Tag Archives: Graphic memoir

IDW Publishing Announces Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band

Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band

You’ve heard the hit song “Come and Get Your Love” in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, but the story of the band behind it is one of cultural, political, and social importance. This September, IDW Publishing presents Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band — an intriguing, historically accurate telling of the high-flying career of rock ‘n’ roll pioneers and talented brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas, as they influenced The Doors, jammed with Jimmy Hendrix before he was “Jimi,” and took the 1960s Sunset Strip by storm.

Written by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni in cooperation of the Vegas family and illustrated by Thibault BalahyRedbone uncovers key pieces of American history and the powerful story of the Native American civil rights movement, from the creation of the first rock ‘n’ roll band made up of all Native Americans, to the incorporation of tribal beats into chart-topping rock music and popular culture, to the members of the band taking a stand for their ancestry over continued commercial reward.

Timed with the English Language release in September, IDW welcomes the Redbone graphic novel into the company’s comprehensive Spanish Language publishing initiative with the release of Redbone: la Verdadera Historia de una Banda de Rock Nativa Americana, expanding the accessibility of this culturally and politically important story to Spanish-speaking communities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Review: In Vitro

In Vitro

In Vitro is a sweet, funny French graphic memoir by cartoonist William Roy about him and his wife’s quest to have a child via in vitro fertilization. What follows is an emotional, educational, and sometimes downright hilarious look at the IVF process. Guillaume (The protagonist) and Emma deal with all kinds of doctors with weird bedside manners, all kinds of invasive medical procedure, their friends and families, and the comic’s biggest subplot: Guillaume’s strained relationship with his biological father, Jean-Pierre.

In Vitro is rendered with a light, cartoonish touch from Roy, who has a background in documentary filmmaking, and agilely transfers this skill set to comics. This is evident in Guillaume using cinema to make sense of stressful situations like a memory of falling in love with movies when his dad took him to Empire Strikes Back when he was a child to an IVF doctor reminding him of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry.

The cinematic influence is most seen in some of the techniques that Roy uses to tell the story like a kind of Super 8, reel to reel panel layouts to show how he fell in love with his wife Emma, and later on, to show how he lost touch with his father. The color palette is the difference is the scene with Roy choosing a more romantic palette for the love story and a dark, melodramatic one for the father/son story. The shift in panel style also signals to the reader that these sequences add important context and layers to In Vitro‘s key relationships: Guillaume and Emma and Guillaume and his father.

On the flip side, Roy is also a master of storytelling in a single image. Think New Yorker single panel cartoon, not a superhero splash page, or God forbid, Family Circus. He uses a lot of white space on these pages, which boosts the importance of the art in the scene. Sometimes, Roy even drops the dialogue out like when he draws a panel of the sterile container with his semen at the doctor’s office, hoping, that this time it will lead to a viable embryo and then a child. Other times, he uses it to emphasis a plot point, like a cliffhanger in a serial comic, like when his dad sends him an email: his first contact in 20 years.

William Roy’s sense of humor in In Vitro is what endeared me to his work and to this book. His first great gag in the comic is when Guillaume sees a doctor holding something that looks like rosary beads in spectacularly awkward scene at his and Emma’s first IVF appointment. An intern is present so Guillaume is definitely feeling uncomfortable, and that feeling is tripled when he finds out that what he thought were rosary beads is a medical device that is used to measure his testicles. Roy finds the funny, surreal in all of it, and makes quite a few masturbation jokes as Guillaume and Emma deal with rude, incompetent doctors and finally find someone good ones thanks to his surprisingly compassionate boss at the TV network where he works as a film editor. Also, he goes into full cartoon mode every time he explains the medical context of the story and even creates a silly, exasperated doctor character to deliver the exposition in an amusing way.

Speaking of the boss, William Roy, for the most part, avoids stock character types in his storytelling in In Vitro and instead revels in the idiosyncracy of human nature. One gynecologist seems sleazy, not making eye contact while he converses with while an anesthesiologist is a terse, bundle of nerves quickly asking Emma what kind of anesthesia she would like during the IVF process. To go with the cinematic elements again, Roy is a skilled cast director, picking the right character actors to people the halls, offices, and corridors of the clinics and hospitals that Guillaume and Emma find themselves at.

William Roy is vulnerable, funny, and turns in some great sequential storytelling In Vitro showing a real mastery of layout, color palette, and having symbolism tie into the story instead of just having it to make him look clever. He can do both sad (Guillaume looking at the kids with their parents on the playground.) and wacky (Guillaume as a sperm) and is a cartoonist who I would definitely want to see more of.

