nonfiction

The Hospital Suite

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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?).…

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…

47 Ronin

47 Ronin

The tale of the 47 Ronin has been enshrined in the Japanese cultural canon and will forever be regarded as the principal exemplar of the definition of honor, dignity, and bushido. These 47 loyal retainers, who risked lives and livelihoods…

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…

Science: a Discovery in Comics

Science a Discovery in Comics

From Thales and Pythagoras to Darwin and Einstein, Science: a Discovery in Comics highlights the big names in the science world. While the book focuses on the history of science, it also covers famous formulas, the scientists behind them, and…

From Hell Companion

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If a single word can be used to describe Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell, that word must be “epic”. Ambitious in size, extravagant in scope, twisting in storyline, and published over nearly a decade as a serial from…

Journalism

Journalism

In his introduction to Journalism, comics-journalist Joe Sacco makes it clear that while objectivity might be the “Holy of Holies” in American journalism, the medium of comics is, by nature, a subjective form. While he may be able to capture…

Stitches: A Memoir

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In Stitches, artist and illustrator David Small tells the story of his early life. Given his whimsical children’s book illustrations, one would expect his childhood to have been similarly idyllic. Unfortunately, this was not the case. His family was dominated…

Susceptible

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Susceptible‘s black and white illustrations, expressive use of shading, tiny cursive written speech bubbles, and the variety of the size and shapes of its panels all add up to a pensive expedition for the reader as they follow this young…

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…

The Big Feminist But

The Big Feminist But cover image

Funded by a Kickstarter campaign and spearheaded by editors, Shannon O’Leary and Joan Reilly, The Big Feminist But has long been anticipated by both feminists and fans of indie comics. Featuring a variety of male and female voices, Big Feminist…