Dungeons and Dragons is the most popular tabletop roleplaying game in the world, but the medium has always been bigger than that. Just ask Stu Horvath, co-host of the Vintage RPG Podcast and author of Monsters, Aliens and Holes in the Ground. Horvath walks the reader through the past 40 years of RPG history, "from D&D to Mothership," to demonstrate how the seeds of today's games were planted decades ago. His book is both heartfelt tribute to the hobby and clear-eyed assessment of its blind spots. Plus, it's a curated collection of RPG cover art that looks good on a coffee table.
The sky is full of smoke, the ozone layer is fraying, and the quickest way for teens to feel alive is by finding a festering body by the riverside. That's River's Edge, Kyoko Okazaki's 1993 apocalyptic portrait of urban adolescence in the rubble of Japan's 1980s economic boom. This is a funny, mean, and deceptive Rube's Goldberg machine of a comic, with characters that will stick with you in all their messiness.
Chica Umino is best known abroad for Honey and Clover, an ensemble drama about the friendships and heartbreak of college students. This new work sharpens the focus to depict the relentless depression of a high school chess prodigy. As Umino immerses readers in the protagonist's anxieties, the book is initially claustrophobic. But as the story continues and other characters are introduced, the narrative expands to match or even exceed the scope of her previous work. This series won the 4th Manga Taisho, the 18th Osamu Tezuka Grand Prize, and the prestigious Grand Prix of Japan Media Arts Festival's manga division. Now the first volume is available in English, courtesy of the small press Denpa. The journey begins again.