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Graphic Novelty²

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June 2016

Leibster Award! – Part 2

liebsteraward

My Comic Relief nominated our blog for the Liebster Award!

(And then Nancy let me write a second post =P )

The Liebster Award, for those of you who are not familiar with it, works like this:

  • Thank the blog that nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer the questions that the blogger that nominated you wrote for you to answer.
  • Nominate other bloggers that you think deserve the award.
  • Write 11 questions for your own nominees.
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them.

The other blogs I would like to nominate are:

Steve’s Photos – Great photography blog!

Printed Word Wanderer – Reviews of print books!

Graphic Policy – News and reviews of comics and graphic novels, as well as movies, games, and anything else nerdy and comic-booky.

LemanShots – A fine art blog by a really cool artist!

The Orang-utan Librarian – Reviews of YA books, Game of Thrones episodes, and lots of other fun things~

Success Inspirer’s World – Beautiful and inspiring poetry ❤

** Like Nancy, I picked a variety of blogs, too. I am also a girl with many interests outside what you may see on this blog =P

Here are the 11 questions I am bound to answer:

1) What is your favorite book or series?

Nancy why. I can’t possibly choooose. I think my very favorite is the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon. I could go on and on about it but I’ll spare you all the headache and link you to the Goodreads of the first book instead XD IT’S THE BEST I PROMISE YOU WON’T REGRET READING IT

2)  What are you thankful for?

My mom, who is my rock and the strongest woman I know. My boyfriend, who is my partner in crime and all other things. My sisters and my puppies. Sales at the art store. Long drives on sunny days with the music blasting and windows down. Chocolate covered almonds (chocolate covered everything tbh). And oh yeah, that my mom is letting me stay at her house after graduation without charging me rent… =P

3)  What is your favorite place to visit?

The summer between my first and second years of college, my mom and sisters and I took a road trip to Colorado for my uncle’s wedding. He lived just outside Colorado Springs at the time. I had never seen mountains before, so to me, it was the most beautiful and wild place I’d ever been. I remember writing a lot while I was there because I was just so inspired. You could see so many more stars at night than you ever could in the Chicagoland area. I’d love to go back, someday.

4)  Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?  If you can write about anything, why this?

Nancy pretty much answered this in the last post =P Comics are great!!! I want to show other people how great they are, too!

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path?

Thank God for the scheduling option on WordPress tbh. I am not the best at scheduling my time. I check a few books out from work (I work in a library) and bring them when I’m working a Saturday. If there’s no programs going on and it’s not too busy, I can normally read and review a couple of books. Occasionally if I pick one up on my own for me or my boyfriend, or he buys one for me, I read and review it pretty quickly. Even though I don’t really have a set schedule, I have a pretty good post queue going.

6)  What would you like to learn how to do?

I want to learn how to make mosaics or stained glass. No joke. I think they’re beautiful and I want them in my future house. Any art form I don’t know how to do, I want to learn it.

7)  What do you want people to remember about you?

I want people to remember that I was my own person. I don’t change myself for anyone and I certainly do not lie down and take crap from anyone. I pride myself on my originality and individuality and that’s the thing I want people to remember most.

8)  What is the reason behind the name of your blog?

At first this blog was just named something generic for our class project X,D Nancy and I knew we wanted to keep it going and we had to think of a name before we let it go live. We really liked “Graphic Novelty,” but it was unfortunately taken. I came up with adding a 2 after, so we could have “Graphic Novelty,” but adding a squared symbol to our header so the 2 in the URL would make sense. Plus, there are two of us =P Hence, Graphic Novelty².

9)  Which post on your blog would you like to have gotten more readership?

My review of Flash S1. I know I was super late but… not even one view? Was it that bad??? X,D

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience?

Keeping up with posting and comments, especially while I was in school. It hasn’t gotten much better since graduation but at least my stress levels are overall way down X,D

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture?

I’m forced to read all those comics and graphic novels I said I was going to read for ages. And it’s such a hassle =P

Now here are my questions for my nominees:

1) How did you start your blog?

