Staff Picks 2012: Jade

Building Stories 
by Chris Ware

I'm not even sure where to start with this one. The innovative format? The impeccable line work? The complex storylines about crushing loneliness? Somehow that doesn't even come close. Ware's "book" in a box contains 14 different pieces- from a tiny pamphlet to a huge newspaper format- that recount the life of an apartment building and its inhabitants. Ware's craftsmanship, as storyteller and artist, are unlike anything else in the medium today, and this is quite the masterpiece.

The Voyeurs 
by Gabrielle Bell

In terms of storytelling, I think this book is tops for me this year. It probably would have made it to the number one spot if it wasn't for Chris Ware's ability to completely rethink the comics medium. I'll be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of Bell's coloration, but boy-oh-boy is she a skilled writer. Her eye for subtle detail is just magical.

Ed the Happy Clown
by Chester Brown

Before this re-edition of Ed the Happy Clown came out, I remember being extremely frustrated at the fact that I was too broke to purchase a used copy online (which was going for a mere fifty to eighty dollars!). Luckily, I was able to borrow a copy from a friend, and my-my-my is this book CRAZY. Just trying to describe it is a challenge, since I inevitably end up mentioning scenes of bloody violence, a whole lot of feces, and a talking penis with the head of a famous American president (I'm not saying which one, that's for you to find out).

You'll Never Know, Book Three: Soldier's Heart
by C. Tyler

C. Tyler is by far one of the most underrated comic artists of today. If you're a fan of classics like MAUS or FUN HOME, start reading this trilogy. The parallels are endless: the double narratives between child and father, the tension between remembering and forgetting, and the unspoken effects of trauma. In this final installment, Tyler is at the top of her game, producing lush watercolors that are sure to amaze, while simultaneously delving into one of the most poignant and complex stories of the year.

The Wrong Place
by Brecht Evens

As you can tell by my picks, I seem to have a weakness for comics with bright colors, so no big surprise here. I've praised Evens' work so many times on our blog that I'll keep it simple by saying this: so long as Brecht Evens is making comics, he'll make it in my top picks. Just open up any of his books and you'll see why.

By This Shall You Know Him 
by Jesse Jacobs

One of my favorite discoveries this year. Jesse Jacobs encapsulates everything that exciting about new comics: beautiful coloration, dark humor, and an incredible amount of imagination. A very trippy experience.

House of Psychotic Women 
by Kier-La Janisse

This book! An exploration of female neurosis in horror films? YES PLEASE. Not only is this book incredible to look at, it's also smart and very well written, mixing autobiography, theory, and film history impeccably.

Lose #4 
by Michael Deforge

In Lose 4 ("The Fashion Issue") Deforge outdoes himself again, creating some ultra-weird and twisted tales that are both funny and disturbing. Deforge has one of the most unique voices in comics today and he's also prolific, so check him out.

The Hive
by Charles Burns

Just as weird as part one (Xed Out) of Burn's psychedelic trilogy, and just as beautifully executed. To be honest, I'm still not sure what is going on in terms of the story, but knowing how masterful Burns is, I cannot wait for pieces to start falling into place. Watching such an intricate story unfold itself at this pace is both exciting and agonizing.

The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist
by Alvin Buenaventura

I'm such a sucker for these huge books on cartoonists, probably because they almost invariably include rare or never-before-seen pieces. Chris Ware's essay "Who's Afraid of Daniel Clowes?" as well as Clowes' portrait of Bill Murray and his hand-painted color guides make this book worth picking up alone.

Staff Picks 2012: Julien

 Summer of Hate 
by Chris Kraus

Hosting two readings with Chris Kraus this fall has been an incredible honor and pleasure for us. I've flooded the blog with praise for Kraus and her new novel in the past few month but let me re-iterate in case you haven't caught on yet: Kraus is a relevant, fearless and arguably flawless writer.
Summer of Hate stands out with its honest, self-aware and insightful questioning of high culture in relation to the real world - and its subsequent probing of said real world in the light of its problematic politics. As a possible stand-in for poet and writer Eileen Myles puts it in the book: “Isn’t it weird, how nothing coming out now even mentions what’s going on?” We still have a few signed copies left!

