant communities like the multitude of Chinatowns in various cities, Little Italy in New York, Little Manila in New Jersey, and Little Haiti, in Miami, FL, so essential to the endurance of the culture from their home countries. That culture helps form the identity of these new neighborhoods. I personally never grew up in one of these communities but I’ve been to enough of them to know how important it is to those who live there and especially the ones born here. In the second and final volume of Vietnamese Memories: Little Saigon we continue to follow Vietnamese immigrants as they fathom a new reality and try not to lose who they are.

In the first story we meet Xuan, a restaurant owner in Brooklyn, New York, who shares his affinity for Pho and just how it has shaped his love for cooking. We are then taken to San Francisco  where we are taken to the Laos area of this major metropolis where most of the people who settled there helped the US military during the Vietnam War. They came over to make better life for themselves  but their communities became infested with drugs and the gangs made up of their children and grandchildren who are completely cut off from their parents culture . We’re then taken to San Jose where their “Little Saigon” is actually a large thriving community. We meet Ahn, an older beautiful woman, who realized way too young that beauty was a curse as her path was not without the heartbreak of betrayal, living in two refugee camps, testing of friendships and ultimately arriving in San Francisco, where she weaponizes what she first saw as a curse into a tool to seize her dreams. We also go to Los Angeles, which has a big Asian population and one of the most world renowned “Little Saigon” neighborhoods in existence lying in the middle of Orange County. It’s one where most of the community came from South Vietnam and where we meet Yen, a woman, who was once a national athlete for a post-Vietnam War Vietnam but becomes imprisoned over several different instances. First for trying to flee the country but eventually for escaping prison, where she becomes pregnant with an American expat but is forced to raise her daughter on her own. As her daughter becomes a teenager she eventually decides to move to America to be with her sister and make a better life for her and her daughter. We are also taken to Charleston, South Carolina, where many Vietnamese settled because the terrain reminded many of them of the Vietnamese countryside. There we meet Tam and Nicole, a couple who escaped Vietnam because of the gang violence, the country’s instability, and the growing tensions.

Overall, the graphic novel is a classic tome of the perseverance of the human spirit, as one doesn’t know what one can endure, until one undergoes the fire. The stories by Clement Baloup are heartbreaking, profound, and immense in scope. The art by Baloup is effortlessly beautiful. Altogether, it’s an essential addition to any collection but especially to those of us who know of the struggles our family had to undertake to make a better life for us.

Story: Clement Baloup Art: Clement Baloup
Translation: Ceri Pollard, Hannah Flixter, Alessandra Cazes,
and Olivia Hanks
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Humanoids’ Life Drawn Gets a Second Wave of Graphic Novels

In advance of San Diego Comic Comic International 2018, Humanoids is announcing a second wave of graphic novels for Life Drawn, its new literary imprint. Life Drawn spotlights personal stories and provocative, political narratives. The upcoming titles run the gamut, including: a biography of feminist icon and actress Hedy Lamarr, focusing on her revolutionizing scientific and technological innovations; a runner’s memoir of the New York Marathon; a hallucinatory and horror-fueled telling of Marilyn Monroe’s life and a humorous exploration of religious identity (and Krypton).

Marilyn’s Monsters by Tommy Redolfi

Publication date: September 4, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594655357; 248 Pages; $29.95

The famous Hollywood Hills. A strange, twisted forest filled with freaks and broken-down trailers. In this dark world, movie stars are born in the shadows. Determined to become the greatest one of all, shy Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) comes to this ghost-town with hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, she’ll have to face all kinds of monsters to reach her ultimate goal. . . . This is Marilyn Monroe’s dark journey like you’ve never seen it before.

Kabul Disco Book 2: How I Managed Not To Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan by Nicolas Wild

Publication date: September 18, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594654695; 176 Pages; $19.95

In this second volume of his travelogue series, Nicolas Wild returns to Afghanistan, unfulfilled by his old life in Paris, to resume work at the Zendagui agency. This time around, however, his job is even trickier than illustrating the Constitution (see Book 1): he has to convince Afghans that “Opium is Bad” in a time when no one wants to hear what expatriates have to say. With a charming sense of humor and a genuine love for Afghanistan, Nicolas Wild depicts a series of complicated events, transpiring in a complicated country.

Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am . . . Kinda) by Jimmy Bemon (writer) and Emilie Boudet (artist)

Publication date: October 2, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594655982; 112 Pages; $14.95

Adapted into an eponymous short film by Jimmy Bemon.

