Tag Archives: comics

Ten Comics & Graphic Novels, and Manga You Should Check Out! October 2017 Edition

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a round up of comics, graphic novels, and manga that I want to share with you all. Again, I’ve read some interesting and unique stuff. Any of these recommendations can be purchased in physical or ebook form, and also consider grabbing them from your local library! You can also Read the previous issue.

Without further ado! Let’s talk comics.

My Brother’s Husband, Volume 1 (My Brother’s Husband Omnibus #1)
by Gengoroh Tagame

This. manga. Holy crap. This is an emotional read that had me sobbing from the first couple pages. It focuses on a Japanese man and his daughter who find out that his twin brother married a Canadian man. It looks at issues surrounding homosexuality in Japan and Canada, and it’s just super sweet and emotional. I absolutely loved this one and it’s been a book I have been recommending constantly to anyone and everyone.

Lucky Penny
by Ananth Hirsh & Yuko Ota

Adorbs and totally for fans who love heroines that are always looking on the brighter side of life! This comic is delightfully funny, utterly charming, and Penny will just make you laugh. Seriously, this is just too funny. Seriously, Penny is plucky and down on her luck, but you will fall in love with her!

Spinning
by Tillie Walden

This is a beautiful illustrated graphic novel that focuses on figure skating and learning about your sexuality. Spinning is just absolutely stunning, beautifully written, and I can’t wait to see what Tillie Walden does next. You can read my full review here!

Motor Crush, Vol. 1 (Motor Crush #1-5)
by Brenden Fletcher et al.
OMMMMMMMMGGGG THIS SERIES. THIS SERIES. What if Mad Max met Death Race! With motorcycles! Motor Crush is cool as hell. There’s motorcycle trippy drugs, there’s beating up rival biker gangs, and Domino is just such a badass rad ladyboss who NO ONE should mess with. Also the art and colours in this graphic novel are just stellar. Check this one out!
The Beauty, Vol. 1 (The Beauty #1-6)
by Jeremy Haun et al.
What if beauty was a transmittable disease? That’s the premise of The Beauty. It’s weird, uncomfortable, and it leaves you thinking about vanity quite a bit. It’s also just SO DAMN CREEPY. Like ragdoll people creepy. If you like to be spooked, or you want something with a more intriguing but uncomfortable premise, this is worth reading.
Wonder Woman 77  Vol 1 
by Marc Andreyko
Okay, so while Greg Rucka and Gail Simone are king and queen of writing Wonder Woman, I want to give a shout out to Wonder Woman ’77 which looks at the Linda Carter years. I ADORED the cornball 70’s style storytelling and humour that comes with comic. There’s only two volumes, but the art is gorgeous, the stories are corny, and just total fun. Also looking forward to the cross-over comic that is out with Batman ’66.
The Backstagers, Vol. 1 (The Backstagers)
by James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh
Diverse, charming, and full of life, that is what The Backstagers is all about. This book is full of wonderful friendships, slice of life humour, and the characters are just completely lovable.  If you love inclusive comics and haven’t checked out The Backstagers, you are missing out on something wonderful. Sasha. ❤
Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1 (Akatsuki no Yona #1)
by Mizuho Kusanagi
This series was pitched to me by a friend who loves Fushigi Yuugi. I read this while I was at a cottage and this is pretty spectacular. It’s about a princess who witnesses her father’s murder. This situation really causes her to change dramatically, and her situation is very sad. However, there’s more to this and all the characters are a lot of fun. I have only read the first volume, but I definitely need to read more of them (and perhaps request it at the library for purchase!)
Brobots series
by J. Torres & Sean K. Dove
This is an adorable kids comic series about three “Brobots” who have wacky adventures fighting kaiju monsters, while also enjoying every day activities like fishing. Very cute, simple, and definitely a fun read for children. Also there’s a little chubby bot, and he is the cute one.
Essex County 
by Jeff Lemire
I love Jeff Lemire, and that’s pretty evident on this blog given I am constantly recommending his works. Essex County looks at Lemire’s life through some unique characters and people. It’s won so many awards, and each of the three stories that exist are haunting, cold, and uncomfortable. A+ for comic lovers who love realistic or autobiographical works.
So that was ten more recommendations, which I hope you all check out. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these or if you have recommendations. I always love finding new comics, graphic novels or manga. 🙂
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Ten Comics & Graphic Novels, and Manga You Should Check Out! July 2017 Edition

Holy crap, it has been seven months and I haven’t even shared some new comic, graphic novel or manga recommendations. The crazy part is I’ve read SO MANY new and awesome things that I need to share with everyone. Here’s ten new recommendations that you need to go out, RIGHT NOW and check out. Buy them, get them from the library, borrow from a friend, just NOW.

