Heather Leighton blogs at The Unexpected Twists and Turns. She has written for The Globe and Mail and The Comics Journal.
Reviews by Heather Leighton:
July 8, 2021
The Gift is Zoe Maeve’s debut YA graphic novel about Anastasia Nikolaevna, daughter of the last tsar of Russia.
March 18, 2021
My Body in Pieces is Marie-Noëlle Hébert’s first graphic memoir, which recounts her personal journey coming to terms with her own body.
November 5, 2020
The graphic novel follows the cartoonist’s mother, the plucky, fifty-something Soyeon, and her female friends.
July 23, 2020
Born in Aarau, Switzerland, cartoonist Anna Sommer is the force behind The Unknown, translated from the German by Helge Dascher. The Unknown is Sommer’s fifth book, which was showcased as part of the 2018 Official Selection of Angoulême, France’s internationally renowned comics festival. This is no small feat, given that only five women cartoonists were among the forty-five bédéistes in the Official Selection.
March 20, 2020
In this collection of comic strips, as in the previous three, Delisle, a stay-at-home dad, makes some questionable parenting decisions involving his children, Louis and Alice. In this final book, Delisle’s children are obviously older, and as life would have it, both children have developed their own interests.
November 3, 2019
Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, the award-winning author of Grass, is known for both her work about the marginalized and for her manhwa, a South Korean comic style. Grass is a graphic work of non-fiction about a former comfort woman, Lee Ok-sun, during World War II.
July 22, 2019
The Courage of Elfina is the captivating story of a teen who finds herself in a very adult situation. Elfina lives in the country on the banks of the Paraguay River. Her mother died in child birth, while her father is often away working on a large farm in neighbouring Brazil.
March 23, 2019
Creating a graphic memoir of your childhood is a daunting task, particularly if it was not picture perfect. In Chicken Rising, D. Boyd pens a series of vignettes that make up the early life of Dawn, D. Boyd’s younger self, in Saint John, New Brunswick in the 1970s.
November 3, 2018
In this collection of both previously published and new Woman World comics, Dhaliwal serves up slice-of-life anecdotes of a village of women many years after the male species has died out and the planet has been ravaged by a series of natural disasters. Although this post-apocalyptic theme may come across as dark, most of the strips are light and hilarious, addressing issues such as identity, solitude, love, and anxiety, with some occasional angst about the survival of the species.
July 7, 2018
The release of the English translation of this volume follows on the heels of the first two, published in 2017. The Almost Summer series is the work of comic artist Sophie Bédard, who, at the age of nineteen, did the unimaginable. Just a year after graduating from CEGEP, she published not one but two volumes of the now popular French-language series Glorieux printemps, which went on to be nominated for the Bédélys and Bédéis Causa awards, two prominent prizes for Quebec comic artists.
March 24, 2018
As editor Andy Brown sets out in the foreword of this collection of essays and interviews, BDQ refers to Quebec comics or bande dessinée québécoise, just as manga refers to comics from Japan. The collection is divided into four time periods, with the longest section devoted to “The Nineties,” evidently an ebullient period for sequential art, particularly in Montreal.
November 3, 2017
British cartoonist and illustrator Tom Gauld is the author of the graphic novels Goliath, Mooncop, and You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack. Baking with Kafka is his recent collection of short comics, many of which have already been published in The Guardian, New Scientist, and The New York Times. Gauld’s drawings are simple, yet perfectly executed, without any superfluous detail. His short strips (one to eight panels) are usually funny, but above all, they’re smart and insightful.
July 17, 2014
Originally published in French in 2006, My Neighbour’s Bikini is the story of two shy neighbours living on the Plateau who meet on a sweltering summer day when everything grinds to a halt because of a power blackout. Simon introduces himself to his neighbour, Bernadette, on a downtown street, and, after they walk home together, Bernadette invites Simon to go for a swim at the neighbourhood pool.
September 5, 2013
On the heels of Joe Ollmann’s widely acclaimed graphic novel Mid-Life comes Science Fiction, the story of Mark Sett, a high school biology teacher who experiences an unforeseen crisis that shatters his belief system and threatens his long-term relationship.
January 12, 2013
Exactly three years ago, Haiti was levelled by a massive earthquake, and while the international media was quick to give us an overall picture of the devastation through harrowing footage and dire statistics, it largely ignored the resilience of the Haitian people.