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A striking love letter to art and family—both blood and chosen.

In Ferris’ debut graphic novel, a young queer girl in 1960s Chicago sees herself as a classic movie monster beset by small minds, big hearts, and a murder that hits too close to home.

Young Karen Reyes has a recurring dream in which she sheds her girly trappings and euphorically transforms into a werewolf. As her body radically reshapes, Karen lets loose a howl that winds through the streets of Chicago, drawing to her an angry mob (or "m.o.b.," made up of “mean, ordinary & boring” people) ready to kill. But Karen is less concerned with death than she is with becoming mean, ordinary, and boring herself. In her waking life, artistic Karen faces bullies zeroed in on her queerness; family crises with a sick mother and an unbalanced brother; and a frustrating crush on Missy, a former best friend who dropped Karen for the popular girls after her mom forbade her from watching any more late-night monster movies with Karen because, as she tells Karen, "people of your class never protect their kids from bad influences." Into this bubbling cauldron of prepubescence drops the murder of Karen’s troubled neighbor, Anka Silverberg, whose death might be tied to her past being sold for sex as a child in Nazi Germany; or to her husband’s connection to a local mobster; or to her affair with Karen’s bad-boy brother, Deeze, an artist. Karen dons a hat and trench coat and starts sleuthing, uncovering hard truths, making new friends on the fringes, and communing with the paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago, a transcendent place introduced to her by Deeze. Ferris’ work is doodling par excellence: Her pen on lined notebook paper—complete with spiral binding and holes—achieves sculptural depth with layered linework and crosshatching, while less-detailed panels carry the charm of a comic strip.

A striking love letter to art and family—both blood and chosen.

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 9781606999592

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Review Posted Online: May 28, 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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From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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