So a couple of days ago, I told you all about the The Graphic Textbook Kickstarter program, well I took the plunge and pledged my support for the book! I’m super excited to see this program get the green light, but they need your support!
In other news, the DCC clock is ticking down, we’re now under two months away from the biggest Comic Book Con in Colorado. I’m getting giddy with anticipation, and can’t wait to see all the cool kids hanging out together! I just hope they’ll let me join.
Speaking of deadlines, I will be completing my B.A. in English – Writing from CMU in just under a week and a half, and I’m putting myself back out on the market. If anyone is looking for a writer with a magnificent command of the English language, who has published a book about books, and is wanting to pursue a masters degree in library science, please give me a holler. I work well with others, and I’m always looking for a new challenge. I need to dust off (update) my resume, but I will be posting it within the week – Barring (or baring, as a friend was so kind to point out) any last minute issues with school.
Anyways, enough about me: let’s get to why you’re really here – this week’s review
Image Courtesy :01 Second Books
Written and Illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks
:01 Second Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59643-556-8 (TPB)
$15.99, Ages 12 +
Maggie has spent her entire life being homeschooled. Now that she’s entering high school, she takes the plunge that her brothers before her did – entering public school. At first it’s terrifying – she doesn’t know anyone, her brothers are keeping an eye on her, but ever since their mom took off, Maggie has felt lost. Soon she befriends two “outcasts”, Lucy and Alistair. Maggie begins to learn the ins and outs of high school, but she’s got one nagging problem – she’s also haunted.
Hicks originally produced Friends with Boys as a web comic, and was picked up by :01 Second. Hicks has done work for :01 Second before, her previous book being Brain Camp with Susan Kim and Laurence Clavan. While I liked the artwork in Brain Camp, I was just completely blown away with it in Friends with Boys. Her characters facial expressions are such that entire stories are told in one glance. Very few artists I know can do this, and Hicks makes it seem like it’s an every day occurrence. Maggie is a charming, entertaining young protagonist who you can’t help but like and root for from page one. Her brother Daniel (the eldest), has that cool, laid-back, Zen-like thespian vibe without coming off as self-important of elitist. The twins, Lloyd and Zander, have hints of another famous pair of twins from across the pond (hint, their good friend has a lightning bolt scar), but define themselves as individuals – which becomes a sub-plot in the story for the two of them. Alistair and Lucy are brilliant additions to help define Maggie – a little awkward, a little unsure of themselves, but honest and believable. The sub-plot with the ghost really drives home the idea that not everything in life is going to resolve itself nicely eventually; sometimes things are left unfinished, or unexplained, and we just have to come to terms with that fact.
I was honestly dreading this review today. Not because I don’t like the book – I love it. I think it’s one of the best books to come along since Craig Thompson’s opus Blankets back in 2005. No, the reason I was worried about this review was due to the fact that I was afraid I couldn’t do the book enough justice. Friends with Boys is, hands down, my personal pick for the Eisner award for best book of the year. It is funny without being schmaltzy, deep without being pretentious, emotional without being overwrought, and uplifting without being corny or clichéd. It’s a powerfully beautiful book that I consider an honor to have in my home. Parents, if you have kids that are getting into high school, get this book. As for librarians, you may want to get two copies, because once word gets out, it’s going to be tough keeping it on the shelves. Teachers, this one you might give a pass to, but only because it’ll prove to be too much of a distraction in class. Regardless, this one is going right next to my copy of Blankets, because great works of graphic lit need to stick together.
*edit* BTW: if you want a 20 page teaser, check out friendswithboys.com