August 9, 2019

Books In Bites 21: Recent Readings -- Elkin Edition

Here are 10 books that I've recently read and enjoyed in the past few months. All text is copied from the individual solicitations for each book.
30 Miles of Crazy #7 
By Karl Christian Krumpholz 
Available HERE 
“Slice of life comics and true stories about modern life and living in The City by Karl Christian Krumpholz, 28 pages, Full Color. 

Includes the stories: ‘My Mugger‘, ‘A Gesture‘, ‘Walk of Shame‘, ‘Darkness‘, ‘Indifference‘, ‘My Only Stan Lee Story‘, ‘The Show Girl’, ‘Agoraphobia‘, and others.”  


Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me 
Written by Mariko Tamaki, Illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell 
Published by First Second 
Available HERE 
“Author Mariko Tamaki and illustrator Rosemary Valero-O’Connell bring to life a sweet and spirited tale of young love in Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, a graphic novel that asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need. 

Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley's dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There's just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend. 

Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy's best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it's really Laura Dean that's the problem. Maybe it's Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. 

Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.” 

Minor Leagues #8 
By Simon Moreton 
Available HERE  
“The eight issue of Minor Leagues is entirely given over to part three of 'Where?', a book-length memoir that explores life, death, history, landscape, and nature in the South Shropshire hills. 

This installment is a fever dream of remembering childhood; a visual essay of country living through the unreliable eyes of a child; drawings, paintings, comics, found archival text, photos, weird stuff.”   

Gender Queer: A Memoir 
By Maia Kobabe 
Published by Lion Forge 
Available HERE 
“In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. 

Now, Gender Queer is here. 

Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. 

Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.” 

Written by Ezra Claytan Daniels, Illustrated by Ben Passmore 
Published by Fantagraphics 
Available HERE 
“This Afrofuturist graphic novel explores gentrification and cultural appropriation with a clever blend of horror and humor. 

Once a thriving working-class neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, the “Bottomyards” is now the definition of urban blight. When an aspiring fashion designer and her image-obsessed BFF descend upon the hood in search of cheap rent, they discover something far more seductive... and deadly. 

Gentrification and body horror collide in this brutal satire from the award-winning creators of Upgrade Soul and Your Black Friend.” 

By Michelle Kwon 
Published by Shortbox 
Available HERE 
“Does sticky have to be icky? Mac is at one of life's dead-ends: no job, no motivation, no idea about what to do, and living at her twin sister's place while she (sort of) tries to figure it all out. Into this picture arrives Boogsy- a boyfriend made up entirely of her sentient boogers. The two instantly embark on a relationship, and, it seems, down a path of further self-destructive behaviors.” 

Frontier #18 
By Tiffany Ford 
Published by Youth in Decline 
Available HERE 
“For the final 2018 issue of Frontier, Animator Tiffany Ford shares with readers a refreshingly immediate and raw side of her work. Tiffany presents sketches, studies, and daily comics pulled from her own diary, kept in a sketchbook on her honeymoon traveling in Japan with her husband Myles.” 

By Molly Mendoza 
Published by Nobrow Press 
Available HERE 
“In this epic tale of friendship, compassion, and growth, Molly Mendoza’s stunning art and gripping storytelling immerse you in alternate worlds filled with mystical creatures and dazzling landscapes. 

When Bloom is thrown from their world, and Gloopy is exiled from their own, the two youngsters find in each other a much-needed kindred spirit. But as they skip through dimensions and encounter weeping giants, alligator islands and topsy-turvy 2D worlds, they find that their greatest challenge will be facing their own fears back home.” 

By Gareth Brookes 
Available HERE
A beautifully embroidered comic that captures an overheard candid and moving conversation about love between two elderly ladies on the train

Steve Gerber: Conversations 
Edited by Jason Sacks, Eric Hoffman, and Dominick Grace 
Published by University Press of Mississippi 
Available HERE

“Steve Gerber (1947-2008) is among the most significant comics writers of the modern era. Best known for his magnum opus Howard the Duck, he also wrote influential series such as Man-Thing, Omega the Unknown, The Phantom Zone, and Hard Time, expressing a combination of intelligence and empathy rare in American comics. 

Gerber rose to prominence during the 1970s. His work for Marvel Comics during that era helped revitalize several increasingly clichéd generic conventions of superhero, horror, and funny animal comics by inserting satire, psychological complexity, and existential absurdism. Gerber's scripts were also often socially conscious, confronting, among other things, capitalism, environmentalism, political corruption, and censorship. His critique also extended into the personal sphere, addressing such taboo topics as domestic violence, racism, inequality, and poverty. 

This volume follows Gerber's career through a range of interviews, beginning with his height during the 1970s and ending with an interview with Michael Eury just before Gerber's death in 2008. Among the pieces featured is a 1976 interview with Mark Lerer, originally published in the low-circulation fanzine Pittsburgh Fan Forum, where Gerber looks back on his work for Marvel during the early to mid-1970s, his most prolific period. This volume concludes with selections from Gerber's dialogue with his readers and admirers in online forums and a Gerber-based Yahoo Group, wherein he candidly discusses his many projects over the years.” 
Daniel Elkin is the EIC of Your Chicken Enemy, the Former Small-Press Comics Editor for Comics Bulletin, and has Bylines at Loser City, The Comics JournalPsycho Drive-InWinkFactionalWWACand PanelXPanel. He's a High School English Teacher in Northern California. He'll talk to you about Sandwiches.

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