Backderf's latest novel is a meticulous account of the events of May 1-4, 1970 at Kent State University. The storyline follows Jeff, Allison, Bill, and Sandy, the four students who were killed during anti-Vietnam-war, anti-military conflicts on Kent State's campus, as well as several of the wounded students and a few of the soldiers of the National Guard. Rising tensions between student protestors and National Guardsmen were stoked by sleep-deprived soldiers and commanding officers, a governor infused with law-and-order politics, and persistent student protests that were unrelenting for several days. Throughout, there are pages of exposition offering insights from Backderf's extensive research.
Illustrated by Pedro J. Colombo, colored by Aintzane Landa
This story is based on true events of the life of Francisco Boix, a prisoner of war interned at Mauthausen.
Boix is a Spaniard and a newspaper photographer and communist who is captured in France and sent to several camps before ending up at Mauthausen. For a while, Francisco works as a translator, tasked with translating the insults German soldiers hurl at the prisoners. Later, Francisco is moved up to working in the photography lab at the camp, where he discovers that the SS are meticulously documenting the deaths of prisoners, but staging them and classifying them as suicides or escape attempts. Despite the dangers to his life and the life of those in the camp, Francisco decides it is exceedingly important to get the negatives of these photos out of the camp to show the world what the Nazis were really doing in these extermination camps. After the war, Francisco participates as a witness in the Nuremberg trials, but he finds that most people cannot fathom the photos so many risked their lives to save.
Illustrated by Alexis Vitrebert
This story of Versailles is told from the perspective of Henri de Nolhac, son of Pierre de Nolhac, who came to be a steward of the palace during the Third French Republic. This is not Versailles during the time of kings and queens. This is Versailles as it was just beginning to be appreciated as an historical masterpiece, and thanks in large part to the dedication of Pierre. But, the demands of restoring the palace took a toll on the family life of Pierre, which is also included in great detail. This story also includes how Versailles morphed during the Great War, changing from a monument to a refuge for wounded soldiers and a place of gathering for Christmas celebrations and the like. Extensive end-notes provide more historical context for the de Nolhac family and the source materials for the creative team.
Adrien Gombeaud & Améziane, illustrators
This historical graphic novel begins an explanation for the student protests beginning April 15th, 1989 and concluding in the Tiananmen Massacre on June 5th, 1989. Most people know of this event from the famous photo, Tank Man (pictured below). What isn't largely talked about is the months before this photo where students camped out in Tiananmen Square and inspired protests across China. Students and professors participated in Hunger Strikes against the Chinese government and demonstrated in the hopes that the country would move away from dictatorships and into democracy. The People's Liberation Army was called in to clear the square, but citizens of Beijing impeded their progress and protected the students. Wealthy businessmen became involved as financial backers of the protest. Some of these protests were captured by the Worlds' Press reports during a state visit from Mikhail Gorbachev, but there still exists a lack of certainty about those involved, number of deaths from the Massacre, and much more.
This book has only been out for a week and DANG has it taken the world by storm. Highly reviewed from several publishers, so I won't gush too much, but this is such a powerful story and so necessary. I know publication dates are decided well in advance, but this book hit the shelves just as America was talking about our border camps being another incarnation of the Japanese internment camps. PERFECT TIMING!
I've been reading Manga and comicbooks for years. Now, it's time to share my knowledge with you.
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