Daniel Clowes, best known for the graphic novel-turned-movie Ghost World, may be the comic-book king of gallows humor. His latest work, Ice Haven, interweaves tales from various residents of a small town in which a strange little boy has recently disappeared. There's a lovelorn teen, her precocious and equally lovelorn kid brother, an embittered poet, a clueless Sam Spade-like detective and a comic-book critic, among others, all viewed through Clowes' mercilessly sardonic lens. The pages have an antique-looking tint, and the story makes references to the Leopold and Loeb murder of 1924, lending it historic resonance as well as the sense of universality characteristic of Clowes' best work. Becky Ohlsen keeps her comics collection in Portland, Oregon.

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