July 2016 Book Highlights

Carabas - New Book Recommends
CC - Jul - The Otherlife
CB - Go - Jul - The Hatching
CN - Jul - Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies
CG - Jul - Faith V1
CB - Jul 16 - Newcon Press Now We Are 10

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Here’s our round-up of fantastic and fantastical reading for July. We take in adult SFF and other Fiction, creative and socially minded Non-Fiction, Children’s and YA and Graphic Novels. Whether you’re a general or genre reader or a bookshop looking to make sure your customers aren’t missing out we try to balance an inclusion of the biggest titles with slipstream / crossover hits and those hidden gems for all concerned.

Selections and text here is the work of Tim Bayley. Tim was a Buyer at a London flagship bookstore for over 6 years, on the central trade buying committee, then a sales rep for one of the UK’s largest publishers before creating Carabas just over two years ago. You can find full biblio details, extract links, and publisher title description by clicking the link to our Jul-Dec 2016 page for the publisher or subject (all coming soon) or the shop link and heading to their online store.

NB. We believe in supporting bricks and mortar stores whether online or in person and a tiny snippet of any purchase comes our way to go towards site upkeep so any and all support very much appreciated! We hope to have further options to buy from independents up soon as well.

So read on and see the many wonders in print coming your way in July.

Enjoy!

 