2)  What are you thankful for?

3)  Any hidden talents?

4)  You’re out at karaoke night. Which song do you choose to belt out onstage? (Or, if you don’t go out, like me, what do you like to sing in the shower? =P )

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path?

6)  If you were a dragon, what would you hoard?

7)  What do you want people to remember about you?

8)  What was your favorite concert that you ever went to?

9)  You have the option to vacation anywhere in the world. Where do you go and why?

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience?

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture?

Nancy texted me that we were nominated for this award and I was stunned tbh XD Thank you, everyone, for reading and commenting and supporting us in our adventure! You guys are the best! =D

– Kathleen

Supergirl: Power

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Loeb, Jeph, Ian Churchill, and Norm Raphmund. Supergirl: Power. 2006.

A few weeks ago was one of the first weekends with really nice weather. I decided to walk to the comic book store and pick up the next issues of what I’d been reading. I picked this up too, for my boyfriend, but I sat down with the milkshake I got on the way home and read it first =P

This book is the start of a spinoff series that takes place after the events of Superman/Batman: Supergirl so if you’ve read that or seen the animated Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, you’re already up to speed. Kara Zor El is struggling to find her place on Earth as both a teenage girl and Superman’s cousin. It’s a huge reputation, one Kara isn’t sure she can uphold or even wants to. She is looking for a mentor or a friend, someone who can help her understand her powers and how Earth works. She meets with some of the most powerful teams in the DC lineup: the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, the Justice Society of America, looking for answers. The whole time, someone is watching her, gauging her powers, researching a new black Kryptonite, and wondering if she can be trusted…

Like I said, this is technically the first book in a spin off series of Superman/Batman: Supergirl, but you don’t need to have read that to read this. They only mention the previous events once or twice. That they packed so many characters in it for Kara to interact with was a bit off-putting and didn’t really let her stand on her own, but in the end I didn’t really mind. What I did mind was the costume. Come on. Who fights crime in a skirt that short? It barely covered anything. I was rolling my eyes at every instance where it miraculously covered up her assets, because lol what is physics. There was also a bit where Grace Choi from the Outsiders asks what size her costume is, which made me laugh. It was a pretty good book for all that, I might pick up the next and see how I do with it.

– Kathleen

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come
Waid, Mark & Alex Ross. Kingdom Come. 1996.

When IGN declared this story “One of the greatest comic book stories of all time” they were not far off the mark.

After I read Red Son and enjoyed it so much, this book was recommended to me by the manager at Graham Crackers, and he was spot on- I loved this book. The moralistic debate storyline and the artwork are top-notch, and holds up 20 years after first being published. The Eisner Awards that were given to Alex Ross were well deserved.

Set in the near future, the iconic superheroes have retired, giving rise to a new type of “hero,” some of whom are children of the original heroes, many of whom are selfish and are out only for themselves. They do not care for the destruction that occurs when they fight among themselves (Marvel’s Civil War seems to borrow from this plot point in the beginning of their book) as they are lacking personal responsibility.  We are introduced to Norman McCay, a pastor who is the story’s POV narrator and is shepherded around by The Spectre, The Agent of God’s Wrath. The two are privy to events, as an impending apocalyptic event looms.

Superman is in seclusion, after the death of his wife Lois Lane, but Wonder Woman visits him to ask that he reenter society to help ward off further catastrophic events, after a huge swath of America is ruined after two warring superhumans fight. The two reform the Justice League, with many heroes such as The Green Lantern, The Flash, Power Woman, and Red Robin joining them in solidarity. Superman approaches Batman, but is angrily rejected by him. Many other of the superhumans refuse to join with Superman so he reluctantly sends them to prison, nicknamed The Gulag, to reeducate them. Although the Justice League tries their best to help the world, their methods are not entirely successful and suspicions and resentment build in different factions.

