Hot Best Seller

Hot Comb

Availability: Ready to download

Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm - a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfecti Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm - a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking. “Following in the rich tradition of Lynda Barry, Ebony Flowers addresses the sometimes harsh, sometimes devastating pangs of childhood ending. She pays beautiful homage to the struggle to find your place in a world that has such rigid rules about who we are,” Drawn & Quarterly Publisher and acquiring editor Peggy Burns commented. “Hot Comb explores the poetry in everyday life, all the while centering the lives and stories of black women. Ebony’s ease with the comics language is remarkable. Her black and white drawings, as well as her colour collage work, are both equally stunning.”


Compare

Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm - a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfecti Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm - a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking. “Following in the rich tradition of Lynda Barry, Ebony Flowers addresses the sometimes harsh, sometimes devastating pangs of childhood ending. She pays beautiful homage to the struggle to find your place in a world that has such rigid rules about who we are,” Drawn & Quarterly Publisher and acquiring editor Peggy Burns commented. “Hot Comb explores the poetry in everyday life, all the while centering the lives and stories of black women. Ebony’s ease with the comics language is remarkable. Her black and white drawings, as well as her colour collage work, are both equally stunning.”

30 review for Hot Comb

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    Hair is a thing. Especially women's hair. Across all cultures. Women of color have extra special baggage when it comes to our hair. If you don't believe me, just look up how much money this industry generates. It boggles the mind. World hunger could be fixed with that kind of money. However, we all live in this world, and are products of our upbringing and the marketing messages we are constantly bombarded with, so maybe we could give ourselves a break on this one. This graphic memoir is a collec Hair is a thing. Especially women's hair. Across all cultures. Women of color have extra special baggage when it comes to our hair. If you don't believe me, just look up how much money this industry generates. It boggles the mind. World hunger could be fixed with that kind of money. However, we all live in this world, and are products of our upbringing and the marketing messages we are constantly bombarded with, so maybe we could give ourselves a break on this one. This graphic memoir is a collection of vignettes that offer a "glimpse into black women’s lives and coming-of-age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon while ladies gossip and bond over the burn." While I appreciate that there is power for women and girls who see themselves in these stories, I was not a fan of the sketchy, blocky illustration style, and the pieces themselves lacked a cohesive narrative drive.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    A captivating glimpse of African American women and their hair as well as their relationships with their mothers, sisters and friends. This book is a great companion piece to Americanah, though better than that book for being concise and focused. The art has a rough and unrefined quality, but I quickly warmed to it. Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    I want Jillian to read this because I want to be able to talk to someone about it specifically in terms of the art specifically in context of having recently read Mira Jacob's Good Talk, but in the meantime my own thoughts are just basically I am glad this book exists, I think it's good, and I'd like to see where Flowers takes her story-telling next. These are short stories, a format I love, and sort of tonally auto-bio if not literally auto-bio, about black women's experience around their hair I want Jillian to read this because I want to be able to talk to someone about it specifically in terms of the art specifically in context of having recently read Mira Jacob's Good Talk, but in the meantime my own thoughts are just basically I am glad this book exists, I think it's good, and I'd like to see where Flowers takes her story-telling next. These are short stories, a format I love, and sort of tonally auto-bio if not literally auto-bio, about black women's experience around their hair. Some of the stories are quite long and some are little and the centraizing locus of hair does not come at the expense of variety of thesis and character. I don't love the size and layout for these stories in book-form, there's a ziney vibe that doesn't serve it in this format but that I think could have been elevated by maybe just a half inch bigger pages, or releasing this as floppies if we lived in the beautiful fantasy future where something like this could be successfully released as floppies. Also I kinda want to see this art style with some watercolor wash. Particularly the Angola story, all those leaves and the ocean.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    We humans cut our hair to mourn, cover it to be observant, shave it off to be more pious or keep it long as it is a gift from God. We judge others whose children have unkempt locks, and we dress our own to conform or rebel, because hair has meaning in culture. To brush hair binds parents to children or lovers to each other. We stroke the hair of our beloveds when they are sad, playfully tug it when they are sassy, and muss it up when they are adorable. To touch another’s hair, one must be invited We humans cut our hair to mourn, cover it to be observant, shave it off to be more pious or keep it long as it is a gift from God. We judge others whose children have unkempt locks, and we dress our own to conform or rebel, because hair has meaning in culture. To brush hair binds parents to children or lovers to each other. We stroke the hair of our beloveds when they are sad, playfully tug it when they are sassy, and muss it up when they are adorable. To touch another’s hair, one must be invited, or it is a deeply felt violation, because hair is personal. The cartoonist and ethnographer, Ebony Flowers, knows hair is a thing, ya’ll. Her debut graphic novel, “Hot Comb,” weaves together eight stories that illustrate that there is no sunlight between the personal and the cultural experience of hair in the African-American community. Her most affecting stories are those centered on young people as she captures both the magic and the vulnerability of childhood with a loving eye. In busy black and white illustrations, Flowers roams from the delighted child dancing in front of the mirror at Grandma’s house while trying on each of her many wigs, to the girl who has endured burning relaxers only to be bullied at school by the same kids who called out her buckshots and beadie-beads the week before. The most harrowing story allows us to watch a young woman of color develop the nervous habit of pulling out her hair, strand by strand, after suffering the casual disregard of her white teammates who feel free to touch her hair anytime they wish. While not all the stories pack the same emotional punch, this is still a very worthwhile book, perfect for those who have lived these tales as well as those of us who are lucky enough to learn a thing or two from Ms. Flowers about #havinghairwhileblack in America. Bonus music video "Good as Hell" by Lizzo, celebrating black women's resilience and beauty, all set in the cultural hub of a hair salon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smbme...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    It is equal parts biographical and every experience as Flowers describes African American hair in different contexts and experiences, however as with the graphic novel Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School, the illustration style was distracting and unfocused. In scenes where there was singing or action, I was distracted by what was on the page and without any color either to change depth or make items or people pop out, I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking at. So I lost something i It is equal parts biographical and every experience as Flowers describes African American hair in different contexts and experiences, however as with the graphic novel Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High School, the illustration style was distracting and unfocused. In scenes where there was singing or action, I was distracted by what was on the page and without any color either to change depth or make items or people pop out, I didn't know what I was supposed to be looking at. So I lost something in the translation of the emotional elements of hair experiences with the illustrative choices. Choosing to be a collection of short stories however was a superb entry point.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Beautiful artwork and storytelling. There is a table of contents at the beginning but I wish the book had been more explicitly presented as a collection of short stories - I would have been happy to have the first story expanded to book-length.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I’m a little underwhelmed with this collection overall. There are a few stellar comics but they’re buried in with tangents and the panels themselves are hard to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    Definitely a "window" book for me.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beverlee

