Heartstopper is just freaking adorable. Charlie and Nick attend an all-boys grammar school, and they really meet when they find themselves in the same form (odd, since Nick is in year 11 and Charlie is in year 10? but what do I know, grammar schools can do what they want in many ways; or mine certainly did, anyway). They quickly become friends, and Nick even coaxes Charlie to join him in playing rugby. They hang out together… a lot… and Nick quickly becomes Charlie’s defender and closest friend. And, of course, a mutual crush develops.
The art is cute, and while there is a little bit of angst and confusion, it doesn’t feel gratuitous. I’m a little mad about the cliffhanger this book ends on — and I know I could go looking for the rest online, and probably will, but aaarggghh, that so typical plotline where — well, I won’t spoil it, but suffice it to say that I want to get back to them being adorable, whether that’s as friends or boyfriends.
It’s also kind of awesome how British it is. And a grammar school, too! That’s a world I know well.
Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears – Baby Talk, Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez
It’s been a while since I read any comics, really, so I picked this one up on a whim. It’s quite a lot of fun: Jessica Drew kicks ass and takes names even when pregnant — even when she’s just had an emergency caesarian. That part isn’t realistic, but the bit about her learning to cope with giving things up, dealing with motherhood, and figuring out who she is now… that’s all probably pretty on the nose. And I loved Carol’s concern for her and how Jessica called out all the overprotective behaviour.
Does it make sense, coming right after the last Spider-Woman comic I read? Not really. It feels like they just decided to take a left turn out of nowhere for the fun of it. It’s comics, so you know it isn’t going to change much — for all I know, Jessica’s kid has been retconned out of everything already.
Still, like I said, it’s fun. And I do like the art in this TPB.
This story is just adorable. The setting is a little odd — half realistic, set in places like Belgium and Paris, but half invented (at least I don’t think it fits into our timeline), but I really enjoyed the designs and the cute relationship between Sebastian and Frances. I love the fact that Frances is never really bothered by what Sebastian wants: okay, he wants dresses, that’s her job, so she’ll do it. The best bit was maybe her telling the king that Sebastian himself was perfect, and it was the expectations and the fear of disappointing his family that ruined things.
It’s not exactly period appropriate in terms of how easily Sebastian seems to be accepted, but hey, when reality sucks, why not fix it sometimes?
Lumberjanes to the Max: Volume 1, Noelle Stephenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen
Lumberjanes is really fun and really cute. The art is very typically Stephenson’s style, very much like Nimona, which I rather enjoy — it manages to be expressive and dynamic without appearing painstakingly polished. I enjoy the character designs a lot, perhaps especially Mal and April, and Ripley is just tons of fun. It’s meant for a younger audience, mostly, but I think it can appeal on other levels as well, especially with the puns and references — not many kids are going to understand why Jen (I think it was Jen) shouts, “By bell hooks!”
It’s pretty much all about ladies, and that’s pretty darn badass. There’s an adorkable crush between Mal and Molly, and the whole thing is about the friendship between the girls and how it helps them with everything that’s going on at the camp.
Which also involves magic and Greek mythology, no kidding.
I really enjoyed it, in an uncomplicated and delighted way.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Believe It, Christopher Hastings, Gurihuru, Danilo Beyruth, Tamra Bonvillain
Like Deadpool, only pinker. And less gory than the little Deadpool I’ve read. It very much doesn’t take itself seriously, of course; there’s a lot of comic violence, silly twists and odd meta. Some of the meta is oddly poignant — the commentary on the fact that Captain America doesn’t ever get a happy ending, for instance — and some of it is just silly. Why does Gwen Poole costume up? Because an extra might get killed in Comic Book World, but the hero never does!
It’s fun, and I actually really enjoyed the way Batroc the Leaper was used. It says Gwen skips an origin story, but in a way I’d say Batroc briefly does the whole mentor thing with her, and we get some hints of how she came through to Earth-616; if there’s ever a plan of giving her more of an origin story than that, I hope she stabs it in the face, because that would be less interesting than her running around maniacally having fun in a world she knows to be a comic book.
I think the joke might get old after too much of it, but for now, I’d try more Gwenpool. And the art is adorable.
Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 27th March 2018
If you’ve read Sarah Andersen’s other books or seen her comics online, you know more or less what to expect from this book. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not a story, it’s just a bunch of cute strips by someone who is having a lot of fun and has some things to say — and that’s great. This book did change things up a bit by including a section on art and being online in this day and age; not bad or untrue, but I was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t more strips speaking for themselves (although the section is illustrated).
It’s a fun collection, and I still find myself saying “it me!” when I read Andersen’s strips about anxiety, introversion, etc. Not sure how much of this will be new if you’ve read the strips online, though — I read them only sporadically, and still recognised quite a few.
The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente, Annie Wu
If you’re not into comics, you might not know about the trope of “women in refrigerators”, recognised by Gail Simone. Basically, it involves female characters who are killed off to further a male hero’s story — like Alexandra DeWitt, who is literally shoved in a refrigerator to die for the manpain of Green Lantern. Catherynne Valente takes a bunch of those stories and lets the women speak for themselves. If you like working it out, don’t worry; I won’t spoil which women are included in the line-up.
It’s a fun bunch of stories; they don’t end well for the women involved, because that’s the set-up here, and there’s a certain amount of rage at how this shit keeps on happening in Superhero Land (not to mention everywhere else as well). So if you’re looking for a transformative work that changes these stories, that’s not what this is. For now, it just gives the women voices; lets them tell their half of the story.
I enjoyed it a lot, and I’ll be looking out for a copy just to have — I borrowed the copy I read. The art included is pretty cool too (though this is a prose work, not a comic).
Monstress is definitely a beautiful book. Takeda’s work makes it worth reading just for the sake of looking at it, though I could’ve done with some brighter colour palettes in places. As it was, the tone felt consistently… subdued, dulled.
Unfortunately, the story itself… there’s a lot of interesting stuff there, and in a book about a ‘monstress’, you’d expect some exploration of monstrosity. (And, no surprises, it’s not always the literal monsters who act in a monstrous way.) Buuut, there’s also a lot of world-building to keep up with, and I didn’t follow it very well. I’m fully aware that a lot of that might be because I’m just not that good at reading comics. This book has such a rich background and history that there’s a lot to keep track of. Add that to following the action, and I definitely needed the semi-regular info dumps at the ends/beginnings of issues. (Though those felt a little clumsy.)
Character design is really cute and it looks gorgeous, but I’m not invested. I’m not sure what I was meant to get invested in. I feel like I missed half the story.
This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is graphic novels. I’m not positive I have ten, but then, I have read quite a few comics, so one hopes I do. Here goes!
The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The art is gorgeous, and I’m intrigued by the story as well.
Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Again, gorgeous art along with a story I’m hooked on, and it’s quite often hilarious.
Ms Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, etc. I’m not going to pick a specific volume — I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything in this run.
Young Avengers, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Yeah, pretty much a winning team on everything, though there have been a couple of their comics I didn’t enjoy. Their Young Avengers were perfection, though. And hey, love saved the world! (And it was queer love.)
Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, etc. I loved almost all of DeConnick’s run, even when I wasn’t in love with the art. (I did like Dexter Soy’s a lot, for example — I have some of it on a t-shirt — but was less a fan of Emma Rios.) I love Carol with all her faults. Pros: she wants to punch her way through most situations. Cons: she wants to punch her way through most situations.
Civil War: Iron Man, by Brian M. Bendis, Christos Gage, etc. I don’t like the Civil War event in general, but this volume brought home how the Avengers were torn apart, plus Tony’s genuine regard for (and love of) Steve. I don’t know how anyone read it and was unaffected, though the whole Camelot bit was weird.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker et al. I think this was a really, really effective comic — and I love the fact that the storyline also went into the MCU.
Nimona, by Noel Stevenson. Cute, cute, cute, funny… oh wait you just ripped my heart out.
Red Sonja, by Gail Simone. Pretty much all of her run. I loved that other women got involved in the story, that there was humour, that there were little moments lampshading the sexist background of the character…
The Movement, by Gail Simone. The second time I read it, I found more flaws, but… I loved that the team were openly politically disparate, queer, disabled, asexual, weird… All the things they turned out to be.
Hurrah for a week where I feel I really participated in the spirit of the TTT prompt! What’s everyone else been putting together?