My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris
My rating: 5/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

chris ware called this book Absolutely astonishing. chris ware is not stephen king, strewing his blurbs all over town, and if he says something, you can trust it.

but if you need more convincing, here are some thoughts from someone who is not an industry superstar and hasn’t gotten much sleep lately.

this is truly one of the best books i have ever read, and i don’t mean just in the graphic novel category – i mean all books/all time. however, this story could not have been told as well sans artwork – the two components twine together into this perfectly symbiotic storytelling entity with each mode taking on equal weight. it’s an absolutely visceral reading experience and i’m slack-jawed by how ambitious it is and how well it succeeds. i read this monster in one intense session that left me feeling completely scooped out inside. i was so deeply immersed in this world that “coming back” was a near-physical jolt, and that kind of thing rarely happens to me, but i loved it.

i’d heard nothing but praise for this book, and it was selling from the store like extremely heavy hotcakes, but i was reluctant to buy it because forty dollars for a paperback is pretty steep, especially since many graphic novels, even the long ones, can be read in under an hour and then are just one more thing in your rearview. but eventually, i broke down and lugged the hefty beast home and kept it near the bedcave for whenever i’d be in the mood for a long-ass picture book.

and one night i was and within ten pages i was hooked.

this book is absolutely everything i could have wanted in a book and it is now so much more than “one more thing in my rearview.” i don’t even know if i can do the story any justice, but it’s easy enough to sell the art – bearing in mind that someone who knows more about art that i do would be able to use all the impressive art-words, but i will do my best.

it’s really fucking good!

no, but seriously – this woman kills it all over town.

there’s realistic stuff

 photo IMG_5037_zpsuirbqrdh.jpg

cartoony stuff

 photo IMG_5031_zpsjlgjiyvf.jpg

REALLY cartoony stuff

 photo IMG_5035_zps1k5uuxx5.jpg

stuff that’s mostly realistic but has cartoony details and proportions

 photo IMG_5028_zpsiwnbytqz.jpg

and she also does a mean homage to pulp horror magazines

 photo IMG_5034_zpseoscisaj.jpg

and reproductions of paintings so famous, even i recognize them, so forgery would not be a bad second career choice for her

 photo IMG_5026_zpsn1tpsqtm.jpg

the range of styles is technically impressive and it also broadens the visual interest and enhances the reader’s take on the characters’ moods and inner lives. and if that weren’t enough, this variegated quality is mirrored in the writing – she has a facility writing across themes and tones and emotions and genres and subject matters and has created a work with a profoundly emotional texture that will make you laugh at its odd and perfect descriptions

 photo IMG_5025_zps3mkcfquv.jpg

and also cry (or feel the urge to cry, which is unusual enough for me) at a small expression of grief happening quietly in a corner of a larger grief tapestry.

 photo IMG_5033_zpsaqmcxwmp.jpg

she also writes outsider characters so freaking well, and not just limited to one kind of outsider experience, but all those little bits of physical difference or details or flaws or mistakes less-evident-to-others that set us apart or make us feel alone – there’s a character in here for that. which made it feel similar to Infinite Jest to me, but only in that one aspect. this isn’t a true panoply because it’s essentially told through one voice/perspective, but the range of encountered characters and the heavy smog of loneliness definitely made me think of IJ.

 photo IMG_5032_zpsa961fi2y.jpg

because this is blisteringly emotive stuff.

 photo IMG_5030_zpsuqdbsx6e.jpg

it’s haunting and it bleeds but it is also celebratory and basically it is everything ever including cats

 photo IMG_5029_zpsr38lpnmo.jpg

and karens

 photo IMG_5024_zps6ax72oba.jpg

but NOT the circus.

 photo IMG_5036_zpseica1905.jpg

i could go on and on, but it makes more sense for you to just go read it now and review it better than i have. it’s great, and it’s only the first part of what is either one or two more books – sources vary.


this is one of the best books i have ever read. hopefully i can get back into the spirit of reviewing, because this book certainly deserves all of my sloppily enthusiastic verbal leg-humping, but i’m just a husk these days. i got one last rally in me. somewhere.

read my reviews on goodreads

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon Disclaimer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including but not limited to,, or,,, or


this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

To Top