Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang, 2019)

The story of the Apollo 11 moon mission, juxtaposed with a history of human engagements with the moon. An excellent graphic novel retelling, finding ways to add new detail and texture to a well-known story. Clear on the contexts of Apollo, and of its relationships to wider US society, while drawing on mission logs for authenticity. Recommended.

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

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.

The Department of Truth, Volume Three: Free Country, by James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds, Aditya Bidika and others (Image Comics, 2022)

Two short runs (issues 6-7 and 14-17) are collected here, adding context and depth to The Department. More of a counterpoint to the series as a whole, there’s nevertheless plenty of confident swagger here: alt-history from Constantine to Kennedy, and all points in-between, with a focus on the afterlife of Lee Harvey Oswald. Volume Four (The Ministry of Lies) follows.

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

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.