Graphic Novelty²



Herding Cats

When I discovered Adulthood Is A Myth early this year, I was enamored with author Sarah Andersen’s humor and her trademark artistic style. Despite her city living vs my small town setting and the age difference between us, there were many parallels between her thoughts and mine.  I read her second book, Big Mushy Happy Lump, soon afterwards (review below) and then was doubly pleased when I was able to read her third book through NetGalley that will be out in March 2018.

What stood out in this third volume was her honesty about the creative process and how self doubt and self sabotage come into play even as she has now gained mainstream success.  There is a section in the back in which Andersen gives advice to new illustrators and shares how the internet has corrupted much of her former joy in sharing her work. Her guide for the “young creative” is actually appropriate for all ages as her practical advice about artist survival is from her own hard won experience. While this book is as funny as her previous two, there is definitely a maturing in her work that was welcome.


Andersen’s second book includes more funny cartoons about self esteem, relationships and the foibles of being a woman. She also shares some personal insight as to how social anxiety, over thinking and lack of confidence has affected her. This was a quick read that was lighthearted but also can help others with anxieties feel that they aren’t alone. The roller coaster cartoon was especially apt, as I too struggle with self esteem, and to see in print that others also struggle with it was reassuring.

I look forward to future Sarah’s Scribbles book, as the talented author and illustrator has created a very relatable set of books. Bravo!


Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant has awesome riffs on history and literature, and is done so in an intelligent and hilarious manner.

Author Kate Beaton who is now a regular contributor to the New Yorker, was formally a history major and worked in museums for a time, now takes her sharp wit and skewers historical and literary figures with a modern lens.  Beaton illustrates mostly in black and white, and sketches out caricatures of recognizable people in absurd situations. Her ironic strips point out the foibles of the past, and how that would play out in modern day. No one is immune from her humor- as she pokes fun at Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, David Bowie, St. Francis, Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, many European kings and queens plus so many others.  I found the satire surrounding the characters of well loved novels the most amusing and picked just a few to highlight.

Why do some women love bad boys? Heathcliff was horrible! Not brooding, not sexy, not misunderstood…he was an ass! Sorry Brontë sisters, but your romantic leads suck.

Case in point- are we supposed to be rooting for the marriage of a guy who locks his mentally ill wife in the attic???

As a girl, I was so into the Nancy Drew books…she had my name, people! However they were terribly dated, and these explanations of the content are hilarious!

I could add dozens more, but why, when you can go to her website yourself and check these smart cartoons out yourself! I would definitely recommend this witty collection of strips, especially if you have rolled your eyes at a ridiculous plot point, literary trope or questionable historical fact. Enjoy!


** You can usually tell when I have less time to blog and I review comic collections instead of graphic novels. I have been very swamped with family, work and grad school commitments, so my recent posts reflect my lack of time. In fact, I am fitting in this blog during my lunch break at a library conference I am at this weekend. Hope to have some reviews based off longer books soon!

Adulthood Is A Myth

We’ve all heard the phrase “adulting is hard” and usually I want to roll my eyes at whiny Millennials who say it. However, artist Sarah Andersen, has tapped into that feeling and produced this clever comic book. The art is drawn in an uncluttered style reminiscent of Hyperbole and a Half. The four to five panel strips are in black and white, but despite their apparent simplicity, she captures emotions perfectly. While I assume the artist is in her 20’s, and I’m older than that, some of the situations are universal and were laugh out loud funny.


The above strip captured me perfectly this weekend, as I had a final due on Monday in one of my grad classes, but spent some of my Sunday night emailing Kathleen with a long message about our blog and ideas for future posts. Then I got into a conversation with a blogging friend about Twitter wars and other nonsense. Final, what final?


Finally, this last strip is my overall feeling right now. With family, work, grad school, volunteering commitments and this blog- I am run down and feeling ragged. I read and admire other blogs, and wonder where do they find the time to write and create such beautiful posts?! All I could do this week was put up a video about Wolverine and add like five words to it, and read a book that took me 15 minutes, and then write a post that was mostly cartoon pictures!

See, adulting is hard.


Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts

Seluk, Nick. Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts. 2016.


Heart: The second Awkward Yeti collection book is here!!

Brain: Let’s open it up and read it.

Eyes: The illustrations are funny!

Brain: You have a BIG project due in class today. Get back to work now.

Heart: Just a few more pages!

Stomach: I’m hungry, why are you ignoring me?

Bladder: I’m being ignored too!

Heart: I can’t put this book down!

Brain: Almost done…

Bowels: I see a page that describes how anxious you are Nancy. I am at your service, as the picture below describes.

Tooth: Modification time!

Heart: Relax everyone! This book is just what the doctor ordered, some laughs during a stressful time.

Liver: I know what that means- I’m going to have my work cut out for me tonight when you celebrate the end of one of your grad classes!

Brain: Wrap up this review.

Heart: Done! I can’t wait for the next Heart and Brain adventure!!!



Gut Instincts– page 60

*Be sure to read the first Awkward Yeti collection!

Hyperbole and a Half

Brosh, Allie. Hyperbole and a Half. 2013.

When I first saw this book I thought the cover showed a poorly drawn fish talking to a dog, so I had no interest in picking it up, but after a few people gave it glowing recommendations I gave it a try.

So it turns out that the fish was actually a woman with a wicked sense of humor. Her stories aren’t for everyone and at times she is extremely unlikable which made some of her chapters uneven. I loved her stories about her childhood in The God of Cake, The Party and Lost in the Woods,  although my god,  she was uncontrollable child at times. Her two chapters about depression as an adult gave a very accurate portrayal of what depression feels like. I hope people gain insight as to what it feels like, and how to truly help a person, instead of giving trite advice.

As I stated earlier, the book cover’s art work was off putting to me. The drawings are deliberately crude, with depictions of her looking non-human like. As my mind refuses to shake my first impression that she is a fish person, I thought the stories in which she is clutching fish especially funny to me. Each story is color coded, so when you look at the edge of the book, there is a rainbow of colors. I liked the differentiation of chapters by color, it was an appealing look. Some of her pictures have gone viral, especially the one of her holding the broom and shouting. Many memes have changed the wording of her original picture (as I did).

I checked out her blog, which the book was based off, but it not been updated since 2013, nor has her Twitter or Facebook page been updated recently. I discovered she has a new book, Solutions and Other Problems, coming out next year- so she might be saving new content for that book, for I hope it’s not a another bout of depression keeping her from updating the blog.  Give this mostly humorous book a try, for you will be sure to find a few stories in this collection that will make you laugh out loud!


Originally said “Clean all the things!”

Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection

Seluk, Nick. Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection. 2015.

Brain: Time to post a review!

Heart: I want to spend my day off with my children!

Brain: Today is Friday…it’s your turn to post!

Heart: But it’s a beautiful day!

Brain: You have a huge pile of books you need to read and review!

Heart: How about this cute book? I love the illustrations!

Brain: What utter nonsense, you have adult responsibilities!

Heart: This book is adorbs! It has very funny and true comics in it!

Brain: The page about social media is very you, Nancy.

Heart: It sure is!

Brain: Go ahead and write a short review, just this one time, you know…

Heart: I’m coming kids- let’s hang out!!! ♥♥♥


H&B post

*Read more Heart and Brain comics on their website!!!

**Read the second book Gut Instincts!


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