Panel Mania: ‘The Drops of God’

First published in English in 2011, this new edition of manga The Drops of God by Tadashi Agi—a pseudonym for sibling creators Shin and Yuko Kibayashi—with artwork by Shu Okimoto, will be released digitally by Comixology Originals.
It’s the story of a rivalry between Kanzaki Shizuku, the only son of a renowned wine critic who has recently passed away, and Toomine Issei, a mysterious young wine critic, as both seek to reap the legacy of the deceased.
An international bestseller, The Drops of God is often credited with spurring wine sales in the regions it has been published. In this 12-page excerpt, Miyabi, a young sommelier who has botched the pouring of a rare and expensive wine, is rescued by Kanzaki’s dazzling skills as a sommelier.

The first 11 volumes of The Drops of God will be published this month. The pages of this excerpt are displayed in a vertical scroll—but remember: Japanese manga panels must be read from right to left.

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Panel Mania: ‘The Illuminati Ball’

Best known for lavish and immersive theater productions, Cynthia von Buhler also works in the comics medium, creating graphic works that explore her fascination with secret societies, sensuality, power, and the hunger for freedom.
While she’s most widely known for her paintings, illustration work, sculpture, and writing—she’s the author of children’s books, graphic novels, and plays—von Buhler’s also praised for her imaginative events; she’s the producer of The Illuminati Ball: An Immersive Excursion, slated to be held a “secret temple” in New York City on New Year’s Eve.

This 13-page excerpt from The Illuminati Ball, a graphic novel tie-in to the theater event, introduces readers to a world of lavish fantasy and to the 18th-century roots of the Illuminati Ball. The graphic novel is out now from Titan Comics.

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Panel Mania: ‘Glenn Ganges in: The River at Night’

Kevin Huizenga’s new graphic novel, The River at Night, is a return to the loopy hall of mirrors inside the head of Glenn Ganges, the author’s irresistibly ordinary fictional dude and guide to the cerebral wonders of the drifting human mind.
As Ganges and his wife Wendy (a perpetually overworked freelance illustrator) go about their daily lives, Ganges’s ambient mind and goofy-smart interests combine to take readers on elaborate journeys through human consciousness in stories that delight in pushing the formal visual structures of the comics medium.
In this 12-page excerpt, Ganges, unable to sleep, rummages through his bookshelves looking for a book about a deep intellectual topic with unreadable text that will put him to sleep.
Glenn Ganges in: The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga will be published by Drawn and Quarterly in October.

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Panel Mania: ‘Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass’

Eisner Award- and Caldecott Honor-winning comics writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Steve Pugh collaborate on Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, a new graphic novel about the teen years of Harleen Quinzel—better known as Harley Quinn—as she wanders the hallways of Gotham City High School.
In this 12-page excerpt, Harleen arrives in Gotham, broke, on a bus from a small town, and is taken in by a welcoming community of drag queens. Eventually she meets two people—teenage activist Poison Ivy and later, of course, the violent and anarchic young Joker—who will contribute to her transformation into the complex superhero she is destined to become.
Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass is available now from DC.

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Panel Mania: ‘Pittsburgh’ by Frank Santoro

Frank Santoro’s Pittsburgh is an imaginatively rendered graphic memoir that memorializes the lives of the author’s parents and their marriage in 1960s Pittsburgh in an effort to make sense of their breakup.
Beautifully illustrated in a style all its own, Pittsburgh is an irresistible, almost ethereal, family epic, and a vivid tribute to the city and its people and neighborhoods.
In this 12-page excerpt, Santoro introduces the reader to his parents and his grandparents in a segment of the book set in Pittsburgh in 1968.
Pittsburgh is available now from New York Review Comics.

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Panel Mania: ‘The Forbidden Harbor’

Teresa Radice and Stefano Turconi’s beautifully illustrated graphic novel Forbidden Harbor combines high adventure, betrayal, and mystery on the open sea with a deeply moving love story in a richly imagined literary tribute to the ships, sailors, and mythologies of 19th-century tall ship sailing.
In this nine-page excerpt, the crew of the Explorer discovers a mysterious stowaway and takes him to the ship’s captain, Nathan MacLeod. The captain quickly realizes that he and the young man share an unexplainable connection to a woman MacLeod has fallen deeply in love with. Forbidden Harbor will be published in September by NBM.

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Panel Mania: ‘Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival’

Legendary underground comics artist, editor, and feminist Diane Noomin served as the editor for Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival, a comics anthology that features a foreword by Roxane Gay.
The book is a powerful and instructive collection of short stories by 60 female artists—each of them offering personal accounts of sexual abuse, using art to reclaim individual power, and challenging a culture of pervasive sexual predation.
This excerpt includes three stories: Lee Mars’s “Got Over It”; Carol Lay’s “A Sampler of Misdeeds”; and Ajuan Mance’s “Delusion of Safety.”
Drawing Power will be published by Abrams ComicArts in September.
TRIGGER WARNING: This excerpt contains information about and images of sexual assault and/or violence that may be triggering to readers.

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Panel Mania: ‘Me, Mikko, and Annikki’ by Tiitu Takalo

In this deeply researched work of graphic nonfiction, Finnish comics artist Tiitu Takalo has created an inspiring history of a grass roots movement to save an historic neighborhood from demolition, as well as a love story.

Takalo tells the story Tammela, a deteriorating though richly historical neighborhood of wooden homes in the city of Annikki, Finland, slated to be demolished. That is, until the neighborhood organizes and manages to save it. This 11-page excerpt provides background on the Tammela neighborhood and on Takalo’s relationship to it.

Me, Mikko, and Annikki by Tiitu Takalo (translated by Michael Demson and Helena Halmari) will be published by North Atlantic Books in August.

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Panel Mania: ‘Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction’ by Inio Asano

Set in Tokyo, three years after a mammoth alien spaceship arrived to hover menacingly over the city, Inio Asano’s charming and unusual sci-fi manga series Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction follows the lives of two irresistible girls—Kadode and Ontan—as they navigate high school, friends, and family stuff under the open-ended threat of alien invasion and interplanetary war.

Asano has turned manga’s magical schoolgirl trope into fully realized characters: two funny, ironic, pop culture- and social media-obsessed gamers, who readers follow through the urban landscape of a Tokyo cluttered with mysterious and weirdly docile alien invaders.

In this 12-page excerpt, a mysterious Japanese arms firm prepares for the worse, while Kadode, who just graduated from high school, works up the courage to ask her longtime crush if they can become a couple.

Viz will publish Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction Vol. 6 in July.

© 2014 Inio Asano

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Panel Mania: ‘LaGuardia’ By Nnedi Okorafor

In this engaging graphic novel, Nebula Award-winning sci-fi author Okorafor wittily turns New York City’s LaGuardia Airport into LaGuardia Interplanetary Airport and into a pointed allegorical indictment of the United States’s current racist anti-immigration policies.

Set in a future in which Nigeria has welcomed and benefited from extraterrestrial immigration (although not without conflict), Nigerian-American doctor Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka flees from Lagos to New York, where she grew up. She is pregnant, but also smuggling an intelligent plant-like alien—a refugee, in other words—that is fleeing violence.

Okorafor perfectly captures the absurdity and calamity of our current political moment and her artist co-creators render it in vividly and richly colored drawings.

LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor and artists Tana Ford and James Devlin will be published in July by Dark Horse/Berger Books.

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