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Graphic Novelty²

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January 2017

Blogger Recognition Award

br-award

We were pleased to receive a message from Reads & Reels that we were nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award! Please check Shanannigan’s blog out, for she has wonderful well written and cheeky reviews on books and recent movies!

Here are the award rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

The Genesis of Graphic Novelty²:

We met at Dominican University, in a YA literature class, for we were both working towards our Masters in Library Science (Kathleen has since graduated! [I gotta pay it all back tho! *sob*]). We paired up together for our final project about graphic novels, and Kathleen created a fake blog as part of our presentation. After we aced our final (of course), Nancy suggested we continue the blog together for fun. It was a slow roll out, as we worked out the style and schedule of posts for the blog. We do not live near one another, so there is a lot of texting/emailing back and forth to work out details as we go along. We have made a surprisingly good team! … Or maybe not so surprisingly, depending on your point of view ;D

Advice to new bloggers: 

Nancy: Post regularly and as often as your schedule allows. We always post MWF, but I have noticed that our views spike if we add in another for the week. So that’s why this is posted on an off day, for we put these types of posts in as extras to what we would post anyway. I found Twitter to be helpful as a way of getting your post in front of more eyes, for the WordPress dashboard has shown me that Twitter is a gateway for new readers on our blog. I’ve also found that if I spend a few minutes a day blog hopping, and commenting on other’s blogs, it builds community and other bloggers are willing to like, comment on and share your work.

Kathleen: Scheduling is everything. If you have a day off, or a couple hours to kill, carve out some time to speed-read and write a bunch of posts at once. This is how I’ve built up my queue so I don’t have to remember to write a post the day of! This is super helpful if you’re busy with school or work – or both =P Also, don’t be afraid to look out for ideas others have shared for blog posts – we both do this regularly for our Wednesday posts. It’s a great way to brainstorm and generate fresh content. Most of the time the original author only asks for credit for their idea – how easy is that?

Bloggers we wish to receive this award:

Michael @ My Comic Relief

Kalie @ Just Dread-Full

GO @ The Green Onion Blog * Know your name, but you’ve never put it out there publicly 😉

Jeffrey @ Imperial Talker

Rob @ My Side of the Laundry Room

Jeremy @ Jer’s Comic Books

Thank you again to Shanannigans at Reads & Reels for this nomination! xo

-Nancy & Kathleen

Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman (Vol. 1)

Various. Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman (Vol. 1). 2015.

This is a book basically of little Wonder Woman oneshots!

  • “Gothamazon” imagines Wonder Woman taking over for Batman as the entire Gotham Rogues Gallery comes out for a little mayhem. Art and character design recalls the late ’90s – early 2000s. Written by Gail Simone, illustrated by Ethan van Sciver, Marcelo di Chiara, Brian Miller, and Saida Temofonte.
  • “Defender of Truth” sees Diana taking on Circe in Washington DC as she starts turning men into all sorts of mythological creatures. Definitely New 52 in the costume design. Really neat magical effects. Written by Amanda Deibert, illustrated by Cat Taggs, John Rauch, and Saida Temofonte.
  • In “Brace Yourself”, we see Diana in her youth earning her Amazon bracelets, one blessed by Athena, and the other she must earn in combat with her own mother. Funny and heartwarming. Baby!Diana is a weakness of mine. Written by Jason Bischoff, illustrated by David A. Williams, Wendy Broome, and Saida Temofonte.
  • “Taketh Away” imagines Diana’s life and thought process if her gods-given power was taken away. The art and writing are both delicately lovely. Written by Ivan Cohen, illustrated by Marcus To, Andrew Dalhouse, and Deron Bennet.
  • What if Diana was in a rock band? You’ve got your answer in “Bullets and Bracelets.” I loved this one especially because of the artist! ;D Written by Sean E. Williams, illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage, and Deron Bennett.
  • “Morning Coffee” is a hilarously cute meeting between a sleep-deprived Diana and the crafty Catwoman. Almost chibi-like illustration. Written by Ollie Masters, illustrated by Amy Mebberson, and Deron Bennett.
  • “No Chains Can Hold Her” harkens back to the Golden Age of comics, complete with talking lizards and featuring appearances by Supergirl and Miss Marvel. Flat, two-dimensional art really make it feel like an old comic. Written and illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez, John Rauch, and Deron Bennett.
  • “Attack of the 500-Foot Wonder Woman” takes Diana to – literally – gargantuan proportions as she helps Hawkman and Hawkgirl fight Byrh! Written by Rob Williams, illustrated by Tom Lyle, Wendy Broome, and Saida Temofonte.
  • “Ghosts and Gods” teams up Etta Candy and Diana against the devious Ra’s al Ghul! Another art style evocative of older comics. Written by Neil Kleid, illustrated by Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, and Saida Temofonte.
  • In “Dig for Fire”, Hipollyta charges Diana with going to Apokolips to find out what’s become of her informants there. Very stark, almost two-tone palette evokes Apokolips’ bleak atmosphere. Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, illustrated by Gabriel Hardman, Jordan Boyd, and Saida Temofonte.

