In this week’s Illustrated PEN, Guest Editor Whit Taylor presents cartoonist Carta Monir’s minicomic Lara Croft Was My Family, which explores the evolution of Monir’s family dynamic and how a video game series impacted their lives. 

Taylor writes: I became acquainted with Carta Monir’s work a few years ago when I picked up one of her minicomics at the Small Press Expo. I was struck by the way that her subtle and smart storytelling infused her comics with such emotional depth. With short stories such as Secure Connect (2dcloud), Monir has focused her work on technology and identity, specifically how we use social media, internet culture, and video games to find a sense of meaning and belonging. In recent years, she’s come to explore what it means to exist as a trans woman, within her family, online, as well as in a world that can be intolerant and unkind.

I am pleased to share one of Carta’s latest comics, Lara Croft Was My Family, which was originally published at Medium/Zeal. It is a slow, creeping story, which illustrates how family dynamics change yet remain the same. This story also showcases Monir’s strong sense of pacing, which is one of the less talked about but most important aspects of strong comics storytelling. What results is a sophisticated yet raw tale of love, loss, coexistence, and transformation.


Carta Monir is a cartoonist living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her upcoming book, I Want To Be Evil, is being published by 2dcloud. Carta is also one of the hosts of the indie comics podcast, We Should Be Friends. Her ambition is to become the world’s first-ever sad cartoonist.