Lex Luthor and his evil cohorts band together to form the Mankind Liberation Front, in which humans would regain control, just for Lex to control them in turn. Batman aligns with this group, along with a motley group of second-generation superhumans. Lex’s secret weapon, Captain Marvel, comes out of hiding with his alter ego, Billy Batson, completely brainwashed by Lex. The group stirs dissent in the public, and when disaster looms in the too full Gulag, the true intentions of Batman come to light.

Wonder Woman, who has been pushing for a more militant stance due to her Amazonian heritage, leads the Justice League to the prison to quell the riot. As the rioters emerge, an epic battle ensues. Captain Marvel appears and seems to be outfighting Superman. Can Superman appeal to him, and what will happen among the fighting factions?

The relationships between The Holy Trinity of the DC heroes- Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman- are perfect. Although I have not seen the newest Batman Vs. Superman movie, I am aware that there was criticism about how the guiding principals of the two heroes were changed.  This book stays true to each character’s back story, so kudos to Mark Waid for his familiarity with the history of all the superheroes!  As such, the Epilogue was a perfect ending. After my frustration with how clueless Superman was in Red Son about Wonder Woman, I thought this book ended the story in a wonderful way. The three heroes will remain united.

The artwork is photorealism in style and painted in gouache. This opaque watercolor dries to a matte finish so combining the painting, drawing and other graphic media such as Photoshop produced a unique look. I thought throughout the book that some of the heroes and public looked so realistic that models must have been used, and in the Apocrypha section, my suspicions were confirmed, with a list of who the artist based his drawing off, with the bystander, Norman McCay based off Ross’s own father. The heroes were all aged realistically, and not caricatures of themselves; the greying, lines and weight added was naturalistic. The layout was fun, with splash pages and varied spread panels utilized. Ross’s original idea for this story and his artistry are what made this novel superb.

I so needed a cheat sheet to help me with the many, many characters. As I am not typically a DC fan, I was not familiar with many of the supporting, second-generation superheroes. This Wikipedia page helped me sort out everybody and how they were connected to one another. Sometimes clues in the panels helped me figure out connections, but for example, this site cleared up some confusion to me in regards to three family relationships of Batman. An added bonus in identification was at the end of the book there were several pages that identified every character with a picture and a brief description.

Final asides: When this graphic novel was published, Shazam was still called Captain Marvel, but due to there being a Captain Marvel in the Marvel universe this hero is now known only as Shazam to avoid misunderstandings and lawsuits, with the name officially changing in the New 52 run. I felt the meeting between Orion and Superman didn’t fit in with the narrative (it was not included in the first issue). If Diana is ageless why did her fellow Amazonian sister Donna Troy age? Speaking of Donna, loved the pic of her and Diana reuniting on page 77. In fact I thought Diana looked like Lynda Carter in that panel and Green Lantern/Jade looked like Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame. I shipped on Green Arrow and Black Canary, now mature with a daughter. I’m sure I’ll think up more things, and type in a few edits later 😉

I feel I have not done justice to this book, it demands a second & third read through with more time spent examining the pictures. I am very glad I dipped into DC books with this & Red Son!

-Nancy

Kingdom_Come_Vol_1_3_Textless

 

Liebster Award!

 

Michael from My Comic Relief nominated our blog for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much for our blog’s first award! 

The Liebster Award, for those of you who are not familiar with it, works like this:

  • Thank the blog that nominated you and link back to them.
  • Answer the questions that the blogger that nominated you wrote for you to answer.
  • Nominate other bloggers that you think deserve the award.
  • Write 11 questions for your own nominees.
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them.

The other blogs I would like to nominate are:

Heather Hobbs – Reads and reviews some great books!

A Nerdy Nook -Where nerds get their news

The Indie Comic Vault– Opening the lid on the best alternative comics around

Wanderfully Complex– Finding Clarity In My Rarity

Uncovered-Books– Because no-one likes a bad book

Normal to Nomad – This blogger is taking the 52 Hike Challenge, just as my husband & I are!

