(Don’t) Laugh Like It’s 1999 with These Comics: Critical Linking, August 11, 2019

Critical Linking is a daily roundup of the most interesting bookish links from around the web sponsored by William Morrow.


“In short, ’90s comics required the reader to share the author’s very specific sensibility in order to get the joke. Ever suspicious of arrivistes and try-harders, ’90s creators cultivated an in-crowd vibe. If you didn’t respond to a given setup, you knew someone else probably did — and that person was probably much cooler than you. They might even be personally acquainted with the artist himself. Peter Bagge remembers how he crammed the pages of Hate with jokes aimed at his friends: “When I look back, I’m like, ‘What was I thinking? I can probably count on my hands the number of people who would get the reference,’ ” he says. That didn’t keep Hate from being a top-selling title at the time. Around 30,000 people bought each issue at the series’ peak, doubtless hoping they would catch on eventually.”

BRB, gotta find my choker necklace, brown lipstick, and crush on Jordan Catalano.


“Few writers have had as much influence in as little time as Shirley Jackson, who died 54 years ago this week at the tender age of 49. Not only is the work she left behind beloved by many readers—in fact, I’d wager pretty much everyone has read her, at least That One Story—and not only is she one of my own very dear favorites, but she’s also inspired and impressed some of our best living writers, from Ottessa Moshfegh to Carmen Maria Machado to Jonathan Lethem to Stephen King. So in case you haven’t read her yet and need a little nudge, or just want to trace the web of influence outward a few notches, here are a few great writers writing on the brilliance Shirley Jackson.”

Lots of Shirley love from faves like Carmen Maria Machado, Neil Gaiman, Victor LaValle, and more.


“Whether it’s the passing of a beloved pet, friend, or loved one, every child has to cope with death at some point. This can be a confusing, upsetting, and scary experience for children. They may not understand why a person or pet they love is suddenly gone. Reading sensitive books on the topic can help children weather the storm of grief.

From movies like The Lion King to real-world events, children may be confronted with death even before they have to deal with it on a personal level. It’s always a good idea to address the topic of death with your children before their first experience with it. But even if you don’t have that option, you can still comfort your child when they’re mourning.”

A list of beautiful picture books to help little readers understand death, grief, and how to process sadness.

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