The Far Side of the Moon, by Alex Irvine & Ben Bishop (Tilbury House, 2017)

Subtitled “The Story of Apollo 11’s Third Man”: a graphic novel biography of NASA astronaut Michael Collins. Brisk and efficient, conveyed in lovely artwork reminiscent of blueprints, concept art, and movie storyboards. A spotlight shone on a perhaps overlooked member of the Apollo mission team, and accessible to boot. Recommended for fellow lunar enthusiasts.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Field Notes: Walking the Territory, by Maxim Peter Griffin (Unbound, 2022)

A possible diary in images and words of a year in the East of Lincolnshire. Can’t say more than that – and this isn’t a review, ‘cos family – but if you’re familiar with Maxim Griffin’s work then this is the motherlode to date. If you haven’t, then this is your departure point. Get on it now before the inevitable Werner Herzog/Ben Wheatley/Johnny Nice bidding war begins. Onwards, as Maxim is wont to say.

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My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Hostage, by Guy DeLisle [trans. Helge Dascher] (Jonathan Cape, 2017)

An NGO administrator in Chechnya is kidnapped: he spends the next months cuffed to a radiator. Low-key biographic study (of Doctors Without Borders worker Christophe André) of resilience: effective, moving, and at times hypnotic in its study of rhythm, of being alone, and of working up to take the opportunities and relish the details that even the worst circumstances may bring. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Good Night, Hem, by Jason (Fantagraphics Books, 2021)

Three episodes in the life of Ernest Hemingway, each involving recurring Jason character Athos the Last Musketeer. Jason’s laconic, deceptively simple style is, as ever, beguiling. The reader’s given space to think, involving them completely in the narrative, in Hemingway’s life, and the effect of the stranger on him. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

“Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?”, by Harold Schechter & Eric Powell (Albatross Funnybooks, 2021)

An exploration of Ed Gein’s crimes and of the cultural impact of the case. Splendid monochrome graphic novel taking care to present this case history in context, drawing on court records and interviews, while being clear about its telescoping of matters to tell a story. Explains and contextualises without empathising. Recommended.

My own books here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Laika, by Nick Abadzis (First Second, 2007)

The story of Laika (AKA Kudryavka), the first dog in space, plus those of her lab tech Yelena and of Soviet space programme chief Korolev. Excellent, touching canine biography, blending fancy and fact in detailed and intricate ways. A love story and one of Cold War pride, balanced with a plea regarding unnecessary animal experimentation. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

Apollo, by Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, Mike Collins and others (SelfMadeHero, 2018)

The Apollo 11 moon mission, retold in graphic novel format. A focus on the insecurities of each astronaut – and then-President Nixon – adds some nuance. Otherwise, this is a good-looking through straightforward account that doesn’t add much new, and is oddly-pitched, requiring some contextual knowledge for full appreciation. For moon mission completists, perhaps.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England

 

Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful, by Darryl Cunningham (Myriad Editions, 2019)

Three case studies of extreme wealth and power: Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos. A confident blend of biography and polemic, clearly making the argument that power corrupts, and that money distorts. Lots to ponder on here, rendered in a  chirpy and accessible graphic format. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper, by Hallie Rubenhold (Transworld, 2019)

Biographies of five women united by their links to an infamous series of killings. Enthralling corrective to a century-plus of sensationalist coverage dismissive of the victims. Some lapses into journalese and guesswork at times, but this is nevertheless an accessible, necessary and fascinating book rightly giving those murdered due to their lives.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England.