Graphic Novels You've Read Recently

GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
I love graphic novels. But I dunno where I'd discuss them. In a book thread? A comics thread? So I'm making this thread. Just post and share, even if it's just shouting into the void.

What's a graphic novel?
It's a book with pictures and sometimes words.

Some graphic novels I've read recently:

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast. It's a book about her parents dying. Roz has done work for the New Yorker since the 1978 and it helps with the difficult story. Her parents are cartoon archetypes. They're so set in their ways, her dad's worrying, her mum's bossyness, they're codependent and they don't change and don't want to change. And so the book is about them dealing with changing. I think my favourite moment was the bit where Roz is going through her parents' belongings and instead the usual drawings you're shown photographs of each item. It's a moment where after being caught up in the story you remember that it isn't a story. I haven't seen much comment about the photos in reviews I've read but for me it was a special moment. Like how other comics might use a shift in art style to represent a higher reality or a story within a story. It's a comics thing I'm fond of.

Special Exits. By Joyce Farmer. Joyce is an underground comics artist from the 70s who helped create Tits and Clits Comix and Abortion Eve. It's a fictional account of her parents dying (I swear, I don't just read books about parents dying). It's hard to describe why it's so good as the bulk of it is just the day to day tedium of Laura looking after her parents as their health deteriorates. It's darker and a harder read than the other book. The artwork is black and white, the humour is blacker and one of the things behind the publication of the book was Joyce's anger at the poor treatment of her mother by hospice staff. As I said, it's hard to pick out any key moment as a favourite. But a good quote from it would be “Things get worse in such small increments that you can used to anything.” It's a real good book and I'm definitely going to be reading it again, just not, soon.

Here. By Richard McGuire. It's an achronological story of a room spanning thousands of years, past present and future. It's mostly wordless, with only a few snippets of conversation. It's less about plot than it is about the character and feeling of this room. It's just a nice book to read with an interesting perspective on things.
(click on the images for a link to the articles I stole them from. They're all much better at describing the books than me.)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl. By Phoebe Gloeckner. I don't have much to say about it as I didn't like it. It's a graphic novel but it's more like a novel with intermittent pictures and comics that don't seem to add anything. The highlights are the two one page comics by the main character and the few scenes that makes you think "yep, that could definitely be a scene in a movie."


  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    I just read Polina by Bastien Vivès.

    It's a graphic novel about ballet. It's always interesting to read comics about music or dance because they are things that are hard to do in the comics format. Polina's art intersting because it doesn't show movement in the dances. The conflict between classical ballet and contemporary ballet is a theme throughout the book and the still art shows ballet moves in their ideal forms. There is some art that is looser, particularly during the modern dance segments, but the book doesn't focus on it. Polina's arc is about her relationship with classical ballet. However, I would probably guess that the creator was not able or willing to dwell too much on the freer dance and art. It's telling that a big climatic moment in the book, when Polina is a part of an award winning modern dance group, is told not shown. This is in stark contrast to the many other (classical) performances of Polina's that are shown.

    (this image is from after she's left the classical ballet scene so it's a little looser than most)

    I don't really have much to say about the book as ballet isn't my thing. I've probably got some of the terms wrong in that previous paragraph, but the fact I even know half of what I'm saying is credit to the book.

    But the thing that made me want to post it was a stunning moment late in the book.
    spoilers if you wanna read it?
    seriously, you are much better off reading the whole thing as this moment rests on what came before
    So Polina had a very strict and traditional teacher, Prof Bojinsky. He'd taught her since she was six (if I have the timeline right). And this is a meeting years afterwards. They've just finished a conversation, but the conversation isn't important to the trick. And the trick is this: he takes his glasses off, and boom, he's old. It's simple but effective and perfectly captured that feeling you get when you suddenly realise that a person you've known for years is older. It might sound silly but I said 'wow' out loud when I read it. It's a trick that works because of the art. Bastien keeps things simple and while it occasionally results in creepy visuals like a eyeless person, it works for the most part and hid the passage of time in this instance.

    edit- put in the link to the article I took the image from. Reading the article reminds me, Polina doesn't talk much. Yet you have a clear idea of what's going on in her head. The book does it so easily that I didn't even think about it.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    I love comics and graphic novels. I read most of my comics in tpbs and buy the occasional graphic novel. Good post, thanks.