But before I get into recommending some great comics, graphic novels and manga, I thought I’d share a few ways on how I get my fix. First off, I work for my public library and public libraries are a great source for getting graphic novels/comics/manga, and if there’s a series you want to read and your library doesn’t have it, ASK THEM TO GET IT! We love recommendations on how to make our collections better! Or if you want to show your support because you have the cash, buy comics and graphic novels from your local book store or comic shop and show that this is worth the investment.

Another good source is Comixology, which constantly has sales on all the popular publishers that it houses. It also has one of the best digital panel viewers to make it easier to read comics as well. If you don’t have a lot of money, but want to read comics digitally, see if your library has OverDrive or Hoopla, as both those services carry a wide variety of comics and graphic novels, and they are all free with your library card.

And now, without further ado, some new recommendations!

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, Vol. 1: Anchor Points by Kelly Thompson et al.

I was a huge, huge fangirl for both the Matt Fraction and Jeff Lemire runs of Hawkeye, but Kelly Thompson my have them beat with her amazing rendition of Kate Bishop. Stylish, sassy, and just a heck of a lot of fun, Kate is best Hawkeye, and you’ll learn how she really gives Clint a run for his money. Also the art is phenomenal and it never looks inconsistent either. Just, omg I need more nao.

Chew Vol 1. Taster’s Choice by   John Layman & Rob Guillory

I realize this series has been around since 2009 and I am only just getting to it now, but it’s REALLY GOOD and I wish I had started it sooner. I am a huge iZombie fan, and this is a comic where you really see some parallels between the two works. Tony Chu is *hilarious* as a protagonist and his partner is… special to say the least. This is easy a series I will whip through as my holds come in from work, but a really fun read, though not for a faint of heart.

Welcome to the Ballroom Vol 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

While dabbling in my love of Haikyu!! one of my dearest friends had talked about getting into Welcome to the Ballroom. Then I saw another friend on Goodreads enjoying it, even giving every volume out so far five stars, and I knew I needed to check this out. With such a silly premise and adorable characters, I feel like the anime for this can’t come soon enough. Plus the art is beautiful looking as you progress through the volumes. I can’t wait to read more. Poor Tartara never catches a break. 😦

Spell on Wheels Vol 1 by Kate Leth et al.

One of my author friends, Vikki VanSickle read and raved about how fun this series is. The saw week she said this, was the same week it was on sale on Comixology. 99 cents per single issue? How can I go wrong? Well, now I need more of it. This is a very inclusive comic series about three young witches, two which are dating, as they attempt to retrive their stolen belongs by going on a road trip. Very fun and feminist, with very loveable characters. I want more.

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

I make no bones about being an insane Jeff Lemire fangirl. Both my husband and I are huge fans of his work. While his art style is very unique, the man is a fantastic storyteller. During the month of June, I binged all of Lemire’s works that I hadn’t read, from catching up with Descender, reading Trillium and Essex County, but the book that spiraled me into that binge read was Roughneck, his latest effort. Roughneck left me with so many emotions, from sadness, to anger, to fear. A good storyteller should do that effortlessly, and by the end of the story my heart was in a million pieces and I was cleaning it up with a dustpan. Curse your talents, Jeff Lemire. Curse them.

Fetch: How A Bad Dog Brought Me Home by Nicole J Georges

I recently reviewed this! You can read the full review here. The short version: for animal lovers who are okay with some intense uglycrying.

One Punch Man by ONE et al.

As many of you know, I work in a public library, and more specifically, I have the task of working with middle graders and teens when it comes to Reader’s Advisory. It was my Branch Librarian who’s recommendations I trust that led me to One Punch Man, a series I didn’t know I needed in my life. All the teens at my branch were reading and loving it, and it was one of those mangas I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy. Then I read the first volume and fell down the rabbit hole and have been unable to get out of it since. Saitama and friends are doofy and I LOVE THEM. It is like a more hilarious version of Dragon Ball Z, and that alone makes it fabulous.

The March trilogy by John Lewis et al.

