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Event | Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc discuss Guantánamo Kid at the London Review Bookshop

29 January 2019

On Tuesday 12th March, Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc will discuss their graphic novel Guantánamo Kid at the London Review Bookshop. They'll be in conversation with Jeremy Harding, a contributing editor at the LRB, from 7pm.

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Guantánamo Kid tells the incredible true story of Mohammed El-Gharani, one of the camp's youngest detainees, who was held and abused for seven years without charge or trial. Endorsed by Amnesty International, and written in close collaboration with El-Gharani himself, this is a landmark work of graphic non-fiction with a fascinating backstory.

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The journalist and researcher Jérôme Tubiana first met El-Gharani in N’Djamena in 2011, two years after his release for Guantánamo. They met every afternoon for two weeks, and Tubiana turned their conversations into a diary piece for the London Review of Books. Now, in collaboration with comics artist Alexandre Franc (Agatha), this astonishing story is told in comic book form.

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The event takes place at the London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL. Tickets are £10 and available here.

Six reasons to be cheerful: introducing our spring lineup

24 January 2019

Let's face it, we could be in for a tumultuous few months. But if you're worried about civil unrest, just-in-time supply chains and Operation Brock, never fear: our spring list has it all, from hard-hitting true stories to unforgettable fiction. Here are six reasons to be cheerful.

Spring begins in March with a landmark work of graphic non-fiction: Guantánamo Kid: The True Story of Mohammed El-Gharani by Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc.

Mohammed El-Gharani was no more than 14 when he left his native country, Saudi Arabia, in order to study English in Pakistan. Shortly after 9/11, he was detained during a raid on his local mosque and taken into the custody of the US army. He was flown first to Kandahar and then to Guantánamo Bay, where he was held and abused for seven years without charge or trial. El-Gharani was one of the youngest prisoners at the camp, and one of the few detainees of African descent.

Journalist and researcher Jérome Tubiana first met El-Gharani in N’Djamena in 2011, two years after his release from Guantánamo. They met every afternoon for two weeks, and Tubiana turned their conversations into a diary piece for the London Review of Books.

Now, Tubiana has teamed up with the comics artist Alexandre Franc (Agatha) to turn El-Gharani's story into an absorbing and intense graphic novel that has been endorsed by Amnesty International.

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In Blossoms in Autumn, also released in March, Belgian writer Zidrou teams up with Aimée De Jongh (The Return of the Honey Buzzard) to explore the subject of love in later life.

Since retiring, 59-year-old widower Ulysses has been in the grip of loneliness. When he meets Mrs Solenza, a former model who now runs a fromagerie, a relationship blossoms that surprises them both.

Beautifully drawn and masterfully told, Blossoms in Autumn is a life-affirming, emotive exploration of growing old and falling in love.

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After delving into the history of the world's most popular video game in Tetris: The Games People Play, Box Brown turns his sharp eye for detail and drama to another fascinating subject: marijuana.

Cannabis: An American History, out in April, traces the long and troubled relationship between cannabis culture and the U.S. establishment, from the drug’s arrival in the country (by means of an immigrant labour force), through dishonest and discriminatory campaigns spearheaded by legislators and the press, to the drug’s Schedule 1 classification.

At a time of widespread legalisation in the States, Box Brown brings an endlessly fascinating, deeply problematic history to comic book form.

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In April, an unforgettable piece of original fiction set in 1950s Paris: Memoirs of a Book Thief by Alessandro Tota and Pierre Van Hove.

When poet and book thief Daniel Brodin seizes an opportunity to read a poem in front of the Parisian literati, he chooses not one of his own surrealist verses but that of an obscure Italian poet. It’s plagiarism - but it's a triumph.

Daniel’s recital marks his entrance into the Parisian avant garde: a band of cultured rogues and pseudo-revolutionaries for whom life is a playground for art, whether plotting a novel or planning a heist. In this milieu, the company is as intoxicating as the wine - but will success lose its dazzle if it is founded on theft?

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In Maggy Garrisson, out in April, French comics legend Lewis Trondheim and artist Stéphane Oiry introduce an unforgettable heroine.

After two years of unemployment, Maggy Garrisson lands a secretarial job with a shady private detective. But when her new boss is beaten to a pulp, Maggy is drawn into a dangerous world of bent coppers, crooked businessmen and career criminals.

Set in a familiar, rain-soaked London, Maggy Garrisson is an atmospheric crime drama defined by its eponymous heroine: smart, subversive and unconventional.

