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Graphic Novelty²

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October 2016

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 1

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Willingham, Bill, Lan Medina, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, and Craig Hamilton. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 1. 2009.

Not gonna lie, I’ve been meaning to get into this series for a while. One of my coworkers at my old job loved it and she told me I’d like it. But then life (read as: grad school) happened and it fell low on my to-read list.

As it turns out, my boss at one of my libraries is also big into comics. We were talking video games one day and I mentioned I really like the Telltale Games series. He told me to play The Wolf Among Us, which I hadn’t gotten to yet, and that’s based on the comic series. Like I was gonna tell my boss no when he tells me to do something? =P I could do a separate review for the game, because HOLY CRAP IT WAS AMAZING. It was so good it made me start reading the comics.

Once upon a time, in a land called New York City, there was a hidden neighborhood called Fabletown. It was populated with characters you would recognize from your bedtime stories: Snow White, Little Boy Blue, Beauty and the Beast, and even the Big Bad Wolf. They were exiled from their Homelands and have made their new home in the mundane world, keeping themselves secreted away. For the most part, they have governed themselves, but there is a kidnapper – possibly a killer – on the loose. And for one of them, it’s personal: Rose Red, Snow White’s sister, is the Fable who’s missing. Sheriff Bigby Wolf is on the case, and Snow is along for the ride – whether he likes it or not.

This book is awesome!!! It throws fairy tale characters into an ’80s metropolis with a heavy hand on the detective noir. The art reminded me of newspaper comics, with washed out colors and simple panel layouts, yet still finely detailed. I preferred the neon palette of TWAU, so I hope it starts feeling more like that in later books. Due to the language and sometimes violent and sexual nature, it’s definitely not a kid’s comic. But it was a riot, hilarious and thrilling and more than a little naughty. I’m hooked.

Nancy and I hope you guys have a fun and safe Halloween! =D

– Kathleen

Also read: Book Two , Book Three & Book Four

I Hate Fairyland: Madly Ever After

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Young, Skottie. I Hate Fairyland. 2016.

Whoa, this book! It was so fluffing inappropriate,  bloody and over the top. So of course I loved it.

I first became aware of this book when one of my fav bloggers @ The Green Onion Blog reviewed it, and then a friend of mine on Goodreads, so afterwards I knew I had to check it out. When I requested it at my go-to comic book store, Graham Crackers, they asked me where I planned to keep it at the library, and after I assured them it would be in the adult section, they told me they knew I’d love it (They know me well!).

The writer and illustrator, Skottie Young, has quite a distinctive illustrative style and is already well known for his past work such as Rocket Raccoon and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Plus, his chubby baby superheroes are a fan favorite for variant art in the Marvel books. As such, he is the only artist I can imagine pulling off this storyline.

The cover art and title page splash panels show us that we are in for a gruesome treat. We are then introduced to sweet green haired Gertrude in her home as she wishes for a fairy land adventure. The phrase “Be careful what you wish for” is accurate here, for she is unceremoniously dropped, or shall I say plunged into Fairyland. She is met by Queen Cloudia and all the cute citizens of the realm and told all she has to do is find a key back to her world. Expecting this would only take a day, she is given a map and a guide, Larry the fly. Things don’t go as planned, and although Gertrude does not look as though she has aged, 27 years has gone by, and Gertrude has turned into a foul mouthed psychopath.

The Queen is quite disturbed as Gertrude terrorizes Fairyland, still on her quest to get the muffin fluffing way out of there. As the queen can not be the one who hurts a guest of the land, she employs others to do her bidding. It doesn’t go well. The final straw for Gertrude is when another little girl is successful in her quest for the key, when Gertrude herself has been unable to find her way back home. All chaos breaks loose, with some hilariously gory sequences, and a twist to keep Gertrude in Fairyland permanently.

Read this candy colored comic book, only if you have a sick sense of humor and are not offended easily. If you meet the above criteria, you will not be disappointed in this violent comedic series, and it will become a guilty pleasure of yours!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Spooky Settings

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: Favorite Spooky Settings! So while I would never want to actually visit these locations, they exist in my mind for they were richly created, atmospheric and very sinister at times.

 

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Stephen King became too wordy for me a long time ago, so I now stick to his short stories for I feel he writes them very well.  Some authors write a whole book and you still don’t have a fully fleshed out character, so I have always felt short story writers who can pull you in quickly are the best authors. These four stories have very dark undertones to them, and will stay in your mind afterwards, for they are based enough in the real world to make you squirm.

