Vulnerable people are corporate assets in Test, an eerie comic showing where late-stage capitalism can lead

B+

Test opens on a young person in the cab of an 18-wheeler, sparking anxiety in the reader about vulnerable hitchhikers and the threat long-haul truckers can pose. But expectations are thwarted as Aleph, Test’s protagonist and the fragile-looking young person in question, is released from the cab without incident and…

This Was Our Pact’s textured art and sense of wonder tell an exceptional coming-of-age story

A-

At first glance, This Was Our Pact looks like it treads the same ground as The Goonies and Stand By Me, telling a coming-of-age adventure about a gaggle of kids testing the bounds of their parents’ control. But only at first. Writer and artist Ryan Andrews imbues this kind of story with a sense of wonder and a plot…

Vertigo’s Imaginary Fiends bundles X-Files and Monsters, Inc. with a very serious creep factor

B

Imaginary Fiends is in many ways a model Vertigo book. It’s weird and it taps into nearly universal fears to tell a story that could be set in any time and any place. The question of where imaginary friends come from and what happens to them when children outgrow them is something that’s been explored in multiple…

Heroes In Crisis ends by failing its characters, its readers, and its mental health story

D

Heroes In Crisis #9 hits shelves this week, ending the series with more of a whimper than a bang—a whimper that lacks even some sort of closure. The book has included many of the foundations of an excellent Tom King story: nine panel pages, repetition of both words and imagery, and characters struggling with a sense…

Batman celebrates his 80th birthday in Detective Comics #1000, a star-studded anthology extravaganza

B

In pop culture terms, 80 years is a long time. On the internet, pop culture moments can last for just days before they’re already over, gone in the constant stream of new content and distractions. But Batman has endured for 80 years, and last week Detective Comics #1000 (DC) marked the celebration of that anniversary.…

A true story of wildfire devastation and starting over makes Brian Fies’ graphic memoir a must-read

B

A Fire Story (Abrams ComicArts) is 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, a literal perfect storm of weather and human behavior that resulted in one of the most devastating…

Another autobiographical must-read from Lucy Knisley, Kid Gloves is an honest guide to pregnancy

B+

Graphic memoirs by female creators are becoming a genre unto themselves, separate from the rest of the medium by sheer quantity and popularity. From Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, Sisters, and the forthcoming Guts to Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother? to Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, many critically…

The Life Of Frederick Douglass is a deeply necessary lesson in Black History from master storyteller David F. Walker

A-

Biographies are a difficult genre to tackle gracefully, and graphic biographies especially so. Unlike fiction and even autobiographies, biographies require a deeply intimate understanding of the subject but also a rigorously sourced and researched understanding of history. David F. Walker has shown in works like Shaft

The author of The End Of The Fucking World raises more uncomfortable questions in I Am Not Okay With This

B

Netflix had a surprise success with The End Of The Fucking World, the adaptation of Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name made in partnership with U.K.’s Channel 4. Late in 2018 came the announcement that Netflix will adapt another Forsman graphic novel, 2017’s I Am Not Okay With This (Fantagraphics). It