Required Reading: Comics for 10/12/2016

Comics Galleries Spider-Man
Share Tweet Submit Pin

Rolling Blackouts

Writer/Artist: Sarah Glidden
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Like Joe Sacco before her, Sarah Glidden has emerged as a potent voice in comics as journalism. Following How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less from 2010, Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches From Turkey, Syria, and Iraq is another stirring chronicle of life in the Middle East. The Drawn & Quarterly graphic novel balances personal narrative with the chaos that emerges from unilateral politics and warfare—Glidden explores the lives of an ex-Marine discovering socio-political shades of gray and a man ousted from America on charges of terrorism who still pleads innocent. Like the Civil Rights biography March, works like these stretch the boundaries of what comics are and what they can do, contextualizing fact and emotion with hand-drawn intimacy. Sean Edgar

Tetris: The Games People Play

Writer/Artist: Box Brown
Publisher: First Second

When he's not running his indie one-shot publisher Retrofit/Big Planet, Brian "Box" Brown is usually layering gorgeous, sentimental and thoroughly researched portraits of his favorite '80s icons. His first entry began with 2014's Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, a bittersweet portrait of wrestling's gentle giant and a love letter to the sport in general. Tetris: The Games People Play follows a similar modus operandi; not only does Brown choreograph Russian computer engineer Alexey Pajitnov's development of the perfect videogame, but he also dissects gaming's philosophical value for humanity, stretching back to the cave paintings of Lascaux.

It's an undeniably deep work, shifting from engulfing meta questions to Cold War economies to the international faxes that led to the game's ensuing ubiquity. Brown ultimately creates a work whose parts fit seamlessly together, its narrative blocks fused in perfect, seamless harmony. Sean Edgar

Troll Bridge

Writers: Neil Gaiman, Colleen Doran
Artist: Colleen Doran
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Roughly a quarter of a century has passed since Colleen Doran collaborated with Neil Gaiman on the seminal Sandman series, illustrating surreal chapters in arcs "A Game of You" as well as the earlier "Dream Country" vignettes. Doran's ethereal, expressive line work complemented Gaiman's emotional fantasy nicely, and that chemistry persists through Dark Horse's new Troll Bridge adaptation. Like How to Talk to Girls at Parties and The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch before it, Troll Bridge offers a cartoonist the opportunity to translate one of Gaiman's short stories into sequential art. And like those previous works, this hardback graphic novel succeeds in injecting a new color and personality between the spaces of those monochrome words—the lonely, introspective panels, the rhythm and the facial expression lend a timbre that can only be found in a comic. And with a book that revolves around the loss of innocence and the resignation of adulthood, those melancholy themes assume a frank poignancy filtered through Doran's lush perspective. Sean Edgar