Craig Thompson announced himself as a creator of note with his 1999 debut graphic novel, Good-Bye, Chunky Rice, a strange, poetic, but deeply felt and meticulously illustrated book about love, loss, and moving on. Then he disappeared for four years and re-emerged with a staggering sophomore effort that considerably upped the stakes: Blankets, an autobiographical, gorgeously lyrical book about first loves and religious obsessions. The story, about a young Christian man coming of age and struggling with an oppressive but comforting faith, delves into different forms of manufactured security, from relationships to religion; along the way, Thompson’s on-the-page avatar lets his imagination carry him out of his suffocating world of bullies and repression. Even more so than Good-Bye, Chunky Rice, this is a painful book, but it carries a sweetness that borders on profundity. It’s essentially Elliott Smith’s music in autobiographical-comic form.