Category Archives: Graphic Novels

Review of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Vol. 5.

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For the honour of Grayskull!

I have been patiently reading DC’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe graphic novel series in the hope that She-ra would have to show up eventually and I was not disappointed.  I absolutely loved the recently released volume 5: The Blood of Grayskull, in which She-ra (and Swift Wind!) makes her first appearance of the series.  Although Adora first appears in #3, and again briefly at the end of #4, this story focuses on her journey to becoming She-ra.
This graphic novel is definitely more sophisticated than the cartoon I watched as a child, but there are some very familiar echoes.  Adora is more traumatized from her time with the Horde and realization of what she did in the name of Hordak.  After a brief flash back to set up the story, the main plot begins at Adora’s campsite – motivated by guilt to be alone, yet determined to fight Hordak any way that she can. He-Man makes an appearance with a message from the sorceress and the pair soon start out on their quest.  In turns, she is mission-focused military tactician (at one point He-Man has to convince her to rescue some prisoners which she has ignored in order not to give them away), healer, animal lover and He-Man’s equal in battle. Ultimately her first transition into She-ra is motivated by her love for Adam.  She is portrayed as a compassionate warrior, a role model for any woman.
If you were a fan in the 80s, it is familiar enough to connect to with the added benefit of some really beautiful artwork.  And although I’m obviously biased, it really is one of my favourite covers ever.  I enjoyed this one so much I am anxiously awaiting Dan Abnett’s next release: He-Man: The Eternity War, due out next month.
Melissa

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Truly Outrageous

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Just picked this sucker up.  So excited!

I’m just gonna be over here, reliving my childhood.

C.

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I Love Rat Queens

So, so good.  It’s like you took a wine fueled D&D session with your girlfriends (note to self: have one of those) and turned it into a graphic novel.

A foul mouthed, hard drinking band of hilarious mercenaries causes ruckus, usually always involving bloodshed, sometimes for money, sometimes always for fun.  The character descriptions are “Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.”

This was presented to me by a colleague on the basis that someone had obviously written it for me.  Seeing his point, I purchased it.  Purchase of Volume 2 is imminent.

I’m sure you’re all already reading Saga… but if you’re not, start.  As a colleague described it, it’s Romeo in Juliet in space, with lots of hot space sex.  I love Lying Cat.  I need more people to read Saga so I can say “LYING” at every opportunity.

Oh, and while you’re at it, pick up the new reboot of the Huntress series.  I was weirdly excited about the fact that she isn’t leaping around in high heels, and actually has real boots with decent tread.  A small detail, but an important one.

Christie

 

 

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In the Shadows

Text Story by Kiersten White, Art and Art Story by Jim Di Bartolo

Intended for age 12 and up

 

I am really excited about this novel of suspense and horror!  Its main characters are young adults who live in or are visiting a boarding house by the sea. Two sisters share some duties with their mother after their father’s mysterious death. Three young men, one terminally ill, are visiting with them. The boys’ respective fathers are also deeply involved in something sinister. As the plot unrolls, the characters become embroiled in a chilling series of events that seem to involve far more than their sleepy little town. Reluctantly, they find themselves forced into more and more dangerous situations that involve not only their fathers but many of the townspeople they thought they knew well.

I want to hand this book to all my reading friends and order them to read it, and look at the twin story in paintings by Di Bartolo. It is a brand new technique to me. It’s not really manga, because there are no thought balloons or speech balloons or captions or any text whatsoever accompanying the paintings. It’s not really an illustrated narrative either, because the pictures have a purpose beyond accompanying and interpreting the text.  I believe there are two narratives going on in parallel, both delivering the plot in different ways and from different points in the narrative.

At first I had no idea what the paintings showed, because they start the book, and with no captions I was lost. Still, they are so compelling that I spent several moments on each picture, struggling to “read” it. It wasn’t until I had read a fair bit of the text that the pictures started to have a narrative for me too. Then the two media started to work together brilliantly.

The text itself is a verbal wonder that conjures a visual wonder as effectively as the paintings. White creates characters you can see, without wasting a word. The creepy atmosphere of horror is just as much a product of the evocative writing as the shivery paintings. The story is a series of shocks to the nervous system that will keep you turning the pages well in to the night. Now that I am tuned in to the art work, I am going to re-read it to see what I missed at the beginning. This is a book that will merit second or third or even more readings.

Merilyn

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Wonder Woman in 2015!

One step closer to a film of her own?  DC has cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the Batman/Superman blockbuster coming out not nearly soon enough, with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in the title roles.  Her face seems okay, but she is naturally pretty thin… I’m not sure she’ll be able to put on the muscle necessary to make Wonder Woman work.  I guess we’ll see.

Wonder Woman!!!

That is all.

Christie

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Wonder Woman Short Film


I love Wonder Woman so much.

I used to watch the show starring Linda Carter when I was a kid. I still read the comics. I am also still hoping to grow up to be Wonder Woman. While we’re waiting for that to happen, this is a fan-made Wonder Woman short.

Awesome.  Now we just need a full-length version. Come on, Joss Whedon, we can do this.

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Can’t Stop The Signal

It’s official: Serenity is back, albeit in graphic novel form.

Dark Horse has announced that they have signed Georges Jeanty, the illustrator behind the Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic novel.

The comic will pick up where the Serenity movie left off, with the Alliance not very happy with Mal and crew after being embarrassed and defeated in spectacular fashion.

