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 heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity.

PUMPKINHEADS

Autumn loving, they had a blast; autumn loving, it happened too fast.

Having worked together in the Succotash Hut at the pumpkin patch for years, best friends and co-workers Deja and Josiah, who goes by Josie, ditch work and find love on their last night, heading out in search of Josie’s unrequited love, the girl who works in the Fudge Shoppe. Deja, a witty and outgoing girl who attracts—and is attracted to—boys and girls alike, is set on helping the shy, rule-following Josie move out of his comfort zone before they part ways for college. Deja encourages Josie to take a chance and talk to the girl of his dreams instead of pining for her from afar. Not to be dissuaded by his reticence, Deja leads Josie to multiple stops in the Patch in search of the almost-impossible-to-find Fudge Girl, with every stop taking them in a new direction and providing a new treat. As they journey through the Patch—chasing a snack-stealing rascal, dodging a runaway goat, and snacking their way through treats from fudge to Freeto pie—they explore the boundaries of their friendship. Visually bright and appealing in autumnal reds, oranges, and yellows, the art enhances this endearing picture of teenage love. Deja is a beautiful, plus-sized black girl, and Josie is a handsome, blond white boy.

A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-162-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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