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Graphic Novelty²

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February 2017

Ghosts

ghosts
Telgemeier, Raina. Ghosts. 2016.

This magical-realism tale begins with sisters Catrina and Maya moving with their parents to northern California. Teen Catrina is devastated to move away from her friends, but her younger sister Maya’s cystic fibrosis symptoms can be alleviated in the cooler foggier environment, and as a loving sister she is willing to make the sacrifice.

The girls explore their new community, Bahía de la Luna, and find that the town has a huge yearly celebration of Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. This ties in with the girls exploring more of their culture, as their mother was the daughter of a Mexican immigrant, and regrets that she didn’t learn more about her heritage before her mother died. Carlos, a neighboring teen, introduces them to the ghosts of the community. That the ghosts are believed in and embraced as fact seemed a natural part of the narrative, for it matched the theme of Catrina needing to come to terms with Maya’s inevitable death.

Raina Telgemeier’s art work is instantly recognizable if you are familiar with her earlier graphic novels aimed at pre-teens such as Smile, Drama and Sisters. Her style is bright bold colors and she captures the angst of youth very well. I felt the way she handled Maya’s CF was realistic and respectful, and gave readers an idea of how family’s cope under such difficult circumstances. The Day of the Dead portrayal in the book was given appropriate deference, but I’d be remiss if not pointing out there was a bit of cultural appropriation in it and it was matched to Halloween night, which is inaccurate. I ran across this thoughtful article by Debbie Reese that had a different perspective on how American Indians are portrayed in children’s literature.

Despite a few shortcomings, this beautiful evocative tale brought me to tears. Don’t let the deceptively simple illustrations fool you into thinking that the storyline is basic, for this emotionally powerful story will stay with you. Family, community, and accepting death are tied together in this winning novel.

-Nancy

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Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Non-Canon Ships

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This one was all the way back from October, but since Valentine’s day is coming up, I thought it’d be fun =P In case you’re not familiar, non-canon means that it didn’t happen in the text of the book/graphic novel/TV show/etc. And ship is short for relationship!

5. Barry and Kara (CW Arrowverse)

Is it technically still the Arrowverse if you include Supergirl? In any case, these two acting like total puppies in the Supergirl S1 crossover episode melted my heart. I mean, come on. He brings her ice cream and then they go out for donuts.

 

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4. Ollie and Laurel (Arrow)

Y’all… Green Arrow and Black Canary are always together. They’re a power couple. It’s okay if it didn’t end well, they’re like peanut butter and jelly. They even got married in the comics!

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That they didn’t get together in the show (in anything other than flashbacks to before Ollie being stranded on the island) was a disappointment. I was waiting for Ollie to call her “pretty bird”… had a bet with my boyfriend 8D

3. Katniss and Cinna (The Hunger Games)

I committed kind of a sin with THG… I saw the movie before I read the books. *COLLECTIVE GASP* So I had literally no idea what was going to happen as far as plot, ships, nothing. I shipped them from the moment Cinna asked Katniss “Don’t you know how beautiful you look?” before she goes out for her interview:

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*sob* So beautiful. Katniss and Peeta or Gale? Gross. Katniss and Cinna’s where it’s at.

2. Harry and Hermione (Harry Potter series)

I was sO MAD when Hermione and Ron ended up together. I shipped Harry and Hermione the entire series. The biggest disappointment of my childhood was when I finished the last book for the first time and Harry and Hermione didn’t end up together. Ron never treated her right. Harry probably ended up continuing being their mediator after they got married… probably full-blown marriage counselor, as if he didn’t have enough to deal with already being Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. This scene from Deathly Hallows broke my heart:

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They balance each other. Harry goes with his heart, whereas Hermione is more logical. They learn from each other and grow throughout the series. Hermione was ALWAYS THERE for Harry, even when Ron left. Hermione was one of Harry’s best friends… and they say you should spend the rest of your life with your best friend.

1. Batman and Wonder Woman

This… is my OTP. My ship to end all ships. And it all started with the Justice League cartoon:

Just… look… at them!!! So perfect!!! So good and pure!!! It never came to fruition for which my heart will always be broken but it was always hinted at. They’re opposites in a lot of ways. Diana works in the light, but Bruce works in the dark. She’s smart enough to keep up with him but never makes him feel inferior for not having superpowers. Bruce respects her and tries to protect and save her at various times in the show, though Diana is definitely not a damsel in distress. For example, the picture above of Diana kissing his cheek is immediately after Bruce tried to dig her out from under a bomb she had disabled and was apparently crushed under. She emerges a few minutes later by throwing the bomb off herself and kisses him after noticing the dust and dirt on his hands. There’s even a scene of them dancing!

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❤ ❤ ❤

If they don’t get together in the live action Justice League… I will riot 8D

There you have it! Five ships that didn’t happen but definitely should have D,X My heart can’t take it!

