Archive for October, 2010

WildC.A.T.S art

Posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

I was going through some of my old Image comics from the 90’s and it made me really want to draw something superheroey, thus my WildCATS tribute! I remember why I don’t draw like this more often – the detail can be exhausting! I don’t know how Jim Lee drew those costumes over and over. I simplified quite a bit.


Posted on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

This was on the barnes and noble site, kinda neat to see a bunch of reviews back to back. I can only hope Wintertown receives as much love!

Publishers Weekly

Comic artist Emond (Emo Boy) pens an endearing and self-deprecatingly witty debut novel à la illustrated diary that manifests the insecurities, longings, and trials of a recognizable brand of teenage male. The narrator—an introverted, artistically talented sophomore—is trying an “everything goes” personality at his new school (he gets the nickname Happyface). The facade works. He makes a group of eclectic friends, including a possible love interest, but Happyface has skeletons in his closet: his parents’ collapsed relationship, how his former crush broke his heart, and the reason he switched schools—a gruesome secret readers don’t learn about until Happyface is emotionally able to write about it. Throughout, Happyface shares his grievances and hopes, but also feelings too scary to write about (illustrations come easier). By the time his sketchbook’s full, readers will have a palpable sense of how much he’s grown and how painful—but worthwhile—the process was. The illustrations range from comics to more fleshed-out drawings. Just like Happyface’s writing, they can be whimsical, thoughtful, boyishly sarcastic, off-the-cuff, or achingly beautiful. The best exhibit hints of all of the above. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)

Children’s Literature

Happyface, the narrator, is a teen who is starting his life over. When his parents split up, Happyface and his mother move to a different town, different school and different way of life. Happyface determinedly transforms himself from the geeky loner drawing in a corner to a perpetually smiling, happy-faced kid. It works, for awhile. Then Happyface’s past collides with his present, and he must face all of the challenges he’s been avoiding by putting on a happy face. Part journal, part sketchbook and part scrapbook, Emond’s novel poignantly and accurately captures the humor, pain, loneliness, and hopefulness of being a teen. Through a combination of cartoons, line drawings, email and instant message snippets, and journal entries, readers experience Happyface’s life as he copes with the disintegration of his family and the abrupt and traumatic change of school and persona. What makes this novel particularly interesting is that all the characters are very real portrayals of teenagers: all are flawed but have endearing qualities, and none resolve all of their problems at the end of novel—not even Happyface. Teen readers will especially appreciate Emond’s realistic portrayal of high school life in Everytown, USA, and his realistic ending, which shows that just as adolescents can be quick to judge, label and condemn, they can be equally quick to forgive. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp


Reeling from a series of heartbreaks, our otherwise nameless hero resolves to adopt a new persona, “Happyface,” at his new school. That way they won’t see beyond his perpetual cheeriness to his parents’ divorce, or the twist involving his brother and Chloe, the girl he thought was out of his league. While keeping a journal, complete with sketches, Happyface tries to keep his past a secret and move on with his life, particularly with the studious, lovely Gretchen, who comes with her own baggage and a long line of ex-boyfriends. Even when he is confused or his friends grow baffled by his self-imposed mysteries, Happyface tries to remain hidden, but Emond puts a well-spun story on display in more than one medium. Also writer of the graphic novel Emo Boy (SLG Publishing, 2006)/VOYA April 2007), he has mastered the voice of the awkward adolescent male. This could be a reference for anyone who has ever asked, “What do teen boys think?” Happyface’s journal is insightful, poignant, and hilarious, with illustrations bolstering an already strong voice and story about a character readers will come to love. Happyface never emerges as more than a stick-figure head in his pictures, but readers don’t need to know what he looks like—they need to understand how his heart works, and it’s laid bare here. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver

School Library Journal

Gr 7–10—Happyface is a shy, artistic sophomore, awkwardly coping with life from the sidelines. When horrific tragedy tears his family apart, he finds himself living in a ratty apartment with his newly sober mom and attending a new high school. Bottling up his grief and fear, he pastes a big smile on his face and makes a fresh start as the class clown. It works for a while and, surrounded by popular friends who know nothing of his real story, Happyface pursues the enigmatic Gretchen, struggling to interpret her mixed signals. Inevitably, the suppressed inner feelings build until Happyface blows up, finally giving him the chance to come clean and make an authentically fresh start without hiding behind a mask. Emond tells the story via the teen’s illustrated journal, authentically capturing his up-and-down emotions. The pencil-and-ink sketches, comics, and doodles, paired with a disastrously small handwriting font, lend an intimate stream-of-consciousness feel to a story by turns funny, wrenching, quirky, and redemptive.—Joyce Adams Burner, National Archives at Kansas City, MO

Kirkus Reviews

Moving easily between cartoons and painterly black-and-white illustration, this epistolary novel of a young teen’s reinvention of self is subtle and effective. As he’s stuck in his brother’s shadow and in the middle of his alcoholic parents’ unhappy relationship, it’s little surprise that when the breakup of his family necessitates a move to a new school, the protagonist decides to become “Happyface.” Embracing lighthearted goofiness, he hopes to banish his former self-an artistic loner. At first, this seems to work: He finds friends and dates a girl on whom he has nursed a long crush. Eventually, though, he must find a way to integrate his true self with this invented persona. Poignantly real journal entries, e-mails and chat sessions allow readers to see into Happyface’s world, and many will identify with his yearning for supposed normalcy. Though the catalyst for his metamorphosis is so understated that it’s possible some may miss it altogether and be a bit puzzled later in the story, this is a minor detail in an otherwise engaging and absolutely heartfelt tale. (Fiction. 12 & up)