Dinomania: The Lost Art of Winsor McCay, The Secret Origins of King Kong, and The Urge To Destroy New York by Ulrich Merkl (Fantagraphics, 9781606998403)
With a new Jurassic Park film released this year, dinosaurs were riding high in the public consciousness again (although, given the state of the film, perhaps for the wrong reasons). Dinomania is a timely and fascinating reminder of how we first came to idolise them, beginning with the Victorian study of fossils and the sensationalised disaster movies of the day, featuring ‘terrible lizards’. From the Hindenberg to King Kong, the ‘urge to destroy New York’ is critically examined, along with unseen artwork from Dino – perhaps the greatest dinosaur comic of all, by Winsor McCay. Presented in a suitably massive format, and bursting with photographs, maps and high-quality remastered drawings, this is some kind of nirvana for dinophiles.
You Have Me To Love by Jaap Robben (World Editions, 9789462380653)
It’s also been a fabulous year for translated fiction – see our numerous posts re: Ferrante Fever (you thought I couldn’t get it in, didn’t you? But I did! Hah!) But beyond Naples, there was also much to choose from the rest of Europe. Pick of the bunch is Jaap Robben’s You Have Me To Love, an unnerving and atmospheric Dutch novel set on an island somewhere between Scotland and Norway. Robben’s depiction of a skewed relationship between mother and son following father’s disappearance is unforgettably strange, and totally addictive.
The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home Volume 1 by Kanata Konami (Vertical, 9781942993162)
Chi’s Sweet Home is simply one of the most enjoyable comic series I have ever come across. Konami Kanata imbues Chi with every possible cat characteristic – curiosity, fury, puzzlement and, of course, extreme cuteness. This omnibus collects the first few volumes of the series (which has now sadly come to an end) into a handy and beautifully-produced package – so now you have no excuse not to catch up with what may be the world’s most adorable cartoon animal. Volume 2 is out next year, and there’s a teaser for Kanata’s new series FukuFuku: Kitty Tales in the back of this omnibus. Prepare to squee.