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Graphic Novelty²

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?

adulthood3

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

Wonder Woman: Down to Earth

I opted for Down to Earth as the only one to pick up from Diana’s 75th Anniversary box set… it was the only one I hadn’t read yet! 😄

Jonah McCarthy has been hired as another assistant to Diana, Ambassador of Theymiscira to the UN. They could use the extra help at the office. She’s poised to publish her first book, titled “Reflections,” which collects some of her best speeches and essays from her time in man’s world. There are some who aren’t happy with what she says. Her words promote ideals like peace, feminism, taking care of the earth, but some twist that to mean she’s promoting pagan worship and deviance from the American way of life. Despite the divide, everyone is reading it, including the gods of Olympus. Could the controversy be good for Diana’s image, or will it destroy her and all she’s worked for?

Rucka is an exceptional writer. The story sucked me in and held me there until I finished. The art was decent. It reminded me a little of Birds of Prey (they were written around the same time), but simpler. Some things nearer to the foreground should have been more detailed in places. The character design of some of the gods especially were updated for a new millenium, which was kinda cool.

The state of the world in 2002, when the series was originally published, is very obvious in this comic. People are scared. People are looking for inspiration – a hero. People are also tearing down the truth and replacing it with fear-driven nationalist rhetoric. It bears striking resemblance to what is happening in the world today with the recent change of management, if you will. I will definitely be reading more.

– Kathleen

Rucka, Greg, Drew Johnson, and Ray Snyder. Wonder Woman: Down to Earth (75th Anniversary Edition). 2016.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

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Roz Chast’s memoir about her last years with her elderly parents is so true to life. Her story made me cringe, made me laugh, and made me cry for I could relate to all she had been through.

My father died close to four years ago, and my mother has had several life-threatening hospital stays; making me the perfect audience for this story. My parents, especially my father (we were his second family), were significantly older than my friend’s parents. As such, this has made me the first of my friends to deal with these situations.  I originally read this book a few years ago, after reading a positive review about it and having struggled with feelings of grief and resentment before and after my father’s death.

Roz Chast is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker and has had over 800 of her cartoons published in it, so when I picked up this book I recognized her quirky artistic style, but not her name. Roz was an only child of older, dysfunctional parents who lived in Brooklyn and had a difficult childhood with them. Her mother was extremely dominant, while her father was passive with significant anxieties and phobias. Roz left for college at 16, and eventually married and moved to Connecticut with her young family. Years later, as her parents moved into their 80’s she visited more often, and tried to step in to assist when their health issues forced them to move into an assisted living facility. All the work fell to her as she had to find a new home for them, clean out a dirty hoarded apartment that they had lived in for decades, arrange healthcare and take care of their financial matters. While Roz did all this willingly, out of respect and love for her parents, there was also a great deal of resentment, guilt and stress associated with it. Her parents hadn’t mellowed with age, so their idiosyncrasies were magnified and hard to deal with. Roz shares personal details of their eventual deaths, as she processes her feelings, knowing there are no more chances to change the unhealthy dynamic that the three of them had shared.

This amazing book helped me process my own feelings, and see that I was not alone. The feelings that my four sisters and I had for our domineering and abusive father has been hard to deal with, for while we all have grieved in our own ways it was muted compared to how I have witnessed others grieve.  So, thank you to Roz, for a beautiful warts and all memoir.

-Nancy

My Revival Cameo!

 

The last issue of Revival, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Mike Norton, was published yesterday and I was honored to have a cameo in it!

Last month I was surprised to be contacted by Mike Norton who let me know he had selected me from a contest that I had entered in December to have my likeness included in the concluding issue of the horror/supernatural series Revival. To say that I was thrilled was an understatement. I wrote a post about it, but being a pessimist in nature, I worried everyday that it wouldn’t be included. I headed to Graham Crackers as soon as I got off work, and the moment I walked in, the manager called me over and handed me a stack of the comics they had set aside for me. I flipped through it, and there I was, near the end!

Revival has been a favorite of mine since I first discovered it last April. I have reviewed the first six volumes (Deluxe Edition One, Two & Three) and plan to do another review post of volumes seven and eight once the eighth volume is released in graphic novel form in mid April. I also included it when Kathleen and I wrote our best graphic novels of 2016, before I even found out that I would be in the last issue. In fact, I think my hashtags on Twitter about this series, is what put me on Mike Norton’s radar. It obviously was meant to be.

