#WeNeedDiverseBooks, Comics, Respond to Reading, Responding to Reading

Responding to Reading: The Comics Edition

My comic book collection is rapidly expanding at the moment; partly as my other half treated me for my birthday, and partly because there’s something about the marriage of images and words that appeals to me.

I’m a little bit addicted to Image comics at the moment.  I fell across them because they publish The Wicked + The Divine by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen (of Young Avengers:  Marvel NOW! and Phonogram fame).

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WicDiv (as it’s affectionately referred to by its fans) encapsulates pretty much everything I love about adaptation and appropriation.  Being more than a little obsessed by literature that rewrites mythos and classic stories, it suits me perfectly with embodiments of gods ranging from Baal to The Morrigan to Lucifer.

It’s set in London, has an incredibly diverse cast (as befits any work set in the capital) and examines the relationship between music and godhead, even going so far as to draw a parallel between celebrity and worship in a way that I haven’t seen done so well since Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

From there I’ve expanded out, exploring other comics published by Image.

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona StaplesSaga is one of these.

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The first thing to say, is that Saga is not for the faint of heart.  The word “shit” appears in the very first panel and it deals with and illustrates pretty vividly violence and sex.  It’s also one of the most beautifully illustrated comics that I’ve seen in a very long time.

Image characterises the series as:  “an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series… [that] depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series”.

It’s moving, funny and complex with a sprawling narrative that’s tightly woven, despite its expanse.  I’m particularly in love with the depiction of novels in the series as redemptive, with A Night Time Smoke in particular being partly responsible for the bridge between the two protagonists.

I’m also a big fan of Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe.

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Described by Wiebe as “a love letter to my years of D&D”, it plays with traditional characters with the gang of the Rat Queens comprising of a mage, cleric, fighter and thief – but each character has a twist.  The cleric is an atheist, the thief a hippy hobbit, the fighter a hipster and the mage an elf with a taste for all things rockabilly.

It’s incredibly funny and satirical, poking loving fun at tropes and storylines in a way that makes the reader complicit in its laughter.  The third volume’s just been released and I’ve already got it ordered!

And finally, I’m stepping away from Image to talk about Freakangels, the online lovechild of Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield.

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“23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment.  6 years ago, the world ended.  This is the story of what happened next.”

Freakangels is an online webcomic that was serialised from 2008 to 2011 and is still available to read online (although you can also buy the very nice trade paperback editions).  Post-apocalyptic, it follows the twelve eponymous Freakangels, working backwards and then forwards to show us what happened and what is happening in the the Whitechapel of this new London.

Mind-blowingly good, it’s definitely worth a read.

So, those are the comics that I’ve been reading of late, but I’m always looking for new recs, so feel free to fling some my way in the comments!

Reading

Cue the Inevitable Birthday Post

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I get stupidly excited about my birthday every year without fail.  Essentially, I view it as an excuse to get drunk with the people I love (or in the case of my family, eat an obscene amount of food together).  It’s beyond awesome.  And this year was no different.

Over the whole birthday weekend (yes, it was a weekend), I was spoiled terribly.  There was cake, there was homemade fajitas, there was cocktail after cocktail after cocktail.  And a lot more beside.

The fiance took me into Forbidden Planet and let me loose with a budget.  SO AWESOME.  I came away with the following trade paperbacks:

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Ms Marvel, the first comic to star a Muslim woman as a superheroine.  She’s funny, sassy, and fits in perfectly with Marvel’s younger generation heroes.  (Sidenote:  The only complaint I have about my bday being in March, is that it means that I couldn’t get the tp for Gotham Academy)

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Speaking of younger generation comics, I was so taken by Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers series, that I jumped on the opportunity to read their new outing, The Wicked & The Divine.  Plus I’m love anything that has godheads at the centre of it (see my obsession with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods).

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And then there’s Constantine.  I missed Hellblazer the first time round so I thought why the hell not?!  I’m pretty keen on the new tv series and it’s different from many of the comics I’ve read before.  Plus the artwork looked pretty (though apparently the internet disagrees…), so I picked up the first three tps.  Watch this space.

Then came drinking.  Turns out that there’s a cocktail called Strawberry Lemonade which has a little more booze than lemonade, but which was delicious nonetheless.

And then yesterday there was Poldark.

 

It was everything I had hoped for…and then some.  Yes there were the requisite brooding stares, but there’s heart to this drama, and a scenary that has to be seen to be believed.

I’m totally dragging Chris down to Cornwall this summer.

All in all, a fab birthday.

And now I have a request of you; I find myself in possession of a Kindle gift card (I know, my man’s the best!) and at a loss as to which books to buy.  So please, leave recommendations!  I’ll read pretty much anything aside from thrillers/horror.  So have it, dear internet!

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