THIS ONE SUMMER
By Mariko Tamaki (Author) and Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)
First Second Books (Publisher)
Review by Emil Novak Sr.
Who doesn’t love that week-long vacation at the cabin during the summer? It’s a dreamy fantasy-land when you’re young, a party haven when you’re a teen, and wasted nights as an adult. As time goes by, waves of melancholy revive those long-lost years when time was frozen and all that mattered was what you could get away with. And deep at the root of it all is probably when you officially grew up. As we all know, growing up isn’t always a great time. It’s scary, dangerous, and filled with tears of joy and tears of sorrow.
The creative team behind the award-winning Skim redefines the teen-girl angst story in this gorgeous graphic novel. It’s all of the above and more. It’s heartbreaking and also hopeful. These two Canadian women, one living in Canada and the other in Brooklyn, are way beyond mature, their age-defying the quality of this gem of an illustrated tale.
Not since Craig Thompson’s Blankets has there been a better graphic novel of human emotion. Jillian illustrates with authentic ink and brushes –and it shows. Added to Mariko’s narrative, this one is hard to put down, and one I’m sure you’ll cherish for years.
THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THE MARVEL UNIVERSE!
By Ryan North (Author) and Erica Henderson (Illustrator) Marvel Comics
Review by Maia Bankhead.
Don’t . Underestimate. Squirrel Girl. That’s the message to take from this insane graphic novel. Doreen Green has already been shown to be an eccentric, yet intelligent, super hero in her comic book series, along with having intense strength and speed due to her squirrel powers (Comic Vine user Timandm suggested in a blog that Doreen could possibly run at speeds up to 100 mph and lift about 10 tons, and the creators appear to have come to the same conclusion). So what would happen if she decided to turn against the entire Marvel Universe? Well, we get our answer when she accidentally falls into a duplicator and the world gets a new Squirrel Girl. She seems the exact same, but with a few slight differences–like her preference for squirrels over humans. Her short temper is contrast Doreen’s loving and lovable personality. Needless to say: She’s one bad nut. Writer Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics webcomic) uses witty puns and funny notes on the bottom of the pages to keep a lighthearted tone, which matches the cartoonish style of illustrator Erica Henderson (Jughead, 2016 reboot) — even when they work together to make something more serious.