Published by Fantagraphics on February 14th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror
Format: Print, Paperback
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold. When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Full-color illustrations throughout.
This book is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. The art is absolutely fantastic, it’s really, really gorgeous. I’m going to insert pictures of the art and let it speak for itself along with my review. The book is set in the 60s, and our main character is Karen Reyes. She comes home from school one day to find that her upstairs neighbour, Anka, has died. Karen takes on the role of the detective, on the hunt for monsters, and Anka’s killer. She is really into terrible horror movies, and she sees herself as a werewolf. She is drawn as such throughout the book. Here are some of the beautiful illustrations in this book:
All the illustrations were done by the author, Emil Ferris, and they really are what make the book so special. Not only is the story engrossing, but you also get to look at the art as well. The writing in this story is simple, being that it’s from a child’s perspective, but it really packs a punch and engrosses you. I honestly can’t believe that the entirety of the art was done in ball point pen. It really showcases the author’s artistic talent. The entire book is drawn as Karen’s journal, so we get to learn about Karen and her past, and her love of horror movies throughout the novel. She is really into terrible horror movies, and she sees herself as a werewolf. She is drawn as such in most of her appearances. We not only learn about Karen, we also learn about her family, her mother, and her brother, Diego. We then learn about the past of Anka, who is a Holocaust survivor, through Karen’s investigations. The stories of Karen’s life and Anka’s past are weaved seamlessly together. Karen investigates the death of Anka, as she believes Anka was murdered.
This is a mystery, but also a family story. I was completely invested in Karen’s character, and was as excited about the mystery as she was. Despite the fact that I’m not a child myself, I really related to her feeling like she was different, and sort of misunderstood. Karen’s brother Diego is mysterious and complex, and I loved watching his character develop throughout the novel. The relationship between Karen and Diego was also great to read about, and it was evident that they really cared for each other. The story also provides insight into the character of Anka. This is includes her past and her relation to the Reyes family. Her character was really well-developed, and her past was really intriguing. None of these characters feel shallow or two-dimensional, they are really fleshed out.
This is the first volume of two, and I can’t wait for the second because the first ended on an intense cliffhanger. I would highly, highly recommend this book. I’ve been thinking about it since I read it, and I’ve been looking for other graphic novels that are as amazing as this one. I will definitely be rereading this and trying my best to persuade other’s to read this as well. Seriously, you should all check this out. If you’d like to read this book, feel free to purchase it using my Book Depository affiliate link here.