  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    I've reread The House That Groaned. I'd forgotten most of it. I can't say I like it, but I did get a lot of enjoyment from it? It takes some messed up people, puts them in a house, and then gives them a glimpse of happiness before pulling the rug out from under them.

    An example:
    One lady is a dieter. She's healthy, she runs a support group for fat people. And her backstory is that she was fat and married. She wanted to have kids but her husband was a bit of a dick and didn't think she should have a baby because she's fat. So she works hard, exercises, diets, and gradually gets thinner and healthier. Finally her doctor gives her the go ahead, she goes shopping for a nice dress, rushes home...

    to find her husband fucking another man.
    And that's a lot (but not all) of the stories. They are laugh out loud in their awfulness. It's an interesting book because of the mix of cruelty and hope the book has. Sometimes hope is only there for it to be dashed, and I'm not sure if the other times hope isn't also dashed (or will be).

    The best thing about the book is the front cover. It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but the front cover has cut out windows, and when you open the book you can see inside all the rooms. It's clever, interesting, and sadly isn't done in the story all that much. Which is a shame as seeing into cut out buildings is one of my favourite tropes and it's one that comics do the best out of any medium bar none (well, I suppose doll houses would top comics, but that's pushing it).

    And just cos I can, a summary of each of the main characters, spoilers, but also a warning on some of them?
    Barbara is transwoman.
    Janet runs a diet group.
    Matt retouches models' photos for a living, and can't touch other people.
    Mrs Durbach is an elderly lady who has lived in the building so long she is literally indistinguishable from the furniture.
    Brian is sexually attracted to disease and deformity.
    Marion is a morbidly obese hedonist who runs a group for gluttons.
    And yeah, their stories are gross, sad, surprising and funny.

  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    The Property by Rutu Modan is good. It's about a Jewish woman and her grandmother returning to Poland to reclaim the grandmother's house after they escaped to Israel during WW2. But it's more complicated than that and different characters each are doing their own thing. I find it hard to say what exactly made this book different from others. I mean, a lot of stories use a secret to drive the plot, but I think part of what makes it good for me is how well the characters work. In particular the grandmother's secrecy and the brother-in-law's jerkitude (like I said, it's hard to find the words). His jerkitude leads to my favourite moment in the book, which is at the end, so spoilers:
    The daughter and her Polish friend are confronting him in a Jewish cemetery over his bad behaviour.
    seriously, he is...

    And to avoid their confrontation he sings.

    This is in a Jewish cemetery on a special day of remembrance, so there's a lot of people around. It's a total jerk move but then the Grandmother comes up and WHAP! hits him with her hand bag. Best moment.

    As always, click on the pictures to see the article I stole them from. Even more spoilers there, but it's a good short read. That page is from early in the book, and it makes a pretty good statement about it is trying to accomplish. Which that article goes into.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    Gee, this thread just seems to be me. Oh well. Read more graphic novels people!

    The Graphic Canon is an ambitious three volume comic adapting works of literature. A lot of literature. Volume One covers from The Epic of Gilgamesh to 1800, Volume Two covers the 19th century and Volume Three covers the 20th century. Each volume is 500 pages. it's crazy. The Graphic Canon did so well that they came out with a fourth volume, The Graphic Canon of Children's Literature, which is another 500 pages of adaptations of children and young adults' stories.

    It's a blast to read, there's so much variety both in the sources and the adaptions. There's poems, speeches, stories, science, philosophical and religious texts. Some artists illustrate, others turn the works into comics, there's limited space so some artists abridge a novel or only do a chapter, there's a crazy amount of variety and there's always something new in the next entry.

    A couple of favourites: Kevin Dixon's wordless comic adaptation of the 9th chapter of Oliver Twist. I just find the flip from words only to art only fun and it shows how good comics are.