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This gives me an excuse to yet again bring up one of my favorite graphic novels, Locke & Key! The story takes place on the east coast in the fictional town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The Locke family estate, Keyhouse and it’s grounds, are eerie and atmospheric with a cave and well house being significant to the story.

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The picturesque setting the of the seemingly sweet fairy tale Beautiful Darkness veers off course quickly into a macabre, unsettling and gruesome allegory about society.  Wait until you see where these creatures originated!

Through the Woods

Through the Woods is a short story collection that incorporates ominous woods into all the stories to great effect. The sinister wolf is lurking behind every tree, for even if you make it through the woods safely several times, all he has to do is wait for that one time he does catch you!

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Impressive collection of horror/fantasy/paranormal short stories that were all inspired by old movies or books. The inspiration of each story is listed at the end of each story, but the fun is in guessing before you know for sure. The settings for each story are perfectly unsettling and unique.

 

-Nancy

 

Wonder Woman (III, Vol. 7): Contagion

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Simone, Gail, Nicola Scott, Fernando Dagnino, Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, and Doug Hazelwood. Wonder Woman (III, Vol. 7): Contagion. 2010.

Since her very first volume of Birds of Prey, I’m absolutely convinced I have to read everything Gail Simone writes. Lucky for me she wrote some Wonder Woman~ Silly me got the last volume she wrote though so we’re starting at the end with this one 😄

There are basically two stories in this volume. The first, titled “A Murder of Crows,” shows Wonder Woman struggling with multiple events in Washington, D.C.: an escaped mythical serpent, the arson of a synagogue, multiple riots and mob violence. These things seem unrelated, but could they actually be linked? Diana figures it out when Power Girl attacks her, but she needs to calm her down in order for them to work together!

The second story, “Wrath of the Silver Serpent,” takes place just after the first. While cleaning the city from the last attack, there appears to be an alien invasion – by something resembling Lantern power! Diana soon discovers that the commander of the forces is someone much closer to her than she thinks. Can she show them the power of compassion before they feast on the entire earth?

Simone’s writing is as superb as ever. I really love how she wrote Wonder Woman. I also really like how she wrote Power Girl and Wonder Woman together. They each had separate thoughts about the other heroine and they were entertaining. They both admired and were jealous of each other for the same reasons. The art was pretty good, but the writing shone more. For it being the end of an arc, it had a pretty happy ending, which always makes me happy =D Now to start from the beginning!!! 😄

– Kathleen

Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts

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Seluk, Nick. Heart and Brain: Gut Instincts. 2016.

 

Heart: The second Awkward Yeti collection book is here!!

Brain: Let’s open it up and read it.

Eyes: The illustrations are funny!

Brain: You have a BIG project due in class today. Get back to work now.

Heart: Just a few more pages!

Stomach: I’m hungry, why are you ignoring me?

Bladder: I’m being ignored too!

Heart: I can’t put this book down!

Brain: Almost done…

Bowels: I see a page that describes how anxious you are Nancy. I am at your service, as the picture below describes.

Tooth: Modification time!

Heart: Relax everyone! This book is just what the doctor ordered, some laughs during a stressful time.

Liver: I know what that means- I’m going to have my work cut out for me tonight when you celebrate the end of one of your grad classes!

Brain: Wrap up this review.

Heart: Done! I can’t wait for the next Heart and Brain adventure!!!

 

-Nancy

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Gut Instincts– page 60

*Be sure to read the first Awkward Yeti collection!

Supergirl Season 2 Premiere

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***There are spoilers for the end of Supergirl Season 1 ahead***

As it’s the only show I’m caught up on, I’m watching just Supergirl again this TV season. I made my boyfriend sit down and watch the first season with me over the summer and he loves it too. His admission went something like this:

Me: *a few episodes in, catching his eye and nudging him with my elbow* Sooooo????

Him: I actually… like it a a lot better than I thought I would.

Me: *hits him with a pillow* DIDN’T I TELL YOU??? I TOLD YOU YOU WOULD LIKE IT AND THAT YOU SHOULD WATCH IT YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME- *muffled screaming as he hits me in the face with another pillow*

*epic pillow fight ensues ending in tickling*

I just watched the recording on my DVR and thought I’d share my thoughts on how the premiere went and where this season might go~

This season starts off immediately where the last left off. Supergirl and Martian Manhunter chase after an object crashing into National City. They discover it’s a pod just like the one that carried Kara and Clark to Earth, and inside is a boy. They don’t know who he is, but are determined to find out. They take him to the DEO office in National City to figure out his identity.

