Elements: Fire Graphic Novel Review

Erica gives this comic five starsElements: Fire by Taneka Stotts (Editor), Shing Yin Khor, Kou Chen, Maddi Gonzalez, Sara DuVall, Myisha Haynes, Rashad Doucet, James F. Wright, Aatmaja Pandya, Der-Shing Helmer, Jaide Mandas, Marisa Han, Ash G., Chloe Chan, Nina Matsumoto, Mildred Louis, Melanie Ujimori, Tee Franklin, M. Victoria Robado, Deshan Tennekoon, Isuri Merenchi Hewage, Jemma Salume, Chan Chau, Genue Revuelta, Orunmilla Williams, Christina “Steenz” Stewart, Shivana Sookdeo, Tristan J. Tarwater, Michelle Nguyen, Veronica Agarwal, Jy Yang, Yasmin Liang, and Kiku Hughes

Elements: FireDisclaimer: I was a Kickstarter backer. But like all my reviews, my excitement about a book that I preordered via Kickstarter (instead of preordering at my local comic book shop) doesn’t mean I’m an easier reviewer.

Elements: Fire is a gorgeous book. The stories, both the writing and the art, are top-notch. They are themed around fire and illustrated in black and white with red as a pop color. This art choice nicely coalesced the book as each story has unique tones, topics, and illustrations.

Elements: Fire also notably features all creators of color. Which is awesome. This also means that most all the tales feature characters of color, which is doubly awesome.

Unlike when I’ve reviewed shorter collections, I won’t be rating every single story. I walked away with a smile on my face and feeling the warmth of these stories. Almost all of them ranged from a 4 to a 5 stars out of five. Continue reading “Elements: Fire Graphic Novel Review”

Saga Vol 8 Graphic Novel Review

Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsSaga Vol 8 by Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

Saga Vol 8The last volume of Saga left me feeling incredibly emotionally manipulated into buying into the story again. This one too. While the last one dealt with themes around war, innocence, and bystander casualties, this deals with the same type of pain — only instead of conflict-related, domestically-related.

(Though I suppose that Marko does blame his own actions of murder for the death of their son, so we could put this in the war pile. Alana wouldn’t have fallen in that manner had they not been trying to escape a planet-destroying, war-related weapon.)

On the other hand, stories about miscarriages — given how common they are — are too few and far between. And they are certainly not in fantasy, space comic books. So I do applaud Vaughan and Staples on this. Continue reading “Saga Vol 8 Graphic Novel Review”

Taproot Graphic Novel Review

Erica gives this comic five starsTaproot by Keezy Young

Taproot“I got you a book about gardening.” This is what my partner said when he brought this graphic novel home for me. It also is a queer novel. His assumption was very correct that I’d love it.

The main character Hamal can see and talk to ghosts. This is completely normal for him. He doesn’t think much of it, except that he likes his ghost friends and he doesn’t want his boss at the gardening center to think he’s too weird to employ. Weird because he’s always seemingly talking to no one.

However, when the Reaper comes after Hamal, we think the worst for Hamal and his ghost friends. Continue reading “Taproot Graphic Novel Review”

Bingo Love Graphic Novel Review

Erica gives this comic five starsBingo Love by Tee Franklin
Art: Jenn St-Onge

Bingo LoveDisclaimer: I did back this book on Kickstarter. Which is really just a way of saying, I backed a book that I thought would be enjoyable, but I still paid for it, so why is this disclaimer here?

To the actual book, I loved Bingo Love. I loved its characters. I loved its love theme. I loved the art. I cried while reading it. Yes, cried. (Listen, I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for 14 seasons, and I don’t cry at it. Stone cold.) This warmed my cold, cold heart.

Bing Love is about true love. But it’s also about how to care about the person you love. How to really take care of them in this world. Both the writing and the art are extremely conscientious about this.

This is also an important graphic novel when it comes to queer black women and their representation. Hazel and Mari’s love story felt new and previously untold in ways that it shouldn’t have. We should have a ton of stories of the love between queer black women. I’m glad Franklin and St-Onge have put Bingo Love into the world to add one more.

In 1963 as middle schoolers, Hazel and Mari meet each other when their grandmothers play bingo together. Continue reading “Bingo Love Graphic Novel Review”

The Best and the Worst of 2017 Comic Books

It’s that time, to ring in the New Year with comic book recommendations. These are my favorite (and least favorite) comic books that I reviewed in 2017.

For 2017, I reviewed 368 individual pieces of media. (That’s 103 more than last year!) I reviewed 18 issues of Wonder Woman and 15 issues of Black Panther.

Yes, there may have been one day where I just sat down, read, and reviewed most of Rucka’s most recent Wonder Woman run. Mostly because my friend Kevin was so excited about it (rightly so) and wanted to chat.

Looking forward to 2018, I really want to get caught up on all the single “current” issues I have. They are occupying one, overly full short box.

Fall of 2016, I started culling my pull list, and there will definitely be more of that in 2018. Likely less superhero comics and less overall volume of single issues. I also have shelves of older issues and graphic novels to occupy myself with, so it’s not like I won’t have anything to read and review.

The Best Series (reviewing 6+ issues)

28 different series eligible in this category.

Monstress #111. Monstress  by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Average rating: 5/5 stars

This book continues to be my favorite comic. It is my “if I could only read one comic, it would be this one.” Monstress is a fantasy about a young woman who goes on search for her dead mother’s secrets. It turns out there’s a lot of past. The world both Liu and Takeda create is fascinating. This story does not hold your hand through its characters’ traumas or hand you to the mystery in one neat box with a bow.

Reviews issues #7-9 and #10-12

Ms. Marvel #182. Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolfo, Adrian Alphona, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Francesco Gaston
Average rating: 4.53/5 stars

Ms. Marvel continues to be a superhero book with a lot of heart. It’s charming. It’s real. It’s about the responsibility that comes with great power, the responsibility of being a citizen, the responsibility to your community, and the responsibility to your family. The book often ends up on my recommended lists because it’s that good and that relatable. So what are you waiting for?

Reviews issues #10-12, #13-15, and #16-18  Continue reading “The Best and the Worst of 2017 Comic Books”

Short hiatus

Hey friends,

This review blog is going to take a short hiatus. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading or reviewing comic books, but just that it’s hard to focus on my writing and focus on making this blog better technology and design wise.

My hiatus will end with my annual year in review post on December 31, 2017, so keep an eye out for that.

If you want to follow me in other places, you can find me updating my Goodreads on what I’m reading or become a Patreon for exclusive previews, content, and more insights into my diverse set of writing.


Erica McGillivray