Drawn Together
by Aline and R. Crumb

I hope y'all realize how big this is: Drawn Together collects every single comic ever published and drawn collaboratively by the most important comics couple. Ever. Crumb is an icon, a masterful illustrator and an artist in the true sense of the word: for decades now he has been making art regardless of taboos and whatever expectations people had of comic artists.

But let's take a moment to gush about Aline, who always steals the show for me. Her art is beautiful and raw, and she is so entertaining and relatable. I love her sass and tough-girl attitude, and how she's literally physically strong too. And she doesn't try to hide it when she has her embarrassing moments. She's so cool!

Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl
By Tiqqun, trans. by Ariana Reines

Preliminary Materials is an incisive and entertaining critique of social publicity as a form of violent and global imperial oppression. It takes the form of a collage incorporating several types of writing and sources, from situationist theory to sassy slogans, from Cosmopolitan speak to some mind-numbing sitcom.

As seminal as it is polemical, this profoundly engaging text is bound to produce some kind of strong reaction. I got chills of epiphany and guilt, translator Ariana Reines got migraines and she puked. Read this phenomenal piece from the LA Book Review if you want to know more about this book.

Rookie Yearbook One
Ed. by Tavi Gevinson

The print-version of the best website for teenage girls (but not just) offers a brand new, more hands-on, Rookie experience - but it also compiles its best articles, advice columns, diary entries, tutorials and fashion editorials. It is a fun, honest and smart read for any age and any gender.

The book features must-read interviews with John Waters and Dan Clowes, as well as contributions by Lena Dunham, Miranda July and so many articulate teenagers.

by Ariana Reines

Poet Ariana Reines, who I just mentioned above for her English translation of Tiqqun's Preliminary Materials, came out this March with a new book of poetry. In Mercury, Reines' tough and shameless sharing of romantic and less romantic moments feels like our obsessed and longing collective inner voice was just put on speakerphone. Her poems communicate the ecstasy of resisting the commodifying language of modern life.

Ed the Happy Clown
by Chester Brown

Originally serialized in Yummy Fur in the 1980's, Ed the Happy Clown follows Ed's bizarre adventures in a universe of parallel dimensions. Twisted and surreal, this work is one of the most outstanding to come out of the second generation of underground cartoonists: a no holds barred exploration of the darkest corners of the labyrinthic and contradictory human psyche. The detailed notes section at the back is an amazing addition to this long-awaited hardcover edition.

Anjin San
by George Akiyama

Published in French by Le Lézard Noir (Moomin, Suehiro Maruo), Anjin San is a collection of moral tales following the descendant of Buddha, a modest little guy traveling through the disenfranchised but goodhearted Japanese countryside of the seventies.

In these slice-of-life stories, Akiyama provides Buddhist concepts for characters and readers alike to reflect on. This one-shot distinguishes itself with the way it incorporates weight and dynamism to meditative sequences and its inventive, gekiga-inspired, panelling.

by Shigeru Mizuki

Another masterpiece by one of Japan's most legendary gekigaka. NonNonBa is a moving memoir in which Mizuki revisits his childhood: the young GeGe grows up concerned with the presence of spirits around him, but meanwhile Japan is transitioning into modernity, unsure of carrying forward with its ties to traditional mythology.

A magnificent account of growing up and coming to terms with injustice and human contradictions, NonNonBa was the first manga to win the Angoulême Prize for Best Album.

The Uprising
by Franco "Bifo" Berardi 

In The Uprising, writer, theorist, and activist Berardi warns against the myth of economic recovery and exposes the ineffectiveness today of traditional ways of protesting financial capitalism. Bifo then argues in favor of poetry as a solution for emancipation, and healing from a linguistic crisis and the loss of togetherness.

Féminismes Électriques
Edited by Leila Pourtavaf

A brand new publication from Montreal's La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Féminismes Électriques is a bilingual book covering the last decade of exhibitions and performances programmed by one of the oldest artist-run centers in Quebec.
It features a great interview with Chris Kraus, on the history of avant-garde publishing house Semiotext(e) - who put out half of my favorite books of the year (did you notice?) Other highlights of the book include appearances by Dominique Pétrin, D+Q artist Amy Lockhart, Leyla Majeri, and more.