Story: William Roy Art: William Roy
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Humanoids/Life Drawn provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleBookshop

Review: In Vitro

In Vitro

In Vitro is a sweet, funny French graphic memoir by cartoonist William Roy about him and his wife’s quest to have a child via in vitro fertilization. What follows is an emotional, educational, and sometimes downright hilarious look at the IVF process. Guillaume (The protagonist) and Emma deal with all kinds of doctors with weird bedside manners, all kinds of invasive medical procedure, their friends and families, and the comic’s biggest subplot: Guillaume’s strained relationship with his biological father, Jean-Pierre.

In Vitro is rendered with a light, cartoonish touch from Roy, who has a background in documentary filmmaking, and agilely transfers this skill set to comics. This is evident in Guillaume using cinema to make sense of stressful situations like a memory of falling in love with movies when his dad took him to Empire Strikes Back when he was a child to an IVF doctor reminding him of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry.

The cinematic influence is most seen in some of the techniques that Roy uses to tell the story like a kind of Super 8, reel to reel panel layouts to show how he fell in love with his wife Emma, and later on, to show how he lost touch with his father. The color palette is the difference is the scene with Roy choosing a more romantic palette for the love story and a dark, melodramatic one for the father/son story. The shift in panel style also signals to the reader that these sequences add important context and layers to In Vitro‘s key relationships: Guillaume and Emma and Guillaume and his father.

On the flip side, Roy is also a master of storytelling in a single image. Think New Yorker single panel cartoon, not a superhero splash page, or God forbid, Family Circus. He uses a lot of white space on these pages, which boosts the importance of the art in the scene. Sometimes, Roy even drops the dialogue out like when he draws a panel of the sterile container with his semen at the doctor’s office, hoping, that this time it will lead to a viable embryo and then a child. Other times, he uses it to emphasis a plot point, like a cliffhanger in a serial comic, like when his dad sends him an email: his first contact in 20 years.

William Roy’s sense of humor in In Vitro is what endeared me to his work and to this book. His first great gag in the comic is when Guillaume sees a doctor holding something that looks like rosary beads in spectacularly awkward scene at his and Emma’s first IVF appointment. An intern is present so Guillaume is definitely feeling uncomfortable, and that feeling is tripled when he finds out that what he thought were rosary beads is a medical device that is used to measure his testicles. Roy finds the funny, surreal in all of it, and makes quite a few masturbation jokes as Guillaume and Emma deal with rude, incompetent doctors and finally find someone good ones thanks to his surprisingly compassionate boss at the TV network where he works as a film editor. Also, he goes into full cartoon mode every time he explains the medical context of the story and even creates a silly, exasperated doctor character to deliver the exposition in an amusing way.

Speaking of the boss, William Roy, for the most part, avoids stock character types in his storytelling in In Vitro and instead revels in the idiosyncracy of human nature. One gynecologist seems sleazy, not making eye contact while he converses with while an anesthesiologist is a terse, bundle of nerves quickly asking Emma what kind of anesthesia she would like during the IVF process. To go with the cinematic elements again, Roy is a skilled cast director, picking the right character actors to people the halls, offices, and corridors of the clinics and hospitals that Guillaume and Emma find themselves at.

William Roy is vulnerable, funny, and turns in some great sequential storytelling In Vitro showing a real mastery of layout, color palette, and having symbolism tie into the story instead of just having it to make him look clever. He can do both sad (Guillaume looking at the kids with their parents on the playground.) and wacky (Guillaume as a sperm) and is a cartoonist who I would definitely want to see more of.

Story: William Roy Art: William Roy
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Humanoids/Life Drawn provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir HC

Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir HC

Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Margaux Motin
Artist: Margaux Motin
Cover Artist: Margaux Motin
Price: $24.99

At age thirty-five Margaux’s life is full of upheaval and unexpected twists and turns. She’s divorced, raising a child on her own, and trying to get back on her feet in today’s fast-paced world. When romance eventually returns, it takes on the most unexpected shape . . . in that of her best friend! Could things possibly get more complicated?!

Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir follows cartoonist Margaux Motin through one of the most transformative periods of her life as she navigates her own heartbreak and subsequent hope with unabashed wit and charm.

Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir HC

Review: I Was Their American Dream

I Was Their American Dream

Existing in a “hyphen” is a central part of everyone’s existence in America. It’s even more so around the world. Japan, through Naomi Osaka, showed the world how much African Japanese citizens are embraced by their country but revealed more about the world to Japan and those who watched her. The world has not progressed more than what it would like to believe by the media’s use of adjectives when describing the Tennis phenom.

This should not be a surprise. Years before, the world exposed how different cultures viewed Black men in powerful positions, with President Obama. Despite his many successes, he was seen not only by pundits from the other political parties but also by certain countries as inferior. They avoided actually saying those words, but did it through “dog whistles” and allusions. The famous Filipino American historian, Kevin Nadal, calls them  “microaggressions.”

