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THE LAST HALLOWEEN

THE CHILDREN

A comic horror tour de force.

When nightmarish creatures attack, the fate of humanity rests in the hands of a 10-year-old girl.

It is Halloween night, and all young Mona wants to do is trick-or-treat, but her parent is unable to take her. In the dark and gloom of night, monsters descend, and Mona finds herself absorbed into a motley but friendly crew of creatures: tween vampire Ringley, creepy living doll Robert, teenage ghoul Shirley, and Banjo the wereopossum. The nightmarish monster scourge has been unleashed by the presumed death of the Phagocyte, a magical being who keeps the balance between worlds. Can Mona and her friends find the Phagocyte’s heir before the monsters devour all of humanity? In this spectacularly wrought graphic offering, writer and artist Howard’s illustrations are unquestionably striking, utilizing a perfect mood-setting black-and-white pen-and-ink scheme and grabbing its reader with both the scope of its imagination and its clever use of perspective, including fish-eye shots. Despite its prepubescent protagonist, this is not a middle-grade tale; Howard has a keen eye for creative gore that may deter the squeamish, however, those who forge on will be utterly captivated by its unexpected heart and dark humor. Although Howard’s first volume in a proposed series is a hefty doorstop at nearly 450 pages, expect readers to blaze through it at wildfire speed and absolutely demand more. Mona’s parent is nonbinary; most characters appear to be White.

A comic horror tour de force. (character list, reader questions, guide to making a comic) (Graphic horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-66-3

Page Count: 442

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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OUT OF LEFT FIELD

A welcome hit into the outfield of books about queer athletes.

A closeted teen steps up to the plate for a cute boy—and himself.

After jocks ridicule and knock over his history class presentation, freshman Jonah picks up the pieces. Cute classmate Elliot helps. That small act of kindness makes sparks fly, cuing confusing feelings. Jonah decides to join the baseball team to get closer to Elliot—even if it means enduring more bullying from the other teammates. But Coach Jackson sees Jonah’s athletic potential and takes him under his wing. As the plot follows the four baseball seasons until Jonah’s graduation, Jonah slowly goes from laughingstock to star. But does he ever truly fit in? Cartoonist and editor Newman’s semiautobiographical graphic novel debut is a heartfelt tale of self-discovery. Consolidating all four years of high school into one book makes for a quick pace. Clever paneling and nearly wordless sequences effectively pump the brakes for key moments—and show glimpses of Jonah’s wild imagination. Despite the rampant bro culture and homophobia of the aughts setting, multiple queer characters of all ages at various stages of coming out add an important sense of community and possibility. A subplot about a female teammate briefly touches on sexism. Though the ensemble cast is diverse in skin tone, the majority of the main cast present white; Coach Jackson is Black.

A welcome hit into the outfield of books about queer athletes. (author’s note, process notes, resources) (Graphic fiction. 14-17)

Pub Date: March 26, 2024

ISBN: 9781524884826

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2024

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LAURA DEAN KEEPS BREAKING UP WITH ME

A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar.

A 17-year-old struggles to navigate friendship and finding herself while navigating a toxic relationship.

Biracial (East Asian and white) high schooler Freddy is in love with white Laura Dean. She can’t help it—Laura oozes cool. But while Freddy’s friends are always supportive of her, they can’t understand why she stays with Laura. Laura cheats on Freddy, gaslights and emotionally manipulates her, and fetishizes her. After Laura breaks up with her for a third time, Freddy writes to an advice columnist and, at the recommendation of her best friend Doodle, (reluctantly) sees a psychic who advises her that in order to break out of the cycle of her “non-monogamous swing-your-partner wormhole,” Freddy needs to do the breaking up herself. As she struggles to fall out of love and figure out how to “break up with someone who’s broken up with me,” Freddy slowly begins to be drawn back into Laura’s orbit, challenging her relationships with her friends as she searches for happiness. Tamaki (Supergirl, 2018, etc.) explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s (Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks, 2018, etc.) art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink. Freddy and her friends live in Berkeley, California, and have a diversity of body shapes, gender expressions, sexualities, and skin tones.

A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar. (Graphic novel. 14-adult)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-259-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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