"Penguins is without question a challenging, ambitious, and genuinely heartfelt work. Thorburn uses the most unlikely of anthropomorphic stand-ins to illustrate the rich fullness of the human condition." — Four Color Apocalypse
"Drawing on the implicit irony of a flightless bird, former Unicorns frontman Thorburn’s graphic novel debut is a curious blend of grotesquerie and fable." — Publishers Weekly
“Thorburn has deftly gift wrapped his soul in the strips which collectively constitute Penguins. He has proven himself to be a pioneer and innovator in the evolution of the graphic novel." — XS Noize
"Nick Thorburn's Penguins is crude, clever, and often amusing." — PopMatters
"Young adults seeking a visual representation of nihilist despair will thrill to find Penguins. They will pass the book from backpack to backpack, peering into its hopeless sequences and deriving crucial philosophical insights that will sustain them through their teenage years." — New York Journal of Books
Told almost entirely without words, Penguins is one of the most playfully original graphic novels in recent memory. As author Nick Thorburn explains, “Penguins go through a lot of hell that could be avoided if they had the ability to fly. This cruel irony lends itself to humor, as well as sadness. Death and the desperate search for love and companionship seem so tethered to life as a penguin, as well as for humans, and so the goal was to bridge those two and make them funny.”
Relying on visual expression and the physical movement of his penguin characters, as well as the formal properties of sequential drawings (with penguins routinely moving within and without each page’s panel borders), Penguins is a series of interconnected short strips that, without words or human characters, does more to showcase the breadth of emotion we as humans experience than most prose novels.