In late October, I’ll be reviewing “The Dragonslayer,” a TOON Graphics collection of Latin American folktales by Jaime Hernandez. If you’re not familiar with Hernandez, he’s a massive figure in the U.S. literary scene. Here’s a bit more context in an post from December 2014, the early days of Commons Comics at the “Elkhart Truth.”
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.
I’ve been reviewing a lot of young adult books here on Commons Comics since it moved to the “Truth” back in August, partly because I’m wary of breaking into comics that put the “graphic” in “graphic novel.” But this reluctance means that I’ve been neglecting a seminal subset of work that makes comics great. So, fair warning: Jamie Hernandez’s new collection “The Love Bunglers” contains nudity, offensive language, and a sex scene. Don’t buy this book for young kids as a holiday gift. But please also don’t dismiss this brilliant work because of a couple of pages that show adults being adults. Continue reading “Growing Up in Comics: “The Love Bunglers,” by Jamie Hernandez”
“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”