    Some of William Blake's original Jerusalem: the Emanation of the Giant Albion is published. It's a prophetic work from Blake that uses both words and pictures, which shows the long history of graphic ?poetry?. I dunno what exactly the terms to use are but words+images is cool.

    And then there's stuff where I was just not aware of the original and it was cool to read that stuff. I quite liked the adaptation of Frederick Douglass's "If there is no struggle, there is no progress" speech. It was the reason I'd even picked up the book in the first place, I was just looking for stuff to do with Frederick Douglass in the library and the Volume Two popped up in the search.

    Anyway, it is a crazy ambitious work featuring the talents of many artists and well regarded works of literature. There's bound to be something to your liking in there.

  • Options
    VanguardVanguard But now the dream is over. And the insect is awake.Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Graphic novels I have read recently:

    Paper Girls - Loved it.

    Wytches - Gorgeous art and genuinely creepy horror. I might be biased as I grew up not too far from where this is et.

    Descender vol. 1 & 2 - I love love love the art in this thing. The story is great too, and every now and again, when I feel it meanders, Lemire brings a knockout punch of a twist.

  • Options
    simonwolfsimonwolf i can feel a difference today, a differenceRegistered User regular
    edited November 2016
    I was gifted the first two volumes of Mizuki Shigeru's Showa: A History of Japan for my birthday and they're absolutely wonderful.


    It's a history of the Showa period, aka 1926-1989 (the lifetime of Emperor Hirohito), and it's also Mizuki telling the story of his life as a person who grew up in that time, was drafted into the army, lost an arm fighting the Americans in the Pacific, and eventually becoming one of Japan's most famous manga authors. But the real trick is how he zooms in and out to contextualise the period, not just giving you facts and figures about the battles and the expansion of the Japanese army, but sometimes taking the time to tell you about the time he and his brothers walked twenty miles to buy doughnuts for the first time, or how his grandmother died of tuberculosis that she contracted after trying to earn the family money by being a caretaker for a sick man.

    He's very clearly anti-militaristic and critiques both sides of the war, but it's also an incredibly well-made and accessible telling of the history of the 20th century.

    simonwolf on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    Woah, that's cool. I'm currently reading his book on Hitler but I haven't finished it yet.

  • Options
    simonwolfsimonwolf i can feel a difference today, a differenceRegistered User regular
    I'm also reading The Osamu Tezuka Story, which is a stark contrast with Mizuki's work. Mizuki's honesty about himself (which extends into self-deprecation at times) comes across as refreshing compared with how The Osamu Tezuka Story (which should, be noted, isn't autobiographical, but co-authored with Tezuka Productions) trips over itself constantly to talk about how talented, hard-working, prolific, etc etc Tezuka was.


    It's an interesting book, to be sure, and I have no doubt that Tezuka was a talented and prolific artist (despite Miyazaki Hayao's vehement dislike of the man and his oeuvre), but it really could have stood to be a smidge less fellating in its overview of Tezuka's life. Tezuka comes across less as a person and more the Patron Saint of Manga and Anime.

  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    I finished Shigeru Mizuki's Hitler, and that is a pretty good book. It focusses on Hitler, taking the "Great Man" approach to history. I was taught in High School and Uni a bigger view of society shaping history. But reading about Hitler the way Shigeru presents him makes me realise that I haven't got the whole picture (assuming that what Shigeru shows is true, and I have no reason to believe it isn't).

    It's an interesting book because Hitler is portrayed as cartoonish, inspirational, comedic, sympathetic, and tragic. Which are weird things to say about Hitler. But I think it works. It is deliberately focussing on Hitler, the man, and this means other things like the Holocaust fade into the background (although they are not totally ignored). But it is impressive how Hitler goes from a vagrant artist to a member of a party of 7, to dictator of Germany.

