Megan Kelso

If the Keebler evles had sex, gave birth, cursed, went skinny-dipping, and killed one another in a decades-long civil war, that might give you a sense of Artichoke Tales (Fantagraphics, $22.99) by Seattle’s own Megan Kelso. It’s a multigenerational family-national saga set in a fairyland whose inhabitants’ heads, instead of hair, have artichoke leaves and a stem. In a sense, the book is like a delicate hand-drawn alternative to Avatar: Here is an exquisite natural world, full of magical herbs and natural wonders, yet it’s also a place where people—elves, hobbits, whatever—fight for scarce resources. There’s a certain Tolkien-meets-Dr. Seuss vibe that makes Artichoke Tales particularly well-suited to younger readers raised to revere the environment but just now discovering sex and violence (i.e., adolescence). Kelso’s work remains on view at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery in Georgetown. BRIAN MILLER

Thu., July 1, 6 p.m.; Tue., July 20, 7 p.m., 2010

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