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Pearl: Volume One

Can an accidental assassin find love in a rival group?

The story is about an albino Asian-American young woman named Pearl, who is a tattoo artist, who inadvertently gets involved with the San Francisco Yakuza mob. Written and illustrated by the Jessica Jones team of Brain Michael Bendis and Micahel Gaydos, it is set in Bendis’s Jinxworld.

Pearl meets Rick, a fellow tattoo artist, and saves him from an assassination attempt by a rival Yakuza clan. Her local crime boss, Mr. Miike forces her to become an assassin for his group, as she showed a killer instinct that he plans to use to his benefit. Thus, the story is somewhat of a Romeo & Juliet inter-generational crime saga, as Rick and Pearl are from rival clans.

Gaydos’s photorealism art was in full display and was a strength in the story. The tattoo work and the San Francisco cityscapes were especially beautiful, with a muted blue and pink color palette. But, OMG, all those speech bubbles! While Bendis is known for his snappy dialogue, he is also known for overdoing it, and that was the case throughout the story. Gaydos did his best to incorporate all the dialogue into the panels, in fact, he just leaned into it on one page, with Mr. Miike’s dialogue just spiraling around him.

Chosen as January’s graphic novel selection by the Goodreads group I Read Comic Books, I appreciated being pushed to try a book I would not have picked up on my own, however, it will be a hard pass for me in regards to reading further volumes. The self-indulgent dialogue, the problematic issue of neither author or artist being Asian, plus my lack of connection to Pearl or Rick made this a one-and-done.

-Nancy

The Sixth Gun: Cold Dead Fingers

As I am a big fan of Cullen Bunn, mostly because of his Harrow County and Bone Parish series, I have circled this title a few times but hadn’t found the time for it yet. Luckily for me, my Goodreads comics group choose this supernatural western for this month’s group read!

Set some years after the Civil War, we learn of six powerful guns, each containing a dark power. Confederate General Hume had discovered all six guns and divvied them up among his evil cohorts and wife Missy. But a priest was able to murder him and took control of Hume’s gun, as ownership only passes after the death of the owner. Dark magic is used to keep Hume in suspended animation, not truly dead, so his eternally youthful wife takes it upon herself to find the sixth gun and reunite it with her husband so he can use it to unleash further destruction. In a parallel journey, Drake Sinclair, formally one of Hume’s henchmen but who turned away from owning one of the other guns, wishes to obtain the sixth gun for himself. Missy’s Pinkerton detectives and Drake converge on the isolated farmstead of the former priest and his step-daughter Becky. Becky inadvertently grabs her step-father’s gun when he is killed in the shoot-out, now making her the sole owner of the gun. And now the battle for ownership of the gun begins!

The characters were intriguing- Drake was an anti-hero whose motives were a bit suspect, Missy was at first a damsel in distress but started gaining a backbone later in the story, Billjohn was a tough gunslinger who had a heart of gold, Missy was slavishly devoted to her husband, while Hume was a caricature of a crazed tyrant. There were several epic battles and a cliffhanger that points to more adventures for Drake and Becky.

The art by Brian Hurtt seemed much too cartoony at first, but I soon stopped noticing and I felt it fit the narrative. There were a lot of supernatural aspects to the story, and the loose art style represented it well, without having to get into realistically gruesome depictions. The action was depicted in four to six panels a page, one-page spreads were uncommon. As it’s set in the Old West there is an appropriately sepia look to the panels, along with red shading to represent the bloodshed and hellish landscapes. However, there was one very distracting art choice towards the end- writing out all the noise effects as words during one certain battle. Used sparingly, words can be used effectively in art, but it was overdone.

This proved to be a solid start to a long series- nine volumes with several spin-offs. While I don’t know if I will continue with it, this horror-imbued western appealed to me and I was glad that it was part of my Halloween reads this month.

-Nancy

Black Widow: The Ties That Bind

“Something is very wrong with Natasha: she’s…happy?!”

This thin graphic novel about Black Widow surprised me in how much I liked it, despite it being centered around the common trope of amnesia. Chosen as this month’s book club selection for the Goodreads group I Read Comic Books, I felt it was good timing as I’m planning to watch the new DVD release of Black Widow soon.

