'My Favorite Thing Is Monsters' Wins 2018 Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year

The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize is presented every year to the best graphic novel, fiction or nonfiction, published in the previous calendar year by a U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident. Honoring the influence of Lynd Ward in the development of graphic novels and celebrating the gift of Ward's extensive wood engravings, original book illustrations and other graphic art donated to the Penn State Univeristy libraries, the award provides its recipient with a $2,500 prize and a two-volume set of Ward's six novels published by the Library of America - Gods' Man, Madman's Drum, Wild Pilgrimage, Prelude to a Million Years, Vertigo and Song without Words.

Announced by Penn State University, the 2018 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize has been awarded to Emil Ferris' My Favorite Thing is Monsters from Fantagraphics Books. Along with Glidden winning the overall prize, two other titles were given the award of honor books: Eartha (Fantagraphics) and Hostage (Drawn & Quaterly).

In the official announcement the jury said this about the graphic novel:

“Part horror, part mystery, part transmuted memoir,” the jury said, “My Favorite Thing is Monstersresolutely rejects to settle into a particular genre. Its play on narrative perspective and media usage make its crime solving plot all the more satisfying and brilliant. This book is a masterwork as determined as its young protagonist to reveal the truth of our sad, misguided, cruel, and yet tender species.

The book’s layout defies most comics norms to create a captivatingly unique visual experience: a dialogic space for readers to affectively engage with social commentary while witnessing Karen Reyes’ inner and outer worlds as they collapse into each other. The pages of Monsters perhaps are to comics paneling what poetry is to prose, and are richly drawn as crosshatched illustrations in ball-point pen, with stylistic nods to film noir, horror magazines, and museum art.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a game changer that will have an enormous impact on the future of the medium.”

About My Favorite Thing is Monsters (9781606999592) • Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is the fictional graphic diary of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, filled with B-movie horror and pulp monster magazines iconography. Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, while the interconnected stories of those around her unfold.

When Karen’s investigation takes us back to Anka’s life in Nazi Germany, the reader discovers how the personal, the political, the past, and the present converge. Rendered in a kaleidoscopically and breathtakingly virtuosic visual style that combines panel sequences and montage, Emil Ferris’ draftsmanship echoes the drawing of Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Robert Crumb. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is a revelatory work of striking originality that has been lauded as the debut graphic novel of the year.