9781606999592_9d70dAn out-of-the blue debut graphic novel is sweeping the industry, being compared to the greats in the field and rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

On NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Norton/Fantagraphics) reviewer John Powers says “this extraordinary book has instantly rocketed Ferris into the graphic novel elite alongside Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel and Chris Ware. You see, she’s produced something rare, a page-turning story whose pages are so brilliantly drawn you don’t want to turn them.”

The story is set in in Chicago in the nineteen-sixties and features a ten-year old girl named Karen Reyes who investigates the death of a neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. Powers says that Ferris uses the story to explore “the idea of monstrousness, from the small-scale cruelties of schoolyard bullying to Nazi death camps. Along the way, Karen learns to see a difference between what she calls ‘good monsters’ who are scary because they’re, quote, ‘weird looking and fangy’ and so-called ‘bad monsters.’ They’re scary because they want everyone to be scared so they can control them.”

Also covered in the NYT ‘s Art and Design section, it is described as “blood-tingling,” full of “grisly delights,” oozing “with the secrets and hungers that shadow childhood.” Art Spiegelman (Maus) tells the paper that “Emil Ferris is one of the most important comics artists of our time … She uses the sketchbook idea as a way to change the grammar and syntax of the comics page … And she came out of nowhere. Until recently, no one was aware of Emil — including Emil.”

The New Yorker offers an excerpt. Françoise Mouly, the influential art editor of the magazine and co-founder of the comics magazine Raw sets the story up, saying Ferris’s “mastery of comics, her pyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form.”


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