Overall, I liked this little anthology. Each story recalled a different era of comics, and each one has a different art style, which I thought was kind of cool. Some I liked better than others, because of the art style or the story and such. But Diana is awesome in all of them!

It’s a fun one to have if you’re a WW fan, maybe not for re-read value but just to flip through once in a while. It would probably also make a good introduction to her character, if not comics as a whole, just to see what pops out for different readers.

– Kathleen

Jack of Fables: The (Nearly) Great Escape

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Willingham, Bill, Matthew Sturges, Tony Akins & Andrew Pepoy. Jack of Fables. 2007.

Jack the Giant Killer, Little Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, and Jack O’Lantern…these are all names that Jack of Fables is known by.  As his shirt on the front cover says, ensemble books are for losers, so he now fronts his own story upon his escape from Fabletown. Kathleen has had only good things to say about the Fables books (Books: One, Two, Three, Four), so paired with me taking a class on YA Fairy Tale Fantasy and Popular Media at Dominican, this book was right up my alley (heads up: be prepared to see several fairy tale graphic novels reviewed in the next month or so). I have to read three books a week for this class, so if I can find a graphic novel adaptation, I will use it for both the class and this blog! 😉

For lack of a better term, Jack is a complete a$$hole. He thinks of himself as a charming trickster, and while he can hoodwink some, I found his bad-boy persona grating. Never a fan of playboys both in real life and in books I found Jack self centered, arrogant and insufferable. But, this book was fun for it’s sly mixing and matching of fairy tale characters.

Although I have not read the previous Fables books, this story is able to bring readers up to speed as to Jack’s banishment from Fabletown and what he did in the meantime before this book starts. His time in the real world is brought to a close and he is apprehended by a secret society and sent to the Golden Boughs Retirement Community, where fable characters are kept until they pass out of memory in the human world.

We meet a host of little known nursery rhyme  and lesser known fairy tale characters, including my favorite, Sam. I won’t reveal who he is (once I figured it out my mind was blown) or who else populates this book, for my biggest pleasure was figuring out who was who. Jack desperately wants to escape and enlists the help of one other crossover fable from the previous book, Goldilocks. Her story, and her relationship with Jack, is dysfunctional, but the two of them manage to put together a plan of escape.

The (nearly) great escape scenes were great and set up story lines for the future. While no fan of Jack, I will want to eventually read the continuing series. The artwork was great, and I cared for many of the supporting cast, so I want to see how these fables fare in the Mundy (mundane) world!

-Nancy

The New American Resistance

Both of us at Graphic Novelty² agreed that this post by Michael @ My Comic Relief was worth sharing on our blog! Trump’s first week of office is off to an ominous start, and Michael brings up some good points and gives us some links so we can take action. He quotes Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s wise words: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”  Amen to that. 

 

 

So…it’s been a week huh?  I was planning on writing a fun post about how much I’m loving The Totally Awesome Hulk today but I can’t get my head around it.  Reading the news …

Source: The New American Resistance

Super You: Releasing Your Inner Superhero

Gordon, Emily V. Super You: Releasing Your Inner Superhero. 2015.

I figured a while back I needed to work on myself. I’m not perfect. I know I’m not! No one is! But recently I’ve decided that it’s okay, that I’m a work in progress (it sounds a lot nicer than a hot mess, which up until now is what I’ve referred to myself as). And what would a budding librarian use to improve herself? A book, of course! I chose this book in particular because of all the comic book references, which was sure to put me at ease.

The book is laid out beautifully. The table of contents at the front is good, but then the chapters themselves are broken down into digestible chunks. You start out by identifying the kind of person you want to be. You learn to recognize and highlight your best qualities, and own up to them! It’s okay to be good at stuff and you should be proud! You recognize your weaknesses and learn to accept and work with them. We are all flawed, and it’s important to recognize and accept your flaws if you’re to get better at loving yourself. Sprinkled throughout are tables, freewriting exercises, questions, and speech bubbles with fun comic facts related to what the chapter is talking about.

