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  • Writer's pictureTrusty Henchman

Upcoming Comics Spotlight: Non-Fiction

This batch of non-fiction titles includes:

- An in depth biography of comics-legend Steve Ditko

- A follow-up to the Sibert Honor-winning To Dance

- A history of desserts

- A tale of a former Michelin Guide Inspector

- A web series that went viral and inspired a critically acclaimed 2019 film in Japan

- A graphic novel about HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371

- A collection of stories about China's one-child policy

- An exploration of true-crime fandom

- An author's examination of his grandfather's guilt as a collaborator

- And a teenager's discovery that her parents are agents working for the CIA.

You get an extra chunk this round because I fell behind and some of these have either already come out or are just on the cusp of being released.



(W) David Currie

The first in depth biography of comics-legend Steve Ditko, in his own works, taken from years of correspondence with author David Currie and endorsed by the Ditko family with a Foreword by Mark S. Ditko. Steve Ditko was the last of a generation of American comic book artists who created powerful modern-day mythology and became among the most influential and original creators of the 20th century. He co-created Spider-Man along with Stan Lee, but walked away from the character in the 1960s just as it was gaining popularity. He died alone at 90, known to the comic book industry as a "cranky recluse."


Why this caught my eye:

There have been a few biographies on Ditko, but this one offers the unique context of Currie's correspondence with Ditko himself. Plus, points for that title.



(W) Siena Cherson Siegel (A/CA) Mark Siegel

A teenage ballet dancer struggles to find her next step, and her place in the world, in this exquisite graphic memoir-a follow-up to the Sibert Honor-winning To Dance.

All her life, Siena has dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet, with hopes of becoming a member of George Balanchine's world-famous New York City Ballet company. Siena has worked hard for many years to be a professional ballet dancer, but injury and doubt are starting to take their toll.

Maybe it's time to look beyond the world of dance-but Siena's whole identity has been shaped by ballet. When you have spent your entire life working toward something, how do you figure out what comes next? And how do you figure out who you are without the thing that defined you? This is a moving and beautifully drawn memoir of a dancer struggling to find her next step-and a young woman finding her true footing in the world.


Why this caught my eye:

This should already be out now, but I didn't want to miss highlighting it as I really enjoyed Mark Siegel's 5 Worlds books.



(W) Victoria Elliot (A) Victoria Elliot

Cake is delicious, and comics are awesome: this exciting nonfiction graphic novel for kids combines both! Explore the history of desserts through a fun adventure with facts, legends, and recipes for readers to try at home.

Have you ever wondered who first thought to freeze cream? Or when people began making sweet pastry shells to encase fruity fillings? Peri is excited to show you the delicious history of sweets while taking you around the world and back!

The team-up that made ice cream cones!

The mistake that made brownies!

Learn about and taste the true stories behind everyone's favorite treats, paired with fun and easy recipes to try at home. After all, sweets-and their stories-are always better when they're shared!


Why this caught my eye:

Besides my love of food comics in general, Elliot's art is pretty dang charming.



(W) Kan Takahama (A) Emmanuelle Maisonneuve

Based on a true story of a former Michelin Guide Inspector. Find out what the top-secret life of a professional foodie is like. Emma, a food writer, can't give up her childhood dream of becoming a Michelin Guide Inspector, and sends her resume to the Michelin headquarters. She is informed nine months later that there is an opening and goes to a mysterious interview. Originally published in France, this a full color manga that is an inspiring story about not giving up on your dreams, women's empowerment, and life purpose.


Why this caught my eye:

As I said, I have a love of food comics in general, but food manga is 100% my jam.



(W) Mariko Kikuchi (A) Mariko Kikuchi

A moving autobiographical manga about her father's alcoholism that inspired a critically acclaimed live-action film. Mariko Kikuchi tells the painful story of her father's alcoholism and her own journey through guilt to understanding her father's illness. She rejects the common belief that family members can and should be forgiven for anything they do, no matter how much harm they cause. This powerful, self-contained autobiographical manga began as a web series that went viral, and inspired a critically acclaimed 2019 film in Japan.


