Mail Order Bride by Mark Kalesniko

Mail Order BrideThis is a many-layered graphic novel that gave me all sorts of feels. At first glance, it’s a simple story of an arranged marriage situation slowly becoming more and more unbearable for both parties. We’ve all heard or imagined that story. But Kalesniko provides deep insight into both parties’ ambitions and personalities, as well as some fairly incisive social commentary. You’ll find love, hate, despair, and joy in this book. You’ll also find racial and sexual objectification, resistance, and heartbreaking character flaws. And best of all, you’ll be blown away by the beautiful art and smart, realistic dialog.

Reviewed by Charlie

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Are you My MotherSubtitled “a comic drama,” this is an unusual book. In graphic novel form, the author examines her own relationships with her mother and her lovers in the light of psychoanalytic theory. There are quotations from her past journals, bits of the writings of Donald Winnicott and others, and many dialogues with her mother. This is very personal stuff. The drawing is wonderful and, considering the complexity of the issues involved, the story is well-laid out, using Winnicott’s ideas of child development to integrate her own experience. Fascinating, though not really light reading – even with the “comic” art.

Reviewed by Sue D.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

A beautifully illustrated memoir in which Craig Thompson describes his life growing up in Wisconsin with his brother, his strict Christian upbringing by his overbearing parents, relentless teasing from schoolmates, and his first true love. A tale of growing up, personal discovery and love, Thomson’s epic graphic novel explores the complexities of life through elegant imagery.

What at first looks like a long read (over 500 pages), this comic is hard to put down. Alternating between funny and tragic life events, Craig Thompson bares all in this wonderful true life story.

Reviewed by Ben

Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis

Graphic novel telling the spiritual journey of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) as he seeks to unearth the foundations of mathematics. From childhood to his later years, this book tells the life story of one great thinkers of the 20th century.

Very fascinating book. How often do you findĀ a mathematician as a protagonist in a comic book? Author does a great job of breaking down complex mathematical concepts and telling Bertrand’s life story. Fun read with unique artistic style.

Reviewed by Ben