cover image The End of Summer

The End of Summer

Tillie Walden. Avery Hill , $18 trade paper (108p) ISBN 978-1-910395-26-4

It’s hard to discuss this graphic novel without bringing up the youth of its creator, who was only 19 when she drew it as a side project during her schooling at the Center for Cartoon Studies, but this dreamy, luminous fantasy would be impressive coming from an artist of any age. In a world where winter lasts for three years, a royal family holes up in its impossibly vast snowbound palace for the duration, trying and failing to stave off cabin fever. The youngest son, sickly Lars, falls back on the support of his giant cat, Nemo, as his twin sister rebels against their hemmed-in life. Walden creates a stunning sense of place, her delicately drawn characters dwarfed by cathedral-sized rooms of tapestries, sculptures, huge baths, and piles of eiderdown quilts. Her art suggests great past artists of dreams, such as Winsor McCay and Moto Hagio, but is fully her own. Understated and achingly beautiful, this book sticks in the mind and heart. (Nov.)