Ask A Cartoonist: Summer Reading

By Tea Fougner

Ahhh, summer is upon us! If you’re anything like me, trips to visit family and to the beach mean lots of reading!  This week, I asked our cartoonists to share their favorite prose books. 

When I’m not reading comics, I’m reading books ON comics. Like “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore, which is currently on my nightstand. I’m also reading everything I can get my hands on on the history of the sideshow for an as yet unannounced graphic novel project. I have never read an e-book. I’m hopelessly tactile.


–Bill Griffith, Zippy the Pinhead


I love reading! I’m never not in a book, and often I’ve got two going at once. And oh, I actually read more prose than comics. (I have nothing against comics, ha ha.) Right now I am reading two books (one fiction, one non-fiction). They are “Too Much Happiness” short stories by Alice Munro. And “Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending Of A Great American Fortune.” by Bill Dedman & Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

My taste is simple: the book has to be good. I could not live happily without great reading!


–Rina Piccolo, Tina’s Groove and Six Chix


These are some of my favourite books that I’ve read several times…

The Chrysalids and Day of the Triffids, both by John Wyndham.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

These are the books I’ve purchased and am dying to read but haven’t gotten to yet…

Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Mighty Be Our Powers by Leymah Gbowee
Changing My Mind by Margaret Trudeau
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

–Sandra Bell-Lundy, Between Friends

Skip enjoys reading books about the robot Apocalypse:


 –Jonathan Mahood, Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog


My father used to read me the comics when I was 3 and I loved it. But when he traveled I hated it so I got a girl who wanted to be a teacher to teach me to read. By the time I was 4 I was checking books out of the library. My early favorites were Tarzan, The Limejuicers (British sailors), and books about West Point. I read 3 books a week and when I started kindergarten I was ahead of everyone. When I was 10 I drew a comic strip for the Kansas City Journal called “The Limejuicers” that appeared every Saturday. I went on reading piles of books, mainly educational types. When I was in the Army for 4 years I traveled allover the world lugging a barracks bag full of books until driving down a street in Naples, Italy, someone stole my bag out of the back of my jeep and my valuable book collection was gone.

–Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey

I’m a huge reader and I’m drawn mainly to non-fiction (although I like the occasional historical novel). I really like biographies. One of my recent faves was “The Boys in the Boat.” Right now I’m reading “Picasso and Dora” by James Lord. And next I’ll tackle an intimidatingly humongo biography called “The Prime Ministers” about Israeli politicians. I also like autobiographical graphic novels and have a growing collection of those, too.

For the strip, I read a LOT of reference books – some funny, some serious. A few examples are: “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte, “Perfect Madness” by Judith Warner (an early influence), and “It Sucked and then I Cried” by Heather B. Armstrong.

Reading is probably my biggest hobby next to outdoor running. If I could tackle both at once without ramming into a tree, I would.


–Terri Libenson, The Pajama Diaries


Memoirs of a Sword Swallower by Daniel P. Mannix, Man Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett, The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengsston

–Bud Grace, The Piranha Club


One of my favorite prose books is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, which inspired a Fastrack sequence:


–Bill Holbrook, Kevin & Kell, On the Fastrack, and Safe Havens


I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy over snd over as a kid. I’m now reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant and loving it.

–Alex Hallatt, Arctic Circle


A book that was a life changer for me was TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Actually, I’d seen the film first and then went back and read the book. This was one of those rare cases where the book and film were equally as powerful and complemented each other on every level. I was inspired later on to do this sketch.


–Ron Ferdinand, Dennis the Menace


I like to read all kinds of things. You never know where you’ll get a cartoon idea. But one of my favorite fiction books this year was “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. It might be particularly appealing to artists because the writing was full of imagery, in spite of the fact that the main character is blind.

For non- fiction, I really liked “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg. It explores some of the brain functions behind habits. Incidentally, I just saw Pixar’s “Inside Out”, and it was great, and it also deals with brain functions.

–Isabella Bannerman, Six Chix


Cloud Atlas is one of my favorite books ever. Don’t let the abysmal movie version of it throw you off, it’s one of those books that would need a 25-part mini series to even get close to telling the story.

–Dan Piraro, Bizarro


I read a LOT of fiction. I review books here:  http://militantrecommender.blogspot.com/

I only review books I LOVE. I don’t want to be snarky to any authors, so if I start a book or am disappointed in one I don’t write about it. What makes my reviews unique is that I try and do a cartoon illustration per review. Many of the authors have requested copies of the art.

I do a LOT of cartoons about reading in my Six Chix work. Two of my all time favorite works of fiction are Gaston Leroux’s “Phantom of the Opera” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. Both of which I’ve snuck into Chix cartoons as characters!

–Stephanie Piro, Six Chix


What are some of your favorites?  Anything you’re looking forward to reading this summer?