Fiction

CB - Go - Jul - The Hatching
THE HATCHING
CB - Oct - After Alice
Boone, Ezekiel
9781473215177
HB
£12.99
Gollancz
Old school disaster-monster creature-feature SF that kicks off with a flesh-eating mass devouring American tourists and an “accidental” nuclear own goal by the Chinese in THE HATCHING. Featuring a male FBI agent and a female US President, this screams crossover appeal / mainstream hit to us and it would be hard not to imagine at least one person in Hollywood rubbing their hands gleefully upon coming across it… Update: we’ve just seen the author’s Twitter page. The publisher didn’t mention spiders.
Buy from Waterstones
AFTER ALICE
Gregory Maguire
9781472230461
PB
8.99
Headline
Uber-seller Gregory Maguire (Wicked) is back, migrating from Oz to Wonderland and telling the tale of how Oxford reacted to Alice’s disappearance and what happened to her friend Ada who ventures into the same fantastical realm to rescue her… Now in paperback.
Buy from Waterstones
CB - Or - Sep - The Aeronaut's Windlass
THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS
CB - Jul 16 - Hunters and Collectors
Jim Butcher
9780356503660
PB
8.99
Orbit
Also now in PB is the first volume of the world’s bestselling Urban Fantasy author debut in one of our other favourite subgenres, steampunk. Jim Butcher brings us THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS featuring aristocratic squabbles, airships, and steam-tech and magical action. Sure these are  staples of the genre somewhat and SFF generally. But then we thought Urban Fantasy was yesterday’s news before Jim came along and brought it screaming into vivid colour and detail, and wonderfully engaging characters and stories. One to snap up in paperback if you didn’t snap up the hardback in the first place.
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*** Check out our interview with Jim Butcher on Carabas here! ***
Buy from Waterstones
HUNTERS AND COLLECTORS
M Suddain
9780224097055
PB
£14.99
Cape
M. Suddain is a new one on us but he’s apparently receiving comparison’s to Vonnegut and (Douglas) Adams – it certainly sounds like it from the title description from lit fic publisher Jonathan Cape. Detective SF Horror featuring the Universe’s most fear food critic / ‘Forensic Gastronomer’ John Tamberlain. Sounds very much up our street and looking forward to a read.
Buy from Waterstones
CB - Jul 16 - South
SOUTH
CB - Jul 16 - Newcon Press Now We Are 10
Frank Owen
9781782399612
PB
£12.99
Corvus
Also in the mainstream-slipstream category – by part virtue, like The Hatched, of being (post) apocalyptic – is South from Atlantic Books, set in the aftermath of Civil War in the US ended by windborne viruses. “Every wind brings a new and terrifying way to die.” Sounds fun.
Buy from Waterstones
NOW WE ARE TEN: CELEBRATING THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF NEWCON PRESS
Ian Whates
9781910935194
PB
£12.99
Newcon Press
Have to give a big shout to fab genre indie NewCon Press who celebrate their 10th Birthday in July with the release of Now We Are Ten. Features the following stories and authors (links go to Carabas articles featuring the author’s most recent work): Intro by Ian Whates * The Final Path – Genevieve Cogman * Women’s Christmas – Ian McDonald * Pyramid – Nancy Kress *  Liberty Bird – Jaine Fenn * Zanzara Island – Rachel Armstrong * Ten Sisters – Eric Brown * Licorice – Jack Skillingstead * The Time Travellers’ Ball – Rose Biggin * Dress Rehearsal – Adrian Tchaikovsky * The Tenth Man – Bryony Pearce * Rare As A Harpy’s Tear – Neil Williamson * How to Grow Silence from Seed – Tricia Sullivan * Utopia +10 – JA Christy * Ten Love Songs to Change the World – Peter F Hamilton * Ten Days – Nina Allan * Front Row Seat to the End of the World – EJ Swift
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Extra: The same month NewCon publish Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Tales of the Apt (Waterstones link), a companion series to Shadows of the Apt of short stories – more here.
Buy from Waterstones
CB - Feb - The Silver Tide
THE SILVER TIDE
CB - Go - Sep - Luna
Jen Williams
9781472211163
PB
8.99
Headline
Special shout out also to Jen Williams, creator not just of fantastical fiction but – with Gollancz author Den Patrick – of the brilliant Super Relaxed Fantasy Club (London-based author readings and social drinks). July brings the final instalment of her Copper Cat trilogy in mass market paperback, THE SILVER TIDE, in which her now-established mercenary heroes embark on a classic fantasy treasure-hunting adventure, doubtless with modern twists, on a cursed isle of old gods…
Buy from Waterstones
LUNA
McDonald, Ian
9781473202245
PB
£9.99
Gollancz
We’ve yet to read Luna though became instant fans of Ian McDonald from reading Desolation Road which is just a wonderful series of high concept, weird and bordering on the humorous wild science vignettes around a town on Mars called Desolation Road. Luna sounds comparatively grounded being a thriller concerning Corporate families manoeuvres for supremacy on a colonised moon told through a number of characters. We’ve got an extract for you here.
Buy from Waterstones
CB - Or - Jul - Imprudence
IMPRUDENCE
CB - Orbit - Mar - The Last Days of Jack Sparks
Gail Carriger
9780356501802
PB
8.99
Orbit
The Custard Protocol
There’s a load of steampunk interest out there so, alongside Jim Butcher above, we thought we’d best mention the latest from one of the lead authors in the subgenre Gail Carriger, also from Orbit. It’s the follow up to Prudence in her latest series the Parasol Protectorate entitled IMPRUDENCE (intrigued to know what book three will be called aside from anything else). Naturally there’s airships here as well – Rue / Prudence’s being the Spotted Custard – and, supernaturally, vampires and werewolves. And when the latter get frightened things really must be bad…
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Check out Book one of The Custard Protocol PRUDENCE on our March 2015 Recommends…
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Check out our coverage of Decontextualising Steampunk, a LonCon3 panel featuring Gail on Carabas here…
Buy from Waterstones
THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS
Jason Arnopp
9780356506852
PB
8.99
Orbit
We did have a sense that The Last Days of Jack Sparks, being the found-footage account of a now-deceased journalist investigating the occult, was probably something a little special, conjuring recollections of the Blair Witch Project along with George RR Martin’s The Armageddon Rag. It was an instant inclusion in our March recommends in Trade Paperback, later being plucked out by The Bookseller magazine as one of their Ones to Watch of the same month. We’re still looking to read it but some of our top-rated creators got straight down to it and had the following to say:
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‘This classic supernatural thriller takes a frenetic and self-obsessed modern world in its confident stride. The Last Days Of Jack Sparks gives us ingenious and funny diabolism, repurposed for the 21st Century. A magnificent millennial nightmare’ – Alan Moore
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‘Wow. Seriously hard to put down…Chilling and utterly immersive’ – M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts
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‘This is The Omen for the social media age’ – Chris Brookmyre, author of the Jack Parlabane thrillers
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‘Wittier than the lovechild of Stephen Fry and Charlie Brooker, scarier than watching The Exorcist in an abandoned asylum’ – Sarah Lotz, author of The Three
Buy from Waterstones
CB - Jul - Lament for the Fallen
LAMENT FOR THE FALLEN
CB - Jul - The Scarlet Gospels
Gavin Chait
9780857523693
HB
£14.99
Doubleday
Transworld aren’t messing around with Gavin Chait’s LAMENT FOR THE FALLEN coming in hardback in July, so clearly big things are expected. A mysterious stranger – with superhuman abilities we gather – falls from the sky into a West African village. It sounds like he gets to take on the more conventional evil of the local warlord, but in the hellish orbiting prison he’s escaped something even more dangerous is waiting…
Buy from Waterstones
THE SCARLET GOSPELS
Clive Barker
9781447266990
PB
£7.99
Pan
From speculative manufactured hells to fantastical classic ones in The Scarlet Gospels: the legend that is Clive Barker returns to his most iconic character, the Cenobite Hell Priest Pinhead! We imagine the plot is entirely incidental to anyone buying or stocking this but mortal PI Harry D’Amour is bound for Hell itself if he’s going to save his blind medium partner: she’s been kidnapped by Pinhead to chronicle his takeover of it. Included in the Bookseller’s July Topsellers.
Buy from Waterstones
CB - PM - Jul - Sorcerer to the Crown
SORCERER TO THE CROWN
CB - Tor - Apr - The Stars Askew reduced
Zen Cho
9781447299462
PB
£7.99
Pan
Sorcerer Royal Trilogy
1
Newcomer Zen Cho has rather kicked off her writing career in style, with a whole bunch of shortlisted award nominations for Sorcerer to the Crown. Refreshing in part for locating itself in a period of history relatively untouched by fantasy – Regency times – it concerns England’s first African Sorcerer Royal grudgingly agreeing to take on an apprentice while England is back at war with France and The Fairy Court has blocked its supply of magic…
Buy from Waterstones
THE STARS ASKEW
Rjurik Davidson
9781447252429
PB
£8.99
Tor
Caeli-amur
2
Rjurik Davidson has been on our radar since a Steampunk panel at LonCon 3 though his writing perhaps fits more the subtitle of our roundups of the genre, ‘associated fantastical anachronisms’. In The Stars Askew, book two of his Caeli-amur series, a successful coup by the people is now followed by the complexities of rule and all the machinations and betrayals you can shake a stick it. Includes such characters as a philosopher-assassin and Max who has a joker-god living in his head.
Buy from Waterstones

