An Illustrated History of Filmmaking, by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow Books, 2018)

An overview of the development of motion pictures, from pre-photographic days to the present. Good-looking but insubstantial introduction: the scope of the subject renders this patchy despite its intentions. A sense of Boardman working towards something: the follow-up volume (on UFOs) is a more focused beast. The images are great though.

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

Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life, by Steve Martin (Pocket Books, 2008)

An autobiography of comedian Steve Martin, charting his early life and stand-up career. Excellent, clear-sighted, and well-written: whether you like Martin or not, there’s a lot here on creativity, persistence, and on being able to walk away, while also dealing with family relationships with honesty and perception. Recommended.

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

High Crimes, by Christopher Sebela & Ibrahim Moustafa (Image Comics, 2019)

A Himalayan climbing guide moonlighting as an Everest graverobber stumbles across secrets for which a shadowy agency will gladly kill. Zippy thriller blending international spy-jinks and guilty past narratives with authentic-feeling mountaineering content. Plenty to appreciate and enjoy here. Recommended.

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

An Illustrated History of UFOs, by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow Books, 2020)

A chronological history of UFO sightings and associated lore. Rendered in crisp graphics and accompanying text, somewhat similar to a book-length infographic, this is a clear, comprehensive and accessible introduction for just about all ages, with a few dry jokes along the way.

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

The Trouble With Sunbathers, by Magnus Mills (Quoqs Publishing, 2020)

After Britain’s sale to another country, two men guard a gate designed by the new president’s son-in-law. Another of Mills‘ blank-faced absurdist satires and studies of entropy, this time with an eye on the era of Brexit and Trump. Glorious stuff if you’re a fan of this modern master, though maybe not an entry point for others. Recommended, nevertheless.

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

A Burglar’s Guide to the City, by Geoff Manaugh (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2016)

An overview of building architecture and of the spatial design of cities, from a transgressive perspective. The book’s a little light, padded, and a touch overwritten, but nevertheless a hugely enjoyable and illustrative exploration of social control, our assumptions about design, and about how burglars approach questions of space and movement. Recommended.

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

Coffin Bound, Vol. 1: Happy Ashes, by Dan Watters, Dani, Brad Simpson & Aditya Bidikar (Image Comics, 2020)

A young woman, pursued by an unstoppable supernatural contract killer, tries to erase all trace of her existence. Smart and dirty action-horror with arty leanings, in a Clive Barker meets late 80s Vertigo comics kinda way. This collects issues 1-4. Volume 2 follows.

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

Ghost Writer, by Rayco Pulido [trans. Andrea Rosenberg] (Fantagraphics, 2020)

Bodies accumulate as the ghost writer of a radio agony column draws on listeners’ letters in their serial killing. 1940s Barcelona-set deadpan absurdist noir that might be a touch impenetrable at first, but which comes with some useful appendices: based on a real-world radio show. Great-looking though, being rendered in lovely monochrome.

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

For Work/For TV, by Fee Griffin (Versal Editions, 2020)

Fee Griffin’s debut collection of poems. I have to declare an interest, ‘cos the poet’s family, and nothing comes between family, does it? So, this isn’t a review and shouldn’t be read as such, but it’s great and you should definitely buy and read it. Unless you only like verse that rhymes, in which case this isn’t for you, Grandad.

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