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March 2017

DC Superhero Girls (Vol. 1): Finals Crisis

It’s finals time at DC Superhero High! Each girl is struggling with test anxiety, putting the final touches on her projects, and finding a quiet place to study. However, one by one… the girls go missing! Someone much bigger and powerful than they – even Wonder Woman! – are cornering the girls and taking them to a secret lair. Who is it? Can the girls band together and stop whoever the culprit is? Can they do it in time to show up for finals?

I’ll get around to watching this show… in my infinite free time… lol XD The comic is bright and colorful, with rounded forms and animated interactions between characters. I love the designs for the girls – Diana is wearing PANTS (I love when they give her pants) and Bumblebee has an undercut, which I thought was too cute! There are lots of cameos from other DC heroes and villains, which was a nice surprise. There’s a great message about teamwork and friendship. Overall a wonderful introduction to the DCU and its heroines for young girls ❤

– Kathleen

Fontana, Shea, and Yancey Labat. DC Superhero Girls (Vol. 1): Finals Crisis. 2016.

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Hark! A Vagrant

Hark! A Vagrant has awesome riffs on history and literature, and is done so in an intelligent and hilarious manner.

Author Kate Beaton who is now a regular contributor to the New Yorker, was formally a history major and worked in museums for a time, now takes her sharp wit and skewers historical and literary figures with a modern lens.  Beaton illustrates mostly in black and white, and sketches out caricatures of recognizable people in absurd situations. Her ironic strips point out the foibles of the past, and how that would play out in modern day. No one is immune from her humor- as she pokes fun at Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, David Bowie, St. Francis, Ben Franklin, Andrew Jackson, many European kings and queens plus so many others.  I found the satire surrounding the characters of well loved novels the most amusing and picked just a few to highlight.

Why do some women love bad boys? Heathcliff was horrible! Not brooding, not sexy, not misunderstood…he was an ass! Sorry Brontë sisters, but your romantic leads suck.

Case in point- are we supposed to be rooting for the marriage of a guy who locks his mentally ill wife in the attic???

As a girl, I was so into the Nancy Drew books…she had my name, people! However they were terribly dated, and these explanations of the content are hilarious!

I could add dozens more, but why, when you can go to her website yourself and check these smart cartoons out yourself! I would definitely recommend this witty collection of strips, especially if you have rolled your eyes at a ridiculous plot point, literary trope or questionable historical fact. Enjoy!

-Nancy

** You can usually tell when I have less time to blog and I review comic collections instead of graphic novels. I have been very swamped with family, work and grad school commitments, so my recent posts reflect my lack of time. In fact, I am fitting in this blog during my lunch break at a library conference I am at this weekend. Hope to have some reviews based off longer books soon!

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to MiRakelBooks for nominating us for this lovely award! Make sure you check Rakel’s outstanding blog, for she has well written reviews on YA, fantasy and sci-fi books. Plus, her blog’s graphics and layout are very appealing!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award to your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15)
  • Include this set of rules
  • Inform your nominees

Seven things about each of us:

Kathleen: Though Pokémon was all the rage when I was a kid, I never really played any of the games besides Leaf Green. When Pokémon Go came out, I fell back in love with it, and my boyfriend bought me a 3DS and Moon for Christmas so we could play together ❤

Nancy: I had a cameo in one of my favorite graphic novel series, Revival! I was drawn in as a doctor in the last issue of the this rural noir thriller. I am over the moon about it, and carry the issue around with me everywhere to show people.

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Kathleen: I don’t like the holidays. Grade A Grinch right here!

Nancy: I am the Teen Services Coordinator at my library. I started a teen volunteer program there, and have some fantastic teens who help with a lot of different projects.

Kathleen: I used to eat peanut butter every day until I developed a nut allergy last month. The worst part is no more Nutella tho *sobs*

Nancy: My Goodreads Challenge is to read 100 books this year. So far so good!

Kathleen: I didn’t have my own cell phone until I was in college – did fine without it using my friends’ phones to call my mom! =P

Nancy: I really like hiking. I don’t like to go to the gym to exercise, but I do enjoy wandering around the woods.

