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”

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”

California Dreamin’ Graphic Novel Review

California Dreamin'Erica gives this comic three starsCalifornia Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas by Penelope Bagieu

Many of my friends remember their Boomer parents introducing them to the music of the ’60s and ’70s. The sounds of your parents’ teenagehood, and in this pick for ladies’ comic book club, some women had those memories of their parents playing Cass Elliot’s voice over and over.

I didn’t grow up like that. In my parents’ cars, there were two types of music: country and western. When I started reading this graphic novel, I went to Spotify because I was sure I’d heard the Mamas & the Papas, but I couldn’t even hum their infamous “California Dreamin'” without a prompt. I knew nothing of Cass Elliot or the band’s inner drama before immersing myself into this book.

This graphic novel is written for Cass Elliot fans. I couldn’t quite tell if the intended audience is those who love her music and want to know a little more about her to get a taste. Or, if this was supposed to be what you read after you devoured a huge biography on her. Continue reading “California Dreamin’ Graphic Novel Review”

A Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel Review

A Wrinkle in TimeErica gives this comic three starsA Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson (artist, adapter) and Madeleine L’Engle

Another ladies comic book club pick. As of writing this, we haven’t had our meeting yet. I’m curious to hear what the other ladies have to say. Especially since I’m sure there will be some nostalgia amongst the group, and lots of excitement for the upcoming movie.

I read the original book when I was 7 or 8, but didn’t remember any of it. This is not surprising as there were many books I’ve read during that era that I’ve completely forgot. It says nothing about the book’s actual value or goodness. I’ve just forgotten (on purpose) many parts of my life.

This means that reading this was basically like an entirely new-to-me book. Continue reading “A Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel Review”

Tomboy Graphic Novel Review

tomboyErica gives this comic five starsTomboy by Liz Prince

This is the type of book that I wish I could’ve read when I was a kid. Prince tells her own story, of a young Liz, figuring out who she’s becoming. That person is a tomboy, but Prince works through a lot of cultural gendered baggage to come to terms with who she is.

I’m certainly not the tomboy Prince is. Nor even in my biggest tomboy journey when I was a kid was I as diehard as Prince. I may have hated wearing dresses as a kid, but I didn’t cry. And my mother certainly wasn’t going to let me not wear said dress. All that said, this story was one I would’ve loved then.

Tomboy is extremely centered in a certain time. Prince and I are around the same age, so everything from her Popples to her Ghostbusters were parts of my childhood too. I do wonder how the book would translate with a younger generation. But I imagine the strength of the story isn’t in the references, but the sentiment and cultural things that slowly change, no matter how small or big our smart phones get. Continue reading “Tomboy Graphic Novel Review”

Leaving Megalopolis Graphic Novel Review

Leaving MegalopolisErica Gives This Comic Four StarsLeaving Megalopolis by Gail Simone
Art: Jim Calafiore

I backed this Kickstarter since I’m a fan of both Simone’s work and Calafiore’s work, especially their collaboration on Secret Six. I expected Leaving Megalopolis to be extremely violent and dark, and this book didn’t let me down.

The volume’s a nice hardcover quality and around 100 pages, which means it’s about 4-5 single issue lengths (if you were curious). I heard a few folks grumbling that it wasn’t longer for a graphic novel, but I’ve definitely bought other graphic novels of the same size.

Mina’s characterization carries the book from beginning to end. I loved how Simone worked in Mina’s earlier story with her current situation. I didn’t see the twist coming that Continue reading “Leaving Megalopolis Graphic Novel Review”

Rose and Isabel Graphic Novel Review

Rose and IsabelErica gives this comic five stars

Rose and Isabel by Ted Mathot

I picked up this graphic novel randomly at the last Emerald City Comicon. I love going to comic conventions to meet indie artists and find their books. I can’t ever decide if ECCC is becoming a better or worse venue for this. But that’s neither here nor there. Usually, when I’m looking, I try to find books by people I don’t know and ones featuring “strong” women protagonists.

Rose and Isabel definitely fits the “strong” woman bucket. In fact, there was such an emphasis on it that I started off the book a bit skeptical if I was going to really like it. Or if Rose and Isabel were going to fall into the trap of being men with boobs.

Mathot’s art is well done. I really enjoyed his style, and this helped start the tale off on a good foot. It definitely had an animator feel.

Mathot starts off the tail recounting warrior women through myth and history. Women who’s led armies or gone off to fight wars. Mythical heroes who seem a bit far removed from what we know via history as patriarchal societies and histories. And I’m not really sure that Rose and Isabel needs this. I’m not sure if it conveys that Mathot hoped it would. Especially Continue reading “Rose and Isabel Graphic Novel Review”

Magic Trixie Graphic Novel Review

Magic TrixieErica gives this comic three stars

Magic Trixie by Jill Thompson

I believe perhaps I am just too old for Magic Trixie. These aren’t really my life struggles at this point in my journey — Trixie deals with a new, baby sibling who’s getting all the attention — so it’s hard for me to connect with the book.

Thompson, known for her art, definitely did a great job there. Trixie’s world is cute and adorable. Her talking cat is probably my favorite character, and I love the style.

Trixie’s cast of magical friends were fun. And Thompson using show and tell as a major event in their lives seemed very true for her age group. I remember kids in my class bringing in their younger siblings as their “item.” And I might’ve done it myself.

Cute, but overall, not for me.

Meet Trixie and her family, buy Magic Trixie.

DAR!: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary (Vol 1) Graphic Novel Review

DAR!: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic DiaryErica Gives This Comic Four Stars

DAR!: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary (Vol 1) by Erika Moen

Completely entertaining and super fun, Moen’s book is an autobiographic comic. Or perhaps as I like to see it, autobiographical fiction. (I know that I’ve written a few stories about my real life that perhaps were only “true” from my point-of-view.)

So many of her comic strips had me nodding my head right along with her. I especially loved her commentary on sex, sexuality, and gender issues. The one about shaving “cats” had me in stitches on the bus. (Oh, yes, this is somewhat of an adult book. Which means the people on the bus either wanted to get away or really wanted to know what was in that book.)

I do find these type of comic books the hardest to review because you can’t critique someone’s life, and they’re pretty much either well done or badly done. (DAR falls into the well done category, if you haven’t guessed.)

One of my favorite parts of this book was showing the evolution of her relationship with Matt, her partner. They have a very adorable love story that required compromises from both of them. (And good for Matt for letting himself be a character in the story. Now that’s love.)

Overall, if you’re looking for something fun, this is it.

Dive into Moen’s world, buy DAR Volume 1 (A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary).