In this week’s Illustrated PEN, Guest Editor Robert Kirby presents an excerpt from All the Sad Songs by artist Summer Pierre, published this year by Retrofit/Big Planet Comics.

Kirby writes: In her sublime new graphic novel, All the Sad Songs, Summer Pierre chronicles her coming of age through her relationship to music and the ways in which various songs, records, and musicians helped her shape her identity and artistic impulses. In this excerpt, Pierre relates how a chance encounter with Liz Phair’s debut album became the catalyst for a major life reset. As Pierre puts it, “I really believe that certain records and books find you, when it’s time.” Throughout Sad Songs, Pierre relates her experiences with candor, and a sense of wonder at the power of music in marking periods of our lives, and how often we use it to explore and process our inner lives and messy emotions.

Summer Pierre is a cartoonist and the author of the graphic memoir, All the Sad Songs, released September 2018 from Retrofit/Big Planet Comics, and the autobiographical comics series, Paper Pencil Life. She lives in the Hudson Valley of New York with her husband and son. Website:, Instagram: summer.pierre, Twitter: @summerpierre