Plus, I also want to nominate our blog again, so Kathleen gets a turn to write! Her post: Liebster Award #2

** I picked a variety of blogs, not all are about graphic novels. I try to have a balanced life with other interests!

Here are the 11 questions I am bound to answer:

1)  What is one of your earliest/happiest book-related (be it comic or otherwise) memories? I love old-school books. My Mom read with me a lot, and my favorite books as a child were Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill, The Little House  by Virginia Lee Burton, Slowpoke st the Circus by Ruth Ruhman and the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

2)  Is there an author you’ve found whose work resonates deeply with you?  Why do you connect so with what they have to say? I adore Rainbow Rowell, especially her book Eleanor & Park. I connect with every book RR has written, some more than others. RR really captures feelings and relationships, and every time I read one of her books I think, “Me too!” at some point.

3)  What is the point of literature (again, comic and/or otherwise) in your life?  What do you get from reading? I am a Teen Librarian- so reading is my life. As the wise Dr. Seuss states, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!”

4)  Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?  If you can write about anything, why this? Kathleen and I met at Dominican University in a class we were both taking for our Masters Degree in Library Science. We paired up for a project about graphic novels in YA literature, since we were both big fans of that genre. Kathleen created a fake blog to go along with our project, and we wrote reviews of some books. We aced the project, and afterwards we decided to turn the fake blog into a real one since we both had fun writing the reviews. The rest is history!

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path? At first Kathleen posted on Mondays and me on Fridays and that was it. Then she suggested we do a Wednesday post of subjects that interested us in the “geek world” so we could branch off and not just write reviews. We alternate Wednesdays. This schedule works for us, and despite us both having crazy schedules- work, family, school- we keep up our posts. I like having a schedule, it keeps me organized, and on task.

6)  What role do you think illustrations play (as always, speaking in regard to comic books specifically or other forms of literature as well) in telling a story? Illustrations can make or break a book. It enriches the narrative and can promote literacy for a wide range of readers!

7)  Name one story (however you’d like to define that term) that’s been important to your life and discuss why. I was introduced to ElfQuest by my HS boyfriend who is now my husband, and collecting the series (still going strong) has run throughout our whole relationship. See my EQ review as to why I love it so much ♥

8)  Name one character you’ve encountered that’s been particularly important to you and discuss why. Eleanor from Eleanor & Park because I connected with her character on so many levels!

9)  I’ve always felt that writing is important.  But, given the many, many options for sharing your thoughts and opinions in the Internet age, why do you write as opposed to vlogging or simply tweeting or sharing music or any of the other options out there? My answer to question #4 pretty much determined that a blog was the way we would share our reviews. I enjoy writing  (I love to review on Goodreads) but this was a specific way to reach a target audience.

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience? Although keeping to a schedule is helpful, there are weeks I am swamped with LIFE. Sometimes reading a graphic novel a week prevents me from reading other books, and I wish I had more time for other genres.

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture? The INTERACTION with other bloggers! I am the nerdiest of my friends, so at times I didn’t have someone to properly geek out with. Now I have found my tribe!

Now here are my questions for my nominees:

1) What is your favorite book or series?

2)  What are you thankful for?

3)  What is your favorite place to visit?

4)  Why is your blog focused on the topics you’ve chosen?  If you can write about anything, why this?

5)  Do you hold yourself to any sort of schedule as a writer (for example, you must write a little every day or do a post every week) or do you just write when you feel so moved?  Why is this your chosen path?

6)  What would you like to learn how to do?

7)  What do you want people to remember about you?

8)  What is the reason behind the name of your blog?

9)  Which post on your blog would you like to have gotten more readership?

10)  Has there been anything challenging about blogging since you’ve started writing for an online audience?

11)  Lastly, what have you found to be the most rewarding part of blogging since you began your writing venture?

Thank you again to Michael from My Comic Relief for your support. Your blog is so awesome, well written and funny! Kathleen and I were so excited to receive this shout out! I hope all of my nominees are as excited as I was when I found out that we had been nominated.

-Nancy

ep+headphones
E&P picture credit: http://www.gillianberrydraws.com/illustration/

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