The story starts out with Natasha helping Captain America with a one-off mission in NYC, but then mysteriously being hit with some tranquilizers and falling off a building. Three months later she is spotted in San Francisco, as an architect, with a husband and toddler son. She seems blissfully happy, and the boy truly seems to be hers. What?! How could she have a child over a year old in three months time?

Clint (Hawkeye) and Bucky (Winter Soldier- why does he always wear a mask??) find her and are as confused as us readers. Do they intervene? Who is behind all of it? Unknown to them, Natasha’s sister Yelena has also found her and is trying to get to the bottom of it. A preposterous villain team has arranged it all (and how Natasha’s son came to be defies credibility, plus the question of her new husband’s past) but we need to have a suspension of disbelief and move on.

Natasha’s facade is showing some cracks as she steps in to help a woman in danger and discovers she had bad-ass skills and no memory of her past. Soon the villain team is after her so Natasha, Clint, Bucky and Yelena need to move quickly to save her husband James and son Stevie, as she rediscovers who she is. While this is supposed to be the first in a series, it feels like a stand-alone story, as the somewhat predictable ending seems to wrap up this chapter in Natasha’s life.

This book has an all-woman creative team which is appreciated and gives more weight to some of the emotional narrative threads. That Natasha has little time to grieve at the end and inappropriately has to comfort Clint and Bucky at the end, was intentional. Natasha carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and needs help in coping, not additional burdens, but isn’t that what women often do- carry not only their own problems but other’s issues too? The art and coloring were excellent, with an illustration change during flashbacks. Little Stevie was adorable, and I believe that Natasha’s time with him will change her. For a story that was a bit formulaic, it worked for me.

-Nancy

Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics

Noir is a “genre of crime fiction that is characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity” and these black and white short stories definitely fit that definition. Chosen as this month’s pick from the Goodreads group, I Read Comic Books, I was intrigued and looked forward to reading the thirteen stories. However, the graphic novel got off to a very rough start and I almost put it down. 

Stray Bullets: Open The Goddamn Box by David Lapham and Clem Robins

WTF- why is the first story? A teen girl is kidnapped by two males who plan to rape her. She manages to escape but not before another rape occurs, and she seems to perceive it as retribution, and in a joking manner. I’ve noticed trigger warnings in more stories nowadays, and this story needs one as the story is bleak and wildly inappropriate. I’m sure as a woman this story affected me more than it would a male, but I’ve heard newer editions omit this story and for good reason. 

The Old Silo by Jeff Lemire

Luckily the second story in this collection was among my favorites, and let me continue with this book. A farmer about to lose his farm finds a bank robber who was hurt in the getaway on his property. He makes a choice that enables him to pay off his mortgage. A perfect noir story by the esteemed Lemire. 

Mister X: Yacht On The Styx by Dean Motter

The mysterious Mister X explains to a femme fatale what happened on a yacht when a tycoon went missing and whose body was later found hidden in his building’s cornerstone. There was a weird dystopian/sci-fi aspect to this story and it didn’t appeal to me. 

The Last Hit by Chriss Offutt, Kano and Stefano Gaudiano

An older hitman is given one last job, but then discovers a younger hitman is after him. He thinks they have come to an understanding, but he underestimated his opponent. 

Fracture by Alex De Campi and Hugo Petrus

I didn’t understand this almost wordless story. A woman on the subway witnesses an accident, or did she cause it? The story fractures with possible alternate realities.

The Albanian by M.K. Perker

An Albanian janitor witnesses a bloodbath in the office building he cleans, but he escapes unscathed. Why he gave his son the murder’s puppet escapes me. I actually wondered if the puppet was evil and would hurt the child later. 

Kane: the Card Player by Paul Grist

A burglar leaves numbered playing cards behind and a crime lord seems to be mad about it. A cop is on the take and the burglar is killed. At the end, I felt a pivotal scene had been left out to explain things. 

Blood on my Hands by Paul Geary

A husband who loses his job is worried about his wife cheating on him. He wants his wife and lover killed, but accidentally sends a hitman against the wrong couple. Whoops. This twisted confessional was strangely effective, and dare I say, sweet.

Tru$tworthy by Ken Lizzi and Joelle Jones

This story was mostly text, with only a few illustrations, so it was kind of jarring to include in this graphic novel, although it actually was one of my favorite stories. A woman tries to con her way out of a bad situation, by sleeping with a man she intends to make a patsy.  But he turns the tables on her at the end.

