In literature, places people live often help to build and develop characters. Perhaps thanks to their wide palette of tools for visual representation, comics and graphic novels tend to have particularly strong senses of place. Here below we present you with a selection of titles where cities not only help to build characters, but become fully-rounded characters of their own.
It is the winter of 1937, and Aimé Louzeau lives with his mother and their servant. One day, he goes to the Quai des Orfèvres, the police prefecture of Paris, to speak with the vice squad. He currently works in the Criminal Investigation department, but crimes of passion and back alley stabbings really aren’t his thing, so he requests a transfer from Chief Inspector Séverin. The atmosphere immediately darkens, as Louzeau is thrown straight into the interrogation of a pimp called Guapito and his prostitute.
March 1932, New York. Dan Shackelton is an Irish migrant. Like many of his fellow countrymen, he has found work on the construction site of the Rockefeller Center. He is to replace Ryan Murphy, a worker who died on the site. Dan works with a quiet, broad-shouldered man named Giant who is in charge of informing Ryan Murphy’s family of the news. But Giant decides not to say anything. Instead, he sends a substantial sum of money accompanied by an unsigned, typewritten letter. When he receives a response from Ryan’s widow, Mary Ann, Giant writes to her again, tangling himself up in a web of lies. Little by little, the enigmatic Giant starts to come out of his shell, until one day, when Mary Ann shows up in New York with her three children, ready to join her husband.
During the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, two women’s lives become irrevocably intertwined when they both fall victim to a nefarious underground fraternity of ex-soldiers from England’s upper crust who have sworn their lives to defending the British Empire—as well as their own decadent lifestyles. In this first volume, young rebel Jennifer Winterfield and the mysterious Kitamakura from Japan forge an unlikely alliance along with Jennifer’s doctor uncle and a street urchin named Pickles. Together they lay the groundwork for a criminal organization that will go on to sow terror in the hearts of the colonialists and industrialists who tried to put them down.
From his Barcelona studio in 1939, an aging Catalan painter shares with his model the mystery of his best friend Vidal Balaguer, “the forgotten genius” of Catalan Modernism, who vanished on the eve of 1900. His story his linked to the disappearance a few months earlier of his muse and lover, Mar, the subject of his most famous painting, “Young Lady in a Mantón.” But there are other disappearances, too, of people, a corpse, some oranges, and a stubbornly silent canary named Stradivarius. A police detective is convinced that Balaguer murdered his model but by the end of the story we may come to believe that, as the painter himself reflects, “the murder weapon is not always what you might think!”
A former actress and spy, Elizabeth Montagu, is tasked with guiding British author Graham Greene around postwar Vienna, as he conducts research for a screenplay. However, the visit of “G.,” a former spy himself, soon proves to be just as mysterious as his best-selling thrillers, winding through Vienna’s shadowy underground before leading to a Prague on the cusp of revolution…
Javi has left Spain for Berlin. He doesn’t speak German and hardly knows anyone there. He wants to be a comic book artist, but all his friends advise him to find a real job. He desperately needs to believe in himself, and to be believed. Burning with the desire to leave his mark, yet patient like any professional observer, Javi tells the story of his world, which becomes his first comic
Someone hired hitmen to kill Tyler Cross. They didn’t get him, but now his girlfriend’s dead, and he wants to know who paid to have him dead. Someone else spent the take from his last job, investing it in a shady land deal down in sunny Miami. Tyler Cross just wants his money back, but the D.A.’s goons, Cuban gangsters, Miami developers, a trust-fund junkie, and a secretary with an ex-con boyfriend complicate things. Bodies will fall when greed and amoral justice face off in an island-hopping game of cold-blooded murder and white-collar crime.
Saburo is an ambitious young yakuza who provokes a war between rival factions in an attempt to overthrow the Oyabun Kodama, Tokyo’s gang boss. But the sly old devil won’t give up without a fight! Hoping to have Saburo killed, he orders Shi’s release from prison, something the old blind warrior has been waiting thirty years for. Thirty years cut off from the rest of the world, unaware of the betrayal that sealed his fate. Sometimes, all that separates family and business is the width of a blade…
Following a series of jewelry store robberies by an armed gang wearing cat masks, Interpol sends Marie Watteau to the scene of their latest raid: Rome. But tracking down the gang is the least of her problems. First, she must rein in the local carabinieri, headed by Major Livia de Angelis, whose resentment of Interpol’s interference leads to a clash of wills. But is that the only reason for de Angelis’s defiance, or is she following some private agenda? In chasing down the Purple Cats, Watteau soon finds she is merely scratching the surface of a multi-layered intrigue…
Acclaimed political cartoonist and comic book author Michel Kichka (Second Generation) brings us the fascinating, informative, and uplifting autobiographical tale of his love affair with Israel, a land he was inspired to move to at the age of twenty. From culture shock and Israeli customs to the mandatory military service, from art school to political conflict and human tragedies, he delivers a richly detailed account of his life as an artist, family man, peace advocate and Belgian Jew turned Israeli, living in the beautiful and troubled city of Jerusalem.
