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Kayla E.

Precious Rubbish

On sale date: April 8, 2025

A landmark graphic novel debut and groundbreaking work of trauma recollection told in the style of post-war children’s comics.

“If an exorcism can ever be slow and quiet, then every panel I’ve finished has felt something like an exorcism. The gutters give me space to make sense of things: to connect dots and close gaps. To remember.” Kayla E.’s Precious Rubbish is an experimental graphic memoir drawn in a style that references the aesthetics of mid-century children’s comics and tells the story of a childhood shaped by maternal emotional dysregulation, rural poverty, and incest. The author’s childhood is portrayed as a collection of short-form comics and gag panels punctuated by interactive elements like paper dolls, satirical advertisements, games, and puzzles.

While the work is concerned with violence and a particularly Texan brand of Pentecostal fanaticism, it is presented in a playful visual language with a deadpan humor that elevates the material beyond mere graphic memoir. Precious Rubbish is a landmark work of comics storytelling and graphic medicine.

The debut graphic novel from artist Kayla E., Precious Rubbish asks the reader to do the extratextual work of filling out narrative gaps, which mirrors the challenge of trauma recollection. The reader is invited to co-labor in the meaning-making process, an exercise that facilitates an intimacy (between the author, the subject, and the reader) that is at once horrifying and hilarious.


"FIVE STARS STUNNING! Precious Rubbish has the biblical-level artistry and poetry of William Blake combined with the playful commercialism of Mad Magazine." — Maria Bamford, comedian and NYT bestselling author of Sure, I'll Join Your Cult

"Kayla E.'s comics remind me of the orphan-in-jeopardy genre. She is cast as a plucky heroine you root for and yet wonder, 'How can she possibly escape?' The answer is through the author's courage, wit, and originality. If one person's trash is another's treasure, Precious Rubbish is transmutation at its most therapeutic." — Tim Hensley

"A staggering achievement." — Rob Clough

"Precious Rubbish may help you come to terms with some things you've been privately avoiding or even things about yourself you didn't know." — Chris Ware

"This is the scariest book I have ever read." — Mark Newgarden


7.25" × 10.5"