August 15 2021

Some more comic love

book cover

The StoryTeller: Fairies, by Jim Henson and Monstress. Vol.1: Awakening, by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

Title: The StoryTeller: Fairies
Author: Jin Henson/ Various
Genre/ issues: Fantasy. Anthology.

Title: Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Genre/ issues: High fantasy.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I took a couple of comics outside to read today, and it was a lovely crisp winter’s day to venture into two completely different fantasy worlds.

The first is an anthology of stories about fairies in the world of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, which is one of my favourite shows from childhood. It’s a credit to the writers and artists of this collection that I completely heard the voice of the inimitable John Hurt in my head as I read these. Fairy stories from a range of cultures and traditions, but in a style that captures the whimsy and magic of Henson’s original series. Gorgeous, and I can’t wait to read the other collections.
Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takada is utterly stunning – equal parts Art Deco beauty and steampunk horror. It creates a fully realised and detailed fantasy world in which Maika Halfwolf, teenage survivor of the apocalyptic war between humans and arcanics, searches for answers about the past that she can’t quite remember. The monster that is beginning to awaken within her isn’t the most brutal element of this series, although it’s pretty dark – what’s more scary is the exploration of fear, inhumanity and exploitation. One of the blurbs on the back cover refers to this as “big, beautiful, terrifying, violent magic”, and that feels appropriate. I’m glad I have volume 2 on my shelf to pick up soon

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 123-124/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

August 15 2021

Comics for #FCBD

Comics

I Hate Fairyland, by Skottie Young, and Middlewest, by Skottie Young and Jorge Corona

Title: I Hate Fairyland
Author: Skottie Young
Genre/ issues: Fantasy.

Title: Middlewest
Author: Skottie Young
Illustrator: Jorge Corona
Genre/ issues: Urban fantasy. 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

My first 2 reads in honour of #freecomicbookday yesterday come courtesy of @skottieyoung. I picked up Middlewest because of a tiktok recommendation, and I Hate Fairyland because of that cover art (the @neilhimself rec didn’t hurt either!)
First, Middlewest. Abel lives in an average, ordinary, boring town – until one day, it’s levelled by a storm. And the storm knows his name. He flees to find safety, from both the storm and his volatile single father, and ends up searching for a solution to the weird glowing mark that has suddenly appeared on his chest in a quirky travelling carnival. This was really enjoyable, and the artwork balances charming and terrifying beautifully.
Speaking of terrifyingly charming – I HATE FAIRYLAND. I freaking love this, and currently have a @kingscomics cart building with the rest of the series. Gertrude finds herself sucked into Fairyland through an Alice-esque portal. She needs to find a magic key to get back home. Easy, right? Well, it’s been nearly 30 years, and she’s now a badass pissed-off grownup in a six-year-old body, and has had enough of this shit. So has the Fairy Queen, who wants Gertrude gone, and is frustrated by the rules of the land but is determined to get rid of this green-haired girl once and for all. This comic combines artwork and colouring beautifully reminiscent of Alice In Wonderland and other candy-coloured fantasies, with a healthy (or unhealthy?) dose of blood and gore. Imagine Deadpool trapped in Disneyland, and you’ll get the gist. Fantastic, and I can’t wait to read more.
I also just discovered, as I dived down the “Tamara obsesses over a newly discovered creator” rabbit hole, that Skottie Young has done a Wizard of Oz series with Marvel. Get. In. Mah. Cart!!!!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 121-122/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 31 2021

Truly Tyler, by Terri Libenson

Truly Tyler

Truly Tyler, by Terri Libenson

Title: Truly Tyler
Author: Terri Libenson
Genre/ issues: Middle grade. Graphic novels. Friendship.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I had plans to keep reading my Murakami today, but the headache that’s threatening to develop into a migraine has kept me laid up in the dark for most of the day. I didn’t want to let the day pass by completely story-free, though, so I decided to finish this delight. Truly Tyler is the latest edition to the Emmie & Friends series by @terrilibenson, and we get to learn more about Tyler as he teams up with Emmie to work on a comic for their art project. Both Tyler and Emmie are dealing with some friendship issues – Tyler has had enough of friends teasing him over his new “girlfriend”, and Emmie is worried that the people who are teasing her friend Sarah are looking at her the same way too.
I love the “story within a story” structure of this, as the alternate chapters from both main characters’ points of view are interspersed with the comic book that they are writing together. A great middle grade read, with a nice mix of comic/graphic and text elements that make it an easy and engaging read.

