My Favorite Thing is Monsters: Book 1 (2017), all by Emil Ferris.
My Favorite Thing is Monsters: Book 1 by Emil Ferris may be one of the best graphic novels of all time. The art, the premise, the premise of the art; it's just beyond anything I've ever read. It's long, and for the graphic medium very unconventional. But that makes it all the more special.
In late '60s Chicago, horror movie/comic-obsessed 10 year old Karen Reyes sets out to investigate the mysterious death of her upstairs neighbor, Holocaust Survivor Ankah Silverberg. In her exploration for answers, we see the nuance of growing up as a minority in a poor neighborhood, the magic of the love of family, the horrors of war, and that being a monster isn't always bad thing.
I'm a little late to the game on this one: it came out in 2017. Ferris, as I understand it, wrote this after contracting malaria. It took her about 6 years to finish. This is a massive book, written on line paper in Bic pen and what appears to be color pencils, pencil, and perhaps marker. This is a diary of a 10 year old girl who is wise beyond her years. Partly based on Ferris' life growing up in Chicago, the story interweaves her family life, the tumultuous state of affairs of the late '60s (Dr. Martin Luther King's death for example and its impact on her community), the horrors of war as told through the eyes of her enigmatic neighbor Ankah, being an outcast (Ferris draws her protagonist as her favorite monster: a werewolf), and that everything in life, like a painting, is not black and white. Karen wants to be a monster, to become undead, because she feels like one: an outcast, unliked at school, but oh so loved at home. She wants herself, her mother, and her brother to all be monsters and live forever. It's a touching sentiment, and the idea that monsters are all around us, for better or worse, is the crux of this story.
Ferris' art is astounding. From simple line drawings to recreations of famous paintings, each page begs you to linger, making the journey you take through the book a little bit longer. The way the dialogue and pictures intertwine takes some getting used to as they are sort of out of order, but once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze. Everything from her figure placement to her lettering makes Ferris a true master of her craft. See above and below for examples.
I 100% recommend this graphic novel. It's a must buy for any comic lover, especially those who venture into the independent realm.
This is Book 1, with Book 2 supposedly coming out September 2021. Let's hope!
You can find My Favorite Thing Is Monsters in many places, including here