Every day in July we're spotlighting books from our month-long Hidden Gems Sale, wherein we're featuring some of our under-the-radar backlist titles and encouraging you to try them by offering them at a nice discount of 25% off!
The artist we're featuring today, Mark Kalesniko, got widely noticed for his series Alex, which was later collected in a graphic novel of the same name. Today we're putting the spotlight on three of his earlier, lesser-known titles:
Before Alex, Kalesniko made S.O.S., a lyrical allegorical comic with a beautiful Asian-American protagonist. The story details how Chloe slowly finds her identity and achieves independence and empowerment while literally "adrift on the ocean" on a small sailboat beset by a huge, ravenous shark. S.O.S. is a metaphorical one-shot, a dramatic short subject told entirely in pantomime. Kalesniko brilliantly unveils the conflicts within Chloe — between tradition and modernity, between the safety of her chinese family and the unfamiliar dangers of the Western world. The story is told in ink, collage, and wash, introducing to comics the exciting panel-to-panel "camerawork" which Kalesniko has refined into an assured mastery.
24-page black & white 6.75" x 10.25" comic book
regularly $2.75 • ON SALE $2.06
Mail Order Bride
Monty, a Canadian comic-and-toy-shop owner and a pathetic 39-year-old virgin, expects his Asian mail-order bride Kyung Soo to fulfil his female Asian fantasy stereotypes: obedient, hardworking and loyal. Tall and accentless, Kyung turns out to be much more complex than Monte is willing to accept. This sharp and affecting look at their prickly relationship is told over 264 elegant, touching pages in this original graphic novel by Disney animator Mark Kalesniko. Kalesniko adroitly juxtaposes Monty's non-sexual, juvenile obsessions with his objectification of his bride, drawing a direct line between loneliness, consumerism, and how the need for order in one's life compromises the approach to matters of the heart.
264-page black & white 8" x 11" softcover
regularly $19.95 • ON SALE $14.96
Why Did Pete Duel Kill Himself?
Before the astonishing Mail Order Bride, Kalesniko created this equally fine work of comic art. He combines stylish graphics and a keen eye for the perspective of a child in his first book-length graphic novel. Here, the unexpected suicide of a young, marginally successful actor sets the tone for this examination of the childhood of Alex Kalienka. Petty humiliations, minor injuries, small betrayals — the overall gradual degradation of growing up different provides a stunning glimpse at the existential nature of life.
96-page black & white 7" x 10" softcover
regularly $8.95 • ON SALE $6.71