Marcello Quintanilha: Just listen, beautiful Márcia
A world with a bluish cast, in faded, pale colors, even the faces never have anything of a healthy pinkness. The women are mountains of flesh, ostentatiously dressed and made up, their faces distorted. This is how Marcello Quintanilha paints life in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Márcia works as a nurse, dedicated, and Aluísio, the man at her side, works on construction sites. There is a lot of understanding and love between them. And there is a lot of trouble with the daughter Jacqueline, who has gotten involved with a nasty guy from one of the drug gangs – it escalates and the three get caught between the criminals and the police, who control the criminal business themselves, brutally and bloodily. The calm undertone in all the chaos is a little song, “Escuta, formosa Márcia”, just listen, beautiful Márcia, from those collected by Mario de Andrade Modinhas imperialis, which Márcia finds on a CD with an old Dona that she has taken care of. She can’t get it out of her head and when she hears it on the bus back, it conjures up a happy relaxation on her face. Fritz Goettler
Tillie Walden: Clementine
All young people dream of a new start. Tillie Walden, the one with queer coming-of-age comics (and has already received an Eisner Award twice), lets a young woman hobble through a post-apocalyptic world in which hardly any civilization exists anymore – this is terrible, but also an opportunity. Fans know Clementine from the “Walking Dead” universe, in the computer game that was created after the successful zombie comic series, she was one of the main characters. Clementine lost a leg but is still one badass – she takes care of the first biters on the first few pages. But it’s hardly about the brainless undead, they are just the background against which Clementine and a few other young people are trying out being adults and living together. This goes horribly wrong. Walden’s characters are great – at Clementine’s side are a wonderfully aloof Amish boy and a young woman with thick glasses – she too bad ass with soul. It is drawn somberly, black and white – but with a delicate line. Growing up in a world full of the undead. Martina Knoben
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Victoria Lomasko: The Last Soviet Artist
Given the dire present, it is tempting to view the post-Soviet space prior to Russia’s war on Ukraine as somehow more harmonious. Weren’t there similarities? Progress? Future? After reading Victoria Lomasko’s comic reportage “The Last Soviet Artist” one has to say: The harmony at least was rather limited. Lomasko, one of Russia’s best-known comic artists, moved out in 2014 to test the jubilant story of Soviet friendship between peoples on a living object. What she found were memories of the Stalinist deportations in the Russian Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, and in Tbilisi, an Azerbaijani woman who became a grandmother at 32. In Minsk, Belarus, she got caught up in the protests against Lukashenko, and Navalny was arrested back in Russia. At the end of the book she is tired of politics and only draws flowers. Today we know that politics did not honor this restraint, but became militant. Even if the war doesn’t appear in their reports, they are very worthwhile: as Lomasko shows, the post-Soviet legacy is decidedly troubled. Sonja Zekri
Tom Gauld: Revenge of the Books
The Scot Tom Gauld has been drawing a cartoon for the weekly since 2005 Guardiansalways around the theme of literature. Authors and their writing crises, discussions with editors, literary classics and their film adaptations, genre parodies, librarians in the eternal struggle for the right order – Gauld has managed for 17 years to alienate the world of literature in such a funny way that fortunately the second anthology with his ingeniously funny Books cartoons was released. There are – illustrated like a woodcut – such brain teasers: “Anna writes a new novel every 6 months. ¾ of her novels are bestsellers and 2/3 win literary prizes. – How much do you hate Anna?” Is there a better way to caricature the literary scene? Alex Ruehle
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Joris Mertens: The big lot
The book is graphic the discovery of this spring. The torrentially raining city that Joris Mertens sketches dramatically with charcoal strokes is grey. It glows neon yellow and red, the atmosphere is very, very gloomy – neo-noir. François, who is no longer young and whose lined face tells of a lot of frustration, works as a driver for a laundry, is poorly paid and there are no plans for a salary increase. Do you want to discard him, who is already older, perhaps? François lives alone and spends the evenings in his favorite pub. He has been playing the lottery for ages and always bets on the same numbers. He seems to have hit the jackpot when, during a delivery to a villa, he not only finds a large number of corpses, but also a bag full of money. Is everything going to be alright now? “Fortuna” is the title of the last chapter of this thriller, and the demonic glow in the images of this graphically virtuoso comics promises nothing good to the run-of-the-mill François. Martina Knoben
Love in a glass house is intense and tingly perverted, a bit because the woman is married and the man owns a mask rental business. Camille Jourdy tells of life (and love) in a small French town, with an overwhelming abundance of sensual details, of the young and the old, of exaltation and tiredness, menstruation and dementia, rapprochement and alienation. A young woman, Juliette, returns to her hometown, makes her way to the house where she lived as a child – a one-way street, a dead end. She meets a man who knows a similar loneliness as she does, who first has to start cleaning up his life. At the end there is a ghostly slapstick cavalcade around the naked lover, in which all certainties dissolve. Fritz Goettler
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Timothé Le Boucher: Those Days That Disappear
A Jekyll and Hyde story. At first every other day, and then more and more often, a stranger takes over the body of Lubin Maréchal, a cheerful young man who works as an acrobat and has a job in a supermarket. Lubin quickly loses his money job when he no longer comes to work every day; and he also gets a serious problem with his girlfriend when he wakes up one day next to an unknown sexy redhead… The story is funny and really scary, the body theft is a classic horror motif. But it is not entirely clear what happened in Timothé Le Bouchers cartoons actually happened: Is Lubin mentally ill? What role does a diabolically looking hypnotist play? Or will the sporty, naive and sloppy boy just grow up? Coming of age as a nightmare. Martina Knoben