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Robot reviews: Stitches & Monsters

Stitches: A Memoir

Stitches: A Memoir

Stitches: A Memoir
by David Small
WW Norton, 336 pages, $24.95.

Monsters
by Ken Dahl
Secret Acres, 208 pages, $18.

I sometimes suspect that part of the reason some critics (if I can use that term) are hostile towards the recent spate of comic book (sorry, graphic novel) memoirs is due to a mistrust of the genre itself. There’s a tendency when someone is chronicling a dramatic, personal event, to exult praise merely for inherent drama of the story, particularly if it’s a traumatic one, than the skill in the telling. Some folks, in other words, get swept up in the idea of the story itself and the bravery of the person in coming forward to tell it, and ignore whether or not the work succeeds as art.

Certainly the success of books like Fun Home and Persepolis has resulted in publishers unleashing a number of bad or mediocre memoirs on the public. So perhaps it’s not surprising some folks are wary when a buzz-heavy memoir gets released.

Two such books hit the stands recently, David Small’s National Book Award-nominated (but kids only!) Stitches and the Ken Dahl’s Monsters. The good news is that both books deserve at least some, if not all, of the positive attention they’ve been getting.

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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: The final (for now) round-up

Jin & Jan

Jin & Jan

I thought I’d wind down our look at the year ahead in comic books and graphic novels with a look at indie/small press publishers Secret Acres and Sparkplug Books, and the manga publisher Seven Seas who is now under the Tor Books umbrella.

Don’t worry, this feature isn’t going away permanently. As the months pass and new preview catalogs come in the mail I’ll get back to typing these run-downs.

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