Originally self published in 2013, Renegade welcomes Elaine to our roster of award winning graphic novel creators, with her breakout book Look Straight Ahead.
Jeremy Knowles is a 17-year-old outcast who dreams of being a great artist. But when he suffers a severe mental breakdown brought on by bullying and other pressures at school, his future is called into question — as is his very existence! Can he survive the experience through the healing power of art? And just what does it mean to be “crazy,” anyway?
“Will’s novel is deep, thought-provoking, and a delight for readers who enjoy introspective, character-driven stories that examine the meaning of reality and sanity.”
— Library Journal
“An early sequence of his drawing, which descends into [the character’s] own visions, is both startlingly accomplished cartooning and a disturbing foreshadowing of what’s to come. [The artwork] makes his illusions seductively attractive.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Look Straight Ahead is the comic I didn’t know I couldn’t live without. It’s a gorgeous dreamscape inside a perfectly realized gut-level reality, I love it. You’ll love it. Read this book – you’ll be haunted, amused, and quite possibly brought to tears.”
– Gail Simone
“Elaine Will’s work is an undiscovered treasure. Her work manages to be both whimsical and emotive and ifs all anchored with an incredible sense of pacing and characterization. She’s a cartoonist to watch out for!”
– Jeff Lemire (writer of Justice League United, writer/artist of Sweet Tooth, Underwater Welder and Trillium)
“Will has a strong sense of character and an ear for authentic dialogue, making this an extremely readable and accessible work. It should be read by anyone who seeks to understand more about the debilitating effects of mental illness, especially on young people.”
– Paula Jane Remlinger, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission
“I cannot praise enough Look Straight Ahead as a work of art. If you love coming-of-age stories as much as I do, you will want to read it. And if you are interested in mental illness, particularly bipolar, then Look Straight Ahead is a must-read.”
– Fantasy Literature
“I was hooked from start to finish.”
– Social Bookshelves
“Will’s pages stir and stun in their blur of off-kilter aesthetics, but they’re ultimately drawing attention to her deft and worthwhile examination of a truly difficult subject matter.”
– The Comics Journal
“This is a very important and personal story. Honest and emotional, Look Straight Ahead shows how mental illness can affect people in different forms. It is not an instantaneous thing to either happen or recover from, and those who must face it need the support and understanding of others.”
– The Sheaf
“The familiarity of Will’s characterization imbues Look Straight Ahead with a distinctly human verisimilitude. Despite the metaphysical scope of his hallucinations, Jeremy’s struggles never venture beyond the relatable […] Jeremy’s ultimate recovery confirms the restorative power of art and the inextricable link between creative and personal growth.”
– Weird Canada
“You need to read this book.”
– What’cha Reading?