    Hot Comb evokes memories of girlhood spent sitting still while my mother pressed my hair. That was my first test of patience and I passed most of the time (no singed earlobes lol). Another memory is the insecurity of early teenage years-wanting to fit in with an accepted hairstyle, yet not really wanting to repeat the process after being on the receiving end of negative attention. The title story of this collection reflects these memories and the following stories attempt to present hair as a li Hot Comb evokes memories of girlhood spent sitting still while my mother pressed my hair. That was my first test of patience and I passed most of the time (no singed earlobes lol). Another memory is the insecurity of early teenage years-wanting to fit in with an accepted hairstyle, yet not really wanting to repeat the process after being on the receiving end of negative attention. The title story of this collection reflects these memories and the following stories attempt to present hair as a liberating force, as a crown we wear that does not have to look a specific way to be splendid. Hair can also be a source of pain as shown in My Lil Sister Lena & The Lady On The Train when people disrespect what should be a clear boundary. Some stories involve hair, but the connection isn't clear to the story's premise (Big Ma, Sisters and Daughters, Last Angolan Saturday). This is my first time reading a graphic novel and it wasn't a disappointment. I think the drawings that represent hair ads are a nice complement. Advertising has a history of displaying stereotypes but these drawings have a celebratory tone of self confidence. Hot Comb is a book that examines hair from different perspectives, ultimately reminding the reader of the importance of loving self. What's tricky is realizing that individual people don't express this love the same way. Wearing hair in its natural state is not automatically loving self nor should it be assumed that wearing a weave or straightened hair is an expression of self- hatred.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tabrizia Jones

