GRAPHIC NOVELS

Dragman

Metropolitan: Holt. Apr. 2020. 336p. ed. by ed. by. ISBN 9781250172648. $28. Rated: Teen+. literary
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Augustus Crimp is keeping three secrets from his wife: that he’s only ever really comfortable while wearing women’s clothing, that when he’s dressed as a woman he can fly, and finally that he briefly served as a superhero dubbed Dragman by the media before quitting after finding the superhero community less than welcoming. When a serial killer begins preying upon trans women, Augustus is forced back into action. British cartoonist Appleby (The Coffee Table Book of Doom) imagines a world where a mysterious corporation offers people cash in exchange for their souls—leaving them dull and amoral—and superheroes only bother saving those who can afford to pay for their services. It’s all very offbeat and might sound merely quirky reduced to a brief summary, but Appleby’s first graphic novel is, in fact, an intricately plotted epic starring a huge cast of memorable characters and, most important, a tender, illuminating meditation on identity, as Augustus struggles for acceptance, and to accept himself.
VERDICT Imaginative and uncommonly moving, with extra poignance provided via an afterword by the author detailing his personal connection to the text. [See Prepub Alert, 10/14/19.]

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