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Eartha

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  346 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Malkasian’s stunning landscapes and depictions of nature, gestural character nuance, and sophisticated storytelling are on display in her latest graphic novel. For a thousand years, the unfinished dreams—sex fantasies, murder plots, wishful thinking—from the City Across the Sea came to Echo Fjord to find sanctuary. Emerging from the soil, they took bodily form and wandered ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Fantagraphics (first published March 15th 2017)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  346 ratings  ·  65 reviews


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David Schaafsma
Eartha is a 2017 Ignatz-nominated graphic novel that is 255 way-oversized pages. A fantasy comic, a kind of allegory about Earthly happiness, it focuses on Eartha, a very large and very sweet Earth-mother kinda woman who is kind and sweet and doesn’t find happiness through the attainment of status and power. This is true for all the people she lives with, but is especially true for her. The status and power people tend to live in the City Across the Sea, where Dreams of many kinds seem to develo ...more
Miriam
Jun 23, 2017 added it
Shelves: unfinished
Graphic novel equivalent of one of those Literary novels that I can't manage to find interesting or enjoyable despite conceding that they are probably well executed.
Laura
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
I don't really know yet how I feel about this book. The art is stunning with a shifting spare color palette used to excellent effect. The story is...a lot. And there were a couple really big turnoffs that I don't know whether they were necessary. Still processing. May update.
Molly
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm glad Cathy Malkasian is winning awards, because I do not feel like I hear enough about her from the comics community at large. Her stories are surreal and beautiful and this one is certainly no exception. Dreams have started to disappear from the land where Eartha lives and she is concerned - perhaps the only person who is concerned enough to do something about it.
Raina
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure if I would like this story. At first glance, the art didn't blow me away, and, once I started reading, the world took some getting used to.

I'm glad I persevered, though. This world is a bit bizarro, but has plenty of thematic parallels to (my) world, and the story goes someplace and wraps up neatly. Eartha herself is a character I'd be able to cosplay well if I did more of that kind of thing. I loved the dreamy little world Eartha starts in - it felt like a maze - and of course the
...more
Isa
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh, amazing! I loved everything about this!
Charn Singh
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A metaphoric tale simply and well told. Had nice artwork too.
Lauren Dushay
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first thing about this graphic novel is that the art is gorgeous. The second thing is that there are too many themes, motifs, and plots to even try to interpret without a long-winded spoilerific examination. Suffice it to say that this book will make you think about capitalism, human nature, dreams, and the ways people can hurt each other while claiming that their helping. Read it and then sit down for a good contemplation. An important warning is that this book is NSFW.
Amy
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The art work is kind of ethereal (and monochromatic), which is interesting at first, but it's also unchanging so that got a little boring. The first ~190 pages (out of 255) of the story was kind of weird with the dreams "growing" out of the ground, and the city people and their news biscuits was just, odd. I was actually all set to give this 2 stars, but it had a pretty stellar ending when Eartha learns the true meaning behind the falling moon dream.
LeAnn Suchy
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I don’t know about this one. I almost stopped reading it at one point, and I skimmed certain parts, but it does have some interesting things to say about happiness and our obsessive culture.

This follows Eartha who lives in a land where the people capture the dreams of city folks and lead them to their end. It’s a little confusing why they have to do it, but do it they do, until dreams start getting scarce. They wonder what happened to the city people and why no more dreams are showing up, but no
...more
Deepa Nirmal
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Weird book that I wanted to like better than I did. I think the author was going for a dystopian situation but wandered all over and began beating the reader over the head with it. Could have done with a bit of ruthless editing and been cut down to half its size, that would have helped. I kept turning the pages hoping to be pulled in. The art is ok, not exceptional.

So on the whole, meh.
Taylor Leatrice Werner
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everything Malkasian does is so lucid and magickal, and Eartha was no exception. The characters have the childlike, buoyant personalities that I love her other books, and the story is a fable about the value of being fully alive. Her work is intrinsically optimistic, without being afraid to look into the dark. After reading Eartha, I'm left with the thought: What if we're not in as deep as we think we are? What if all the trouble in the world is just a big misunderstanding? It seems possible tha ...more
Emily
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book takes you on a beautiful journey. The character development was really well done, especially with so many characters and such a short amount of time/space within which to develop them. I sometimes have a hard time following each panel of a graphic novel, but Malkasian does a good job of creating another world without losing the reader in the illustration of the story. Overall, I loved it!
eHawk
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story is really precious and poignant. The art is beautifully whimsical, reminding me a bit of Shaun Tan.
Erin
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
While I appreciated the allegory of happiness, creativity, and the ability to dream, boy did it take a long time to get there!
Story
Jan 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. The art is gorgeous; it's what drew me to this book in the first place. The soft lines that look like colored pencil, the very understated color and use only of brown/purple, just simply gorgeous. The characters have a solidity of gesture, and a lot is conveyed in their subtle expressions.