A new space shuttle, Venture, has all 200 passengers on board and is about to launch in National City. A reporter named Clark Kent is in from Metropolis covering the story. When he hears on the news that the shuttle has had an engine failure and is going down, Superman springs into action. Kara hears the same newscast and rushes to save it, too. Together, Superman and Supergirl safely bring the shuttle down and save everyone inside.

In investigating why the shuttle failed, they found one person to have been missing onboard when it launched. Lena Luthor, sister of Lex, was supposed to have been on it, but said she cancelled last minute due to complications with planning her renaming ceremony. She has taken over LexCorp after Superman put Lex away. She plans to rename it L Corp, to show the company’s adaptability and solidarity with the community. Clark doesn’t believe her alibi, but Kara decides to give her the benefit of the doubt. At said renaming ceremony, the perpetrator strikes again: this time, targeting Lena. Who is this man? Who would send him to kill her, and why?

The whole while, Kara is struggling with a few things. Cat has promoted Kara and offered her any job she might want. Things with James are great, but does she really want to make that leap from friend to girlfriend? With so many options on the table, Kara isn’t sure how to be – well, Kara. She knows how to be Supergirl. She isn’t so confident how to be just Kara.

I take back (mostly) everything I said about Tyler Hoechlin. I was skeptical when he was cast because I don’t think he has quite the Superman look. Even clean-shaven he has a perpetual 5 o’clock shadow. My boss and I decided he doesn’t have quite the Superman jaw, either 😄 But after his very first scene as Clark Kent, I was sold. He has the stuttering, bumbling, eager to please farm boy DOWN. I’m still not too convinced about his Superman – he’s barely taller than Kara and not so beefy as Henry Cavill, but now that I think about it more, it works. This isn’t his show, and Kara needs to shine. It will be interesting to see how Kara handles her cousin being more popular than she is.

I feel like the premiere was set up to show how much growth Kara is going to go through. She grew mostly as Supergirl last season, obviously because she had just started out, but Kara didn’t get quite the same treatment. Here, Kara has basically the world at her feet. Her boss, the most powerful woman in media, is giving her the power to choose for herself what she wants. That’s huge! Kara’s decision will impact her whole future, and how she grows as a person, as a character. I’m really excited to see where her decision takes her.

I didn’t want to spoil too much more, but that’s the basic gist of it =D I’m so glad she moved to the CW, where she will be much more at home with her partners Arrow and Flash. Already chomping at the bit for those crossover episodes!!! I will shut up now until the season is over! Enjoy!

– Kathleen

Monstress (Vol. 1): The Awakening

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Liu, Marjorie M. and Sana Takeda. Monstress (Vol. 1): Awakening. 2016.

Maika Halfwolf is a survivor. Her world has been torn apart from war for years between the humans and the Arcanics. When she is captured and sold as a slave, she frees herself from her prison and hunts down her captor – who knew her mother, and Maika demands answers. In the process, she picks up half a mask that has mysterious and cataclysmic power. Now the hunter turns into the hunted, as authorities from both the human and Arcanic sides of the war try to locate and take back the mask. Its’ presence wakes something in Maika… something dark, and terrible, and so, so hungry…

If nothing else, pick this book up for the art alone. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a comic before. I’m blown away that it even IS a comic. It’s a blend of anime, steampunk, fantasy, history from multiple periods… this book truly is ART. My reading time is quite limited now, so I try to get through what I can in a short period of time, but I lingered long over this one, studying every panel. I was just. asl;dkfj Amazed. I am still amazed.

This is a darker fantasy than what I normally pick up, but it’s still fascinating. Maika is ruthless even as she tries desperately to control the savage power within her. There are also cool talking cats with multiple tails =P I eagerly await the next volume~

– Kathleen

March: Book One

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Lewis, John, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell. March: Book One. 2013.

 

A vivid account of John Lewis’ human rights struggle and the greater Civil Rights movement that he was an integral part of.

The book opens with African Americans marching across a bridge and bravely facing a squad of white policeman. The story then quickly segues into modern day (2009) in which Congressman John Lewis is preparing to attend President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration. He speaks to a visiting woman and her two grandsons, and through their conversation, he reminisces about his past and early days of the Civil Rights Movement. His story of growing up poor in rural Alabama and overcoming severe discrimination to attend college, which leads to him meeting a young Martin Luther King Jr, was a lesson in determination and diligence.

March would be perfect to use in a classroom to better understand the Black Civil Rights Movement for the graphic novel really brings the struggle alive to the reader. The evocative black and white illustrations make you truly see what was happening, for words can be glossed over, but the pictures make you experience it. Any text book for young readers can’t go into much detail about this era, so this book and the sequels, will add much needed dimension to a student’s understanding. The reader will get the big picture of the movements that changed American race relations for the better. John Lewis and all the protesters were everyday people, who had had enough, and were true heroes for their choices. Could people today do the same?

