A Year of Cool Comics - Day 34

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here's the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Raina Telgemeier's Smile, which finally came out today (I've been looking forward to it for quite awhile)!


I've been singing Telgemeier's praises for a long time now, and it's great to see another new project whose virtues I can extol, especially one as accomplished as Smile.

Smile is based on Telgemeier's dental problems that lasted from her pre-adolescent years all the way through graduation from high school.

Here is the incident that caused all of the problems...

(Note - the comic began as a black and white web comic, but now it's in color! Stephanie Yue did the colors)

Now you might not think a comic book about a girl's dental problems would be all that interesting, however, Telgemeier uses the dental problems only as the framework of an auto-biographical look back at her life from middle school through high school.

And boy can Telgemeier tell a story!

As I've written about her before, her art style is like a cross between Lynn Johnston (who has a blurb on the front cover of the book - that must be a major thrill for Telgemeier) and Bill Watterson. She is really a masterful storyteller, and the book really flies by quickly as you almost automatically become engrossed in her life.

You literally see her grow from a kid until a young woman - it's quite an endearing look at a "typical" person's life - all the foibles and fears, but also all the fun and friendships.

A particularly interesting aspect of the story is how Telgemeir uses certain popular culture references to connect the story to a certain time. Like her first time seeing the film The Little Mermaid (and how that made an impact upon her desire to become an artist) or her sister playing Super Mario Brothers. These little bits of nostalgia add an interesting piece of lightness to the proceedings (the best is the girl who has a picture of Joey McIntyre on her retainer).

Also, it is great seeing an All-Ages comic that is truly "All-Ages" - it can (and should) be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Telgemeier is one of comic's brightest stars, and Smile is one of her most personal works and also one of her best.

The preview pages come courtesy of Graphic Novel Reporter, who did an interview with Telgemeier (check it out here - it also is a link to their review of the book and even more preview pages!).

Check out Raina's site here to buy a copy of the book and find out more info about the book (and Raina!). I believe she's running a giveaway contest on her site, so be sure to give it a look!

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