If anyone ever asks you if a graphic novel is a “real” novel, hand this over to them and watch their eyes goggle. Alex Robinson’s 600 plus page whopper doesn’t just prove comics can sustain length — it’s a sly, funny, melancholy mix of romance and relationships. The grand message here, if you’re looking for one, is simple: no one can really help who they love, and it’s not wise to try — you’re stuck with who you love, and even if no one else gets it, it’s worth fighting for. Intertwined with all the romantic pairings and betrayals is a compelling tale of a famous comic creator who still gets no royalties off his work due to a naive faith in the industry, and in the background, everyday life and work moves along with all its quirks and small surprises, both good and bad. I was particularly drawn in by the snide take on working in a bookstore — not unlike working in a library, my friends — but the heart alongside the snide comments makes the whole tale affecting as well as funny.

Box Office Poison
ISBN: 9781891830198
By Alex Robinson
Top Shelf Productions 2001

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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