The New Me by Garry Phillips and Eduardo Barreto

An out-of-shape woman goes to the gym whose trainer is known for getting results but also for sleeping with all his clients. Over the course of a few months, she becomes a hottie and she seduces him. But the whole time she had an ulterior reason, and in an out-of-nowhere sci-fi twist, she uses him to help her invalid husband. I liked this one, although the premise was kind of ridiculous. 

Lady’s Choice by Matthew and Shawn Fillbach

A gangster’s moll is tired of her current asshole and wants to move on to a new shady character. 

21st Century Noir by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

A woman seduces a younger man and reveals she is abused by her husband, and this man says he will help her. The lover goes to confront the husband, but there is a dark and perverted twist you won’t expect. 

The Bad Night by Brian Azzarello, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

The story begins blandly with a man being sent out to commit a robbery against a rich couple, but the last page takes the story in a whole new direction, once you realize who the couple and their little boy are. Bravo for that last little twist that most people familiar with DC should recognize.

All in all, an adequate anthology of stories, for as with any collection there are bound to be some strong entries but then some clunkers. I absolutely hated Stray Bullets, but Old Silo, The New Me and 21st Century Noir were excellent. My recommendation is to pick up a newer edition without the first story and I wish dearly that my Goodreads group had suggested that. 

-Nancy

Black Widow: Bad Blood

I belong to the Goodread’s group, I Read Comic Books, and entered a contest to win a free podcast about the Black Widow. I was pleased to find out I won a free subscription to the premium digital audio and reading platform Serial Box for the fourteen episode series Black Widow: Bad Blood. While I am familiar with her through the Avenger movies and am looking forward to the delayed solo movie about her, I actually have not read any graphic novels about just her.

Warning- some spoilers

Episode One: Blackout Protocol

We are introduced to Natasha Romanoff, who as a freelance spy, is wrapping up a job in Chicago in which she was tasked with catching online espionage. She fights a modified villain Viscose, contacts Fury from S.H.I.E.L.D. to report in, and then plans how to disengage from her undercover job that had lasted months. During her time as a mild-mannered IT employee, she had made friends with several other women and heads out for the last night out with them, as she has told them she is moving for another job opportunity.  But the night ends badly…

Episode Two: Something Stolen, Something Red

Waking up from her mysterious attack, Natasha is weak and unclear as to what happened. She barely remembers what happened or how she escaped, but she knows she needs answers. She makes her way to Bruce Banner aka the Hulk, a scientist who she hopes will help her discover what was done to her. There she finds out her blood was removed for some sinister reason. But why?

Episode Three: Bury Me Face Down

Natasha realizes that if she is being targeted, another enhanced human would be too- Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier. She has a history with Barnes, as he was loaned out from Hydra to trains future widows in the Red Room. She heads to Albania where Barnes is hiding out and tracks him down.

Episode Four: Sleep When I’m Dead

Natasha finds Barnes’s hideout, but not him, but clues lead her to believe he was attacked. Banner lets her know there have been other thefts of biological data, and she heads to the VECTOR Institute for more answers.

Episode Five: Flashback City

Novosibirsk, Russia, is her next location and it brings back memories of her training in the Red Room. On the outskirts of the Institute, she encounters Barnes and he attacks her. But he seems off, as he seems not to remember her and physically he isn’t in top form, which allows her to escape him. She is able to bring him back to reality and convinces him to partner with her so they find out what happened to them both.

Episode Six: A Trap with a View

Natasha relives her shared experiences with Barnes, as they both deal with the trauma of their training and the guilt they carry for their past actions when they were part of evil organizations. She decides not to let S.H.I.E.L.D. in on her plan and starts to pull together the threads of her Chicago job together with what is happened to her and Barnes now. Are they being led towards something?

Episode Seven: Of Monsters and Men

Leaving Barnes briefly to recuperate from his ongoing illness, Natasha explores the area and is disappointed with herself when she falls prey to two thugs. But she quickly turns the table on them, and during her interrogation of them is pointed to a female scientist from VECTOR who might have some answers she is looking for.

Episode Eight: Old Friends

Utilizing several costume changes to gain access to the VECTOR compound, Natasha infiltrates the government building. But she doesn’t get all the answers she is looking from, despite finding the scientist she was clued into by the thugs from the previous episode.

