It’s time again for a round-up of my comics reading! So many recommendations on this earth!
Through the Woods, Emily Carroll
Yeah, I can only assume that Emily Carroll knows me personally and designed Through the Woods to cater to my interests. It is a collection of some hella creepy stories about living near a forest. Girls go into the forest, and they come out different, or they don’t come out at all. This may be very shallow of me, but I love graphic novels where the lettering looks like proper handwriting. Though Saga has many charms, an early and prominent draw for me was the fact that Hazel’s narration is drawn in real handwriting. Similarly:
Love it. Next I would like Emily Carroll to write some retellings of underloved fairy tales. If she could start with my beloved favorite “The Six Swans,” that would be absolutely swell. Her color choices and creepy little writings are so good it’s hard for me to deal with them.
This One Summer, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
Remember when I said that the Tamakis’ book Skim captured perfectly what it was like to be a teenager? Well, their 2014 book This One Summer also captures perfectly what it is like to be a teenager, while depicting almost none of the same aspects of teenagerhood we saw in Skim. Here it’s two girls who have been coming to the same vacation area every summer for years. But this one is different, because Rose’s parents can’t stop fighting, and Rose finds herself angrier and angrier.
Everyone in the blogosphere who ever recommended This One Summer was right. I loved it. It’s a little more focused than Skim plotwise, and although there are elements of the Problem Novel to it, it saves itself with absolutely lovely visual storytelling and a wonderful depiction of the fifteen-year-old best friends, Rose and Windy. Highly, highly recommended.
(There’s a character called Jenny. Guess what happens to her, oh I will just give you a hint, the answer is nothing good. But at least she’s not a servant or a prostitute, I guess.)
Sweet Tooth, Jeff Lemire
The news that Jeff Lemire will be taking over writing Hawkeye when Matt Fraction (sniffle, sob) finishes gave me the push I needed to finally read something by Lemire. The library had the full run of Sweet Tooth when I visited, so it was Sweet Tooth by default. I had the notion that it was a story about a person who could sense things about objects by ingesting them — and I am still pretty sure there exists a comic book with that premise — but actually it’s a dystopian story about a half-deer-half-human kid trying to find safety in a dangerous world. So…pretty different from what I was imagining.
If I step back to evaluate Sweet Tooth, I have some problems with it. I’d have liked to see more depth and complexity to these characters: Sweet Tooth is your standard-issue hero kid, and Mr. Jepperd is your standard-issue tough guy tormented by his wife’s death, and a lot of the secondary characters are fairly bland as well. And there’s more than a whiff of fridging around the wife’s death in terms of the motivation it provides Mr. Jepperd, and I’m as far over that as it is possible for a woman to be, and Jeff Lemire is a teeny weeny bit on notice as regards tropes about women.
BUT: I couldn’t put this series down. I limited myself to one trade paperback a day and tore through the whole thing in a week. I’ll forgive a lot in a good yarn, and Sweet Tooth definitely is that.
What comics have y’all been reading?