Covid Chronicles: A Comics Anthology

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$24.95  $23.20
Graphic Mundi - Psu Press
Publish Date
6.8 X 10.1 X 0.8 inches | 1.8 pounds

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About the Author

Kendra Boileau is the Publisher of Graphic Mundi and the Assistant Director and Editor-in-Chief of Penn State University Press. She developed the Graphic Medicine line of graphic novels for PSU Press and went on to launch the Graphic Mundi imprint in 2021. Boileau has been a judge for the annual Lynd Ward Prize for the Best Graphic Novel, and she serves on the Lynd Ward Prize Advisory Board. Boileau is also a French-to-English translator of graphic novels.

Rich Johnson is a publishing consultant and the founder of Brick Road Media, LLC. Previously, he held leadership positions at Lion Forge Comics and DC Comics, and he was the cofounder of Yen Press. He created the sales and marketing strategy for Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Endless Nights, the first original graphic novel to hit the New York Times Best Sellers list. In 2011, Johnson was selected as a judge for the Eisner Awards, considered by many to be the Oscars of comics.

Featuring work by Gene Ambaum, Julio Anta, Ned Barnett, Ken Best, Armond Boudreaux, Eiri Brown, Thi Bui, Maureen Burdock, Roland Burkart, Pavith C, Brian Canini, Jason Chatfield, Lili Chin, Gerry Chow, MK Czerwiec, Zack Davisson, Joe Decie, Deloupy, Ignacio Di Meglio, Katy Doughty, Peter Dunlap-Shohl, Sarah Firth, Eduardo Garcia, Mike Garcia, Hatiye Garip, Simon Gentry, Aaron Guzman, Rivi Handler-Spitz, Justin Hansen, Kurt Hathaway, Mark Heinrichs, Natascha Hoffmeyer, Laura Holzman, John Jennings, Kang Jing, Quincy Scott Jones, Scott Jones, Jazmine Joyner, Rob Kirby, Rob Kraneveldt, Jesse Lambert, Kelly Latham, Janet K. Lee, Ajuan Mance, Luis Manriquez, Lee Marrs, Seth Martel, Tom K. Mason, Sean Seamus McWhinny, Ben Mitchell, Terry Moore, Eli Neugeboren, Tim Ogline, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Willow Payne, Stephanie Nina Pitsirilos, S. I. Rosenbaum, Jacoby Salcedo, Kay Sohini, Arigon Starr, Emily Steinberg, Jay Stephens, Sage Stossel, Chris Summers, Tamara, Brenna Thummler, Seth Tobocman, Shelley Wall, Ian Williams, Richard You Wu, Zen, and Annie Zhu.


KIRKUS (STARRED) -- Extraordinary circumstances inspire a range of extraordinary artistic response, as this anthology attests. As the pandemic lengthened and deepened, the response across the comics community intensified-first online, where many went viral, a turn of phrase that tinged a few shades darker in light of the virus. This volume launches the Graphic Mundi imprint from Penn State University Press. In the preface, Boileau, the publisher for the new imprint, writes that these comics "are documentary, memoiristic, meditative, lyrical, fantastic, and speculative, offering a view onto the countless ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives." All of the entries share one defining quality: immediacy of the moment, a response to the crisis from within it. A few are day-by-day diaries, including the opening narrative, by Jason Chatfield, about testing positive, in which he writes about his inability to meet his writing goal of trying "to finish a sentence." Hatiye Garip's "Corona Diary" is brief and wordless, achieving eloquence through a variety of shifting shapes and images. In "COVID Hardball," Rich Johnson and Eli Neugeboren lay out a series of baseball cards of significant figures of the pandemic era, including New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern; Singapore's Halimah Yacob; Donald Trump, who "repeatedly held large campaign rallies without requiring masking"; and Anthony Fauci, the "M.V.P. (Most Valuable Physician)." The collection also includes superheroes battling evil monsters and entries on the pandemic's effects on Natives and other marginalized populations. Of course, there is the tragedy of death but also the inspiring poetry of trying to come to terms with what it all means. Boileau sums it up well: "Strange, perhaps, for these emotions to resonate so clearly in a medium that people often assume is either directed toward children or there for our amusement. But comics have a history of tackling weighty and mature subjects-and doing it well." Add this book to that history. In a diverse, impassioned book, these quick responders illustrate the impact of the pandemic with work of lasting value.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY -- A wide variety of creators explore the Covid-19 pandemic in this impassioned and impressive anthology, with stories seen through the eyes of frustrated children, exhausted doctors, bereaved sons, and myriad others. Diversity, both of topic and in form, is the volume's greatest strength: monochrome meditations upon presidential malfeasance sit comfortably alongside pastel satires of virtual schooling. But not every entry is a winner. Weaker comics bury static drawings in paragraphs of tiny text, which do little more than recite dry facts. Still, the anthology's high points eclipse these missteps. Brenna Thummler's "Sort of Together & Mostly Apart" is a particular standout, offering jewel-toned glimpses of canceled proms, retail drudgery, and hospital heartbreak. Lee Marrs's candy-colored portrait of one community coming together to sing in the streets for comfort and, in time, for justice amid 2020's protests is similarly affecting, balancing pathos with a bubbly cartoon aesthetic. Carried by the stronger pieces, the anthology captures the anxiety, courage, and surreality of the current era with a visceral quality that lingers.

"As a taxonomy of the many voices around the pandemic, COVID Chronicles is a substantial and wide-ranging anthology." - Broken Frontier