My review of Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer is up at Heavy Feather Review. Here’s an excerpt:
This One Summer is also a master class in the use of breakdowns—panel compositions from page to page—to control the comic’s pace and emotional resonance. Readers of Jillian Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy, an online comic, might be surprised by the flair and diversity of her layouts. Splash pages and double-page spreads, often focusing on minutia details like the girls’ legs as they walk down a sandy path or a simple image of Rose reading in her bedroom, are used first to create that floating quality of summer and then the vague but enormous sense of confusion and pain which plagues everyone. In one sequence, Evan leans in to kiss Alice in a top-to-bottom vertical panel, emphasizing the possibility of their happiness; in the very next panel, just as tall, the bowl Alice holds becomes the focus of the panel as it slips from her fingers, ruining the moment.
Not sure I nailed what I wanted to say in the review’s final paragraph concerning YA fiction and comics. It had something to do with this article at Slate and the shitstorm it kicked up earlier in the summer, but I felt like I was starting to run long. As I am now. Maybe another time.