Books to Read and Wrap for the Holidays
One family man’s fight to survive divine assaults and a community turned against him becomes a rollicking, rambling epic, superbly rendered
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., Dec. 7, 2018
Far beyond our own shaky place in the universe, in a lush fantasy world replete with myriad gods and demons, one decent family-man of a creature – one Gar, actually – inadvertently pisses off an entire living mountain while on a quest and must overcome the resultant divine assaults upon himself, his family, and his whole tribe. How do you lead – or even survive in – a community when circumstances beyond your control have turned that entire community against you?
Drawn with fine-line flourishes of monochrome markmaking by the more typically spectrum-flaunting maestro Lorenzo Mattotti, written by professional daydreamer Jerry Kramsky (they previously collaborated on the graphic story Murmur), this rambling, rollicking epic extends long into flights of fancy and allows the artist's superb manipulations of pen and ink to carry the narrative successfully to its conclusion.
Comics powerhouse Fantagraphics is the company responsible for this lyrical masterwork's production, and it's spared little expense in bringing it to market in a giant-sized hardcover volume that'll look mighty impressive wrapped in bright paper and waiting to be discovered under a tree (or its Garlandian equivalent) this holiday season.
And for bibliophiles with an eye for more graphic content:
We're Still Here: An All Trans Comics Anthology, edited by Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton (Stacked Deck Press, 320 pp., $24.95) Dozens of transgender artists shine bright in this first-of-its-kind anthology, telling their stories – real, imagined, familiar, fantastic, revealing, even redemptive – in a compelling variety of styles.
The Art of the Graphic Memoir: Tell Your Story, Change Your Life by Tom Hart (St. Martin's Griffin, 176 pp., $25.99) The author of Rosalie Lightning and the long-running Hutch Owen series enlists a diverse array of comics superstars to guide readers step-by-step through the process of getting their own lives on paper, in word and picture.
Garlandiaby Lorenzo Mattotti and Jerry Kramsky
Fantagraphics Books, 400 pp., $39.99