Karen Reyes is a ten year old growing up in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood in the late sixties. She loves monsters, good ones and bad ones, and dreams of becoming one. When her upstairs neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances, Karen declares herself a detective and begins learning about the monsters all around us- Nazis, hippies, child abusers, bullies, etc. There's darkness, but also some real beauty and happiness here, particuarly trips with her older brother Deez to the Art Institute where the joy and magic is nearly unbearable. Ferris' storytelling is exciting and emotional, but the illustration is what I cannot get enough of. Beauty on every page.— From Christian's Picks
In this debut, which takes the form of a fictional graphic diary, a 10-year-old girl tries to solve a murder.
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.
About the Author
Emil Ferris grew up Chicago during the turbulent 1960s, where she still lives, and is consequently a devotee of all things monstrous and horrific. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute.
Drawn with Bic pen on lined notebook paper, this moody and ravishing graphic novel takes the form of a sketchbook diary. Growing up in Chicago in the 1960s, 10-year-old Karen Reyes investigates the suspicious death of her glamorous neighbor and finds troubling clues lurking close to her own home. … An eerie masterpiece of the monsters around and within us.
— The New York Times — Critics’ Pick
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is not only Ferris’s first graphic novel but also her first published work. ... Yet her mastery of comics, her pyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form.
— The New Yorker
This extraordinary book has instantly rocketed Ferris into the graphic novel elite alongside Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel and Chris Ware. You see, she's produced something rare, a page-turning story whose pages are so brilliantly drawn you don't want to turn them.
— Terry Gross - NPR: Fresh Air
A thrilling and surprisingly profound novel ... The book is a fine balance of stunning artwork and terrific writing.
— Chicago Tribune
One of the most profound, ambitious and accomplished creative works to appear in any medium this decade. ... Rarely have words and pictures worked together so seamlessly in service of such a complex narrative.
The novel tackles race, gender, and what it means to be 'monstrous' in big and small ways. It could not be more relevant to today’s climate.
— Mother Jones
No one has ever made a comic like Emil Ferris’s assured, superhumanly ambitious two-part debut graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. ... It threatens not merely to exceed established standards of excellence, but to set new ones.
— The Guardian
An ambitious, emotional, beautifully illustrated exploration of a 10-year-old girl’s experience growing up late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is an astounding debut, weaving an intricate web of plot threads that keeps the reader compelled from beginning to end.
— The A.V. Club
An extraordinary literary experience that tackles questions of racial, sexual, cultural, professional, and class identity with aplomb and aesthetic glory. Welcome to the canon, Ms. Ferris.
Each page of the book is a small masterpiece: detailed, passionate, leaking genius. Ferris’s artwork bullies and commands the reader’s attention, each page bringing her to the brink of exhaustion because the struggle between art and words is so great, and the whole is so sensorially overwhelming.
— The Los Angeles Review of Books
A graphic novel so immersive it feels almost four dimensional... A fantastical, densely cross-hatched world of Nazis and mobsters and neighborhood eccentrics, seen through the curious eyes of a 10-year-old girl.
— Entertainment Weekly
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters feels to me like a once-in-a-generation debut — a vision so clear and original that it will change the course of cartooning.
— The Seattle Review of Books
Emil Ferris is one of the most important comics artists of our time.
— Art Spiegelman
Ferris’ artwork is astonishing, cross-hatching images upon images, creating a tome that feels homespun but looks consummately professional. This is an emotional, dark, visionary talent to watch.
Ferris' work fuses the style and atmosphere of noir godfather Raymond Chandler with the passionate moral intensity found beating beneath a good episode of Tales from the Crypt.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters has all of the complexity of the finest literary fiction and breathtaking art. For what more could we ask?
— The Austin American-Statesman