Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rules For Dating My Daughter: The Modern Father's Guide to Good Parenting

Rules For Dating My Daughter is not so much a graphic novel as it is a collection of graphic essays on the topics of parenting, the gender politics of toys, gun rights, and other contemporary issues. And despite its title and cover image, it contains pointed meditations on the current political landscape. Mainly it portrays how the author struggles with negotiating these issues while doing the right thing raising his two children. Many of these comics have been published online at The Nib, and initial funding for this book was raised in a Kickstarter campaign.
As a father myself, I found much to relate to in this book, but I also very much appreciate the format of these comics. They are well thought out essays that unfurl lines of thought in impactful and impressive ways. I love how they weave together multiple thoughts and contexts, seemingly meandering about on a single thesis while all the time conveying calculated and intentional lines of thought. There is a lot of dark humor and wisdom in this book, and I highly recommend you read it, whether you are a parent or not.

Mike Dawson has written and drawn a few graphic novels, including Freddie & Me, Angie Bongiolatti, and Troop 142. I am a big fan of his work, and I especially like how he captures his characters' emotional responses through story and art. I am not alone in my admiration for his comics, as he was nominated as a Promising New Talent for the 2002 Ignatz Awards. He speaks more about his career and work on Rules in this interview.

The reviews I have read about this book have been mostly positive. Dan Kois called it "not just a thoughtful book but one that’s a pleasure to read." Rich Barrett stated that these comics offer "smart visuals and a self-deprecating humor that will make you commiserate and cringe equally." Annie Mok was more critical and wrote that "Mike Dawson delivers an uneven collection of personal essay-style memoir comics, occasionally thoughtful, but often thoughtless in its concern for others."

Rules For Dating My Daughter was published by Uncivilized Books, and they have more info about it here.

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