I did have a few small quibbles though- some information given does not provide enough background. The book opens with a march across the bridge, but it is unclear that John Lewis was one of the leaders, for the date and his name are not given during this scene. Plus the grandmother and boys stopping by Mr. Lewis’s office was a contrived way to make John Lewis start reminiscing about his past to get the narrative going. More information is needed to complete the story, but perhaps that’s the point, to make people research more about this era and to set the stage for the next two books.

I look forward to reading Book Two and Three, and learning about the continuing saga of the Civil Rights movement, for John Lewis is truly a man to be inspired by!

-Nancy

* Review of March: Book Two can be found here.

*Review of March: Book Three can be found here.

 

World War Z audio edition

 

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Brooks, Max. World War Z. 2006.

 

I listened to the audio version of this book back in 2014 (Goodreads review), and LOVED it beyond belief. The actors voicing each character were perfect, and made the book come alive, more than if I had actually just read the print book. When my family went on a vacation this summer, I insisted on bringing this audio book along and forced them to listen to it (don’t worry- my kids are teens), for I was determined that they would love it as much as I did. While they aren’t as rabid about it as me, they all enjoyed it.

When I first listened to it I recognized some distinctive voices right away, but some were harder for me to place. I did some Google sleuthing to match up each character and I found this blog post that gave me all the information I was looking for. All the following data came from the  blog, In a Sea of K’s, and she should get all the credit for the research!

Introduction: Max Brooks as The Interviewer

WARNINGS

  • Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China [Patient Zero/The First Case] — Steve Park as Kwang Jingshu (the Chinese doctor)
  • Lhasa, the People’s Republic of Tibet [Smuggler seeing signs] — Frank Kamai as Nury Televadi (smuggler)
  • Meteora, Greece [Bandits in cave/Canadian soldier’s account] — Nathan Fillion as Stanley MacDonald (Canadian soldier)
  • The Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil [virus-infected heart transplant] — Paul Sorvino as Fernando Oliveira (corrupt doctor)
  • Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados, West Indies Federation [South African slum outbreak] — Ade M’Cormack as Jacob Nyathi (Black South African)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel [Gathering Evidence/The Warmbrunn-Knight Report] — Carl Reiner as Jurgen Warmbrunn (Israeli spy)
  • Bethlehem, Palestine [Militant Son/Family Move to Israel] — Waleed Zuiater as Saladin Kader (Rebelling son)

BLAME

  • Langley, Virginia USA [CIA director/CIAs non-response] — Jay O. Sanders as Bob Archer (CIA guy)
  • Vaalajarvi, Finland [The Military/America’s response] — Dennis Boutsikaris as General Travis D’Ambrosia (military brass)
  • Vostok Station, Antarctica [Capitalist who marketed vaccine] — Martin Scorsese as Breckinridge “Breck” Scott (moneymaker without remorse)
  • Amarillo, Texas, USA [Former White House chief-of-staff] — Simon Pegg as Grover Carlson (White House spin doctor)
  • Troy, Montana, USA [Zombies attack family in suburbia] — Denise Crosby as Mary Jo Miller (suburban mom)

THE GREAT PANIC

  • Parnell Air National Guard Base: Memphis, Tennessee, USA [Highway traffic jam/zombies] — Bruce Boxleitner as Gavin Blaire (derigible pilot)
  • Alang, India [Ship Scrapyard] — Ajay Naidu as Ajay Shah (Indian refugee)
  • Topeka, Kansas, USA [Feral children; church attack] — Nicki Clyne as Sharon (4-year-old)
  • Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, the Holy Russian Empire [Russian army experiences/decimation] — Jeri Ryan as Maria Zhuganova (Female Russian Soldier)
  • Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies Federation [Famous Millionaire’s Haven] — Henry Rollins as T. Sean Collins (merc)
  • Ice City, Greenland [Iran & Pakistan] — Maz Jobrani as Ahmed Farahnakian (Iranian pilot)
  • Denver, Colorado, USA [The Battle of Yonkers] — Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio (Army infantry)

