My Favorite Thing is Monsters (2017)

Synopsis

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Rendered in a kaleidoscopically and breathtakingly virtuosic visual style that combines panel sequences and montage, Emil Ferris’ draftsmanship echoes the drawing of Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Robert Crumb. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is a revelatory work of striking originality that has been lauded as the debut graphic novel of the year.

From: Fantagraphics

Notes on This Title

In an interview with The Comics Journal, Ferris said that My Favorite Thing is Monsters grew out of “a screenplay based on this vision I had of a werewolf lesbian girl being enfolded into the protective arms of a Frankenstein trans kid. That idea never left me.”

Awards

2018 Hugo Award Nominee for Best Graphic Story
2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel
2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Story - Nominee
2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Graphic Novel
2018 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize
2018 Prism Award Nominee for Best Small to Midsize Press Comic or Graphic Novel
2018 Eisner Award Winner for Best Graphic Album—New
2018 Harvey Award for Book of the Year - Nominee
2019 Angoulême Fauve d'Or

Reviews

Starred review: “Karen loves monsters, comic books, and her tattooed, art-loving big brother, Deeze. She hates her mom’s cancer diagnosis, the cool kids at school, and being a little girl Chicago in the 1960s. She wants to be a monster, but when the upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor left haunted and unstable by her experiences, dies under suspicious circumstances, Karen decides to become a detective. This stunningly ambitious and assured graphic novel, the creator’s first, slides gracefully between past and present, reality and imagination, and the shifting kingdom of children and the hard-concrete world of adults. Ferris’s writing, full of wordplay, elisions, and unpredictable revelations, suggests the cockeyed genius of Lynda Barry, comics’ most fearless chronicler of childhood. But her art, presented on lined notebook paper in the form of Karen’s own ballpoint-and-pencil sketches (though surely no real 10-year-old could draw this beautifully), is entirely her own. This is a book that surprises at every turn. It’s about the power of art, the nature of monsters, the way secrets keep unfolding, and everything else Karen’s investigations can uncover. It’s the best graphic novel to come along in recent memory.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)

Interviews

The Comics Journal: “The Emil Ferris Interview: Monsters, Art and Stories”

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