Updates (04/08)

CB - HV - Aug - Fool's Quest
FOOL’S QUEST
CB - Jul - Neverwhere (Illustrated)
Robin Hobb
9780007444243
PB
8.99
Harper Voyager
The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy
2
Fantasy legend Robin Hobb hardly requires our endorsement unless you feel ours holds more weight than George RR Martin (cheers if that’s the case ;)). Fools Quest is the sequel to her latest trilogy which returns to her main setting The Realm of the Elderlings and much loved characters: Fool hopes to employ his old friend to use his skills in assassination in his quest for vengeance…
Buy from Waterstones
NEVERWHERE (Illustrated)
Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell (Ill)
9781472228413
HB
£14.99
Headline
 
With so many great new books coming through to shout out about we have to be all the more stringent on inclusions of re-releases. Mr Chris Riddell is hugely active right now, providing illustrations for works old and new. On the former this season brings more than a few of the fantastic Neil Gaiman’s works so illustrated, Riddell having done the art duties on various new Gaiman titles already. We won’t include them all but Neverwhere, which we loved in its TV incarnation scripted by Gaiman and one Lenny Henry, we just had to. A young man is drawn into a the doings of a hidden, folkloric London by a girl called Door populated by characters named for tube stations and landmarks. It also features one of our favourite creations, a smart, dashing, kick-arse gentleman (who features in an additional short in this volume) going by the name of the Marquis de Carabas… J
Buy from Waterstones
CB - HZ - Oct - The Dark Forest
THE DARK FOREST
CBJJ16 - HZ - Apr - Death's End reduced
Cixin Liu
9781784971618
PB
£8.99
Head of Zeus
The Three Body Problem
2
And then we have the finale in hardback of Cixin Liu’s much lauded, Hugo award-winning The Three-Body Problem trilogy – but first comes the second in paperback. After the revelations of book one a high concept covert war on a global scale is being conducted for the future survival of the human race – the predatory alien species may be centuries away but their harbingers have infiltrated the virtual fabric of the world to make conquest an absolute certainty.
Buy from Waterstones
DEATH’S END
Cixin Liu
9781784971632
HB
£18.99
Head of Zeus
The Three Body Problem
3
The series, in different ways, partakes of the near-past, the present and, chiefly here, the future. Without wanting to give much away, an enduring peace between humanity and the Trisolaran aliens seemed a possibility – yet even that is precarious and unexpected elements could tip everything toward mutually assured annihilation…
Buy from Waterstones

