The Spanish Civil War, American horror, wordless pictures and the return of Seth have kept us busy this week.

The Art of Flying

Antonio Altarriba and Kim

(Jonathan Cape, £16.99)

This is the story of Antonio Altarriba's father. It asks the question why he decided to commit suicide at the age of 90. The answer is the culmination of one man's life story. A man born in impoverished Aragon who ended up fighting on both sides of the Spanish Civil War and then lived under the dead yoke of Francoism. It's a story of despair, stolen moments of pleasure and a society corrupt to its very core.

As a work of testament this is powerful stuff. It's already won an English Pen award. Whether it really deserves the back cover comparisons to Maus I'm not so sure though. Altarriba's script is a little too wordy and Kim's art can feel cramped as a result. The structure also feels a little suspect with the bookending chapters about life in an old people's home - strong though they are - not quite gelling with the chapters in between.

That said, it's certainly worthy of your attention.

The King in Yellow

Robert W Chambers and INJ Culbard

(Self Made Hero, £14.99)

INJ Culbard's latest adaptation of a horror classic may be one of his best. Culbard has adapted Lovecraft stories before but Robert Chambers' original novel seems to suit his cartoony yet restrained style. It allows Culbard to play with ideas of madness and conspiracies and small moments of horror. Or maybe I just find the idea of cold and mushy skin more horrifying than grand cosmic horrors from beyond space.

The Great Salt Lake

Matt Taylor, (£5)

"When we tell a story in cinema," Alfred Hitchcock told his fellow film director François Truffaut, "we should resort to dialogue only when it's impossible to do otherwise. I always try first to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film in between."

I've been thinking about Hitchcock's idea of "pure cinema" a lot this week and wondering if there is a "pure comics" equivalent. I was prompted after picking up a copy of Matt Taylor's 2014 comic The Great Salt Lake, a short, almost wordless story of a man lost at sea. The first thing to say about it is how beautiful it is. Taylor's art is expressive, deft and eloquent. He juggles time slips by judicious changes in ink tones and never once loses the reader. This is potent visual storytelling. Personally, I could have done without the sirens and ghosts but even they could be manifestations of a mind on the edge of madness if you'd rather interpret them that way.

Does that make this pure comics? I'm not sure. Can a mongrel form like comics - which is a fusion of forms surely - really be pure? Is pureness even desirable? That said, you could argue that Taylor's story is an example of pure storytelling.

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Palookaville 22

(Drawn & Quarterly, £14.99)

The Canadian cartoonist Seth has been working on his graphic novel Clyde Fans since 1998. 1998! And there's still a long way to go. The latest chapter appears in his ongoing comic Palookaville 22 and the result is an interesting example of how "arthouse" (for want of a better description) cartoonists are grappling with the lengthy (in this case elephantine) act of creation graphic novels -in this case a work that's projected to be around 350 pages long - require set against the desire for regular(ish) output. Los Bros Hernandez have been worrying away at the same issue in the pages of Love and Rockets for some time. Seth's answer seems to be to make each issue of Palookaville an event. And so we have this exquisitely designed hardback which includes the latest chapter of Clyde Fans, an ongoing autobiographical strip entitled Nothing Lasts and a photo essay for taste.

The whole thing is unmistakeably Seth-ian. Both strips concern themselves with times past, the frailty of memory and a sense of lost time and lost people. Nostalgia decays into melancholy on every page. The pace is deliberate, slow and stately. Every single panel is a still life. The result swirls like deep waters. But it's not perhaps for new readers.

The Hunter

Joe Sparrow

(Nobrow, £6.50)

A trifle but one with a tart aftertaste. Part of Nobrow's commendable 17x23 series for new cartoonists, this dark fairy tale in primary colours is a welcome introduction to animator and comics artist Joe Sparrow. The art feels a little bit on its best behaviour but the story, though slight, has a neat shape and a dark heart. And the ending is wonderfully satisfying.