Monica Johnson

Fresh Comics #12: Rolling Blackouts

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Some books take such a mammoth effort to produce that it’s hard to want to be critical of them. Rolling Blackouts is one of those books. The nearly 300 pages of delicately crafted, watercolored panels make evident that Sarah Glidden is a workhorse of a talent.

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Fresh Comics #11: Gorgeous

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Where in the world did Cathy G. Johnson come from, and why isn’t Gorgeous a much longer book? That’s what I want to know. This book is so good it makes me hate Johnson a little bit for making it only sixty pages.

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Fresh Comics #10: Hot Dog Taste Test

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When I started reading this book, I hated it. I thought, this is what happens when an illustrator takes a shot at storytelling. It’s just one drawing after another until you hit the requisite 175 or so pages that equals “book.” I get even grouchier imagining that books like these are dreamed up as a way to re-market previously published short stories, and then padded out with sketchbook drawings.

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Fresh Comics #9: Bird in a Cage

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Countering our culture’s disregard for all things elderly, comics have become a medium of choice for celebrating the lives of our oldest and wisest generation. Bird in a Cage (Conundrum Press, 2016) joins a growing roster of graphic novels about the elderly that explore how much they are loved, how rich and complicated their lives are, and how difficult it can be to say goodbye to them.

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Fresh Comics #8: John Black’s Body

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In the imagined scenario wherein my apartment burns to the ground and I lose all my worldly possessions, there are just a few things I would miss—family photographs (of course), an old wooden trunk my grandmother reupholstered and that I used to store my toys as a child, and the book, John Black’s Body.

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Fresh Comics #7: Giving Up The Ghost

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If you’ve never heard of Whit Taylor, then now is the perfect time to discover her. Ghost (2015) is her understated masterpiece, self-published just months ago. As I began reading the book, I thought I was in for a nice little story about a young woman who wanted to meet her idols—Charles Darwin, Joseph Campbell et.

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Fresh Comics #6: Abortion, Comics Style

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Comics is a great medium for communicating complex or divisive topics, and so it makes sense that embedded within comics history we can find stories of abortion. Insane as it is that in 2015—forty-two years since Roe v. Wade—politicos are still arguing against a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, here we are.

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Fresh Comics #5: Who is Lee Marrs?

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That’ll be the name of the documentary that gets made when people learn to love Lee Marrs. Who is Lee Mars? Honestly, I don’t really know who she is. I’m sure I could ask her. I could actually call her on the phone.

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Fresh Comics #4: Making Babies!

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Aside from defecating or having sex, giving birth is one of the most common life experiences. Half of the world’s population is capable of doing it and every single one of us has been through it, even if we have no memory of it.

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Fresh Comics #3: Remarkable Histories

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One of the goals of the Fresh Comics series is to shine some light on superb works of comic storytelling. Another is to look a little deeper into the content of these superb comics and to ask “fresh” questions about them.

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Fresh Comics #2: Transmissions from Beirut

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What are the fundamental differences between telling your own story, telling the story of another, and telling your story about trying to understand someone else’s story?

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Fresh Comics #1: An Iranian Metamorphosis

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The question that lingers even after reading the book is about the use of symbolism in the cartoon and who has the final say—the creator or the readers? ...more

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