When the term “graphic novel” first came into vogue in the 1980s, it was seen by many as just a fancy-pants name for comic books — a self-conscious way of bootstrapping a lowly medium into social acceptability. If you told someone at a party that you were reading a graphic novel, it betokened not necessarily that you were serious but that you wanted to be perceived as serious. It was a pose, a dodge, a pretention — no matter that works like Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus,” Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis,” and Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” were and are terrifically rich reads that wouldn’t work as well as they do in any other format (and, yes, I’m a fan of “Fun Home” the Broadway smash).
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke Flammable by Gabrielle Bell Japanese Notebooks by Igort Songy in Paradise by Guy Panter Giant Days by John Allison Solid State by Jonathan Coulton Threads From the Refugee Club by Kate Evans The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.” The sound of a man’s feet as he carries a girl up the front path to a house. It’s Rose’s father, maybe some years earlier carrying her to their holiday home in Awago Beach. Rose is now in her early teens and in This One Summer the first thing she does when they arrive is run over to see her friend Windy. The two girls have spent many summers playing, and they are now beginning to grow out of childish games and to put their toes into the adult world. They watch the older young people who hang out at the general store and at the same time scare themselves with 70’s horror films. The films are too much for them, they hide under blankets, but they can’t hide from the more terrifying arguments that Rose’s parents are having nor can they seem to escape the tensions amongst the older teens. Jillian Tamaki’s drawings, printed with dark blue lines, are at times beautiful full page spreads, and at other times bring out the awkwardness of growing up and family discomforts and teen tensions. Jillian’s cousin Mariko’s script is on the money from beginning to end. I hadn’t read Skim before finding this book, but I will do that as soon as I can. Joyful and moving. Our store shelved it in the adult and the teen section and it sits well in both places. Published by :01 First Second Books.