Graphic Novelty²


Rainbow Rowell

She-Hulk: Jen, Again

I picked up this bright graphic novel since I am a fan of author Rainbow Rowell, plus I’ve heard buzz about the new Disney+ tv show She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. This new series reboots Jen Waters in an appealing manner and introduces a rogues gallery of other Marvel characters.

The story establishes that Jen is back after some misadventures and wants to get back into her legal career, but a former adversary Titania has other ideas. Luckily Jen talks her way out of a bigger fight and hightails it to her new law office, where a fellow law colleague is begrudgingly giving her a chance to prove herself…but doesn’t want her to take on cases of other superheroes. This is a challenge because other heroes get themselves into a lot of legal scrapes, so there is a parade of cameos by other Marvel characters who traipse through the offices. A possible love interest appears, Jack of Hearts (never heard of him before), whom Jen thought was dead, so there’s that.

Roge Antonio and Luca Maresca are a good art team, and I didn’t notice a change in style between the early issues that Antonio illustrated and the later ones that Maresca did. The background coloring was muted, making Jen’s green skin and colorful outfits pop in comparison. I enjoyed the cover art by Jen Bartel and the variant art by other artists throughout the book. It skews young, making it a good gateway book for new readers, especially teens. All in all, this was a smashing fun book that sets up the She-Hulk for new adventures!


I have been waiting on this graphic novel by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks for years and it is finally here!  An article was written about this duo collaborating back in January of 2014 and as I was then a fan of Rowell because of Eleanor & Park, I checked out Hicks’s work and loved her books too. But the wait was so long…

Pumpkinheads does not disappoint and is so adorbable! I eagerly scooped up a copy that I had ordered for my library’s graphic novel collection before it hit the shelves (working at a library has its perks). The story takes place on Halloween night at a popular pumpkin patch farm, and if you aren’t from the Midwest you might not know how big of a deal that pumpkin patches, corn mazes and apple orchards are in the fall. Attending is an EVENT. Friends Josiah and Deja, who have worked at the patch for years, are facing their last night as employees as they are seniors and will be at college next fall. Josie is morose about leaving the patch, while Deja wants to grab the opportunity to live it up, and that includes pushing Josie to talk to another employee he has a crush on.

What follows is an adventure around the patch that pushes them both out of their comfort zone and on a journey of discovery about themselves. What I love about Rowell is that she captures teenage life perfectly. Senior year is a difficult time for many, as you are almost at the end of your school career and thinking of the different path you will soon be taking, yet you need to live in the here and now. It’s easy to get caught up in your head about choices you should make in the future and lose sight that one can still enjoy the moment they are in and that they can build a bridge between the two. The characters are believable, with spot-on conversations and interesting backstories.  Deja’s personality is especially nuanced, and I liked how she was portrayed. Her race, sexuality and size do not define her, they are just a natural part of who she is. And while Josie was more a rule-follower, he ended up having a believable arc of self-discovery and learned how to not be so passive.

The art by Hicks is so fresh and inviting, and is truly reminiscent of local patches that are similar in a way to amusement parks. Hicks captures emotional moments perfectly and the pacing builds to a very satisfying end between Josie and Deja. Her backgrounds included fun details and the recurring runaway goat carried through with a certain someone getting a well-deserved comeuppance on the last page. Colorist Sarah Stern uses a warm palette with a lot of oranges (of course!), golden yellows and mellow purples. The colors are evocative of autumn and bring the story further to life. A map of the imagined patch is on the inside covers, which further world-builds and an enjoyable interview between the two creators concludes this fun book.

This graphic novel was everything I hoped it would be and I will be singing its praises to the teens at my library. I believe this book will become a classic to be revisited every fall.


Rowell, Rainbow & Faith Erin Hicks. Pumpkinheads. 2019.

Runaways: Find Your Way Home

Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka  bring the Runaways back together in this promising re-boot!

When I first read the original Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona I said, “Geared towards teens, this graphic novel perfectly captures children’s angst towards their parents and their thoughts of how they will be better than them and their wicked ways.” I thought the premise of the story was fun and fresh and would really appeal to the younger reader. While I didn’t read further than the first volume, I know who of the original six was the mole, and what happened to the parents of these youth. Image result for runaways find your way home Continue reading “Runaways: Find Your Way Home”

Top 5 Wednesday: Books That Would Make Good Video Games

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

I’m going back in time in the T5W bank, because today’s was sci-fi/fantasy related again and I just did one of those! Let’s mix it up a bit =P I’m slowly getting back into games after trying Horizon Zero Dawn~


5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Thought of you, Nancy! =P Eleanor & Park is an incredibly cute but incredibly heartbreaking story about two misfit teenagers falling in love. It’s set in the ’80s, but I often forgot that while reading it because the story and themes are so timeless. I think it would make a great 8 bit platformer game. You could alternate playing as Eleanor and Park every other level, and find different comics and tapes referenced in the book to give to the other person. There could be a heart meter that goes up or down depending on how many or what you find and give. And maybe the game would reveal the three mysterious words on the postcard – and change every time depending on how you play and how full you get the meter!


