Book Revue – Libenson, Kobabe, Hendrix, Caniff, +


Reliving Her Childhood

Terri Libenson is interviewed about her recently released Remakably Ruby book.

How did you make the shift from the parental point of view, in The Pajama Diaries, to the child’s, in Invisible Emmie?

I approach the kids’ books similarly to the comic strip—that is, autobiographically. But instead of writing from my adult viewpoint like I did with the strip, I write from the viewpoint of my inner 12-year-old. I don’t recall the day-to-day details from that time, but I remember my feelings as a shy, artistic kid. That—and recalling childhood friends’ personalities—helps create the voices of these characters.

Your books have an unusual format: illustrated chapters alternating with comics that are done in a different style. How did you come up with this, and why does it work for you?

I originally wrote Emmie entirely as an illustrated novel—mostly text with small illustrations mixed in, no comics. I would love to take credit, but my agent [Daniel Lazar at Writers House] suggested adding the graphic novel parts. It was a genius idea because the two styles really differentiate the characters’ chapters.

Read the complete Publishers Weekly interview here.


The Most Banned Graphic Novel in America


Coming out as bisexual in high school had been relatively easy: Maia Kobabe lived in the liberal San Francisco Bay Area and had supportive classmates and parents. But coming out as nonbinary years later, in 2016, was far more complicated, Kobabe said. The words available failed to describe the experience.

“There wasn’t this language for it,” said Kobabe, 33, who now uses gender-neutral pronouns and doesn’t identify as male or female. “I just thought, I am wanting to come out as nonbinary, and I am struggling with how to bring this up in conversation with people. And even when I am able to start a conversation about it, I feel like I am never fully able to get my point across.”

So Kobabe, an illustrator who still lives in the Bay Area, started drawing black-and-white comics about wrestling with gender identity, and posting them on Instagram. “People started responding with things like, ‘I had no idea anyone else felt this way, I didn’t even know that there were words for this’,” Kobabe said.

Kobabe expanded the material into a graphic memoir, “Gender Queer,” which was released in 2019 by a comic book and graphic novel publisher. The print run was small — 5,000 copies — and Kobabe worried that the book wouldn’t find much readership.

Then, last year, the book’s frank grappling with gender identity and sexuality began generating headlines around the country. Dozens of schools pulled it from library shelves. Republican officials in North and South Carolina, Texas and Virginia called for the book’s removal, sometimes labeling it “pornographic.”

…“Gender Queer” became the most challenged book in the United States…

The New York Times reports on the hoopla surrounding Maia Kobabe‘s graphic novel.

A Deluxe Hardcover Edition of Gender Queer will be released June 21, 2022.


A Solid Look at The Holy Ghost


The Holy Ghost is visible, chatty and even a quipster in a new comics collection by John Hendrix.

Sometimes the Ghost wears headgear (Santa hat, football helmet, party cone). And he hangs out with a squirrel and a badger, who ask questions, or offer answers, about God, life and death.

“It’s definitely the most personal work I’ve made,” Hendrix says. “Anytime you’re writing about issues of faith, it invites questions about your own doubts, your own certainty about things.”

People of faith always have doubts, he says, but putting “The Holy Ghost” out in the world feels a bit like he published his own journal.


In the foreword, “Mutts” illustrator Patrick McDonnell writes that the book is “my type of comic strip: quiet, playful, comforting and thoughtful,” and says: “John doesn’t necessarily provide us with answers but instead poses some good questions. Big questions conveyed with humor and kindness.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch profiles local illustrator and cartoonist John Hendrix.

The Holy Ghost will be released May 10, 2022.


Lai Choi San Arrives in America

There is at least one copy of Terry and The Pirates The Master Collection
Volume One: 1934 – 1935 Enter The Dragon Lady in the United States.
Though editor Dean Mullaney may be the only one to have a copy right now.


The Library of American Comics YouTube channel unboxes the book.
Those of us that pre-ordered were told June, but maybe earlier?


Book Publishing’s Big Five (Though Four is an Option)


…there has been a steady flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the book publishing sector since around the 1990s. At the moment, the U.S. Department of Justice has put a pause on the next big idea—PRH purchasing S&S. We will see.

Publishers Weekly presents a chronology of the current heavy hitters.


Support Your Local Bookstore


The Raven Book Store, in a Twitter thread, gave a few reasons to shop local.


Hat tip to Geeks Are Sexy for the heads-up.