Easily one of the most important graphic novels to date, the March trilogy explores the life of Senator John Lewis during some of the most important events in the American civil rights movement. It chronicles a young John Lewis beginning his days as an activist, and moving towards the march on Selma. You see how some of his most important relationships form, as well as how he takes responsibility for the lives that have been lost in many of these non-violent protests. Each volume paints each event in such a vivid way, and it reminds us that even now we still have a long way to go to making things better for PoC. Escellent stuff here, and one I need to get for my shelves (I borrowed the trilogy from my work). A must read for those who not only love graphic novels, but love seeing history in a different way.

SuperCakes by Kat Leyh

This is an adorable comic about two ladies who are madly in love with each other, and are both super heroines. I picked this up on a whim at this year’s TCAF, and it made my heart so so happy. May and Mo are SO DAMN CUTE, and I appreciate that Leyh showcases many of the women in the story in varying shapes and sizes. Yay for big girls! Yay for small girls! Yay for girls! While this is just one adventure, you can still read SuperCakes online by going to this link!

Princess Jellyfish by Akiko Higashimura

In my quest to rediscover manga, I remember I was watching a recommendation video by the amazing Elena @ Elena Reads Books‘ Channel, and this was a title that popped up. The name didn’t click with me right away, but it was also a series my husband had recommended as well. Princess Jellyfish is a wonderful series about women, friendship and fashion. I love those first two themes, though fashion is one I maintain I still couldn’t give a crap about. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and the drama in it is pretty… crazy at times. Really been enjoying this series and loving that it’s one my work carries in the giant bind-up editions!

And there you have it! I am so sorry I went so long without sharing some new recommendations. I’ve had folks asking and I feel terrible with how long it took. All of the titles above are A+ and worth reading. Hopefully I’ll have another batch of recommendations soon!

Book Chat – Falling Back In Love With Manga

Growing up I used to be a huge anime and manga fan. I used to consume it like it was candy. Then somewhere in the land of getting older and crustier, I stopped enjoying and perusing both mediums. My husband still religiously (and to this day) follows anime and manga, but somehow I fell super out of love with it.

In 2016 when I got my new job at the library, I gained a work!wife who reintroduced me back in manga. She constantly recommends new titles to me stuff she’s enjoyed, as well as stuff the teens at our local branch have been devouring as well. We also bonded over old anime classics like Saiyuki, and newer  shows like Yuri On Ice!!! My friend and co-worker did this amazing job of accidentally rekindling my love for manga and anime. Now, I struggle to stop.

Admittedly, I borrow a lot of manga from my work and that’s just because there is so much of it out there that it’s hard to keep up. It also gets insanely expensive as well. But I am finding that I am getting more and more into it. Especially when I see the kinds of manga that I am trapping for holds, or just what the teens come and talk to me about. It’s AWESOME. I now find myself completely down the rabbit hole for Haikyu, which is my friend’s favourite at the moment. I recently devoured Steins;Gate, which made me so happy considering I got a different ending in the video game than the one the manga implies is canon. I feel like anime and manga is back to those golden years where I was super in love with it. She also recommended Food Wars, and I am currently keeping up with Danganronpa as it releases in English.

I am just so happy with the amount of diversity in manga now. I was starting to worry for the longest time that it was mainly going to be moe and nothing but, and yet it’s so great to see the variety of titles that exist in English, as well as the popularity a lot of these series, old and new, still have. I admit, Haikyu for example is bringing me back to that dangerous fangirl territory I was in back when I loved Prince of Tennis. Reading Danganronpa reminds me how much I love the video games, and reading JUDGE instilled fear in me in a way which I didn’t think was entirely possible.

So dear readers of this blog who are manga fans: what are some manga out there that you can recommend for someone who is slowly getting back into the hobby? I’d be curious to know what some of the favourites are!

Ten Comics & Graphic Novels, and Manga You Should Check Out! January 2017 Edition

A new year means a whole lot more comics, graphic novels and manga to devour. While the year has just started, I have actually managed to check out a lot of great new stuff that I want to recommend to you all. I have some new middle grade reads, some manga, and well, let’s just say I have a bit of everything. Let’s get started!

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Hexed by by Michael Alan Nelson et al.

Hexed is a very addictive, if short series. It focuses on a heroine named Luci (short of Lucifer), a thief who dabbles in the occult, and the occult wants nothing more than to devour her. This series is only three volumes, but each volume series packs a wallop. There’s an intense amount of detail in the world building, the characters are a blast, and it’s just action-packed. Definitely for fans of Jessica Jones, especially those who love a little street with their magic. 30220713

Space Battle Lunchtime, Volume 1: Lights, Camera, Snacktion! by Natalie Riess

Can I gush for a second about Space Battle Lunctime? Because I REALLY adored Space Battle Lunchtime. I am a sucker for tournament stories, and in this case we have Iron Chef in SPAAAAAAAAACE. There is so much comedy gold in this series, and Peony will totally steal your heart… and you’ll want her to bake you cupcakes. Great for kids of all ages, and adults who happen to just be big kids.

