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Heartfelt horror and spectacular cartooning.

Ferris delivers the second part of her debut graphic novel of queer coming-of-age werewolf art noir.

In politically charged 1960s Chicago, teenage werewolf Karen Reyes is still haunted by the murder of her neighbor, and now by the cancerous death of her conservative mother, whose worries bleed into Karen’s dreams via a beheaded but sentient teddy bear. With Mom’s judgments gone from the land of the living, Karen sweetly pursues her first girlfriend, a fellow member of the Eternal Guild of the Benevolent Undead, who bonds with Karen while stealing coins from a pay toilet at the Art Institute of Chicago. An aspiring artist, Karen frequents the museum with her brother, Deeze, an artist and local mob enforcer who holds court as Karen draws selections from the collection, the re-creations appearing in Ferris’ style of finely hatched ballpoint pen on lined spiral notebook paper. With her world under siege by her mysterious father, the Invisible Man, and the possibility of her protector, Deeze, being drafted into the Vietnam War, Karen fixates on depictions of the biblical Judith’s seduction and beheading of a general who threatened her village. Ferris’ take on pulp and horror magazine covers punctuates the story and echoes all manner of luridness uncovered as Karen deepens her investigation into the heartbreaking life and violent death of her neighbor Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor. Karen comes to suspect Deeze of terrible things, up to and including the murder of a brother Karen remembers only in dreams. Ferris’ visual style achieves depth and contour through layering and at maximum effect reaches a rich, leathery aesthetic. Color pops throughout the mostly black-ink pages, and close-ups appear breathtakingly photographic, with smaller, less-detailed panels existing as exquisite doodles. A cliffhanger ending could promise more monsters.

Heartfelt horror and spectacular cartooning.

Pub Date: May 28, 2024

ISBN: 9781683969273

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth.

Superman confronts racism and learns to accept himself with the help of new friends.

In this graphic-novel adaptation of the 1940s storyline entitled “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” from The Adventures of Superman radio show, readers are reintroduced to the hero who regularly saves the day but is unsure of himself and his origins. The story also focuses on Roberta Lee, a young Chinese girl. She and her family have just moved from Chinatown to Metropolis proper, and mixed feelings abound. Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane’s colleague from the Daily Planet, takes a larger role here, befriending his new neighbors, the Lees. An altercation following racial slurs directed at Roberta’s brother after he joins the local baseball team escalates into an act of terrorism by the Klan of the Fiery Kross. What starts off as a run-of-the-mill superhero story then becomes a nuanced and personal exploration of the immigrant experience and blatant and internalized racism. Other main characters are White, but Black police inspector William Henderson fights his own battles against prejudice. Clean lines, less-saturated coloring, and character designs reminiscent of vintage comics help set the tone of this period piece while the varied panel cuts and action scenes give it a more modern sensibility. Cantonese dialogue is indicated through red speech bubbles; alien speech is in green.

A clever and timely conversation on reclaiming identity and acknowledging one’s full worth. (author’s note, bibliography) (Graphic fiction. 13-adult)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77950-421-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A Rand primer with pictures.

A graphic novel for devotees of Ayn Rand.

With its men who have become gods through rugged individualism, the fiction of Ayn Rand has consistently had something of a comic strip spirit to it. So the mating of Rand and graphic narrative would seem to be long overdue, with her 1938 novella better suited to a quick read than later, more popular work such as The Fountainhead (1943) and the epic Atlas Shrugged (1957). As Anthem shows, well before the Cold War (or even World War II), Rand was railing against the evils of any sort of collectivism and the stifling of individualism, warning that this represented a return to the Dark Ages. Here, her allegory hammers the point home. It takes place in the indeterminate future, a period after “the Great Rebirth” marked an end of “the Unmentionable Times.” Now people have numbers as names and speak of themselves as “we,” with no concept of “I.” The hero, drawn to stereotypical, flowing-maned effect by illustrator Staton, knows himself as Equality 7-2521 and knows that “it is evil to be superior.” A street sweeper, he stumbles upon the entrance to a tunnel, where he discovers evidence of scientific advancement, from a time when “men knew secrets that we have lost.” He inevitably finds a nubile mate. He calls her “the Golden One.” She calls him “the Unconquered.” Their love, of course, is forbidden, and not just because she is 17. After his attempt to play Prometheus, bringing light to a society that prefers the dark, the two escape to the “uncharted forest,” where they are Adam and Eve. “I have my mind. I shall live my own truth,” he proclaims, having belatedly discovered the first-person singular. The straightforward script penned by Santino betrays no hint of tongue-in-cheek irony.

A Rand primer with pictures.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23217-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2010

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