Cartoonist: Brenna Thummler
Publisher: Lion Forge
WHAT IS IT?
An all-ages ghost story about agency, unexpected connections, and learning to cope with life.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Marjorie lost her mother and is helping her grieving father run the family laundromat. She feels like a ghost, ignored and floating through life on a sea of melancholy.
Wendell is a ghost. He’s dead and seemingly unable to cope with how he died. Because of this, he’s in a support group for ghosts.
A man in town, Mr. Saubertuck, wants to shut down Marjorie’s family’s laundromat (which is also their home) so he can bulldoze it and turn the whole area into a resort, but it’s where Marjorie’s memories of her mother are. Unfortunately, the laundromat isn’t exactly raking in the dough, and now Wendell is unintentionally making a mess inside it, to boot!
While they may be at odds at first, Wendell and Marjorie may have more in common than they might imagine.
Sheets is absolutely gorgeous, a stunning and detailed work of art.
Thummler uses a limited color palette for Marjorie’s story and a much more limited palette for Wendell’s. This connects their troubles, but also compares them. Wendell is obviously worse off, but gloom also hangs over Marjorie, too.
It's accessible for all ages, though some of the themes might work better with kids who are a bit older.
Thummler captures awkward teenage movement and facial expressions so uncannily, it feels traced from real life.
Beautiful spreads and detailed panels like the one below bring the town to life and fill the pages with charm you'll want to hang on your walls.
The way Thummler uses quiet moments, representation of music and how characters who interact with it is lovely.
As letterer, Brenna Thummler is thoughtful, giving page numbers, using different fonts for when Marjorie speaks vs when Wendell is speaking, and using hand-drawn sound effects that bring so much color and texture to her world.
Panels often focus on characters' facial expressions, letting them show concern, surprise, or frustration in order to keep the dialogue focused on plot or character development.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
I wasn't sure if I should take the story at face value or think in more abstract terms. For example, I kept wondering what the sheets were supposed to represent in the afterlife – agency? Acceptance?
We get nearly halfway through the comic before the two characters meet. This was fine with me, because the story was so compelling, but unexpected based on the book's summary.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Sheets is a beautiful and melancholic coming-of-age story that will break your heart and then warm it back up again.
You don't often see work this quality from an entire creative team, much less a single cartoonist creating their first original graphic novel.
It's an impressive, inspiring work you'll enjoy from cover to cover, whether you're an adult or a young teen.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Witchhood and Apple Pie by Brenna Thummler
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir & Steenz
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke Allen
If you like the art:
Anne of Green Gables (adapted) by Mariah Marsden & Brenna Thummler
Zen & The Ephermeral by Laurence Dea Dionne
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Brenna Thummler – Cartoonist
Multitalented: Wrote, illustrated, colored and lettered all of this comic
Also tap dances and plays piano
New Face: This is her first original graphic novel
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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