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Eleanor Davis

How To Be Happy

On sale date: August 3, 2014

This is the first collection of literary short comics stories by an award-winning cartoonist.

Eleanor Davis'sHow to be Happy is the artist's first collection of graphic/literary short stories. Davis is one of the finest cartoonists of her generation, and has been producing comics since the mid-2000s. Happy represents the best stories she's drawn for such curatorial venues as Mome and No-Brow, as well as her own self-publishing and web efforts. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis's graphic skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen and ink line work, and meticulously designed full color painted panels— which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax.

Named one of NPR's and Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014. Shortlist, Slate's 2014 Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Print Comic of the Year 2015 Ignatz Award Winner: Outstanding Anthology or Collection


"The success of this collection suggests that short pieces are likely Davis' métier, but what's here is so accomplished that it's natural to hope for a book-length work next time out." — Gordon Flagg - Booklist

"...How to be Happy [is] an imaginative collection of graphic literary short stories... Don't be fooled by the title, though; you won't find the key to happiness in these illustrations. Instead, the story that emerges from them forms a cryptic play on society's expectations for happiness." — Amber Hage-Ali - Columbus Alive

"Though Davis' tales can be wildly different in look and narrative, they are united by themes of yearning, of characters searching for the thing that will make their lives better. ...Remarkable ... exquisite ... How to Be Happy left me wanting more." — Carolina A. Miranda - Los Angeles Times

"Lies! Deceit and rank mendacity! Eleanor Davis promises what current pop music insists is perfectly possible — that you can be happy — and then she doesn't deliver. Instead she draws comics full of hilarious surrealism, gut-tugging tropes and eloquent despair. How dare she? ... In her roundabout way, she dramatizes not the prospect of happiness, but the promise of it. Her natural territory is found in all the funny and tragic effects of that promise." — Etelka Lehoczky - NPR Books

" …[Davis's] stories often feature tremendous longing and sadness, but they also lushly suggest what a blessing it is to be alive and in the world. She presents, in short, a more realistic picture of what it means to be a human, with our ever-present mind/body tug-of-war, than almost anyone else out there making art. And what art it is: there may be nothing Davis can't beautifully illustrate. …How to Be Happy is fearless and fantastic, unafraid to break rules or to make new ones. " — Hillary Brown - Paste


Full color with 48 black and white pages.
7.8" × 10.2"