Drawn & Quarterly
Feb. 12, 2014 | 12:52 p.m.
Don’t let the whimsically water-colored fairy world in “Beautiful Darkness” fool you; this graphic novel, out today from Drawn and Quarterly, is not a happily-ever-after sort of story. In “Beautiful Darkness,” French comics writer Fabien Vehlmann (“Isle of 100,000 Graves”) and husband-and-wife cartooning team Kerascoët (“Miss Don’t Touch Me”) present the story of Aurora, a cheery and resourceful heroine whose tea party with a prince is interrupted by a deluge of what appears to be blood. Aurora escapes, emerging from the skull of a dead girl, along with dozens of other tiny people. In the coming days and months, they try to survive in the face of hunger, woodland animals and, most terrifyingly, their own capacity for cruelty. It’s a twisted tale that draws from the likes of “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Borrowers,” only “Beautiful Darkness” presents a much […]
Oct. 10, 2011 | 9:36 a.m.
In the thinly fictionalized “Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths,” manga artist Shigeru Mizuki recounts the brutality with which the officers of the Imperial Army treated their own men, a story that has received less attention than their savage abuse of the Chinese and other conquered people. Mizuki drew on his painful experiences as a draftee during World War II, when he was sent to the island of New Britain off the northwest coast of New Guinea. He lost his left arm in battle and caught malaria — which kept him from certain death in a suicide charge ordered by his superiors. Private Maruyama serves as Mizuki’s stand-in: a grunt with a talent for drawing, struggling to survive short rations, miserable weather, tropical diseases and American attacks on the island. Like Willie and Joe, the dogface American privates in Bill Mauldin’s […]
Dec. 01, 2010 | 5:50 p.m.
On Sunday, Hero Complex contributor Deborah Vankin wrote about Joyce Farmer and her 208-page illustrated family memoir “Special Exits.” Today we continue our look at female cartoonists, with Vankin’s snapshot portrait of Vanessa Davis. In “Make Me a Woman,” Vanessa Davis lays it all out there — Fat Camp, phone sex, late-night binging, even mustache bleaching. Her second book, in what’s still a relatively young career that also includes columns for Tablet Magazine, collects the rambling, neurotic and admirably honest diary comics she drew throughout her 20s, from 2004 to the present. The book, out recently from Drawn & Quarterly, stitches together a pastiche of styles: loose, deeply personal pencil sketches, richly colored narrative comics, and full-page, color self-portraits showcasing a spectrum of moods, outfits and haircuts. Plus random drawings that were “just hanging out in my sketchbook,” she says. From […]