￼From Lone Mountain By John Porcellino
You can’t beat a good zine for personal stories, simply told. John Porcellino’s King-Cat, inspired by creators such as Linda Barry, was among the best of the zine scene for years, and on March 20 its material is published in this collection. There are many small slice-of-life stories, each one direct and observational; perhaps even banal at times. There are night skies and road trips, and among the most compelling is a weird little anecdote of breaking a razor and failing to shave properly. Left like that, it would be affecting, as zines often prove to be, and Porcellino even conducts some interesting experiments with comics, such as drawing out the experience with single words in panels, using a pleasing economy of line. But then he adds raw honesty. He suddenly drops in a page of prose about his relationship with his late father, and his grief. This is the comics medium at the height of its powers.
Red Winter By Anneli Furmark
Pick this one up and it’s guaranteed to be one of the most unusual graphic novels you’ve ever read. There’s political debate, social pressure, family tension and unorthodox romance, all surrounded by the darkness of a winter in 1970s Sweden. It’s also absorbing. In her first graphic novel to be translated into English, Furmark takes us deep into the feelings of a mother and wife who’s dissatisfied with her life. It’s insightful character work and high-quality sequential art, especially in the carefully selected colour palette laid on top of a loose illustration style. The something peculiarly Scandinavian about this story. It’s not just in the wintry setting, but in the terse, matter-of-fact dialogue, like an art house movie or one of those noir TV shows. It has the effect of making the unusual accessible, taking the reader along like sequential art should. And you’ll learn a bit about communism, too. Interesting book.