Friday, April 29, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol. 5

Saga Vol. 4 By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 9th, 2015
Format: Paperback 152 pages
My Rating: ★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Multiple storylines collide in this cosmos-spanning new volume. While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies. Collects Saga #25-30.

My Reviews for Vol.1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 & Vol. 4

So I finally finished all the trades that I had of Saga (I think Vol. 6 isn't quite out yet) and now I don't know what to do with my life. No seriously, I don't have any more Saga? What am I to do?

I like that in this issue, some of the things that bothered me were addressed. I had a problem with Alanna's drug use, so I'm glad we do see some repercussions from that. We actually see Marko also take drugs at one point (which I didn't like) and it messes him up really bad. I like that the author showed the reality of drugs and how it can change people and put them in bad situations. 

We also get introduced to a new group of enemies in this volume, The Last Revolution...and they are a bunch of asshats. They are painted as this group that all they want to do is stop all the fighting, but they are basically terrorists and cause a lot more damage than good. They come when Dengo calls them, but he thinks they are really good and will be the cause to end the war. It seems like they just cause separate issues, since they are trying to negotiate with Wreath to give them Hazel, and it only goes to crap when Wreath sees they are working with someone from the robot kingdom. There are a lot of prejudices in this world, and ultimately I think it's a way to show how messes up our own society still is. War is not fair, and I like that we see that in many different ways in this series.

This volume was pretty action-packed and there were a few gruesome deaths in this one. I do like that this comic doesn't shy away from the gore that comes with living during  a time of war.  War is bloody and messy, and a lot of the people that get hurt from it are not necessarily always soldiers that are fighting each other. 

The ending of this volume leaves a lot of questions that made me want to pick up the next volume...but I can't because it's not out yet! We are left with seeing Hazel a little bit older, and in a prison for children (a classroom) and we don't really know how she ended up there. I'm excited to see how that is discovered in the next volume.

I love this series, and would highly recommend it to everyone I meet! READ IT NOW!!!

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway ending soon!


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

DNF Review: Super Mutant Magic Academy

Super Mutant Magic Academy By Jillian Tamaki
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Format: Paperback 224 pages
My Rating: DNF

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N 
Unrequited love, underage drinking, and teen angst rule at a high school for mutants and witches.

The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating.

SuperMutant Magic Academy has won two Ignatz Awards. This volume combines the most popular content from the webcomic with a selection of all-new, never-before-seen strips that conclude Tamaki’s account of life at the academy.
 
I initially picked this one up on a whim when I was returning books at the library. I had heard nothing about it, but I really liked This One Summer, the graphic novel that the author did with her cousin Mariko Tamaki. So I thought this one would have a different plot (fantasy theme) but therein lied the problem. There was no plot at all, and I just couldn't get into it.

I tried to read this one, I really did, but after 100 pages I just decided I couldn't do it anymore. I thought, "Oh it's a comic, I can probably just finish it, even though I'm not enjoying it." However, every time I went to pick the book back up, I just had no desire to read it. I definitely want to stop forcing myself to read things that I'm not into, so this was just a case of that.

This book is not bad by any means, it just wasn't for me at all. It definitely has an audience and I could see why so many people might enjoy this one. The book is told in a series of one-page connected comics. The characters are all the same, so you do get to learn about everyone, but I just found there to be no real plot or substance to it. I just couldn't really care about these characters when there was nothing that was holding my attention to their stories. 

The artwork in this collection is done in thick black and white lines. There are a few pages where color is introduced, but the majority of the collection is done in black and white. I think had the art been more vibrant, this collection might have held my attention more, but I just didn't find it interesting enough to continue along with this.

I definitely think I am an outlier when it comes to this book. Just looking at other reviews, it seems like a lot of people really enjoyed this. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. If you like quirky characters that get up to shenanigans, and you can deal with a book not really having a plot, then I would say you should read this one. This was just not a book for me.

