Big Mushy Happy Lump – Sarah Andersen
Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2017
In her second book, artist Sarah Andersen explores social anxiety, female friendships, sweater theft, the borrowing of cats and how to avoid responsibility by hiding under a blanket. Including illustrated personal essays and comic snapshots of incredibly relatable problems, this collection is as brutally honest as it is hilarious.
I’d seen Andersen’s comics online before and enjoyed them, and this collection was just as good as I expected. Andersen tackles subjects from a distinctly female perspective, which is very refreshing, and her art style is charmingly bouncy. Her first book was Adulthood is a Myth.
Valor – ed. Isabelle Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton
Fairylogue Press, 2015
What’s in a name? Maybe a secret, maybe a spell. In this anthology of fairy tale retellings, you’ll have to run fast to escape the masquerade, and hold onto your courage to break a terrible curse. Monsters are not always what they seem, love can be discovered in the strangest of places and a happy ending is all about where you choose to look for it.
Most of the stories in Valor are comics, though there are a few that are almost entirely text. As with all anthologies, some stories were stronger than others – there were a couple that just felt incomplete to me. My favourites included the charming ‘Bride of the Rose Beast’, the bittersweet romance of ‘Nautilus’ and the utterly delightful ‘Lady Tilda’. This collection has a refreshing emphasis on diversity and I was very pleased to see retellings of some more obscure fairy tales.