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Snow White: A Graphic Novel
by Matt Phelan

This is a very unique retelling of Snow White, and one that I think will surprise a lot of readers. Transplanting the story to New York City, 1928, we are given a a beautifully illustrated story that feels both fresh and familiar. The artwork is breathtaking by the way, and while there is minimal text, there’s still a very vivid story being told. If you love noir and fairytale retelling, this one is definitely worth checking out.

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Mockingbird, Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain &  Kate Niemczyk

Can I explain to you all my intense love of Chelsea Cain’s version of Mockingbird, because holy crap it is amazeballz. Seriously, she breathes new life into the character of Bobbi Morse, and given how comics have treated her over the years, it’s great to see Bobbi back in action and potentially the best version of herself. I am super sad that this is going to be a very short run, because the writing in this is witty, clever, and quite dark at times. I need more Bobbi in my life.

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Another Castle by Andrew Wheeler & Paulina Ganucheau 

A super feminist comic about swords and sorcery, and my goodness is it a lot of fun to read. Wheeler’s writing is very clever and cheeky, and Ganucheau’s art is absolutely vivid and stellar. Again this short series (five issues total) has an amazingly diverse cast of characters, romance, girl-power and more. A comic for fantasy lovers, and a love letter to those who adore Dungeons and Dragons.

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Princess Princess Ever After
by Katie O’Neill

This is a beautiful LGBTQIA+ comic that features two heroines who couldn’t be more opposite of each other, but fall in love. Princess Amira and Princess Sadie are delightful, adorkable, and easy to root for. Diverse, queer friendly, and all ages appropriate, Princess Princess Ever After is just buckets of fun. Too bad it is so darn short, though!

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JUDGE by Yoshiki Tonogai

Told in six twisted volumes, JUDGE is not for the faint of heart. Much like Danganronpa, we have people thrown into a horrific game where each person is labelled a seven deadly sin that represents their personality. People die, and people die horrifically in this series. There’s some great twists and turns, and though I wasn’t huge on the ending, I found the build up to be exceptionally worthwhile. I definitely want to check out more of Yoshiki Tonogai’s work, but I need to remember to breathe while reading it!

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Adventure Time by Various

I have intense feelings for Adventure Time. The show makes me laugh, it makes me smile, it gives me all the feelings. The comics are no different, though admittedly they vary in quality. I’ve enjoyed the majority of the ones I’ve read, and I think they are great for fans of the series. Some personal favourites include President BubblegumMarceline and the Scream Queens & Marceline Adrift, Candy Capers, and any of the ones written by Ryan North because they are made of LULZ.

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

I have adored every one of Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novels, but I think this one has got some of the best emotion in it. This book is not only about sisters, but it’s also about what it means to help others (in this case, Cat’s sister has cystic fibrosis). There are ghosts of friends, families, loved ones, and the setting in this novel is just absolutely stunning. I LOVED Maya and Cat’s relationship and it felt so authentic. If you haven’t read this gem yet, do so.

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Jessica Jones (2016-) by Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos & David W. Mack

I had a love-hate relationship with both the original Alias series, and Brian Michael Bendis. When Bendis writes street, hes fabulous, when he goes beyond that… it’s often a hot mess (see the ending of Alias). However, my bestie has been loaning me this ongoing run and right now I am super intrigued by it. Luke Cage is chasing Jessica Jones, asking about their daughter. Jessica also feels so distant in this series (to the point where she rubs it in Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman’s face that she is the superior detective). I like this so far, but I don’t want to jinx myself either. I do think at this point, however, it’s solid and worth the recommendation.

Have you guys been reading any new comics lately? I am always looking for recommendations! I am hoping 2017 is a solid year of more comics, graphic novels and manga. We shall see!

ARC Review – Mighty Jack (Mighty Jack #1) by Ben Hatke

25648247Title: Mighty Jack (Mighty Jack #1)

Author: Ben Hatke

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: Jack might be the only kid in the world who’s dreading summer. But he’s got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s boring, too, because Maddy doesn’t talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds. It’s the best mistake Jack has ever made.

What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.

Huge thank you to Raincoast for this book!

