May is the season of comics in Toronto thanks to the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (May 12-13). As spring weather draws you out and about, we wanted to recommend some titles to read on your commute.
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
This isn’t the first time Tamaki has made it to our list. We recommended SuperMutant Magic Academy last year and this time, we wanted to suggest her short story comic collection, Boundless. You’re on the train and look at the people around you. They’re on their phones, likely on Facebook, and checking out a blog about a new restaurant. You happen to be reading Tamaki’s “mirror Facebook” story and laugh because it’s an absurd premise…or is it? Tamaki creates the fantastical out of the mundane and makes for a great train read.
Burt’s Way Home by John Martz
This one’s for you if you’re a parent taking your little one to school and need something to keep them occupied while on the bus. Martz’s Burt’s Way Home is about an orphan of time and space, who is stranded on Earth and adopted by an old woman. It’s a story about understanding each other from differing perspectives – which is perfect when you’re desperately craving caffeine and your child begs you to do the funny voices despite being in a public space.
Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero by Michael DeForge
DeForge participated in IFOA Ontario last year and he’s made a return on this list with his book Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero. With Canada Day only two months away, want to get an early start on national pride? This book is probably the most Canadian thing you’ll ever experience with its lead character, Sticks Angelica, being a former Olympian, poet, scholar, sculptor, minister, activist, Governor General, entrepreneur, line cook, headmistress, Mountie, columnist, libertarian and cellist. It’s also a rectangular shaped book so when the subway’s air conditioner is inevitably broken, it can double as a fan!
Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac
Bunjevac’s Fatherland is an autobiographical comic about her Serbian nationalist father and her mother who fled back to Yugoslavia with Bunjevac in tow.
The artwork is gorgeous, so it’ll be tempting to crack this book open full force even though it’s huge. So if you’re in a crowded train during rush hour and are annoyed by the person whose backpack is constantly hitting you (even though it should be on the floor), open this book up. Literary justice is swift.
Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
Tomine came to the Toronto International Festival of Authors last year and you definitely need to pick up his book Killing and Dying. A collection of interconnected short stories, it tackles parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy.
When you’re frustrated with a transit delay or asked to leave the train because it’s suddenly out of service, take some solace in dark comedy and the lovely design of the hardcover.