Alongside US Book Show, Penn State University Press has unveiled its Fall/Winter 2021 catalogue, featuring new general interest and scholarly books in the fields of music history, literature, art history, religious studies, rhetoric and communication, medieval and early modern studies, current events and more. And for good measure, graphic novels too.
The catalog includes forthcoming titles from Graphic Mundi, the Press’s graphic novel imprint, including “Hakim’s Odyssey, Book 1: From Syria to Turkey,” the first in a series of graphic novels by Fabien Toulmé chronicling the struggles of a young Syrian refugee.
Hakim’s Odyssey Book 1: From Syria to Turkey by Fabien Toulmé, and Hannah Chute
What does it mean to be a “refugee”? It is easy for those who live in relative freedom to ignore or even to villainize people who have been forced to flee their homes. After all, it can be hard to identify with others’ experiences when you haven’t been in their shoes. In Hakim’s Odyssey, we see firsthand how war can make anyone a refugee. Hakim, a successful young Syrian who had his whole life ahead of him, tells his story: how war forced him to leave everything behind, including his family, his friends, his home, and his business. After the Syrian uprising in 2011, Hakim was arrested and tortured, his town was bombed, his business was seized by the army, and members of his family were arrested or disappeared. This first leg of his odyssey follows Hakim as he travels from Syria to Lebanon, Lebanon to Jordan, and Jordan to Turkey, where he struggles to earn a living and dreams of one day returning to his home. This graphic novel is necessary reading for our time. Alternately hopeful and heartbreaking, Hakim’s Odyssey is a story about what it means to be human in a world that sometimes fails to be humane. “A beautiful book. Hakim’s Odyssey is deeply personal and superbly researched. I loved reading it.”—Benjamin Worku-Dix, author of Vanni: A Family’s Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict. coming soon 272 pages 6″ × 9.5” 2021, coming in September
BrainComix iIllustrated by Monsieur B
Sure, he’s ugly—but such talent! The human brain is the most complex structure in the universe. It’s as awe-inspiring as it is intimidating, when you’re not an expert. So how can we get to know the brain? By asking him to introduce himself, of course! In BrainComix, the brain is the star of the show—hamming it up in a televised interview conducted by the intrepid journalist Julia Mojito. Without jargon, and with plenty of humor, we come to understand how this spongy, bloody organ acts as our guardian angel, filters our perceptions, and shapes the stories we tell about the world and about ourselves. Test your brain with BrainComix! “Fun and forensic, this deep dive into anthropomorphized gray matter leaves no convolution of the brain unexplored. The brain as organ, the brain as self, the brain in all its glory.”—Bob Fingerman, author of Dotty’s Inferno and Minimum Wage coming soon 168 pages 7″ × 10” 2021, coming in September
A Chance by Cristina Durán, Miguel Ángel Giner Bou, and translated by Katherine Rucker.
A Chance is the engrossing, heartwarming story of a family’s struggles and triumphs. The narrative follows Cristina Durán and Miguel Ángel Giner Bou as they rebuild and reinvent themselves after their daughter Laia is born with cerebral palsy. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and doctors become part of their daily routine. There is one chance in a thousand that Laia will pull through—and they hold on to that chance with tremendous strength and indomitable joy. Years later, with the same courage and determination, Cristina and Miguel embark on the arduous process of adopting their second daughter, Selam, from Ethiopia. This time, they face a long period of training, psychological tests, interviews, and formalities before they can even pack their bags. And when they return with Selam, the challenge of reinvention awaits them yet again.
312 pages 9.5″ × 6.75″ 2021, coming in October
Iranian Love Stories, script by Jane Deuxard, art by Deloupy
Gila, 26, was at a party when the police showed up. The men were able to get away with bribes, but the women were taken to the station, and anyone who’d been drinking was forced to submit to a virginity test. She never went to another party after that. Zeinab is 20 and she loves being a woman in Iran. She says that she feels like a queen! And despite all the risks, she confesses that she makes love with her boyfriend because the danger excites her. Vahid is 26. He was a leader with the Green Movement. Then he watched his friend Neda die right in front of him. Now he keeps his head down, trying to finish his studies. In a series of vignettes based on clandestine interviews, this award-winning graphic novel explores the politics and love lives of ten young Iranian men and women from diverse backgrounds. The result is an honest portrait of Iranian youth today and a rare glimpse into a society where the sexes are strictly segregated—and Western journalists aren’t welcome. Through testimonies from across the country, we learn about traditional marriages, the pressures of living under the regime, and how young people escape the police and defy tradition to live their love stories.
144 pages 8″ × 10″ 2021, coming in October