Honorable Mentions:

The Opening Ceremony book, Semiotext(e)'s Animal Shelter magazine, Yoshihiro Tatsumi's brilliant Fallen Words, Thermae Romae Volume 4 (en français, but volume 1 just came out in English!),  and Vie de Mizuki: Tome 1 - L'Enfant, the first volume of Shigeru Mizuki's autobiography, published in French by Cornélius.

Click here to check out Helen's top 10 books of the year!

New Kinfolk!

Our friendly postman just dropped in to see what my condition my condition is in...

and left Kinfolk issue No. 6 behind!
(my condition is in good condition, btw).

Staff Picks 2012: Helen

Over the coming days, we will be unveiling Librairie D+Q's staff picks for 2012. Here's Helen's top 10!

Wandering Son, Volume 3 
by Shimura Takako 

The third installment in the understated, beautifully drawn Wandering Son series. Shimura Takako treats her two young, trans* protagonists (or an approximation of "trans*", in the context of Japanese gender politics and identities) with gentleness, but does not fall into the trap of painting an overly rosy picture of their experience. They slowly come out to friends, classmates, siblings and parents, and are met with varying degrees of acceptance and rejection, while simultaneously navigating the general difficulties and anxieties of tween-hood. I'm greatly anticipating the next installation in the series!

By This Shall You Know Him 
by Jesse Jacobs 

The story of how the world came to be, which has oft been told, but is here conveyed in an entirely singular and mindbogglingly weird way that appeals to all of my bizarro comic desires. Doesn't hurt that each page is like Escher on truckloads of acid, either. 

 by Shigeru Mizuki 

A strange and beautiful addition to our growing collection of translated gekiga. Couldn't help but fall in love with the boyhood world of Shigeru Mizuki, in which the mundane and the magical are always entwined. Nonnonba, the young boy's grandmother figure, sparks his lifelong fascination with yokai, the assorted Japanese spirits who take on frightening/hilarious roles in regular folks' lives like it ain't no thang.

Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama 
by Alison Bechdel

I loved both of Bechdel's previous publications, Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home, immediately and without reservation, and so when I wasn't initially as seduced by Are You My Mother?, I felt kind of sad. However, now that a few months have passed and I reconsider, I'm realizing that Are You My Mother? is really just a much more challenging book, one that has taken more time to appreciate. Richly layered, both narratively and visually, it conveys the intensity of the relationship between "adult children and their gifted mothers," alongside reflections on artistic creation, serial monogamy, therapist relationships, and the history of psychoanalysis.

Sister Spit: Writing, Rants & Reminiscence from the Road 
Ed. Michelle Tea 

A truly awesome collection of pieces from some of the many writers/artists/performers of the venerable-yet-still-scrappy queer performance tour, Sister Spit! I loved making my way through this assemblage of reflections, ramblings and revelations. Vestiges of that sweaty, van-sharing, stage-rocking, queer family-feeling radiates from these pages, including me in the stresses and joys of those many tours, though I've never yet made it to any of their shows. Includes work by Eileen Myles, Michelle Tea, Ali Liebegott, Elisha Lim, MariNaomi, Christy C. Road, and many more!

Snowflake and Different Streets 
by Eileen Myles

Just some really good new poems by one of my most-admired writers. The beauty of the simplest language, and all that. The highway is liquid. The shape of the pencil is everything. The car is a camera. I haven't figured out how to write about poetry yet, but - read this. Two volumes in one - flip Snowflake over, and you get different streets

Leaving the Atocha Station  
by Ben Lerner 

Much has already been said, and said again, about the genius of Leaving the Atocha Station. Suffice it to say that, as a reader, I don't often find myself empathizing heavily with neurotic, self-absorbed, male poet types, but somehow, Lerner's Adam, with his endless agonizing over his social and artistic "fraudulence", the seemingly uncontrollable lies he tells to manipulate social situations, and his confused American-ex-pat experience of the Spanish language, Spanish poetry, and a particular political event, totally got me.