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, April 25, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol. 4

Saga Vol. 4 By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 17th, 2014
Format: Paperback 152 pages
My Rating: ★★1/2 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

From the Eisner Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private EyePride of Baghdad) and Fiona Staples (Mystery SocietyThor, SAGA is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. As they visit a strange new world and encounter even more adversaries, baby Hazel finally becomes a toddler, while her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana struggle to stay on their feet.
As much as I love this series, I have to admit that this was probably my least favorite of the four trades I have read so far. I think part of the reason is that in this one we are sort of led to believe that Marko and Alanna's relationship is on the cusp of ending. It even seems like the writing set it up for Marko to cheat on her. WHICH IS NOT OKAY!!! Spoiler alert, he doesn't, but it still bothered me that we see the temptation there. Alanna & Marko are supposed to be together forever, please don't break them up. 

The couple have some huge fights in this volume, and it ends up leading to events that carry on into the next volume. I do think it was realistic for the two to have these huge fights. Couples have arguments, they fight over money and they say things that they regret. So I do appreciate that we see some reality in this fantasy world.

All the above things are kind of minor issues I had with this volume. I still found the story interesting and I wanted to continue reading it. I think the major thing that I had a real problem with was Alanna's drug use. While she was working on the open circuit she starts doing the drug fadeaway recreationally. The first time she does it knowing that she won't have to take care of her baby for hours, so I was okay with that. However, she seems to get addicted pretty fast and it's part of the reason that her and Marko fight. So yeah I was kind of on Marko's side in that fight, but also because the drug kind of starts to change the Alanna I had come to love. 

I wouldn't say that this volume is a bad one, I think maybe it just got too "real" for me. The struggles that Alanna and Marko had were realistic, but I think it was just harder for me to take it all in. I'm definitely still in and I've already finished Volume 5, but this one just wasn't my favorite. 

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Lumberjanes Vol.1 Beware the Kitten Holy

Lumberjane Vol. 1 By Noelle Stevenson, Maarta Laiho & Grace Ellis. 
Illustrated by Brooke A. Allen
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
Format: Paperback 128 pages
My Rating: ★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.
Lumberjanes was a quirky, fun read that I found easy to follow. I did enjoy this one, but I don't think it completely wowed me. I think part of the problem was that I loved Noelle Stevenson's Nimona so much that I had high expectations for her other project. 

Shenanigans should be the slogan for this comic. The 5 friends in this one get up to a lot of crazy shenanigans in this from finding three-eyed foxes, to getting lost in a mysterious cave to bribing yetis with cookies. SHENANIGANS! I think it was all these weird fantastical things in the plot that kept my interest, because this was not what I was expecting. 

The thing I did like the most about this book was that it reinforced the idea of positive female friendships. Here is this group of girls that are all different with their own personalities and strengths, but they know how to work together to reach their common goal without tearing each other down. Women should be building each other up, and this comic definitely enforces that idea. It was definitely a very "GIRL POWER!" message, which I really enjoyed. 

I also liked that some of the girls had some traits that aren't normally associated with female characters. Like Jo who gets them out of the cave by her math knowledge. I'm bad at math, but I think it's really important for girls to be exposed to the idea that math is cool. Also April is unconventionally strong, as she destroys a statue in an arm-wrestling match, in another test for the group to get out of the mysterious cave they fall into. Having the girls figure out how to get themselves out of the weird situation they get themselves in was important to me. These girls are independent and they can do anything. 

If you're looking for a quick comic book with adventure and shenanigans this one is for you. I liked it enough, but I just didn't get that "OMG THIS IS AMAZING" feeling that I got with Nimona. I really try not to compare authors works to each other, especially if they are not in the same universe, but sometimes I have a really hard time with that.  

Did you read Lumberjanes? What are you thoughts? Do you have a favorite scene from this collection?

