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Invincible

Hype or Like Friday: Best Reads of 2016

So many good reads this year- some brand new series, or some that were new to us! This also marks a year that we have been blogging- as we created this blog for a school project we were working on in November 2015, and truly started adding content in December and early January. It has been quite a fun journey, and a lesson in time management to meet our (self-imposed) deadlines of posting! We’ve made friends with other bloggers, and found our tribe at WordPress!

We are connecting our best books of the year with a meme we are trying for the first time- Hype or Like Friday that we discovered on Goodreads. This meme was created by Jillian, Larkin and Britt who are book bloggers that want to share their opinions about overly hyped books.

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Nancy: My reading highlight was the Locke & Key series, written by Joe Hill and beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. Such an epic story- it had complex characters, moral dilemmas, a malevolent evil and an atmospheric setting that sucks you in.

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Kathleen: My favorite thing that I started reading this year was Fables (Vol. 1 of the Deluxe Edition). Timeless fairy tale figures living in modern New York City – what more could you ask for? The characterization is excellent, the plot twisting and riveting, and though I don’t normally like the art to vary too much, they really pick artists who fit the style of the story at any given time. Absolutely a must-read.

 

Revival

Nancy: Another series that I found outstanding was Revival, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Mike Norton.  It was an atypical living dead story, in which a handful of dead suddenly came back to life. They quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. Seven of the planned eight volumes are out, and I eagerly look forward to the finale of the series early next year.

 

 

61kihhzxy3l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Kathleen: George Perez’s Wonder Woman (review coming soon!) is the acclaimed 1980’s reboot of your favorite heroine. It’s a great origin story for first time readers of Wonder Woman, as it’s easy to follow and heavily borrows the mythology from her Greek roots, which is always fascinating. The art is richly detailed, colorful, and full of light, as befitting the Amazon princess. Plus, cheesy ’80s dialogue galore! =P

 

 

 

The Outside Circle

Nancy: The Outside Circle, written by Patti LaBoucane-Benson and illustrated by Kelly Mellings,  tells the fictional tale of a Canadian First Nations man that comes to terms with his heritage and who begins to take responsibility for his life. The story is based on the reality that many Native people face (in Canada and the US), for the government took away thousands of children from their families over the years, breaking the circles of community and fragmenting generations of people with no connection to their tribe anymore.

 

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Kathleen: Seconds is not your typical coming-of-age story. Yeah, Katie is a 20-something who struggles with owning her own business, making friends, and with letting go of her ex… but she also gets a rare opportunity to start over by eating a magic mushroom. Soon, she starts eating one every night, but the more she tries to fix, the more she messes up. And the more she makes the house spirit angry with her. Rounded forms and warm colors belie the serious message within.

 

 

Kingdom Come

Nancy: Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross was praised by IGN with the statement, “One of the greatest comic book stories of all time”, and they were not far off the mark. I am typically more a Marvel fan, but this DC story was fantastic for the moralistic debate story line. The artwork is top notch, with a distinctive photo-realism look and holds up 20 years after first being published. This book stays true to each character’s back story, so kudos to the team’s familiarity with the history of all the superheroes!  As such, the Epilogue was a perfect ending.

 

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Kathleen: High-fantasy readers, rejoice, for there is a comic out there just for you. Kurt Busiek’s The Autumnlands takes us to a world where animals speak, weave magic, and build cities in the sky. When their magic starts disappearing, the collective of wizards casts one last spell to bring a savior to their world – but the cost is too great, sending their city plummeting to the plains below. Can they survive what horrors await them in the night? Can their champion really save them? Features gorgeous, richly detailed art and beautiful writing.

 

 

invincibleNancy: The book Invincible took me by surprise this year, for it is overshadowed by writer Robert Kirkman’s more well known project (The Walking Dead) but I felt the world building in this one volume was as strong as DC & Marvel’s superhero worlds. We meet Mark, a new superhero, who is the son of Omni-Man. Later his world is turned upside down, with a twist that will surprise you, and his life changes forever with this new knowledge. This new development is a game changer and sets up endless stories for the future. Sadly, this series is drawing to a close soon, but I will enjoy binge reading the rest of the books soon.

 

 

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Kathleen: My last one was a toss-up between Birds of Prey and Bombshells… and Birds of Prey won. I know! Strike me down where I stand!!! They both feature a wide and varied cast of female superheroes, which I love, but Birds of Prey has the core three whom you can’t help rooting for. It has been wonderful to see how Barbara, Dinah, and Helena come together and become a family despite their differences. Exotic locales, action-packed stories, and hilarious dialogue have made this series near and dear to my heart.

 

There you have it – our ten best books/series of 2016. Thank you for all the support, comments, and friendship that you’ve all given us. We are so happy to have you all with us =D Happy holidays!!! ❤

– Nancy & Kathleen

Invincible: Volume 1

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Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley & Bill Crabtree. Invincible. 2005.

How did I not know of this comic’s existence???!! I found it by complete accident, for no one told me about it, and I haven’t seen it reviewed by other bloggers recently. It is written by Robert Kirkman, and is still being published concurrently with his The Walking Dead series. Just my luck that as soon as I discover this awesome first volume, there was recently an announcement that the series will be wrapped up in the next year.

We first meet Mark Grayson, a young superhero, who is annoyed at having to save the world from doom. The storyline continues with a flashback to four months prior, when he discovers that his powers have finally kicked in. He knew he was destined to have powers, as he is the son of Nolan, aka Omni-Man, the most powerful and beloved superhero on Earth. He and his mom Debbie have always known of Nolan’s alien origins, but the public is unaware of his alter ego. The story continues with Mark adjusting to his new found powers, and how he balances becoming the new hero Invincible with school, fighting villains, pairing up with other young heroes in a team,  and girl issues. Later his world is turned upside down, with a twist that will surprise you, and his life changes forever with this new knowledge. This new development is a game changer and sets up endless stories for the future.

The artwork is fun, fresh and bold. There are lots of little details that made me laugh, especially the homage to the Justice League and to Star Trek TNG, and Mark’s love for Science Dog.  I even thought the font they used for the big sound effects with the interlocking double oo’s added to the whole feel. The mustache on Omni-Man was appealing (TMI- I am a sucker for mustaches. I look forward to November when my husband grows a mustache for the charity Movember) and it was amusing to see mustaches on all the men when he reminisced about his home planet.

I read the Ultimate Edition, and it had a lot of extras in the back. One feature that I found fascinating, was the behind the scenes scripts between Kirkman and Walker. Kirkman had the dialogue and layout planned with details such as how many panels should be on a page, sound effects, setting details such as the Grayson’s home layout, and facial expressions he wanted used. Also included were mock ups of the pages, possible publicity, character studies, and side notes by the creators.

This was an outstanding start to a series that has now been running for years. I’m glad I caught onto this sleeper hit before it comes to a close. Bravo to the team that created a whole world as rich as the DC and Marvel superhero universes. I will be back for more!

-Nancy

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