Monday, November 26, 2012

The Horn Book reviews PEANUT

The first Peanut review came in, from The Horn Book!

Peanut by Ayun Halliday; illus. by Paul Hoppe
Middle School, High School,
Schwartz & Wade / Random 210 pp. 12/12

In this introspective graphic novel, Sadie is apprehensive about changing high schools during her sophomore year. She breaks the ice with her classmates by casually dropping hints about her severe peanut allergy. Soon Sadie’s courage in the face of her serious medical condition and her dramatic tales of near-miss incidents attract new friends and a love interest.

There’s just one problem: Sadie isn’t really allergic to peanuts. Inspired by a friend’s suggestion that a new school provides “a do-over” and even the possibility of popularity, she has seized the opportunity to reinvent herself. Sadie orders a medical ID bracelet and researches epinephrine injectors to lend credence to her lies even as she agonizes over whether to ’fess up.

This secret, shared only with readers, places Sadie in a series of increasingly awkward situations, from cringe-worthy (the bronze-plated peanut on a chain with which new beau Zoo proudly presents her) to utterly humiliating (a school bake sale “emergency” where the truth is revealed). Underneath the many funny moments runs a poignant current as readers recognize—better than Sadie herself—the high costs of her dishonesty.

Pen-and-ink drawings, digitally colored in blue tones with Sadie always in red, capture nuances of a wide range of emotions: anxiety, self-satisfaction, guilt, betrayal, and ultimately, forgiveness.
January/February 2013 issue of The Horn Book

Thanks to Katie Bircher and The Horn Book for the great review!

To pre-order Peanut, click here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Lying Disease for The Stranger

A new piece for The Stranger in Seattle, about a woman battling cancer, who encounters a very strange phenomenon called Munchausen Syndrome.

As the woman is blogging about her journey, as a support and outlet, her page attracts not only compassionate supporters and people in the same situation, but also some that are faking the illness.

Some of these pathological fakers are just out for sympathy, but once the story comes out it is heartbreaking for the people who are actually sick. And some of the Munchauseners can even become very aggressive once outed.

Here's also my original sketch for this piece. Initially, I intended to ink it with a clear ink-line as I usually do.

But in this case there was something about the roughness of the sketch that was very appropriate for the topic. So I only redrew parts and kept much of the texture of the sketch.

With many thanks to AD Aaron Huffman.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New sketches for Highlights for Children

Here are all the sketches for the second of a series of books I'm doing with Highlights for Children. The pages contain mazes, hidden pictures, and other puzzling items. I just submitted them, which of course feels very good! Just in time for Thanksgiving I get a bit of a break.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest Report

I had a lot of fun at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest last weekend. It was my first time "flying solo" at this event, I was so grateful to be invited! And so many people came; plenty of friends and colleagues visited my table, and even people I had just met at NY ComicCon came back. Besides my mini-comics, children's books and prints, I had an advance copy of my forthcoming graphic novel Peanut with me.
Fellow cartoonist Anuj Shrestha brought me lunch. Thanx Anuj!

I am happy to say that sales-wise, this was the single most successful day at any of the festivals I attended this year (MoCCA, NY ComicCon, and the small but very cool Prints Alive). It's especially exciting to meet people who already know some of my Beholder Comics and are coming back for more! That means a lot to me.
The three cover variations of the brand-new Tales To Behold 3
View of the upstairs, were my table was (yes, it's a gym!)
My photo-op with Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons!

Good bye BCGF 2012, it was a blast and I am so happy that I could be part of it! Thanks to Gabe, Dan and Bill for putting together another amazing festival!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012