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The work of Jean-Michel Basquiat would come to define the vibrant New York art scene of the late '70s and early '80s. Punk, jazz, graffiti, hip-hop: his work drew heavily on the cultural trappings of Lower Manhattan, to which he fled - from Brooklyn - at the age of 15.

In Basquiat, published in May, Julian Voloj and Søren Mosdal create a vivid picture of the iconic artist's life and times, from the SAMO graffiti project, through his extraordinary rise to fame, to the development of the addiction that would cost him his life.

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In short, it's going to be a damn fine spring. Get ready - and stay tuned.


Inside Typex's Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol

16 November 2018

It's finally here: Typex's monumental graphic biography of the King of Pop Art. Five years in the making, the Dutch cartoonist's second graphic novel (after Rembrandt) is a 562-page journey through the life and times of Andy Warhol.

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In Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol, Typex charts the artist's life from his childhood in Pittsburgh to the dizzying heights of his celebrity. In doing so, he reveals a complex and contradictory character - at once cruel and vulnerable, deep and shallow, commercial and avant garde. Divided into ten parts, each designed and drawn to reflect the period, Andy is also a sweeping portrait of the twentieth century, featuring an endless parade of pop culture icons, from Shirley Temple to Madonna, Lou Reed to Salvador Dalí.

Heavy-papered and silver-edged, it's also an extremely handsome package. Here's a look inside.

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Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol is out now and available from all good book shops.

SelfMadeHero's autumn party: Rachael Ball, I.N.J. Culbard, David Hine & Mark Stafford signing at Gosh!

8 November 2018

Next Friday, 16th November, we're celebrating the launch of three fabulous new graphic novels with a party at Soho's Gosh! Comics.

Joining us there will be Rachael Ball (Wolf), I.N.J. Culbard (LOVECRAFT), Mark Stafford & David Hine (Lip Hook), who'll be signing copies of their latest books from 7-9pm. Here's what you'll be able to get your hands on:

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InWolf by Rachael Ball, a young boy finds his life turned upside down by a tragic accident. Desperate to return to happier days, six-year-old Hugo draws up plans for a time machine. But only his neighbour - a child-eating recluse, according to the boy next door - has the parts Hugo needs to complete the contraption. Illustrated in evocative, intimate pencils, Wolf is a captivating and poignant exploration of family, grief and that blend of the everyday and the fantastical that is childhood.

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David Hine and Mark Stafford's latest graphic novel is set in Lip Hook, a small British village that lies at the end of a neglected byway. For its inhabitants, Lip Hook is more than the end of the road – it’s the end of the world. Beyond it, there is nothing but mist-shrouded marshland. One day, two fugitives emerge from the fog, seeking refuge at the Hanged Man Inn: a dangerously beautiful woman and a man with a gunshot wound and a suitcase full of treasure. As the disruptive outsiders’ influence grows, a false faith grips the community, returning its followers to ancient ways and resurrecting a secret history perhaps best forgotten...

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LOVECRAFT collects I.N.J. Culbard's acclaimed adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft into a single, seriously handsome hardbound volume. Boing Boing said of his reimagining of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, "This is really the best way to enjoy Lovecraft." This 520-page hardback also includes adaptations of At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Out of Time and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. If you want an introduction to four stories that helped to reinvent the horror genre, there's no better place to start.


Introducing Wolf by Rachael Ball

18 October 2018

In Rachael Ball's new graphic novel, Wolf, a young boy finds his life turned upside down by a tragic accident. Desperate to return to happier days, six-year-old Hugo draws up plans for a time machine. But only his neighbour - a child-eating recluse, according to the boy next door - has the parts Hugo needs to complete the contraption.

Illustrated in evocative, intimate pencils, Wolf is a captivating and poignant exploration of family, grief and that blend of the everyday and the fantastical that is childhood.

It's also a beautiful object. Feast your eyes on this:

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Rachael Ball is a cartoonist who began her career as a contributor to Deadline in the late '80s. Her debut graphic novel, The Inflatable Woman, was judged by The Guardian to be one of the best graphic books of 2015, while The Telegraph called it "inspiring, poignant and wonderfully unconventional".

Rachael Ball's work featured in the House of Illustration's "Comix Creatrix" show and, more recently, in "The Inking Woman" exhibition at the Cartoon Museum. She also coordinates the London branch of graphic novel forum Laydeez do Comics.

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Kate Evans, the author of the excellent Threads and Red Rosa, has called Wolf  "an ethereal, subtle, haunting fable. Rachael Ball has created a time machine. It's a nostalgic step back to a bygone age, but one which speaks to our present and future with eternal themes of love and loss."

Wolf is out now and available from all good book shops.