Last Year Comic Chronicle 17: A Brief Guide to My Favorite Autobio Comics

Quick note: This’ll be the last LYCC of 2018, so the blog will be on hiatus until January, when LYCC will start up again with the first week of school. See you on the other side!

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Transcript

TEXT: A couple years ago I started reading lots of webcomics, many of them autobio comics like this one. Diary comics and graphic novel memoirs quickly became comfort reading for me, and thanks to the great stock of such comics at the ICPL and the UI library, I’ve read a ton of them in the past few years. So if you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift, or something to read over the holidays yourself, these are some of the comics I’ve gotten the most out of. This isn’t a comprehensive review of everything I’ve read, but these are some highlights, with some bonus recommendations squeezed in as well.

TEXT: Funhome by Alison Bechdel

  • Incredibly dense and literary
  • One of my all-time favorite books!
  • Captures the experience of memory and processing past events perfectly
  • Bonus Bechdel rec: Are You My Mother?

TEXT: Spinning by Tillie Walden

  • Expressive, kinetic art
  • Tweenage/teenage feelings rendered realistically and compassionately
  • Took me back to being that age
  • On my list of books I’ve read that I want need my own copy of

TEXT: Johnny Wander by Yuko Ota and Ananth Hirsh

  • Great visual comedy!
  • Diary style! Pick it up and put it down whenever!
  • A big influence on LYCC!
  • Highly rec’d if you like Bryan Lee O’Malley’s humor
  • Free to read online!

TEXT: March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

  • Historical writing meets autobiography!
  • Details both internal and external conflicts of the civil rights movement
  • Formative for my understanding of activism and the value of direct action
  • Also it’s a comic! Artwork is great!

TEXT: DAR by Erika Moen

  • Another big influence on LYCC!
  • Also available free online!
  • Diary style!
  • Mix of humor and personal reflection
  • Gradually describes, over many entries, major changes in Moen’s life

TEXT: Relish by Lucy Knisley

  • Terrific balance of a substantial amount of text with images (read: lots of reading but it’s not disruptive!)
  • Clear, succinct prose and clear, colorful art
  • Personal stories and meditations on food
  • Includes recipes!

TEXT: Something New by Lucy Knisely

  • Melted my hyper-skeptical, weddings-are-weird-commercialized-nonsense-why-should-I-read-about-one heart!
  • Critical of the wedding industry and sentimental about value of traditions
  • Full of DIY wedding ideas!
  • Wonderful love story!
  • Bonus Knisley recs: Stop Paying Attention (available free online), and Displacement. (I’ve read a lot of her work, can you tell?)

TEXT: The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow

  • (Actually “autobiographical fiction” but whatever! Feels very autobio-y nevertheless!)
  • Clean, black-and-white, delightfully abstracted style bursting with attitude
  • Study abroad narrative that resonates with my own experience
  • Great for people who have studied abroad or are going to!
  • Ongoing! Read it online as it comes out!
  • Bonus Yanow rec: War of Streets and Houses

TEXT: Some more solid autobio comic artists to check out (all with work online!):

Links to everything in the transcript below. Happy holidays all!

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