Sunday, April 16, 2017

Graphic Novels: Part II


A long, long time ago on this blog, I wrote a post showcasing some of the graphic novels I'd been reading at the time. Well, lately I've been on yet another graphic novel spree, so I thought I would do a Part II to my Graphic Novels post and show you what all I've been reading! So let's get to it!



1. No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (Edited by Justin Hall)
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I actually stumbled across No Straight Lines while perusing the graphic novel section at my library. What's this? I thought. A giant book compiled of decades of queer comics? YES! Unfortunately, I actually didn't end up liking this very much. I obviously didn't rate it one star, because I do recognize the historical importance of this book, and I commend the author on taking on this project of collecting comics that have shown queer representation across decades. 

My issue with this book wasn't the objective but the actual content. I found that the vast majority of the comics in this book were very graphic and very sexually explicit, predominantly in the male category. To put it bluntly, there were a lot of penises in this book. In this way, the book felt much more like an erotica graphic novel rather than a representation of the queer movement memorialized through comics like I was expecting and hoping for. I just think that the queer community is so much more than giving head and explicitly glorifying the penis. It felt very saturated, and while there was the occasional comic that was powerful and moving, for the most part I didn't feel that most of the comics truly got to the root of a larger, significant thing.   


2. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang 
As someone who loves books about characters who live a double life online, such as Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I was immediately drawn to this book and excited to read it. And to an extent it was okay. I liked how Anda was so entranced by the world in the video game and how she could be a different person in it. As the book went on, though, the plot started to interest me a bit less. Still, if you're really into gaming, this could be a great graphic novel for you!



3. Sarah Andersen books


If the artwork from these books looks a little familiar, you've probably seen a fair few of them scattered around Tumblr. That's how I first discovered Sarah Andersen, and I've certainly reblogged a few of her comics that I found personally relatable.... And then I discovered she had an entire book of these wonderful comics! And not just one book, but multiple! I read both Adulthood is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump and ended up loving them both so much. Every single one of her comics is so, so relatable and funny, I couldn't count the number of times I laughed out loud while flipping through them. I also appreciate how a lot of the time, Sarah Andersen's comics have a bit of truth to them and tackle things like sexism, beauty standards, the pressures we feel of having our lives figured out, and so much more. Sarah Andersen's books are definitely on my book wishlist now, and I think it would be so great to have them lying out somewhere in my place for others to pick up and leisurely flip through.

4. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls (Several authors)
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Here's another graphic novel (sort of) that would be great for anyone who's a proud and out geek—those who love gaming, comics, sci-fi, superheroes, coding, the Internet... you name it! I say this is a sort-of graphic novel in that it's not just one story but many stories by fellow geeks, all collected into this one anthology. It's also not completely made up of illustrations like in a graphic novel, but a mixture of comics/artwork and short essays. But even so, this is an awesome book for geek girls. 

The only reason I rated this a two star on Goodreads was because I felt that the same sort of themes kept cropping up again and again, and overtime I grew less interested. But heck, maybe that's because I wasn't as much of a geek to enjoy it to its full extent. That doesn't mean you won't, if you think this book may be right for you!

5. Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
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I'd been seeing this book all around places like Tumblr and Goodreads. The concept seemed really cool, so I decided to give it a try. A lot of people apparently loved this comic, but I actually found myself really not liking it that much. For one, the girls are all supposed to be, what? Twelve? (One might be a bit older. I can't remember). Yet they're all drawn a lot more maturely, with sharp facial features, strong jawlines, and all wearing cool demin and JV jackets. Most of them also have shorter hair, and one even has a super-edgy A-line bob. Like... what twelve year old dresses that grunge? Also, she smokes. What?

Even besides this, the other detail that really bothered me—and that I'm honestly surprised more people haven't brought it up—is that this book contains blatant homophobia. There are a number of times when this pops up. I won't repeat them here, but if you want to know the specifics, you can click over to my brief Goodreads review of this book.

I don't care what decade this book takes place in: I thought the language and homophobic attitude were absolutely unnecessary and I don't think it sets a good precedent, especially when this homophobia is expressed by one of the main characters as a way to make her seem more edgy and bad-ass. It's just poor taste. So, I don't quite get what the hype is with this book, but it just didn't stick with me.

6. Alone Forever: The Singles Collection by Liz Prince
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I'm pretty familiar with Liz Prince, as I fell in love with her previous and incredibly relatable book, Tomboy. I decided, then, that this new book of hers would be perfect to read around Valentine's Day, especially for those who often find themselves single on this holiday.

In classic Liz Prince style, this was definitely a funny, quirky, and relatable read. I was only a bit let down by the fact that I thought this book would sort of embrace single life in a way while at the same time poking fun at it a bit, similar to Sarah Andersen's style. In actuality, this book revolves more around Liz Prince's misadventures while trying to navigate the dating world, including her experiences with online dating sites like OkCupid. So it was much more about her attempt to find a boyfriend, which definitely got tedious after a while, especially when she'd reveal how picky she was with guys at times. 

Like, let's be honest, I don't even care about my own dating life, much less someone else's. But if you're in the same situation as Liz and feel you'd relate to her dating experiences, maybe you'd like her book! Me, I'll stick with books where people actually really don't mind being single B)

7. Lumberjanes
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I love, love, love Lumberjanes. This is such an awesome graphic novel series and without a doubt my all-time favorite on this list. I discovered this not too long ago, and ever since the first page I've been smitten by these five friends and their adventures involving numerous mysteries and supernatural entities. I could fangirl on and on about the number of reasons why I love Lumberjanes, but I'll try to keep it short and sweet: 

It's a series that celebrates friendship, thus the Lumberjanes saying, "Friendship to the max!" 

It also encourages teamwork! Here are these young girls, all with different skills and strengths, and they all find a way to bring their various abilities together as a team. They also frequently emphasize that no Lumberjane should ever be left behind, and I think that's a really beautiful and empowering message to spread in these books.

It's incredibly diverse. The camp is made up of girls of all varying ethnicities. The girls come from various different backgrounds and family dynamics. There's a same-sex relationship that slowly blooms over the course of the series (!!!). And there's even a hint at one of the characters being trans and emphasizing how grateful she was to finally find a place within the Lumberjanes where she could finally belong.

Pretty much, Lumberjanes is such a pure, wholesome graphic novel series that will fill you completely with warm fuzzies and girl power and friendship, and there are so many other great qualities about these books that you will love. They're also very, very quick reads, too, which means you'll no doubt fly through them in a flash...like I currently am now ;)



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So, those are just about all of the graphic novels I've been reading lately.   I hope you've enjoyed this post... and who knows? Maybe you've found a few from this list that you might read yourself!

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