Kathleen: My favorite “retro” video game is Spyro the Dragon.

Nancy: My husband and I are going to see U2 in concert in June!

Kathleen: I’m an artist who hates getting dirty.

Nancy: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan really is grand. My husband and I splurged on an anniversary trip there, and it was worth every penny.

Kathleen: ^ That hotel was featured in a Hollows novel! (It’s not a fact about me, but it’s a cool one)  **And it was the setting for the fantasy time travel movie Somewhere In Time! (Nancy)

Nancy: I secretly really like country music. Don’t judge me.

Our nominees: 

Darth Toothpick @The Nerd Cave– OMG, this guy loves ElfQuest! EQ is just the BEST comic out there!

Robert @ Reading Over The Shoulder – A lover of high fantasy

Victor @ My Poor TBR– Great reviews of thrillers and other books

Tiana @ The Book Raven – Reviews of fantasy books =D

Owls & Vowels – Fellow librarian reviews!

Britt @ GeronimoReads – Didn’t think I’d know about anyone else who heard of Daughter of Smoke & Bone 8D XD

Thank you again to MiRakelBooks for this nomination!

-Kathleen & Nancy

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes.

“YAAAASSSSSSSS!!!!!” – Me when I saw this prompt. I mainly read fantasy outside of comics and GN’s so I was super excited to put this together and share my favorites with you guys!!! =D

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5. The Hollows series by Kim Harrison

Meet Rachel Morgan, a witch runner who attracts trouble more than honey attracts a pixy. Together with her roommates and business partners, vampire Ivy Tamwood and pixy Jenks, they solve crimes, butt heads with drug-dealing warlords, and occasionally save the world.

If this prompt had been a month ago, this series might have been higher on the list. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it! The series started off strong, but lost momentum around the middle for me. I just finished the last book and feel like I slogged through it just to get it over with. What made it make the list was the excellent characterization, humorous tone, and interesting world-building. It’s a good alternative to grittier and darker urban fantasies. I have fond memories of reading the first couple books with my friends in college ❤

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4. Trickster’s Choice/Queen by Tamora Pierce

I want to personally thank Tamora Pierce for single-handedly getting me into the fantasy genre. I read the Song of the Lioness series for the first time in middle school, fell in love, and immediately wanted more. I’m 99% sure I read her entire section in my middle school library… and my teachers let me go hang out in the library during homeroom and do it!

My mom got me these two books as a Christmas gift while I was in high school, and I fell back into the world of Tortall – every bit as magical as I remembered, but a bit more grown up and complex for the older reader I was. Aly is a compassionate, plucky, and resourceful heroine, determined to do good in the world but make a name for herself out of her famous mother’s shadow.

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3. Jill Kismet series by Lilith Saintcrow

This is the first urban fantasy series I read… and I absolutely love it. Honestly, nothing else I’ve read even comes close to the standards I’ve set by this series. It’s kind of interesting I like it so much, because it’s much more graphic and violent than what I normally read. But what keeps me coming back is the heart-pounding action, fascinating world (present day at time of publication but basically with demons and Hunters who kill them), and Jill herself. She’s cracked, but doesn’t let herself become broken. She has sharp edges and a bite to match her rather loud bark, but she ultimately cares about people and has a great capacity to love. I cry with her and cheer for her every time I re-read the series. Saintcrow is now one of my all-time favorite authors.

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2. East by Edith Pattou

This book was my first encounter with the fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.” I can still remember the first time I read it, being absolutely spellbound by this blend of history and fantasy. The POV alternates between Rose, the main character who is taken by the ice bear and who consequently has to travel “east of the sun and west of the moon” to save him, her brother, her father, and at times the ice bear. Rose is tenacious and incredibly intelligent, with a strong sense of justice: a wonderful heroine. If you like Beauty and the Beast but wish it had more adventure, you’ll love this.

