I went through an alternative indie comics phase in my early twenties but since then I've come full circle back to superheroes – my main love. This month, however, I'd like to revisit some of my “old flames” as these indie cartoonists changed my view of comics and opened up my world a little. As always, there's a new recommendation in here too so let's start with that…

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Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez

American cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez is renowned for his work on Love and Rockets with his brothers Jamie and Mario (collectively known as the 'Los Bros Hernandez').

Marble Season is his latest semi autobiographical work and charts the childhood experiences of Huey, a young kid growing up in the suburbs of 1960s California.

Hernandez's simple style perfectly depicts the trials and tribulations of childhood. Making the transition from a child to a young adolescent can be subtle yet complex and Marble Season captures snippets of these memories and emotions throughout. Do check out Love And Rockets of course but Marble Season is a truly wonderful read.



Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine is perhaps one of my all time favourite cartoonists and although Tomine's Summer Blonde has been highly praised, Shortcomings is truly exceptional.

Centering on Ben Tanaka, Shortcomings deals with Ben's relationship with Miko Hayashi and his continued desire to be with Caucasian women. Hayashi embraces her heritage but as she loses Ben's interest she sees this as a rejection of not only herself but her culture as well.

Shortcomings feels like a glimpse into Tomine's own feelings on race and culture and thankfully doesn't rely on the usual clichés. I stumbled upon Tomine's work via Shortcomings and it was a brilliant gateway to the rest of his work. Like an old album you'll always revisit, there's always a new nuance you'll uncover every time you read.



X'ed Out by Charles Burns

I was going to recommend Black Hole, which is brilliant and you should obviously go check that out, but Burns' recent offerings – X'ed Out and The Hive (two books released as part of a three part series) – are eerily sublime, deliciously dark and utterly intriguing. I'll start with X'ed Out for now though.

X-ed Out begins with Doug in his bedroom, he hears something, his dead cat disappears through a black hole in his wall where Doug follows.

He enters a world that feels somewhere in-between a dream and a nightmare. Flitting in and out of consciousness, Burns uses Doug's memories as a backdrop for this strange world where symbolism and the subconscious are perfectly fused.

The Hive is the second part in the trilogy but he seems to be releasing these in his own time and there's no set date for the third installment – Sugar Skull – just yet.