An intimate and humorous autobiography of a boy’s quest for identity as he struggles with his heritage and his heroes. Benjamin would always proudly say, “I’m Jewish. Like Superman!” Assuming that Judaism is some kind of super power and Hebrew is akin to the Kryptonian language, Benjamin believes each of his family members is a superhero. Until, like Krypton, his world is shattered. After learning of the link between being circumcised and his religion, Ben decides to hide his heritage from everyone. Caught between the desire to avoid disappointing his Jewish father and his desire to understand his Catholic mother, Ben has to find a way to abandon his secret identity for a very public one. Humorous, timeless and universal, this personal and poignant story of acceptance and understanding shows how we all must learn to love the hero within ourselves.

My New York Marathon by Sebastien Samson

Publication date: October 30, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594657542; 192 Pages; $19.95

Published timed to the annual New York Marathon, this inspiring love-letter to the event and to the city that hosts it has already been championed by running heavyweights Jeff Galloway and Amby Burfoot, and endorsed by both the New York Road Runners club and the New York Marathon itself.

A quiet, aging teacher decides to run the New York Marathon. Along the way, he transforms into the man he always wanted to be. Sebastian, a quiet and shy teacher, decides, on a whim, to challenge his aging body and crumbling spirit and run the New York Marathon. From the streets of France to the streets of Brooklyn, Sebastian pushes himself past limits he didn’t even know he had. A humorous and poignant autobiographical tale and a love letter to the landscapes and panoramas of New York as well as a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.

Hedy Lamarr: An Incredible Life by William Roy (Writer) and Sylvain Dorange (Art)

Publication date: November 6, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594656194; 176 Pages; $19.95

To her fans, Hedy Lamarr was a silver screen star; to those who knew her, she was a genius. She fashioned designs to revolutionize the planes built by Howard Hughes. In the dead of night, she tinkered with her blueprints and experiments. And when World War II began, Hedy left her superstar persona behind and claimed the patent for a strange device. One that manipulated sound, created an unbreakable code and confounded the Nazi regime, giving the allies the advantage they needed to claim victory. Scientists called it “Spread Spectrum” technology. The military called it a “secret communication system.” Today, we call it a “cell phone,” “Wi-Fi” and a little thing called “Internet.” This is the story of a genius. A visionary. And the most beautiful woman in the world.

Vietnamese Memories Book 2: Little Saigon by Clement Baloup

Publication date: November 13, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594657993; 256 Pages; $24.95

Winner of the Coup de coeur prix Michelin 2012 – Rendez-vous du Carnet de voyage

The second in a three book series exploring the stories of displaced Viet Kieu around the world, Vietnamese Memories: Little Saigon immerses us in the diaspora of the United States and the assimilation of these Vietnamese immigrant communities, labeled Little Saigons. Through trips made in 2009 and 2010, Baloup shows how the memory and culture were maintained in these Asian neighborhoods in the heart of the big American cities (Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Lao Area, etc.).

Review: Vietnamese Memories Book 1: Leaving Saigon

“Courage” is an understated attribute that most immigrants possess but rarely were given credit for, even before our current presidential administration. As most of this xenophobia, has been going on for years, and yet they still came to our shores, which included my family. The fact that you leave the place you have known your whole life, to go somewhere else, to begin anew. To do all that and bring your family with you or to start a family after that, these actions are not what everyone has in them, these actions require fortitude and courage.

This truth rings even louder for those, who consider themselves refugees, as their search for sanctuary leads to them places where they never imagined being including America. Life can be so complicated and comforts like our First World problems becomes nonsense when you realize the problems they have. Thousands of their stories have been told, each one as interesting as the next and ones that should be told repeatedly. In Clement Baloup’s Vietnamese Memories Book 1: Leaving Saigon, the acclaimed author seeks to tell the stories of one family across different time periods as they leave their homeland.

The book begins as a primer for readers as Baloup surveys what he believes they know from popular culture but then quickly does a deep dive into Vietnam’s history. As one family member tells the family history through the cooking of prawn, which shows the power of exposition and the connection food has to one’s family. Each member unveils what their life was during that time and each gives a reason why they left the country of their birth. By book’s end, each family member shows to their family through their stories why love will always lead the way.

Overall, an engaging set of stories that both feel intimate but is universal to every person whose family immigrated over the last century. The stories as told by Clement Baloup are lovely, visceral and enthralling. The art by Baloup is beautiful. Altogether, a great book that pushes the boundaries of storytelling and remembers that true stories are sometimes more interesting than fiction.