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#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 117/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 30 2021

The called us enemy, by George Takei

The called us enemy

The called us enemy, by George Takei

Title: The called us enemy
Author: George Takei
Genre/ issues: Memoir. History. Graphic Novel. Racism. WW2.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

They Called Us Enemy: expanded edition, by George Takei. A stunning memoir tracing Takei’s life and experiences as a Japanese American, interned with his family for the “crime” of having Japanese ancestry during World War 2. The deceptively simple black and white illustrations capture the historical trauma of this time, retold with the maturity of hindsight but still capturing the experience through the eyes of a child, excited by the train rides and the vacations and not fully understanding why everyone around him is so scared and upset. I’ve read a few different memoirs about this time, and I’m always struck by the complex emotions that they evoke. Wonder at the strength and tenacity that families showed to endure such treatment from a place they called home. Sadness that there was a need for such strength. Horror that people were treated this way – and moreso that they are still, as Takei points out as he parallels Trump’s orders around Muslim immigration at the beginning of his term in office.
Perhaps the key enduring message from this beautifully told piece of history is the importance and power of democracy. Of the impact of using your voice to speak out for what is right. Representation matters, in politics, in social justice movements, and in our media – which is something that Takei represents on a great many fronts. I’d highly recommend picking this gem up.

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#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 116/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 5 2021

Watchmen , by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Watchmen

Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

Title: Watchmen
Author: Allan Moore
Illustrator: Dave Gibbons
Genre/ issues: Comics. Sci-fi. Alternate History.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

“Who watches the Watchmen?” It’s a phrase I’ve been familiar with through pop culture, and when I started getting into comics last year, I kept seeing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal work appearing on best-of lists. On my first trip back to Perth in a year in February, Jacob bought me this stunning edition with the deliciously ASMR-inducing lenticular cover, and I have been fascinated exploring this depiction of an alternate reality, as the path of world events from WWII through to the Cold War was impacted by 2 generations of superheroes.
It starts with a murder, and the hunt for a killer, but quickly becomes a much larger and broader philosophical mystery that delves into notions of power, corruption and the meaning of life and humanity.
“A live body and a dead body contain the same number of particles. Structurally there’s no discernible difference. Life and death are unquantifiable abstracts.” A stunning piece of work that is deserving of its acclaim, and of the reread I’m going to have to eventually give it in order to fully wrap my brain around the enormity of it.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 105/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 24 2021

Paper Girls and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (vol 2)

comics

Paper Girls and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Title: Paper Girls volume 2
Author: Brian K Vaughan
Illustrator: Cliff Chiang
Genre/ issues: Comics. Sci-fi. Time travel. Mystery.

Title: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl volume 2
Author: Ryan North
Illustrator: Erica Henderson
Genre/ issues: Comics. Sci-fi. Superheroes.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

