Friday, February 5, 2016

Sweaterweather & Other Short Stories

What is cool about Sweaterweather and Other Stories for me is that it works in at least two ways. If you are already familiar with Sara Varon's work (wordless comics like Robot Dreams or picture books like Chicken and Cat), then you get to see a lot of her early thoughts and drawings in this wonderful anthology. If you are new to her and her work, then this book is a great introduction to the array of stories she tells. There are wordless animal tales, like this one about a turtle and a rabbit on a cold day:
There are also some more experimental and playful ones, like this one that consists of 26 panels and follows an ABC pattern:
These are F,G,H, in case you did not figure it out...
And there are lots of other types of comics in here, too: Diary Comics done for The Comics Journal, paper dolls, a shorter draft version of what would turn into Robot Dreams, and some nonfiction about beekeeping. These are charming, well rendered, and thoughtfully fun comics, and they come with short notes about her inspirations, intentions, or memories of each. I read this book in a few sittings just so I could draw out my enjoyment and appreciation of each piece. All that said, they are all pretty short, so those expecting longer narratives might be disappointed.

This book is a revamped and revised version of one published in 2003. Most of the reviews I have read about this book have been full of praise. Publishers Weekly summed up their starred review, "Varon’s characters, their sheepish expressions, and their animated conversations are unfailingly delightful, while flashes of graphic inventiveness—a fake flyer bound into the book, a set of carefully engineered paper dolls—are icing on the cake." Claire Thorne wrote this praise, "The quality of the illustration and narrative is deceptively simple, inviting the reader to read the stories over and over for new doses of this charming and whimsical world." Beth was more disappointed with the book, noting that "something (besides words) was just missing for me. Many of the pieces just seemed to end abruptly while others seemed a bit experimental but not in a boundary pushing way."

Sweaterweather & Other Short Stories was published by First Second, and they have a preview and much more available here.

Thank you, Gina, for the review copy!

No comments:

Post a Comment