It takes only 3 panels for Olive to turn her cat, Henry, into a human-sized catboy. Olive dresses Henry in her clothes making queer and inspiring fashion. They drink wine at an art opening, throw a slumber party, get jobs, and eat too much pizza. I read it cover-to-cover with my 11 year old nephew in a single sitting. He insisted we keep going and I was glad.
Wendy is an insecure art-kid enduring the humiliations of early adulthood in chilly Montreal. She crushes, is dashed. She creates, is mocked. It would all be very sad were it not for Scott's hilarious, expressive style and excellent rhythm.
Not everyone can draw as beautifully as Nora Krug, nor write as engagingly. Yet, if we all interrogated our past as deeply and fearlessly, trying to understand what “the nation” and its history mean for our present life and sense of self, the world would be a much less obtuse, more compassionate place. In our dark times, Krug’s painful yet luminous effort of truth-seeking is essential and inspiring.
If you love Adrian Tomine's Killing and Dying, why not go back to the beginning? These stories are unnerving, dark, quiet, and intriguing -- perfect for cultivating a fine sense of alienation during a sweat-filled summer.
It didn't take a MacArthur Grant for most of us to find out that Lynda Barry is a genius. Taking her cue from a classic Japanese scroll (which can be viewed at the Met), Barry delves into her past to see what kinds of demons she can conjure. What follows is an autobiographical series of comic strips filled with youthful hilarity and nostalgia as well as adolescent shame and rage. Her work is always evocative and compelling in surprising ways.
After his boyfriend breaks up with him, Big Kids' adolescent narrator turns into a tree, a normalized life event that separates him from half of those around him. He can suddenly see and feel more-- sensations that come alive through DeForge's surreal and skin-tickling illustrations. Relationships shift, degrade, and reform throughout. What memories, bonds and ways of seeing do we lose when our bodies change? To read Big Kids is to feel a surge of pins and needles settle into the shape of your hands.
Love, love. And sexuality. And love omnisexual searches through who we are as regards love, sex, life, spirituality (and all that shit). (Wo/Man.)
The inspiring story of a young lesbian girl coupled with the tragic story of a middle-aged gay man. It's tempting to think that these two narratives (which also happen to be that of a daughter and her father) cancel one another out and leave one feeling apathetic. Far from it: like Bechdel's striking gray-scale graphics, light and dark entangle, underscore, and ultimately push one another to new artistic heights. She continually tries to separate the good from the bad, and despite her inability to do so she never gives up - recalling the high modernist authors both her and her father so ardently admired.
Our eponymous heroine returns—with more smoke breaks, meaningless artspeak, and misguided ambition than ever.
Holy shit this graphic novel is deep, mysterious, and profane! I know most of the Bible stories and it still manages to re-contextualize and seed terror.
Megg, Mogg & Owl, the stoner roommates of Megahex, started in homage of the children's learning-to-read series Meg & Mog. A fitting origin as these characters have developmentally bottomed-out. Refusing to pay rent, get jobs, or eat healthy, they spin their wheels avoiding depression and boredom with parties, pranks, and drugs. My favorite scenes ask what they'll do when the party turns, the pranks sour, and the drugs wear off. The answer is usually acid.
A little girl's obsession with sharks, intricately illustrated and beautifully wrought by Evie Wyld . Filled with all the stickiness of summer and the constant fear of what lurks beneath the lovely-looking surface of the water, this book captures all the dread and shimmery weirdness of my Australian childhood.
A tender story of young first love with full-page panels so beautiful you'll be tempted to cut them from the book and hang them in your locker. It can be read in one sitting and over and over again.
We all know how it works in panels on a page, but if a real teenage boy were to develop superpowers, would that make him a hero? It's complicated, says Daniel Clowes. As penetrating a commentary on its own medium as Watchmen, but with much more to say about why comics matter so much to those of us who are no heroes.
One of my favorite things from 2015, when I'm forced to cough up a list. Don't forget to read, when you're caught up in all the beautiful pictures -- her voice is like a glass of water filled to the brim with ice, very slightly sweet, intense if you've just brushed your teeth and are in bed.
A celebration of "queerness" (in all the wonderful senses of that word) told through nearly 400 stunning pages. Sure to make you reconsider what one can achieve with a few ballpoint pens
Graphic novel with a simple concept. Shows the events that take place in one corner of one room over hundreds/thousands/gazillions of years. I've only just finished it but every page made me feel, like, connected to the universe while reminding me I will die. I don't know another book that is simultaneously family drama, colonial narrative, near future sci-fi, and earth science lesson.
Oaf loves metal and kitties and is indeed as wuvable as the title suggests. He lives in a queer universe of wailing guitars and kinked-out sex. When he isn't caring for his kittens or remembering his Worst Dates Ever he's using his body hair to stuff his own brand of plush toys. The story is beefy, hilarious, brutal, and stuffed with references (Morissey, Black Flag, The Craft). Peek at the character guide in the back if you want a taste of what's to come.
I used to edit a literary magazine with Georgia when we both lived in Montreal. I remember when she hurt her voice and could only speak for minutes a day, if at all, for months on end, resorting to scribbling in a notepad at editing meetings or launch parties. "Dumb" is not just a comic about, but truly an artifact of that period in Georgia's life. It captures not just the logistical frustrations of not speaking, but the painful existential crisis that accompanies an invisible injury, and the uncertain, endless-seeming path to recovery. An honest depiction of the self through a journey of hurt and healing, in isolation and within community.
Ever wonder what aliens would make of the everyday moments and customs we take for granted? Hilarious in its dry, perfectly perfect reading of humanity!
This book begins innocently enough: with the author getting jerked off by aliens who then proceed to show him a comprehensive history of human warfare. From there, a series of amoral (though not asexual) stories unfold like a peyote vision quest through Berghain on the moon. In some ways these comics are complete buffoonery, but I can't help but recognize this collection as the most thoroughly 21st-century work of fiction I've read in a long time.
A walk through Lynda Barry's celebrated creativity course replete with examples from past students and classes. Quick with a helpful hints and touching biographical details, Barry provides an inviting template for writing and making art with fun and productive methods. Pairs well with Ivan Brunetti's Cartooning.
A woman goes missing. The worst has happened. What occurs to the people left behind is the purest distillation of the paranoia, alienation and sheer bloody agony of living in America right now. I read it open-mouthed and breathless, I couldn't sleep until I'd finished it. And then I couldn't sleep. Believe me when I tell you Sabrina is devastating, beautiful, and absolutely deserving of being the first graphic novel nominated for the Man Booker Prize - it should have won.
One of the best and most brutal graphic novels I have ever read, Bad Friends is the author recounting her teenage years in 1990s South Korea with her best friend Jeong-ae. They start fights, scheme to run away, and try to survive the violence that follows them in school and at home, all desperately trying to make some happy moments for one another. Ancco is unflinching in her tale and I was left with a heavy stone on my chest after finishing it. I cannot recommend it enough.