Emil Ferris

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Emil Ferris
Emil Ferris at Miami Book Fair 2016.jpg
Ferris at Miami Book Fair 2016
Born1962 (age 58–59)
EducationSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) (BFA, MFA)
Known forGraphic novels, writing
Notable work
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Emil Ferris (About this soundlisten; born 1962) is an American writer, cartoonist, and designer.[1] Ferris debuted in publishing with her 2017 graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The novel tells a coming-of-age story of Karen Reyes, a girl growing in 1960s Chicago, and is written and drawn in the form of the character's notebook.[2] The graphic novel was praised as a "masterpiece" and one of the best comics by a new author.[3][2]


Ferris was born to Eleanor Spiess-Ferris and Mike Ferris[4] on Chicago's South Side and grew up on North Side's Uptown.[1] Her parents are artists who met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[5] Ferris is of Lebanese, Indigenous Mexican, German, French, Irish emigres, and Sephardic Jewish descent. [6][7]She worked as a freelance illustrator and toy designer for clients such as McDonald's and Takara Tomy before being an author.[8] Ferris identified early in her life as a lesbian but later on came to see herself as bisexual.[9] Ferris was sexually abused as a child, which she says negatively affected her ability to draw in a cartoon style for many years.[10]

In 2001, when she was 40, Ferris contracted West Nile fever from a mosquito bite. Three weeks after going to the hospital, she was paralyzed from the waist down and lost movement in her right hand. She eventually regained motor functionality and returned to working and drawing, receiving a MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[1]

While recovering from the paralysis, Ferris worked on her graphic novel. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters tells the story of Karen Reyes, a 10-year-old girl and fan of monster movies (like Ferris herself) who, growing up amidst the social tensions of 1960s Chicago, investigates the death of her upstairs neighbor. The book is written and drawn in the form of Reyes' diary notebook, with crosshatched artwork drawn with a ballpoint pen.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters was to be released in 2016, but the Chinese company shipping the books went bankrupt and the entire run was held at the Panama Canal. The 400-page book was eventually released in 2017 by Fantagraphics, receiving praise from authors like Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, and Chris Ware; it was regarded as one of the best comics of 2017.[11]



  1. ^ a b c Jennings, Dana (2017-02-17). "First, Emil Ferris Was Paralyzed. Then Her Book Got Lost at Sea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  2. ^ a b Salkowitz, Rob. "How This Unlikely 'Monster' Is About To Transform Graphic Literature". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  3. ^ "My Favorite Thing Is Monsters is a brilliant, eye-opening graphic novel debut". 2017-02-24. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  4. ^ Borrelli, Christopher. "Riding the 'L' with 'Monsters' graphic novelist Emil Ferris". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Emil Ferris". lambiek.net. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  6. ^ Brown, Hillary (2017). "The Holocaust, Art, Chicago & Sickness: A 3,500-Word Interview with My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Mastermind Emil Ferris". Pastemagazine.com.
  7. ^ Tuney, Paul (2017). "The Emil Ferris Interview: Monsters, Art and Stories (Part 1)". The Comics Journal.
  8. ^ "Emil Ferris Wiki: Paralysis, Monsters, Sketching, Daughter & More". Earn The Necklace. 2017-03-31. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  9. ^ "In 'Monsters,' Graphic Novelist Emil Ferris Embraces The Darkness Within". NPR. 2017-03-30. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  10. ^ Ferris, Emil (2019). "How Cartoons Became My Friends...Again". In Noomin, Diane (ed.). Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival. Abrams Books. p. 243-249. ISBN 9781419736193. I was visiting relatives and one evening I asked to see a Mr. Magoo T.V. special while I sat on the bedroom floor in front of a little T.V., the folding door of the room was shut and I was alone with a person who had repeatedly subjected me (and, as I later learned, other cousins) to sly, sexually-oriented brutalities. [...] Even now, even looking at my drawing of a Magoo-like character, I feel panic.
  11. ^ "My Favorite Thing is Monsters Author Talks 2017's Buzziest Graphic Novel". CBR. 2017-04-25. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  12. ^ a b Jasper, Marykate (September 17, 2017). "Queer, Black, and Female Creators Lead the 2017 Ignatz Awards". The Mary Sue.
  13. ^ "30th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners Announced". Publishers Weekly. June 5, 2018.
  14. ^ "Here are the 2018 Eisner award winners". DoomRocket. 2018-07-21. Retrieved 2018-07-21.

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