Author Archive for Emilia Packard

The Bicycle

bicycle

Singapore is a small island nation where many Asian cultures converge, coalesce, and sometimes conflict, and it has taken many twists and turns to become what it is today. The Bicycle is an excellent snapshot of one moment in its complex cultural…

Girl In Dior

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Girl In Dior is a dreamy book—a frothy, flighty confection full to the brim with evening dresses and post-war Parisian vignettes. It doesn’t amount to much story-wise, but that is by no means the point. It achieves its goal: to…

Golemchik

golemchik

There are lots of stories and, surprisingly, a number of comics predicated on the golem mythology, which is perhaps best described as a predecessor to Frankenstein’s monster. There’s are even a small handful of poorly differentiated Marvel characters called the…

The Lunch Witch, volume 1

lunchwitch

Stories of magic and mischief, especially in comic form, are ripe for gimmicks. The Lunch Witch, by Deb Lucke, with its intended youthful audience and central supernatural character, has all the elements to get very gimmicky very quick, but skillfully…

The Hospital Suite

hospitalsuite

I’ve hesitated to write a review of John Porcellino’s The Hospital Suite because his work almost always leaves me at a loss for words. It’s not because it’s hugely dramatic or intricate or complex. Rather, it’s the opposite. Simple, understated,…

Displacement: A Travelogue

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I must start my review by saying that Lucy Knisley’s graphic memoirs (French Milk, Relish, etc.) frustrate me—I know that she is more or less my contemporary in age (early millennial), predilections (delicious foods! Francophilia!), and social class (lower-upper-middle perhaps?).…

We Dig Worms!

worms

Some people think it is easy to write for children, and those people are fools. You have to express a great deal in very few words, keep your imagery simple but rich, and, ideally, entertain while educating. Writing non-fiction for…

Alive

Alive

Alternative manga is often obtuse, which can be a detriment or a delight. Taguchi Hajime’s Alive is often both at once. The book is a collection of loosely-connected stories: teenagers hiding from their exams on a rooftop; a man who is afraid to love, cohabiting with a…

The Late Child and Other Animals

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The Late Child and Other Animals is an intriguing beast: a personal memoir of Marguerite Van Cook’s post-war British childhood that reads like lush fiction, segmented into seemingly unrelated stories that drift in and out of sharp focus. There’s a…

Beauty

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With a heroine bearing an uncanny resemblance to Snow White and a story peopled with buffoons, tyrants, and mischievous fairies, Beauty begs comparison, at least visually, to a Disney Princess film. But alternatively, it’s just about the farthest thing from…

Seconds

seconds

I remember loving Scott Pilgrim initially, then feeling beaten down by the hype that started building around it over the course of subsequent volumes (and looking back on it, six is kind of a lot!), rolling my eyes profusely while…

The Other Side of the Wall

othersideofthewall

The Berlin Wall holds great metaphorical power as the literal embodiment of the insurmountable divide between Eastern—communist Europe—and Western—democratic Europe—after World War II. It’s fertile ground for stories of heroism and survival, persistence and perseverance, tales of families torn apart…

Hearts

hearts

Toon Books, Francoise Mouly’s early-reader graphic novel imprint, brings artsy fare for the toddler set to a new level—impeccable illustration, richly printed colors, quality book construction, and simple stories told primarily through imagery. Hearts is exemplary of this, almost to…

Atomcat

atomcat

I’m a die-hard Tezuka fan. I’ve read the entire Phoenix saga, all the Dororo that’s out there, a healthy number of Blackjacks, and the beautiful, timeless epic that is Apollo’s Song. I’ve been on a pilgrimage to the Kyoto International…

Sugar Skull

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Sugar Skull is the conclusion of Charles Burns’ trilogy about a troubled young man with an Tintin-esque alter ego operating in a acid-trip fantasy that parallels his real life. In this volume, the grotesque and hypnotizing world of toxic sewage,…

Shoplifter

shoplifter

Once upon a time, perhaps ten or fifteen years ago, the world of graphic novels was a much smaller one, with fewer artists getting published, and thus fewer themes being explored and fewer artistic styles being used. Happily, as readers…

Fatherland

fatherland

Fatherland is a chilling portrait—a month after reading it, I looked again at the ominous cover image of a smiling, clean-cut blond man, and felt a palpable sorrow. The man is the author’s father, a radical Serbian nationalist whose troubled…

BirdCatDog

birdcatdog

A bird! A cat! A dog! They each have their own motives! They are each—as stated at the beginning and reminded to us at the end—the heroes of their own stories. The bird must escape a hawk. The cat tries to…