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2022 | Best Graphic Novels

From artistic one-shots to the return of old friends like Aya and Riad Sattouf; this year's graphic novel releases are true gems of illustration and story telling.

Book cover: Dernière Reine by Jean-Marc Rochette

La Dernière Reine, Jean-Marc Rochette | Casterman

La Dernière Reine is a passionate love story between a WW1 ‘gueule cassée’ and a sculptress in the 1920s, a great romantic tale reminiscent of 19th century novels. It is also an strong ode to the arts, wilderness and the mystical power of animals.

Rochette earthy colour palette and powerful strokes display a raw graphic style, translating the violence of war, the ugliness of human traits and the strength of nature. Splendid!

Book cover: Aya de Yopougon 7 by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie

Aya de Yopougon (7), Marguerite Abouet & Clément Oubrerie | Gallimard

It has been ten years in the making, but Aya is back!

Aya de Yopougon is a wryly funny, breezy account of ordinary life in Yopougon by Marguerite Abouet. It is partly inspired by her own experiences growing up in Ivory Coast which Clément Oubrerie illustrates with an elegant and whimsical flair.

There is a diversity of characters, friends and family that makes this final volume. It also subtly aims to open the private anecdotes, personal and occasional struggle to discuss broader issues of social justice, students and LGBT+ rights and activism.

Aya de Yopougon presents a slice of history and social testimony that reads like a familiar coming of age tale.

Book cover: L'Arabe du Futur 6 by Riad Sattouf

L'Arabe du futur (6), Riad Sattouf | Allary

This is the very anticipated release of Riad Sattouf’s award-winning series of graphic memoirs. This ultimate volume is the author’s darkly funny true account of his childhood in the Middle East 70s and 80s up to 2011.

The son of a Syrian father and a French mother, Riad grows-up following his family’s peripatetic life between France and Syria.

Thrilling, sensational and heart-breaking. The perfect excuse to tear through the previous volumes (again).

Book cover: L'Entaille by Antoine Maillard

L'entaille, Antoine Maillard | Cornélius

Two high school girls have just been found dead.

On television, there is a report of a killer with a baseball bat.

Enough to shake up the quiet daily life of a small Californian-inspired town.

Here is the opening of L'Entaille.

With his pencil, the author has sculpted a distinctive light to create a heavy and unreal atmosphere, inspired from the works of thriller and horror films’ references.

Maillard’s work is unapologetically nourished by his memories as a teenager from the VHS generation. He translates certain codes of genre cinema and 90’s TV into this gripping, fast-paced stunning story.

Book cover: Ana et l'Entremonde by Cy. and Marc Dubuisson

Ana et l'Entremonde, Cy. & Marc Dubuisson | Glénat

Ana and Domingo find themselves embarked on Columbus expedition of heading West. In this version of history, the world is flat. Once they arrive at the falls at the end of the world, they find themselves thrown into a fantastic universe populated by creatures and pirates of all kinds: the Entremonde (the Inbetween).

Dubuisson’s quirky storytelling combined with Cy.’s mastery of inks and composition make this 1st volume burst with humour, twists and colours.

[Coming soon to the library]

Book cover: L'Arabe du Futur 6 by Riad Sattouf

Le poids des héros, David Sala | Casterman

Author-illustrator David Sala has been alternating between children’s books and graphic novels ever since he graduated from the prestigious Emile Cohl School of Arts in France. Widely acclaimed for his adaptation of The Chess Player by Stefan Zweig, he returns with a moving and powerful book, his most personal work to date. Largely autobiographical, Le poids des héros centres around the life of Sala's Spanish grandfathers, both war and resistance heroes who escaped a deadly fate on several occasions. Vivid colours are used to great effect to recreate the atmosphere of Sala's childhood and give pace to the narrative, sometimes forming the background for scenes of cruelty and violence in a visually striking and powerful way. This is a journey to freedom seen through the eyes and emotions of the young David Sala, a work of rare depth and breathtaking beauty.

[Coming soon to the library]

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