 

 Non-Fiction

CN - Jul - Original Rockers
ORIGINAL ROCKERS
CN - Jul - The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who
Richard King
9780571311804
PB
£10.99
Faber
Non-Fic time and a smashing music title from Faber, Richard King’s ORIGINAL ROCKERS. Actually we’d probably suggest another title. ‘West Country, Hi-Fidelity’ maybe? It’s a memoir of working in an independent Bristol record shop in the early 90’s and artists such as Captain Beefheart and Julian Cope. Co-promotion with key independent record shops across the UK. Support bricks and mortar. Support indies. Love Music. Nice one.
Buy from Waterstones
THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF DOCTOR WHO
Simon Guerrier & Marek Kukula
9781849909396
PB
£7.99
BBC Books
Science Fiction: Fictional speculations based on science or speculative science that humans are yet to comprehend based in fiction? Or is the more poignant question who cares as long as it’s entertaining? Either way Guerrier and Kukula serve up THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF DR WHO in paperback in July: doubtless enlightening – but more importantly entertaining. Timey-wimey.
Buy from Waterstones
CN - Jul 16 - Once Upon a Time
ONCE UPON A TIME
CN - Jul - Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies
Marina Warner
9780198779858
PB
£8.99
OUP
I do keep an eye out for Marina Warner who has a passion many of us share for folklore. As a bookseller back in the late 90’s / early 00’s I remember selling the likes of The Beast and the Blonde, No Go the Bogeyman and Fantastic Metamorphoses and Other Worlds then, as a Sales Rep, having the pleasure of escorting her on a signing tour for Phantasmagoria. Now, again from OUP, she brings us ONCE UPON A TIME in which she surveys the breadth of fairytales as a ‘repository of human understanding and culture’, from the classics to modern interpretations of the same and contemporary mythos such as Pan’s Labyrinth. Great stuff. The Bookseller Magazine’s Editor’s Paperback Choice for July.
Buy from Waterstones
TRUTHS, HALF TRUTHS AND LITTLE WHITE LIES
Nick Frost
9781473620889
PB
£9.99
Hodder
And we just had to include a memoir by one Nick Frost. Loved of course for his buddy roles, this isn’t the happy-go-lucky Hollywood rise tale you might be expecting, but the swings between optimistic and darker times growing up in Essex. As Nick says: ‘No life can really be all black, right? Even during the darkest times, what got me through that bleakness was laughter and time. With enough of both of these things I reckon you could get over just about anything.’ Hodder promise an ‘exhilarating, joyful and unforgettable storytelling and unlike any memoir you’re likely to read’. We believe them. Topseller in the Bookseller’s July selection.
Buy from Waterstones

(Updates, 19/07)

