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Super Mutant Magic Academy

Super Mutant Magic Academy

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By Jillian Tamaki. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.

Softcover, 276 pages, B&W, 2015.


New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer–moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which Jillian has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenage world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Jillian deftly plays superhero and high school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: the SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep-school for mutants and witches but their paranormal abilities take a back seat to everyday teen concerns.

Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

SuperMutant Magic Academy has won two Ignatz Awards. This volume combines the most popular content from the webcomic with an all-new, never-before-seen "Afterschool Special" that concludes Tamaki’s account of life at the academy.

Praise for SuperMutant Magic Academy

There was a time when full-page comic strips were the dominant form of American sequential art, but they’ve been in steep decline for decades. Thankfully, we have the brilliant mind and pen of Jillian Tamaki to revive it to awe-inspiring effect.

Vulture: Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015

Instead of fulfilling prophecies and saving the world, Tamaki’s super-power wielding teenagers tackle crushes, teachers, board games and angst across the strip’s witty and beautifully drawn panels.

The Comics Journal

Listed In Best Books of 2015

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2015

Tamaki ... is a master at evoking both emotions and punch lines with minimal pen strokes, never sacrificing empathy for laughs.

Quill and Quire: 2015 Books of the Year

The humor [in SuperMutant Magic Academy] is sometimes slapstick, but more often it offers ultra-dry observations on modern disengagement. Tamaki is playful and loose with her art, unafraid to be experimental as she draws us into a world where true feelings are the greatest danger.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Tamaki’s sense of comedy and pacing owes a lot to Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts,” although her subject matter is decidedly less innocent. And she delights in breaking her own rules: Her artwork is black-and-white except when she throws in impish splashes of color, drawn with broad, rough brush strokes except when it’s composed of felt-tip scribbles or shimmering digital gray.

New York Times

[SuperMutant Magic Academy's] poignant panels illustrate the students’ anxieties during their most formative years. Tamaki brings us characters who are trying to walk the fine line between performing their expected role in a (magical) high school society while simultaneously exploring their perceived internal selves.


But overall, [Supermutant Magic Academy] is a great read for comic fans and genre newbies alike.


Though Tamaki’s black and white panels shift from detailed and realistic to dreamy and atmospheric and back again, she consistently and expertly captures subtle emotion and subtext with only a few strokes of the pen. [SuperMutant Magic Academy is] simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious.

Booklist, Starred Review

[SuperMutant Magic Academy] is smart, thoughtful, and too hilarious to gobble down in just one sitting.

Bitch Magazine
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