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1. The Pellinor series by Alison Croggon

Honestly… this series is just my favorite of all time. It follows a girl named Maerad as she’s rescued from slavery and thrust into the (literally) magical world of the Bards, who weave their spells through song and lore and tending growing things. Maerad knows no one in this world, but they know her, for she has been the one foretold to cast down the Nameless One as he rises again to power.

The writing… is just. Beautiful. It’s lush and lyrical, you really feel like you’re in the world of Pellinor. There’s a very strong sense of place and atmosphere (very much like Lord of the Rings). The plot is revealed slowly, but artfully. Each and every character is well-rounded and feels like a dear friend. I promise you will not regret picking these up.

Honorable mentions include:

  • Lord of the Rings (of course, they’re classics)
  • Harry Potter (IT WAS JUST SO CLOSE GUYS ESPECIALLY WITH THE ILLUSTRATED EDITIONS)
  • Warbreaker and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (most interesting magical systems out there, but Mistborn series as a whole just can’t hold my attention. Warbreaker is a standalone tho)
  • Anything Donna Jo Napoli has ever written
  • And my current read I am just way too excited about: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (… I may be excited about it partially because it’s not a Hollows novel…).

Any of mine make your list, too? =P

– Kathleen

Edit: Oh my gosh lol I had totally forgotten it was International Women’s Day! And I just happened to write a post of fantasy books all featuring fantastic female leads!!! That’s just too funny X,D Happy happy! ❤

Beauty

All Coddie has ever wanted is to be beautiful. She’s been ugly and plain her whole life, perpetually smelling of fish from scaling them, and is consequently the laughingstock of her small village. She inadvertently frees a fairy from its prison and it grants her one wish. Fairies unfortunately don’t give beauty unless you’re a royal in a cradle, but it can change how people see her. So from then on, Coddie is perceived as the most beautiful woman in the world. Coddie soon comes to realize it’s both a blessing and a curse. She becomes the object of affection to a local lord, but was forced to run from her village because of it. Rechristened Beauty, Coddie is content for a time, before she realizes she could have so much more… and sets out to take it. But at what costs?

This graphic novel reads like a fairy tale – an original brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson. For the most part, the story is fantastical, yet has brutally honest and some violent moments. The book is laid out in plain panels, so it’s very clear in which order to read in, like a print book. The figures are all so expressive, almost caricature-like. Kerascoët did a marvelous job of drawing Coddie as both her real self and how everyone else perceives her when we are supposed to be looking at her through someone else’s eyes. Enchanting and haunting.

– Kathleen

Kerascoët Hubert. Beauty. English translation published 2014.

Adulthood Is A Myth

We’ve all heard the phrase “adulting is hard” and usually I want to roll my eyes at whiny Millennials who say it. However, artist Sarah Andersen, has tapped into that feeling and produced this clever comic book. The art is drawn in an uncluttered style reminiscent of Hyperbole and a Half. The four to five panel strips are in black and white, but despite their apparent simplicity, she captures emotions perfectly. While I assume the artist is in her 20’s, and I’m older than that, some of the situations are universal and were laugh out loud funny.

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The above strip captured me perfectly this weekend, as I had a final due on Monday in one of my grad classes, but spent some of my Sunday night emailing Kathleen with a long message about our blog and ideas for future posts. Then I got into a conversation with a blogging friend about Twitter wars and other nonsense. Final, what final?

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Finally, this last strip is my overall feeling right now. With family, work, grad school, volunteering commitments and this blog- I am run down and feeling ragged. I read and admire other blogs, and wonder where do they find the time to write and create such beautiful posts?! All I could do this week was put up a video about Wolverine and add like five words to it, and read a book that took me 15 minutes, and then write a post that was mostly cartoon pictures!

See, adulting is hard.