Both Osaka and  Obama are products of two cultures, what the Japanese call Hapa. Spanish cultures including those colonized by the Spaniards, like the Philippines, are called, “mestizo” or “moreno.” My children, many of my friends,  and myself, all children born of two cultures, grew up celebrating our kaleidoscope of cultures. How lucky we were to be “of” both. In the world we all live in now there’s a shameful need to have to hide these traits in fear of being ostracized or harassed.

What most people don’t get about being a child of immigrants is that we feel we don’t need to choose between the two. We see ourselves as both and the one thing, even if they don’t say it, is that we are the hopes and dreams of our parents, no matter where they came from.

In Malaka Gharib’s entertaining and true to life, I Was Their American Dream, we find one such protagonist whose existence within the hyphen proves for a life more interesting than most.

We open on the author explaining to the audience the hierarchy of her family, and who they are to her, as she grew without both her parents not living on the same roof. She earnestly shows us who her mother is, how and why she came , as the rule of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, made many Filipinos flee to other countries like Canada and America, as Malaka’s mother was in the same predicament as her grandfather, her Lolo, whom she called Tatay, as she would be the first, and would send for the rest of her family members once she got settled. Her father, had a different path to the come to the U.S. from Cairo, Egypt, as a teenager, he was obsessed with American movies, as they inspired him, enough that he had a plan to go there. As they met like so many love stories start, working together, as her father was the night manager at the Best Western where they both worked and bonded over movies. They got married six months after their first date and had Malaka a year after they married.

Eventually, their differences would outweigh their love for each other, leading them to divorce, as they realized they were by far from the dreams they had for themselves if they stayed together. As the reality that Malaika, grew up with, is one familiar to those who lived with immigrant parents, as what most Americans were used to giving like allowances and parents playing sports with them, as it was simply an American fantasy to many of us. As both her parents got remarried, she ended having more siblings, firstly from her mother, who gave birth to her sister, Min Min, and her father ended up moving back to Cairo, where he got a job a big hotel chain there and remarried. Who and what she got exposed to culturally, learned more in one direction, but as every child whose parents come from two different faiths, her adolescent life became that much more confusing as her mother was Catholic and her father was Muslim, where she had to pray to God and Allah. As both religions, had their own customs and rites to becoming one, often leaving our protagonist contradicting one over the other and complicated for her at the same time.

Malaka, had a unique living situation, her parents made a deal, during the school year, she would live with her mother and in the summers, she would stay with her Dad and his new family in Cairo. As she found Egypt, surprisingly fun, as the homelife there was different but easier than back in California, as she found one of her most important relationships, with her stepmother, Hala, her stepmother, who she found a connection, though in a different maternal way. Meanwhile, back in high school, she struggled with her identity, as she got the dread question , most of us of mixed heritage usually hear at some point, “What Are You?”, this being further complicated by the fact she loved pop culture, especially shows like Felicity, which caused many of her classmates to label her “poser” and “whitewashed”, because they thought she was acting white. Eventually, she would find her own tribe and would use what made her unique, to college, Syracuse University, where she truly found herself.

When she graduated, she entered the workforce, and heeded the words of her Tito Maro, her Mom’s brother, as it was something more than what her uncle was able to see, as Hasan Minhaj pointed out in his Netflix special, Homecoming King, “the tax for coming to America”, but has generation and Malaka’s , these “microaggressions” were rampant amongst her coworkers and even, her friends. Eventually, she would meet her husband, Darren, who her parents loved and were both there for her wedding.

By book’s end, Malaka returns to Egypt with her husband, remembering visiting her Dad when she was younger and how this land and the Philippines, is part of her and would be for her children.

Overall, a penetrating memoir that’s leaves nothing on the cutting room floor, giving a rarely told insight into life as a multi-hyphenate. The stories by Gharib are heartfelt, honest, funny, and relevant. The art by Gharib is warm, inviting, and lovely. Altogether, an excellent graphic chronicle which shows that what makes you unique, is truly what makes you beautiful.

Story: Malaka Gharib Art: Malaka Gharib
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: One Dirty Tree

Noah Van Sciver‘s graphic memoir exploring his life as a child juxtaposed with his turning 30. It’s a fascinating look into his family life including his Mormon upbringing.

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle

Uncivilized Books provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda)

Superman Isn't Jewish (But I Am… Kinda)

When it comes to representation, children look for it in some of the most interesting of places.  I remember growing up watching Saturday morning cartoons and being able to identify with Tonto in the Lone Ranger cartoon. It wasn’t because I felt I was the good best friend or the sidekick to anyone but just because he was Brown like me. I look back at how I first tried to identify with characters that look like me and see now just how marginalized society saw us even in fictional worlds. This affected my upbringing, as I realized then that I would never really be seen for all I could possibly be.

