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All the Answers: A Graphic Memoir

Michael Kupperman (Gallery 13)

Kupperman’s multilayered investigation into the life of his father, Joel Kupperman, a former child radio (and later TV) star on the WWII-era game show Quiz Kids, documents the vagaries of fame. With strong dark line work and seriocomic facial stylings, interspersed with quotes cited from Salinger to period tabloids, Kupperman’s moving family story bares the ramifications of America’s celebrity-obsessed culture.

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Bad Friends

Ancco (Drawn & Quarterly)

Against gorgeous, starkly sketched city scenes of South Korean alleyways and hostess bars, the rebellions and secret longings of ’90s teenager Pearl and her group of “bad friends” play out in this imported debut discovery. The violent abuse Pearl faces at home and school juxtaposes with the devotion (and envy) of her friendships in a revealing look at the underbelly of adolescence.

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Chlorine Gardens

Keiler Roberts (Koyama)

Roberts’s deadpan black-and-white portraits narrow to minute details, hilariously told, of quotidian moments in her life as an artist/wife/mother, then dizzyingly pull back to existential questions. The genius of her staccato narrative style is how aptly she conjures both the weight of a major medical diagnosis and a child’s tantrum; the weirdness of her work manages to be both profoundly earthbound and out of this world.

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Upgrade Soul

Ezra Claytan Daniels (Lion Forge)

Originally serialized on an iPhone app with an original musical score, this innovative and plot-twisting sci-fi love story maintains that experimental spirit on the printed page with stunning color and cunning character design. When Hank and Molly agree to be the first subjects in a youth-regeneration cloning scheme, the disturbing outcome raises big philosophical questions about the meaning of identity.

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Young Frances

Hartley Lin (AdHouse)

From cutthroat law office politics to hipster bars, Lin’s immersive graphic novel depicts young professional city life with clean lines, spot-on wit, and snappy dialogue. Frances, a beleaguered young law clerk (whose boss is drawn like Ayn Rand’s fantasy date), must decide her own path after her best friend absconds for an acting career—and whether she can ever leave the lure of corporate success behind.

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