“Sabrina,” by Nick Drnaso. 204 pp. Drawn and Quarterly. Cloth, $27.95. Adult.
Drawn and Quarterly sent me a free review copy of this book. Thanks also 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.
You might expect the first graphic novel to be nominated for Britain’s high literary Man Booker Prize to prove energetic, possibly frenetic, trying to accomplish in images what past winners—powerhouse novels like “Life of Pi” or “Lincoln in the Bardo”—have done with just words.
Yet flip through the pages of Nick Drnaso’s “Sabrina,” and it looks drab, muffled, absent any emotion. Characters range from lumpy to boxy, usually with mere dots for eyes, echoing the work of Chris Ware and Rutu Modan. Yet unlike Ware’s and Modan’s figures, Drnaso’s characters move slowly—painfully slowly. Continue reading ““Sabrina,” by Nick Drnaso”
“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”
An earlier version of this essay ran in the “Elkhart Truth” in September 2014. The “Luke on the Loose” storyline is a good fit for Father’s Day. Thanks to Better World Books, 215 S. Main St. in Goshen, for providing me with books to review. You can find all of these books at the store.
As a comics devotee, I spend a lot of energy trying to convince people that comics aren’t just for kids—but of course many, many comics are intended for kids in the first place, even when adults enjoy them too. When done well, kids’ comics can strengthen young readers’ tools for interpreting both words and images, and help them develop reading and critical thinking skills crucial to navigating our visually complex society.
I usually review publications less than a year old, but in celebration of the recent creation of TOON Graphics, a new division of TOON books, I’m reviewing two of my preschool-age sons’ favorite books from TOON—practically their favorite books, period—“Luke On the Loose” (2008) and “Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking” (2011). Continue reading “Comics for the Common Core: TOON Books Encourage Kids to Read”