Capote in Kansas

Although the release dates were a coincidence, Capote in Kansas is quite timely, with the Capote movie recently in theaters. However, given the intensity of the material, I find it preferable to read the story, with plenty of time for reflection on its insights. Author Ande Parks is best known for his comics inking, but based on the skill demonstrated here, I’d gladly read more written by him. Truman Capote went to Kansas to research a murder where two men […]

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

The second book in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels opens with a flashback to a 16-year-old Scott being dragged into forming a band by friend-against-his-will Lisa Miller. It feels similar to a Hopeless Savages story until one day, Scott arrives at school to find everyone beaten up and his geography partner kidnapped by boys from a rival school. He fights his way through to rescue her, and the two start dating. That video-game-style battle scene is typical of […]

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Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life

23-year-old Scott Pilgrim plays in a rock band and dates a high schooler named Knives Chau. They go to Goodwill, eat sushi, and hang out with bandmates in Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley. One might wonder what a young adult would see in a younger kid, but during a band practice scene, it’s clear that Knives’ adoration of Scott would be hard to resist. Plus, he’s not all that much older emotionally himself, and he’s pretty […]

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Lost at Sea

Raleigh and three friends from high school are driving from California back to Canada. Well, they’re not really friends, because Raleigh doesn’t think she has any friends. She also doesn’t think she has a soul, because a cat stole it. Or maybe her mom sold it. It’s not important. Nothing’s important, really. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley perfectly captures the uncertainty of teenage ennui, when you don’t know yourself, and you aren’t comfortable with anyone else, and as […]

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Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?

This charming little minicomic has 72 pages and a spine. That gives it the feel of a pocket book, and I wound up carrying Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed? around for several days, dipping into the cartoons it contains randomly for small pick-me-ups. Liz Prince captures a variety of couple moments between herself and her boyfriend in simple, usually four-panel, strips. Her figures are one step up from stick, with round heads that still exhibit […]

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Avigon: Gods & Demons

Avigon is a clockwork creation created by Pulsifer, who looks like a mad scientist but compares herself to God. In supplying her creations to various nobles, she must navigate a complex web of status and competition. Avigon demonstrates the pinnacle of Pulsifer’s creative genius, but to maintain her position in the court, she commits Avigon to battles she doesn’t believe in. In Avigon: Gods & Demons, the clockworks are kept in a pleasure palace, protected from those who would harm […]

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Queen Bee

Chynna Clugston’s never been shy about acknowledging her pop culture inspirations and interests, and in Queen Bee, it’s no different. During the talent competition, lead character Haley sings The Go-Go’s “We’ve Got the Beat”. When trying to figure out how to be popular, Haley watches classic teen movies from the 80s and today. Clugston also mentions Mean Girls a couple of times, which given how similar the plot is, may be too often. Haley is psychokinetic — she can move […]

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How Loathsome

The cover of How Loathsome features an attractive, androgynous figure naked from the waist up with arms wrapped around him/herself. S/he’s wearing black PVC pants, suggesting fetish culture, and appears to be comforting or protecting him/herself from prying gazes. It’s a great summation of the material contained within. The stories by Ted Naifeh and Tristan Crane explore queer life, drug use, goth clubs, and gender experimentation in San Francisco. In the first chapter, Catherine, the narrator, meets Chloe, a “tall […]

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