Why this caught my eye:

I had seen the trailer for the film a while back so it's nice to finally have access to the manga.



(W) MK Czerwiec (A) MK Czerwiec

In 1994, at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the United States, MK Czerwiec took her first nursing job, at Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, as part of the caregiving staff of HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371. A shining example of excellence in the treatment and care of patients, Unit 371 was a community for thousands of patients and families affected by HIV and AIDS and the people who cared for them. This graphic novel depicts life and death in the ward, the ways the unit affected and informed those who passed through it, and how many look back on their time there today.


Why this caught my eye:

I've mentioned before how I appreciate the wide range of non-fiction subject matter being highlighted in the medium these days, and I don't recall seeing too many GNs tackling the subject of the AIDS epidemic for a bit now so I'm just glad to see something like this coming out.



(W) Wang Ning (A) Ni Shaoru, Wu Yao, Xu Ziran, Quin Chang

It is estimated that there are over 218 million only children in China today following more than three decades of a one-child policy by their government. Under the ruling, which ran from 1980 to the end of 2015, most couples were only allowed one child under penalty of fines, forfeiture and even sterilization. Government figures state that around 400 million births were prevented in that time. But some unforeseen circumstances caused much heartache and grief for upwards of 10 million couples who lost that only child and this book tells four of their tragic stories.


Why this caught my eye:

This is a subject matter that I'm fairly ignorant on, so again, glad to see more books available in the medium that offer an entry point to learning more.



(W) Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell (A) Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

Why is it so much fun to read about death and dismemberment? In Murder Book, lifelong true-crime obsessive and New Yorker cartoonist Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell tries to puzzle out the answer. An unconventional graphic exploration of a lifetime of Ann Rule super-fandom, amateur armchair sleuthing, and a deep dive into the high-profile murders that have fascinated the author for decades, this is a funny, thoughtful, and highly personal blend of memoir, cultural criticism, and true crime with a focus on the often-overlooked victims of notorious killers.


Why this caught my eye:

As someone who knows plenty of true-crime fans, I feel like I just found a decent X-mas gift.



(W) Wide Vercnocke (A) Wide Vercnocke

After the Second World War, Ferdinand Vercnocke, the author's grandfather, was sentenced to ten years in prison for collaboration for putting his writing skills at the service of the German occupier. He was released after five years, and twenty years later he was rehabilitated. The Vercnocke family would hardly talk about that black past, not even after his death in 1989. In 2015, Bout Vercnocke considers the time finally ripe to dig up the dark past of his father: how and to what extent his father collaborated, how big was his involvement and responsibility?


Why this caught my eye:

This sounds like a fascinating examination of family history and guilt, and Vercnocke's art is a unique style that adds a surreal element to the subject matter.



(W) Sophia Glock (A/CA) Sophia Glock

An unforgettable graphic memoir by debut talent Sophia Glock reveals her discovery as a teenager that her parents are agents working for the CIA.

Young Sophia has lived in so many different countries, she can barely keep count. Stationed now with her family in Central America because of her parents' work, Sophia feels displaced as an American living abroad, when she has hardly spent any of her life in America.

Everything changes when she reads a letter she was never meant to see and uncovers her parents' secret. They are not who they say they are. They are working for the CIA. As Sophia tries to make sense of this news, and the web of lies surrounding her, she begins to question everything. The impact that this has on Sophia's emerging sense of self and understanding of the world makes for a page-turning exploration of lies and double lives.

In the hands of this extraordinary graphic storyteller, this astonishing true story bursts to life.


Why this caught my eye:

Besides the interesting premise, the more I check out Glock's material the more I really like her style and approach to storytelling.


That's it for this batch, we'll hit some drama on the next batch.

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