I am so excited.  All of the story lines I’ve been wondering about!  How will Zoe move on without Wash? What’s going to happen with Kaylee and Simon?  Will River get less crazy? For the love of all things nerdy, will Mal and Inara finally get together? Does Jain still have Vera (the most enduring love story in the verse)? Will there be awesome ass-kicking, sub-legal shenanigans, and general shininess?

There still hasn’t been anything about when the issue is coming, but you better believe I’ll be getting mine. For a full interview with Jeanty, you can see the article on CBR.

Happy nerding!

Christie

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#WheresSerenity?

 

On Friday August 23rd, this little graphic went up on the website of Dark Horse comics.  Along with this little blurb:

#WHERESSERENITY?

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Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly series and Serenity film’s lifespan may have been short-lived, but managed to produce one of the most dedicated fanbases in the history of modern science fiction. Dark Horse is proud to be able to keep Mal and his crew flying with new comics and products. Look for the hashtag #WheresSerenity over the next few months on our TwitterFacebook and Instagram pages for exclusive news on the future of the franchise at Dark Horse!
Does this mean that we’re going to finally get a full Firefly comic series?  Yes please!
In celebration, Mal is now my desktop.  And here is the link so you too, can have nerdtastic Firefly wallpaper.
Happy dreaming!
Christie

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Why Neil Gaiman needs a pen woman.

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I met Neil Gaiman.  He is, in fact, very awesome in person.  He is witty, and smart, and nice.

And it’s a good thing he’s nice, because having never helped with a signing event of this magnitude, I had no idea what I was in for.  Or what he was in for.  But I now understand why it is his last signing tour.

Before the signing event.  There is a team of people, both from Indigo and Neil’s assistants and editor, helping him sign more than a thousand books which will be for sale in the lobby of the theatre.  So nobody’s here yet, and he’s already signing.  Before anyone had arrived, he had signed more than a thousand books.

There were 1200 people at the event.  The rule was they could have as many copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane signed as they wanted, and one other item of their choice.  They could also have one signed item personalized.  This meant, that at bare minimum, he would be signing at least 2400 more books.  It was probably upwards of 3000, at a guess.

Neil’s presentation started at 7 pm.  He had already done interviews for local and national news earlier, by the way.  The presentation was fantastic, with readings, and some excellent questions from the audience, which resulted in an amazing anecdote about Shirley Maclaine asking to touch his hair, and the information that the maximum number of cats you should ever own is eight.

He then took a minimal break, and started signing.

And signing.

And signing.

He signed books, he signed posters.  He signed a violin.  He signed dolls.  He signed e-readers.

I gave him a band-aid out of my purse, to hold his thumbnail on.  It was falling off from signing so many things.  And apparently his previous tour had been worse.

My job was to keep the ink for his fountain pen available, and to hand him various coloured Sharpies.  This does not sound like a difficult job, right?  Unless you’ve been holding your hand in the same position for so long that it cramps, and the stage lights are making your hands sweaty, and after a while markers are flying everywhere and it’s incredibly embarrassing that Neil Gaiman is witnessing your inability to simply hand someone markers.  Sigh.  Which he was very nice about.

Despite the fact that he was signing books for so very many people, he made a concerted effort to make a personal connection with each one.  He seems very aware of the fact that he is, for some people, very important to them, despite being a perfect stranger.   One of the other women there and I were discussing how you could do an amazing series of photos, just capturing the expressions of the people meeting Neil.  These weren’t just squealing fans, these were people whose lives had been touched and transformed by him.

Despite being in excruciating pain, how could he leave before he saw everyone?  Before the woman who he hugged as she broke down, saying that his work was the only thing that got her through high school?  Before he was handed beautiful art, paintings and sketches and crafts?  Musicians and writers who brought their newly published first book, first cd, and credited him with inspiring them?  Before the couple who had FLOWN IN FROM AUSTRALIA? And he truly was happy to see them all.  So he couldn’t say no partway through the process, and so he has to say no to the process.  Before his hand falls off.  Or worse, it becomes something he no longer enjoys.

Edit: Since so many of you have asked, the signing finally finished after two in the morning, and we were all a little loopy.  There was a big bowl of ice waiting for Neil’s hand, and we all sighed with relief when he plunged his hand in.

I am so glad I got to meet him (and get my own books signed!), and I learned a lot.  Neil Gaiman is a pretty amazing person, aside from being a pretty amazing author (the two things don’t always go hand in hand, sadly) and his legions of fans are lucky to have him.

Oh, and although The Ocean at the End of the Lane is an amazing, amazing book (and I highly recommend picking it up, I guarantee you’ll love it, it’s so beautiful), what was even better was him reading it aloud.  So go get a copy of the audio book as read by him, in preparation for which he apparently stayed up nights listening to Sussex farmers speak so he would get the accents right.

Happy, happy reading/listening.

Be inspired.

Christie

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared

I looooooved this book.  It’s a little bit Forrest Gump, a little bit Water for Elephants, and a tiny, tiny bit of Weekend at Bernie’s.   In fact, it should be made into a movie immediately. Buy it.  Read it.  Love it.  You’re welcome.

Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series is now available as… Manga!  Hilarious manga called Soulless, named after the first book in the series..  Each volume is equivalent, at least so far, to one of the five books in the series.  Definitely worth picking up.  My only caveat is that I’m not sure how obvious the whole preternatural story line is if you haven’t already read the series.  It seemed to me that if you weren’t already aware of its meaning, you might not really know what’s going on.  But hey, it may just be me.   Also, the art is spectacular and fun.

Happy reading!

Christie

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