CN - Jul - The Age of Bowie
THE AGE OF BOWIE
CN - Jul - I'm Buffy and You're History
Paul Morley
9781471148088
HB
£20.00
Simon & Schuster
We’ve lost some incredible figures in music, film and more and they hardly come more incredible that Mr David Bowie. Paul Morley was one of the team who curated the retrospective V&A exhibition of the man (‘David Bowie is’). This month sees Morley’s reconstruction of the life of possibly our most mercurial artists of all time at each stage in his career, up to and including his Black Star comeback just days before his death.
Buy from Waterstones
I’M BUFFY AND YOU’RE HISTORY: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER AND CONTEMPORARY FEMINISM
Patricia Pender
9781780767468
PB
£16.99
IB Tauris
We’re not aware of any sites where you can discover not just the best new fantastical fiction but also get the heads up on those more academic works on world class and world changing subjects, books and shows you love. Well that partly why we came up with Carabas! Delayed from earlier this year, July sees the release of Patricia Pender’s I’m Buffy and You’re History: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Contemporary Feminism. Buffy gave a whole new voice and creative empowerment to a generation quite, aside from the years of entertainment it brought. Pender digs a level deeper into the much-loved series and examines it through the lens of gender and feminist politics…
Buy from Waterstones
CN - Aug - Generation M (final)
GENERATION M
CN - Jul - Make way for the Superhumans
Shelina Janmohamed
9781780769097
TPB
£12.99
IB Tauris
*** Updated: Now slipped to August *** Here’s another great piece of work from IB Tauris and from the keyboard of award-winning author Shelina Janmohamed. Generation M is about a generation of “tech-savvy and self-empowered” Muslims whose identity takes on both faith and modernity. An exceptionally relevant title that ought to be a must-read for any politician, and very interesting for the rest of us. A Non-Fiction Highlight in The Bookseller’s July to December 2016 Buyer’s Guide.
Buy from Waterstones
MAKE WAY FOR THE SUPERHUMANS: HOW THE SCIENCE OF BIO ENHANCEMENT IS TRANSFORMING OUR WORLD, AND HOW WE NEED TO DEAL WITH IT
Michael Bess
9781785781018
PB
£14.99
Icon Books
Carabas is about many things and, amongst other angles, we like to keep an eye out for the science of fiction as well as the fiction of science. While we’ve yet to see – and probably quite thankfully – the superhumans of fiction, there are of course real world developments of this nature in cybernetics, genetics and biological and chemical enhancement. And while today body modification comes conventionally in the form of personal style and restorative medicine it’s far within the realms of possibility of being a serious question for the next generation. Science can progress faster than society has the context and maturity to deal with it, a concern expressed in works such as Frankenstein and, more recently, Orphan Black: here Michael Bess takes the lead in looking at what might potentially go wrong and head it off before too little can be done about it.
Buy from Waterstones
CN - Jul - Rave
RAVE: RAVE AND ITS INFLUENCE ON ART AND CULTURE
CN - Jul - 1966
Nav Haq, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mark Fisher, Kodwo Eshun
9781910433874
PB
£24.95
Black Dog
Whether you lived through the years of Rave – and whether you partook in them – or not, it’s a cultural movement that’s covered less perhaps than we’d expect. Nav Haq and co bring a collection of texts on the scene and its ideologies, aesthetics and influence together, and it’s co-published with Antwerp’s Museum of Modern Art who are currently hosting the first exhibition of the same, ‘Energy Flash: The Rave Movement’ in conjunction with one of the city’s main clubs Ampere (with club nights associated naturally). We wonder if maybe music journalist Mr Simon Reynolds had anything to do with it – after all he’d written probably the first serious book on the subject published by Faber back in 1998, with the title… Energy Flash.
Buy from Waterstones
1966: THE YEAR THE WORLD EXPLODED
Jon Savage
9780571277636
PB
£9.99
Faber
And Faber have something for you of a not dissimilar nature this month in the form of Jon Savage’s 1966 in mass market paperback. It’s of course more generally about sixties culture and counterculture, art, politics and – especially – its music. But it highlights 66 as the year where the lid was lifted and the distinct culture exploded across the western world. Great stuff.
Buy from Waterstones

 

Children’s & YA

CC - Jul - And I Darken
AND I DARKEN
CC - Jul - The Otherlife
Kiersten White
9780552573740
PB
£7.99
Random House Children’s
 
