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So, it's nearly February, which is winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, a time when one often wears a sweater. And it's nearly Groundhog's Day in the U.S., an observance that falls on February 2nd of each year, when men in tophats ask rodents to predict the weather, but also the name of a film starring Bill Murray in which he repeats a single day in his life (many times, as it turns out).

So what could be more perfect for today than a review of Sweaterweather & other short stories by graphic novelist Sara Varon? It involves sweater weather, obviously, and is also very much like a retrospective, complete with author commentary about what she was thinking or doing, or why she came up with an idea, or which of the characters in a particular comic might be her. I fell in love with her work (as did many people, I'm sure) back in 2007, when she published Robot Dreams, which I reviewed here.

Per the flap copy, "Sweaterweather is an endearing collection of seventeen short comics, illustrated essays, and journal entries where awkwardly sweet anthropomorphic animals walk the streets of Brooklyn and the mountains of Jurassic times, and were friendship (or ice cream) just might save the day." Of course, if you google "Sweaterweather Varon", as I did, you will quickly learn that there are two books by her with that name. The original, which was her first book, was published in 2003. This version of Sweaterweather is new and expanded, and includes the cover art for the prior book along with the eight stories that made up that book.

I should note that it also includes paper dolls of several characters, complete with clothing options and (on the reverse side of the paper on which they are printed, a look "inside" the characters, including a skeleton for one character, cogs for another, and the contents of pockets and stomachs and such. And that the story "The Pool" comes with a wee flyer inserted in the pages, so you can see up close and personal what the flyer in the panels looks like. And that you can learn A LOT about beekeeping and a little about hairless dogs along the way. Though my personal favorite might be "Lion Comic" from February of 2009, in which a lion reads a self-help book to figure out how to fit in among the inhabitants of the African grasslands . . . and then writes a book review after he does it. Here's the first page from the Swiss comics magazine, Strapazin, where it first appeared (in black and white - it's in blue and purple and pink and white inside the book).

A true and terrific peek inside the mind of the author, as well as an overview of her work. A must-read for Varon's fans, and for people interested in the process of drawing comics and graphic novels. My thanks to the lovely folks at 01: First Second for the review copy!

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 29th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
I like the sound (and look) of this one. I'll check it out.
Jan. 29th, 2016 07:13 pm (UTC)
I just packed up my copy to send to my niece as part of her birthday present, so I can't give it to you. Sorry!
Feb. 1st, 2016 02:42 am (UTC)
This looks adorable! Also, the logo and name for First Second never cease to entertain me.
Feb. 1st, 2016 06:24 pm (UTC)
Have you seen their 10th-anniversary logo? It's their birthday today or tomorrow, and it is sort of like a reflection.
Feb. 1st, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
With the ten-year in the reflection! Freaking brilliant! Thanks for pointing it out!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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