“My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” by Emil Ferris. Fantagraphics, February 2017. 386 pp. Paper, $39.99. Adult.
Chicago comics artist Emil Ferris deems “monster” an “honorable title. It represents struggle and wisdom bought at a high, painful price. . . . I make a distinction between good monsters―those that can’t help being different―and rotten monsters,” she told “The Comics Journal” in 2017, when her multiple award-winning masterpiece “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” was initially released. How do you define a “rotten monster”? “[T]hose people whose behavior is designed around objectives of control and subjugation.”
This gorgeous and complicated book teems with monsters, both good and rotten. Among the good monsters are the protagonist Karen, an elementary school student who portrays herself as a werewolf detective, with surprisingly luxurious eyelashes,
Franklin, her gay black friend,
and Deeze, her wise but troubled older brother, who teaches her how to see and appreciate art, how to draw, and especially, how to “draw [her] way through” difficult events and emotions—like the overt racism of 1960s Chicago:
Continue reading “Redeeming Monsters: “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters,” by Emil Ferris”
“Monstress, Volume 3: Haven,” by Marjorie Liu. Image Comics, September 2018. 533 pp. Paper, $16.99. Young adult, 13+, with some graphic images and adult language.
Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review since 2013. You can still find most of the books I review at their online store, www.betterworldbooks.com.
It can be difficult to dive into a comics series midstream, but in the case of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s “Monstress,” the art will carry you until you gain your narrative footing:
Continue reading “Compassionate Resistance: “Monstress, Volume Three: Haven””
“On a Sunbeam,” by Tillie Walden. First Second Books. October 2018. 533 pp. Paper, 32.99. Young adult, 13+.
Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.
Comics artist Tillie Walden feels ambivalent about social media. She does post her work, especially her webcomics and works in progress, on her own site, as well as on Instagram and Twitter, but as she told fellow comics artist Jen Wang for the site YA Pride, “I never felt entirely comfortable online. I don’t think it’s ever really suited me,” she adds. “It works for a lot of teens, but I found it all to be a little too artificial.”
It also gives her a lot more time to write and draw. Although she is only 22, her most recent graphic narrative, “On a Sunbeam,” is her sixth. She first published it as a webcomic, her installments averaging 30 pages a week—which, for art with this level of detail and complication, must be a record. The whole work is still available online, but when it comes to a breathtaking full-page panel like this,
not only is the color more vivid on the page than on the screen, but there’s something to be said for turning the page and holding it in your hands. Continue reading ““On a Sunbeam,” a Genderqueer Space Opera by Tillie Walden”