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Exploring Zara, “a world where men have no story”

Zara, from The Hollow Grounds trilogy
Zara, from The Hollow Grounds trilogy

The Internet features more than its share of negativity and snark—sometimes you’ve just gotta vent. But there’s plenty of room for love, too. With Fan Up, we ask pop-culture people we admire to tell us about something they really, really like. For Comics Week, some of our favorite comics artists are paying tribute to books that inspired them.

The fan: An illustrator for outlets like The New York Times and The New Yorker, Celine Loup’s graceful linework and expressive coloring have made her webcomic Honey one of the most striking debuts of the year. A story about a group of flying humans living in a society modeled on a bee colony, Honey is beautiful, unsettling, and utterly captivating, revealing a talent for sequential storytelling while maintaining the craft of Loup’s illustration work.

Loup closes out Comics Week with our most experimental Fan Up, a sensory read that shows how she was creatively and emotionally impacted by Zara, the second book in Francois and Luc Schuiten’s science fiction trilogy The Hollow Grounds. Each volume of The Hollow Grounds offers a different take on gender relations, with Zara focusing on a planet inhabited solely by women that are forced to deal with the arrival of the first man. In her Fan Up piece, Loup uses the Schuitens’ inspiration to examine the systemic misogyny that affects women every day, taking an approach that is firmly aligned with the style of European comics. [Oliver Sava]