“Monster Portraits,” by Del and Sofia Samatar

“Monster Portraits,” by Del Samatar and Sofia Samatar. Rose Metal Press. February 2018. 84 pp. Paper, $14.95. Adult.

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.

2018 has been a great year for literary monsters. Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is celebrating its 200th anniversary, and Emil Ferris’s graphic novel “My Favorite Thing Is Monsters” won three Eisners, the most vaunted award for comics in the U.S.

Siblings Sofia and Del Samatar’s new book “Monster Portraits” settles comfortably between these two celebrated texts. Itself a monstrous hybrid of many genres—picture book, travel narrative, memoir, science fiction story, philosophical treatise, and scholarly gloss—“Monster Portraits” gathers centuries of monsters close for examination, honor, and affectionate portrayal. These are, after all, “portraits,” not the mug shots that society expects of those it deems monstrous. Continue reading ““Monster Portraits,” by Del and Sofia Samatar”

Batman, Bieber, and the Black Prince: “Step Aside, Pops” by Kate Beaton

This review first appeared in the community blog section of the “Elkhart Truth’ in late February/early March of 2016. I’m resurrecting this review now because Kate Beaton is a transatlantic artistic soulmate of French cartoonist Penelope Bagieu, author and illustrator of “Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World,’ which I’ll be reviewing in August.

I highly recommend stopping by Better World Books on 215 S. Main St. in Goshen to pick up a copy of your own and get a head start. If you like the title and the cover, you won’t be disappointed!

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

Comics collections don’t tend to include an index, but Kate Beaton is not your typical comics artist. Here’s an excerpt from the Bs at the back of her most recent collection, ‘Step Aside, Pops’:

Baker, Dr. Sara Josephine   66-68
Batman   58
Battle of Ridgeway   146-147
Beaton, Laureen   10-15
Bell, Alexander Graham   107
Bennett, Elizabeth   33
Bieber, Justin   78 Continue reading “Batman, Bieber, and the Black Prince: “Step Aside, Pops” by Kate Beaton”

Building an Imaginary History: ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth,’ by Isabel Greenberg

Originally published on GoshenCommons.org May 15, 2014

greenberg-cover-from-npr

greenberg-author-photo-from-npr

Images from npr.org.

“Readers! This book is not a real encyclopedia!” warns the back cover of Isabel Greenberg’s “Encyclopedia of Early Earth.” The back of the book does contain appendices and myths from an already made -up world:

greenberg-appendix-from-boing-boing

Image from boingboing.net. Continue reading “Building an Imaginary History: ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth,’ by Isabel Greenberg”