On to Children’s and YA and we kick off with Kiersten White’s The Conquerors Trilogy, which kicks off with AND I DARKEN in July. It’s set in the Ottoman sultanate featuring a ruthless sword-fighting female lead: “The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess”, say Random House – and who’s going to say no to that?
Buy from Waterstones
THE OTHERLIFE
Julia Gray
9781783444229
PB
£7.99
Andersen Press
Meanwhile Andersen Press serve up Julia Gray’s THE OTHERLIFE in which Ben – who can see the Otherlife where gods and monsters exist – discovers his tutor is dead. Something to do with the privileged bully who befriended him at school some years back who wanted to be part of the Otherlife maybe?
Buy from Waterstones
CB - C - Apr - Desolation
DESOLATION
cc-jul-harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child
Derek Landy
9780008156992
PB
£7.99
Harpercollins
We’ve yet to read book one in Derek Landy’s Demon Road trilogy, but his fantastic Skullduggery Pleasant series is enough for book 2 to get a mention regardless. Amber and Milo are being chased by demonic bikers the Hounds of Hell and need to get to a town suffused with supernatural darkness for the secret it holds before they catch up…
Buy from Waterstones
HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS I & II: THE OFFICIAL SCRIPT BOOK
JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
9780751565355
HB
£20.00
Little Brown
And what’s significant about the 31st July? That it’s the publication day of the latest Harry Potter (stageplay) book? That it’s ‘coincidentally’ Harry Potter’s Birthday? That it’s (also coincidentally) JK Rowling’s birthday?
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No, it’s because it’s (creator of Carabas) TIM’S BIRTHDAY!
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(It’s also his Dad’s!)
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Oh and there’s some Harry Potter thing coming out as well. (Half price at Waterstones)
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(Got enough bracketed text yet? (Good))
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Happy Birthday Harry, Jo, Tim’s Dad and Me!
Buy from Waterstones

 

Graphic Novels

UPDATE: INDIE HIGHLIGHT…

CG - Jul - Deeds Not Words
DEEDS NOT WORDS
Howard Hardiman and Sarah Gordon
9781910436028
PB
£10
Howard Hardiman
Deeds Not Words
1
“Meet Emily. A Deaf, Edwardian superheroine from the wrong side of the London docks.” Funded by the Arts Council England and their Kickstarter campaign, volume one of Howard Hardiman and Sarah Gordon’s Deeds Not Words (the motto of the contemporaneous women’s suffrage movement) hits shelves in July. Perhaps not unsurprisingly the strength of the script is in its restraint of dialogue, the writer trusting the quality of his plot and the artists storytelling ability to bring it to life. Working in black and white over 56 pages Sarah Gordon employs a broad palette of textures to do so, her full-page scene splashes being a particular treat, nailing you into the place and period of the piece. Social relevance – check. Superhuman goings on – check. Very much our kind of thing in other words! (We hope to have a preview for you soon…)
Available from Orbital Comics, Gosh Comics and many more…

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CG - DC - Dec - Harley Quinn V3
HARLEY QUINN TP VOL 3 KISS KISS BANG STAB
CG - DC - Jul - Harley Quinn V4
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti; artists Chad Hardin and John Timms 
9781401262525
PB
£12.99
DC Comics
With guest artists Ben Caldwell, Mauricet, Darwyn Cooke, Brandt Peters and more
It might just be our take but the antihero and insane characters have, especially since the 90’s, been pronouncedly popular in the world of comics and moreso than other media. If they can be framed as belonging to their own subgenre, it’s where readers are treated to the wildly unexpected and guilt-free amoral carnage. Small surprise then that Harley Quinn has been on DC’s bestseller lists and achieving ‘hardback status’ for every period since Carabas began. Briefly these two volumes concern the titular nutcase psychiatrist hiring a gang of… Harley Quinns(!)…
Buy from Forbidden Planet
HARLEY QUINN HC VOL 4 A CALL TO ARMS
Amanda Conner, Chad Hardin et al
9781401262532
HB
£18.99
DC Comics
…then all concerned take a trip – as if it ‘wasn’t weird enough already’ – to Hollywood!
Buy from Forbidden Planet
CG - Im - Jul - Jupiter's Circle V2
JUPITER’S CIRCLE VOLUME 2
CG - Im - Jul - Huck
Mark Millar, Walden Wong
9781632157072
PB
£12.99
Image Comics
 
Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy is returning to print in comic form, then graphic novel form at the end of the year. In the meantime artist Walden Wong provides the visuals for what is essentially a prequel series Jupiter’s Circle set, volume 2 being collected by Image in July. JL may be the main feast but Mr Millar is a big enough name that plenty of people will be looking to fork out for these ‘meantime’ stories of superheroes in midcentury America in the tradition of Watchmen.
Buy from Forbidden Planet
HUCK
Mark Millar, Rafael Albuquerque
9781632157294
PB
£10.99
Image Comics
 