Episode Nine: Black Tie

This was a bit of a filler episode- Natasha and Barnes head to Geneva, Switzerland, to infiltrate a black-tie event that the philanthropist that might be behind the stolen blood will be at. They get fancy duds, look great and the chemistry between the two is obvious. That’s it.

Episode Ten: White Nights

This episode made up for the last one, with Natasha and Barnes meeting Holt, who was waiting for them despite all their precautions. Turns out he has been leaving breadcrumbs for them to follow so he could meet them, along with a certain associate that Natasha had dealt with earlier. A second wave of sickness prevents her from learning more.

Episode Eleven: The Carrot and the Stick

Scheduled to meet with Holt the next day, Natasha recovers enough for her and Barnes to head to his laboratory. Holt’s pleasant demeanor masks his ulterior methods as he leads them deep into his bunker to reveal his reason for taking these two soldier’s blood. Although they are wary, Natasha and Barnes want answers, but are they putting themselves at the mercy of Holt?

Episode Twelve: A Rock and a Hard Place

Bleh, it was the typical crap villain plot in which an evil leader wants to create a master race just minus the race and religion aspect of it. But then another villain gets into the action and chaos erupts.

Episode Thirteen: Fast and Dirty

Natasha and Barnes escape and use Holt’s state-of-the-art helicopter to chase down the parasite from being unleashed on the world. Of course, they know how to fly the helicopter- don’t all good spies and assassins know how to?  They grudgingly agree to let Nick Fury in on the details and ask for his help.

Episode Fourteen: Friends in High Places

Natasha and Barnes locate the two trucks carrying the parasite in the Alps, and fight Viscose to prevent the parasite from being released into the world. While dealing with a realistic recovery afterward, the ending hints at further adventures…

This was a highly enjoyable podcast that was wonderfully voiced by Sarah Natochenny and  I looked forward to weekly, as new episodes dropped. Natasha was fleshed out, she wasn’t just some unrealistic superhero hottie who could win any battle and had a quip for every comment. Barnes was as much an unknown character to me as Natasha, so his involvement gave me some additional insight into him too. One thing that I very much appreciated in this story was the emphasis on Natasha’s friends in Chicago. Typically a loner because of her spy status she had allowed herself to make friends during her undercover job and missed them. A problem with so many books and movies is the lack of authentic female friendships, so their inclusion in the story was indeed refreshing (although the depth of their friendship in just two months was unrealistic). That these friendships were brought up in the last minutes, make me wonder what is in store for them, if and when a second season is produced.

-Nancy

Written by Lindsay Smith, Margaret Dunlap, Mikki Kendall, L.L. McKinney, and Taylor Stevens. Edited by Taylor Stevens. Art by Jamie McKelvie. Narrated by Sarah Natochenny.

Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History

Author and illustrator Joel Christian Gill shares nine short stories of blacks from American history that you are probably not aware of. His title refers to the song made famous by Billie Holiday about blacks being lynched and hanging from trees, so the title immediately signifies the seriousness of the narrative. Gill’s opening message “For all those who freed themselves by cutting the rope” further amplifies this message.

Out of the Box Thinking: Henry “Box” Brown- Slave Henry Brown was desperate to escape slavery, so with help, he hid in a box and was shipped to freedom in a daring and unique way in 1849.

Harry “Bucky” Lew: Orginal Baller- Was the first black man to integrate professional basketball in 1902.

Richard Potter’s Great Illusion- Potter was a famous magician, who toured worldwide, but only revealed on his deathbed his origins.

Theophilus Thompson: From Slave to Chess Master- Thompson proved that blacks are intelligent as whites when he became a master of chess and won many championships. That he disappeared at the peak of his career points to the theory that he was killed by those who felt threatened by what he represented.

The Shame- In the late 1800s a small modest seaside village was established on Malaga Island by a mixed-race community that had been founded by a freed slave years ago. But in 1912 the nearby white community decided that the Malaga village had to go and swept in and destroyed the village, sending many of the inhabitants to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. The judgments that the whites passed on the community were shameful and is a stain on Maine history.

The Noyes Academy- An elderly black gentleman shares his story of studying to be a minister as a young man at the Noyes Academy in New Hampshire. But in 1835 the academy was destroyed by whites who opposed that the school was racially integrated.

Marshall “Major” Taylor: The Black Cyclone- Taylor was an amazing athlete, especially known for his cycling triumphs. Unfortunately, as he aged he lost his money and died in obscurity.

Two Letters, As Written by Spottswood Rice- Rice was an escaped slave who fought for the North, and was determined to free his daughter from his former master. The juxtaposition of the two letters poignantly showed his deep love for his child, and his determination to be reunited with her.

Bass Reeves: Lawman- Reeves was a former slave who had moved west after the Civil War. He later became a respected lawman who was known for his shooting skills and morality in bringing in fugitives from justice.

Gill’s illustrations are very cartoony, which I felt did not mesh with the seriousness of the stories. He used an earthen color palette and a standard panel layout, with an attempt to recreate the era of each story.  His tone and storytelling began to improve with the later tales, and he used large black birds effectively to symbolize Jim Crow in the last few stories. Despite my not being a fan of the illustration style, I did find the stories interesting for they certainly highlighted individuals that most people will not have heard of before. I think this book could be effectively used in classrooms with middle school and high school students. I was pleased to read this story for this month’s book selection from I Read Comic Books and I will check out volume two that came out a few years after this graphic novel. I feel it is important to know more about black history than the little that is found in history books and who whites feel are deemed worthy.

-Nancy

Fables: Legends in Exile

Fables is the Goodread’s I Read Comic Books book of the month selection with the theme being a fairy tale/folk tale/mythology adaptation. Kathleen read the entire series and loved it, and I had read a spin-off series about Jack of Fables and disliked the character but not the book, so I was pleased to get the push I needed to start the series myself.

Fractured fairy tales seem to be a dime a dozen nowadays, with it often being a literary trope, but this first volume gets it just right. Set in New York City, famous fairy tale characters have been banished from their kingdoms centuries ago by a mysterious Adversary and forced to move into the “Mundy” (mundane) world. Most of them live in a luxury high rise apartment with a divorced Snow White as their deputy mayor and The Big Bad Wolf aka Bigby as their sheriff. The main plot centers as a murder mystery when Rose Red, Snow’s estranged sister, is discovered to be missing and her apartment is drenched in blood. Bigby is tasked to solve the crime.

I enjoyed the crime thriller feature of the story (always a preferred genre of mine) mixed in with humor, adult themes, and the obvious fantasy aspect of it. I loved how Prince Charming was a Lothario who bedded any female, while Beauty and the Beast were a long-suffering couple with marital issues. Jack (Jack the Giant Killer, Little Jack Horner, Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, Jack Be Nimble, Jack Frost, and Jack O’Lantern) was a scheming cad, Rose Red was a party girl, and Bluebeard a slimy playboy. Snow White and Bigby definitely had chemistry, and you know a relationship between the two is sure to develop in the future. The world-building was excellent, and this story is strong enough to be standalone, yet, most readers will be clamoring for more adventures with this unique cast. Part of the pleasure is figuring out who some of the characters are and reconciling how they are portrayed now with what you remember about them from their original fairytales.

The illustration style was attractive, although I wasn’t a fan of the cover or the opening pages to each chapter. I personally liked it more realistic, as shown by the pictures I attached. There were some fun splash pages, with me liking the office that Snow was in, for it showed artifacts from their fairyland-era. Plus, for visual clues any time the past was referred to, an ornate frame would be drawn around the panels which were a nice nod to the fantasy origin of this narrative and often were purple-hued. Because of the quarantine, I had to read this volume online through Hoopla so it was hard for me to really examine the illustrations like I would with a physical book.

This first volume is a delightful, but very mature, look at postmodern reimaged fairytales. I very well might continue with the series, but I will wait until I can read physical copies again, for a graphic novel’s appeal lies in the art, and I wish to savor all the intricacies that are drawn into the series.

-Nancy

This was a laugh-out-loud scene about poor Pinnacho. In later volumes, his appearance changes dramatically, and not to my liking at all.

Strange Comics

I recently read two comic books that were both funny and have strange in the title, hence this post! While I didn’t feel I could write long enough blog posts about these webcomics individually, combined I could.