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol. 3

Saga Vol. 3 By Brian K. Vaughan
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Format: Paperback 144 pages
My Rating: ★★ 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
From the Hugo Award-winning duo of Brian K. Vaughan (The Private Eye, Y: The Last Man) and Fiona Staples (North 40, Red Sonja), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple's multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.

See my reviews for Volume 1 and Volume 2 here.

What I like about Saga is that is really is about the human experience, even if it's told by non-human beings. The third volume deals a lot with loss and how people try to overcome it. I think that Brian K. Vaughan is trying to ask if we ever really do get over things.

The overarching theme of this series has always been about sacrifice. I think the tagline for it should be, "What would you sacrifice for the ones you love?" There's a  lot of sacrifice and loss, and characters die when you aren't expecting it. I really love that about this series, because people die and you love and you lose and that's what life is about. And there's nothing you can do about it but pick yourself off and trek on. This book gets pretty philosophical at times, and in this one we hear a lot about how "Peace isn't the opposite of war." When you find out what really is the opposite of war, it seems so ridiculous. But the more I thought about it, the more what Heist says is right. Hear me out once you get to that part and really think about it. 

We get to know The Will, Gwendolyn and Sophie a little more in this volume. I know that Hazel and her parents are supposed to be the main focus, but I also like that we see these little slivers of life from the other side. Vaughan tries to show us all the sides to we can see why these waring cultures think the way they do. Nothing is ever quite black and white, especially in war. Gwendolyn has kind of grown on me, but I didn't 100% believe that she actually had feelings for The Will. I just don't think it was that strong of a relationship, but I am interested to see how that plays out in the other volumes. Maybe it's just hard for me to see other romances when I find Marko and Alana's to be one of the most compelling romances in a long time. They are true OTP worthy.

This volume had a lot of action, so it will definitely hold your interest. I'm not sure why you wouldn't be continuing this series...but in case you are still unsure I highly recommend this series. Read this entire series!!

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Ms Marvel

Ms. Marvel
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: October 30th, 2014
Format: Paperback 120 pages
My Rating: ★★  

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she's suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she's comin' for you, Jersey! 
I've heard nothing but great things about the new Ms.Marvel that started up a few years ago, so in honor of Comic Book Month, I decided to finally read it. 

What I really like about this book is that Kamala actually feels like a real teen. I think she kind of won me over the most early on with the scene with her parents. Kamala asks to go to a party and her parents say no, in which she she stomps up to her room thinking, "it's not like I'm asking their permission to do cocaine." Um...that is exactly what I would have thought in my teens, so I felt like I could really relate to her. Also her grumpy face gives me life.

Kamala's story deals a lot with identity. Being an American-Muslim she deals a lot with trying to figure out where she fits in the world. When she first gets her powers she thinks looking like Captain Marvel ie. blonde and pretty would make her happy, but it doesn't. When she is first figuring out her powers, she realizes that looking like Captain Marvel is not what she wants, that's not her and she knows who she is. I really loved that the book touched on that. Be careful what you wish for is a cliche for a reason, but I think in Kamala's case it's presented in a modern way to really make you think. 

I haven't read a lot of books where a muslim character is the protagonist. In fact, I haven't read a lot of books that have characters that are religious. So I think it was interesting that we get tiny nuggets of Kamala's faith. I thought that Kamala's culture was written well and it certainly seemed like it was well-researched. I actually looked up the writer, because I was generally interested in if she was Muslim or if she had just done her homework. For those interested, she is a Muslim convert. I think the fact that this is a faith that she believes in made me appreciate it a little more. 

I definitely want to read about some more diverse characters, and I'm hoping Kamala is just the start of it. I'm definitely going to continue reading this series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next volume.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Strong Female Protagonist

Strong Female Protagonist
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: November 25th, 2014
Format: Paperback 220 pages
My Rating: ★★ 1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
With superstrength and invulnerability, Alison Green used to be one of the most powerful superheroes around. 

