At the beginning of Liz Prince’s memoir she describes the problematic situation she faced as a kid:
According to the schoolyard…boys are: “snips and snails and puppy dog tails,’” while girls are: “sugar and spice and everything nice.” It’s a decrepit old nursery rhyme, but somehow the attitude still prevails. Girls are expected to be polite and lovely and pink and frilly and dainty and reserved and…I’m outta here! BLECH! Not that there’s anything wrong with those things, they’ve just never described me.
I love comics about musicians, especially behind-the-scenes bios about their life and creative processes. So for me, Hazel Newlevant’s comic If This Be Sin, which features three music related stories, was like getting triple scoops of my favorite flavor. Plus, one of the stories is about the falling out of rock star musicians Wendy and Lisa with Prince, which this former Minnesotan couldn’t wait to read. What better way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Purple Rain than with a little reality check on what Prince is really like? (more…)
I first read Jon Macy’s comic Fearful Hunter as single issue floppies, but never saw issues beyond the first two. Now it’s expanded to a beautifully rendered 316 pages, with additional “fan fiction” takes of the story by other cartoonists, thanks to Kickstarter support and Northwest Press. (more…)
This selection of comics is taken from Tony Breed’s web comic Finn and Charlie are Hitched. Breed started his online comic in 2006, chronicling the lives of two married gay men, before gay marriage was legally sanctioned in large parts of the U.S. The web comic was nominated for an Ignatz award, and the book was published with support from a Kickstarter campaign. (more…)
Comics have expanded their turf way beyond the world of superheroes and the funny papers. Graphic novels have doubled the realms of fiction and memoir by adding pictorial storytelling, and non-fiction has been enriched by illustrations which can explain a topic in a way written words can’t. (more…)
Edie Fake is one of Chicago’s treasured artists. As a friendly face behind the counter at Quimby’s Bookstore, he’s known for supporting the city’s independent artists and writers. He encourages budding zinesters to consign their work, is a founding organizer of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), and leads by example through his own artwork, including the award winning graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix. The city has embraced him, and rightfully so. (more…)
‘The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story’ by Vivek J. Tiwary with Illustrations by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker
If there were a fifth Beatle, most fans would assume it was Pete Best, the drummer Ringo Starr replaced. But Vivek J. Tiwary’s graphic novel (a finalist for a 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award in the graphic novel category) recognizes Brian Epstein as the fifth band member–a silent partner, the brains behind the Beatles’ concept. Tiwary admits telling Epstein’s story has been his life work, adding, “Why shouldn’t he have a life in comics?” (more…)
100 Crushes, a compilation of five years worth of comics by Elisha Lim, is one of those books like Joe Brainard’s I Remember; it’s a deceptively simple, universally appealing idea that makes a reader think, I could do that. Or more accurately, why didn’t I do that? You can’t read Elisha Lim’s thoughtful portraits of people Lim’s had crushes on without wishing you too had kept some kind of record of those who slipped away, who yanked your heartstrings, grabbed your attention or focus or crotch. All those brief, unattainable or inappropriate infatuations that you none-the-less obsessed over–why didn’t you keep track of them? Can you even remember them now? (more…)
Elizabeth Earley’s novel, A Map of Everything, which contains supplemental illustrations by artist Christa Donner, explores the aftermath of a tragedy and its effects on a family. The story is told in fragments, several of which focus on the experiences and whereabouts of the family’s five children, though the primary protagonist is Anne, the youngest. When Anne’s sister June is involved in a car accident that leaves her with severe physical disabilities as well as permanent traumatic brain injury, Anne begins down a path marked by neglect, self-destruction, abuse, and addiction. The novel not only pieces together a portrait of Anne and her family before and during the event, but shows their progression over the course of two decades, tracing the ways in which their lives continue to be affected by a single traumatic event.
Lessons learned in Pregnant Butch: there are not nearly enough public toilets in New York City, suspenders are not a practical sartorial choice during pregnancy, and castor oil is just disgusting (and may not even induce labor). (more…)