Alphabetical Index of First Second

Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride

Lucy Knisley’s latest autobiographical tour-de-force expands beyond the food memoirs and travelogues she’s known for by tackling one of the biggest events in many women’s lives: her wedding. Something New: Tales From a Makeshift Bride takes a very modern approach. As is true of many young women, Knisley is ambivalent about the many traditions around the ceremony and the costs involved. In this graphic memoir, she works through her qualms about the history of the ceremony as marking women as […]

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The Sculptor

It’s no fun to be Scott McCloud, when it comes to creating comics. He came up with the bedrock work of popular comic theory, Understanding Comics, over 20 years ago. It revolutionized how people thought and talked about the medium, but it sets a very high bar for him when he sets out to simply tell a story. His earlier series, Zot!, was fun retro science fiction adventure, moving into more poignant slice-of-life stories by the end, but that was […]

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The Nameless City

Now that I think of it, Faith Erin Hicks may be the most consistent comic creator I’ve known. Every one of her written and drawn graphic novels, I’ve enjoyed (even the zombie one), and half of the ones she drew but didn’t write. That’s a remarkable track record, since, depending on how you count, this is her 11th book. To be honest, I feared that this one might break the streak. The Nameless City is a fantasy adventure in an […]

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Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers

After enjoying Science Comics: Coral Reefs, I had high hopes for the second launch volume, Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers. Writer MK Reed and artist Joe Flood previously worked together on The Cute Girl Network, and here, they present not so much an explanation of dinosaurs but the history of paleontology. Unfortunately, I already read that comic (Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, which is cited in the bibliography). I misunderstood what this comic would be, and as a […]

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Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean

Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean is one of two debut books in a new non-fiction graphic novel line from First Second, and it’s wonderful. Just as she did in Human Body Theater, Maris Wicks takes a complex scientific subject and makes it both understandable and beautiful. Our narrator is an adorable cartoon of a glasses-wearing fish who wants to show us its home in the coral reef. Five chapters cover what coral is, the different types, how […]

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Hippopotamister

Coming out in May is a charming children’s book by John Patrick Green (Quicken Forbidden, Teen Boat). Hippopotamister sends its title character, a hippopotamus from a run-down zoo, out into the world to try on different hats as he works to find the right job. Now, although the story is aimed at younger readers, this is something I can certainly relate to, from needing to find a new occupation to a past-its-prime business making its “employees” unhappy to the way […]

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Sweaterweather

Sara Varon’s Sweaterweather is more than a reprint. It includes the material from the 2003 Alternative Comics volume of the same name, her first book, but it’s now twice the size, with more charming encounters among simple, cute creatures (similar to her Bake Sale). I particularly appreciated the short notes introducing each story. Each provides some context to the piece, including when it was made and sometimes the author’s inspiration. Since the stories are often wordless, or light on text, […]

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Human Body Theater

Human Body Theater is a whimsical exploration of our own anatomy. Maris Wicks (Primates, Yes, Let’s) makes an important (but sometimes dry) subject amusing and educational. As seen on the cover, her anthropomorphized body parts are adorable! Eleven chapters cover the main systems of the body, including digestive, immune, skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, excretory, nervous, reproductive, hormones, and the five senses. The digestive chapter may be a favorite of younger readers, since it covers poop, burps, farting, and vomit, as […]

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