Muted watercolor illustrations paired with grade school cursive on grade school writing paper published from the Seattle small press, Fantagraphics, I was endeared to Mannie Murphy from the beginning. Genderqueer and a Portland native themself, Murphy illustrates the dark history of the Rose City as well as the life and death of their teenage adulation, River Phoenix. My only complaint is that I wanted more!
You may have no desire to know the intimate backroad histories of old LA, you might not be a film buff, but I'm telling you... you don't have to be much of anything to fall in love with this book. I couldn't stop until I found its author, the inimitable Matthew Specktor, in possession of success or happiness or peace or something that resembles those impossible objects. These aren't just essays about Fitzgerald, Warren Zevon, Thomas McGuane, Renata Adler; this is a book about what it is to be an artist in America. Specktor's story is both erudite and crafty magic.
Perfect for those humor fans or non-pretentious movie buffs that want to weigh in on what other movie characters would be in Regina George's clique or who got it the worst in Kill Bill? Paired with Torres' fantastic illustrations, Serrano writes lovingly and analytically about movies from the 1980s to today with opinions that toggle between silly and serious. Because really which movie villain would make the best hang and how culturally significant was 1997's Selena? This is a great book to escape into with the kind of author that wouldn't leave you bored at a party.