Alum Emil Ferris' Debut Graphic Novel Receiving Critical Acclaim

Emil Ferris (MFA 2010) recently released her debut graphic novel, My Favorite Thing is Monsters, to critical acclaim, and is finding herself in the spotlight with profiles in The New Yorker, New York Times, and Chicago magazine.

The New York Times documents Ferris' journey from a debilitating infection of West Nile Virus that nearly took away her ability to draw to her novel being "arrested" at sea. Of her challenges, Ferris tells the publication, "I had gone through so many twists and turns in my life–and with this book–that I knew something good was coming. I just trusted my monsters."

The New Yorker's  and  profiled Ferris for the magazine's "Page Turner" section. "My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is not only Ferris’s first graphic novel but also her first published work," they write. "She is a single mother and has supported herself for decades as a freelance artist, often in animation. Yet her mastery of comics, herpyrotechnic drawings, and her nested narratives are already placing her among the greatest practitioners of the form."

Ferris also recently reflected on her latest graphic novel in a comic published with Chicago MagazineSenior Editor Elly Fishman introduced The Bite That Changed My Life, describing how the artist's childhood spent in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood informed her "haunting, ambitious, and altogether remarkable" work. In the vibrant sequence, Ferris describes how her education introduced her to the formidable Art Spiegelman and "emboldened" her to begin her own graphic novel after pursuing illustration jobs. 

The Guardian also interviewed Ferris about her graphic novel and her influences as a child. She reminisced on her father's drawing instruction and told The Guardian, "He taught me stealth drawing, which was where a lot of the information for the faces [in my book] comes from. So we would get on the L train and he would take out his sketchbook, I would take out mine and we would find a person to draw unbeknownst to the person."