Tag Archives For: graphic novel

15 Aug, 2017

Graphic Novel Mini Reviews

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Format: Graphic
Source: Library

I decided to read several new to me graphic novels as part of Women in Translation Month.  I was impressed with how many my library had.  Here are the first few series I started.

The Rabbi's CatThe Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar

“In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master’s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn’t eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah. They consult the rabbi’s rabbi, who maintains that a cat can’t be Jewish — but the cat, as always, knows better.”  Translated from French

First of all, the author is not a woman. Whoops. I still loved this story. The cat is full of contempt for any Jewish law that doesn’t make any sense.

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The art is cute. I enjoyed the North African setting. I will be continuing this series.


Bride of the Water God, Volume 1Bride of the Water God, Volume 1 by Mi-Kyung Yun

“When Soah’s impoverished, desperate village decides to sacrifice her to the Water God Habaek to end a long drought, they believe that drowning one beautiful girl will save their entire community and bring much-needed rain. Not only is Soah surprised to be rescued by the Water God — instead of killed — she never imagined she’d be a welcomed guest in Habaek’s magical kingdom, where an exciting new life awaits her! Most surprising, however, is the Water God himself… and how very different he is from the monster Soah imagined.” Translated from Korean

I don’t know about an exciting life. I found this one pretty boring. It is a great concept and it seemed like it was going to be good but then nothing happened by the end of the volume. Maybe it gets better if you read more but I’m not interested.

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The art is good but it isn’t enough.


Fruits Basket, Vol. 1Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya

“Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.”  Translated from Japanese

A girl moves in with a family who are all possessed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac. That sounds good. Again, I couldn’t get into this one. I had a hard time telling the male characters apart or even how many of them there were. Bad sign.

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The art was fine but I’m starting to think that manga just isn’t for me.


A Bride's Story, Vol. 1 (A Bride's Story, #1)A Bride’s Story, Vol. 1 by Kaoru Mori

“Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.”  Translated from Japanese

I gasped when I opened this one. The art was extraordinary and very detailed.

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It is set in 1800s Turkmenistan. I loved the characters who all had distinct personalities. Amir isn’t just meekly trying to fit into her new family and the family isn’t trying to make her conform. I’m glad this moved away from that trope.

I am definitely continuing with this series.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Backlist Books
  • Books Set in Africa
  • Books Set in Asia
27 Jan, 2017

Graphic Novels

/ posted in: Reading Graphic Novels Lady Killer (Lady Killer, #1) by Joëlle Jones, Jamie S. Rich, Chelsea Cain
on September 15th 2015
Pages: 138
Published by Dark Horse Books
Format: Graphic
Source: Library, Owned

Betty Draper meets Hannibal!
Josie Schuller is a picture-perfect homemaker, wife, and mother—but she’s also a ruthless, efficient killer for hire! A brand-new original comedy series that combines the wholesome imagery of early 1960s domestic bliss with a tightening web of murder, paranoia, and cold-blooded survival.
* New original series by Joëlle Jones!
* Dark comedy, gritty action, and killer laughs!

Goodreads

I’m not a huge graphic novel fan because they are over too quickly.  I don’t like a book that is done in 20 minutes. Occasionally though I pick some up because I love the look of the art.

How can you not love the cover of Lady Killer?  Each book ends with a fake advertisement aimed at 1960s housewives who are also assassins.  Think of this book as Mr and Mrs Smith set in the 60s if Mr Smith wasn’t a spy.


Graphic Novels Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (Collected Editions) by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda, Rus Wooton
on July 19th 2016
Pages: 202
Published by Image Comics

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900's Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

Goodreads

The art in Monstress is beautiful.  I wasn’t that big of a fan of the story.  I’m definitely in the minority with that opinion.  Every other review I read is raving about this book.

I did like the two tailed cats who are obviously the smartest beings around – as cats should be.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • POC authors
08 Apr, 2016

The Comic Book History of Comics

/ posted in: Reading The Comic Book History of Comics The Comic Book History of Comics on 2012
Pages: 224
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, General, Nonfiction
Published by IDW
Format: Graphic
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

For the first time ever, the inspiring, infuriating, and utterly insane story of comics, graphic novels, and manga is presented in comic book form! The award-winning "Action Philosophers" team of Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey turn their irreverent-but-accurate eye to the stories of Jack Kirby, R. Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Fredric Wertham, Roy Lichtenstein, Art Spiegelman, HergE, Osamu Tezuka -- and more! Collects "Comic Book Comics" #1-6.

Goodreads

The title of this book made me laugh so I borrowed it online from the library.

I don’t know a whole lot about comics but this book packed a whole lot of history into it.  It starts with the development of the comic strip and then moves into the business ideas behind making books out of comic strips.  The early developers of the format are all profiled.

The history of comics seems to be mostly about intellectual property disputes.  Were comic artists creating work for hire in which case anything they made belongs to the company or were they authors in which case their creations belong to them?  For me the book got bogged down in the middle around the 1980s with all kinds of legal challenges.

I was more interested in the early creators like the men behind Superman and what Stan Lee may or may not have done for comics.

This book looks mostly at American comics with some side trips to France but it does contain a section on manga too.

This would be a great book for any comic book fans in your life who also love history.

 

14 Jan, 2015

Ms Marvel Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

/ posted in: Reading

Kamala Khan is an Avengers fan fiction writing sixteen-year-old girl in Jersey City.  She wishes that she wasn’t known for being different than her classmates.  Her family immigrated from Pakistan and is Muslim.  Kids know that her parents are strict and that she eats weird food.

When she is given the opportunity to become Ms. Marvel, her first thought is to tell The current Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)  that she will be using the original costume and boots with a wedge heel to be authentic just like the geek girl that she is.  She turns into a tall, blonde woman in a revealing costume and realizes that this isn’t what she thought it would be.  It turns out that the boots pinch and the leotard rides up.

She’s not very good at being a super hero either.  She can’t quite get control of her powers and her first attempts at saving people have a tendency to make things worse instead of better.  Besides, she’s grounded for sneaking out at night.

I’m not a huge graphic novel fan.  They are too short to interest me usually.  But, I had heard of this one because of the change from the blonde Ms Marvel to the Pakistani Ms Marvel.  I decided to check it out.  I didn’t realize before that it was written by G. Willow Wilson who wrote The Butterfly Mosque about her conversion to Islam.  My review here.

I liked the idea of choosing a girl who was so well versed in super heroes that she had thought out what she would do if she ever had the chance and then having her realize that it isn’t going to be like her fantasies at all.  I think all of us who are into any kind of genre think we know how to negotiate those worlds if we were thrust into them.  We are probably wrong too.

I loved the artwork.  The backgrounds are snarky.  I appreciate snark.  There is an ad for Fair & Pastey skin cream in a store window.  Kamala eats G.M.O’s cereal with the slogan “Listen to your gut, not the lawsuits.”

The characters feel real.  After complaining (not the first time apparently) about having to sit behind a screen during youth classes at her mosque so the imam and male students don’t see her, she and her friend sneak out to the local convenience store because they realize that the imam won’t be able to tell if they are gone.

This volume combined the first few comics into one book.  I’ll be interested to see where they take the character from here.

 

 

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