    I appreciated that he ties the Nazi Party to economics. Economy does well, the Nazi Party loses votes, economy does poorly, Nazi Party gets votes. It's also interesting that while Hitler has a great deal of control over people in the early stages, by the time WW2 is properly rolling he is less an actor than a reactor. Which is obvious, given that Germany lost, but from a story telling perspective it's important as even in the late stages of the war he was ordering people around. Often historians will talk about Hitler getting more involved in the military side of things as a key part of his downfall but Shigeru doesn't really show that. He's interested in telling a story of Hitler's arc. Aside from a few major orders like the order for the troops at Stalingrad to fight to the death we are not shown much. Instead, Hitler hides in his holiday home and then his bunker and reacts to bad news after bad news.

    The writing was a little too simplistic and literal for me. There's a lot of "this is how I feel" "this is what I am doing." But I'm blaming the translators for that.

    I quite like the mix of realistic and cartoonish artwork. It belittles Hitler while treating the situation seriously.
    I don't think I've ever seen Hitler's moustache drawn like that before.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited December 2016
    I also read The Wolf Man, which I think is written by a Dr. Freud fanboy but it comes off as "Freud was a know nothing know it all" to me. At least it isn't as bad as another graphic novel about Freud (Hysteria) by the same author I read that ended with a plea for a return to Freud's "positive thinking healing."

    I also also read Lighter Than My Shadow, an autobiographical comic about anorexia. It is really effective because it so long (over 500 pages). She gets better, "oh fuck I'm only a 1/5th of the way through." She gets better, "oh fuck, I'm only half way through." She gets better there's more, she gets better, there's more.

    edit- gee, it's like I have autocorrect but for my brain.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited January 2017

    The Law of the Desert Born, it's cool. It's an adaptation of a western written by Louis L'Amour. I dunno. I love (spaghetti) western films, but western novels haven't really been something I've gotten into. I dimly remember reading some when I was younger and read everything I could get my hands on. Western stuff is something I'm very interested in, but 'classic' western stuff isn't. The Law of the Desert Born is and adaptation of a classic western short story, and it has changed a lot in the process. I bet I would not be half as interested in the original story, the adaptation seems to have brought out some of the tension that lay in the background of the original, which was more generic and Romantic. I particularly enjoyed how my point of view changed throughout the book. Usually there's a character that the reader follows who is the protagonist and is a good guy (usually, but this is a western so definitely). But there's enough twists and turns and uncertainty that I found myself changing sides. That uncertainty could be a bad thing, it muddies the story a bit, you're along for the ride and don't have a sense of where you're going. But it's a nice ride, and the lovely black and white art makes it enjoyable enough. Though not my thing, it's a fine book.

    I read another book recently that I wanted to also post about, but I can't remember what it was now.

    Ah! I remembered. Blacksad! Go read Blacksad. It's real good.
    So good. Noir detective fiction with animals. Wait wait wait! No, it's not a furry thing. Ok, yes, they do yiff. But it's a noir thing, unfaithful wives, femme fatales etc. Look, that's just a small part. And it's not a furry thing. Every part is brilliant, the fights, the dialogue, the mishmash of decades creating a perfect world for noir plots and events. Just read it. Trust me.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    haaayeshaaayes Sheffield, UKRegistered User new member
    edited January 2017
    Vanguard wrote: »
    Graphic novels I have read recently:

    Paper Girls - Loved it.

    I liked Paper Girls (I've only read volume one so far) - the central story idea was brilliant. But I thought it was too dialogue-heavy, to the point of being self-indulgent at times (very much a writer's comic rather than an artist's). I'd have liked for it to let itself breathe every once in a while, and take in the creepiness of what was happening without characters constantly making quips. I'm like, 'I get it, Brian, you're clever.'

    I'm finally getting around to reading Persepolis which is blowing my mind and heart right now. Even though her style is so minimalist I get that 'I'll never be this good' feeling.

    haaayes on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited February 2017
    Rosaline Lightning by Tom Hart. I'm not sure what to make of it. 1. it's a non-fiction comic, which always throw me for a loop. and 2. it's about the death of a child, or more specifically, it's about the feelings caused by the death of a child. And I feel callous as if someone has served their heart to me on a platter and all I can say is, "eh, needs more seasoning." I dunno, I approach it as a book first, and I can't even try to think about it as a true story because then I'll start picking at it. Because it's inevitable that a story ends up being fictionalised in the telling and if I'm trying to spot those elements then it starts to feel like I'm questioning Tom's grief. Which might even be the point, but I don't think so, I've definitely seen that angle in other memoirs though.

