RaveForbes... [a] shattering tour-de-force ... To call it a departure from her usual style is an understatement: It’s as if the Marx Brothers suddenly changed course and produced Citizen Kane ... Beaton’s skills as a storyteller and cartoonist keep the pages turning as the reader becomes more deeply invested in her quest to muddle through to a zero balance, while dealing with physical and emotional extremes. We’re introduced to a cavalcade of believable characters rendered, like the book’s artwork, in a few meaningful strokes and shades of grey ... What elevates Ducks beyond simple mastery of craft are the social overtones. Though the book takes place in the mid-aughts, it documents tensions that define our current moment. Ducks is a coming-of-age story but the motivating driver behind the hero’s journey is the cold logic of capitalism ... Beaton may have strong opinions but she allows her characters to speak for themselves, often eloquently, despite having some alarming things to say. She is also remarkably observant of sociological nuance ... Beaton is skilled enough to let all this subtext soak so naturally into the sediment that you don’t even know it’s there until you put the book down. Ducks foregrounds the humanity of its characters and the complicated emotions of its protagonist. It sustains that energy over thousands of drawings that retain her light touch despite the weight of the subject. And if getting all this out on paper can’t make right all that Beaton saw and experienced in her early 20s, it has at least transformed those struggles into something profound and universal. That’s all one can hope for in a masterpiece.
RaveForbes... he thickens out the potboiler aspects of Monsters with heartbreaking characterizations and closely-observed scenes full of subtle interactions. Much of Monsters is a deliberate inversion of expectations. The first several dozen pages of hard-hitting, monster-driven action and spy-story intrigue give way to a human story ... The artwork in the book is a highly evolved variant of Windsor-Smith’s famous style, full of incredibly detailed linework and impeccable technique. It’s no wonder it took decades to complete. The density of the black and white drawings, the deliberate pacing (some conversational scenes run to 10 or more pages) and the complexity of the story would have made this a slow read at 150 pages. At over 350, it is nearly overwhelming, requiring a War and Peace-like commitment to savor every moment of it. It’s worth it. In an era of fast-food popular culture, where even ambitious literary graphic novels are rushed out the door to feed an insatiable market, Monsters is a 10-course meal full of exotic dishes and layered flavors: some cheesy and rich, others balanced with sweetness or acid.
PositiveForbesTrue Believer is part for-the-record biography and part an effort to balance the scales between Lee’s public reputation and the more complicated truth underneath. The book delivers a wealth of details on Lee’s later life, unearths a few stories that blemish his reputation, and generally paints Lee as a restless and unsatisfied man whose own definition of success always lay just beyond his reach ... Riesman’s unsentimental reportage, and his discovery of some troubling details that complicate the picture of Lee as a generally liberal, tolerant man, may seem gratuitous given the humiliations Lee experienced in his final years and the genuine joy he and his work brought to millions of people. But Riesman’s careful debunking of the tall tales isn’t a takedown of Stan Lee as much as a takedown of the myth of the heroic creative genius ... True Believer may not be the book that Stan Lee’s fans want, but it’s a book that anyone concerned with the hard truths of human nature and the business of popular culture over the last 80 years needs.
RaveForbesIt is not only the strongest work of graphic literature released so far this year, but one of the masterpieces of the medium, combining confident storytelling and rich factual detail into a work of devastating emotional impact ... Kent State doesn’t subordinate the art to the story. Every scene is dramatically staged and meticulously researched, with notes taking up the final dozen pages of the book ... One area where Kent State excels is its evocation of the social and political climate of the late 60s-early 70s ... What makes Kent State so powerful is how Backderf mostly keeps the subtext as subtext, and focuses on the lives of his characters. He makes sure we know each of the victims as a human being.
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips
RaveForbes[Brubaker] he blends industry lore, Comic-Con atmosphere and his own gritty view of human nature in a compelling, concise summertime thriller ... Because Brubaker knows his material so well, Bad Weekend is full of Easter eggs for sharp-eyed readers with some knowledge of the world of Comic-Con and comic art ... paints an acid-etched portrait of fandom, comics professionals and Comic-Con itself – one that rings true to anyone with connections to the industry and culture ... It’s also entertaining as hell. After more than a dozen years of the award-winning comics-noir series, Brubaker and Phillips know how to blend their art and storytelling styles into a polished page-turner.
RaveForbesThough Berlin is technically a compilation of previously-released material, the ability to approach the entire story at once completely transforms the reading experience. It allows us for the first time to see Lutes’ achievement for what it is: one of the most ambitious, important and fully-realized works of graphic literature yet created, a real masterpiece of both story and art. Lutes combines a keen eye for character and setting with a cartoonist’s skill for storytelling and pictorial composition. Berlin is drawn in crisp, clean black and white: European in its pacing, austere in its linework, and architectural in its simplicity, but full of brilliant details ... Such tight control of his craft allows Lutes to layer a complex story full of subtle moments, tonal shifts and poignant emotion, bringing different characters to the foreground like featured players in a symphony.
RaveForbes\"Artistically, Ellen Forney has it all ... The openness and honesty of her approach also make it easier for neurotypical readers to identify with those suffering from mood disorders, demystifying the condition and clarifying how they can best help and support loved ones with bipolar disorder ... She deploys her simple, approachable style sparingly, sometimes just doing spot illustrations that turn intimidating clinical concepts into cute, fuzzy creatures or humanizing a quote from a medical authority by providing a thumbnail caricature of the speaker, invariably looking friendly. When she draws a narrative vignette, it rarely goes longer than a page ... Rock Steady is leagues more inviting than a traditional prose book. As a broadly accessible work, it advances understanding and acceptance of mood disorders and does as much as can be done to defang a terrifying beast.\
RaveForbes[Sabrina] has a literary sensibility that feels contemporary without being obvious. Drasno’s cartooning adds layers of complexity that serve his narrative, revealing nuances of his characters without betraying their secrets. In the end, the patience and restraint feels like kindness, and in an era of cruelty, that\'s about the most affirming emotional response one can hope for in a work of art.