The Fifth Beatle – Brian Epstein had no rock dreams of his own, he dreamed of maximising the talent of musicians he loved. Then he met the Beatles. A troubled man in a repressive era is convincingly brought to life by Vivek J. Tavary, Kyle Baker, Andrew Robinson and Dark Horse Books.
Haddon Hall – Ensconced in a gothic old pile in South London in 1970 David Bowie fills the house with musicians and friends, and piece by piece constructs the alter ego that would cement his success in Ziggy Stardust. Related in bite-sized episodes. Néjib and SelfMadeHero.
Hip Hop Family Tree – The history of hip hop from the early 1970s on in four volumes to date featuring all the major players and prersented in faux pulp style in oversize treasury editions by an enthusiast who relishes the research and listening. Tru dope. Ed Piskor and Fantagraphics Books.
Hot Jazz – Subtle social commentary, vibrant artistry, and anarchic storytelling feature in these very funny stories of Max Zillion, perenially exploited saxophonist, and his sax Alto Ego. On his day Emerson is without peer among British cartoonists. Hunt Emerson and Knockabout.
In the Pines – A wonderful exploration of the murder ballad, in which the lyrics of genre examples form the basis of gothic and disturbing extrapolations on the lyrics. Brought to life in cinematic fashion, the killers are sometimes the most sympathetic characters. Erik Kriek and Fantagraphics Books.
Krent Able’s Big Book of Mischief – The rocks stars and obscurities of the early 21st century are recast in scabrously amusing strips showing what they really get up to. imprssively varied art suited to the target and total hilarity seal the deal. Krent Able and Knockabout.
Me and the Devil Blues vol 1 – How difficult is it to convey music in comics form? It’s nailed here with a brilliant bar sequence. Based on the legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul at the crossroads for guitar talent, this opening volume is tense and moody. Akira Hiramoto and Del Ray Manga
Nick Cave: Mercy on Me – When Cave himself claims these stories are closer to the truth than any biography then the job’s been done. Disturbing stories based on song titles are matched with visual imagination. Reinhard Kleist and SelfMadeHero.
Phonogram: The Singles Club – Centring a story on a magician who draws on the power of music to perform his magic opens a discussion on just how affected we can be by the perfect tune. It’s expressive, unique and brilliant. Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Image Comics.
Punk Rock and Trailer Parks – A fictitious memoir of the effect punk rock had on disaffected youth in small cities across the USA. It’s dense, clever, heartfelt and deserves a far wider audience. Extra points for mythologising punk! Derf and SLG Publishing.