But that’s not all from Mark this month. Much of his writing, Jupiter’s Legacy included, is a speculation on normal people actually gaining superhuman powers, though with more realism and rigour than the more entertainment-focused regular superhero comic. Huck’s the secret of his town, a normal guy working in a gas station who uses his powers to do a good deed every day. But when the secret gets out Huck discovers the secrets of his own past, going back to a secret project in Soviet Russia… and his Mum. Very much enjoyed this.
Buy from Forbidden Planet
CG - Im - Jul - Saga V6
SAGA VOLUME 6
CG - Im - Jul - Monstress
Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples
9781632157119
PB
£10.99
Image Comics
 
And there’s also the latest in another blockbuster created-owner series from Image, that Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples Saga, now hitting volume six. BKV, like Mark Millar, is a global class talent and Saga, his story of galactic war and parenthood, has received wide acclaim and been a constant success since it began. In this volume the daughter of the starcrossed alien parents starts kindergarten…
Buy from Forbidden Planet
MONSTRESS VOLUME 1: AWAKENING
Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda
9781632157096
PB
£7.50
Image Comics
Monstress has been getting a lot of attention. In an alternate Asia in the 1900’s a decadent matriarchal witch-aristocracy enslaves and abuses those born of an otherworldly nature. A young woman empowered by a monstrous ‘something’ is about to shake up the status quo in a big way. Sana Takeda brings Marjorie Liu’s script to life with some sumptuous art. [Link]
Buy from Forbidden Planet
CG - Jul - Faith V1
FAITH VOLUME 1: HOLLYWOOD AND VINE
CG - Nov - Tabatha
Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage
9781682151211
PB
£7.50
Valiant Entertainment, LLC
Valiant relaunched a few years back with some absolutely top creators bringing back their characters for a new era. FAITH was certainly around in the 90’s iteration of Valiant’s Harbinger book but the current era is more than ready for a positive female character who breaks the female body stereotype of superhero comics, hence her solo 4 issue debut now being collected this month. Written by Orphan Black’s Jody Houser, Faith has received international media attention (the BBC, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, NPR, People, Today, the Washington Post and more) and was the first series of 2016 to reach a fifth(!) printing in comic form. It’s success has led to an ongoing series by the same creative team, issue one of which arrives in July as well.
Buy from Forbidden Planet
TABATHA
Neil Gibson, Capar Wijngaard
9780992752347
PB
£11.99
TPub
 
Back across the Atlantic, delayed from earlier this year, and we’ve got TPub’s Tabatha. Written by TPub owner Neil Gibson and very nicely drawn by Caspar Wijngaard (co-creator with writer Dan Watters of Limbo from Image Comics) Tabatha follows the in-house publishing model: one free issue online, then pay to read the rest online or wait to buy the trade collection. L.A. mailman Luke and co are committing burglaries based on postal info – until the discovery of a severed arm leads to a further involuntary amputation and a more general fight for life. So from Limbo (for Mr Wijngaard at least) to limb-less… but just who is Tabatha? Not the sex doll they find in the prop store along with the dismembered corpse surely…
UPDATE: Now looking to be published January 2017
Buy from Forbidden Planet
CG - Ve - Jul - Sheriff of Babylon V1
SHERIFF OF BABYLON TP VOL 1
CG - Ca - Jul - Paradise Lost
Tom King, Mitch Gerads
9781401264666
PB
£10.99
Vertigo
With the reappropriation of characters into the mainstream DC universe the Vertigo imprint is now the home of creator owned series and we’re now seeing the first of a whole run of new creations. Coming this month is the first collected volume of Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ miniseries Sheriff of Babylon, an investigative thriller set in Baghdad in which cop-turned-military consultant Chris Henry teams with Baghdad’s last policeman Nassir to learn the reasons for a recruit’s murder… Really intrigued by this.
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PARADISE LOST
John Milton / Pablo Auladell
9781910702239
HB
£20
Cape
Jonathan Cape sounds exactly the right place for a Graphic Novel adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Captured here by Spain’s Pablo Auladell it was (of course?) the inspiration for Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials saga.
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CG - Jul - Ready for Pop
READY FOR POP
CG - Jul - For the Love of God, Marie!
Hurk, Lord
9780861662500
PB
£10.99
KNOCKABOUT
 