Gordon writes with empathy and in a conversational tone. You feel like you’re taking this journey with a good friend and mentor. She never makes you feel ashamed for picking her book up and wanting to work on yourself. For teens and young adults, the demographic this book was written for, this is HUGELY important. It was really important to me, and I was immediately comfortable opening the book and beginning to read. All the comic book references made me feel at home, too!

After finishing it, I feel like I am better equipped to handle my emotions and flaws. I didn’t believe her at the beginning when she says keeping a notebook dedicated to this book would be handy, but it really did help! I can look back on this journal now and see where my journey went.

The thing that resonated most with me and made me keep going was the very beginning of chapter one, the identity chapter. She outlines the different identities, or personas, she has kept her whole life. She goes on to explain that each of these personas was really her, but parts of her personality were toned up or down at the time in order to fit her needs at the time:

Every choice you make is a reflection of you doing your best with what you have in front of you. For example, my Punk Rock Stepford Wife was a hard, walls-up kind of girl, but at that point in my life, I couldn’t handle being vulnerable to other people That persona protected me until I felt ready to exist without those walls (14).

That sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. I was then able to identify EXACTLY where my comparable walls-up persona was in my life, why I needed her at the time, and why she was back in my life now, which was exactly why I picked this book up. It was my wake up call.

Emily V. Gordon has written an excellent book. She gives you the tools you need to better yourself without making you feel ashamed for reading a self-help book. She writes with empathy and eloquence and incorporates nerd culture into her book to help teens and young adults feel more at home, and make them feel that they can become a superhero – the very best version of themselves possible. I personally am deeply grateful to her for having written it, and I’m sure many others are, too. Highly recommended.

– Kathleen

Blood Work

Harrison, Kim, Pedro Maia, and Gemma Magno. Blood Work. 2011.

Have any of you guys heard of the Hollows series?

*crickets and tumbleweeds*

I’m about to open new doors for you then 8D XD

The Hollows is written by Kim Harrison, and starts with the book titled “Dead Witch Walking.” It’s about a witch named Rachel, a vampire called Ivy, and a pixy named Jenks who start a runner (private detective) agency together. It’s set in an alternate universe in which a good chunk of humanity was wiped out in the ’60s by virus started with a genetically mutated tomato (yes, you read that right). That event, known as the Turn, was when the supernatural beings came out and helped the world run smoothly while the humans recovered. At the time of the Hollows books, humanity and the supernatural live and work together in relative harmony.

Two graphic novels were written as a prelude to the Hollows series, when Rachel was an intern under Ivy in the I.S. (Inderland Security), one of the two main police forces in the novels. This is the first.

Ivy enjoys working alone. Someone must be out to punish her when Denon, her boss, assigns her Rachel Morgan, an intern and a witch, to be her new partner. In fact… punishment is likely what it is, but who it’s from is anyone’s guess. Ivy has just put away her last boss for murder. She’s just started a blood fast, as well, and her master vampire Piscary is less than pleased with her.

Rachel is impetuous, innocent impulsive… and just plain annoying. She’s also very powerful, but has no idea. Ivy is instantly attracted to her unique mix of innocence and power. She has to get herself under control, however, resist temptation… lest she becomes just like Piscary, her master, whom she loves and loathes in equal measure…

To be honest, I wasn’t completely sold. The art is kind of subpar. Both women look like they have the same facial expressions most of the time, even under extreme stress. The anatomy is solid, just really stiff and blocky, and shows most in the fight scenes. The visual of Ivy “vamping out”, to borrow a phrase from the novels, is really cool. It was different from what I had envisioned in the novels and helped me understand it better. The characterization and writing is just as good as it was in the novels, but it felt really pared down. This is likely due to the format, but it almost felt… bare-bones. I’m attributing this to me being more used to Harrison’s writing as a book format, not as a flaw of the book itself.

It’s tricky to recommend this to someone who wouldn’t be at least familiar with the books, however. There are too many characters who have small parts but whom one might miss the significance of, and things that I could easily understand from having read the novels aren’t explained in great detail here. I think this one might be for fans only. Those who haven’t read at least the first 2 or 3 books might be lost. Hoping the second is better!

– Kathleen

The Vision: Little Worse Than A Man

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King Tom, Gabriel Hernandez Walta & Jordie Bellaire.  The Vision. 2016.

Meet the Vision and his family – he’s an Avenger and presidential liaison, plus his wife Virginia, and their twins Vin & Viv. Vision is a syntheziod, an android with synthetic blood and organs, who has has wiped his emotions associated with his memories to process more effectively. He has created a family and attempts to join society by creating a human persona.