I have included some of the messages and pictures from my communication with Mike Norton. My cameo was added in on his last day of drawing, so I quickly had to send him photographs of myself. He based most of my likeness off my first photo, and then refined it, once he had more photographs of me. Details like my green eyes, and beauty mark on my left chin were added in too. It was amazing to see my likeness in cartoon form, and to see the stages that it went through, from the first sketch to the final colored panels.

The last issue was a poignant ending to the complete series, and felt true to the beginning. The series had such a promising start, and while I struggled a bit in the middle wondering where the mystery was headed, it came together beautifully at the end. The resolution of the character arcs made sense, even if a favorite of mine didn’t live to the end. Thank you to Mike Norton for my cameo and bravo to the extended team who created this outstanding story!

-Nancy

revival
All pictures used with permission from Mike Norton/ Revival

 

The Lego Batman Movie

This year my Valentine’s date with my boyfriend was seeing the Lego Batman movie! Suffice it to say it was the perfect date night movie =P

Batman is awesome! He saves the city on the regular from all kinds of villains, but mostly the Joker. Everyone in Gotham loves him for it! And yet… Batman is alone a lot. He doesn’t have any family, or really anyone he can call a friend. But it’s okay, he doesn’t let it bother him.

The Joker, offended that Batman won’t admit that he’s his greatest enemy, schemes to get Batman to admit how much Joker means to him. And that means… surrendering with all the other villains at the gala for Barbara Gordon’s promotion to Commissioner of Gotham City! Without any villains, Batman won’t have any crime to stop! A very bored Batman will do anything to get Joker out of jail and back to wreaking havoc on the streets of Gotham. Watching a newscast of Superman talking about banishing Zod to the Phantom Zone gives him an idea… a very good, yet very bad idea. But when sending Joker the Phantom Zone backfires horribly, it’s not a job that anyone can take all on their own – not even Batman. Can Batman truly learn to let people into his life and work as a team? Will he be able to stop the Joker?? Can there really be room for more than one butt in the Scuttler???

This movie is HILARIOUS. Everyone in the theater was dying at just the introduction and the laughs never let up. Not only were there plenty of butt jokes, but also jabs at Batman’s past movies, current DC movies, and even a running Marvel joke to keep both kids and adults entertained. There are lots of villains, including unexpected ones, to keep the action going and hints that Lego Batman is part of a bigger Lego-verse. Hardcore DC fans will be annoyed at how OOC Batman gets (I got there at some points… I mean I know it’s a kid’s movie but come on), but the writing overall is solid. There’s a great message about teamwork and family for everyone, as well as plenty of action.

And, of course, y’all knew this was coming… BATGIRL WAS AWESOME ❤ ❤ ❤ I WOULD GIVE MY RIGHT ARM TO SEE MORE OF HER IN ACTION IN THE LIVE ACTION DCMU!!! PLZZZ DC

– Kathleen

Blood Crime

Ivy and Rachel are still on the beat, bringing in drug dealers, petty thieves, and the like. But lately, more accidents have seemed to happen, even around the accident-prone Rachel. When a solid stone gargoyle from a church nearly falls on top of them, Ivy knows something is up. Someone has clearly put a hit out on Rachel, but who and why? Piscary? He gave Rachel to Ivy as a blood gift, but he has lied to Ivy about his intentions before. Art, Ivy’s old boss? He’s got motive, sure, but he’s rotting away in prison, right where Ivy put him.

As Ivy delves deeper into the mystery, she starts losing herself more and more in her feelings for Rachel. One of these days, she’s going to crumble… and everything she’s fought so hard to keep control over, to keep her own, will be undone.

I found this one to be slightly better than the first. My issue with the art is still there – blocky anatomy and lack of varied facial expression – but the characterization made up for it. We read the Hollows series from Rachel’s point of view, and though there have been short stories written from other’s point of view, I had never read any from Ivy’s. You really feel for her as she struggles to maintain control of herself to break away from her abuser. The mystery left unfinished in the last volume was never picked up here, which was jarring and disappointing.

As a whole, this duology is okay. Good writing and solid characterization carry the sub-par art. As much as I like this series and would like it to be accessible to GN readers, you’d honestly be better served reading the books.

– Kathleen

Harrison, Kim and Gemma Magno. Blood Crime. 2012.

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