Heart Takes the Stage: A Heart of the City Collection

The comic strip Heart of the City, created by Mark Tatulli, debuted in 1998. In 2020, the strip was passed to Steenz, and the little girl named Heart went to middle school. This volume, Heart Takes the Stage, is the first collection of Steenz’s strips. I was curious to read the collection because I’d never heard of the comic (as I stopped reading the newspaper several years ago), and I liked Steenz’s work on Archival Quality. Plus, the idea of […]

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Unicorn Playlist: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure

For a comic strip on its fourteenth volume (as this one is), it’s amazing to me how good Unicorn Playlist still is. Settling down with a new Phoebe and Her Unicorn book means a satisfying read. The familiar characters — unusual young woman Phoebe, her magical best friend Marigold the unicorn, her frenemy Dakota, and her goblin minions — have challenges, but they make it through with humor and good will as illustrated by Dana Simpson. This particular volume felt […]

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Bright Family

The familiar idea of an inventive family —- similar to the Fantastic Four -— having space adventures is told with heart and charm in Bright Family. It’s written by Matthew Cody with Carol Klio Burrell and illustrated by Derick Brooks. Nia works hard at her academic accomplishments, but her classmates assume her smart, famous parents help her out. Her younger brother Jayden is imaginative but bored at school and underachieving. The parents are busy doing amazing things, which means they’re […]

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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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Scenes From Isolation

Cathy Guisewite is back cartooning! Scenes From Isolation is a collection of single-panel cartoons she originally put on Instagram capturing frustrations and annoyances during pandemic quarantine. As with any book of this type, some of the recurring themes, particularly the compulsive baking and germophobia, I didn’t relate to at all. Some of the other images, though — especially unhealthy eating, too much online shopping, and having trouble focusing — perfectly captured my feelings. Readers of her previous comic strip, Cathy, […]

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Unicorn Famous

Unicorn Famous is the thirteenth book in the series, collecting the ongoing Phoebe and Her Unicorn comic strip by Dana Simpson. I was surprised to see that it opens with a lengthy sequence about being able to be what you want when you grow up, even if that thing is a unicorn. Of course, they’re magical creatures, so maybe that makes sense, but to a human reader, it’s encouraging, reminding us that we have options and choices. It’s all handled […]

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Virtual Unicorn Experience

The latest Phoebe and Her Unicorn collection from Dana Simpson, Virtual Unicorn Experience, is as fresh and funny and entertaining as any of the previous. It’s the twelfth book in the series, so that’s a pretty impressive track record. Since the unicorn Marigold is a magical creature, her sometimes use of spells makes for entertaining visuals, but the realistic elements of this strip are where it excels. In Virtual Unicorn Experience, the friendship between Marigold and the odd but admirable […]

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Oh No

I love this webcomic, even though I had no idea it was actually called Webcomic Name or that the author was Alex Norris. Calling the book Oh No was smart, as that’s how most people know it, since that’s the punchline to every three-panel installment. I think we all can sympathize with the pink “disappointed blob” that features in it, and seeing so many resigned “oh no”s in a row created in me a kind of bemused resignation. Although I […]

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