On this episode of The Comics Alternative, Derek is joined by Gene to review two new books. First, they look at Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (Bloomsbury). This is Chast’s account of her parents’ failing health, the process of dying, and the author’s complicated relationship with both her mother and father (especially her mother). It is a moving, and at times heartrending, story about George and Elizabeth Chast, their physical decline, their growing dementia, and their eventual passing. The guys discuss Chast’s style, heavily influenced by her New Yorker work, and how it’s essential to her storytelling. Whether or not you have had similar experiences, dying parents or loved ones suffering from long bouts of illness, this book is one that will greatly affect you. From there Gene and Derek move on to the first graphic novel from Shaun Manning and Anna Wieszczyk, Interesting Drug (Archaia/BOOM! Studios). Both feel that the concept is intriguing — the development of a drug that allows you to travel back along your own timeline — but they’re unsure about the story’s ultimate execution. For Gene, the art, while highly engaging, is at times unclear when it comes to narrative particulars (who is who in a certain panel, what’s going on with the action, etc.). For Derek, there’s not enough exposition on several key plot points, and as a result, some of the character motivations are confusing. Still, Interesting Drug is worth reading for the premise and the art.
Be sure to get your copies of these books, as well as others by the authors discussed: