Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to 2015 and ring in 2016. Here’s a look back at the Best and the Worst of 2015* Comic Books.
The Best On-Going Series
1. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Val De Landro, and Robert Wilson IV
Average rating: 5/5
I love this blatantly intersectional feminist book so much. It packs a solid punch with each and every issue. Though it makes me sad that the book is late almost every month. However, the work and finesse that DeConnick and De Landro put into it make it layered, relevant, and scarily close to our reality. Not to mention the fantabulous essays in the back of every issue.
Read my reviews of Bitch Planet.
2. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen, Kat Leyh, Brittney Williams, and Carolyn Nowak
Average rating: 4.9/5
This series was a runaway hit. I’m so happy for the success Lumberjanes has had, both in making it an ongoing series and for its creators, who are doing other amazing projects too. At its heart, this is a book about female friendship and that critical friendship during adolescence. Sure, there are dinosaurs, magical gods, mermaids, etc., but the core is the relationships between the girls. My only wish would be that when I was a girl, there was a great book like this.
Love live Lumberjanes! Friendship to the max!
Continue reading “The Best and the Worst of 2015 Comic Books”
Fables Vol 21: Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Eric Shanower, Tony Akins, Shawn McManus, Nimit Malavia, Jae Lee, Terry Moore, Russ Braun, and Chrissie Zullo
I thought this was going to be the final chapter of Fables. Nope, they are dragging it out. Issue #150, the final one, will be supersized and all its own trade. It’s great to already feel ripped off before I even buy it. Woohoo!
Currently, the biggest Fables mystery is how Brandish is still alive. I know there’s a magical spell and all that jazz. However, seems like he would be a prime target for everyone wanting to murder him. I know I do.
It’s hard for me not to cheer for Snow White and actually see a way that Rose Red will win this. I very much hate sexist plots that pit women against each other. I do not care if this legend around their mother Lauda has any credit in historical fables. It plays out as a bunch of sexist bullshit pitting women against each other and only having one women “win” in the end. And here we have Bigby being the prize.
Yep, the two sisters are fighting over a man.
(A man who Snow White married and had seven children with. But we can ignore the proceeding 100+ comic books.) Two women fighting over a man, it’s a misogynist dream come true! Continue reading “Fables Vol 21: Happily Ever After Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest: Of Men and Mice Vol 4 by Marc Andreyko
Art: Shawn McManus
This book kind of passed the Fairest test, which is the requirement that the tales be about women. Cinderella and Snow White were at the heart of the tale, though Marcel, Ramayan, Crispin, and three blind mice, along with Fairy Godmother and Leigh factor largely into the story. This book also hinges a bit on the other Fables tales, particularly the one where they discover that Fairy Godmother has gone bad/has alzheimer’s and the last Fables trade where one of the young girls discovers a bunch of evil rats.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention how excited I got that Cinderella was going to India, and there wasn’t any culture appropriation and we even had Indian Fables, including the fabulous Ramayan, join in. However, there was a cover where Cinderella was portrayed as a Hindu goddess with multiple arms and holding her shoes. Fail.
There was, however, a big win for diversity. Continue reading “Fairest: Of Men and Mice Vol 4 Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest: In All the Land by Bill Willingham
Art: Chrissie Zullo, Karl Kerschl, Renae de Liz, Fiona Meng, Mark Buckingham, Phil Noto, Meghan Hetrick, Russ Braun, Tony Akins, Gene Ha, Tula Lotay, Marley Zarcone, Ming Doyle, Chris Sprouse, Nimit Malavia, Dean Ormston, Kurt Huggins, Adam Hughes, Al Davison, Shawn McManus, Inaki Miranda, and Kevin Maguire
This was perhaps one of the best Fables stories that I’ve read in a long time. It wasn’t interrupted by one of Willingham’s favorite characters that didn’t make sense. Cinderella had the whole narrative from beginning to end, and while she certainly had the help of others, she was the one who figured out the mystery and came up with a solution to the problem.
As much as I was excited to see that many of my favorite artists were working on this book, having the tale jump from artist to artist was a bit distracting. I really loved de Liz’s Cinderella and Hetrick’s Snow White. I was also surprised just how much I enjoyed Doyle’s art, which particularly worked with the ’60s flashback to Briar Rose’s all-girl band.
All that said, I did have a hard time getting into this book. Continue reading “Fairest: In All the Land Graphic Novel Review”
Fables (Vol 19): Snow White by Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus, and Andrew Pepoy
Let’s start with half this trade being taken up by the tale of Bufkin and the overthrow of the Gnome King that ruled Oz. Boring. There were no emotional connections. It felt like reading some kind of dry history textbook, not enjoying the story. And Lily felt like a fetishized woman who did everything for love. Her obsession with Bufkin started out as gross, and then the end where it shows the “three times they fell in love and she pumped out a bunch of babies” made Bufkin also gross. He could only love her if they were the same species. And all Lily wanted was love, babies, and to play house. They only did things when they were different species. Don’t even get me started on the weird note that when they were both Barelycorn, they had a boatload of children, but the children all died.
