The Best of Enemies – The awkward relationship between the US and the Middle East over the past century is primarily founded on a desire for oil, but the difficulties, manipulation and distrust extend back well before the 20th century. It’s expertly picked apart by David B and SelfMadeHero.
The Cartoon History of the Universe – Not a joke, but a work of staggering ambition magnificently realised over three volumes before moving to the modern era. The cartooning is wonderful, the gags good and you’ll find something enlightening on every page. Larry Gonick and Doubleday.
Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland – Pekar was entwined with his home city of Cleveland, and in this posthumous publication he acts as tour guide to the city’s history, illuminating his surroundings and reprising elements of his own life. Harvey Pekar, Joseph Remnant and Top Shelf Publishing.
The Comic Book History of Comics – Why did no-one think of it before? Comics as the medium for transmitting its own history. Fair and incisive, satirical and tongue in cheek, even seasoned comic readers are likely to learn a lot. Fred Van Lente, Ryan Dunleavy and IDW.
Corpse Talk – A children’s strip where corpses of histocial personages are disinterred and subjected to interview might seem in poor taste, but it’s actually that magical panacea of good humoured and painless learning. For adults and children alike. Adam Murphy and David Fickling Books.
Filmish – A graphic journey through film that’s both personal memoir and elucidation, with the illustrating of film stills circumventing a fortune that would be spent in image licensing! Thought provoking commentary engraved on every page. Edward Ross and SelfMade Hero.
March – It’s not every day a US Senator sets out to write a graphic novel trilogy, and not every senator who’s been intimately entwined with events that changed and shaped the 20th century, forcing progress on civil rights. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell and Top Shelf Publishing.
Pax Romana – Fiction with a historical background as from a near future with Islam dominant, a papal sponsored team is sent back to the era of Constantine the great to ensure change. Intelligent, astute, layered and successful. Jonathan Hickman and Image Comics.
The Sacrifice – Using a protagonist’s coming of age as the peg on which to hang a story, this is a thorough exploration of Melbourne, and by extension Australia, during World War II. “A density and purpose unusual in Australian comics.” Bruce Mutard and Allen & Unwin.
Terra Australis – A piecing together of the life of Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, arriving on the ship carrying the first convicts transported there. A prodigious achievement enriched by vast social contextualistation. Laurent-Frédéric Bollée, Philippe Nicloux and SelfMadeHero.
Three – An immersion in the history of Ancient Greece. Buried in this often shocking adventure story are questions about roles and class structures in this deliberate mirror to the more famous tale of 300 brave Spartans. Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly and Image Comics.