Habibi (Pantheon, $35) is a love story. As told in images and words by Craig Thompson, one of the greatest working cartoonists, “love” ramifies, showing up in maternal, romantic, and even literary manifestations, as in the love for storytelling. The particular story at hand concerns Dodola and Zam, children who experience slavery, separation, and reunion. Thompson recounts their tale using myriad styles of narrative and script, including parables and Arabic calligraphy. This richly allusive work of art represents a pinnacle of the graphic-novel genre.
As its title suggests, this is a book of mostly unresolvable Big Questions (Drawn and Quarterly, $44.95). And it’s not just because the protagonists happen to be small finches. Anders Nilsen’s new work is stark, yet richly illustrated; simple, yet dense in its ponderings; innocent—even childlike—yet brimming with a barely contained and often spontaneous violence. About matters of joy and death, philosophical quandary and religious zeal, Nilsen’s birds, snakes, and squirrels have more to say than any of his human characters do, but like their human counterparts, these creatures rarely find clear answers. Thought-provoking and exceptionally original, Nilsen’s opus is a must for any fan of the medium.
One of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Richard P. Feynman was also a colorful personality. In this graphic interpretation of the life of Feynman (First Second, $29.99), Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick distill physics, anecdotes, and much history into an easily digestible, thoroughly enjoyable book. Adopting the voice of Feynman himself—drawn from his work on the Manhattan Project and his famous lectures on physics—this book is an engaging ride, full of the humor its subject was famous for. And if that’s not enough, you’ll learn things!