Last weekend was the 24 in 48 Readathon — the goal of which is to read 24 out of 48 hours. I participated and read a couple of prose books, but mostly a big ol’ pile of comics (12 to be exact). I also learned some things about myself… I like to read, but cramming 24 hours of reading into one weekend is just too much for me. I probably won’t be participating in a readathon again anytime soon, but it was a great way to read my way through a bunch of books. All of these books are stand-alones, so this is a great list if you’re looking to pick up a no-strings-attached read:
Even the Giants by Jesse Jacobs
I’m a huge Jesse Jacobs fan, his art toes the line between adorable and creepy and psychedelic. Even the Giants a collection of short comics, some with interconnected stories and some stand-alones. My favorites in the collection centered on two dudes who appear to be living on the surface of microbe. I’ll read everything Jacobs publishes, but if you’re new to his work I’d recommend Safari Honeymoon as a starting point.
The Oven by Sophie Goldstein
I love a good short story. I find it immensely satisfying to read a story where the author whittled down a huge idea to just a handful of pages but didn’t lose any of the storytelling magic. The Oven is a perfect example of a great short story and a great example of how sci-fi world building doesn’t require hundreds of pages of exposition.
An Entity Observes All Things by Box Brown
Another collection of short comics. I found these OK, but not particularly memorable. Brown has a very clean drawing style, that I find very well suited to his nonfiction and biographical comics. I’m still anxiously awaiting his Andy Kaufman bio that’s due out next week.
Buffy: The High School Years – Freaks & Geeks by Faith Erin Hicks
I almost never actually enjoy tv/movie tie-in comics, but I keep trying to read them. This fell totally flat for me and just made me want to rewatch Buffy (which you absolutely cannot do in the middle of a readathon).
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
This was probably my favorite comic I read over the weekend. High school punks living in a semi-dystopian town where all the adults have disappeared and mysterious murders are happening. By the end of the story we still don’t have much of an idea about about the bigger picture, but I felt like I was friends with all of the characters.
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
This was absolutely adorable and I think that my dog might secretly be a Tea Dragon. He’s tiny and moody and grumpy, but he doesn’t grow tea leaves out of his head, so I’m not 100% sure. I continue to maintain the view that we are in the golden age of all-ages comics and The Tea Dragon Society is only helping my case.
Bubbles Gondola by Renaud Dillies
This comic was a bit of an odd duck. A French import, we have the book shelved in the children’s area of the library I work at… but it’s not really for kids. The protagonist is a chain-smoking, hard-drinking mouse who works as a writer and is currently experiencing a bad case of writer’s block. Yes, the characters are cute anthropomorphized animals, but the subject matter isn’t really for kids.
First Year Healthy and Big Kids by Michael DeForge
I’m combining the two Michael DeForge books I read because they were both short and I never know what to say about Michael DeForge comics. I always look forward to reading them, and then I’m always left with the feeling of “what the hell did I just read?” First Year Healthy follows a young woman living in a small town and also features a magical cat. Big Kids is about a teenager who turns into a sentient, mobile tree.
Malinky Robot by Sonny Liew
Yet another collection of short comics. I think that Sonny Liew might be one of the most talented people working in comics today; his artwork is meticulous and beautiful and the action always reads clearly even though every frame is crammed full of details. Malinky Robot follows the misadventures of two Dickensian cyberpunk orphans, Atari and Oliver. They steal bikes, they go fishing, they have your standard kid-adventures in a crumbling dystopian Blade Runner-esque city.
The Longest Day of the Future by Lucas Varela
Another of my favorites from the weekend, this wordless graphic novel follows two warring factions living in the same city (the bunny-eared faction and the pig-eared faction) as they vie for solo control of the city. The whole vibe was very much reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (one of my very favorite sci-fi movies).
The Incantations of Daniel Johnston by Ricardo Cavolo and Scott McClanahan
Ricardo Cavolo is one of my favorite illustrators working today. His drawings/paintings are messy and expressionistic and far closer to something you’d generally see in an art gallery than in a comic book. I’m always on the fence when it comes to people making money off of Daniel Johnston’s story… there’s the uncomfortable question of whether he’s being taken advantage of, but in the case of The Incantations of Daniel Johnston it’s clear that Cavolo and McClanahan are huge fans of his music and the book reads like a case for Johnston’s canonization.
Until next time, find the stories that make you stronger. #WorkOutNerdOut