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Ping Pong

Taiyō Matsumoto, trans. from the Japanese by Michael Arias (Viz)

Table tennis gets the full-court treatment in this snappy and distinctively drawn sports manga, a much-anticipated English edition of the quirky saga first serialized in the 1990s. Schoolboy competitors Peco and Smile are faced with a new foe, and Matsumoto’s sharp, fantastic art, paired with winning characterizations and unexpectedly dramatic action makes for a genre standout for manga fans and newbies alike.

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Everything Is an Emergency: An OCD Story in Words and Pictures

Jason Adam Katzenstein (HarperPerennial)

New Yorker cartoonist Katzenstein’s debut chronicles his coming-of-age and his coming to terms with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. His disarming gag cartoons render his darkest fears light yet still effectively creepy, as he plays back the paralyzing worries that ran like a scratched record in his head for years and made everyday interactions feel impossible. From the “rock bottom” moment that brought him to accept counseling, he finds the therapeutic (and pharmacological) support to finally lift up the lever and heal. This memoir of mental illness manages to be genuinely funny, and will be useful for anyone seeking calm in an anxious time.

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Nori

Rumi Hara (Drawn & Quarterly)

Capricious escape artist preschooler Nori and her doting, bemused grandmother star in this gentle comic series of linked graphic short stories. Their quixotic adventures dance seamlessly between nostalgically recalled street scenes in 1980s suburban Japan and the imaginary world of a small child, with plots that include chasing rabbits through schoolyards and winning a trip to Hawaii to represent the pride of the post-WWII generation at a community fair.

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Happiness Will Follow

Mike Hawthorne (Archaia)

Blanca, Hawthorne’s fierce-minded Puerto Rican mother, was a hurricane of contradictions and a legendary superhero figure in her family as she struggled for their survival. Both a Catholic and Santeria practitioner, Blanca was prone to magical thinking and abusive rages—and Hawthorne tries to reconcile the chaos of his childhood in this powerful, tautly drawn memoir.

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