    Anyway, here's my review of the death of a child:
    Rosaline Lightning is (generally) about the search for meaning or something, something to fill the gap. But it's really about the feelings.
    I don't think Tom is/was successful in finding meaning, but I am uncertain whether it is intended or not. Throughout he creates meaning in circumstances and coincidences, or portentous moments. And there's the sense that they assuage his grief momentarily (or else express it, which is a kind of relief). But they don't last. It's common for graphic novels to tie everything up in a neat bow at the end of a story (I can't remember where I read that but the article's given reason was that it was the influence of Watchmen and its meticulous storytelling). And this memoir ends with a nice image, but it's hard to say if it's intended as "The Answer" to the pain or if it is just another nice image. I'm biased here, as my own view is that death is meaningless (in the sense that it can't be fixed or made pretty after the fact, at least, not without lies) so I see it as more the latter. The tree growing is a roundabout way of saying that the loss will always be there but will change over time. Which I suppose is as close to "The Answer" as you can get. But really, it doesn't matter.

    The whole search for meaning is a bit of a distraction. Literally, it's there to distract from the feelings. Maybe I'm being harsh, but there's no arc. Which again, real people, real feelings. You can't expect real people to conform to nice neat narrative arcs. So it's a little harsh. But the jumping about with flashbacks and flashforwards removes any sense of an arc of mood or feelings. Instead there is this ever present dread that colours everything, past, present and future. And that's deliberate. It's practically the thesis statement, being literally said in the first chapter. It's very effective. But... I would have preferred some development. I'm sorry Tom, your child's death didn't suit my narrative preferences?? I wonder what the book might have been like if it were written a decade on. Of course, then the grief would be lessened, and it wouldn't permeate the whole book. Which would've made it a lesser book...
    Very good at what it does but what it does isn't very nice. Surprise! Who'd've thought the death of a child would be such a downer? But yes, good book.

    edit- The next book I read is Nicholas, by Pascal Girard. A book about his younger brother dying when they were kids. Geez, I dunno, I swear I don't try find these books. I just happened to read two similar books in a row, again.
    I thought it'd be one of those small cute jokey books. Those things are a dime a dozen. But, it's another autobio about the death of a child. I don't have much to say about it, but it's more about what is not said. It skips through the life of the author from childhood to adulthood, how he changes, how that relates to the death of his brother. What's interesting is that his author avatar doesn't change appearance, he always looks like the picture on the cover, even as an adult. Giving the impression that he's stuck in that moment of time when his brother died. It works well and isn't egregious thanks to the art. You only notice that he's growing up when he's doing something grownup like renting a house. Or smoking, which threw me for a loop at first.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited February 2017
    I'm reading All My Daughters and it really isn't making me reconsider my "no manga" rule.

    (if you're wondering about me reading that Hitler manga, I'm talking about that specific sized paper back book manga. Hardcover or different sized books aren't really "manga" in my mind, they're just Japanese comics.)

    I failed to read the graphic novel adaptation of The Kite Runner. The art (though really the colouring) was just awful. Modern comic colourists have a lot to answer for. I reached the point
    where the best friend gets raped and there's a splash panel of him walking down the street with bloody jeans and he's leaving a trail of blood and it is just cartoonish in the worst way.
    I hate that style of colouring/art and it is so popular for some reason. The Game of Thrones graphic novel(s) had the same problem. It's not the worst art, but I hate it and its mediocrity. The more I look at it the more I hate it.

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    A few recent graphic novels:

    Mind MGMT Vol. 1 is pretty good. I've seen a lot of negative comments on the internet about the art, and I don't see it myself. Maybe the art in later volumes takes a steep nosedive? I don't hate "bad" art, only mediocre art.

    Speaking of, not a book I've read recently, but I need to reread Peter and Alex. A book with "bad" art that is very good. I'll post about it once I have because it's a book that I think is special.