Then we meet Prince Brandish. Or more that we discover Werian Holt is actually Prince Brandish, who back-in-the-day was betrothed to Snow White after she and Rose Red broke a curse where he was turned into a bear. Frankly, after seeing more of him in action, he was much better off as a bear. Continue reading “Fables (Vol 19): Snow White Graphic Novel Review”
Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art: Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning, Steve Sadowski, Mark Farmer, Andrew Pepoy, and Shawn McManus
I was super excited for Fairest. I’d really hoped for some great stories focused on the women of Fables, telling who they are and giving them great agency. However, I found myself somewhat disappointed by this book. Lots of mixed feelings here. As much as I’m happy to have Briar Rose and the Snow Queen back in circulation, it could’ve been better.
My biggest gripe with Briar Rose and the Snow Queen’s literal revival was that they told it through the eyes of Ali Baba. A man became the center of the first volume of Fairest. And to make it worst, the main conflict between the two women becomes Ali Baba’s love. Or at least some competition around it.
Jonah Panghammer wasn’t quite as amusing as Willingham thought he was, despite the funny Firefly moment. Though it was a nice irony for Ali. And for what readers were probably expecting by Jonah’s addition to the tales. Continue reading “Fairest Vol 1: Wide Awake Graphic Novel Review”
Fables (vol 17): Inherit the Wind by Bill Willingham
Art: Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Shawn McManus, Andrew Pepoy, Dan Green, Rick Leonardi, Ron Randall, P. Craig Russell, Zander Cannon, Jim Fern, Ramon Bachs, and Adam Hughs
Oh, Snow, Bigby, and the Cubs, they continue to have some good adventures. I’ve been curious about what Willingham was going to do with all these characters as certainly showing them running around the farm or doing things like going to school wouldn’t exactly be super interesting. Or really wouldn’t be what the Fables comic books are based on interest-wise.
Not surprising to find the North Wind has pissed off the other winds by dominating them. I love Bigby reminding everyone about tossing down with his father and winning. Zephyrus, Yaponcha, and Fei Lian were probably completely justified in wanting some kind of revenge; they just shouldn’t underestimate the combined fury of Snow and Bigby.
I adore that Winter’s challenge was to find Bellflower and Dunster. I’m glad that they’re not going to be out of this book. Winter’s kind of adorable. Of course, the children also have the horrible prophecy abut them. But it does make them have something epic to do.
The Wizard of Oz and the rest of the books must have just come into public domain. Continue reading “Fables (vol 17): Inherit the Wind Graphic Novel Review”
Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson
Art: Shawn McManus
I had such higher expectations for this book. Cinderella is an awesome character, and I want her to have her own book that showcases her awesome. But this volume just wasn’t it.
First, I’m not a fan of McManus’ art. After being so spoiled by all the Fables‘ art, this was just subpar. I feel like McManus never understood Dorothy. Like he never got how to draw her famous braids and freckles. Not to mention her entire “goth” look was outdated and looked more like something a high schooler would wear to rebel, not a woman. Particularly not a woman who’s supposed to be notorious in the assassin world. If she’s supposed to leave a mark (no pun intended), then her look needs to too. Not to mention when she and Cinderella were fighting, there would be random boobs attacking each other, instead of weapons or fists.
I go back and forth over whether or not I like how McManus draws Cinderella. In some places, her angles are just too harsh. Sometimes she looks too curvy, and sometimes too gaunt. Though I do like how he draws her nose. It keeps the princess feeling. Continue reading “Cinderella: Fables are Forever Graphic Novel Review”
I’ve always loved what Willingham did with Cinderella, so I was very excited to read Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson and Shawn McManus. And this miniseries doesn’t fail to disappoint when it comes to more kick ass Cinderella. She’s still a super spy and all that jazz.
Let me first say that I loved Chrissie Zullo’s covers. They are gorgeous. I want prints of them on my walls. I do think that their beauty helped make this series the success that it was. It’s always a draw.
In this tale, Beast sends Cindy on a mission after there’s a flood of magical objects into the Mundy world. She needs to figure who’s doing it and stop them. The auctions are happening in Dubai. (Which immediately sends me bad feelings about where this story is headed given the downright racism in other tales concerning Arabian fables. But I gave Roberson the benefit of the doubt until I read it.)
Before taking off, Cinderella must check on her shoe store, The Glass Slipper. Her employee Crispin is not pleased with all her globetrotting and how she never likes his designs. Of course, he has no idea that she’s a spy. In fact, he thinks that she’s having an affair with Beast, instead of getting debriefed on secret missions.
Cindy also visits Frau Totenkinder for a magical bracelet and ring. Continue reading “Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love Comic Book Review”