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Sacred Heart Paperback – September 15, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
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“...Suburbia’s stories take on an immediate and propulsive quality. They remain accessible while addressing complex themes, like the demarcation between childhood and adulthood, faith and religion, love and sex. Suburbia’s black-and-white illustrations recalls the punkish light and shadow of Los Bros Hernandez, as well as the ‘80s-anime aesthetic of creators like Kat Verhoeven or Faith Erin Hicks.”
- Shea Hennum, Paste
“Feral teenagers roam the streets of Alexandria, fighting, screwing, singing, loving, worrying, and killing. Drawn in an energetic style that feels equal parts Los Bros Hernandez and Brandon Graham, this epic story of teenage kicks gone bad thrills and surprises, even as Suburbia takes time to sit quietly with characters you come to really love.”
- Dan Kois, Slate
“[Sacred Heart] is a book that’s relatable, terrifying and an incredible portrait of adolescence.”
- Alex Dueben, Comic Book Resources
“Suburbia’s art style and attitude remind me of Liz Prince: smooth linework that emphasizes her characters emotions and punk as f***. ... I have to respect how Suburbia is unafraid to punch you in the gut and and run. In many ways, Sacred Heart just ends in much the same way a life does: some things get resolved, others don’t, and there are as many or more questions than there were before.”
- David Fairbanks, Loser City
“Liz blends the Bible, punk rock, the magical realism of the Hernandez brothers, and trashy teen girl revenge flicks into a subtle story that explores alienation, gender, consent, sexuality, and trauma. ... Liz brings... nuance, sensitivity, and playful openness to any subject she engages with.”
- Annie Mok, The Comics Journal
“Liz Suburbia's exploration of high school is far more grounded than it sounds. Weird things happen in the background, but the forefront is dominated by honest, recognizable depictions of experiences shared by teenagers across the world. Suburbia's attention to detail... creates an impressively fully realized world that catapults an adult reader back to those four years in which everything changes.”
- Zach Hollwedel, Under the Radar
“Sacred Heart is a great look at exploring teen relationships on different levels. Liz has a natural flair for fully realized characters and [this] is a book well worth checking out.”
- Robin McConnell, Inkstuds
“...[Liz Suburbia] has a great eye for expressive characters, and one of the strongest cartooning styles out there. ... I think she's a talent that's incredibly underexposed, and I hope that her new book [Sacred Heart] draws more attention to her incredible work.”
- Matt Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
About the Author
Liz Suburbia is an Army brat who came of age in the DC area and now lives and makes comics in Nevada. She draws popular webcomics and zines (Cyanide Milshake, Eat or be Meatball, The Crusher), edits the anthology Puppyteeth, and has designed back-patches. She believes anyone can make a comic and everyone should.
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The cartoonist Suburbia reminds me most of is Jamie Hernandez, and that's high praise. Suburbia doesn't have JH's freakishly perfect anatomy (who does?), or his way with body language, but her sure sense of high-contrast panel design, paring away of needless details, willingness to draw crowds of teens, and her telling observations of teen fashion and dialog should make any Jamie Hernandez fan happy. I was also reminded of Gilbert Hernandez, in some of the almost liquid ways Suburbia uses black spotting, and also in how minor background characters all seem to have their own lives and story arcs going on.
Although most of the storytelling is clear and straightforward, Suburbia isn't afraid to shake it up now and then. The party sequences are really nice; they feel as if Suburbia thinks of herself as a documentary camera, panning through a busy party and putting a story together from isolated pieces of dialog in a noisy room. Another sequence follows the perspective of the main character's adorable dog for a while.
At a little over 300 pages, Sacred Heart is a satisfying chunk to read, and although Suburbia has said there will be three more books in the series, this book comes to a satisfying conclusion. I wasn't totally convinced by how the murders plotline was resolved, but the rest of the story felt convincing, especially the complicated relationship between the main character and her best friend (and semi-romance) Otto. It's also nice to read a comic with a non-white protagonist (not the only thing about her background that's atypical for comics).
If you like Love and Rockets, you should pick up this book; it won't disappoint you.
Things just get weirder from there. Like these kids are just trying to get through normal teen angst drama bs and then there are murders happening and just. I cannnot, I got way to many bittersweet feels over this story.
The end's gunna do you in. You're gunna have to put the book down and think really hard about what you just read cause the end makes the rest of the story that much more terrifying.