Categories
Comics Science Fiction

Read Saga Vol. 10

Read Saga, Volume 10

At long last, Hazel and her star-crossed family are finally back, and they’ve made some new…friends?

Art is just as beautiful as ever.

Lying Cat remains the best.

Panel of Lying Cat calling out The Will

I liked the decision to make the story time skip the same duration as the hiatus.

This series is pretty damn brutal. I’m bummed about how the previous book ended, and this book was dealing with the emotional fallout from it.

I know that everyone is on the chopping block in this series but I’m gonna be really pissed if they hurt Ghüs. It may be too much of a bummer for me nowadays? It’s good but has lost the magic of when it was first published. I keep hoping for something, anything, to get better for these guys and these worlds, and instead it’s getting worse. There was one hint of hope towards the end of this volume then of course they crushed us with a massive emotional blow for the ending.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read The Tea Dragon Festival

Read The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon, #2)

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Cute art, charming story, cozy world. Love that the art includes sign language! Nice lessons.

Categories
Comics Fantasy History

Read New World

Read New World

The discovery of the Americas forever changed the landscape of the world as cultures collided with violent consequences. New World weaves the stories of three characters from unique backgrounds—a Native Indian seeking revenge against those who invaded her land, an African musician fighting for freedom against those who enslaved him, and a Portuguese sailor in search of redemption. These three unlikely heroes, connected by fate, will work together to free the New World from the darkness of the old.

Simple but expressive artwork, with vivid color used effectively. Iracema is a great lead character for the story. Some metaphors I get (monsters as disease), there might be more I’m missing or maybe those elements are just magical realism.

Stunning cover.

Categories
Comics History Science

Read Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage

Read Darwin: An Exceptional Voyage

This sweeping, intelligent and immersive biographical graphic novel from award-winning creators, joins legendary scientist Charles Darwin as a young man, as he embarks on his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.

It is the year 1831. A gifted but distracted young man named Charles Darwin has been offered a place aboard the H.M.S. Beagle, in a chain of events that will change both his life and the course of modern science. Join him on an epic journey of thrilling discovery as he explores remote corners of the natural world and pieces together the very beginnings of his revolutionary theory of evolution.

Enjoyed this graphic novel, celebrating the joy of discovery and inquiry and exploration. Certainly a sympathetic portrait of Darwin which highlights his enthusiasm for the natural world, and sense of wonder in discovery, while not hiding some of his prejudices about the superiority of western civilization. I hadn’t realized just how far afield he traveled, the many places on his journey, and also didn’t know about the kidnapped Fuegans being returned after many years to “civilize” their people in Tierra del Fuego.

I wasn’t clear whether the language used quoted directly from his writing or was paraphrased and invented, given that the authors had to streamline some of the story.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read Hilda and the Mountain King

Read Hilda and the Mountain King (Hilda, #6)

See what perils await our beloved blue-haired adventure…

Accidentally reading the Hilda books out of order, and apparently this one was a direct sequel to the previous 🤷‍♀️ Had a recap at the start though 😉

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read Shadow Life

Read Shadow Life

When Kumiko’s well-meaning adult daughters place her in an assisted living home, the seventy-six-year-old widow gives it a try, but it’s not where she wants to be. She goes on the lam and finds a cozy bachelor apartment, keeping the location secret even while communicating online with her eldest daughter. Kumiko revels in the small, daily pleasures: decorating as she pleases, eating what she wants, and swimming in the community pool. But something has followed her from her former residence—Death’s shadow.

Kumiko’s sweet life is shattered when Death’s shadow swoops in to collect her. With her quick mind and sense of humor, Kumiko, with the help of friends new and old, is prepared for the fight of her life. But how long can an old woman thwart fate?

Not totally what I expected, especially the ending was a surprise.

Shadow Life works as a title on multiple levels — both Death’s Shadow, but also that at the beginning she’s withdrawn from all her friends and family and is living a shadow of her life, and succeeds in her quest when she rebuilds her connections.

Interesting presentation of an old woman as the heroine. She keeps pissing her pants accidentally ☹ She deals with her physical limitations throughout, but refuses to let her intellect be constrained by them, asserting her independence and self-determination.

Her children are obnoxious and controlling, and the way they’re drawn makes them look like they’re about 20, when they’ve got to be in their thirties at least given she’s supposed to be in her late seventies.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read Witchy Vol. 2

Read Witchy, Volume 2 (Witchy, #2)

Low on magic and on the run after committing the ultimate heresy of cutting one’s hair, Nyneve and her raven companion, Banana, head into an ancient forest in search of safe transport. However, when Nynever butts heads with the gruff and overbearing broom-maker Kaveh, she starts to wonder if she wouldn’t be better off in the hands of the Witch Guard.