4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor

The first book is amazing and even if the sequels aren’t on the same level, y’all should read it. This trilogy is about a girl with blue hair named Karou, an artist who’s raised by monsters. One of her guardians deals in animal teeth, and you find out later he builds other creatures from the teeth he collects and strings together like necklaces. Wouldn’t that be an awesome sidequest in a game??? Finding teeth and stringing them together to build creatures for an army, each animal with different stat attributes? Deal me in!


3. Wonder Woman by George Perez

Okay, I admit I’ll take any incarnation of WW as a game, but the story and art of this run are iconic and stellar! I think it would lend itself well to a video game. There are also plenty of plot threads – main and side – that would translate well to a game. As it was written in the ’80s, I imagine it as another 8 bit sidescroller… complete with all the melodramatic cheesy dialogue goodness!


2. Birds of Prey by Gail Simone

There are a lot of angles from which a Birds game could be played. You could play strictly as Oracle, where you choose the heroes you send into the field, and see them from a birds-eye view (pun not intended!), and manipulate them as if you were playing a tactical board game. In addition to moving your heroines around, there could also be puzzles to solve and codes to crack in order for the mission to succeed. You could also play as one of the heroes and go into the field, with Oracle as your AI guide, for a more action-oriented game. I feel no matter which incarnation you get, there should be a role-playing element, to highlight the bond between the Birds so evident in the comics!


1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Okay I know we’ve had ports of movie tie-ins to just about every console and handheld from the PS1 and GameBoy on… we had Pottermore back when it was actually a game (and I’m still incredibly salty it’s not anymore)… but wHERE IS MY HARRY POTTER SIMULATOR??? WHEN CAN I MAKE MY OWN CHARACTER AND PLAY AS HER THROUGH HOGWARTS??? WHEN?!!?!? IT’S 2017 AND WE DON’T HAVE THIS YET AND IT’S A TRAVESTY TO HUMANKIND TBH

Honorable mention was a Batgirl game… one half-baked Arkham Knight DLC is never going to be enough… #saltyaboutit

What book to game incarnations would you want to see? =D

– Kathleen

Kindred Spirits

Rowell, Rainbow. Kindred Spirits. 2016.

Rainbow Rowell and I are Kindred Spirits, for how does she articulate feelings I have had so perfectly???

This story is a novella at only 62 pages, but even in that short span, the book manages to convey deep thoughts. Elena is a senior in high school who adores Star Wars and wants to experience camping overnight for tickets. After much discussion with her mother, she camps out, becoming third in line. Expecting instant camaraderie, she is disappointed that the line remains only three people up until the day before the movie opens. During her wait, she gets to know the other two men, learning more about them and herself in the process. She especially gets to know Gabe, realizing later she goes to school with him, and that she and her friends are cliquey and oblivious to others such as him. The ending is hopeful that Elena will break out of her social shell and see there are others like her, if she only opens her eyes.

A quote that hit home was this:

“Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.” (Gabe)

“Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?” (Elena)

“Maybe.” (Gabe)

I have always felt I am socially in no-mans-land. I have always been the geekiest of my circle, but then when I try to branch out into other groups, I am too normal or “bougie” for people in arty circles. In high school I was too self conscious to admit my fascination with Star Trek and Star Wars, but in college I could not keep my love of Star Trek TNG to myself anymore. My friends in my sorority thought it was cute. I even had a Star Fleet Academy sticker in the back window of my sports car.

As an adult now, especially with my job as a Teen Librarian, I can embrace who I really am. I like Star Wars. I like Star Trek. I like Pokémon GO. I like Avatar the Last Airbender. I like Rainbow Rowell. I like ElfQuest. But I also like being a Mom, Nashville (tv series), The Americans, pedicures, ADPi, hiking and hanging out with my (cliquey?) friends. I still am a social chameleon at times, moving between groups.

Although this book was shooting for a YA audience, it hit the bulls eye with a woman many years past HS, making me proud of who I am- including all my personality contradictions. Bravo RR, and THANK YOU!


Top 5 Wednesday: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, and this week’s topic is: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist!

locke-and-key-seriesI read the first volume of Locke & Key and loved it, thinking that it was one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. I wanted to savor the rest of the series, so I put off reading volumes 2-6 until I have time. My family vacation is around the corner and I have all the rest of the volumes packed away for me to enjoy then. (Edit- Volumes 2-6  So amazing! Go out and buy this series!)


I love Rainbow Rowell, as Kathleen can attest to, for I talked about RR’s book Eleanor & Park every chance I could get, at our Young Adult Literature class. RR released a novella for World Book Day in the UK and Ireland, and it is not available in US bookstores. I am patiently awaiting my order from overseas. (Edit- I got the book in the mail and loved it!)


I happened upon this article about the two authors working together when I was Googling RR, but I have not heard any news regarding the status of their collaboration. I loved the artwork of FEH in Friends With Boys, so I hope the graphic novel still happens.


I am a fan of short stories, so I really enjoyed the collection My True Love Gave To Me which included a story by RR. I recently bought Summer Days and Summer Nights for my library’s collection and featured it on my monthly teen newsletter.


Civil War II is coming out in issues now but won’t be collected into a graphic novel until the end of the year. I look forward to reading the whole story then, as I was a huge fan of the original story. (Edit- not a fan of this second profiling tale)

I always have many books I anticipate reading, but I contained myself to graphic novels and YA books for this post. So many books, so little time!


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