Lizzy Stewart is an illustrator living in London who publishes zines and comics. We first heard of her when we stumbled across these gorgeous illustrations of classic book covers she did a year ago. But aside from her illustration gigs, Stewart has an entire Tumblr devoted to illustrated diaries about her life as a penniless 20-something living in London. Lonely, introverted 20-somethings with Tumblrs isn’t exactly unique, but what makes Stewart special is how she doesn’t try to be any more than what she is. Instead of bending over backwards to look profound, Stewart’s comics are straight to the point. Sometimes they’re introspective and sometimes they’re not, but they’re always honest. It’s a shame she doesn’t updated it more frequently. However, you can always read more stuff from her via her zines that she sells in her shop.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Friday, April 17th, 2015||No Comments »|
I don’t know why I’m obsessed with these depressing, introspective auto-bio comics from Tumblr artists, but I find them so intriguing. Illustrator Rachel Ang, who has a handful of zines under her belt, is one such artist. But her comics go a step further than simply being a rudimentary purge of teenage-like emotions. Instead, she funnels her vision through the lens of what’s known and unknown. Things are never what they appear in her world, and what might look like tragic melancholy transforms into clever themes you never see coming. Above, a few comics we liked the best. But you can read more of her work via–where else?–Tumblr.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Monday, March 30th, 2015||No Comments »|
Amber Dusick’s hilarious graphic novel Marriage: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures is a loving account of the weird quirks that we develop when in a committed relationship. While everyone regales “the single life,” Dusick embraces the weirdness and the laughs that come with having a spouse. From side-eying their personal hygiene to having to make joint financial decisions and deal with dietary quirks, she reassures readers that both they and their partner are not weird, and yes, other couples are dealing with similar issues, too.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, January 15th, 2015||No Comments »|
Whether you are a die-hard comic book nerd or a devoted fan who religiously watches the CW’s television show Arrow, you’ll enjoy reading Andy Diggle’s graphic novel Green Arrow: Year One. The story gives fans the backstory of how bored billionaire Oliver Queen became marooned on an island and turned into the famous superhero, Green Arrow.
Unlike the TV show incarnation of the character, in this comic Oliver decides to take a trip on his yacht after drinking too much at a charity incident, which resulted in him embarrassing himself. Sadly, he becomes marooned on an island and must use a bow and arrow in order to survive. The spoiled billionaire slowly becomes a socially conscious crime fighter after he discovers a band of criminals on the island who are enslaving innocents. Unlike the television show where much of Oliver’s story is told in flashbacks, fans are able to watch the birth of their favorite superhero and see his mistakes instead of only getting brief glimpses of it. A must-read for TV fans.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, January 7th, 2015||No Comments »|
Sakana by Madeleine Rupert is a tale of awkward dates, family dysfunction, and hilarious misunderstandings as it follows the everyday exploits of two socially inept brothers as they attempt to balance life, love, responsibility, and work at the largest fish market in the world.
Jiro Sakana is a sweet, unassuming, anxiety ridden trainwreck of a man who works with his brother, the affable but terrifying Taro, at their uncle’s fish stall in Tokyo (redundant in that their surname literally means fish). Jiro’s life has been far from easy, spending most of his early years tormented by a childhood bully, losing his parents to a car accident, and having to navigate high school while his brother engaged in teenage juvenile delinquency, not to mention being in love with the cute clerk across the aisle for the past three years and not even knowing her name.
Jiro’s life soon is thrown into chaos when he finally manages to get a date with the girl of his dreams, launching into a series of mishaps involving the Sakana brothers, their excitable roommate, their misanthropic coworker, their no-good debt riddled cousin, several gangsters, a German foreign exchange student, a perpetually angry flower shop owner, and the surprising return of an old enemy from Jiro’s past.
Illustrated with cute characters, fluid action, and comedic timing worth its weight in gold, Sakana manages to be a combination of workplace farce, romantic comedy, and suspenseful mystery, each character’s life being more complicated than they let on to those around them. Ultimately though, Sakana is unfailingly sweet, with an emphasis on friendship, family, and trust, while also being sidesplittingly funny. Madeleine Rupert has written what could easily be a sitcom, but it has all the narrative freedom and visual originality that only a comic can provide.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Thursday, January 2nd, 2014||No Comments »|
Cryptic, clever, and stunningly creepy, Hemlock follows the story of Lumi, a Scandinavian witch who is bound by a monstrous marriage, and Tristan, her reluctant animal familiar.
In a world where witchcraft and magic are dying out, Lumi is a strange relic, a witch using arcane folk magic to keep her mysterious and wicked husband asleep for decades at a time. Still in mourning over the loss of her last familiar, a freak accident provides her with a surprise replacement, the bookish and ill-fated Tristan Grodkropp, whose accidental meddling places him in the body of a three-eyed frog.
All of this coincides with deeper stirrings among the dwindling witch community, and soon Lumi and Tristan are caught between a centuries-old sibling rivalry that could very likely kill them. And what will Lumi do when she finds out her husband is developing an immunity to Hemlock poison?
Illustrated in black and white, Hemlock is just the kind of gothic fairy tale meant to scare and delight. Josceline Fenton crafts a deliciously twisted world from real folktales and mythology, wrapping it all deftly around the antics of her own very sweet and funny characters. Hemlock is the kind of story that reins in neither comedy or horror, and instead presents us with the perfect comic to read on a cold winter’s night. Eye of newt and skull shaped candles optional.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, December 16th, 2013||No Comments »|
Dahm’s body of work uses Overside as a setting and backdrop for various short stories and novel length sagas that, while seemingly dense, can be read in any order and are completely independent from each other (though shared characters and concepts crop up throughout, such as the enigmatic mechanical figure known only as “The One Electronic”). These stories often deal with the themes of destiny, love, tradition, and the unending struggle for power that can either make heroes or destroy empires. Dahm’s writing is straightforward and concise, relying more on his vibrant illustrations and wildly original designs to communicate. Combined with a sprawling cast of magnetic and flawed characters, the effect of Dahm’s work is spellbinding.
Rice Boy: Approached by an immortal journeyman seeking an end to his quest, an innocent and mild-mannered hero sets out on an adventure that leads him across, under, and through a surreal landscape and untold trials, in the hopes of fulfilling an ancient prophecy that could either bring the world into an era of peace, or doom it to untimely ruin. Colorful, heartbreaking, and imaginative.
Order of Tales: A young man, the last in a secret order of storytellers, seeks answers about the murder of his family. A chance meeting with a mysterious stranger catapults him on a quest to seek the greatest story of all, “The Ascent of the Bone Ziggurat”. On his way he meets a woman made of glass, stumbles into an ages-old war, and comes face to face with a brutal warlord supposedly returned from the dead. Illustrated in black and white, Order of Tales is dark and hauntingly epic.
Vattu: Stolen away from her nomadic tribe, Vattu is a young girl trapped in the midst of a massive empire bent on world conquest. Faced with impossible odds, Vattu must use her wits and ingenuity to survive in this strange world while simultaneously holding on to the sparse remnants of her own culture, before she loses them completely. Currently ongoing, Vattu is brimming with action, intrigue, and emotion, with a diverse cast and twisting narrative that are nothing short of wondrous.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Monday, December 9th, 2013||No Comments »|