There’s More to European Comics Than SciFi and Fantasy Babes

Humanoids, best known for publishing the works of Moebius, Milo Manara, and Jodorowsky in English (as well as bringing back Barbarella), is branching out from the typical European science fiction and fantasy graphic novels. Life Drawn is a new literary imprint dedicated to “deeply personal stories that run the gamut from political travelogues to coming-of-age and coming-out stories”; it also marks the company’s 20th anniversary of publishing in the US.

The first four books are as follows, although I’m most excited about one promised but not yet scheduled about the life of Hedy Lamarr, movie star and technologist. I’m glad to see more diverse subject matter coming to our shores, to demonstrate a fuller range of European comics and graphic novels.

Kabul Disco: How I Managed Not to Be Abducted in Afghanistan by Nicolas Wild

Kabul Disco: How I Managed Not to Be Abducted in Afghanistan
April 4, 2018; 160 Pages; $19.95
The first volume of a satire-laced travel memoir by cartoonist Nicolas Wild about his experiences in Afghanistan in 2005, 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. Wild brilliantly 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.

Book 2, How I Managed Not to Get Addicted to Opium in Afghanistan, will be out in September.

Vietnamese Memories: Leaving Saigon by Clément Baloup

Vietnamese Memories: Leaving Saigon
May 29, 2018; 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. Each story by Clément Baloup follows the journey of a family member as they must leave everything behind, adapt to a new country and culture, and live with the nostalgia of their homeland and their people.

Volume 2, Little Saigon, is due out in November.

Luisa: Now and Then by Carole Maurel

Luisa: Now and Then
June 20, 2018; 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.

At 32, Luisa encounters her 15-year-old self in this sensitive, bold story about self-acceptance and sexuality. Single, and having left behind her dream to become a renowned photographer, she is struggling to find out who she is and what she wants. In order to help and guide her younger self, she must finally face herself and her past. When Luisa finds herself attracted to a female neighbor, things become even more complicated… Insightful and funny, this is a feel-good coming-of-age story.

Madame Cat by Nancy Peña

Madame Cat
July 4, 2018; 128 pages; $12.95
Hilarious vignettes presenting the love, laughter, and frustrations of a pet who thinks she’s an owner! Whether she’s tearing up clothes, spilling ink on the carpet, or filling the air with stinky tuna-breath, Madame is both wonderfully frustrating and endearingly whimsical. With narrative mastery, creator Nancy Peña brings us bite-sized sketches that appeal to cat lovers of all ages.

A bit of a departure from the other books in the line, but pet stories are usually successful, because everyone loves their animals.

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