The Best and the Worst of 2016 Comic Books

Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to (aka light on fire) 2016 and ring in 2017. Here’s a look back at the Best and the Worst of 2016* Comic Books.

I reviewed 265 pieces of individual media on this blog this year. Giant Days, Jem and the Holograms, and Lumberjanes had the most individual issue reviews at 12 issues each. Technically, I reviewed 16 Wonder Woman comics; but the New 52 and Rebirth comics are vastly different stories and one was close to the top 5 and the other at the bottom rating-wise.

I changed the format a bit as some stories start off or end strong, which might be my only reviews. But for series where I reviewed many issues, I can be tough even on series that I love, and I wanted this list to reflect consistency in storytelling.

The Best Series (reviewing 6+ issues)

26 different series eligible in this category.

Monstress #11. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Average rating: 5/5

This book is gorgeous with its fantasy, art deco, and manga influences in Takeda’s pencils. It’s horrifying with plots of a post-war world and a land of broken people. Mostly women, it’s full of women and their stories. It’s a challenge read for the soul. But also for the mind, as Liu’s world building and plots build bit-by-bit. You are immersed in them. Your hand isn’t held. You figure out how to use your feet while running just like the characters.

Read all my reviews for Monstress. Continue reading “The Best and the Worst of 2016 Comic Books”

Princeless Vol 2: Get Over Yourself Graphic Novel Review

Princeless Vol 2: Get Over YourselfErica Gives This Comic Four StarsPrinceless Vol 2: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley
Art: Emily Martin

This volume told a lot more story and build a lot more threads of characterization and subplot than the first volume, but it also meant, it was more a fractured storyline. Princeless is still very entertaining and definitely ahead of many other comics in how it looks at gender and racial stereotypes. For sure, I’ll be picking up the next volumes.

In this volume, we meet Adrienne’s older sister Angelica. Angelica seems to love being a princess and having everyone adore her. In fact, a whole cottage industry of adoration of Angelica has sprung up around the tower Angelica was supposedly imprisoned in.

With Angelica, Whitley plays with the idea of the princess whose great beauty draws a crowd. And one who likes being a great beauty and her royal title. We see Adrienne’s idea about who her sister is — a damsel in distress who can’t see the patriarchy keeping her down — disappear over the storyline. For Angelica is fit to be a royal ruler and a queen, but it is Adrienne’s own supposed heroics that bring those qualities out. Continue reading “Princeless Vol 2: Get Over Yourself Graphic Novel Review”

Princeless Vol 1 Graphic Novel Review

Princeless Vol 1Erica gives this comic five starsPrinceless Vol 1 by Jeremy Whitley
Art: M. Goodwin

I meant to read this comic book a very long time ago. It’s very good. So part of me is very disappointed that past me didn’t read it, and part of me is just very happy that I finally read it. (Thanks, ladies comic book reading club at the Comics Dungeon! PS: lady readers, if you’re in Seattle, you should join us.)

Princeless is one of those all-ages stories where the kids, parents, and childless adults all get something out of the story. And what we get may vary a little, but it’s still great. I knew going in that Princeless concept was to tell a different story about a princess. But Whitley is smart about his decisions from not making the book overly preachy to not making Adrienne, our princess in question, the only type of strong lady-type character presented. You can tell Whitley wrote this entire book out of love for his daughter and wanting her to see herself, a young black girl, on the page. Even if he didn’t say this in blurbs about it, the love he has for the story shines through on each page. Which makes this book impossible not to love in return.

Our setup is Adrienne’s mother, the queen, reading her a stereotypically fairy tale; one where the very blonde, very skinny princess is rescued by a prince from a dragon. Our first understanding of Adrienne’s point-of-view about this whole princess industry is her complaining about plot holes and other issues with the trope. Continue reading “Princeless Vol 1 Graphic Novel Review”