The Tea Dragon Society Graphic Novel Review

Erica gives this comic five starsThe Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

The Tea Dragon Society What a lovely book. The Tea Dragon Society is a middle reader graphic novel, but certainly delightful for all ages. I’ve previously read Princess Princess Ever After, and this has a similar charm.

O’Neill’s art is whimsical and beautiful. The character reveal themselves, their intentions, and their relationships with each other through thoughtful design and pacing. The story unfolds with the art as critical as the writing itself.

The story centers around a young goblin named Greta. She’s training to be a blacksmith. Continue reading “The Tea Dragon Society Graphic Novel Review”

Hopeless Savages: Break Graphic Novel Review

hopeless-savages-breakErica Gives This Comic Four StarsHopeless Savages: Break by Jen Van Meter
Art: Meredith McClaren

Hopeless Savages remains a super cute book about this punk rock family through the lens of Zero. One of the most interesting aspects of Zero’s point-of-view has been how she seems her family history. She sees her parents as super accomplished. Zero only knew them as their sober, more together selves, who’d already figured out how to raise children. Same with how she views her older siblings.

Of course, this also means Zero has high expectations about what it means to tour.

All those expectations are soon to fall down, which makes for an entertaining book. Continue reading “Hopeless Savages: Break Graphic Novel Review”

Stumptown Vol 3 Graphic Novel Review

Stumptown Vol 3Erica gives this comic three starsStumptown Vol 3 by Greg Rucka
Art: Justin Greenwood

I really loved the other two volumes of Stumptown, and this one let me down. The story wasn’t as intriguing as the others. I also didn’t enjoy Greenwood’s art as much as Southworth’s. Southworth’s art brought the city of Portland to life as another character, but Greenwood’s didn’t have the familiarity with the city. Instead the intensity of the Timbers’ game filled in.

I’m not a soccer fan, and there were a ton of references which I didn’t get. I got a couple because I’ve been to some Sounders’ games and work with some soccer fanatics. It’s hard to care about sports when you aren’t into them. I felt there was some assumptions about the audience actually understanding more.

The mystery of who beat up Mercury felt light. Or perhaps too tied to the other plot threads. I couldn’t tell if it was the actual mystery here or that I’d forgotten a lot about the other volumes, which I’d read a while ago. There wasn’t enough issues for me settle back into the book. Continue reading “Stumptown Vol 3 Graphic Novel Review”

Stumptown Vol 2: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case Graphic Novel Review

Stumptown Vol 2: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet CaseErica gives this comic five starsStumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case by Greg Rucka
Art: Matthew Southworth

Once again, Rucka and Southworth created a tale that showed off Portland. The city itself is as much a character as Dex, David Mayes, and Mim Bracca. Southworth brings out this gritty postcard view, and I love looking at it and recognizing all the places.

Love that Dex finally got her own office, and it’s in a pretty nifty location. Though she definitely needs a car.

Jumping over the Burnside Bridge was definitely my favorite part of this book. I kind of enjoyed how generic our bad guy thugs in the car chase were. Not every single case can be super personal.

I also enjoyed how the book wasn’t entirely about Hector Marenco. Continue reading “Stumptown Vol 2: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case Graphic Novel Review”

Queen & Country (vol 4): Operation: Blackwall Graphic Novel Review

Queen & Country (vol 4): Operation: Blackwall Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsQueen & Country (vol 4): Operation: Blackwall by Greg Rucka
Art: J. Alexander

I almost feel sorry for Edward. Though he’s kind of a dope to think that Tara would ever want a real relationship; also that he wouldn’t figure out that the boss would know what they were doing and make it stop. (I’m betting it would even stop if they had a deeper relationship than just fuck buddies.)

I felt bad for Rachel Beck. She didn’t even know the whole story in the end. Instead, she was just heartbroken over Anton and he, her. Of course, this is story about how love doesn’t always happen the way it should be. Or the way you think it would be.

Edward and Tara just thought it’d be sex; and for Tara, it was. And Anton thought it’d just be sex, and both of them fell in love.

I’m glad that we got a glimpse of this side of Tara. I like the “softer” look at her without completely taking her down to some frilly, non-Tara like level. Of course, I expect nothing less from Rucka.

Alexander’s art leaves me a little cold. The lines seemed muddled, and I think I’d appreciate the art if it were clearer. Of course, that could be the point. Especially in a book about the affairs of the heart and the favors of the intelligence department.

Dive into the world of spies and broken hearts, buy Queen & Country Vol. 4: Operation Blackwall.

The Best and the Worst of 2011 Comic Books

Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to 2011 and ring in 2012. Here’s a look back at the Best and the Worst of 2011* Comic Books.

