Chris Gavaler is an associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University. His books include On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments co-authored with Nathaniel Goldberg (Iowa 2019), and Creating Comics co-authored with Leigh Ann Beavers (Bloomsbury forthcoming 2020). He is the comics editor at Shenandoah magazine, and he blogs weekly at thepatronsaintofsuperheroes.wordpress.com.
Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.
In their collaborative graphic fiction, Old Growth, Olivo and Bavarksy drew in tandem, trading the panels back and forth, each adding new details, both and neither taking the role of primary artist-writer.
The images in Blutch's Mitchum are technically cartoons, but the style is idiosyncratic, sometimes warping into full abstraction.
As much as I admire Shintaro Kago's oddness as a writer, his artistic pen is even sharper (but not without problems) as evident in Dementia 21.
In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.
Moa Romanova's "semi-auto-bio" graphic fiction, Goblin Girl, explores the dating world with a mysterious mix of art and influences.
Tsuge's narrator's mustache is no more convincing a disguise than Superman's Clark Kent glasses—which is the paradoxical point in The Man Without Talent.
Where gg's I'm Not Here found its force in ambiguity and the maybe-fantastical, Constantly is comparatively straightforward in its portrayal of the protagonist's sometimes literal battle with her own psyche.
The title of Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom's graphic memoir, Palimpsest, is an excellent metaphor for adoption generally and especially the literally erased and rewritten documents that define many Korean adoptions. But it is also a visual metaphor.
If you can't take a class with Lynda Barry, Making Comics is the next best thing. But what kind of class is it?
Award-winning graphic artist Eleanor Davis likes to accent key moments in Hard Tomorrow through panel size. Big moments are literally bigger. Layout is a way of making meaning.
Gina Siciliano's I Know What I Am is a formidable work of comics scholarship, including 50 pages devoted to detailed notes and bibliographic sources about the fearless artist, Artemisia Gentileschi.
The differences between Sylvia Nickerson's realistically-depicted homeless and the blob-like privileged establishes Creation's central dichotomy and critique.
De Jongh constructs a jigsaw puzzle of personalities, life experiences, and national identities, where even contrasts ultimately reveal connections in her graphic memoir, Taxi!
Like the title letters, the physical format of Michael DeForge's Stunt creates a kind of cage holding the main character inside rigid panels.
Picking up where Chlorine Gardens left off, Keiler Roberts' graphic memoir, Rat Time, wanders artfully and unannounced into memories.
The metaphor of imperfection and transition flows beneath every page of Frank Santoro's graphic memoir, Pittsburgh.