However, it felt like a weird allegory and Eartha as a character read a lot like Forest Gump: lovable simpleton. I'm uncozy with the portrayal, and can't quite put
...more
laura (bookies & cookies)
Sep 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Super meh for me. The art and ginormous size of the book (I had to lay it out on my lap to read, it was too large to hold) drew me in, but the political satire of a city obsessed with bad news did not hold my interest. Eartha's big heart and her hopes for the dreamers were endearing (as was her f/f with Maybelle), but the rest of the book was blah. Also there were chicken fetishes and like, it was an uncomfy experience for all.
Rachel
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
What in life really matters? Knowledge? Status? Power? To the kind and comforting Eartha, these are just foolish. But to the people of the city, the people from whom dreams sprout, they are not. At least, that's what they think after the war. Eartha doesn't know about the woes of the city people at first, all she knows is that the dreams have pretty much stopped coming to her home Echo Fjord. The people of this idyllic rural place help dreams to find their conclusion, and find satisfaction in th ...more
Esme
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I noticed when I opened this up is the quality of the art. It's not your average cartoony comic book (though there's nothing wrong with cartoony). Eartha has lush settings and the characters have detailed, unique faces. The prose is worthy of the illustrations--beautiful, suprisingly weighty, and thought-provoking. This book is more generous, more whimsical, more kind than I had guessed based on the description "sex fantasies, murder plots, wishful thinking." The other part of th ...more
Blue
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Eartha is beautifully drawn. Paneling can be a bit confusing at times, but the pastel colors and especially the pastoral drawings contrasted with intricate city drawings make up for it. The story is maybe trying to be too many things at the same time. On the one hand, the story of human greed that spawns destruction, perversion, corruption, and depression, on the other the story of isolation and ignorance in the face of conflict and war... There is, as someone else said earlier, too much, and so ...more
Ms. Arca
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5?
I think maybe I’m one of the people who didn’t get this book... I can’t say I enjoyed reading it as a whole. BUT there were moments warmth or just gentleness that I could feel which I think is special in a book. Beyond those moments though, it was a bizarre read that maybe I’ll keep thinking about and come back to reviewing. I thought quite a bit of it was over the top, which I understand allegories often need to be.. but this felt like it was distracted with how many points the author was q
...more
Kate
It looks like I took a long time to read this book, but actually it sad on my floor for a couple weeks and then I read it in an hour.
There is a lot to love about this book. The illustrations are dreamy and beautiful, the facial expressions are just lovely, and I love Eartha as a protagonist. She's naive but emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and loyal. I think I liked all the individual characters more than the story they were embedded in. There was something about it that felt a little lackin
...more
Jason
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A singular story (and a fairly transparent allegory, at times) with a memorable, irrepressible protagonist.

Malkasian's soft lines and color palette set a dreamlike aesthetic that matches that narrative well. My biggest complaint is that it lacks depth---perhaps this is by design, but it feels like the world stops when Eartha---whom the story follows diligently---isn't there. It's not a tremendous loss, but I feel like there is a missed opportunity in developing the world.

That is a minor gripe i
...more
Tracy
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-comics
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. Eartha has some people in her life who really take advantage of her kindness and treat her disrespectfully. There are some sexual moments in the book that feel out of place because they seem much more adult. There's also casual groping. I was interested in the book's main plot concept of people trading their possessions for painful knowledge and literally eating sorrows. I wasn't totally clear what the main character learned during her travels, and I didn ...more
Madalene
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the art and the central character - the original idea, that dreams are visible and pop up in one world by agreement with another looking to have them removed, was really interesting. However, it turns dystopian in a way that felt like the reader was being scolded without showing any real resolution, almost like some diet propaganda. It's not actually that bad, but the storyline was disappointing overall considering how much I liked the art. Hope this author will create other books with le ...more
Michael
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Eartha is an interesting book, very well drawn, with a bucolic, casual charm. That casual approach to pacing doesn't always work for it, as it does drag at times, but the interactions between the characters (despite sometimes being a bit too expository when connections between characters are revealed toward the end) are beautiful to witness and the parable of consuming disjointed (fake) news tidbits and wallowing in misery is all too apt. I'm glad I took the time to read it, and I hope you do to ...more
Celia
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This graphic novel had a beautiful color palette and adorable drawing style. It was touching how Eartha would spontaneously pick people up and carry them like children. Nice to have the kind and loving characters be such a big part of the story. There was some disturbing imagery I didn't think was totally necessary, I just chose to skip past that. A trip to the archives and a wise cat won me over.
Jeanne Morigeau
A constant barrage of "news" creates pessimism and hopelessness
People in power blame abuse others because they can't handle the urges of the self-imposed self-control.
Messages get distorted and bastardized by people when taken out of context
People will sacrifice everything that's good for them to consume pointless, damaging, misinformation
Love, kindness, courage, innocence, and compassion are healing
Martin
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
I really liked the tone of this, but ultimately either I didn't get it, or there just wasn't enough there for me to feel like it was complete. It felt like a prose poem that somehow got expanded to a really long graphic novel. The art was pretty decent, some nice architecture stuff. The dreams weren't weird enough to feel like dreams to me. Then again, "the city" didn't really feel like our reality either, so maybe it was all one big dream.
b bb bbbb bbbbbbbb
It was ok. The drawings were nice, the writing very readable. There were many parts of the story that I think I could pin down as perspectives and commentary that I wouldn't agree with if I spent more time thinking about them. I'm not going to spend the time though, so it'll just remain as mild unease.
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ABQ Graphic Novel...: * Dec 2017 - Eartha 2 7 Dec 03, 2017 11:57AM  
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Cathy Malkasian's alternative comics career began at age four, with the covert distribution of sketches to an unreceptive neighbor (“Keep your brat’s pamphlets off my porch!”). Hot on the heels of this and various kindergarten triumphs, she became overbearingly enthused, teaching herself to sketch and paint, pursuing music lessons, play auditions and somehow ending up with a degree in musicology. ...more
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