RaveThe AV ClubKnisley’s honesty and willingness to inspect her own behavior has long been one of the best parts of her work, and with each book that only becomes more necessary ... She’s gentle with herself when it comes to her negative emotions, but forthright about her own shortcomings and the challenges she faced with her loved ones throughout the experience ... While Knisley’s honesty about both the best and worst parts of pregnancy are compelling, what elevates the book to a must-read for those who want kids or love people who do is the context in which she places her personal experience. She outlines the misogynistic and deeply racist history of gynecology in fittingly serious and irate language, her frustration palpable and powerful. Knisley’s own traumatizing birth experience is made all the more terrifying knowing just how common that type of experience is for so many people ... Readers that are familiar with Knisley’s work will appreciate the sometimes subtle ways that her artistic skill has grown and changed as she has published her life in comic form. Although her linework is simple and feels soft thanks to its round shapes, it never feels too cartoony or overblown. Her talent in capturing likenesses is especially clear in her illustrations of her mother, husband, and Pal, and there are some exaggerated expressions that she uses to great comedic effect throughout the book, helping to cut up the heavier and harder subjects. The best way to describe Knisley’s work is human and gentle, both with the creator and the reader. The book is a reminder of how hard and rewarding it can be to grow a family, and feels like a call to action when it comes to obstetrics and gynecology’s slow erasure of parental health.
RaveThe AV Club... a perfect storm of a book, an individual graphic memoir that tells the larger story of a community, a comic that is the result of both long years of work and a viral internet sensation ... The urgency in that first iteration of the comic are still there, refined and reshaped for the early parts of the book. The book is cleaner and more polished than those first rushed pages...But thanks to the fact that it is largely grayscale with bright swaths of color, it retains much of the tone that the first version had ... Like a lot of graphic memoirs, Fies keeps his art relatively simple, focusing on shapes and the impressions of things rather than packing in detail that might distract readers from the story he’s telling ... The people he draws are real people, and this is where A Fire Story shines ... There are moments of genuine humor tucked between stories of loss and frustration, in addition to some reporting from Fies that gives a full context of the fires and how they spread (though it feels like it’s missing some background about the root cause of the blaze). It’s a heartfelt, emotional read that has just as much historical and social worth as it does personal value, and a reminder of the best and worst parts of what people can be.
John Lee Anderson and José Hernández
MixedAV ClubChe: A Revolutionary Life... is a graphic novel adaptation of Jon Lee Anderson’s Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, and Anderson himself was involved in the production of this book. The art by José Hernández is painterly and beautiful, he does an excellent job of capturing the likenesses of familiar faces like Che himself as well as his comrade Fidel Castro. But the whole book feels more like a series of extremely detailed storyboards than a graphic novel ... The book reads fairly gracefully, but the pacing is awkward and slow.
RaveA.V. ClubFans of Walden’s work will be happy and unsurprised to learn that the book lives up to Walden’s reputation ... The book is well over 500 pages, heavy and satisfying to flip through. Walden usually works with limited color palettes, and On A Sunbeam is no exception. Two alternating timelines are washed in blue and purple respectively, with amber yellows and shades of red used to accent both ... The End of Summer and On A Sunbeam share something truly special thanks to Walden’s skill with world-building ... Part of what makes that sense of scale so important for On A Sunbeam is that Walden has removed many of the markers that readers would regularly rely on to understand a setting ... she lets her imagination take flight, sometimes literally ... Walden sinks her characters’ roots deep, building solid foundations for them to stand on ... hopefully there’s many more years to come of her beautiful work.