Comics Roundup #29: Zodiac Starforce | Elves | Monstress

Sadly, I’ve fallen so far behind on reviews that I’m still writing reviews of books I completed in April now. Today I have for you comic book reviews.

The first one, Zodiac Starforce, #1, I read for the O.W.L. Magical Readathon that was held in April. This review should have already been up, but no. I procrastinated, and now I’m posting it a month before the follow up readathon — N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon — begins. The other two — Elves, Vol. 1 and Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood — were both read for the Wyrd & Wonder readathon, which is a month-long readathon in May of all things fantasy.

Anyway, my intention this week is to clear out my review queue; so fingers crossed that I’ll actually achieve this.


Zodiac Starforce, #1 by Kevin Panetta, illus. by Paulina Ganucheau with colors by Savanna Ganucheau

Genre:

YA Fantasy

Series:

Zodiac Starforce, issue 1

Pubbed:

August 2015

Quick summary:

The series is about a group of teenage girls who possess magical powers and use them to protect their planet from dark creatures. This issue opens with the group disbanded and one of the members, Kim, hoping to get everyone back together again. While doing so, she’s also investigating a student’s disappearance and later learns, along with her group of superpower friends, that one of the group members is infected with dark energy. (Goodreads)

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Comics Roundup #28: Baba Yaga & a Dam Keeper

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review of a comic book. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve read a comic book. I haven’t done so since October last year. Well, I’ll rectify that with this post.

Here I have two graphic novels. The first is a YA fantasy story about a girl seeking the witch from folklore, Baba Yaga, because she no longer feels welcome at home, and the second continues a middle-grade fantasy story about a pig who manages his town’s dam to keep back a deadly black fog.


Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illus. by Emily Carroll

Genre:

YA fantasy

Pubbed:

August 2015

Quick overview:

When Masha sees an advertisement for an assistant position with the fearful witch from folklore, Baba Yaga, she decides to apply. Masha had recently lost her beloved grandmother, her source of love and support, leaving her with just her dad, who has found a new family.

Masha grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about Baba Yaga, so she doesn’t balk at answering the advertisement and seeking out the witch. Afterall, Masha reasons, Baba Yaga may be a witch, “but she’s a grandma too.”

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Shelf Control #7: Two from Nobrow’s Leporello Series

Shelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like to read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and devices.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so I’ve decided to feature 2 books instead of just one. This time I’m focusing on two graphic novels from the leporello series published by Nobrow Press, a British publishing company. A leporello is a type of binding for a book that causes it to extend like an accordion. Apparently it was popular in the Victorian times and was used for photo albums and illustrated children’s books. (Visit this website for more facts about this type of binding.) 

The two books below unfold to tell an illustrated story…or so I think; I haven’t “read” them yet. On Nobrow’s website, it’s stated that using a leporello binding offers a unique opportunity of presenting a book that can also be an affordable frameable work of art.


My first pick:

Title: Bicycle

Author: Ugo Gattoni (illus.)

Genre/Subject: Sports

Published: 2012

Length: 20 pages/panels

Nobrow summary:

Inspired by the 2012 London Olympic Games, young artist Ugo Gattoni intricately illustrates a cycle race through the streets of London. From elite athletes to cycle couriers, commuters, bankers, delivery boys, mums with kids, youths on stolen mountain bikes to fashionistas and hipsters on fixed gear bikes – pretty soon you will realize this is no ordinary road race!

A recent graduate of one of Paris’ top art schools, Ugo Gattoni wowed the public with an incredible intricate pen drawing measuring approx 10 x 2 meters. His first foray into the London arts scene saw him drawing on the walls of the prestigious Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank.