Didn’t remember everything about the first volume but enough to follow along. We learn a little bit more about how magic works. There’s a bit of travel at the start, and a confrontation with some old friends, but most of the story is training, where the m.c.’s forced to persevere through failure and embarrassment. The fight with her old friends pushes her to change.

I like the bird friend. I appreciate that even the guards and “bad guys” are shown to be human, with weird friends you cover for. It’s cool this world is explicitly full of queer people of all stripes.

Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read Eighty Days

Read Eighty Days

A pilot wants nothing more than to fly. Or so he thought, until he crosses paths with a mysterious thief whose tricks draw him into unchartered territory and new adventure. In a life where the truth changes as quickly as clouds in the sky, the pilot must decide for himself what freedom really means.

“Map A Course, Arrive Safe Home. That’s The Measure Of Your Achievement.” A pilot wants nothing more than to fly. Or so he thought, until he crosses paths with a mysterious thief whose tricks draw him into unchartered territory and new adventure. In a life where the truth changes as quickly as clouds in the sky, the pilot must decide for himself what freedom really means. Award-winning cartoonist A.C. Esguerra presents an unforgettable love letter to flight, the quest for freedom and the greatest adventure of all – love.

Early page

Enjoyed this graphic novel set in an alternate early 20th century world with an invented fascist government. Told partially in epistolary format through logbooks and telegraphs which works reasonably well. The story works, though it shifts midway in genre and central characters due to plot happenings. Incorporating Sable more into the early parts of the book would have helped the transition. Relationships are important to the story moreso than character per se. I would have been interested to understand Jay’s backstory, which I think could have deepened his choices and struggles later in the story.

I understand the limitations of the medium, forcing tradeoffs in how much story you can tell. To make this a single volume graphic novel it couldn’t delve further into these things — I could see this working as a multi-volume work that centered the romance more, with deeper characterization. Or, potentially turning the focus of the book to Sable rather than combining her story with Jay and Fix’s romance — her arc is the most dramatic.

Categories
Comics History Nature

Read The Great North Wood

Read The Great North Wood

Long ago the whole of Southern England was covered in forest. Over time, this woodland has been gradually cut back, but small patches remain amidst the suburban sprawl of South-East London. A few ancient oaks still stand in the gaps between housing estates, alongside railway lines and acting as boundary markers on roundabouts. The magic that once filled the ancient forest can still be felt even when the trees are long gone. Memories of the Great North Wood are recorded in the place names – Forest Hill, Honour Oak, Norwood. Stories are told of the bandits, outlaws and gypsies that once roamed the forest, and their presence can sometimes be sensed when the hum of the city is quiet. Tim Bird’s longest work to date continues his interest in psychogeography and how memories live on in the landscape.

This was an odd collection of brief comics about the loss of the Great North Woods to the south of London, and specific places and trees that used to be important. It’s a remembrance of what was, and a recognition of the special nature of old growth forests, though it didn’t quite come together for me as more than the sum of its parts.

The joke is that housing developments are named after what they destroyed, which holds true in England as well. It’s on the one hand sad to recognize the habitat lost, but on the other it’s a small memory of history. The vignettes of specific places were interesting.

What makes me saddest about the loss of forests like this is that people didn’t recognize the value of what they had, and squandered it – old growth forest going to make charcoal *shudder* At least in buildings it lasts a long time.

I can only hope that five hundred years from now we’ll have saved new old growth forests for people who live then.

Categories
Comics Mental Health Romance

Read Heartstopper Vol 4

Read Heartstopper (Heartstopper #4) by Alice Oseman

Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Charlie’s beginning to feel ready to say those three little words: I love you.

Nick’s been feeling the same, but he’s got a lot on his mind – not least coming out to his dad, and the fact that Charlie might have an eating disorder.

As summer turns to autumn and a new school year begins, Charlie and Nick are about to learn a lot about what love means.

Heartstopper is about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

This was pretty rough on these kids, mental health crisis and bullying and stressful coming out ☹️ It’s handled really well, modeling healthy behavior for people on both sides of mental health challenges. It’s pretty blatantly done but this is a YA story so I’m all about making sure kids know how to get help and help each other (because as the book says, love doesn’t cure mental illness). Reminded me of the (well-done) coming out episode of Schitt’s Creek (except I wasn’t worried it’d be made light of the whole book 😂)