Ellen Forney

Local cartoonist Ellen Forney’s new graphic novel is called Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me (Gotham, $20). The “marbles” refer to the ones she supposedly lost when diagnosed as biopolar at age 29. Forney depicts herself wildly and energetically: clutching a membership card to “Club Van Gogh” (“The true artist is a crazy artist”); ranting mid-mania about plans and parties and her artistic calling. As her drawings depict the sheer force of mental illness, her text conveys the confused, frightened thoughts racing through her mind. She poignantly describes the impact of her diagnosis: “Like I’d been covered by a heavy blanket, like a parrot.” Forney’s memoir can be difficult to read. The cycle between her ups and downs, her psychiatrist’s endless experimentation with her meds, her sketches of barren trees and a figure gripping the edge of a cliff—such vignettes are overwhelmingly sad. But your heart goes out to Forney because she comes off as such an earnest, honest character. It’s what makes you root for her when she finally discovers the things that make her feel better: mom, yoga, Led Zeppelin, and neatly-applied lipstick. (Also: Elliott Bay, 7 p.m. Nov. 29.) ERIN K. THOMPSON

Sat., Nov. 10, 7 p.m., 2012