(W/A/CA) Cathy Malkasian
In this allegorical, fantastical graphic novel, a queer young woman aims to dispel the greed and cruel masculine energy that has consumed the world. Once, the world lived in harmony. People trusted and aided each other, dreamed freely, and communed with their ancestors. And then one day the eggs appeared. One thousand black eggs, heavy as pure lead, which by some mystical property, provoked greed and violence in all who came in contact with them. A family of brutish men managed to hoard the eggs and build a misogynistic dynasty that held all of the land in an iron grip. Years later, Arna, an orphaned young woman immune to the beguiling power of the eggs, is charged with a monumental mission: hunt down these formidable men, pilfer their eggs, and release the bright from the heavy. Along the way, she falls for the enchanting Sela, who shows her how beautiful the world can be. In The Heavy Bright, masterful cartoonist and animator Cathy Malkasian propels the reader into a lushly watercolor, Ghibli-esque fantasy world tinged with equal parts whimsy and menace. Her characters are vulnerable and relatable, made real through deep, psychological underpinnings. Perhaps Malkasian's most ambitious and impactful work to date, The Heavy Bright is an allegorical graphic novel that grapples with the themes of greed, corruption, ignorance and bigotry, toxic masculinity, female empowerment, gender and queerness, love, death, and the urgent necessity for all to come together to heal our ailing world.