New Comics at Dublin City Libraries

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New Comics We’re always getting new comics and graphic novels in to the libraries. One of the boons of working here is that I get to check out the new releases as soon as they come in. Personal taste is the greatest arbiter of what makes a “good” comic but these are a few of my recommendations from our stack of shiny, new books.

Middlewest
Middlewest

I’ve loved Skottie Young since I Hate Fairyland, so I jumped on this one when it arrived.

Middlewest is located in the American Midwest, sort of. It’s a fantastical, Oz/Wonderland version of the Midwest, with an uneasy, Neil Gaiman vibe that always suggests that something nasty is hiding beneath the surface. As the protagonist is an emotionally damaged kid, it’s not clear what’s real; everything is just slightly off, and the unreliability of the narration becomes a creative tool. The cause of his distress is ambiguous. Is the violent storm that chases him actually a totem for his abusive father? Are Middlewest and its zoomorphic inhabitants imaginary? As with any good allegorical writing, it is never clarified and, ultimately, it’s not important whether it’s accurate or not.

There’s a second volume of this on order for the libraries, so get your name down to be among the first to get it.

Bee and Puppycat
Bee and Puppycat

While we’re in the realm of magical realism, Bee and Puppycat is an intriguing proposition.

Drawn in a cutesy style, it features Puppycat; a half cat/half dog hybrid that acquires temp jobs for Bee, a young woman who is struggling to adjust to adult life. This series began life as a Kickstarter funded web series created by Natasha Allegri. She oversaw this comic spin-off too. Each of the 10 episodes in this volume is written and drawn by a different person so the art and tone vary greatly from one story to the next.

Like the strawberry doughnuts that often feature in the series, Bee and Puppycat is light, airy, and fun, but lacks anything to get your teeth into. It might be better if you’re a fan of the series.

Louis Undercover
Louis Undercover

Crashing back into reality with a sickening thump, Louis Undercover is the latest book from Fanny Britt. The art by Isabelle Arsenault is deliberately childish, like a picture book, but the subject matter would drive any toddler to tears.

Louis’ father drinks too much wine and cries himself to sleep. His mother is in denial about the collapse of their marriage. Louis himself is in the thrall of the beautiful Billie. He sees her every day at school but lacks the courage to talk to her. The only light in Louis’ life is his little brother, the adorable Truffle.

Louis Undercover fits perfectly into my view of French art. Like the nouvelle vague and cinema verité, it is grounded, realistic, fatalist, and bleak. Throw on The Cure’s ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’ while reading this by candlelight, and you will agree that life is pain, and all endeavour is futile. I am just thinking what a depressing read this is, when I turn the page and see the chapter title, “Truffle’s Accident”. My heart sinks.

There is some respite from the darkness, and the possibility of hope in the ending but even though Louis Undercover is moving, emotional, and touches on universal truths, I won’t be picking it up again until I’ve sufficiently recovered from this first read of it.

Worldcon and the Hugo Awards

WorldCon
In comic related news, I’ll be at Worldcon this weekend (Aug 15-19, 2019) at the Dublin City Libraries stand. We’ll be livetweeting the event and plugging our comics app.

Hugo Logo
So come along and say hi, and tell us what you think should win Best Graphic Story at Sunday’s Hugo Awards!

Marc, Library Assistant
Dublin City Libraries

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