    Jane, the Fox and Me.

    I liked this book. It's nice. And that's a big complement considering it's a book about a girl being bullied and isolated by her peers. It's treated in a realistic way yet the book is not soul crushing. This is mainly on the art. The artist usually illustrates children's books and brings that style to this one. So even the grey, depressing, school has visual appeal. And it only gets better with the colour that is found in her fantasies of being Jane Eyre.
    LINKY TO PAGE, nice commentary too.

    It's really a book for children, but the good thing about comics is that anyone can read them.

  • Options
    Dizzy DDizzy D NetherlandsRegistered User regular
    I started on Scott McCloud's the Sculptor (came out last year, but didn't get around to pick it up back then). Still have to process exactly what I'm reading and it has the weight of a small elephant, so I can't take it anywhere, which limits my reading time., but enjoying it so far.

    Steam/Origin: davydizzy
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    Peter and Alex. A favourite of mine.


    It's about Peter and Alex, two boys at a school for kids with issues. The story is dark and involves sexual abuse.
    The gist of it is, Peter molests Alex and Alex dies and goes to hell.
    Like I said, it is a dark story.

    But what makes it so good is it being written in the style of a children's book (I've seen it sold as a children's book. Not young kinds, mind.) But it is quite disturbing and I would never give it to a kid to read even if it is not exactly explicit. The children's book style and the incomplete story means that the book stays with you. I've read other horror books that use a children's book style but it never quite works for me, there's too much whimsy. This book has no whimsy, it's childlike but there's none of the good of childhood in it.

    While it's a book about heaven and hell, it is also more about our attitudes to victims and abusers. How a victim can be eternally victimised simply for being a victim and how an abuser can repent and survive with their reputation intact.

    If I have one complaint about the book, it's that it talks about itself. On the back cover and in the intro it talks about the meaning and the themes. It's a bit self indulgent. I would much rather a book that stands on its own.

  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    edited April 2017
    COWL. Yet another Watchmen imitator. Now, it's not totally a Watchmen copy, but it shares a lot of same DNA. If it were the only one of its type I could enjoy it more. Superheroes plus unionising antics is a interesting idea. Not a great idea. But there's a little bit of meat there.

    But unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be more to it than that. And I've already seem this kind of comic done before and better.

    I'm not sure if this belongs in the graphic novel thread. Indie?

    Gvzbgul on
  • Options
    Bobby DerieBobby Derie Registered User regular
    I'd say more indie than stand-alone graphic novel, and yeah, I agree that while I like the initial concept COWL just didn't deliver - I'd put it closer to a grim'n'gritty version of Top Ten than Watchman per se, but there's a lot of the same DNA there: superhero people go from being vigilantes to being cops, and for supercops to make sense you need supercrime...fill in the blanks.

    I just finished the Comic Book Story of Beer, because I like comic histories; it's pretty good as these things go. Very competent, some nice layout choices, informative without getting preachy.

    The Unpublishable - Original fiction blog, updates Fridays
    Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos
  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    Hole in the Heart: Bringing Up Beth.


    I'm not sure what to say about this one. It's a fairly painful read. It's not the painful bits that make me uncertain about it, they're some of the best parts of the book. But the good bits, the joyful bits, I don't fully believe them. Which is not the intention of the book. The book is written with the intent of showing and skewering the bad bits. And it does a good job. But as I said, the good bits don't seem as real, which I think is due to the difficulty of conveying slow and gradual change in perspective. Particularly the end, which I think is intended to show that the bad bits were really just a matter of perspective. The book is fairly subjective, being from the perspective of the mother, but as I reader I still feel somewhat objective about the book. So when they reverse it at the end it feels fake. Even though the intention was to show that it was the first impression that was fake, not the final one.

    So what is the book about? It's about bringing up Beth. Beth is born with down's syndrome and what makes it so brutal is how much the mother hates her child. And it's not condemning her but society and the misconceptions and prejudice around down's syndrome. The mum is just someone who has heard all these awful things about down's syndrome and believes them. The book is very careful to juxtapose the mum's pessimistic thoughts with Beth doing the exact opposite. eg. the Mum thinks her other kids hate Beth and doesn't let them play with her, but we see that they love Beth and want to play with her. It's as if to say that a lot of 'negatives' are really created or imaginary.

