I am an avid comic reader, but instead of superhero fare, I tend to go towards dark and gritty storylines that examine our morality. My Favorite Things is Monsters by Emil Ferris fits that description to a T. The story examines the evil created by humans from the perspective of a horror loving young girl. The art is beautiful and the story is mesmerizing.
Karen Reyes is a 10-year-old girl trying to make sense of the world around her. As a poor Mexican-American who identifies as queer, she’s looked down upon by her peers. Her only friends are her monster magazines and creature features. The book is her diary of drawings and follows her as she tries to solve the murder of her upstairs neighbor, a woman with a dark past.
This amazing story covers topics such as the Holocaust, child prostitution, breast cancer, racism and homophobia. While the subject matter may be dark, Karen is precocious and oftentimes funny. She brings a levity to each situation with her insights but also brings us on an emotional ride as she tries to keep her head above the darker tides.
The artwork is gorgeous. Because it’s a child’s diary, the entire book is drawn on lined school paper with pen strokes. It’s also full-color illustrations the whole way through. Sad characters are creatively drawn in blue ink because that’s what Karen feels from them and the book doesn’t shy away from drawings depicting darker scenes.
I loved this novel. I do wish that the ending had been more of an ending. It doesn’t tie up any of the loose ends; it just adds new ones. However, this is just volume one, so I can’t be too critical. The story itself was captivating and the artwork appealing. I will be actively seeking out the second volume when it is published.
4.75 out of 5 stars