Ferris at Miami Book Fair 2016
1962 (age 55)|
|Education||School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) (BFA, MFA)|
|Known for||Graphic novels, writing|
|Notable work||My Favorite Thing Is Monsters|
Emil Ferris ( listen; born 1962) is an American writer, cartoonist, and designer. 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. The graphic novel was praised as a "masterpiece" and one of the best comics by a new author.
Ferris was born to Eleanor Spiess-Ferris and Mike Ferris on Chicago's South Side and grew up on North Side's Uptown. Her parents are artists who met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked as a freelance illustrator and toy designer for clients such as McDonald's and Takara Tomy before being an author. Ferris identified early in her life as a lesbian but later on came to see herself as bisexual.
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.
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 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.
- 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
- 2017 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Artist
- 2018 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Graphic Novel for My Favorite Thing Is Monsters
- 2018 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist
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