Staff Picks for the Spring Cleaning Sale


Not sure what books to pick up during the sale? Browse our staff picks for suggestions:


bookcover_blikeiBut I Like It

Before tackling the emotional and political quagmire that is Palestine, Joe Sacco hit the really hard topics in the early ‘90s – punk bands. While on European tour with the Portland based band, Miracle Workers, Sacco skewers fans, musicians, and critics with his classic hard-hitting wit and skillful cartooning. Music is my second life, which means I love watching the industry and people who take themselves too seriously get made fun of. Sacco never misses an opportunity to turn the pen on himself though, and throws in some great auto-bio pieces of his time living in Germany. This is a great collection, full of world-class cartooning by a master, and a great read for anyone who enjoys reminiscing about their own poorly planned band days.


2458558274fc5c62bfeb5109cc411586The Raven

I unconsciously decided to talk about two music books, but The Raven is a spectacular amalgamation of poetry, theater, and music. Lou Reed took upon himself the ambitious project of teaming up with musicians and actors to rewrite famous Edgar Allen Poe stories and poems into musical performances that were performed on stage. Reworked into a CD and then reinterpreted into a book, and illustrated by Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti, the songs, poetry, visuals all combine to create one of the most energetic, engaging, and dynamic tributes to the work of Poe.




Esther Pearl Watson delivers a painfully funny and relatable story of adolescence, doused with Aquanet, sprinkled with glitter and adorned with Lisa Frank stickers. Unlovable is based on a found diary the author discovered in a gas station restroom. The inside cover proclaimed the owner to be Tammy Pierce, and the author created a fictionalized graphic version of the teenager who is something of a spiritual cousin to Dawn Wiener (Welcome to the Dollhouse) and Tina Belcher (Bob’s Burgers), with all the boy-crazy awkwardness you’d expect.

Volume One begins in the Fall of 1988 and follows Tammy as she embarks upon her Sophomore year of High School in the suburbans of North Texas. It is a landscape filled with embarrassing parents, annoying little brothers and an unforgiving social hierarchy. Tammy spends her afternoons getting chili-fries at the local Sonic, daydreaming about cuties asking her to the big dance and longing for someone to call; made all the more painful in the era of landline phones. She sometimes tags along with an older, cooler couple and experiments with mild acts of rebellion: cutting class, shoplifting from the mall, drinking wine coolers, toilet papering frenemy lawns and knocking over mailboxes. These hijinks often land her in detention at school, grounded at home and frequently getting used by friends who don’t have her best interest. Watson places you directly back into the mortification, boredom and powerlessness of teenage life and it would be a total bummer if it wasn’t drawn in such a cringe-worthy but hilarious way.

Watson’s art style perfectly captures the hormonal body horror inherent in coming of age. Tammy’s attempts at beautification- from home perms to blue mascara and home-made face masks and hair removal gone awry- rarely have the magical makeover montage effect intended and are rendered in delightfully squiggly, grotesque linework. Being a teen can be brutal. Tammy fears that her breath smells like butts and her crotch smells like fish tacos. It’s a time when guys in detention ask to see your boobs and then call you a slut when you actually do it. When people whisper about girls liking girls as if that was an insult.

Despite all the trauma and drama, a sweetly endearing, naive optimism still shines through Watson’s work. Collectively, the book reads like a yearbook message from the author that says that even through all the heartbreak, this could really be the best year ever. Unloveable was first published on the back page of Bust magazine and has continued for over a decade. Fantagraphics has collected the strips in three volumes- all available now at an awesomely discounted price. So after adding them all to your cart, throw on a pair of a high-waisted acid wash jeans, put your hair in a scrunchie, spritz yourself with Love’s Baby Soft and get ready for the ultimate slumber party with your new BFF.


dd6c92daecc172da656c8a5e3fd6295eMark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010
Thanks to a wizard’s spell, Twain lives and has written a second autobiography, and it’s waaaay funnier than the first, detailing Twain’s secret love affairs, his little known side careers as a private dick and porn star, his first LSD trip, time traveling with Einstein, that time he tried to hypnotize the guy at the donut shop, and so much more.  From the absurdly funny and funnily absurdist Michael Kupperman, this is a must have for anyTales Designed to Thrizzle fan, not to mention any self-respecting student of American letters.





 0efd5b289eb724933e6849c645bec2eeSketching Guantanamo: Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006–2013

Photographers aren’t allowed inside the U.S. military’s Guantanamo detention camp; but courtroom artist Janet Hamlin is, and she provides the public one of the very few glimpses inside it. In her humanizing drawings, child soldier Omar Khadr becomes a man, unseen even to himself; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, beard dyed with berries, confesses to 9/11, among a multitude of terrorist acts, post-waterboarding. The workaday environment of the reporters is juxtaposed with the prisoners’ cells, and chairs with restraints. This collection of Hamlin’s work is a powerful visual record of one of the darkest chapters of American history.

foofun-fcFoolbert Funnies

Irreverent Texan Frank Stack arguably created the first underground comic, in which Jesus confronts the venality of 1960s America. Over the next half-century, the teacher and cartoonist’s fine-lined pen created nostalgia pieces; scathing satires of whitebread neuroses; fine artist biographies; and set down an Amazonian battle of the sexes, among many others tales and topics. This book collects the “best of the rest,” and, taken as a whole, lampoons the strange world of men.





0b64a0ee2dfaf95eba0a7d6d0bc6e646Treasury of Mini Comics Volume 1
Mini comics are to comic books and graphic novels as animation shorts are to an animated series or motion picture. They’re the efficient, challenging, simple, experimental creations that can be really effective. A reader could find them profound, perhaps inspire one to do something better or at the very least invoke a chuckle. If you like underground comix or just odd and honest comics check this out. I may be a bit biased since a book of mine is collected in this, but it really is a sincere look at what can be done on a small scale.





actmysAction! Mystery! Thrills!
Crazy bright colors surrounding bizarre characters who are intending or fighting off violence or animals having immense superficial fun will always catch one’s eye. The formula for what attracts someone to a book via the cover was not developed in a Mad Men-like office laboratory. It was first sorted out on the covers of action comics and funny animal magazines. Even if this collection shows nothing of what would be behind the cover, it causes your imagination to be activated and wonder what could be inside. That’s the best part and it’s faster to imagine what could happen than to read the whole story. This book offers you hundreds of insane stories.



47101ab11757250e55c057623f7bbe27VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch

Virgil Partch is a comedic mad scientist constantly mixing a concoction of equal parts wonky surrealism and truthful introspection. VIP: The Mad World of Virgil Partch collects comic strips, original art, personal notes, photographs, and everything you need to do the deep dive into the dome of a straight-up frantic “gag-man.”VIP is also a coffee table book that serves as the lightly-treaded trailhead that connects classic screwballs like Basil Wolverton and Will Elder to derisive contemporaries like Joan Cornellà. Partch’s work is outlandish, cutting, and flamboyant. This fun, fitting tribute is worth every penny.


4247ffaa615eaf1dcdbc0f6e4cda1aeaLeslie Stein’s Eye of the Majestic Creature is the embodiment of the inner turmoil that every 20-something goes through. Told through semi-autobiographical vignettes, Stein’s stippling pages are rich in detail and highly relatable.






8d801573405868992ad9edc40ab1956cCouch Tag is the journey through a person’s emotional decent. Each page dives deeper into the emotional breakdown of Jesse Reklaw, as his fucked-up family dynamics expose the raw weight of mental illness. Drawn in black & white, the short stories in Couch Tag all string together to form a overarching depressing narrative of abuse, ennui, and the heartbreak of middle-America “normalcy.”