Graphic novel round-up: Yanow’s achingly funny depictions of the awkward

Probing works on coming of age, an 18th-century drunk and being a refugee in the US

Yanow

Yanow

Publishing delays, a distracted media and the absence of trade fairs have wrought havoc on publishing in 2020, comics and graphic novels especially. Despite all this, it’s been a bumper year for probing, insightful, personal, hilarious and gruesome works from a dazzling variety of writers and artists. If this tidal wave has passed you by, here are six must-read graphic novels which might help make this annus a little less horribilis.

When Sophie Yanow was a student, she set off from Paris for a hitch-hike across Europe. On this trip, which forms the basis for The Contradictions (Drawn & Quarterly, €23.99), she’s accompanied by her new friend Zena, a charismatic, fixie-bike sporting anarchist. This warm, funny coming-of-age tale explores privilege, capitalism and sexuality without ever seeming preachy or didactic. The Contradictions won an Eisner award as a web series but the story works just as well at novelistic length as Yanow’s knowing dialogue and clear line style bring her plot to life with unfussy panache.

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