cover image A City Inside

A City Inside

Tillie Walden. Avery Hill (Retrofit, dist.), $10 trade paper (56p) ISBN 978-1-910395-20-2

This debut graphic novel, an elliptical examination of first love and homesickness, cements Walden's reputation as one of comics' most exciting newcomers. The confidence of this work, made while Walden was in her teens, is startling%E2%80%94her linework is crisp and bold, her shadows deeply black, her turns of phrase heartbreakingly earnest. The contrast between the work's more magical-realist conceits%E2%80%94the protagonist, out of homesickness, decides to live in the sky%E2%80%94and its straightforward approach creates a wonderful tension at the heart of the work that makes its message universal. This is a book about a specific person, but it is also a book about change: changes of heart, location, ambition, and necessity. This slim volume feels like a mission statement and a herald of oncoming talent%E2%80%94a wonderful work on its own, and a sign of things to come. (May)