In Rachael Ball's new graphic novel, Wolf, a young boy finds his life turned upside down by a tragic accident. Desperate to return to happier days, six-year-old Hugo draws up plans for a time machine. But only his neighbour - a child-eating recluse, according to the boy next door - has the parts Hugo needs to complete the contraption.
Illustrated in evocative, intimate pencils, Wolf is a captivating and poignant exploration of family, grief and that blend of the everyday and the fantastical that is childhood.
It's also a beautiful object. Feast your eyes on this:
Rachael Ball is a cartoonist who began her career as a contributor to Deadline in the late '80s. Her debut graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman, was judged by The Guardian to be one of the best graphic books of 2015, while The Telegraph called it "inspiring, poignant and wonderfully unconventional".
Rachael Ball's work featured in the House of Illustration's "Comix Creatrix" show and, more recently, in "The Inking Woman" exhibition at the Cartoon Museum. She also coordinates the London branch of graphic novel forum Laydeez do Comics.
Kate Evans, the author of the excellent Threadsand Red Rosa,has called Wolf "an ethereal, subtle, haunting fable. Rachael Ball has created a time machine. It's a nostalgic step back to a bygone age, but one which speaks to our present and future with eternal themes of love and loss."
Wolf is out now and available from all good book shops.
This weekend, we're heading to Kendal for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF). With guests including Seth, Ian Rankin and Victoria Lomasko, this year's event promises to be bigger and better than ever.
We'll be laying out our wares in Kendal Town Hall alongside many other fine creators and publishers of comics and graphic novels. And joining us in the Comics Clock Tower will be two very special guests, David Hine and Mark Stafford, who'll be signing copies of their latest graphic novel: Lip Hook. This breathtaking "tale of rural unease" will be available for the first time at LICAF.
Hine and Stafford's latest graphic novel is set in Lip Hook, a small British village that lies at the end of a neglected byway. For its inhabitants, Lip Hook is more than the end of the road – it’s the end of the world. Beyond it, there is nothing but mist-shrouded marshland.
One day, two fugitives emerge from the fog, seeking refuge at the Hanged Man Inn: a dangerously beautiful woman and a man with a gunshot wound and a suitcase full of treasure. As the disruptive outsiders’ influence grows, a false faith grips the community, returning its followers to ancient ways and resurrecting a secret history perhaps best forgotten...
Further reading: chronicler of comics John Freeman has profiled David Hine (here) and Mark Stafford (here) ahead of their appearance at LICAF.
"This is really the best way to enjoy Lovecraft." So said Boing Boingafter reading I.N.J. Culbard's adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. It's true: Culbard's brilliantly pacy adaptations give terrifying form to H.P. Lovecraft's weird fiction.
At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Out of Time and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath have also been given the graphic novel treatment, and now all four adaptations are available in a single, seriously handsome hardbound volume: LOVECRAFT.
Whether you're looking for a Halloween treat or you'd just like to replace your dog-eared paperback versions, LOVECRAFT is the thing. And if you're quick, you could even have a signed and sketched copy delivered to your door courtesy of Nottingham's Page 45 - just go here.
Here's what to expect from this 520-page monster:
So, if the cold weather is getting you down, find solace in unspeakable horror. Buy LOVECRAFT.
Plus, they'll be speaking on a panel, Graphic Novels That Make History, on Saturday 6th October at 14:30 (location: 1C03). Chaired by New York Magazine writer Abraham Riesman, it will also feature graphic novelists Peter Tomasi (The Bridge), Nathan Hale (Lafayette!) Ted Fox and James Otis Smith (Showtime at the Apollo) and Mikaël (Giant). They'll discuss what's current in the world of non-fiction graphic novels - and what might come next.
Fitch and Baker's own non-fiction graphic novel, illustrated by Mike Collins,tells the breathtaking story of the Apollo 11 mission. It does a brilliant job of capturing the moments of high drama and astonishing risk. But it is also a fascinating insight into the lives of three men who, in the most extraordinary of circumstances, are separated from their families and loved ones.
Scientific American praised Fitch, Baker and Collins for their retelling of the "suspense-filled" story: "They convey surprising depth and emotion, as well as rich historical details of the era. The book explores the political tension around the space program at the time, the nerve-wracking anxiety experienced by the families of the crew, and the heart-stopping moments of the mission that proved to be such a milestone."
As the Kaiser Chiefs once said, "everything is brilliant in Leeds". But Thought Bubble, the UK's biggest comic art festival, is especially great. The 2018 event takes place this weekend - and this year, we're going all out.
I.N.J. Culbard: 10:00-13:00 John Harris Dunning: 14:00-17:00 Julian Hanshaw & Krent Able: 14:00-17:00 Matt Fitch, Chris Baker and Mike Collins: 10:00-11:30
Sunday 23rd September
I.N.J. Culbard: 14:00-17:00 John Harris Dunning: 10:00-13:00 Julian Hanshaw & Krent Able: 10:00-13:00 Matt Fitch, Chris Baker and Mike Collins: 14:00-17:00
But that's not all, folks. If you want an insight into the creative process, look no further than these two festival events:
Event #1 | Q&A: Krent Able & Julian Hanshaw
When: Saturday, 13:00-13:50 Where: Carriageworks Studio Theatre, LS2 3AD
In I Feel Machine, six award-winning comics artists, among them Shaun Tan, Tillie Walden and Box Brown, explore the strange interplay between humanity and technology. Co-editors Krent Able and Julian Hanshaw will discuss the anthology with Jimmy Aquino of Comic News Insider.
Event #2 | Q&A: Matt Fitch, Chris Baker & Mike Collins
When: Sunday, 13:00-13:50 Where: Carriageworks Studio Theatre, LS2 3AD
In Apollo, Matt Fitch, Chris Baker and Mike Collins tell the remarkable story of three men who flew through the void - just to know that we could. The three creators will talk to Comic News Insider's Jimmy Aquino about reimagining one of the most well documented events in human history.
And if that weren't enough, how about this for a fringe event:
Beer Launch | Rocket Fuel
When OK Comics asked if we were happy for them to collaborate with Northern Monk on an Apollo-themed beer, the response was an emphatic yes. When Mike Collins suggested it be called Rocket Fuel, at least one member of the SelfMadeHero team thought he was joking.
He wasn't. And on Saturday night it launches. Join us at OK Comics, 19 Thornton’s Arcade, LS1 6LQ at 7pm for a can of the newest and most beautifully packaged pale ale on the market. It's as good as it looks, and better than it sounds.
Thecreators of Apollo will be signing both beer cans and books throughout the evening.
Quite a lot to look forward to, then. Now to pack up the van. See you in Leeds!