PositiveThe Washington PostClarey makes the most of more than 20 years of journalistic access to Federer across six continents ... highlights some of the more publicly undersung but crucially influential members of Federer’s long-evolving team ... The book also deftly peels backs layers on some of the biggest matches of Federer’s career.
RaveThe Washington PostEllen Stern...trots out a trove of breezy anecdotes—her present-tense prose at times galloping to keep up with Hirschfeld’s travel-happy younger years—to capture the colorful life behind his quill-pen line that, in its light and fluid grace, has summoned metaphoric comparisons to Fred Astaire ... Stern deftly reflects Hirschfeld’s warmth and wit in recollecting these heady decades ... Hirschfeld: The Biography fizzes along merrily when describing his life as a bon vivant and slows the pace appropriately when times grow more difficult ... as fertile as Hirschfeld’s life is, Stern’s stories are most engaging when the focus returns to the art ... Mostly, though, Stern paints a thoughtfully textured portrait of the man in the blue jumpsuit who sat in his Koken barber chair...and drew most days from morning to dinnertime, at peace alone while re-creating the world as a poetic flow of India ink.
Ed. by Andrew Blauner
PositiveThe Washington Post... often-engaging ... The unspoken game afoot here, when assembling so many assessments, is: How many facets can be found in a single gem, created daily across 50 years, sprung from the inspired mind of one man?....Inevitably, some of these contributors cover the same terrain, but The Peanuts Papers is not edited with worries of overlap in mind. Blauner organizes the essays (a couple are in comics form) under five broad headings, but each work is permitted to breathe in full, giving the authors room to reminisce...Which is another way of saying: You often must indulge writers telling their origin stories — how they came to love Peanuts ... At their best, these origin stories remind us that part of the genius of Peanuts is how such soulful characters also function as warmly identifiable archetypes ... perhaps best read piecemeal, lest absorbing the whir of thoughtful observations becomes like trying to appreciate a spinning diamond ... This anthology supports the idea that we return to Peanuts for the depth and the recognition and the truth — and sometimes simply because, as Powell writes in reference to his own depression, Schulz and Peanuts still have the capacity to bring us \'tremendous happiness to this very day.\'
George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Illus. by Harmony Becker
RaveThe Washington Post...a riveting graphic novel-memoir ... Enemy deserves to be a popular recommendation at school libraries across the land — humanizing a brutal chapter in U.S. history that even many adults seem to understand only vaguely ... At 82, Takei has evolved into an increasingly powerful voice for oppressed communities, and Enemy finds him at peak moral clarity — an unflinching force in these divisive times. Young readers would do well to learn his story of a childhood set against a historically racist backdrop, told in clear and unmuddled prose. As our politicians trade semantics, They Called Us Enemy calls upon readers to see past the walls, cages and words that divide us.
PositiveThe Washington PostGharib strikes an adroit balance between her internal questions and external realities, which are appealingly presented ... And she presents her mostly linear story in a flat, loose-line style that nods to the kinetic art of the New Yorker’s Roz Chast. Some of Dream’s most appealing scenes involve her travel abroad—so much so that a fan of this debut might wish that Gharib has an illustrated travelogue in her future.
RaveThe Washington Post... poignant, as painful experiences are interspersed with moments of humorous and tender truth ... Part memoirist, part journalist, Knisley maintains an exquisite dance between the personally idiosyncratic and the medically relevant. From ultrasound visits to epidural shots, Knisley builds expertly to a dramatic labor — even enlisting her husband to recall one episode she has no memory of. That scene’s visual effect is rendered without color, lending it a power distinct from all the bright, \'clean-line\' art. Readers can hope that Knisley — also the author of the charming Relish — will follow up this brilliant work with memoirs about early parenthood and beyond.
PositiveThe Washington Post... elegant ... Breakout stories spotlighting some of [Fies\'] neighbors deepen the book’s emotional tug ... Fies weighs just what \'home\' and \'tradition\' really mean when your life has been leveled; piecing together his story reflects the act of reconstructing his existence ... the veteran cartoonist again displays a gift for pacing. Subtly and gradually, Fire Story lures the reader into his trauma, till one feels as keenly vulnerable as its victims.
Mike Reiss and Mathew Klickstein
RaveThe Washington PostMike Reiss pulls back the curtain in his new book, cheekily titled Springfield Confidential. Cheeky, because as a behind-the-scenes peek at a long-running Hollywood production, this is no kiss-and-tell tome. Even at its most dishy, it is closer to a sketch-and-kvetch. Yet don’t let that dissuade you, because Springfield Confidential—a title that nods, of course, to the Simpsons’ unmappable home town—offers a wealth of great anecdotes, all peppered with punchlines that make Reiss’s memoir as hilarious as whichever season of The Simpsons you recall most fondly.
RaveThe Washington PostThe effect is that each profile is akin to a lovingly stitched story quilt, the bright panels unfolding with exquisite precision and inviting visual pacing ... Also enlivening these comics is Bagieu’s playful, clear line work, which practically dances through each profile, from expressive close-ups to vivid full-body physicality ... But really, the highest praise I can give Brazen is that it belongs in most every girl’s — and boy’s — hands by middle school. The book reminds you that too many great women’s stories have been lost to history — and that for the greater good, that must never happen again.
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
RaveThe Washington PostIn word and in image, Lewis, Powell and co-author Andrew Aydin have successfully hit a literary height ... In Powell’s stunning near-photo-negative effect, we suddenly are placed within Lewis’s hazy point of view ... rattles you viscerally even as it propels you visually ... In illustrating a must-read history book, Powell has also provided a graphic novelist’s textbook ... March: Book Three is an achievement on many fronts, including a narrative that builds like the arc of a long bridge. And among the highest accomplishments here is profoundly virtuosic art that measures up to the content of the characters, and the import of the story.
PositiveThe Washington PostWhat Weldon ultimately achieves here is a character and comic-franchise history that is itself flexible enough to become what the reader needs it to be. If you’re a Bat-neophyte, this is an accessible introduction; if you’re a dyed-in-the-Latex Bat-nerd, this is a colorfully rendered magical history tour redolent with nostalgia.