Brenna Thummler (Writer & Illustrator)
August 28, 2018
Sheets follows a young thirteen-year-old girl named Marjorie Glatt who is still recovering from her mother’s untimely death. She and her family run, own, and live above their laundromat, and all daily duties have fallen to Marjorie. She is isolated at school and is struggling to keep the business afloat while opportunistic business people eye her family’s livelihood.
Then there is Wendell. A young boy who died and found himself in the land of the ghost. In that land, the ghost take the form of the classic sheet with two holes cut out for eyes. There Wendell struggles to find his way and can’t seem to make friends. When he is feeling his most isolated Wendell decides it is time to go back to the land of the living. His sheet catches on the winds and Wendell finds himself floating in with the rest of Marjorie’s laundry.
Sheets is a beautiful story about loss, responsibility, and friendship. Brenna Thummler does a great job introducing the lives of both Marjorie and Wendell. She gives them each space to develop on the page. At the beginning of the comic, you can feel Marjorie’s isolation and resignation to the state of things at home. Even without much text, Thummler’s pastel tones and gorgeous illustrations tell the story of Marjorie’s pain and yearning for her mother.
Several moments in the book cause a point of pause. Brenna’s use of space within the panel is so well done. On page eight you see Marjorie walking to school from her family’s business and her home. There is no one else in the frame, just the fall landscape and the ever-expanding lake in the background. You can feel the isolation and loneliness of the characters, and it is palpable on the page. This fantastic attention to detail is one of the many things that makes Sheets so intriguing.
When we are introduced to Wendell, we end up seeing a complete change in Thummler’s palette. It goes from pastel blues and greens, with the vibrant pinks of Marjorie’s small town, to a completely Pantone and desaturated world where Wendell resides. Meeting Wendell is the exact opposite of Marjorie. When we first see him, he is surrounded by other ghost youth. However, he decides to push them away instead of being close, not yet coming to terms with his death.
It is incredible how Thummler keeps the wonder and whimsy of a tale about a girl, a ghost, and a laundromat. Even with the serious subject matter of death and parental loss, you can still see that this is most definitely a story for children and pre-teens. What can’t be stressed enough is how beautiful Sheets is to look at, each panel is a delight for the eyes. Thummler’s line work and use of color immerses you into a world of art you do not want to leave. The detail in her work and how she has mastered pacing is another one of the reasons why this book is a complete joy to read.
CubHouse’s newest addition to their family is a must read for those who love well written and gorgeous imagery. Brenna Thummler’s Sheets is the perfect introduction for any child into the world of comics and graphic novels. A freshly pressed a heartfelt and whimsical story, Sheets is hands down a book you should run out and read.