    And gradually, over time, the mum comes around. It feels a bit simplistic to put it that way, as the book does a lovely job of mixing the ups and downs. But it is an upward trajectory. I especially liked how even as the mum fought for Beth, it wasn't purely out of good motives. It's messy, but again, as the book goes on she faces and overcomes her own prejudices.

    If I had one complaint, it's that the time skips in the comic make some of the positive development feel unearned or unreal. And it's maybe unfair of me to complain, as I know what the writer meant and so they haven't really made any mistake. But it just feels to me like it weakens the end a bit. But... I am sure that for some the book will be very powerful and that my minor issue with it won't even be noticed. It is after all, subjective.

  • Options
    SorceSorce Not ThereRegistered User regular
    I picked up Fathom Vol. 4. I think I was more surprised that it was still going (and that there's also a Vol. 5 out there) than anything else, but since I liked Aspen when I was younger, I figured I would give it a whirl.

    It... wasn't bad. Penned by Scott Lobdell and David Wohl, with art duties handled by Alex Konat and Beth Sotelo, Aspen finds herself as the only ambassador between the Blue (or at least Blue-adjacent) and Humanity. Experimentation reigns, mostly with Humans not knowing what the hell they're doing, and everyone's favorite Water Primal saving the day. Reading the book, it never really felt like Aspen was in danger, or any narrative tension at all really, except for a bit towards the end (sort of); it was just "Bad Situation, Aspen is on the ropes, Other Stuff, Aspen Wins". I suppose that's kind of to be expected at this point, since Michael Turner isn't around anymore to bounce ideas off of, and no one would want to be the person that did anything long-term/permanent to the character or the world he created. Also, it was clearly a TPB instead of a OGN, since every so often there was a page updating the reader on everything in the story, and who Aspen was/is. It was about as fun as a "previously on" section of a tv episode when you're on a season-long binge.

    The end of it was actually kind of interesting,
    because one of the humans had been forcibly bonded with some kind of Blue lifeform via SCIENCE, and the fishy half was very, very unhappy about it. The concept that a character like that would exist going forward in Fathom was interesting, but then a few pages later Aspen separated the two with Water Magic(tm) after fighting a bit and the human went back to normal.

    I'm not sure I'd recommend picking it up unless you are already a fan of the character and the world, but either way, it probably won't blow your socks off.

  • Options
    GvzbgulGvzbgul Registered User regular
    Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss is pretty cool. It tells the story of the life of Marie and Pierre Curie (if that wasn't obvious) peppered with anecdotes about the history of radiation.

    It's a very pretty book. 1) it has a glow in the dark cover! That was cool. 2) it has full colour pages. As in, the colour extends all the way to the edge of the page. And what vibrant colours it has. There's a little bit at the end the covers how she did some of the images using exposure of light sensitive sheets, which is fairly appropriate for a book dealing with radiation and is what gives the book its lovely brightness.

    It feels like the main reason it exists is for the sake of design. The history, as I said, is anecdotal. It's more about creating a feeling for what radiation is to people and their effect on their lives. There's some medical quackery in there that isn't really described as quackery, the book simply lets people tell their stories as they tell them. If I had to point at a part where it felt like facts were getting twisted, it'd be in some of the writing about nuclear accidents. But I'm probably being unfair. The point is to show how radiation has had benefits (real and imagined) and hazards (real and imagined).

    Anyway, it's a cool book.
    glow in the dark


  • Options
    burboburbo Registered User regular
    My favorite comic/graphic novel (what's the difference? I don't know) that I've been reading lately is Monstress. I just think the art is gorgeous, I don't know if I've ever really read anything with so much detail in it (maybe Transmetropolitan?), and very evocative. The writing is really good, and the world building is great. Everytime I read it, I just feel like I want it to be a whole video game, because I just want to explore. Also, there is a race of magic cats, and that's dope.



Sign In or Register to comment.