The 2016 election haunts this story of a man's (actually a dog's) reactions to his failing marriage, but in this and so many other ways the delicately balanced storytelling avoids simplistic dichotomies and easy answers. The result is an empathetic portrayal of characters who hurt each other and themselves without understanding why, which ends on a note of ambiguous hopefulness.
In the fall of 2017 I scanned social media obsessively as The Wine Country Fires spread. Family and friends posted updates, rescued animals, and abandoned their homes. Meanwhile sunsets in Seattle were stunning. Brian Fies and his wife lost their home in Santa Rosa, California - the next day he started drawing this story. He includes lists (things they grabbed as they ran, things they would miss), and maps (of his neighborhood). He is blunt about pain of his family's losses, but he sets them within his community's losses and the larger reality of environmental change. The book you hold in your hands is a refinement and expansion of his original drawings; he's been kind enough to include the original drawings at the back of the book. In case you're worried this book will make you sad, it will, but it will also make you laugh and feel warm inside and, oddly enough, feel hopeful. Give it a read.
Ari Folman and David Polonsky's reworking of The Diary of a Young Girl is an exemplary case of adaptation done well. Polonsky's art is as expressive as it is meticulous; meanwhile Folman always knows when it's appropriate to break up and interpret Frank's writing and when to leave long passages intact, preserving their import and depth. Like its indispensable source material, this is a work to be studied and cherished in equal measure.
Talking to your younger self is an interesting thought exercise; thankfully, Carole Maurel transforms it into Art. Get lost in the story, stay for the artwork, and wake to the end.
The nonsensical wanderings of everyone's favorite Shaolin Cowboy. Darrow's art!!! Expansive and lonely, hyper detailed and washed out (with blood): Ever-faithful-foul-mouthed Donkey as traveling companion? Check. Use of a King Crab as a wrecking ball? Sure. Cowboy with Staff of Chainsaws against Katana wielding Great White Shark? I'll allow it. RIP Carradine, the legend must continue.
On a Sunbeam follows a girl named Mia and her crew-mates as they travel the stars, repairing the ruins of long-abandoned space colonies. This is the rare space opera that trades bombast for introspection, prizing quiet moments over flashy space battles (although there's a little of that, too). In both the story and the art, there's a warmth and humanity here that defies the coldness of its extra-atmospheric setting.
New York Times illustrator Nora Krug uses comics, collage, narrative and found documents to explore her ambivalent feelings of nostalgia and guilt for her German family's wartime past. A fascinating historical detective story!
Broadly speaking, I don't like Manga (sorry, not sorry), though Junji Ito has proven to be the exception, His tales are never dull, at times retch-inducing, and always ghastly. What more could a girl ask for??
Joyful and weird, this graphic novel is a delight. DeadEndia's eclectic and unique characters include a loyal and lovable pug, supportive and idiosyncratic friends, and plenty of mischievous creatures from reimagined angelic and demonic planes. Fans of Steven Universe and general supernatural mayhem will enjoy rooting for Barney, Norma, and Pugsley and yearn for future volumes of this refreshingly forward thinking tome.
- Cutthroat competion
- Heartthrob athletes in various states of (un)dress
- Painfully well-executed cliffhangers
- Rivalry rife with sexual tension
and you get this cheeky, enthralling, character-driven volume for those who wish the Rocky movies were a little gayer.