Story: Clement Baloup Art: Clement Baloup
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Vietnamese Memories Book 1: Leaving Saigon

“Courage” is an understated attribute that most immigrants possess but rarely were given credit for, even before our current presidential administration. As most of this xenophobia, has been going on for years, and yet they still came to our shores, which included my family. The fact that you leave the place you have known your whole life, to go somewhere else, to begin anew. To do all that and bring your family with you or to start a family after that, these actions are not what everyone has in them, these actions require fortitude and courage.

This truth rings even louder for those, who consider themselves refugees, as their search for sanctuary leads to them places where they never imagined being including America. Life can be so complicated and comforts like our First World problems becomes nonsense when you realize the problems they have. Thousands of their stories have been told, each one as interesting as the next and ones that should be told repeatedly. In Clement Baloup’s Vietnamese Memories Book 1: Leaving Saigon, the acclaimed author seeks to tell the stories of one family across different time periods as they leave their homeland.

The book begins as a primer for readers as Baloup surveys what he believes they know from popular culture but then quickly does a deep dive into Vietnam’s history. As one family member tells the family history through the cooking of prawn, which shows the power of exposition and the connection food has to one’s family. Each member unveils what their life was during that time and each gives a reason why they left the country of their birth. By book’s end, each family member shows to their family through their stories why love will always lead the way.

Overall, an engaging set of stories that both feel intimate but is universal to every person whose family immigrated over the last century. The stories as told by Clement Baloup are lovely, visceral and enthralling. The art by Baloup is beautiful. Altogether, a great book that pushes the boundaries of storytelling and remembers that true stories are sometimes more interesting than fiction.

Story: Clement Baloup Art: Clement Baloup
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Humanoids Announces a New Literary Imprint, Life Drawn Focused on Personal and Political Narratives

Humanoids is launching a new literary imprint in 2018, timed to the company’s 20th anniversary of publishing its acclaimed books in the United States. Best known for seminal genre works including The Incal (Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mœbius) and The Metabarons (Jodorowsky, Gimenez) and internationally renowned creators, including Milo Manara and Jose Ladronn, Humanoids will make a bold break from tradition with its new endeavor. Launching on April 4th, the Life Drawn imprint will publish graphic novels featuring deeply personal and powerful political narratives; these are stories grounded in life on earth, not among the stars.

Life Drawn’s debut season features titles representing a wide spectrum of art styles, tone, and social and cultural perspectives:

Kabul Disco: How I Managed Not to Be Abducted in Afghanistan by Nicolas Wild
Publication date: April 4, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594658686; 160 Pages; $19.95
LIFE DRAWN debuts with the first volume of a satire-laced travel memoir by cartoonist Nicolas Wild about his experiences in Afghanistan, drawing an adaptation of of the Afghan constitution. Wild provides insights into international politics, a war-ravaged country and the lives of his fellow expatriates. In a dazzling passage, Wild explores the fragile state of American democracy through the story of a woman who was working for the Bush campaign in 2000 and was responsible for vote counting in one of Florida’s three counties, ultimately making the fateful phone call that helped swing the election. Acclaimed cartoonist Guy Delisle (Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea) declares that Wild’s “satirical and at times absurdist perspective plunges us into the daily life of a group of expatriates in the heart of Kabul, a city still reeling from the last war. His witty sense of humor makes him an excellent travel companion.” Book Two will be published in September.

Vietnamese Memories: Leaving Saigon by award-winning writer and artist Clément Baloup
Publication date: May 29, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594656583; 164 Pages; $19.95
The first of a three-volume testimonial to the courage and endurance of five different families displaced from their native country by war and colonialism and forced to assimilate in unfamiliar lands, watching their heritage slowly disappear. As Doan Hoang, the award-winning director of Oh, Saigon, says in her introduction of Book One, “History is mostly told by the privileged and powerful, and rarely by those who are most affected. . . . In this sumptuously beautiful and important graphic novel, you will intimately bear witness to what so few in the world have been privy to.”

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel, Adapted by‎ Mariko Tamaki (This One Summer)
Publication date: June 20, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594656439; 272 Pages; $29.95
A queer transformative tale about self-acceptance and sexuality, written and illustrated by Carole Maurel and adapted by national bestseller Mariko Tamaki, Caldecott Award–winning creator of This One Summer. A disillusioned photographer has a chance encounter with her lost teenage self who has miraculously traveled into the future. Together, both women ultimately discover who they really are, finding the courage to live life by being true to themselves. The book will be published in June, timed to Pride Month.

Madame Cat by Nancy Peña
Publication date: July 4, 2018; ISBN: 978-1594658136; 128 pages; $12.95
Hilarious vignettes presenting the love, laughter and frustrations of a pet who thinks she’s an owner! With narrative mastery, creator Nancy Peña brings us bite-sized sketches that appeal to cat lovers of all ages.