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Hot Comb

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm - a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfecti ...more
Published 2019 by Drawn and Quarterly
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3.76  · 
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 ·  79 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Elizabeth A
Hair is a thing. Especially women's hair. Across all cultures. Women of color have extra special baggage when it comes to our hair. If you don't believe me, just look up how much money this industry generates. It boggles the mind. World hunger could be fixed with that kind of money. However, we all live in this world, and are products of our upbringing and the marketing messages we are constantly bombarded with, so maybe we could give ourselves a break on this one.

This graphic memoir is a collec

We humans cut our hair to mourn, cover it to be observant, shave it off to be more pious or keep it long as it is a gift from God. We judge others whose children have unkempt locks, and we dress our own to conform or rebel, because hair has meaning in culture.

To brush hair binds parents to children or lovers to each other. We stroke the hair of our beloveds when they are sad, playfully tug it when they are sassy, and muss it up when they are adorable. To touch another’s hair, one must be invited
It is equal parts biographical and every experience as Flowers describes African American hair in different contexts and experiences, however as with the graphic novel Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School, the illustration style was distracting and unfocused. In scenes where there was singing or action, I was distracted by what was on the page and without any color either to change depth or make items or people pop out, I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking at. So I lost something i ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: requested
Beautiful artwork and storytelling. There is a table of contents at the beginning but I wish the book had been more explicitly presented as a collection of short stories - I would have been happy to have the first story expanded to book-length.
Tabrizia Jones
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
It was nice to reminiscent of the times of when I got my first perm and the stigma that followed it. However, some of the stories were a little jumbled and maybe the scribble illustration, although unique, really hinder that experience.
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hot Comb evokes memories of girlhood spent sitting still while my mother pressed my hair. That was my first test of patience and I passed most of the time (no singed earlobes lol). Another memory is the insecurity of early teenage years-wanting to fit in with an accepted hairstyle, yet not really wanting to repeat the process after being on the receiving end of negative attention. The title story of this collection reflects these memories and the following stories attempt to present hair as a li ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Flowers debuts with a poignant look at the Black experience in the United States with the common theme of hair and hair care running through each short story. The illustrated chapters focus on varying characters of different ages and at different points in their own coming-of-age story with chapter headings featuring a young Ebony during a rainstorm - first exhibiting a gloomy outlook at the weather, then dancing in the rain, and finally smiling with the sun with each new panel showing a transfo ...more
Harry Brake
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
In deciding which book to include and accept as part of the Junior Library Guild, being a subscriber for new graphic novels, being on the lookout for appropriate, personal novels, perceived ideas can be deceiving.

Diving into Ebony Flower's novel, various vignettes help share relationships, family, and moments that are not shared by all cultures. This needs to be introduced and presented to a wide variety of individuals, despite family, cultural, and community backgrounds. Graphic novels are a ve
Britt Buckenroth
I felt like this graphic novel gave you a very true glimpse into cultural norms many just don't get to experience unless you are a part of that world. Simple things, such as a first perm or getting your hair braided by a cousin or friend...told with details, both written and drawn, that are warm and revealing. The book is emotional, but not in a way that makes you angry or especially sad, just emotionally connected to what is happening. Kudos to author/illustrator Ebony Flowers.

My only thought w
Kat (Why Read)
Jul 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
Part memoir, part fiction and graphic novel. I am curious about this literature exploration of the black hair journey. Chris Rock’s documentary, “Good Hair” set the standard and platform for such discussions. I am happy to see this continue!
I like a book that makes me feel as if I got a look into someone else's life. These are sequential-art stories about trying to be a person in the world. The author thanks Lynda Barry, whose influence I can see in this book.
Popzara Press
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Ebony Flowers’ impressive debut is a celebration of black hair in all its natural, pressed and relaxed glories.

Read full review at Popzara Press.
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stories that I and many of my peer can relate to. Bought me back to my mama's kitchen on a Sunday night getting my hair hot combed, sweating and praying to Gob that she didn't have to do it again cause I know she would catch my ear. And mama would say "that's the price you pay for beauty."
Wonderful short stories - the author cites Lynda barry as an influence/mentor and you can really see it. She has her own style and sensibility but the way she gets to the heart of the characters and the life of the drawings are similar to what I've found in Barry.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, comics, nonfic
Glimpses into black girlhood through the lens of hair and the moments surrounding it. Quite cool.
Edward Sullivan
An impressive debut collection of graphic stories looking at the lives of Black girls and women, and exploring such subjects as class, gender, race, identity, and family dynamics.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hot Comb is a series of short stories collected in book form that center Black girls and women that all ultimately use hair was entry points to give social commentary on how the culture of hair shapes our lives. Each story lends an ear to so many relatable moments yet keeps the focus on women and the world that they live using a lens of Blackness. There everything under the sun: celebrations, coming of age stories, sad reflections, and instances of adulthood awkwardness collected here.

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