Strange Planet by Nathan W Pyle

I adored this comic book! This comic, most commonly viewed on Instagram, has blue aliens going about their lives in a human-like manner. The humor lies in the way they describe what they are doing, and you realize the absurdness of many of our rituals. After you read just a few of Pyle’s strips you will start to think about how you could describe what you are doing in a sly manner. Divided into sections- young beings, friendship, adulthood and recreation; these four-paneled strips have an appealing blue, purple and pink color palette. My favorites included having a cat as a pet, parenthood (the lies we tell our children about Santa and the tooth fairy!), star damage, eating honey and wearing ties. The author’s off-beat perspective on our everyday life made for a clever book, and can be enjoyed daily by following his online work.

 

Comics for a Strange World by Reza Farazmand

This collected book of comic strips from the Poorly Drawn Lines website was the December pick for the I Read Comics Books bookclub on Goodreads. It was amusing, with minimalist drawings with typically four to five panels. However, the simple drawings don’t necessarily mean simple ideas, as many of the strips were very clever with sly humor. Two animals showed up over and over again, a large green bear and a bluebird that looked suspiciously like the Pigeon from Mo Willem’s children’s books, that were funnier than if a human character said the same thing. My favorite strips were the baby that plagiarized, the shapes club, asteroid plans, planets talking about life (“it’s when a bunch of tiny organisms do sex on you”) and the longer astronauts in a cave story.

Nathan Pyle and Reza Farazmand now join Sarah Andersen’s Sarah’s Scribbles and Nick Seluk’s Heart and Brain comics that I follow on Twitter and Instagram for their insightful jokes. These two author and illustrators offer some strange and wonderful comics!

-Nancy

They Called Us Enemy

I have been a fan of George Takei for years, as his character of Lieutenant Commander (later Captain) Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek was one of my favorite TOS crew members. I have admired his civil and LGBTQ+ rights advocacy and have followed his popular Oh Myyy Facebook site for years. So it was a no-brainer that I was going to pick up his debut graphic novel, and it was a bonus that it was this month’s selection for Goodread’s I Read Comic Books.

In the same vein of the March trilogy by John Lewis, this book takes a long hard look at America’s shameful secret of forcing Japenese Americans into internment camps during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, there was mass hysteria that people of Japenese ancestry would be loyal to Imperial Japan and attack our mainland. President Franklin Roosevelt forced the relocation and incarceration of about 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific Coast. George Takei and his family were one of these families.

George was a young boy when he, his parents and a younger brother and sister were forced from their Los Angeles home and sent to the first of two camps that they would spend three years in. They lost their house and dry cleaning business and endured humiliation after humiliation. That Takei and his siblings were so young, they did not fully understand the ramifications of their relocation, whereas his parents were the ones who had to deal with the daily legalized racism of these camps. In fact, Takei found some pleasure during those years as his parents worked hard to shelter their children and normalize their upbringing as best as they could. But these years also helped shape him into the leader he is today, for he learned about courage, leadership and activism from both his parents who made hard decisions in that time period.

Although this memoir concentrates on a retelling of his family’s time in the camps, Takei does take time to give a larger picture of what was happening in the world before, during and after his incarceration. He names some key political figures who pushed for these camps, but also extends grace to those that helped fight the injustice. It is a great irony that President Roosevelt, who helped the country out of the Great Depression and has many other laurels to stand on, was the one who signed orders for thousands of American citizens and/or residents to be sent to these internment camps. No wonder there was little mention of them in my history books growing up, for while we can condemn other countries for gross injustices, our country had taken away the liberty, finances and dignity of a segment of our population just because they were of a certain nationality.  And this story sadly has a parallel today, as President Trump had set up camps for families trying to immigrate from Mexico, and has been blatant about his prejudices against people he does not deem American enough.

Harmony Becker was a perfect choice to illustrate this graphic novel, for her evocative black and white drawings were historically accurate, and brought to life daily camp realities, showing both the good and bad from a child’s perspective. In fact, some of her drawings slid into an anime-style when George and his siblings were experiencing joy. This not only was a great way to show their emotions, but it is also a nod towards Japanese culture. That Becker is #ownvoices elevates the story, for her talent and cultural sensitivity go hand in hand. I also wish to mention co-writers Steven Scott and Justin Eisinger, who helped shape the narrative into a strong lesson for us all. Takei and his team deserve major kudos for shining a light on issues from the past so that way we learn from them today.

-Nancy

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