Fighting crime with other teenagers under the alter ego Mega Girl was fun - until an encounter with Menace, her mind-reading arch enemy, showed her evidence of a sinister conspiracy, and suddenly battling giant robots didn't seem so important. 

Now Alison is going to college and trying to find ways to help the world while still getting to class on time. It's impossible to escape the past, however, and everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a hero.... 

After a phenomenal success on Kickstarter, Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag bring their popular webcomic into print, collecting the first four issues, as well as some all-new, full-color pages!
This is one of the graphic novels that I found out about recently by listening to the Oh, Comics podcast. I was actually surprised I was able to get it so quickly, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this one. I actually read this one in between of reading Fun Home. As you can tell from my review, that book was really heavy, so I found myself drawn to other books to read as I couldn't read it all in one sitting. I flocked to this one in between because I just found the concept so much more interesting.

The plot of this one is that Alison is an ex-superhero who is just trying to be a normal college girl. I do like that she still uses her super strength to help people since she's a fire fighter, and when you get down to the core of the plot the reason she unmasks herself is because of politics. Because when she does have a last show down with her nemesis Menace he opens her eyes to a lot of things. The government hasn't been telling the super humans a lot of things, and why are they so carefully watched? The conspiracy theorist in me loved that.

The setting was in this weird alternate universe where a bunch of teens born in the early '90s got super powers. It's never really explained how this happened, but I think it's something that the author is planning on going into later on in the series. It was set in modern times in a world really similar to ours, so I thought it was really relatable.

One thing that I have to say that did really bother me about this book was the footnotes. At first I didn't noticed the author footnotes at the bottom of each page, so once I did went back and read them. At first they seemed interesting and gave me an insight on where this story was going, but towards the end I found them really distracting. I didn't find they were necessary to the story, and it felt like the author was just trying to be too clever by inserting himself into the story more. The writing of the book was good enough that it really didn't need that. By the end, I just stopped reading them. I don't think this is a deal breaker, so if they bother you too, I would suggest just ignoring them.

I think if you want to read a superhero story outside of the Big 2 stories, this one is for you. It's very political and deals a lot with self-sacrifice and doing things for the greater good, which is a theme I really enjoy in comics.

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, April 11, 2016

On Being a Female Comic Noob


This month, I've been focusing on comic books in what I have deemed Comic Book Month. This relates to nothing, other than the fact that I've been in a reading slump and comics are a great novel palette cleanser. So what I wanted to talk about today is what is it like to be new to the comic book world, and what it's like to be a woman in that world.

I think a lot of women are afraid to admit that they are new to comics, or don't know much about comics because of this whole "fake geek girl" thing. Which is complete and utter bullshit. 

There is actually a Oh, Comics episode where they talk about how the majority of women who read comics only read trade, and not single-issues. The thought is that the intimidation to go into a comic book store and to buy single-issue or even setup a pull list is too much for them. I never really thought about how pull-lists are important to the industry, but pre-ordering is pretty important to the comic book industry. I will admit that I do mostly read trade volumes, but I think that might be because I don't always buy comics and libraries mostly only carry trade or omnibus collections. 

To be honest, I don't think I really started getting into comics until a few years ago. And that is completely okay! I have never said that I wasn't a fair weather comic book fan. It just seems like there is this discourse in the fandom that that is bad. Obviously I am generalizing here, because there are a lot of people that will go out of there way to give you suggestions on what to read and where to start with different comics. These are the good comic book fans, because they just want to share their love for something, not knock a person down and claim they aren't "real" fans. Personally I have never had this experience, but I also think my personality to just not give a shit what people think about me helps. I've also been told my neutral face is not quite "resting bitch face" but more "do not eff with me" so I think I've got myself covered there. 

