One of the joys of doing this semi-regular feature, scouring through catalogs, is every so often you come across a real jewel, or at least something that makes you sit up and take notice. For example, looking through HarperCollins’s fall/winter line-up I discovered some rather interesting titles and one real notable graphic novel amidst the plethora of manga spin-offs. To wit:
• The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part 2 From the Bastille to Baghdad by Larry Gonick. I had completely forgotten that this was coming out. Gonick finally wraps up his six volume chronicle of the entirety of mankind’s (and, really, the planet’s) history in this final book. Gonick is really one of the comics industry’s most underrated treasures and it would really behoove us all to pay more attention to his output. Possible contender for book of the year? Yes, I think so. (Ps: Gonick has samples at that above link) 272 pages, paperback. On sale Oct. 16.
• Komodo Manga: Super Cute! by the Kamikaze Factory Studio. “From the highly respected Kamikaze Factory Studio comes Kodomo Manga, the ultimate guide to drawing the kawaii (cute) manga found in cartoons, video games, advertising, and fashion designs around the world.” 384 pages, on sale Sept. 22.
• Heads On and We Shoot The Making of Where the Wild Things Are, From the Editors of McSweeney’s Introduction by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers Screenplay by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers. OK, definitely not comics, but still will likely have some crossover appeal. Of all the WtWTA tie-ins, this seems the most interesting, maybe just because McSweeney’s is involved. 240 pages, on sale Oct. 13.
• A Kidnapped Santa Claus by Alex Robinson and L. Frank Baum;
The Gift of the Magi by Joel Priddy and O. Henry;
The Fir Tree by Lilli Carre.
Now here’s something interesting. HC’s It Books imprint has gotten three indie comics artists (with three very diverse styles) to adapt three classic Christmas tales for a new series entitled Evergreen: Stories of Christmas. I’ll be very curious to see what sort of response these titles get and how HarperCollins decides to market them. On sale Nov. 3.
• 50 Things to Do with a Book (Now That Reading Is Dead) by Bruce McCall. The New Yorker humorist and cartoonist offers some suggestions as to what to do with your library once everything goes digital. On sale Oct. 27.
• Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman and Brett Helquist. Moving onto the children’s book line, we see the newest title from the guy responsible for “Goodnight Giant Penny.” Again, it’s not comics, but considering Gaiman just won the Newberry Award, I imagine this fantasy story of a boy who rescues a bear will get a good deal of attention. Plus, Helquist is a really top-notch illustrator (he did the illustrations for the Lemony Snicket books). 128 pages, on sale Sept. 22.
• Avalon High: Coronation #3: Hunter’s Moon by Meg Cabot. Illustrated by Jinky Coronado. “The thrilling conclusion to Meg Cabot’s Avalon High manga trilogy!” That’s their words, not mine. 160 pages, on sale Sept. 1
• Warriors Manga Box Set: Graystripe’s Adventure By Erin Hunter Illustrated by James Barry. The first trilogy in the Tokyopop manga spin-offs of the popular series of novels about feral cats is collected in a box set. Don’t laugh, it’s really popular with the kids.
• Vampire Kisses: Blood Relatives, Volume III By Ellen Schreiber Illustrated by Elisa Kwon. Now that Claude and his fearless gang have been tricked out of the blood-filled vials that would turn them into full-fledged vampires, Claude will stop at nothing to find the real vials. When Claude teams up with Raven’s longtime nemesis, Trevor, invitations soon go out for a vampire-themed masquerade party. Could Claude be threatening to turn all of the students at Dullsville High into vampires? 192 pages, on sale Sept. 29.
• Warriors: Ravenpaw’s Path #1: Shattered Peace By Erin Hunter Illustrated by James Barry. More comics about cats. look, I told you to stop laughing already! 112 pages, on sale Nov. 24.