Fast forward to today. Those same children my age and the prevailing generations that came after felt this same pain until recently. The world has never monolith or monochromatic and entertainment has recently recognized that. Comics, books, tv shows and movies have “normalized” what the masses have been yearning for. In Jimmy Bemon ’s Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda), one such creator explores his identity through the prism of superheroes.

We are taken to Nice, France 1984, where a young boy, Benjamin, gets his first lesson Jewish identity from his father, who regals him with the ranks of famous people who just so happen to be Jewish, including Superman. This was a badge of honor. From the time his father let him know that Superman was Jewish, his appreciation for his faith and culture became that much more emboldened. He also in due course found out how being Jewish also made him different. And, like every kid, he just wants to fit in. He soon finds a friend, in Momo, who like Benjamin, hates to be ostracized because of his culture, so he adapted an Arabic identity versus his true nationality of Portuguese. The graphic novel follows Benjamin through his life as he explores his identity.

Overall, Superman Isn’t Jewish (But I Am… Kinda) is an impressive graphic memoir that explores self, religion, and pop culture. The story by Bemon is heartfelt, humorous, and relatable. The art by Emilie Boudet transports the reader to a different world. Altogether, it’s a story which gives readers affirmation that being different is a superpower.

Story: Jimmy Bemon Art: Emilie Boudet
Translation: Nanette McGuinness
Story: 10 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Kabul Disco Vol. 2 How I Managed Not to Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan

Kabul Disco Vol. 2: How I Managed Not to Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan

When it comes to epic books which can change the way you read, there is only a few in the great literary canon that can do that. Those of us who voraciously read books are constantly in search of that same feeling, every time we pick one up. If you’re lucky enough, you may get that feeling a few more times, and each time it gets better. I remember the first book that I felt spoke to me. It was Holler If You Hear Me by Nathan McCall, which was an autobiography of how it is to grow up with the hardships with being a man of color.

I would go on to find that feeling a few more times, with not only nonfiction books but also fiction books. One of those books being the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which is about a man who goes back home to war laden Iran to rescue his friend’s son. The book gave a view of that part of the world which is only known to most readers, when it came to their geopolitical issues. In Nicholas Wild’s Kabul Disco, we get a much in depth look at Afghanistan, and it’s one which is more interesting than the new media would paint it as.

It’s 2005. Nicolas Wild is a French cartoonist. He’s broke and about to be homeless. He’s a man without a plan. That is until destiny shows up in his inbox: a paid job… In Afghanistan! Kabul Disco explores the differences between the Afghan cultures around him and his own, as he and his fellow expat friends crash Asura celebrations, avoid the afterlife, and muse on the differences between Christian Easter egg hunts and Islamic penance.

In the graphic novel we meet Nicholas, a young French cartoonist, who gets a job in Kabul, Afghanistan, out of all places, which pushes him out of his comfort zone and expands his horizon. As he gets back in country, he soon finds his job has him covering the recent news rash about the nation’s war on opium or what looks to be one. The government looks to be active against the drug trade, which looks to be dangerous for anyone who has a dissenting opinion on the matter including Nicholas and his co-workers. Meanwhile, outside of work, he lives with a local family where he quickly finds out how the different sexes dined separately, the joys and struggles of being an expatriate, political protests, the inherent kindness of strangers, and the major differences between Islamic and Catholic customs. As Nicholas and his co-workers investigate deeper into the opium crisis, they soon find out the roots of how opium became so powerful and how it was affecting the election the country was having.

Overall, the graphic novel is a relevant and charming travel memoir that gives readers worldwide a view of a country most really knows about. The story by Wild is comical, touching, and illuminating. The art by Wild is unique and extraordinary. Altogether, it’s a graphic novel which will at the very least take readers away for a few hours to a place which only becomes more fascinating with Wild’s adventures.

Story: Nicholas Wild Art: Nicholas Wild
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Your First Look at Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir, an original graphic novel that depicts a modern approach to life, romance, and motherhood after divorce from the popular French cartoonist and illustrator, Margaux Motin, arriving in stores June 2019.

At age thirty-five, Margaux’s life is full of upheaval and unexpected twists and turns. She’s divorced, raising a child on her own, and trying to get back on her feet in today’s fast-paced world. Thankfully, she’s got her family, friends, and daughter to tell her exactly what they think at every turn. And when romance eventually returns it takes on the most unexpected shape . . . in that of her best friend! Could her life possibly get more complicated?!

Plate Tectonics: An Illustrated Memoir will be available for sale on June 26, 2019 at local comic book shops, and July 2, 2019 at bookstores.

Plate Tectonics cover

Review: I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation

Have you ever wondered what it was like to work in animation? To be a part of the Animation Guild? To look for a job, what the benefits are, and what are the negatives? Natalie Nourigat has all of that and more in her “how-to” graphic memoir, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation.

Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores January 1! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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