The Dark Matter of Mona Starr

Laura Lee Gulledge has never shied away from telling stories of young women artists struggling with difficult issues. In Will & Whit, it was grief and finding one’s community. In Page by Paige, it was loneliness in a new place. In The Dark Matter of Mona Starr, it’s depression. The result is a welcome addition to the growing list of graphic novels for young people suffering big challenges. Mona has never had many friends, and her best just moved away. […]

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A Thing Called Truth #1-2

The five-issue miniseries A Thing Called Truth promises to be a strangers-to-lovers road trip. It’s written by Iolanda Zanfardino (Midnight Radio) and illustrated by Elisa Romboli (Alice in Leatherland, also with Zanfardino). In issue #1, we meet Dr. Magdalene Traumer, who has created world-changing medical technology that has been stolen from her. I felt for her. She’s sacrificed a lot — personal life, relationships, particularly — for her work, but she’s been impractical about it, which has allowed others to […]

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Oddball: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

Oddball: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection is the fourth book — after Adulthood Is a Myth, Big Mushy Happy Lump, and Herding Cats — for these autobio/observational webcomics by Sarah Andersen. It was my favorite yet, perhaps because I’d already seen some of the comics online and loved them. I’m a particular fan of how Andersen captures fandom behavior in ways I’ve seen. She’s also very good at showing cats (which are from hell) and introverted behavior (and yet friendship). I […]

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Maker Comics: Create a Costume!

Create a Costume! is another outstanding entry in the Maker Comics line. Kids these days want to dress up for conventions and other gatherings, and the emphasis here is very much encouraging do-it-yourself. Guided by the Costume Critter, a hamster in a hat and cape, Bea and Parker learn how to decorate, modify, and repurpose secondhand clothes into outfits that can be used for a magical girl or boy a witch or wizard a space traveller a superhero (including a […]

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The Beechwood Helm

A friend turned me on to this short but gorgeous comic by Letty Wilson from the small, UK-based Quindrie Press. Two knights, friends, are returning from a skirmish when they encounter a mysterious knight in red armor who challenges them. That’s the panel that won me over. (It helped that I had the tiniest whiff of being reminded of Good Omens.) The resulting battle has unforeseen consequences. The story is about obsession and friendship and memory and fear and identity. […]

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Friday Foster: The Sunday Strips

I really love this job. I get to check out books I would never have otherwise seen and learn about little-known but impressive work. Take, for example, Friday Foster: The Sunday Strips, a reprint collection due from Ablaze next month. Friday Foster was a comic strip created and written by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Jorge (aka Jordi) Longarón. It was explicitly brought about to address the lack of Black comic leads in syndicated comics and ran from 1970-1974. Friday, […]

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Wildflowers

Wildflowers, by Liniers, is the Argentine cartoonist’s third Toon book inspired by his girls, after The Big Wet Balloon and Good Night, Planet. This is the oddest of the three, but the bizarre story eventually reveals itself as a comfortable reminder of the power of imagination. Three girls, inspired by the author’s daughters, seem to be trapped on a mysterious jungle island after a plane crash. As the story continues, the reader suspects something else might be going on, since […]

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The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #7

The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #7 is exactly what I want from a superhero comic — adventure, humor, and a refusal to take itself too seriously. (I understand that that is not a popular approach these days, but I know what I like.) It’s rare for me to laugh out loud at one, but there’s a joke on the first page that had me doing so — Daphne’s butler Jenkins has come to reminisce about his time in butler school […]

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