– Kathleen

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 4

This volume felt quite a bit thicker than the last few! XD There was lots of good stuff jam-packed in here~

First, we get a look at Bigby’s involvement in World War II. The Dog Company is sent on a special mission: Operation Chambermaid, that was so secret it was never put on record. They are dropped somewhere in Germany, where meet their contact, Bigby Wolf, who guides them to their target: a castle where the Germans are performing secret experiments to create monsters.

Back in the present day, Snow gives birth to not just one, but six healthy babies. Unfortunately, due to their hybrid human/wolf appearance, Snow will have to move to the Farm to raise them – and Bigby isn’t allowed there. The first election Fabletown has had for centuries has been decided – Prince Charming is the new mayor, and he has a lot of promises to keep. Snow and Bigby hand off their jobs to Beauty and Beast, but after that… Snow goes to the Farm, Bigby runs off, and Fabletown gets a lot more interesting under their new management.

What follows is the 1001 Nights of Snowfall arc, in which Snow White arrives at the Sultan’s palace in a far corner of the Mundy world as an emissary. The Sultan will not see her, though when he finally does, he explains why. He marries a different girl each night, only to kill her the next morning. As soon as Snow stepped into his chamber, she became his next bride – and victim. The only way she will live to see the dawn is to distract him, and she chooses to tell him a story from the Homelands. And another, and another, every night, until he changes his mind and lets her go.

The 1001 Nights was my favorite arc by far. I’m a sucker for Middle Eastern folklore and fairy tales. It is also written in equal parts like a book and graphic novel. The parts where Snow and the Sultan meet are written like a book, with illustrations throughout, and Snow’s stories are told in graphic novel format. The stories vary in subject matter and in artist, and again, the art is beautifully suited for each story. There’s a lot in this volume for all kinds of readers and that will delight fans.

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Steve Leialoha, Tony Akins, and Jimmy Palmiotti. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Book 4. 2012.

Rapunzel’s Revenge

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Hale, Shannon & Dean, Nathan Hale. Rapunzel’s Revenge. 2008.

Continuing with my fairy tale theme, this week we meet Rapunzel- who is a spunky red headed cowgirl who can lasso her hair like no one’s business!

We first meet Rapunzel as a preteen who lives in a lush villa with her mother and servants. She is adequately cared for but not coddled by her stern mother, but is plagued by a dream of being loved by another couple. As she starts to question why the walls are so high around her home, she uses the lassoing skills to climb up and explore what is beyond the boundaries of her home. Discovering a wasteland, she sneaks out and by chance meets her enslaved biological mother who explains how she came to live with the magical Mother Gothel. After confronting Gothel, Rapunzel is banished to another part of the kingdom and imprisoned in a tall tree.

Rapunzel is left to her own devices for several years, and while the mystical forest provides her with food, the spell also seems to affect the growth of her hair. Mother Gothel only visits her once a year to see if she repents, and in the mean time Rapunzel hones her skills of utilizing her long hair as a weapon. She escapes without any one’s assistance, and ends up meeting Jack, a young con man on the run. Their wild-west escapades together were fun and relatable, for not everything goes their way, despite them doing their best to help others they encounter.  Rapunzel and Jack (of beanstalk fame) join in a traveling vaudeville show to camouflage their way back into the villa, and there they create chaos and challenge Mother Gothel and her evil ways.

The illustrations are fun and vibrant, and give Rapunzel a Pippi Longstocking vibe- which I love. The characters in the story are a diverse group, which was appreciated, and drawn well. This appealing fairy tale hews closely to the classic story, but adds enough extras to make it fun and different. Definitely recommended to younger readers!

-Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books

 

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: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books!

No books…well…I guess I have other interests…

  1. I just discovered BitMojis and I am already addicted to it. They appeal to my juvenile sense of humor, and my texts to my family and friends are filled with them. I made a little avatar of myself and this app puts your avatar in cute little pics. Why type the word yes, when I can send a bitmoji of myself holding up a yes sign?bitm
  2. The NBC tv series This Is Us. It has every television trope you can think of and I LOVE IT! The first episode had an almost nude Milo Ventimiglia in it- need I say more?nbc-this-is-us
  3. Goodreads. I love organizing and reviewing my books. I write reviews on every book I currently read, with the graphic novel reviews additionally showing up on this blog. But this way I can share reviews on all genres of books, in addition to writing mini-reviews on book series that I had finished before I opened an account on Goodreads. The site also has put me in touch with other bloggers outside of WordPress and introduced me to fun memes like T5W!goodreads
  4. News about Star Trek Discovery has me excited! I’ve posted more about Star Wars in this blog, but I love me some Trek. Set a decade before the events of TOS, the series follows the crew of the USS Discovery as they discover new worlds and civilizations, and has some intriguing actors already signed up. It is not part of the rebooted JJ Abrams franchise and will debut on CBS before moving to All Access. st-discovery
  5. My husband and I joined a wine club at a nearby winery, and we receive three bottles of wine quarterly. I’m a fan of Riesling and Moscato white wines, and Prairie State Winery has delicious wines that fit the bill! In addition they have live music, special events and meals for members. Good wine, music & food- our membership was a great investment!winery

So there you have it- other passions of mine, besides books!

-Nancy

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