The Best On-Going Series

Echo #261. Echo by Terry Moore
Average rating: 4.7/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

Moore’s Echo finished with a bang (or did it?) this year. A story of Julie, the unlikely superhero, and stopping the end of the world, Moore’s work is consistently great and on-point. For those scared of the tome that is Strangers in Paradise, check out this much shorter work.
Read my reviews of Echo.
Purchase Echo.

Punisher #52. Punisher by Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Matthew Clark, and Matthew Southworth
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

I never thought I’d like a Punisher book as much as I love this one from Rucka. Dive into the gritty world of Frank Castle, his mission, and the fall-out of villains, reporters, cops, and victims. With some beautiful art to accompany it.
Read my reviews of Punisher.
Purchase Punisher.

Batwoman #23. Batwoman by J.H. Williams, W. Haden Blackman, and Amy Reeder Hadley
Average rating: 4.3/5 stars
Reading rating: Teen

The most anticipated comic (for me) ever. Anyone reading my blog is probably not surprised that I love Batwoman. Kate Kane is probably one of my favorite characters ever, and in combination with Williams’ art, this title has been making me very happy. I only want more.
Read my reviews of Batwoman.
Purchase Batwoman. Continue reading “The Best and the Worst of 2011 Comic Books”

Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010 Graphic Novel Review

Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010Erica Gives This Comic Four Stars

Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010 by Jen Van Meter
Art: Christine Norrie, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Chynna Clugston Flores, Ross Campbell, Andi Watson, Vera Brosgol, Becky Cloonan, Mike Norton, Tim Fish, Catherine Noorie, Meredith McClaren, and Terry Dodson

I’d been looking forward to reading Hopeless Savages for a long time. In fact, I’d spent a few years collecting the single issues when I’d find them in bins at comic shops before this handy-dandy trade came out. So when I had the chance to choose it as the July 2011 book for GeekGirlCon’s book club, I decided now was the time to read it. (It just took me a little longer to actually sit down to write my review.)

I pretty quickly fell in love with the Hopeless-Savages. Perhaps because part of me still has my punk rock heart and the other part of me loves a story about a caring, if odd, family.

Book 1: Hopeless Savages

I thought Van Meter did a wonderful job at introducing the family here. I have to say that just reading the description for this book, a tale about a family of punk rockers, Continue reading “Hopeless Savages (Vol 1): Greatest Hits 2000-2010 Graphic Novel Review”

Stumptown Graphic Novel Review

StumptownErica gives this comic five stars

Stumptown by Greg Rucka
Art: Matthew Southworth

There are no spoilers in this review.

I loved Stumptown from beginning to end. I was absorbed into Dex’s world the moment I started to read it. The words and the art were just perfect. My only major disappointment was that the hardcover book only contained four issues, and that Rucka and Southworth had not created more in this world for me to devour.

But this made me think of who would buy this hardcover? Who’s it made for? It’s a little on the spendy side and doesn’t contain a very long story. Sure the quality of the book is amazing from the thick paper stock to the binding to the extras. Clearly, as a fan of Rucka’s writing and a comic book geek who appreciates a finely put together trade, this book’s made for me.

Yes, finally someone made something for me. I love it. It even smells nice. (Oh, yes, I’m one of those bibliophiles.)

But at the same time, I also want to convince others to pick this up, but could I convince them to do so? Is my recommendation strong enough? Will they be disappointed and raving for more when they get to the end or it, or wish they would’ve waited for a cheaper format?

Okay, let’s talk about the story itself. Dexedrine “Dex” Parios is a private investigator with a gambling problem and a disabled little brother Ansel to take care of. She is the quintessential female character created by Rucka. As if he distilled everything he put into Carrie, Renee, Kate, Tara, etc., and put it into Dex. (Which is just another reason I want more of this world.)

Dex is hired to track down Charlotte, the granddaughter of a woman that she owes money to. And, of course, like any good mystery, Charlotte’s disappearance — was she kidnapped? did she run away? who’s she with? is she dead? — is more than it appears. Of course, Dex is hot on the trail, no matter how many times she literally gets beat down.

In addition to the complete love of the p.i., Stumptown is also a love song to Portland. To the nastier bits, the bits with the working people. The parts that we don’t see on Portlandia. If you were to ask me to describe Portland with media, I’d hand you this book and also make you watch Portlandia. Of course, you’d just be more confused.

Stumptown also captures the blue collar nature of Oregon in general. (I was born and raised there.) There’s an essential Oregonian-ness to the story. Even Rucka’s criminals get their hands dirty because of their work ethic. And, of course, Dex never hesitates to get down in the dirt. Southworth’s muted color palette also works brilliantly to express this.

I really hope that Rucka and Southworth continue Stumptown, and you should pick up a copy for yourself.