    It was nice to reminiscent of the times of when I got my first perm and the stigma that followed it. However, some of the stories were a little jumbled and maybe the scribble illustration, although unique, really hinder that experience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Flowers debuts with a poignant look at the Black experience in the United States with the common theme of hair and hair care running through each short story. The illustrated chapters focus on varying characters of different ages and at different points in their own coming-of-age story with chapter headings featuring a young Ebony during a rainstorm - first exhibiting a gloomy outlook at the weather, then dancing in the rain, and finally smiling with the sun with each new panel showing a transfo Flowers debuts with a poignant look at the Black experience in the United States with the common theme of hair and hair care running through each short story. The illustrated chapters focus on varying characters of different ages and at different points in their own coming-of-age story with chapter headings featuring a young Ebony during a rainstorm - first exhibiting a gloomy outlook at the weather, then dancing in the rain, and finally smiling with the sun with each new panel showing a transformation not just in her emotional expression, but in her hair as she literally lets it down in the water. Much is said in each story, both in the words spoken and in what readers can see in the loaded silences of wordless panels. The author both celebrates Black culture while also demonstrating the stereotypes and forms of racism and classicism that create feelings of isolation and stress for all people of color. Each story, in turn, can generate nostalgia and heartbreak with some sweet moments of childhood interspersed. This is certainly a thought-provoking work. The style of illustrations are varied, however, causing some scenes to feel jumbled and slowing the pace of the overall narrative.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    First off, I'm a small-town-raised white woman who knows almost nothing about black hair--or that was true until I read this graphic novel. Now I know more, though the lived experience is naturally beyond me. I did find some things in common with my own childhood and adulthood--a girl overhearing adult women's "secret" conversations, tension and love between relatives, and a few other bits that are universal. I enjoyed reading and viewing Flowers' depictions of the world of African American girl First off, I'm a small-town-raised white woman who knows almost nothing about black hair--or that was true until I read this graphic novel. Now I know more, though the lived experience is naturally beyond me. I did find some things in common with my own childhood and adulthood--a girl overhearing adult women's "secret" conversations, tension and love between relatives, and a few other bits that are universal. I enjoyed reading and viewing Flowers' depictions of the world of African American girls and women, not just setting, fixing, changing and enjoying their hair (wigs included!) but playing, socializing, and generally living. Flowers' art style is not stylized but has loose lines and a feel that personalities and characters' personalities and surroundings well. Stories are divided by ads for various black hair products that add to the atmosphere. For adults and for teens whose parents aren't going to mind them reading something with a couple of bare breasts and swear words in them.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helen Pugsley

    It was a neat book to be sure! I'm really glad Flowers wrote it. I want to read more books about characters whose life experiences I'll never have. Hot Comb just felt really disjointed. I found myself looking back to make sure I didn't skip a page. I couldn't tell if this work was biographical or fictional. I'm not a great fan of the art styling but I do appreciate the honesty in this book. I mean, Ebony's (meaning the character) friends aren't drawn like anime girls with waists the width of lod It was a neat book to be sure! I'm really glad Flowers wrote it. I want to read more books about characters whose life experiences I'll never have. Hot Comb just felt really disjointed. I found myself looking back to make sure I didn't skip a page. I couldn't tell if this work was biographical or fictional. I'm not a great fan of the art styling but I do appreciate the honesty in this book. I mean, Ebony's (meaning the character) friends aren't drawn like anime girls with waists the width of lodge pole pines! Also, the honesty in which Mom's after work uniform is topless and wigless. (BEST UNIFORM EVER!) And how in the last story three women just straight up pee in an abandoned house. I appreciate that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Harry Brake

    In deciding which book to include and accept as part of the Junior Library Guild, being a subscriber for new graphic novels, being on the lookout for appropriate, personal novels, perceived ideas can be deceiving. Diving into Ebony Flower's novel, various vignettes help share relationships, family, and moments that are not shared by all cultures. This needs to be introduced and presented to a wide variety of individuals, despite family, cultural, and community backgrounds. Graphic novels are a ve In deciding which book to include and accept as part of the Junior Library Guild, being a subscriber for new graphic novels, being on the lookout for appropriate, personal novels, perceived ideas can be deceiving. Diving into Ebony Flower's novel, various vignettes help share relationships, family, and moments that are not shared by all cultures. This needs to be introduced and presented to a wide variety of individuals, despite family, cultural, and community backgrounds. Graphic novels are a very vital medium allowing a look and sharing of various ideas and experiences to all individuals and that is certainly not just a comic. Ebony Flowers' does an amazing job on presenting struggles, perceptions, and values that many that do not experience and need to be recognized.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Britt Buckenroth