Near to the Wild Heart 
 by Clarice Lispector (trans. by Allison Entrekin)

Reading this was a challenge in many senses. Lispector's prose is brilliant and virtuosic and therefore daunting at times, but in a good way. I couldn't always find kinship in the complex and often contradictory inner life of Lispector's Joana, but when the kinship was there, it felt immense. Certain sections were so exhilarating that it was hard to remember to breathe as I moved through them. The enigma remains, but the flashes of understanding I was offered were worth my doubts.

by László Krasznahorkai (trans. by Georges Szirtes) 

I'm a bit of a masochist when it comes to "entertainment" sometimes. This includes movie-watching and leisure-reading. Earlier this year, I was entranced by Béla Tarr's darkly apocalyptic and incredibly muddy, bleak and slow-moving film, The Turin Horse. So when I clocked this gorgeous newly-translated edition of Sátántangó, on which one of Tarr's most famous films is based, I knew what dark times I was in for - and I COULD NOT WAIT. Seriously. Susan Sontag called him "the Hungarian master of the apocalypse" and I am not one to argue. His sentences unfurl for days, his characters drag themselves from despair to wild hope, and back again, and the rain never ceases to soak every board, shoe, and field. I loved every minute. (It doesn't hurt that this edition is a work of art in itself. Come hold it for yourselves!)

The Innocence of Objects  
by Orhan Pamuk 

This gorgeous book has the Turkish novelist sharing his Museum of Innocence with us, through extensive photography and accompanying narration that follow his efforts to tell the story of people through their daily bric-a-brac. His is the anti-establishment museum, the museum that "reveal[s] the humanity of individuals," rather than celebrating nations and generalized histories. The central figure here is the fictional character of Kemal Bey, from Pamuk's earlier novel, The Museum of Innocence; but Pamuk is also a central character, as is Istanbul itself. Pamuk has been collecting the endless ephemera (timepieces, toy trains, trinkets, figurines, thousands of photographs...) of Istanbul for decades and assembling them in an assortment of frames and glass cases in a modest house. The result is haunting, sad, and beautiful.


Three very different, but all very awesome animal books have arrived in store today:  

Over and Under the Snow is a gorgeous picture book by Kate Messner, with art by Christopher Silas Neal. With whimsy and a little magic, the narrator tells of how she and her Dad cross-country ski in the woods. Her Dad explains that while they ski over the snow's crust, all the animals are hibernating in their own secret world underneath!

Watership Down is a classic, of course, so I'll spare you the plot details - just know that we now have a lovely new edition with numerous colour plate illustrations by Aldo Galli!


Lastly, Safari is a book like I've never seen before: using "unique Photicular technology", it allows you to see zebras, cheetahs, rhinos, giraffes, and other Serengeti dwellers in full movement! The images are kind of like holograms in the way that they "move" as you hold the page at different angles. You can make the animals run, charge, and gallop - both backward and forward. Pretty wild!

Prison Pit Book 4


The king of crass is back! That's right, Johnny Ryan's PRISON PIT BOOK 4 has just landed, and it looks INCREDIBLE- that is, if you're into lowbrow vulgarities about butts and guts like me! Will Cannibal F***face ever find a way to escape the Caligulon? Only one way to find out... come get your copy today, and get ready for a gore fest of blood, spit, vomit, turds, guts and violence! violence! violence! 

 Superman who? No one wears his name on his chest with more pride than
Mr. "Undigestable Scrotum"

Julie Morstad launch! Saturday night!

Our last D+Q book launch of the season is tomorrow night, Saturday November 24th, chez nous at the Librairie D+Q (211 Bernard O.). We have Vancouver-based illustrator and professor at Emily Carr Julie Morstad in town to launch The Wayside. Join us for wine, signings, and good conversations.

Tonight: Double book launch with cartoonists Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher (Aislin)!

Come by the store tonight, Friday, November 23, at 7pm, for a double book launch with two of Montreal's top political cartoonists, Serge Chapleau of La Presse, and Terry Mosher (Aislin) of the Gazette!

These two veteran caricaturists will share their newest collections with us, and will give a bilingual talk about their work and process.

For a bit more on this event, check out this earlier post.

Come on over!


What the? Who's this?

It's the good Mr. Korine, -aka The Trash Humper-  on the cover of the newest issue of The Travel Almanac from Berlin.

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