cover image Who Will Make the Pancakes: Five Stories

Who Will Make the Pancakes: Five Stories

Megan Kelso. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-683-96670-8

This versatile comics story collection from Kelso (Squirrel Mother) sparkles with wit and wisdom. In “Watergate Sue,” a woman’s ambivalence about her pregnancy with her second child parallels her obsession with the Watergate hearings. Holding her newborn after Nixon’s resignation, she thinks, “I will miss hating him.” “Cats in Service” is a weirdly whimsical commentary on domestic labor, imagining how inheriting a group of felines trained as butlers and nannies might impact a family. In wavery and evocative watercolor, “The Egg Room” chronicles the inner world of a middle-aged filmmaker who craves “a small life, unencumbered” but finds herself caught in the complex lives and fickle affections of her stepchildren, even when “a certain muteness is expected” of her. “Korin Voss” documents the hardscrabble life of an educated single mother in 1947, whose life now is far from her wealthy upbringing. As a friendly barkeep tells her, “Failing in front of other people is mostly what life consists of.” “The Golden Lasso” riffs on Wonder Woman, with protagonist Diana using her rock climbing gear to extract the truth about her memories of sexual abuse by a school leader in the 1980s. Kelso proves a talented storyteller, her prose as sharp as her deceptively simple art, which accomplishes a lot of narrative lifting. All five distinctive stories find quiet triumphs amid the challenges faced by women and families over time. This showcase of the accomplished indie artist’s brilliance should garner her broader readership. (Oct.)