I also want to say that this concept of women not being "real fans" is not specific to comics either. I'm a huge hockey fan, and I also see this issue in the sports fandom as well. Dudes will be like, "Oh, you like hockey, well name 10 dudes on the main roster." And it's like, would you ask me that if I was a dude? No. So you name 10 dudes on the main roster, because everyone keeps getting traded! 

I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say with this post, it's more just me ranting about some of the issues in our society that have been annoying me. I think the biggest take away I want everyone to see is that you should love what you love and don't care what people think or say. Again, these "fake girl geek" claimers are a small minority of the fandom.  Don't let anyone try to tell you your interests are not valid or you are not a "real fan."So if you are a woman interesting in reading comics, but you are intimidated by going into a comic book shop, I say don't be! You go into that place and show them who is boss!

Have you ever experienced "the fake geek girl" discourse? Have you had a bad experience with the comic book community? Or in any other fandom?

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

ARC Review: In The Shadow of the Dragon King

In The Shadow of the Dragon King by J.Keller Ford
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: May 31st, 2016
Format: Egalley
Source: copy provided by publisher for review
My Rating: ★★

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby. 

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte. 

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he's some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He's supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who's too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone. 

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.
I initially requested this ARC because I read the synopsis and thought it sounded a lot like Skyrim. I thought to myself, "Dragons, and someone called the Paladin? Sounds an awful lot like the Dragonborn...I'm in!" Since I've been burning through the game I thought it was a perfect book for me to read. And I have to say I did end up really enjoying this one!

What really hooked me in was the world building. From the first chapter we are introduced to Eric's world of Fallhallow, and I was thinking, "Okay, yes, I'm about this." I was a little jarred in the next chapter when we meet David and he's in the modern world, but if you continue to read, that part of the story makes a lot more sense. I thought the political background was pretty interesting. It is really the backstabbing politics of this world that has caused the Dragon King to escape and started a new war. There is also even a mention of churches and religion, which I liked because I feel like we don't get a lot about religion in YA, and I would like to see that explored more. 

I was also intrigued by how the Mages are viewed in this society. At times they refer to "men" as "other" from themselves and are "forbidden to interfere with the lives of men." I found this a little confusing at first because it seemed like that meant all Mages were not human, but I think what Ford is trying to convey here is that the Mages are the "other" in this world and they don't really adhere to the same rules as humans. Although, they do interfere A LOT more than they claim. Sir Trogsdill our knight in the story actually makes a comment about this at the end of the novel, which just made me love him more. 

Although I really enjoyed this one, there were a few things that fell flat for me, but by no means were deal breakers. I had a hard time sympathizing with Eric. He acted childish and I found his quest for glory to be rather selfish. He does realize his mistake towards the end, but I felt like his character development and even the ending of this novel was a little rushed. I found our other hero David to be a little annoying in the beginning of the novel, but I think I understood why. He was a kid that was whisked away to a strange land and told he was supposed to be some sort of dragon slayer. He has to find the strength in himself to rise to the occasion, and I could understand his struggle more than Eric's struggle to be taken seriously. I do like that when these two meet they really don't like each other. They are both strong-willed and determined characters that I thought it would make sense that they wouldn't get along. There was definitely a power struggle between them, and I liked that Keller included that. 

One other thing I want to see in the next book is more of Charlotte. I felt like we got a good sense of who she was in the beginning of the story, but once her and David get sent to Fallhallow I felt like she wasn't that developed as a character. I definitely want to see her fleshed out a little more. I want a real reason for why she needs to be with David in this strange land. I know in this novel it's because she is now a healer, but I didn't see enough of that to really convince me of her purpose in this story.

