The Department of Truth, Volume Two: The City Upon a Hill, by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds & Aditya Bidikar (Image Comics, 2021)

Cole Turner learns more about Lee Harvey Oswald, and about the different factions involved in both suppressing and engineering manifestations of conspiracy theories into real life. The series (issues 6-10 collected here) is now in its stride: cannily assuming that readers either know – or will find out about – Bigfoot, Jim Jones, JFK and the like, we get full-on with the interdimensional weirdness. Volume Three (Free Country) looms.

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

Cervantes’s Don Quixote: A Graphic Novel, volume 1, by Rob Davies (Self Made Hero, 2011)

A delusional bibliophile believes himself to be a knight on a quest. Excellent graphic novel adaptation of the Cervantes classic (the first half here, with Volume 2 to follow). An emphasis on slapstick humour throughout, on the value of stories, and on there being no harm in following your dreams. Lots of fun, and great to look at too.

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

The Park Bench, by Chabouté (Faber and Faber, 2017)

Seasons pass, and a range of people (and a dog) make different uses of the same park bench. Unfolding like a silent documentary, this dialogue-free monochrome graphic novel takes a simple idea and uses it well to tell a series of overlapping stories, linked by place and association. Recommended.

My own books are here, if that’s your thing. Newest is noir thriller East of England. But if you’re fond of park benches or of public seating in general – and who isn’t? – then try Benches of Louth.

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.

That Texas Blood, Volume Two, by Chris Condon & Jacob Phillips (Image Comics, 2022)

A veteran lawman recounts a story from forty years earlier, of cultists, a lost child, and regret. This second stand-alone story (anthologising issues 7-12) introduces a horror element: as before, it’s all very capably done if a little on the nose. Nevertheless, if you like tall but bittersweet cop stories and tales told in diners over pie, you’ll be right at home.

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

The Delicacy, by James Albon (Top Shelf Productions/IDW, 2021)

Brothers collaborate on a farm-to-table restaurant: a rare ingredient promises success. While there’s some wonky plotting and not all the story and character threads pay off, this graphic novel is nevertheless a hugely entertaining, brilliantly paced (a rushed coda aside), and authentic-feeling exploration of foodie hubris. Lots to recommend it.

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

The Seeds, by Ann Nocenti & David Aja (Berger Books, 2020)

A near-future dystopia: aliens are collecting samples while the planet faces ecological catastrophe; a reporter investigates. Ambitious mini-series (a four-issue run anthologised here) that’s theme-heavy though not always fully engaging on a pure story level. That said, there’s some swagger in the execution, plus odd moments will linger. Worth sampling yourself at least.

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

Wytches, Vol 1, by Scott Snyder, Jock, Matt Hollingsworth & Clem Robins (Image Comics, 2015)

A family overcoming trauma relocates to a small town: but there’s something in the woods. Effective and at times startling self-contained miniseries (issues 1-6 collected here) that – while it doesn’t quite deliver on all of its promises – is nevertheless absolutely worth your time. Begging for a movie adaptation, this.

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

Stephen King & Owen King’s Sleeping Beauties: A Graphic Novel, Vol. 1, by Rio Youers, Alison Sampson & Triona Farrell (IDW Publishing, 2021)

A worldwide sleeping sickness affects all women: a small American town may be an epicentre. Excellent precis of the first half of the King father and son collaboration, developing and clarifying the storytelling in creative and visual ways. Vol 2 is anticipated keenly as a result!

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

Paul At Home, by Michel Rabagliati [trans. Helge Dascher & Rob Aspinall] (Drawn & Quarterly, 2020)

A divorced graphic designer struggles with middle age. Charming, melancholy and well-observed quasi-autobiographical graphic novel, the most recent – to date – in the long-running Paul series. Plenty to appreciate both for newcomers and for those who are growing old alongside the protagonist.

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