Thursday, August 1, 2013

What I've been reading: Comics Edition

Some super-powered, some science-charged, some historical, and some about everyday life.  If you followed the news from San Diego Comic Con, you'll know that this year's Eisner winners have been announced, so I've got a lot more to add to my reading list!

(This is going to be a long and geeked-out entry, so grab your Hot Cheetos and settle in.)

I'm not especially devoted to the capes n' tights comics, but I will check out works by my favorite writers and artists, and I enjoy perverse upendings of the traditional superhero story.

Glory, vol. 1: The Once and Future Destroyer
I love Ross Campbell's style of drawing super-ripped ladies.  For once they don't have ginormous boobs, they've got ginormous pecs.  Who is Glory?  A superhero?  A goddess?  Is she here to save Earth or will she destroy it?  Diminutive Riley isn't a fighter and doesn't know if she can trust her hero.  This fast-moving story questions what makes one good or evil and is no-holds barred in its portrayal of violent combat.

Danger Club, vol. 1: Death
Well that about sums it up.  An offworld battle with an unknown force has eliminated all of Earth's superheroes AND supervillians, leaving their sidekicks back home struggling with grief, forming new alliances, and fighting to wrest control of a power vacuum.

Justice League Dark, vol. 1: In the Dark
If I can't have a comic book about The Grumpy League, I will take these guys instead.  Employing less of a KAPOW and more of a SHAZAM mode of fighting, these guys are headed up by Madame Xanadu, who put the team together to tackle some very bad juju.  Volume 2 just came out and is scripted by Jeff Lemire, so you bet I snapped up volume 1.  Plus: John Constantine.  If anyone on this team is Grumpy Cat, it's him.


If your parents are on your case about how comics are not real reading, ask them to please explain the properties of photons.  Then smugly get back to reading this biography of Richard Feynman, who does a pretty good job of it.

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute GaldikasA delightful and inspiring tale of how three women, who began with no formal scientific training, became renowned primatologists and stalwart champions of chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.  Not just for scientists, but for anyone who has ever dreamed of pursuing a goal and worried that she might not be tough enough.


Don't be fooled by the adorableness of these bugs -- a vile death awaits each one of them!  Summoned to a lonely island by a mysterious host, each of the guests is harboring a guilty secret.  Is one of the murderer?  A weird and entertaining spoof of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.
Did you ever stretch the truth a little, to make yourself stand out from the crowd?  Did you order a medical alert bracelet online and pretend to have a fatal peanut allergy to get in with the cool kids?  You didn't?  Would you like to read about someone who did, and the social trainwreck that ensues?  Of course you would!


The Sleepwalkers
This one is for younger kids, but it is such a great story that I am recommending it to you anyhow.  (Maybe you've got a little brother or sister you could share it with!)  The Sleepwalkers are a group of creatures who help kids find their way out of a nightmare.  But they've been helping dreamers for hundreds of years and are tired; it's time to train their replacements.  Who will be brave enough to face all those nightmares?
A a gunfighter tale with a little bit of a romance and a little bit of a mystery.  If you're a fan of classic Westerns and tragic heroes, try this one out.

Saga, vol. 2
Here's a guideline for choosing a comic book: everything Brian K. Vaughan touches is solid gold.  This new series is no exception: an interplanetary/interspecies Romeo and Juliet story.  Alana and Marko, renegade soliders from opposing armies, are on the run to save themselves and their newborn daughter -- who definitely will have a few surprises of her own.  Blazingly imaginative, twisted and heartwarming.

The Mourning Star, vol. 2
I'm sorry to tell you that as of this moment we don't own this brilliant comic.  That's because it has only just come back into print -- huzzah!  About time too, I love Kazimir Strzepek stuff, both storytelling and artwork.
That's just a beginning -- loads of new stuff has hit our shelves.  Have you got some recommendations?  Share share share in the comments!


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