Carnet de Voyage

While on a three-month research and promotional tour of France and Morocco, Craig Thompson made sketches and kept notes of his adventures, now published as this travel diary. In Carnet de Voyage, his art is as lushly detailed as ever. Firm black lines with crayon or brush make up both full-page illustrations and more entertainingly cluttered pages, with thoughts and text and bits of pictures scattered over them. Always, though, the page works as a whole. Figure studies are sprinkled […]

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Shutterbug Follies

Bee, the heroine of Shutterbug Follies, is just out of high school. Until she has enough money to do something with more of a future, she’s working at a one-hour photo processor, where she’s developed a rather odd hobby — making her own copies of the weirder pictures people bring in. When a customer asks her to develop pictures showing dead bodies, she decides to follow him to find out the story behind the images. Her snooping puts her in […]

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One Bad Day

In One Bad Day by Steve Rolston, Marie and her buddy Justin are hanging out, chatting and buying cigarettes, when she sees an old friend get hit by a van. This disturbing coincidence puts in motion a chain of events that will force her to commit acts previously unthinkable when she’s only trying to get to a cousin’s birthday party that she’s been guilt-tripped into attending. There’s also a bald hit man, his shallow girlfriend, a shady transaction, and several […]

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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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