-Nancy

Blogger Appreciation Award

We recently were nominated for the Blogger Appreciation Award by The Green Onion, and we couldn’t be more pleased, especially because of his kind words: “There is a long history between our blogs and I couldn’t be more lucky.  Not only are they friendly, helpful, kind, sweet, wonderful people.  They have an intellectual point of view on one of my favourite topics, graphic novels.  What separates them from the many other comic bloggers is their collection.  Not limiting themselves to certain brands, genres, or titles, they review a wide range of comic books with an open, unbiased, astute perspective.” Thank you kind sir! And if we could give this award right back to you, we would, for your blog is outstanding! You have insightful, funny and eclectic posts that we look forward to reading daily. But one thing…you might want to be more careful with your password-your blog was hacked recently and a very red, angry and delusional blogger took over for a week’s time! 😉

So now we give our shout outs to bloggers we find awesome for this award is mostly an opportunity to give recognition to other bloggers that have an impact on you. Within this blogging community, we have made some wonderful friends, and we have some repeats from The Green Onion, as we are friends with some of the same people. But I don’t think any of them will mind getting double the love!

Michael @ My Comic Relief is our blogging BFF! The Green Onion claims Michael is his favorite, but no, he is ours! Michael has been incredibly supportive and always has a positive word to say to everyone. His comic and movie reviews are always heartfelt and thoughtful, but lately his posts about political activism have been must reads. A theology teacher, he really digs deep for the big picture. His students are lucky- we’d like to sit in on one of his classes!

Jeffrey @ Imperial Talker  has a fantastic blog about Star Wars. His knowledge of the SW universe is vast, and his posts make us look at the movies and television shows in a new way. He is a regular presence on Twitter and Nancy has had the pleasure of having thoughtful conversations with him about far ranging topics. More Star Wars haiku posts please!

Jeremy @ Jerscomicbooks is a recent find for us. His Music Monday posts should not be missed and his comic books features are often on books that we haven’t read yet, so his blogs give us a broader idea of what’s out there. His wonderful reviews have helped shape our ever growing TBR lists!

Rash the Doctor loves graphic and fantasy novels, and his reviews for books in these two genres are excellent. He is a regular commenter, and when he took a hiatus a few months back, we missed his humor and insights. Back now, he writes more of his reviews on Goodreads, but still blogs here too.

Shannigans @ Reads & Reels is a blogger we aspire to! She participates regularly in book tours and her reviews cover versatile topics in movies, pop culture and novels. Her graphics are top notch, and she is a positive force in the comments section.

Rob @ My Side of the Laundry Room takes us back to the 80’s with his great posts about games, movies, cartoons and memorabilia of that era. He highlights forgotten gems, and his fond reminiscing make for a epic site.  He could give Parzival in Ready Player One a run for his money!

Danielle @ Books Vertigo & Tea shares the love! Not only are her posts excellent, but we enjoy checking out her Twitter feed to find out whose posts she is spotlighting. She is confident enough in her own marvelous blog, to want to compliment and help other blogger’s readership grow. Her kindness is a character trait more should want to emulate.

Kristen @ The Brunette Bookworm Blog writes lovely and thoughtful reviews about books and GNs ❤ In addition to her discussion posts, she also recaps what she read each month, which is a really good idea!

Zoë @ Escaping in Paper linked her blog with her Instagram and we enjoy looking at her lovely photos of what she’s reading. Hope she follows through on her promise to post some of her art on the blog~

Thank you again to The Green Onion for this blogging award! We hope that the love we shared, will branch out to other bloggers being recognized also!

-Nancy & Kathleen

You’re Fired Wolverine!

In anticipation of the upcoming Wolverine movie, Logan, coming out later this week I want to share this hilarious video by comedian Pete Holmes about our favorite brooding hero.

For his now defunct late night show, Holmes did a series of skits on the failings of many of the X-Men heroes, and how their vulnerabilities made them a threat to the team. Because if you really think about it -Wolverine’s metal claws could be manipulated by Magneto, he needs to be close up to fight effectively, and he’s often off “discovering” himself.  But…he’s sexy and has good hair, so who cares!

Just a heads up- the video is for mature audiences for it has profanity and raunchy humor.

 

There are eleven of these X-Men spoof videos,  so you can look forward to more posts on this topic in the future!

-Nancy

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