Graphic novels and comics are a mainstay here at Sub-C, and we are always looking for the best, most interesting titles to read. Nobrow Press out of Shoreditch, London has, over the years, proved to be one of the best sources for compelling alternative titles and art in both their main line and children’s imprint, Flying Eye Books. We always are excited to see what new projects they have to offer each year and this year is no exception!
There are two fantastic new offerings this summer which are worth your time to check out, and have earned their spots on Sub-Cultured #Goodbooks list: The Spectators, from Victor Hussenot, and Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma. Both are eye-catching in their own ways and perfect books for two different lovers of comics and illustration.
The Spectators is a bonafide graphic novel, the first English language publication for the French writer and artist Victor Hussenot, who already has three graphic novels to his name in French. The Spectators is, as clued by its name, is all about spectators: about observation, memory, perception and self reflection. Moody but colorful geometric artwork is paired with sparse introspective ruminations about personal recollection and city life.
While the text and book as a whole may not be for everyone due to its level of abstraction, familiar sentiments about human nature make this book relatable enough to keep it from being too obtuse for most introspective readers. You don’t have to be a city dweller either to understand or fully appreciate it, those same elements keep it afloat outside of city life just fine.
What really shines is Hussenot’s use of color. Stylized palettes of particularly blues and purples with shots of red and orange, or strong combinations of primary colors dominate. The striking combos flatter the soft watercolor or gauche artwork. Overall the entire piece is reflective on the transient nature of people and life, but it’s not without its whimsy. The narrator shifts from person to person and takes identities off like a pair of boots or unzips them entirely like a costume. The transference of character is compelling to follow and well worth a read. Great for a quiet night.
Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma meanwhile, is a starkly different comic with a more friendly all-ages feel. Nobrow’s new edition of this fun fantasy-sports (no pun intended) romp is an expanded and hardbound version of a self published comic
now spruced up in full color.
The one-shot opens with a young mage, Wiz, late to an appointment at the The United and Ancient Order of Mages with the Archmage, where she seeks out a reassignment on her current internship. Turns out her partner, the burly raider, Mug,
The strange marriage between sports manga and magic-dungeon-crawling-treasure-hunters form a fun theme for the series. The title’s #1 indicates a future for further adventures (and we hope so!). It’s important to note that Wiz, the lead, is not only a girl, but also a character of color. Both identities are sorely needed in the comic world (which is getting more and more diverse) and thus her presence is extremely welcomed.
Style wise Bosma has a pleasing, dynamic “post-anime invasion” aesthetic that combines heavy Studio Ghibli influence with western artists like Herge and Jean Giraud through a Bryan Lee O’Malley Scott Pilgrim lens. Energetic coloring is a main draw, it was fun to see the color theme shift from page to page. Visually, it looks like it would adapt well to animation too, and we think it would be more than home alongside Cartoon Network cartoons such as Steven Universe (which means a lot to us) or beside an online series like Bee And Puppycat. This first adventure is more than enough for a solid pilot too (Hey CN call Bosma! We think you probably want him). We can’t wait to see more of this one.
See you guys in August for more #Goodbooks!
Got any #goodbooks we should know about? Tweet your #goodbooks to us on our twitter; @sub-cultured or at my twitter, @maxlikescomics!