Also from Sparkplug Comic Books, Bookhunter is the first new publication by Jason Shiga in quite awhile. This work finds Shiga's natural, intelligent, lo-fi, comics talent in fine form. It is a hefty, squarebound graphic novel dealing with a hardboiled library detective whose job it is is to track down the books that are long overdue and in all likelihood held by racalcitrant, recidivist ne'er-do-wells who must be brought to justice, library style. A fun read that will be especially appreciated by librarians (Yes, you guessed it. Shiga does, himself, work at a library)
Mathematically-minded, computer-program-writing, troubleshooting-oriented comics fans please take note: Here is a comic book for you. This is a comic that is very hard to accurately describe. It is a true one-of-a-kind work (so much so that it may be destined to remain so for all eternity) that is a take on the "choose your own adventure" genre that is much, much more. To give you a better idea, here's the entirety of the author's introductory note: "Meanwhile began as a series of seven increasingly complex flowcharts. Because of asymmetries in the branching, a special notation had to be invented for the final three charts. Once the outline of the story was structured, a computer algorithm was written to determine the most efficient method to transfer it to book form. However, the problem proved to be NP-complete. With the use of a V-opt heuristic algorithm running for 12 hours on an SGI machine, the solution was finally cracked in the spring of 2000. It was another six months before layouts were finished, again with the aide of homebrew computer algorithms. After a year of prep work, production began on the book, which was completed one year later." And that brings us to the fact that this work was originally released in a hand made edition with a tiny press run roughly seven years ago, and only now has it finally managed to make it out into the wider world courtesy of Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams. You owe it to yourself to check this one out!
Here's the latest graphic novel by the creator of the Copacetic favorite, Meanwhile, that was published by Abrams last year (nearly a decade after Shiga self-published it). Empire State is, however, quite a different kettle of fish. It is a pop-culture savvy tale of bi-coastal romance that has the feel of a roman á clef and is much closer is style and content to its immediate precursor, Bookhunter, that was published in 2007 by those stalwart supporters of independent comics, Sparkplug Comic Books. Empire State is a 144 page, two-color hardcover that is durably constructed and considerately priced.