Abel – A heartfelt observational work of great sensitivity deserving far wider recognition than it ever received. It digs into the underbelly of American rural life in the 1940s as seen by a twelve year old farm boy. William Harms, Mark Bloodworth and AIT/Planet Lar.
Basil and Victoria: London Guttersnipes – Don’t let the fact that this is about children breed a false expectation of sentimentality. It wasn’t present in Victorian Britain, and its absent here. The characters develop over a combined translation of four French volumes. Yann, Edith and Humanoids.
Blade of the Immortal – Stunning long form drama where the moral high ground consistently shifts, as we learn more about the cast, their views, and their pupose. Everything starts with the lone warrior Manji, and his remarkable self-healing capacity. Hiroaki Samura and Dark Horse Manga.
Bluesman – Excellently crafted drama about what life was like for an itinerant African-American musician in the 1930s. Poignant, horrific and as with the blues, tragedy is only ever a few bars away. Magnificnetly observed. Rob Vollmar, Pablo G. Callejo and NBM Publishing.
Cape Horn – Hardbound collection combining all four volumes of this glorious and richly illustrated historical adventure. A remote and desolate landscape at the tip of South America plays host to man against nature and against himself. Christian Perrisson, Enea Riboldi and Humanoids.
Gone to Amerikay – Three inter-woven tales of Irish immigrants to the USA in 1870, 1960 and 2010, each superbly integrated into their times, and with a mystery that links them all. Highly illustrative art and deft characterisation. Derek McCulloch, Colleen Doran and Vertigo.
The Manara Library Vol 1 – Includes Indian Summer Manara’s masterful collaboration with Hugo Pratt set in the early days of colonial USA, and Manara’s own eccentric Western The Paper Man, both exquisitely illustrated by a master. Milo Manara and Dark Horse Books.
The Marquis of Anaon: The Beast – The strongest of five good tales of a 17th century French adventurer, here mulling over previous events as he hunts a monster in the Alpine lowlands. Superstition butts up against reality in a contemplative tale. Fabien Vehlmann, Matthieu Bonhomme and Cinebook.
On the Ropes – Poignancy and humanism in Depression era America in a remarkable sequel published 28 years after Kings in Disguise. It follows the fortunes of Fred Bloch, now older and more experienced, but no nearer to having a roof over his head. James Vance, Dan Burr, and W.W. Norton.
Sherlock Holmes Year One – Yes there’s a gimmick quality, but any concerns vanish on reading this well plotted account of Sherlock’s early years, invesitgating a series of murders strangely based on the deaths of Roman Caesars. Rest assured, he’s already insufferable. Scott Beatty, Daniel Indro and IDW.