My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This graphic novel -- and I use that in the strictest sense because it is absolutely novel-quality while being told through a graphic medium -- is one of those deeply surprising discoveries you rarely come across. It's deep, funny, disturbing, gorgeous, insightful, and if that wasn't enough, it's technically brilliant.
It's definitely not a simple tale. I mean, sure, I could break it down by saying it's about a ten-year-old girl in late 60's Chicago who identifies deeply with b-movie horror monsters but also identifies with being a private eye, who knows something fishy is going on when her neighbor, a survivor of the Holocaust is found dead after having been shot in the heart, moved from the living room to the bedroom, and being ruled as a suicide.
But that almost misses the point. It's almost a backdrop to the real message in the art.
What? Isn't that another Duh? Kinda. The art here is explored from the cartoony to the classical masters. From B-movie homages to museum-quality love WITH a side of art theory. I mean, I'm just an amateur, but this comic is almost a master's class in the subject, ranging through almost every painstaking style I've ever seen... with care and devotion.
And yet, the quality isn't merely with the art. It's also the story.
Sadness, identity, grief, sexuality, prostitution, systematic abuse, the mob, Martin Luther King, love, madness, and mystery all play a very central role throughout the volume. And in a very serious way. I found myself staying up very late to see where it was all headed, only to break down in tears at a certain point because the novel had successfully burrowed under my skin.
Do not expect something light!
And there's also no way in hell I'll ever pass up on anything else the author creates. None. I'm a fan for life.
Oh, and it was ALSO nommed for '18 Hugos.
I would not be unhappy at all if this won the graphic novel category. As much as I LOVED Saga vol 7 and went gaga over Monstress vol 2, this one bites as deep or perhaps deeper than the rest.
I wasn't quite sure at first. It snuck up on me. Just.... wow.
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