TURNING THE TIDE

  • Robben Island, Cape Town Province, United States of Southern Africa [The Redeker Plan] — Eamonn Walker as Paul Redeker and Xolelwa Azania (South African plan)
  • Armagh, Ireland [Hamburg, Germany, Army withdrawal] — Jürgen Prochnow as Philip Adler (West German soldier)
  • Yevchenko Veterans’ Sanatorium, Odessa, Ukraine (Kiev bridge blown to prevent zombies crossing) — David Ogden Stiers as Bohdan Tara Kondratiuk (Kievian soldier)
  • Sand Lakes Provincial Wilderness Park, Manitoba, Canada [Family Flight to Canada] — Michelle Kholos as Jesika Hendricks (little girl flees)
  • Udaipur Lake Palace, Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India [General Raj-Singh; monkeys and blowing the pass] — Kal Penn as Sardar Khan (Indian soldier with the monkeys)

HOME FRONT

  • Taos, New Mexico [DeStRes, talent and tools] — Alan Alda as Arthur Sinclair (DeStRes guy)
  • Burlington, Vermont [Vice President, capital punishment] — Rob Reiner as “The Whacko” (VP)
  • Wenatchee, Washington [Wheelchair Home Watch; quizlings] — Dean Edwards as Joe Muhammad (wheelchair neighborhood watch guy)
  • Malibu, California [Countering suicides with success stories] — Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot (director)
  • Parnell Air National Guard Base, Tennessee [Pilot of downed plane] — Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis (Downed pilot)

AROUND THE WORLD

  • Province of Bohemia, the European Union [Castles, She wouldn’t leave] — Eamonn Walker as David Allen Forbes (Englishman)
  • Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia [Radio Free Earth] — Parminder Nagra as Barati Palshigar (Radio translator)
  • The Demilitarized Zone: South Korea [North Korea mystery] — Brian Tee as Hyungchoi Choi (South Korean)
  • Kyoto, Japan [Okatu, hacker escape] — Masi Oka as Kondo Tatsumi (Japanese hacker)
  • Kyoto, Japan [Blind monk] — Frank Kamai as Sensei Tomonaga Ijiro (blind monk)
  • Cienfuegos, Cuba [Defending Cuba] — John Turturro as Seryosha Garcia Alvarez
  • Patriot’s Memorial, the Forbidden City, Beijing, China [Chinese submarine] — Ric Young as Admiral Xu Zhicai
  • Sydney, Australia [Space station] — Alfred Molina as Terry Knox
  • Ancud, Isla Grande de Chiloe, Chile [Saratoga Conference of Nations] — John McElroy as Ernesto Olguin

TOTAL WAR

  • Aboard the Mauro Altieri, 3000 feet above Vaalajarvi, Finland [Total War] — General D’Ambrosia
  • Denver, Colorado [The First Fight – Hope, New Mexico] — Todd Wainios
  • Ainsworth, Nebraska, USA [K9/soldier teams] — Common as Darnell Hackworth
  • Siberia, the Holy Russian Empire [Russian tactics; priests’ role] — F. Murray Abraham as Father Sergei Ryzhkov
  • Aboard the USS Holo Kai, off the Coast of the Hawaiian Islands [Fighting undersea zombies] — Brian Tee as Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Choi (Diver)
  • Quebec, Canada [Paris tunnels] — René Auberjonois as Andre Renard
  • Denver, Colorado – A Day Later [The Road to New York] — Todd Wainios

GOODBYES

  • Burlington, Vermont — The Whacko (VP)
  • Khuzhir, Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal, the Holy Russian Empire — Maria Zhuganova (Female Russian soldier)
  • Bridgetown Harbor, Barbados, West Indies Federation — T. Sean Collins (merc)
  • Sand Lakes Provincial Wilderness Park, Manitoba, Canada — Jesika Hendricks (fleeing child)
  • Troy, Montana, USA — Mary Jo Miller (suburban mom)
  • Chongqing, China — Kwang Jing-shu (Chinese doctor)
  • Wenatchee, Washington — Joe Muhammad (Wheelchair neighborhood watch artist)
  • Taos, New Mexico, USA — Arthur Sinclair (DeStRes guy)
  • Kyoto, Japan — Sensei Tomonaga Ijiro (blind monk)
  • Armagh, Ireland — Philip Adler (West German soldier)
  • Tel Aviv, Israel — Jurgen Warmbrunn (Israeli spy)
  • Aboard USS Tracy Bowden — Michael Choi (diver)
  • Denver, Colorado — Todd Wainios (Army infantry guy)

This version is the best audio book I have ever listened to. My God, it had Mark Hamill! It had Common! It had Denise Crosby! It had Jeri Ryan! It had Alan Alda! It had Simon Pegg! It had Nathan Fillion! I was swooning!

If you are looking for a great story ( but I have to admit the writing won’t earn Brooks a Pulitzer) this is your book. But put down the book, you must listen to the audio to get the full experience!

-Nancy

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