KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Etelka Lehoczky

Think you know the suburbs? Well, it might be time to revisit.

At least, that's what Amanda Kolson Hurley, a senior editor at urban news site CityLab, wants you to do. Kolson Hurley is well-acquainted with suburbia's numerous negative stereotypes — some of them, such as racial segregation and ecological threat, all too valid. But in Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, Kolson Hurley sets out to reveal a different side of the vast patchwork of not-quite-urban, not-quite-rural zones in which more than half of Americans live.

People who talk about comics talk a lot about connection. An image, after all, can spark understanding instantaneously, linking the artist's mind with the reader's in a millisecond while mere words — so weighty and awkward by comparison — lumber to catch up. It's no accident that the medium has always been associated with the semi-literate masses and with children; you don't have to learn to read a comic panel to be influenced by the person who drew it.

Whether he's investigating such contentious celebs as André the Giant and Andy Kaufman or delving into the mythology of Tetris, Box Brown has a knack for using comics to illuminate tricky subjects.

"Would you rather be able to fly or turn invisible?" It's the archetypal party question. It was already popular way back in 2001, when This American Life addressed it, and the years haven't lessened its appeal. As recently as 2015, Forbes posed the question to 7,065 "business and professional leaders ... across the globe" and Vulture brought it up with the stars of Ant-Man.