A couple more comics off my huge comic TBR shelf! I’ve read volume 2 of both Paper Girls and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl over the past couple of days, and I think there are as many commonalities between them as there are differences.
📚Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan and Cliff Chiang is a kick ass sci-fi mystery comic about a group of newspaper delivery girls from the 80s. Think punk, Stranger Things, Stand By Me and War of the Worlds with some time travel thrown in for good measure. I love the non-nonsense get shit done approach of these fab 12 year old girls, and I am OBSESSED with the colouring in this comic. It’s unapologetically saturated in shades of pink and purple, and manages to simultaneously evoke the atmosphere of the narrative whilst playing with the stereotypes of feminine colours – this is a girls story, but there’s nothing weak or princessy about it. Or rather, these princesses take no shit. Adding volumes 3 and 4 to my Kings Comics cart, stat!
📚I’ve had Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson on my radar since I first met my awesome friend Penny, but I only started reading it last year, and as I sunk into volume 2 I remembered just why I love her. She’s kind, funny, unapologetically enthusiastic, and a fantastic friend. Plus, she’s STRONG. Infinity War would have been a different film if they’d just tweeted Doreen to pop on over to “eat nuts and kick butts”. But her real strength is her empathy, which runs through every panel of this fab collection of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl numbers 5-8. Adding more to my cart? Why yes, yes I am. How did you guess?

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 95-96/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 18 2021

Heavy Vinyl, volumes 1 and 2

Heavy Vinyl

Heavy Vinyl volumes 1 and 2

Title: Heavy Vinyl
Author:
Genre/ issues: Comics. Feminism. Queer Fiction.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I knew that a queer 90’s record store comic would be my vibe – but then you throw in an underground teen girl vigilante fight club? Hell yes! I read volumes 1 and 2 of Heavy Vinyl tonight and thoroughly enjoyed them. Clever, quirky, and with a fantastically diverse group of characters ready to take on the world and make it a better place. With a strong message about the power of individuals when they join together with a common purpose, and an underlying theme of the importance of music to communicate important ideas, this comic rocks. Quite literally, too – there is a killer soundtrack, and the action throughout packs a punch. I wish I’d been friends with these girls when I was a teenager. Hell, I wish I was friends with them now. Highly recommended.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 82-83/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 17 2021

Pawcasso, by Remy Lai

Pawcasso

Pawcasso, by Remy Lai

Title: Pawcasso
Author: Remy Lai
Genre/ issues: Middle grade. Graphic novels. Pets. Family and relationships.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Oh what a fluffy warm hug of a book this is! Pawcasso by Remy Lai is a middle grade graphic novel that ticked all the boxes for me this afternoon. A super-sweet story about Pawcasso, a grocery-shopping pooch who picks up a follower on his Saturday trip to the markets when Jo spots him out the window and follows him, intrigued. She runs into some kids from school who mistakenly assume this adorable pooch is hers, and she doesn’t correct them. No harm, right? Well, we know how these things go – and Jo needs to decide if she’ll risk her new friendships by admitting the truth. Funny, sweet, and beautifully illustrated – a highly recommended addition to your collection!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 81/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 14 2021

Deadpool volume 1: Dead Presidents

Deadpool

Deadpool volume 1: Dead Presidents

Title: Deadpool volume 1: Dead Presidents
Author:
Illustrator:
Genre/ issues: Comics. Sci-fi. Superheroes.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Deadpool volume 1: Dead Presidents is as messed up and laugh-out-loud funny as you would expect! In this collection of volumes 1-6, Deadpool battles the zombies of all America’s dead presidents. I can’t read this without hearing Ryan Reynolds’ signature delivery of Wade Wilson’s smart-mouth, wise-cracking superhero. A great Monday afternoon read – partly because it helped me stave off the sads about heading back to NSW tonight, and partly because I could recruit Jacob’s Deadpool collection to stand in for a photo!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 80/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 4 2021

Labyrinth Coronation, volume 3

Labyrinth

Labyrinth Coronation, volume 3

Title: Labyrinth Coronation, volume 3
Author:
Illustrator:
Genre/ issues: Comics. Fantasy. Labyrinth backstory.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

“Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered … “
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is one of my favourite movies, so when I discovered this series existed it was pretty much an insta-buy. I read the first 2 volumes last year and finally got around to number 3 today. Beautiful artwork, evocative storytelling, and an interesting parallel narrative that provides some context to Jareth’s backstory. Not the best comic I’ve ever read, but a completely enjoyable way to spend an hour or so on a lazy Friday!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 71/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara