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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

2011: Year in Review

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: December 2011

Well kids, it’s that time again. Another year has come and gone, and honestly, I can’t say I’m too sad to see this one go. From an outside glance it lt probably looked a lot like Grand Theft Auto (just the parts with the cops and hookers, naturally). This is our annual two-week issue, one that has to hold you over until 2012 (also affectionately known as “the year the world will end because the Mayans suck at making calendars”).  

For this issue I thought we’d take a look back at this year, and discuss the years biggest gems in the comic/graphic novel world. Hold onto your butts, nerds. 


For all you kids who read Blankets by Craig Thompson a few years back after breaking up with your significant other, then didn’t shut up about it for the next few months, (you know who you are), Habibi is a must-have. Thompson’s artistic abilities have only grown better, and the story is nothing short of inspired.

Mister Wonderful

Mister Wonderful is the story of the blind date at Duffy’s you’ve always wanted to have but have never had the courage to follow through on. Main character Marshall is waiting for Natalie, completely sure that she’ll never show, until forty minutes into the date… she actually does. She’s too good to be true: attractive, intelligent, and for some freakish reason, she actually seems to give a shit what Marshall seems to say. Devotees of Ghost World and Art School Confilpdential will appreciate this gem.


One of the best things I discovered whilst in Portland were the Papercuttercomics. Published byTugboat Press, Papercutter is an anthology released every month. It features 3-4 small-press comics worthy of the public attention. At four bucks a pop, they’re manageable, and always worth the wait. Our own local comic slingin’ shops might not carry them, but they’re easily ordered on the Tugboat site. 

The Unwritten

Let’s pretend that Harry Potter was called Tommy Taylor instead. Also, let’s say that instead of Harry Potter being based on the imagination of a British bird, it was popular knowledge that HP Madness had an odd tendency to follow the life and times of an actual person named Tommy Taylor. Worst still, the famed author just so happened to be the father of one (you guessed it), Tommy Taylor. Now let’s say that the world famous author went missing just when the books were at the height of their popularity. So goes the story of The Unwritten, the story of a boy who soon discovers that the book series are based on a lot more than his life. Geared towards fans of Harry Potter (see also: everyone), this is a series guaranteed to keep you guessing to the last issue. Enjoy. 

That’s all for this week, check back in 2012 for all new magical info. Just kidding, it’ll be the same bullshit as always. Merry Christmas, and a Happy effing New Year.

Arielle Mullen