By Amy Krakow 
Carbondale Library 

It’s the amorous month of February, so it would be appropriate to review a romantic novel. Instead, however, I am going to steal an arrow from Cupid’s quiver and review a hilarious and sensitive graphic novel that I’m madly in love with. Based on his wildly popular Instagram comics, it’s Nathan W. Pyle’s “Strange Planet,” a 2020 Goodreads choice winner. 

In these tumultuous times of a tiresome and exasperating pandemic, comic relief is a necessity; and you’ll be filled with a plethora of endorphins reading this little gem. Keeping with the theme of love, aliens in “Strange Planet” would draw a valentine for their beloved as a “vital organ being wounded” accompanied by the charming phrase, “You remove the air from my lungs.”  

This compact 6 by 6 inch book is bedecked with pink, purple and blue, eye bulging stick figures whose every word is taken verbatim. Throughout the book each paneled strip takes you to their literal universe, which at times is not easily understood and leaves one to ponder its meaning.  

This delightfully clever graphic novel takes the reader on a journey where the inhabitants go about their daily lives confronting different life topics including: 1) Young Beings, where a park is buildings that surround nature — nature being regulated;  2) Friendship, where hugs are absorbing one another; 3) Adulthood, where a relocated organism from nature gives us joy and oxygen; and 4) Recreation, where a preferred level of nature, though unsafe, is highly recommended.

Aliens who find themselves holding a stray cat at arm’s length would frantically exclaim, “I found this and it’s vibrating.” Their friend would respond, “Great, that means it’s working.” Trapping carbon dioxide in ephemeral spheres is the same as blowing bubbles. In their world, one does not worry over the need for sun protection because they “crave star damage” and consider it a sign of beauty. Personal star dimmers are sunglasses, foot fabric tubes are socks, spin-blasters are microwaves and refrigerators are sustenance preservers. Luckily, there’s a glossary of commonly used objects to help you navigate this parallel universe.

As a fan of the Emmy winning television series “The Big Bang Theory,” it was difficult to read this book without hearing Sheldon Cooper’s voice in my ear while flipping through pages of laughs. I would recommend this read for teens to adults with an intact sense of humor. If you find yourself craving more from Pyle, check out his most recent graphic novels “Stranger Planet “ and “Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding, Vibrating Creature” for young children. 

So this Valentine’s Day you might be inspired to tell your partner that they too “remove the air from your lungs.”

“Recommended Reading” is a new collaboration between The Sopris Sun and the Garfield County Public Libraries District, highlighting important literature available at local libraries.