Graphic Novel Fiend – A Collection of Mini Reviews

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Solid State by Jonathan Coulton | ★★★☆☆ | I found this book at my local comic shop and had no idea it was a concept graphic novel paired with an album by Jonathan Coulton. I’d never heard of the artist before and to be honest, the music didn’t make much sense for a sci fi graphic novel in my opinion. I was expecting something more electronic and space-y and the album I ended up listening to isn’t really my style. The graphic novel itself was fairly interesting and unique, albeit a little preachy. The pacing and timelines were a little confusing as well, though the art was clean and easy to follow. All in all, this was a fairly decent graphic novel, but I just wasn’t a huge fan.

The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1) by Kazu Kabuishi | ★★★☆☆ | It’s hard to judge the first volume of a graphic novel series. I did enjoy the artwork and the story line has potential. I’ll definitely pick up the second one to see where it goes.

Lumberjanes #3 by Noelle Stevenson | ★★★☆☆ | Ehhhh. I love the style and idea of this series, but this volume just wasn’t my favorite. I wanted a more cohesive story, but the snippets of different stories threw me off a bit. I may check out future volumes from the library.

Deadly Class #1 – 2 by Rick Remender | ★★★☆☆ | I borrowed four volumes of this series (are there only 4?) from my best friend, and I’m not sure that I want to finish it. It’s an interesting story and the art style is on point. I love how the darkness is conveyed through color and the various monochromatic spreads are pretty dang cool. This series is just darker and grittier and cringier than I like.

Goliath by Tom Gauld | ★★★★★ | The quickest read gets the highest score. I love this take on the classic story. It’s short and simple, but packs a punch. The simple scenery combined with the sparse dialogue painted a melancholy viewpoint of Goliath and I am so there for it. Read this book!

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf | ★★★★★ | What a piece of work. I am unashamedly obsessed with stories about murder and mayhem and this graphic novel fills that void. It deals with Dahmer’s early years and was created by a classmate of Dahmer. The art style matches the tone and the subject matter really well, too. This is a great one to read before listening to Last Podcast on the Left’s three-part series on Dahmer; If you’re interested in serial killers and weird occult stuff, this is your podcast and this is your book.

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by the McElroys | ★★★★★ | Okay, these last two book reviews are just me raving about podcasts, I get that. But seriously, this podcast is the best Dungeons and Dragons podcast. They’re definitely more story-based than rules-based, but it makes for a great podcast and this graphic novel follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako in the first story in the Balance arc (start here).

Zine-tastic June Book Haul

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So…I bought some more books. This month I went to a huge neighborhood-wide yard sale, my favorite Chicago book store, and ordered a couple things online. I also went to my library’s book sale, but I’m embarrassed to say I picked up quite a stack and figured it was best to give that it’s own post. Oops.

Z I N E S

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I picked up quite a few zines at both the aforementioned yard sale and Quimby’s, a bookstore that I cannot visit Chicago and not go. They have walls and walls full of zines of every style, genre, and medium. It’s one of the coolest places just to hang out in and they have one of the few working analog photo booths left in America. Even my non-reader husband found zines and items to purchase. A couple of these are poetry collections, some are informational packets, and some are personal, scrapbook-style journals. My favorite is the issue of Found Magazine, which includes random scraps of paper and letters and drawings that people find. It’s a fantastic idea and beautifully put together, but it annoys me that only a few editions of the magazine are on Goodreads, so I can’t add it to my shelves. Nerd rage!

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T H E   R E S T

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente | I don’t remember why I originally put this book on my TBR, but I was going through my Goodreads to-read list and rediscovered this one. I then realized I needed a book for the #becausedragonsRAT readathon (taking place 7/1 – 7/7) and I didn’t need another excuse. I’m including part of the Goodreads description below (you could click on the Goodreads link I always include, but you’re on the internet and I know you’re too lazy) because it just sounds incredibly interesting:

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

Feminism Unfinished by D. S. Cobble, L. Gordon, and A. Henry | This is a nonfiction book my younger sister threw in my face because she is not usually a reader of nonfiction, but bought this anyway. My goal (eventually) will be to read this and get her excited about it or find another educational feminist book for her to read. She’s high school-age and if anyone has suggestions for her, please let me know!

The Weird Fiction Review Vol. 8 | I found this periodical recommended at the Weird Lit subreddit and it seemed like a good introduction to the genre. This edition features an artist who was one of the original Dungeons and Dragons illustrators, so I snatched it right up.

Goliath by Tom Gauld | I recognized the creator’s name while at Quimby’s and picked this up. When I got home I realized I’ve been meaning to pick up his book Mooncop, but this book shall do. The illustrations are just so cute.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang | This is a graphic novel that weaves together three separate stories centered around the struggle of fitting in (I assume). I haven’t been reading too many graphic novels because I’ve been craving stories with more “substance” I suppose. Not that comics are bad, I mean I adore them, but this might be a good fit for what I’ve been in the mood for.

Japanese Masterworks: Paintings from the Indianapolis Museum of Art | I found this one at the yard sale. My husband and I are members at the art museum and my best friend and I had just spent an extraordinary amount of time in the Asia section the weekend before we went to the yard sale. I grabbed it thinking I would flip through it before the next time we go back. If you’re ever in Indy, our art museum is pretty awesome.

T H E   E N D

Congrats! You made it! Thanks for bearing with me and my recent purchases. Technically only three of them I bought brand new and one of them was on sale, so I’m pretty proud of myself all in all. Used books are life. Did any of these books pique your interest? Have you read any of them and recommend them? Let me know in the comments!