My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Book One

Graphic Novel - 2016
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Filled with B-horror movie and pulp monster iconography, the diary of ten-year-old Karen Reyes records her investigation into the murder of her upstairs neighbor Anka Silverberg, a Holocaust survivor.
Publisher: Seattle, Washington : Fantagraphics Books, 2016.
Edition: First Fantagraphics Books edition.
ISBN: 9781606999592
1606999591
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Karen Reyes is not like other young girls in 1960s Chicago. For one, she’s a gifted artist. For another, she might be a werewolf.

The first part of Emil Ferris's two-part graphic novel blends memoir, horror, and history to amazing effect. This is her first book, published at age 55! An exciting debut in a scene that loves young talent. It's never too late to start drawing!


From the critics


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ChrisPACL Jun 07, 2019

Saw this on my Beanstack recommended list and was immediately drawn in by the art style. If you are a person who likes to doodle you'll walk away with some new ideas, which is worth the price of admission alone :-)

In addition to the other comments and reviews about how this is very much a graphic novel for adults despite the age of the protagonist, I highly recommend reading this NPR interview with the author before you pick it up too >> https://www.npr.org/2017/03/30/522034367/in-monsters-graphic-novelist-emil-ferris-embraces-the-darkness-within This completely changed my perspective on the content and added a new dimension to the story.

Before I start the review, I should warn you that if you are triggered by violent sexual content, I strongly recommend researching this comic before you read it. I won't go into details in this review, but be aware that this book is ... intense.

A further, less critical warning: I would not recommend this book as anyone's first foray into graphic novels. It uses the form in a very complicated way, and even veteran comic readers may get confused by the layouts at times. This makes it a tough, although very worthwhile, read.

I am a big fan of mystery comics, specifically the ones that are ACTUAL fleshed-out cozies and whodunits. Outside of Japan, where the genre is quite substantial, a lot of comics call themselves mystery comics without actually embracing the title, and I have often been disappointed because of this. I am therefore extremely happy to have discovered this book, which is one of the best mystery comics I have ever read.

MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS combines the best elements of mystery, horror, and memoir into an incredible tale. The art style is beautiful and perfect for portraying the perspective of Karen, a young, artistic girl growing up around incredible turbulence. Different classic horror monsters are used to represent characters she meets on her journey, deepening our understanding of their individual struggles and inner demons. Racism, sexism, classism, every -ism you can think of is featured in the dark landscape that was Chicago in the 1960's.

The beautiful pages contain ridiculous amounts of detail, which is a big part of why the mystery elements are so good. Comic mysteries have an unfortunate tendency to be thin and simple, but this book is deep and complex, with little clues carefully packed into the pages, waiting for an eager mystery fan to find and piece together. The reader is led to question everything, search for deeper meaning with each page, and fully dive into the complicated game that makes the genre so enthralling.

This is the longest review I've written for some time, so I'll go ahead and wrap it up with this: if you think you can handle the darker side of comics, then I strongly recommend MY FAVORITE THING IS MONSTERS. I'll be pretty surprised if I read a better comic this year.

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ghostwthemost
Apr 30, 2019

Dark, sometimes tragic, and incredibly compelling. The art really covers a range, sometimes very cartoonish but easily slipping into beautifully detailed. You can really feel the love Karen and her family share, even when terrible things happen and poor decisions are made; I can't wait to get my hands on the second book!

n
Nymeria23
Jan 01, 2019

Fantastic. That's all I can say.
Yes this book was graphic but it used the dark and twisted themes to amplify its meaning and its importance. I was not expecting the interplay between self-identifying as something monstrous as a coping mechanism, prostitution, the Holocaust and life of Jews in Germany just before World War 2, death and sickness, and childhood perspectives. This was masterfully done and I artfully drawn and I would say anyone who can stomach the scenes and intensity of this book should read it. For sure.

f
fluffyjc
Dec 05, 2018

This book has a story framed within a story, both of which are compelling with interesting characters. The book touches on many sensitive 'adult' subjects, despite the protagonist being young. The art is done all in crosshatching which is very beautiful. Some things are rendered precisely and lovingly and some things are done more quickly and expressively. This wasn't a negative for me but it should be noted that not every panel is pretty, if art consistency is important to you.

There were two main issues I had with this volume. Mainly, the flow of the panels is not great. There were quite a few places where it wasn't clear to the reader what order the text should be read in. It didn't keep me from understanding the story personally, but it was a bit distracting to have to go back and reread some things in a different order. This is the author's debut graphic novel and you can tell she is inexperienced in this area.

The second thing I'd keep in mind is that this is volume 1 of 2 and it does not stand alone as a story. The novel cuts off in what you might call a cliffhanger but to me it just felt like the story suddenly stopped right before the ending. While this might be okay if the comic was released in many small issues, after reading a large volume like this I would have liked some closure, even if not every plot thread was resolved. Not knowing it wasn't stand-alone when I started reading, the ending left me feeling that I missed something.

Despite those things I still enjoyed reading this and look forward to the conclusion.

ReadingAdviser_Sally Jun 26, 2018

Very original. Not quite my cup of tea but an interesting take on the monster story.

m
mclarjh
Jun 01, 2018

An incomplete murder mystery, despite its 400 pages (and I won't be reading book 2). Terrific cross hatch illustrations, most with some colour, but the protagonist is unlikeable, relations between characters cold, and the story is told poorly. Far too ambitious.

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excaliburrom
Mar 01, 2018

This is a story rich graphic novel. It's also huge, and dense. The art style is gorgeous and unique, the writing is complicated and fascinating. The story is intricate. Every page has a ton of information to unpack and will take some time.
This is also a must read and I cannot wait for the sequel.

m
Mooseum
Dec 27, 2017

This is a weighty tome. It is beautifully and lovingly drawn in over-the-top detail. It is about the monsters in our lives, and the monster inside us, told from the point of view of a girl growing up in 1960s Chicago. Thank goodness her older brother, an artist among other more dubious things, takes her to the Art Institute, and teaches her not only to look carefully, but to experience paintings by entering them.

As children, our perspective on the world is different from the ones we have as we age, but if we are wise, we keep the open-eyed/open heart perspective and carry it with us as not to miss the many details of everything around us.

ehbooklover Dec 23, 2017

The illustrations in this lush and beautifully illustrated coming of age graphic novel are astounding in their details - for example, the book is meant to be a child's journal and as such, every single page is drawn to look like a sheet of lined paper with spiral binding covered in doodles. The plot of the book touches on some pretty serious themes (Holocaust, child prostitution, breast cancer, racism and homophobia to name a few). The main character is wonderfully unique. Head's up though: this one ends in a cliff-hanger as there is another volume on the way.

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BENJAMIN WRIGHT-HEUMAN thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

ArapahoeJen Sep 28, 2018

ArapahoeJen thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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MelissaBee
Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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ArapahoeJen Sep 28, 2018

A beautiful, yet haunting Graphic Novel.

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