Comes close but doesn’t quite meet its potential.

IT'S YOUR FUNERAL

After her sudden death at home, 19-year-old Marnie, now a ghost, learns to work with otherworldly beings in the Department of Spectral Affairs.

X’lakthul, or Xel, is the upbeat, optimistic case manager who tries to place Marnie in a “post-life assignment.” When Xel finds that Marnie isn’t particularly attached to any location from her home dimension, she isn’t sure where to place her, so she suggests an unconventional move: appointing Marnie DSA intern. As an intern, Marnie works with other case workers, office managers, and supervisors in the disorganized and barely functional office. She judges and speaks to them harshly, all the while assuming they will dump her somewhere when she’s too much trouble. But eventually Marnie comes to appreciate each of them, with all their faults, because they care about her. This comic uses humor to address serious questions of mental illness (particularly depression), acceptance, and belonging, an approach that will work for some readers but may rub others the wrong way. While the developments of relationships between characters are portrayed well, Marnie’s characterization is superficial, leaving the ending without the emotional power the story deserves. The colorful illustrations are clean and clear, making for a pleasant visual experience. The few scenes involving humans feature ethnically diverse groups of people.

Comes close but doesn’t quite meet its potential. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-52-6

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future.

CRUMBS

A seer (with limitations) experiences first love as she tries to navigate her future.

Unlike traditional seers, Ray can only see a person’s present, not their future. Despite the frustrating limitations of her gift, Ray studies at the Council Academy, hoping to join the Grand Council of Sorcerers. As a weekly reprieve, she visits Marigold’s Bakery, where the pastries possess spells to help manifest desired emotions or outcomes; Ray always chooses “romance.” It is there she meets barista Laurie, the owner’s nephew and an aspiring musician. The pair grow closer after Laurie invites Ray to an open mic night with his friends. As Ray contemplates whether the future she’s been working toward is truly the right one for her, Laurie is learning how to overcome rejection after rejection in his musical career. Despite life’s curveballs, each learns to look inward for answers but also lean into the other. Stirling’s graphic novel, adapted from a webcomic, presents readers with an enthralling new world brimming with magic. The bright pastel palette makes it all the more inviting. Steady pacing allows the story to blossom as Ray and Laurie grow as a couple and navigate the disappointments that come with chasing dreams. Brown-skinned Ray is fat with wavy brown hair; racially ambiguous Laurie has straight black hair, black eyes, and light skin. The supporting cast is diverse in race, sexuality, and body type.

A sweet romantic fantasy that tackles the uncertain future. (Graphic fantasy. 14-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-46779-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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