Author Archive for Emilia Packard

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…

A Frozen World

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It’s easy to be skeptical of a self-published, sketchy looking comic about a dystopian society and its heavy-hearted inhabitants. It’s easy to write it off—and I nearly did. How many near-identical dystopias have we dystopia fans sat through over the…

Bucko

bucko

Erika Moen is a bold voice among women cartoonists—and among cartoonists period. Her webcomic, DAR, illuminated her experiences of being twenty-something, coming out as queer, loving ladies, marrying a dude, and how she discovered herself as a person and an…

The Zoo Box

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The Zoo Box is exactly what the title suggests: a box filled with zoo animals, eager to be released, ready to wreak havoc on the lives of two unsuspecting kids. The set up is Jumanji-esque—mom and dad go out for…

Diabetes and Me

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You may hesitate to pick up a book that sounds like an educational brochure for kids recently diagnosed with diabetes if you’re not one. That’s a crying shame, because Diabetes and Me is a surprisingly great read for just about…

The Shadow Hero

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Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew are kind of my cartoon dream team. Though he’s been in comics for a long time, Yang has recently received great acclaim in the world of children’s literature for Boxers and Saints, a two-part series about…

Andre the Giant

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I first encountered Box Brown long ago and far away in an era when he drew a semi-autobiographical, totally romantic webcomic called Bellen, which chronicled the relationship of nerdy little Ben and Ellen with all their foibles and joys. Since…