It’s been a tough week for me migraine-wise so I’ve been taking any moment of reprieve to stuff entertainment in my brain, what better way than comics?
My Boyfriend is a Bear : Written by Pamela Ribon, Illustrated by Cat Farris
Release Date: 17th April 2018
Bear meets girl.
Nora has bad luck with men. When she meets an (actual) bear on a hike in the Los Angeles hills, he turns out to be the best romantic partner she’s ever had! He’s considerate, he’s sweet, he takes care of her. But he’s a bear, and winning over her friends and family is difficult. Not to mention he has to hibernate all winter. Can true love conquer all?
This comic is straight up weird – it’s about a young woman who, after a number of failed relationships with unsuitable men, hooks up with an American black bear and starts a romantic and sexual relationship.
The weird thing is that the whole story is adorable, he’s a kind and thoughtful bear who does DIY, cares about the correct storage of coffee beans and makes her happy. The illustrations are sweet and attractively coloured and the whole story is charming and funny, but the fact that the beastiality is either a very heavily veiled metaphor for ‘date the one who makes you happy, not the one people approve of’ or it’s just something you have to try to overlook to enjoy the illustrations and story for what they are.
Herding Cats: A “Sarah’s Scribbles” Collection by Sarah Andersen
Release Date: 27th March 2018
“. . . author Sarah Andersen uses hilarious (and adorable) comics to illustrate the very specific growing pains that occur on your way to becoming a mature, put-together grownup. Andersen’s spot-on illustrations also show how to navigate this newfound adulthood once you arrive, since maturity is equally as hard to maintain as it is to find … “–The Huffington Post
Sarah valiantly struggles with waking up in the morning, being productive, and dealing with social situations. Sarah’s Scribbles is the comic strip that follows her life, finding humor in living as an adulting introvert that is at times weird, awkward, and embarrassing.
This is up to the author/illustrator’s usual high standards – the drawings always make me smile as Andersen takes 4 or fewer panels to show you universal truths about being an adult. Her work is always funny and creative, and something I love to share with my husband when he’s trying to go to sleep.
The little surprise bonus in this book was a chapter at the end, encouraging artists to ‘make stuff’ and try to ignore the world of negativity hiding out there in the internet, waiting to piss on your parade. It’s especially great to see this from an artist whose work I’ve mostly read online, she’s well versed with the casual ‘I hate everything you’ve ever drawn’ hate that people like to share when they can’t look you in the eye so the advice is very genuine.
Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom – by Terry Blas, Molly Muldoon and Matthew Seely
Release Date: 24th April 2018
Deep in the Oregon wilderness sits Camp Bloom, a weight-loss camp where “overweight” teens can “get in shape.” Jesse would rather be anywhere else, but her parents are forcing her to go. Noah isn’t sure if he wants to be there, but it’s too late to turn back. Tony is heartbroken at the thought of giving up his phone and internet. And Kate… well, she likes the hikes, at least. As far as these four teens are concerned, it’s just another boring summer.
Until one night, when Jesse and Noah witness a beloved counselor’s murder. The body’s gone by the next morning, but a blurry photo leads to one clue—the murderer is one of the camp’s staff members!
But which one? As Jesse, Noah, Kate, and Tony investigate, they quickly discover that everyone’s got their secrets… and one of them would kill to keep theirs hidden.
A murder mystery set in a summer fat camp – that’s all I needed to know.
The illustrations in this comic are gorgeous and beautifully styled. Though the story takes place in a fat camp, it’s not trying to preach or harp on about the psychology and health issues surrounding obesity – it’s just an interesting setting for kids to meet each other.
It’s a typical misfit-kids-find-each-other-and-solve-a-murder book (love the genre) but it’s inclusive in cast without making a big deal about it, rather than a bunch of middle class white kids getting together. I expect some great things from this co-operation between artists and look forward to reading their work in future.
Thank you NatGalley for these brilliant comics in exchange for an unbiased review.