The Complete Essex County, by Jeff Lemire, is a story about loneliness and abandonment in southern Ontario. And hockey. Old-time hockey. It’s so sad and good.
There are three books and some minicomics in this collection. The first story is about a boy being raised by his uncle, and who befriends Jimmy the gas-station guy who scored a goal in the NHL. The second story is about Jimmy’s father and uncle and how they were hockey players in Toronto and never spoke for twenty five years and then came to be old lonely men after everyone else around them dies. The third story is about the county nurse who meddles in people’s lives and tells Jimmy his uncle has died. There’s also parallel story set way back in time with the nurse’s ancestor who was a nun in charge of an orphanage.
All three stories work together and the book’s exactly the kind of thing I’d recommend for someone who wanted to see what kind of serious literary stuff comics can handle.