Sam’s Review:

I am mad at myself for putting this book off. Why? Because it was one I was crazy excited to get my hands on and then life took over and it fell by the wayside. I say this given that in a lot of ways this is how Mighty Jack begins. Jack wants to sleep in, he wants to be able to get a job to help support his mother who is already working two jobs to support the family, and he has an autistic sister, Maddy, who doesn’t speak. This beginning proves my point about life trying to escape past you.

However, in true Ben Hatke form, this is a wonderful friendship oriented story, retelling the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. I’ll admit, as a child I never really liked that story, and often found it to be a frustrating narrative for one thing. However, there is something so fresh about Hatke’s take on the story that it makes up for my distaste of the original tale. It is so easy to love the characters in this story: Jack, Lilly, Maddy, their mother, and they are characters that Hatke does a great job providing empathy towards. I really, in particular, loved Maddy’s portrayal, and after the cliffhanger of an ending at this book, I NEED to see what will happen next.

This is a great start to a series, and Ben Hatke’s artwork continues to be so vibrant and delightful that I always enjoy my time with his books. There is a lot of great commentary and ideas in Mighty Jack and I can’t wait to see where the next book goes. There’s so much to love in Ben Hatke’s stories, and he does a good job of showing us how strong humans can be when they are faced with crisis. I really loved this story, and definitely check out if you love fairy tale retellings or just awesome comics.

Ten Comics & Graphic Novels, and Manga You Should Check Out! October 2016 Edition

Hi! I haven’t forgotten about you beautiful people. Life is… life. However, I have been reading a crapton of graphic novels and comics and I have another ten that I definitely want to share with you all. If you have a favourite retailer, or your library is great at keeping a good stock, then you need to check some of these guys out.

Previous Lists:

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Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra
by Kevin Panetta, Paulina Ganucheau

This is a comic series that I discovered through Elena @ Elena Reads Books Youtube Channel and it sounded like a fantastic twist on the magical girl storyline. Yes these girls have magic powers but they also have real problems that don’t consist of the male variety. I love the way in which the friendships are written, I love how they combat their monster problems with real life ones, and the humour is just so delightful. Definitely great for fans of Giant Days, Sailor Moon or Lumberjanes.

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The Tiny Titans series & The Superman Family Adventures series by Art Baltazar & Franco

I have recently gone on a huge binge read of Art Baltazar & Franco’s Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures. Both series are written for younger comic audiences, but I love the way in which the authors play with a lot of the DC characters and focus more on the quirky bits of theirs personalities. These comics are charming, funny, and my goodness Aqualad never gets a real break — but it’s part of the fun. These books are so well loved at my work place that I find myself both enjoying them and repairing them so kids can also be entertained by them. We need more Tiny Titans, darn it!

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Danganronpa by Spike Chunsoft & Takashi Tsukimi

I am a huge gamer, and one of my more recent obsessions is the Danganronpa series. If you aren’t a gamer, but love anime and manga, then you can still check this series out. It’s not for the faint of heart, however, as it’s about a mutual killing game and a creepy bear with a lust for murder. But it is such a fascinating series at the same time, especially for those who love psychological thrillers or love a strong mystery series. There’s only two of these graphic novels out at the moment, and a new game is coming next year. Seriously, if you loved messed up storylines, then Danganronpa will have you covered. Then go watch the new TV series, because oh my stars I keep crying, I can’t even.

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Long Walk to Valhalla by Long Walk to Valhalla
by Adam Smith & Matthew Fox 

Long Walk to Valhalla is weird as all hell, but it’s part of its charm. It has a similar vibe that I Kill Giants provided, providing a larger metaphor for something that is hard to definite or be made tangible. It also does an amazing job twisting Norse mythology on its head, which I am always a fan of. It has a really lovely, sketchy art style that also gives it a real beautiful visual appeal as well. If you can find this one, it’s worth a read

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The Legend of Bold Riley
by Leia Weathington

This graphic novel was a beautiful and wonderful surprise. Featuring a lesbian heroine, it focuses on one woman’s desire to be a heroine and move beyond boundaries. There’s a lot of sword, sorcery, romance, swashbuckling, and lady love, and it just warmed my heart. Riley was also so easy to love and Leia Weathington’s storylines were just fantastic. I just found this book to be such a fun read.

