Graphic Novel Wrap Up 1

Sunday 23 August 2020

I decided to try and read more graphic novels and comics in 2020. This was because I had quite a few boxes of comics that have been sitting, unread and unloved, in my parents garage as well as a few boxes of comics I received as a parting gift from a friend that moved away. Some of these jaunts into my backlog have been fruitful in the case of comics like Paper Girls or revisiting Saga. Others haven't like being more than a little disappointed with Fatale. But since then I've dived into quite a few more. So here's my first graphic novel wrap up. Enjoy!

Superman: Red Son By Mark Millar

If you had asked me a year ago if I had ever read Superman: Red Son, I'd have scoffed and tried to change the topic or maybe even lied (gasp!) because I was embarrassed and felt like some sort of filthy casual for never having read it. So I got around to it and boy am I glad I did.

If you've never heard of it, Superman: Red Son is a speculative story that doesn't take place in official Superman cannon. This asks the question, what would happen if, instead of landing in backwater Kansas, his pod landed in the USSR?

I thought this story was really well done and it manages to work in members of the Justice League and how they would have reacted to this version of Superman. Superman isn't an old fashioned bad guy and neither is Lex Luthor a good guy. Even though Luthor is on the “right” side of things, he's still an asshole and Superman still tries to do good despite lacking the Kent up bringing that made him the Man of Steel we know and love. This is a fun and quick read that dives into no only the idea of nurture versus nature, but how history could have played out if a few key things went differently.

Superman: Red Son is very good but I think it falls just a little shy of being great. The last act of the story suffered from some pacing issues that kept this from being perfect.

Superman: Red Son gets an 8 out of 11

Market Day by James Sturm

Mendleman’s life goes through an upheaval when he discovers that he can no longer earn a living for his growing family doing the work that defines him—making well-crafted rugs by hand. A proud artisan, he takes his donkey-drawn cart to the market only to be turned away when the distinctive shop he once sold to now stocks only cheaply manufactured merchandise. As the realities of the marketplace sink in, Mendleman unravels. James Sturm draws a quiet, reflective, and beautiful portrait of eastern Europe in the early 1900s–bringing to life the hustle and bustle of an Old World marketplace on the brink of industrialization. Market Day is an ageless tale of how economic and social forces can affect a single life. (Premise from Goodreads)

I randomly found this at a library book sale. We paid five dollars and you get a back and can fill it with as many books as you want. You should look for some in your area. It's really cool. But we were wanting to head home but we still had room in one of our bags so we just started grabbing stuff that we could sell or donate. This was one I grabbed, and I'm glad I did.

I wasn't overly wowed by this graphic novel. It was just okay. But it's something truly random. A book that I had never heard of before that I truly had no idea what to expect. The art in this nice. There are quite a few panels that are quite beautiful that I found myself gazing at longer than I needed to. But the story was just okay. It was a sad tale and something that probably really happened so some poor craftsman. But unfortunately it wasn't enough to wow me. It was just okay.

Market Day gets a 6 out of 11

Prince Of Cats by Ron Wimberly

Prince of Cats is the B side to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, played at an eighties block party in a NY where underground sword dueling blossomed alongside hip-hop, punk, disco, and no wave. It's a deconstruction of Romeo and Juliet's romantic meta narrative focussing on the minor players with Tybalt at the center.(Premise from Goodreads).

This graphic novel was brought to my attention thanks to my friend Figbar. He was promoting comics and graphic novels by Black authors and I was excited to jump right in. I was very lucky my local library had a copy of this. I was shocked by it's size, if you've ever seen an issue of Variety magazine, then you'll know what to expect.

A lot like Superman: Red Son I liked this a lot but I felt like the ending fizzled out. Since this follows Tybalt we know how it's going to end, unless somehow you've never seen or read Romeo & Juliet, but what happens before then is the fun part. It's especially fun when we see scenes from the play and the familiar biting of thumbs. But when the story starts to cover the happenings of the play, I feel like the greater story, the fun one that Wimberly created, dissipates in favor of The Bard's work. Nothing wrong with Shakespeare's original, but I was having fun with Wimberly's new story so I was a tad disappointed when his story got lost near the end.

All in all this was a really well done story with wonderful art. The punkish 80's New York style is great. The colors are vivid, and I even like Wimberly's vision of Tybalt.

Price of Cats gets a 8.5 out of 11

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (Vol 1 + 2) by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder

Lunella Lafayette is a preteen super genius who wants to change the world- but learned the hard way that it takes more than just big brains. Fearful of the monstrous Inhuman genes inside her, life is turned upside down when a savage, red-scaled tyrant is teleported from prehistoric past to a far-flung future we call today. The pair is many things, and together the most amazing Marvel Team-Up. Marvel presents...Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur! (Premise from Amazon)

I've had this series on my TBR list for a while and on a whim I checked my local library for it and guess what? They had the first two! So I got them and dove right in. As I read both volumes I had to actively keep in mind that this is a series aimed at kids. There are plenty of references and small jokes for older readers but this is for a younger audience. The good thing is, this comic doesn't talk down to kids. What makes it kid friendly is that it's a little less violent and has a bit of a goofier tone.

Luna Lafayette is a genius but that doesn't mean she gets everything and that's what makes her so endearing. Her parents, while loving, are at times oblivious to what makes Luna tick. Bullies still get to her. And she's not above a kid sized tantrum. As extraordinarily fictional as this is, she's also a very real character.

Devil Dinosaur is cute and is basically just a big dog. He's may more intelligent than a dinosaur should be, which helps him, you know, not just eat people willy-nilly. His presence helps Luna get out of some tight scrapes but also delivers some nice comic relief.

This is a fun and family friendly comic. It's not great or outstanding in any sort of way. It's just fun.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur gets a 7.5 out of 11

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