Comics

NWPR Books
10:50 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Rebooted Comic Heroine Is An Elegant, Believable 'Marvel'

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Marvel Comics

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 3:18 pm

Consider the ways you could misstep in updating a classic comic-book superhero. Now imagine that your protagonist is A) female, B) 16, C) a Pakistani-American and, oh yeah, D) Muslim.

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NWPR Books
8:34 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Simple Sketches Of A Complicated Cure In 'The Hospital Suite'

"A plague of tics": That's how writer David Sedaris described his experience of obsessive-compulsive disorder, but for others the enigmatic illness is more like a storm of thoughts. "Did I lock my [storage] locker?" broods John Porcellino in The Hospital Suite. "Did I turn the living room lights off? What if the force of removing my hand from the [refrigerator] door caused it to open a little?"

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed October 8, 2014

A Hairy, Sardonic Fable In 'The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil'

(For stories are necessary lies.)

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NWPR Books
7:36 am
Mon September 22, 2014

'Sally Heathcote' Rescues Women's Suffrage From The Doldrums

It's the hats. In century-old photos of women's suffrage activists, there's something just plain dowdy about the headgear. Teetering atop laboriously pinned-up hair, groaning under the weight of improbable foliage, the hats can't help but make suffragists seem irredeemably stodgy to modern eyes.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Rescuing Science From The Military ... With Comics?

Pouty lips, flowing hair and ... oligonucleotide synthesizers? Two of these things don't seem to belong — at least, not in a comic that seeks to expose high-level Defense Department research to the critical light of day. Human physicality seems somehow out of place in the sterile confines of a government lab.

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NWPR Books
5:40 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

'Kill My Mother' Is A Darkly Drawn Confection

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer — now in his mid-80s— has been in the business for more than 60 years. So his first graphic novel, a darkly drawn confection in the noir tradition, called Kill My Mother, comes late in his career. I feel a certain kinship with him, because as a reader I'm a latecomer to the genre myself. Call me a dinosaur, but his book, so deliciously inviting to scan (if a bit convoluted in its plot), is one of the first of its kind that I've read cover to cover.

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NWPR Books
8:23 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Songs Of Innocence And Bitter Experience In 'Dreamless Dead'

First Second

British army troops once kicked a soccer ball around as they went into battle. True story! In fact, it's one of the first and best anecdotes in Paul Fussell's classic study of World War I, The Great War and Modern Memory. That astonishing image illustrates just how naive the recruits were about modern war's potential for unprecedented destruction — and it sets the stage for their devastating shock and disillusionment.

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NWPR Books
9:55 am
Thu August 14, 2014

'How The World Was,' Drawn In Dreamy Lines Of Memory

What's interesting? All sorts of things, and people tend to agree on what they are. War, for instance, is more or less universally believed to be interesting. And yet back in the early 2000s, when French artist Emmanuel Guibert decided to craft a graphic novel about his friend Alan Cope's experiences in World War II, the source material wasn't particularly "interesting" at all.

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NWPR Books
4:03 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

A Beautiful Book, Whether Or Not It Makes You 'Happy'

Lies! Deceit and rank mendacity! Eleanor Davis promises what current pop music insists is perfectly possible — that you can be happy — and then she doesn't deliver. Instead she draws comics full of hilarious surrealism, gut-tugging tropes and eloquent despair. How dare she?

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NWPR Books
8:16 am
Wed July 16, 2014

'Pirates In The Heartland': At Least This Review Is Safe For Work

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There's a line pop culture likes to flirt with. It's the line between naughty and nasty, between seamy and sordid, between icky and "come on, really, I just ate lunch." Back in the mid-'60s, when ladies always wore stockings and gentlemen still wore hats, S. Clay Wilson left that line in his rearview mirror.

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