Gray Horses

The point of Hope Larson’s comics is never the destination but the journey. Raina Telgemeier calls them “visual poetry”, just the right description. Gray Horses opens with travel, as French exchange student Noémie reaches her new city, taking the subway from the airport to her rooming house. While she adjusts to her foreign surroundings, she dreams of a girl named Marcy riding a wild talking horse. In the daytime, she makes friends with a neighbor, a girl who’s in her […]

Read more

Monkey Food

Monkey Food is a collection of semi-autobiographical strips based on growing up in the 70s. Even though Ellen Forney and I are about the same age, I didn’t go through many of the things she remembers, like pot busts or CB radios. Then again, I did have to deal with winged hair, and the Judy Blume books were minor classics for my age group. Plus, when thinking back on childhood, some things are timeless, like the family dog having puppies, […]

Read more

Iron Wok Jan! Volume 16

As volume 16 begins, the four young chefs — arrogant Jan, frustrated Kiriko, country Celine, and goofball Takao — are competing against hundreds of others in an annual competition. If Jan doesn’t win the entire thing (Kiriko was the champion last year), he’s going to lose his job at the restaurant. First, though, they have to get through the preliminary elimination round, cooking fried rice. Celine finishes early, but Takao is in over his head, so he copies anyone he […]

Read more

Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards

Subtitled A Tale of Edward Drinker Cope, Othniel Charles Marsh, and the Gilded Age of Paleontology and illustrated by Big Time Attic, a studio made up of Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon, and Shad Petosky, with a cover by Mark Schultz, Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards is another fine true-science graphic novel written by Jim Ottaviani. His most entertaining book yet is full of schemes and, as guest star P.T. Barnum is told, “humbug” as dinosaur hunters plot against each […]

Read more

Mephisto and the Empty Box

Reading this oversized comic, with its black ink on yellow paper and distressed-look cover, feels like finding an old magazine in an attic and flipping through it for a glimpse of a different time. Mephisto is a stage magician, and the box is a vanishing cabinet. A newlywed couple visits his show, and the wife ends up participating in the show, to tragic effect. The art seems European in influence; it’s made up of thin lines and flat figures, creating […]

Read more

Iron Wok Jan! Volume 1

This cooking manga by Shinji Saijyo is gloriously and gleefully over-the-top, with similarities to the popular Iron Chef TV series. Jan Akiyama is a talented young chef who unfortunately knows just how skilled he is. Trained by his grandfather, a legendary “master of Chinese cuisine”, his ego is his biggest battle to overcome in understanding just what cooking is all about. He thinks it’s all a competition, demanding he always be the best. Winning is all that matters to him, […]

Read more

Iron Wok Jan! Volume 13

Jan has been competing against a rich amateur chef in a battle focusing on liver. The amateur spends freely to obtain gourmet goodies like foie gras, while Jan faces him down with unexpected variants, including fish and chicken livers. When Jan’s food is tasted, the factor of whether or not a dish can be easily recreated becomes an important part of the ranking. It’s refreshing to see the series get back to a focus on ingredients in this volume by […]

Read more

Wet Moon: Feeble Wanderings

In Ross Campbell’s Wet Moon, Cleo’s just moved into a new dorm room at college. When she and her friends get together, they gossip and worry about what other people think of them. The point of this book isn’t what happens, though, but mood and atmosphere, captured through believable actions and conversation. The way Campbell draws Cleo is terrific. She’s chunky, a solid presence, but cute, and she looks even younger than she is, emphasizing her vulnerability. Her pierced nose […]

Read more
1 389 390 391 392 393 419