We’ve got a real affection for old school subcultural UK Indie Knockabout – and we also like to keep an eye out for books set in our base of operations (London). Nice for us then that their July offering – Lord Hurk’s READY FOR POP – is a weird whodunit set in the capital in the swinging 60’s. But what they dun? Shrunk a British pop sensation in a failed assassination. Remind anyone else of Help?
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FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MARIE
Jade Sarson
9781908434777
PB
£16.99
Myriad
 
And another indie shout out to Myriad’s Jade Sarson, winner of their First Graphic Novel Competition of 2014, and her debut  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MARIE. It follows the life of Marie from her catholic 6th form years to the 90’s ‘exploring’ the idea ‘that maybe, just maybe, God doesn’t care what you do with your body as long as it makes you happy’. I think most of us, quite aside from personal belief, would say Amen to that.
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CA - ANAD - Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1
MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR VOL. 1: BFF
CG - Ma - Jul - Avengers Standoff
Reeder, Amy; Montclare, Brandon & Bustos, Natacha
9781302900052
PB
£13.50
Marvel 
Marvel have been the more proactive of the big two in terms of publishing diversity – and not a moment too soon. Buoyed by the success of one of our perennial recommends – G Willow Wilson’s Ms Marvel – they released new ongoing series MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR by the creative team of Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclaire and Natacha Bustos at the end of last year which we touted this as One to Watch (‘keep an eye on’) back in September. Well the reviews have borne that out and then some, so here’s the collected edition to look forward to in July. Great for younger readers, for those of us looking for something lighter than the higher concept drama that’s been at the core of the superhero universes in recent years, and anyone who wants to read about a preteen super genius and her gentle giant red dinosaur.
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AVENGERS: STANDOFF
Spencer, Nick; Ewing, Al & Duggan, Gerry, Mark Waid, Jesus Saiz, Mark Bagley, Ryan Stegman, Mike Norton
9781302901479
HB
£25.99
Marvel 
Meanwhile there’s Marvel’s most recent big event. Not Secret Wars big or Civil War II big but sitting nicely between the two as a more self-contained crossover story, that of the secret behind the idyllic community of Pleasant Hill. No spoilers but surely there’s going to be some classic villains lurking somewhere for the Avengers to fight? By Nick Spencer, Al Ewing, Gerry Duggan et al.
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CG - Ma - Jul - The Infinity Entity
INFINITY ENTITY, THE
CG - DH - Jul - The Steam Man
Starlin, Jim & Davis, Alan
9780785194217
PB
£10.99
Marvel 
 
At the same time we do want to shout about THE INFINITY ENTITY. Jim Starlin twisted our young minds in his tales of Adam Warlock many years back – and our older self’s minds on reading it properly not so long ago. Wild, trippy stuff. Well he’s returned to Warlock periodically since (look for Marvel books beginning with ‘Infinity’) and returns again now – with British art LEGEND Alan Davis! The combination of these two is just going to blow our tiny minds. If you’ve never heard of Alan David, well he cut his artistic teeth on scripts by the likes of Alan Moore and Marvel’s lead writer of the last decade Brian Michael Bendis expressed genuine humility at getting to work with him on Avengers Prime 5 years ago. Top team, top title.
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STEAM MAN, THE
Lansdale, Joe R.; Miller, Mark Allen & Kowalski, Piotr
9781616559625
PB
£13.50
DARK HORSE
And we round out July’s graphic novel highlights with a blast of steampunk from Joe R Lansdale et al. Joes in our minds from his earlier work on DC/Vertigo’s western-horror character Jonah Hex – but his written and graphic bibliography is EXTRAORDINARY. It’s giant pneumatic robots vs Martians, mutant apes and apocalyptic vampires. And why not?
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Tim Bayley

@timbayley1

 

Hope some or all of that’s of interest / help! Do also check out our highlights of previous and forthcoming months this year via the links below…

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

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JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE

 

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