After their first explosive encounter, Giuseppe and Sophia hate one another with a passion. As fate would have it, both have a secret identity permitting them to conduct investigations incognito. Once his false mustache and wig are removed, Giuseppe becomes “the Eagle.” And when her tights and black hood are donned, Sophia transforms into “the Black Scorpion.” The Eagle and the Scorpion feel an irresistible attraction for one another… but will they share their first kiss and track down the mysterious “Codex Bellum” before Giuseppe and Sophia tear each other into beautiful little pieces?
This is a graphic novel about death and suicide… but not in the way you think. It’s about death that can be reversible, when and if the right angels are looking. The dead person here is Catalina, a self-absorbed student who kills herself out of heartbreak. The angel is Karmen, an angel of the facetious, unusual sort. Her capacity for empathy is so great that she leads “her” dead on a journey toward redemption and, believe it or not, back to life! Full of surprises, metaphysics, and beautiful women, this graphic novel is tender and not devoid of humor.
This collected edition features the first four volumes of the best-selling erotica series, as well as exclusive new content, including lavishly illustrated behind-the-scenes accounts by the authors. The series follows the paths of two different women, in two different eras. One is the exquisite Kim Nelson, a young English woman on a quest for a treasure she believes is rightfully hers. The other is her legendary ancestor Jade, a djinn of the utmost expertise in the art of love, who, through the power of her body, holds the whole world in the palm of her hand. Her quest? To make her mark on the memory of the world by passing into legend. But both women must withstand many trials in order to attain their goals. This is a series constantly in movement, migrating from Turkey and the harems of the Ottoman Empire, to Africa and the magic of ritual, and then on to India and the glittering Pavilion of Pleasures. A captivating tribute to the power of desire, sensuality, and the instinct to love.
“If you’re looking for words of wisdom, you won’t find them here, ’cause they’re drenched in scotch and beer… But there’s something there underneath it all, some ordinary life.” Economic emigration has never seemed so hopeless, and yet so promising. An engrossing portrayal of a hard-won life led by so many today, from Polish creators Dominik Szcześniak and Rafał Trejnis.
After a hold-up gone wrong, Slick finds himself deep in the red with local mafia boss Rex. But that’s not the only thing setting them at odds: they also have their sights set on the same woman, the beguiling Caprice. She’s engaged to Rex and headlines his club, where she thrills the nightly crowds. She’s off-limits, but Slick has never been one for limits. And he has unfinished business with Caprice, who was once his own sweetheart before the war pulled them apart. After all these years, there’s no love lost between them, but that doesn’t mean the old spark isn’t alive… And now, they’re playing with fire. Taking inspiration from the Hollywood noir films of the 1950s, Enrico Marini delivers a gritty graphic novel combining crime, love, jealousy, and betrayal.
Spirou and Fantasio are caught up in another amazing adventure, set in a real historical context. It’s summer 1989, a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the evil Zantafio is trying to take over East Germany. When he kidnaps the Count of Champignac, our two heroes find out and try to rescue him. But to do that, they have to cross Europe’s most heavily guarded border. East Germany’s notorious Secret Police, the Stasi, are soon hot on their trail, and Fantasio is arrested. So Spirou now has to free his friend as well as foil Zantafio’s diabolical scheme.
A baby girl born with purple hair is promptly handed over to a convent by her horrified father, who fears she bears the sign of the witch. And indeed, little Evelyn seems to have strange powers and to attract supernatural manifestations as she grows up among the nuns, who patiently put up with it as best they can. But after one scary “trick” too many, she is entrusted to the care of a hat-maker, who whisks her off to London, where she will learn about much more than making hats! For as Evelyn and her talking cat Benedict will soon find out, Master Neil has a few tricks up his sleeve, too, and his hat shop might not be exactly what it seems…
Harlem, 1931. Prohibition is still in effect, the Great Depression is getting worse by the day, and people are desperate for hope. For a decade, Stephanie St. Clair, a.k.a. Queenie, an immigrant from the French Antilles, has been running a lottery in Harlem that has provided just that: a chance for a way out. But with the end of Prohibition looming, bootlegger Dutch Schultz is looking to diversify his business before the booze industry dries up. And he sees Harlem as ripe for the picking, especially with the police and politicians for sale to the highest bidder—at least if you’re white. It may be wintertime in New York, but things are heating up in Harlem.
During the depths of the Great Depression, an orphan reinvents himself as Al Chrysler and strives to win the heart of the local grocer’s daughter. In doing so, he falls in with a newly arrived petty criminal who soon has him and his friends working for the local mafia. As the stakes get higher, Al soon realizes he’s gotten in too deep, and is caught up in a chain of events beyond his control.