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Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears, Vol. 1: Baby Talk 
by Dennis Hopeless & Javier Rodriguez

Of all the Spider-ladies, Jessica Drew was the one I knew the least about and from the comics I read that she starred in, I didn’t entirely enjoy her character either. However, this installment by Dennis Hopeless caught my attention because pregnant super heroines are… pretty non-existent. Outside of Jessica Jones, super heroines who are still fighting crime while pregnant is just unheard of, and I love how Jessica Drew doesn’t allow her pregnancy to feel like a hindrance when she’s out on the job. There was something crazy empowering about this run, and I really began to enjoy Drew as a character more through Hopeless’ writing. I don’t have any children, but I loved the way in which the trials and tribulations of being pregnant were shown here. Fun stuff!

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Paper Girls series 
by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang & Matthew Wilson

Paper Girls is messed up. It’s crazy strange, and reading it makes you feel like you’ve entered bizzaro-world. The first volume is really weird, very unsettling, and if anything, doesn’t feel like it gives you a full picture of the story until you hit the cliffhanger. Brian K. Vaughan is one of those storytellers who is very good at giving you bits and pieces, but never the full picture, which is so true of Paper Girls. I can’t wait to dive into volume two at some point because shit has hit the fan hard.

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We Stand On Guard (We Stand On Guard #1-6)
by Brian K. Vaughan & Steve Skroce

I realize this is getting a bit Brian K. Vaughan heavy, but I can’t neglect this series. We Stand On Guard is an amazing alternative history story where Canada has been taken over by the U.S and it’s now an insane dystopia. This comic stirred a lot of emotion in me — it made me angry, it made me feel very patriotic to my home nation, and it is just violent and crazypants. The characters are really interesting, the hook is great, and it keeps you guessing how Canada will survive this totalitarianism.

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Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka

SO SO GOOD YOU GUYS. This is the kind of Wonder Woman I’ve been wanting to read about for ages, and I am so glad that she is in the hands of Greg Rucka. This is an amazing omnibus collection, and it does an amazing job of reminding the reader about who Diana is and her sense of justice and duty. Plus her encounters with Batman are easily some of the highlights in this collection (especially boot to the head — so classic!). I have always loved Diana, but I admit I have always been picky about how she is portrayed, but this has restored my faith in comics humanity. Definitely check this out if you want to read Woman Wonder but disliked the old sexist portrayals that other authors have ruined her with.

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Awkward
by Svetlana Chmakova

The last item I want to recommend is the middle grade comic, Awkward. This is a fantastic story for younger audiences that focuses on friendship when you get to the age where “boys and girls can’t be friends.” There is something so delightful and innocent in this story that really drew me in. The characters were clever, and I loved that they never fall into the trappings of peer pressure. There’s a fantastic message in this story that reminds us that friendship with the opposite sex doesn’t always have to lead into romance. If you have a middle grader in your life or love middle grade, this is definitely worth looking into. Plus the artwork is adorable.

As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. I also hope that you share with me some of your recent findings, as I am always looking for more comics, graphic novels and manga to check out. Let me know in the comments what youve been loving lately!

ARC Review – Paths & Portals (Secret Coders #2) by Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

25688979Title: Paths & Portals (Secret Coders #2)

Author:  Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

Rating:  ★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: There’s something lurking beneath the surface of Stately Academy—literally. In a secret underground classroom Hopper, Eni, and Josh discover that the campus was once home to the Bee School, an institute where teachers, students, and robots worked together to unravel the mysteries of coding. Hopper and her friends are eager to follow in this tradition and become top-rate coders. But why are Principal Dean and the rugby team suddenly so interested in their extracurricular activities?

From graphic novel superstar (and high school computer programming teacher) Gene Luen Yang comes the second volume of Secret Coders, a wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot!

Huge thank you to First Second and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I read the first installment of Secret Coders back in January and thought it was pretty cute. I’m not a fan of math, and I find programming to be both fascinating and terrifying at the same time. The first volume ends on quite the cliffhanger, but I’d argue the cliffhanger in Paths & Portals is much difficult to endure — I need to know what happens!

One aspect I loved about this second installment is how much more character development we get for Hopper, Eni, and Josh. They unfortunately get bullied by the school principal and rugby team due to their love of coding, programming and math. There’s a lot of mayhem and shenanigans in this second volume, and my goodness are they funny to boot. I also love the illustrations in Secret Coders, and I love the simplified approach to try and make coding and math a much more accessible and interesting subject matter. Still, while these comics are very fun and cute, it still feels a little heavy handed and dense at times, which I think could be a turn off for some readers.

Still, I’m eager to read the next installment of Secret Coders because I have to know what happens next. There’s definitely a ton of fun to be had here, even if you may not be a fan of math.