Fantagraphics is one of two brave publishers willing to take a stand against the Stop Online Piracy Act (and we’ll be doing this for that other publisher too). They put out some great books and here’s a few suggestions of books I think people coming to this site would be interested in, ones I’ve purchased myself and/or ones that have gotten a lot of praise from others.
21: The Story of Roberto Clemente
The biographical 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a human drama of courage, faith and dignity, inspired by the life of baseball star Roberto Clemente.
No other baseball player dominated the 1960s like Roberto Clemente and no other Latin American player achieved his numbers. Born in 1934 in Puerto Rico, Clemente excelled in track and field and loved baseball. By the age of 17 he was playing in the PR Winter league. Spotted by the big-league scouts because of his hitting, fielding, and throwing abilities, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1954. A fierce competitor, within two seasons he was hitting above .300 consistently. He played like a man possessed, fielding superbly, unleashing his rifle arm, and hitting in clutch situations. Despite his aesthetic brilliance, he faced prejudice throughout his career and was given his due only after his unexpected and tragic death in a 1972 plane crash.
Why I Like It: This graphic novel has gotten nothing but praise making numerous lists as to one of the best comics last year.
Is this the end of the world? How did it happen? Why did it happen? There is one man who knows…
Take a walk with the dazed survivors of a mysterious worldwide catastrophe. They are bound for a place, somewhere in the desert, where a terrible truth awaits them.
This is the full-color, unadulterated horror graphic novel that Sala fans have been waiting for. This nightmarish story combines classic and modern horror themes and genres with a unique twist, and Sala’s painted artwork has never looked better (or more gruesome).
Why I Like It: Nothing wrong with a good apocalypse story.
The Last Rose of Summer
With the Great Depression looming and about to define America’s next decade, three strong-minded women related by marriage form an uneasy household in the summer of 1929. Forced by her husband Harry to uproot their two small children from Illinois and take up residence in East Texas, Marie Hennessey struggles to find a place not only within her mother-in-law’s home but in a Southern town whose troubling unfamiliarities compound her marital woes and homesickness.
Why I like it: A prose book with an interesting concept. Something in the description caught my attention, could be a nice read during the winter.
Estonia: A Ramble Through the Periphery
Any journey with Alexander Theroux is an education. Possessed of a razor-sharp and hyperliterate mind, he stands beside Thomas Pynchon as one of the sharpest cultural commentators of our time. So when he decided to accompany his wife — the artist Sarah Son-Theroux — on her Fulbright Scholarship to Estonia, it occasioned this penetrating examination of a country that, for many, seems alien and distanced from the modern world.
For Theroux, the country and its people become a puzzle. His fascination with their language, manners, and legacy of occupation and subordination lead him to a revelatory examination of Estonia’s peculiar place in European history. All the while, his trademark acrobatic allusions, quotations, and digressions — which take us from Hamlet through Jean Cocteau to Married… with Children — render his travels as much internal and psychical as they are external and physical. Through these obsessive references to Western culture, we come to appreciate how insular the country has become, yet also marvel at its fierce individuality and preternatural beauty — such is the skill of Theroux’s gaze.
This travelogue of his nine months abroad also brims with anecdotes of Theroux’s encounters with Estonian people and — in some of its most bitterly comedic episodes — his fellow Americans whom he at times feels more alienated from than the frosty, humorless Europeans.
Why I Like It: I’ve loved the graphic novel travelogues I’ve read. This prose version sounds just as amusing. Sign me up.
Oil and Water
When ten Oregonians travel to the Gulf Coast in August 2010 to plumb the devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon spill, they discover that “Oil and Water” is just the first of the insoluble contradictions. Between the tarred sands of Grand Isle and the fouled waters of the Louisiana bayou, they come to find out that Gulf Coast residents are economically dependent upon the very industry that is wreaking havoc on their environment. In the shadow of the greatest ecological disaster of our time, they are forced to reassess their roles as witness, critic and environmental steward.
In this 144-page graphic novel — written by Steve Duin, a columnist for The Oregonian, and illustrated by Eisner-winning New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler — readers will tour the shark-pocked beach at Grand Isle with the local head of Homeland Security; step aboard the crabbing boat of a 20-year-old Mississippian who works 16-hour days and spends his nights dreaming of M.I.T.; enter the “Hot Zone” where volunteers work desperately to save brown pelicans drenched in British petroleum; and hear shrimpers, Vietnamese and good ol’ boys alike, describe what happens to their livelihood when 200 million gallons of oil flood the scene. The readers’ perspective on what hope and what mission remains along a ravaged coastline, and one awash in both seafood and oil, will be changed as irrevocably as that of these ten Oregonians.
Why I like It: A first hand account in graphic novel form of the disaster was the Deepwater Horizon spill? Yes please. This is a no brainer for the politico in me.