There are plenty of comics and graphic novels about children, but relatively few told from the parents’ points of view. Examples include Joe Chiappetta’s Silly Daddy, launched in 1991, and Carol Tyler’s comics about raising her daughter, some of the best of which are included in the 2005 collection Late Bloomer.
The new wave of nonfiction comics about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting covers the reassuringly factual as well as the deeply personal. The rise of women creators in the comics industry has led to brutally honest—and sometimes wildly funny—firsthand accounts of motherhood. Meanwhile, more men are writing and drawing about their experiences as fathers.
Here, we look at forthcoming books that bring the reality of parenthood, good and bad, messy and messier, to vivid visual life.
Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression
Teresa Wong. Arsenal Pulp, Apr.
Wong’s graphic memoir is structured as a letter to her new daughter about the depression she struggled with after childbirth. With honesty and blunt humor, she describes the daily experience of living with postpartum depression, the efforts of her husband and the rest of her family to deal with her condition, and the methods that helped her cope.
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of Mothers
Karen Kleiman and Molly McIntyre. Familius, Mar.
Kleiman, founder and executive director of the Postpartum Stress Center in Rosemont, Pa., scripts cartoons drawn by McIntyre to help new mothers deal with troubling, but common, thoughts and feelings surrounding parenthood. Topics include recognizing the symptoms of anxiety and trauma, learning how to ask for help with a newborn, dealing with family members or forging ahead solo, and answering the eternal question, “Does this make me a bad mom?”
The Handbook to Lazy Parenting
Guy Delisle. Drawn & Quarterly, June
In the final installment of Delisle’s Bad Parenting series, his two children have grown from preschoolers to schoolkids and have more complicated needs for Dad to ignore or exploit. Now that they’re older, Delisle’s son and daughter get the better of him increasingly often, but he can still manipulate them into video game marathons or out of dessert.
Lucy Knisley. First Second, Mar.
Knisley, best known as the creator of the foodie graphic novel Relish, recounts the story of her pregnancy in her signature bright, cartoony style. In what PW’s review called a “funny and sometimes harrowing memoir,” Knisley works myths and facts about pregnancy into depictions of her personal experiences, which range from aggravations she can laugh off to serious, life-threatening complications.
Xavier Bétaucort and Yannick Marchat. Humanoids, Jan.
Bétaucort, a middle-aged writer who thinks his days as a family man are behind him, is shocked when his younger girlfriend, who thought she was infertile, discovers she’s pregnant. This lushly drawn graphic memoir follows their journey through her pregnancy, which leads him to accept, then embrace, unexpected later-life fatherhood and a new family.