“Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine

“Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine. 128 pp. Drawn and Quarterly. Paper, $19.95. Adult.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find all of the books I review at the store.

This review was originally written for the “Elkhart Truth” in spring of 2016, just before they discontinued their community blogs. I’m posting it now because “Killing and Dying” just came out in paperback, AND because Tomine is an important precursor to Nick Drnaso, whose “Sabrina” I’ll be reviewing in September.

Adrian Tomine doesn’t want to lose his edge. The graphic novelist and artist known for his royally flawed characters and dark storylines was especially worried about becoming a new parent—he was afraid he’d become a softie. So, while most brand new parents are thrilled to collapse into their own beds when they first return home from the hospital, Tomine instead stayed up to watch some art films—a series so bleak that they made even his “Vulture” interviewer shudder a bit. Continue reading ““Killing and Dying,” by Adrian Tomine”

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World

“Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World,” by Penelope Bagieu. Trans. Montana Kane. 296 pp. First Second. Cloth, $24.99; paper, $17.99. Ages 13+.

Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find or order all of the books I review at the store.

“Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World” is a powerhouse collection of 29 biographical comics about women from around the world who got things done—or, in some cases, are still at it. Comics bios can be difficult to pull off: I’ve seen a lot of clunky ones that fail to use the genre to its best effect, and get squashed by the weight of wordy exposition. Penelope Bagieu, however, is a master of the genre. Her instinct for the arc of a life is spot-on, well-balanced by emotionally dense visuals that keep the story moving, while also conveying humor and compassion.

Take for example, the first three panels of the book, which introduce Clementine Delait, a bearded lady born in eighteenth-century France:

Continue reading “Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World”