I think if you love a fantasy world with great world building, or you have an interest in dragons this is good book for you. I also think the author did a good job of making this fantasy world accessible to non-fantasy fans by having the two main characters have non-fantasy sounding names, which I kind of really appreciate. I was intrigued by the land of Fallhallow, and I am excited to see where Keller takes us in her next book!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Friday, April 8, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Nimona

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Format: Hardback, 266 pages
My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
I sought out this book after hearing so many great things about it. Nimona was originally a webcomic and was put together in this graphic novel version with an added epilogue. I genuinely really enjoyed this one. I wasn't sure what this was going to be like, but when Nimona is arguing with Blackheart to become his sidekick and then says "I'm not a kid I'm a Shark!" that's when I knew I was going to love this one. Once I stopped cackling from laughter. 
Nimona Page 2

I laughed a lot while I read this one, because Nimona is just so ridiculous! I enjoyed her crazy schemes and how Blackheart just kind of puts up with her. Although deep down he does really love and appreciate her friendship, which is something he totally needed in his life. The ending does get really sad, because we don't really know WHAT Nimona is exactly or what happens to her. Her life is a mystery, even to Blackheart and that never really gets resolved.

So I'm 95% sure that Blackheart and Goldenloin were a couple, or that Goldenloin wanted to be with Blackheart and that's why the institute planned Blackheart's accident. It's never really stated, but I thought it was pretty obvious there was something other than friendship going on there, which I loved!

I think the only thing I didn't like about this one was that it was over! I wanted to read more! I wanted to see more adventures with Nimona and Blackheart, or to just see where her story went after her adventure with Blackheart was over. I highly recommend this one!

Don't forget about my Comic Book Month Giveaway!

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Fun Home By Alison Bechdel

Fun Home By Alison Bechdel
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Release Date: June 8th, 2006
Format: Hardcover, 234 pages
My Rating: ★★

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A fresh and brilliantly told memoir from a cult favorite comic artist, marked by gothic twists, a family funeral home, sexual angst, and great books.
This breakout book by Alison Bechdel is a darkly funny family tale, pitch-perfectly illustrated with Bechdel's sweetly gothic drawings. Like Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, it's a story exhilaratingly suited to graphic memoir form.
Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian home, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned "fun home," as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books.
When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic — and redemptive.
I feel very conflicted about this book. I did enjoy it, and I would highly recommend it, but there are a few instances were it kind of missed the mark for me. 

On the one hand, this is a very poignant graphic memoir about relationships, family dynamics and identity that hits on a lot of key points about life. I really appreciate the exploration of Alison's relationship with her father and how they were kind of two mirrored pieces. This book was actually a reading option for the Autobiographical Acts class I took at my University. I would have loved to have explored this book better in a paper for that class, but unfortunately the class was assigned books for the paper and I didn't get assigned this. This book has a lot of great themes, and I think college kids can relate to the coming of age story that deals with self-discovery. I did really enjoy the Daedalus and Icarus metaphor that she closes the book on, and I thought it was a really good way to end the book. 

On the other hand, I found parts of the metaphors and references to literature a bit much. At times her word choice, while very intelligently written, came off as a little too pretentious. I'm a firm believer in the idea that you don't need big words to convey big ideas, but at times I think the writing style tried a bit too much in using those big words. I think it makes the book a little inaccessible to people. I have to admit when she got too much with the big words, I kind of skimmed those panels to get to the next part. 

The art is this book was interesting. I liked the art enough, but then when I realized that all the "photographs" and "letters" within the panels were really hand-drawn that's when I was pretty impressed. Although, I will admit I didn't get through a lot of those letters because the handwriting was really hard to read. This coming from someone with really terrible handwriting! But it wasn't just that, the weight of the font was a little too thin for me to read it. Not sure if anyone else had this issue, but it was a minor thing that gave me pause. Also, I was a bit surprised by the nudity in this graphic memoir. The first time was just some dead dude so it was kind of a shock to me. I just feel like I need to put that warning out there so people are aware of it if it's something that makes you uncomfortable. 

Going back, this was a great book to include in that class I took, and I'm just a little disappointed that I wasn't able to read it and analyze it back when I was still in the academia world. I had some minor issues with this, but I think it holds a lot of merit and I highly recommend it. 

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Happy Reads Everyone!
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