GRAPHIC NOVELS

Firebugs

Drawn & Quarterly Mar. 2024. 164p. ISBN 9781770467057. $26.95. F
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Whether dancing at a nightclub, dining with an old friend, or devoting an evening to scrolling through news stories about brushfires and other environmental disasters brought about by climate change, Ingken exudes melancholy. One night, they confide in their partner, Lily: “I don’t really think I’m a woman…I don’t really see myself as a ‘man’ either. All I know is I feel bad almost all of the time.” Over the months and weeks that follow, Lily, a trans woman, tries to be supportive, helping Ingken consider if they should adopt a new name and listening patiently as Ingken debates if desiring a double mastectomy makes them a bad feminist. As summer turns to fall, the couple becomes increasingly estranged as Lily grows impatient for Ingken to burn themselves down and rise anew, as she once did, while Ingken remains immobilized by confusion and anxiety over how to reinvent themselves when they aren’t sure who they are to begin with.
VERDICT A tender, probing exploration of queer identity in a world seemingly on the verge of collapse, brought to life with warmth and grace by Bulling’s (Cutes: Collected Queer and Trans Comics) exceptionally fluid, emotionally evocative linework.
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