    I felt like this graphic novel gave you a very true glimpse into cultural norms many just don't get to experience unless you are a part of that world. Simple things, such as a first perm or getting your hair braided by a cousin or friend...told with details, both written and drawn, that are warm and revealing. The book is emotional, but not in a way that makes you angry or especially sad, just emotionally connected to what is happening. Kudos to author/illustrator Ebony Flowers. My only thought w I felt like this graphic novel gave you a very true glimpse into cultural norms many just don't get to experience unless you are a part of that world. Simple things, such as a first perm or getting your hair braided by a cousin or friend...told with details, both written and drawn, that are warm and revealing. The book is emotional, but not in a way that makes you angry or especially sad, just emotionally connected to what is happening. Kudos to author/illustrator Ebony Flowers. My only thought while reading was...will children be able to read the cursive print? I know they don't teach it in the district where I teach...and that made me sad.

  16. 5 out of 5

    BMR, LCSW

    This graphic novel will be easily relatable to many Black women Of A Certain Age. The tales range from first relaxer to the family addict stealing for a fix to school bullies. It made me laugh out loud A LOT! If you still have visceral memories of scalp or ear burning, the smell of hair grease, burning hair, and the hot comb on the stove...playing with mama's or Big Mama's wigs...this is for you. Recommended for the old heads who remember the smells...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark Robison

    Graphic novel with each chapter a different story about some incident that happened involving Ebony Flowers' hair. The book's a love letter to black women and their friendships, and she really captures the fun and silliness and peer pressure and awkwardness of being young. There's something about that last story where she's hanging out with her college friends in Angola and they decide to find a beach that will stick with me. The whole thing is a joy. Bechdel test: A+ Grade: A-

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    A collection of culturally specific vignettes related to hair. While reading, I thought of many friends who have expressed the fear of "white people" wanting to touch their hair. I also thought of how this book could replace other books used in classrooms as exemplars for writing narratives. The graphics are plain and deserve coloration similar to the cover — although I get the potential for metaphorical interpretation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Ebony Flowers was clearly influenced by the great Lynda Barry, but she doesn't share the zany anarchy that make Barry's best stories so memorable and fun. Flowers does have a sincere, direct style but the art and lettering regularly tip from casual into sloppy. I love the color cover, not pictured here, and it's worth taking a look at Hot Comb to see if it's for you.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    I like a book that makes me feel as if I got a look into someone else's life. These are sequential-art stories about trying to be a person in the world. The author thanks Lynda Barry, whose influence I can see in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kat (Why Read)

    Thoughts: Part memoir, part fiction and graphic novel. I am curious about this literature exploration of the black hair journey. Chris Rock’s documentary, “Good Hair” set the standard and platform for such discussions. I am happy to see this continue!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katrina Winchell

    Not my personal style of illustration and the words could be hard to read sometimes, but the stories themselves were very good. Every "chapter" was focused on hair, but also told a story about a different aspect of black history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Camina

    Stories that I and many of my peer can relate to. Bought me back to my mama's kitchen on a Sunday night getting my hair hot combed, sweating and praying to Gob that she didn't have to do it again cause I know she would catch my ear. And mama would say "that's the price you pay for beauty."

  24. 5 out of 5

    P.

    Wonderful short stories - the author cites Lynda barry as an influence/mentor and you can really see it. She has her own style and sensibility but the way she gets to the heart of the characters and the life of the drawings are similar to what I've found in Barry.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kinsey

    Interesting collection of short stories that took different views of how hair affect women’s lives and relationships. However I didn’t like the illustration styles of the graphic novel and found the text difficult to read

  26. 4 out of 5

    Popzara Press

    Ebony Flowers’ impressive debut is a celebration of black hair in all its natural, pressed and relaxed glories. Read full review at Popzara Press.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hadi

    This is type of graphic book I would normally enjoy, but I found the graphics messy - which is okay, it's Flowers' graphic style - and the lettering hard to read - which is not okay. Really, don't make it hard for me to physically read your book!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Loved it -- a collection of illustrated short stories about the physical, cultural, and emotional impact of black hair, in a storytelling style reminiscent of Lynda Barry's Ernie Pook strips. Devoured in one sitting. I know this book just came out, but I can't wait to see what Flowers does next.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    An impressive debut collection of graphic stories looking at the lives of Black girls and women, and exploring such subjects as class, gender, race, identity, and family dynamics.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine Wolske

    Great art, engaging memoir told in short stories.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.