But this book is as far from a superhero story as possible. While grounded in the Marvel universe, with cameos by other Avengers and villains, this book is about our definition of humanity. So what is humanity? Well, Merriam Webster’s definition of humanity is: compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behavior or disposition,  the quality or state of being human, the totality of human beings; the human race.

The Vision family attempts to normalize their behavior, but are treated as outsiders and a threat by the community, for they do not meet society’s preconceived notions of what is acceptable. They are Others, a me vs them mentality. But as the story progresses, this new family shows more compassion, love and sacrifice than the people persecuting them. Events occur, some of their own doing, that puts their family’s existence into peril.  A metaphor that I found in the story was that the Vision family was like the water vase of Zenn-La they displayed in their home, for they are extraordinary beings trying to mold themselves into everyday humans, but just as the vase is toxic to flowers, their attempt to join humanity becomes poisonous. So, is their life just a charade, or more?

This story had come highly recommended to me from my beloved Graham Crackers Comic Store staff, and I can see why. I had purchased this copy for my library’s collection, and I had put off reading it for awhile. At first I read it in small snatches, but the story line didn’t coalesce until I started again from the beginning and read it in one sitting. This quietly ominous story had such power, and felt especially moving to me to read at this time when I worry about our nation’s future. I feel some in our country have embraced a bullying rhetoric, and turn a blind eye to facts and justice for all.

Humanity as defined in the dictionary is sharing compassion with others and having a generous disposition. So let us take heed, and truly show humanity to ALL who are out there, regardless of their “otherness”.

-Nancy

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A truly loving family. Photo credit: Marvel Comics

Star Wars ComLINKS: Favorite Rogue One Scene

swcomlinksrogueonescene

An amazing Star Wars website, Anakin And His Angel, has a monthly writing prompt about the SW universe. Willing to try it for the first time, I discovered this month’s topic is to pick a favorite scene from Rogue One.  But how can one pick just a single favorite scene of Rogue One?!

*Spoiler Alert* I decided to go with a surprisingly touching moment, not between the humans in the movie, but with the “death” of the droid K-2SO.  Yes, a death scene of a robot was my favorite scene. Why? Well, first off, I loved K-2SO. The Star Wars droids have always been enduring, with R2-D2 and BB-8 being fan favs, but this Rogue One droid had something special. As such, his death was especially poignant.

K-2SO, voiced and acted by the epically awesome Alan Tudyk, was introduced as a former Imperial droid, who had been reprogrammed for the Rebels. He wasn’t cute like the previously mentioned chirping droids, and not an annoying know-it-all like C-3PO. Instead, this talking monolith had personality to spare. He cracked jokes, spoke bluntly, and gave his all to the cause.

starwarscomlinks
Anakin And His Angel Blog Spot

The scene in question occurred in the Death Star control room, as K-2SO helps Jyn and Cassian find the database that will give them the plans for the weak spot that Jyn’s father built into the original Death Star. Jyn and Cassian have to leave the room to retrieve the data, and K-2SO stays behind to give his friends a fighting chance. Stormtroopers blast their way into the control room, as my beloved droid fights them off valiantly. He prevents the soldiers from getting to Jyn and Cassian, but dies in the effort of doing so. As his eyes blink out, you know he is no more.

As with many of the characters of Rogue One, you know his death makes sense, as it a prequel to A New Hope, but that doesn’t makes the deaths any easier. But to have a droid show such friendship, compassion and bravery for the Rebel cause is a credit to the movie as a whole. K-2SO made me care, and then cry for his humanity and the sacrifice he so willingly made.

-Nancy

k2so-at

I am going to to be in the last issue of Revival!!!

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Revival Issue 47- Image Comics

Back in December, I entered a contest through Crowdspire, in which the author Tim Seeley and illustrator Mike Norton of Revival paired with Patrick Rothfuss to raise money for Heifer International. If you sent in money to this worthy organization, you had a chance to have your likeness in the last issue of Revival, a horror- science fiction graphic novel with a rural noir feel.

Mike Norton contacted me today, and let me know that he choose me! ME!!! I sent him a few pictures, and he sent me back the two panels he drew me in. I’m not allowed to show his work until the issue is published, but I was thrilled with how it looked. Although I do know what character I’m drawn as, I do not know if I’ll be good or evil. I can not wait until February 22nd, when the last issue is released, and then in April when the issues are collected into graphic novel form.

I am thrilled and honored that I will play a small part in the Revival series, which I tagged as one of my Best Reads of 2016. Go ahead and catch up on the series by reading my reviews on Deluxe Edition One, Two and Three before the big finale!

Huge thanks to Mike Norton for choosing me!

-Nancy

**Edit- Here it is…check the final issue out! Dr. McKay is in the house!

 

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