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Comics Roundup #22: “Audubon: On the Wings of the World”

With this, I complete a second book published by Nobrow Press. I own a few books by this publisher on my bookshelves, but it’s my nature to pay more attention to books I don’t own. Hence the two book I’ve read by this publisher were both borrowed from the library. But I don’t mind that. I’m just happy that I’ve finally read books published by Nobrow Press to confirm that they are one of my favorite publishers. I’ve always admired the books they feature on their IG account and now it seems that I’ll probably always like their content. 😊


Audubon: On the Wings of the World by Fabien Grolleau, illus. by Jérémie Royer, trans. by Etienne Gilfillan

Genre:

Nonfiction: biography

Pubbed:

2016

Quick summary:

Audubon: On the Wings of the World is a biography of John James Audubon (born Jean-Jacques Audubon in Haiti in 1785), the noted artist, naturalist, and ornithologist most known for his book Birds of America, which contains 435 paintings of different species of birds in America observed in their natural habitat. Written and illustrated by Fabien Grolleau and Jeremie Royer, respectively, this graphic novel portrays Audubon as a passionate, determined man striving to paint and record all the birds of America in the 1800s.

Though Audubon’s persistence and efforts are admirable, the book does not shy away from showing less savory aspects of the man, such as his disdain for his mentor Alexander Wilson, the long lengths of time he spent away from his wife and children as he pursued his passion, the immense debt he gained from failed business ventures, and that he hunted and killed many birds in his pursuit to document and study them.

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Comics Roundup #18: Birthright, Vol. 1

I forgot how I learned about this comic book. I bought it in a 2-for-1 deal at Barnes & Noble so it’s possible that it was just the cover and synopsis that caught my attention. Such is usually the case with comic books. If someone hasn’t recommended a comic book to me, then I’ll buy one based on the cover art and the illustrations within. As I’ve said in this Weekend Reads post, my interest in comics is driven by my love of illustrations. They are often what keeps me returning to some stories.


Birthright, Vol. 1: Homecoming by Joshua Williamson, illus. by Andrei Bressan with colors by Adriano Lucas

Genre:

Fantasy

Quick summary:

The Rhodes family lost their youngest son, Mikey, on his birthday. His father was out playing catch with him while his mother and older brother planned his surprise party. But when he went into the woods to find a ball his father threw at him, he instead found a world called Terrenos and learned that he is the prophesied Hero who would save Terrenos from the God King Lore, a powerful being that terrorizes the world and its citizens.

While Mikey is in Terrenos, his family in the real world is ripped apart by his disappearance. But a year after his disappearance, the police calls Mikey’s parents and older brother to the station to identify an unusual man who claims to be Mikey returned from a world called Terrenos. They are all shocked and wonder why is he dressed like “a Lord of the Rings reject.” Mikey’s mother refuses to believe the oddly dressed man could be her lost son, but Mikey’s father and brother recognize him and help him to escape the police’s confines and join him on his quest to defeat five mages currently in the real world so that the doors to Terranos will be closed forever.

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Comics Roundup #16: Bored by Riverdale and Fairyland

Here are two comic books I thought I’d love: Archie and I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After. Both are popular and have been mentioned by bloggers and booktubers so often that I thought I’d be an immediate fan. But instead, I was bored.


I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young (illus.) with colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Genre:

Fantasy

Goodreads summary:

An Adventure Time/Alice in Wonderland-style epic that smashes its cute little face against grown-up, Tank Girl/Deadpool-esque violent madness. Follow Gert, a forty year old woman stuck in a six year old’s body who has been trapped in the magical world of Fairyland for nearly thirty years. Join her and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood-soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

My opinion on this is an unpopular one. Just about everyone who has read this comic loved it and it’s easy to see why, but it just didn’t work for me. At first, I thought it was my mood that was the problem, but recently when I tried to reread it, I hopped around instead. I simply wasn’t interested.

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Two Illustrated Books: “The River” and “Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone”

It’s been a while since I’ve read an illustrated book, I realized on a recent visit to the library. I decided to rectify that by picking up two books that were on display, one about a river and another, a familiar story, about the boy who lived. Both were good reads and quite an experience, though one wasn’t as I expected it to be. However in both, I found that I paid more attention to the artwork rather than the story.


The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.), trans. by Michael Reynolds

Quick summary:

The River is an illustrated book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river. The story is told almost entirely without words, and the book is separated into four parts, one for each season, that all begin with a short paragraph about how the season affects the river or the town and what is included in that section (I realized this last part after completing the book).

My thoughts and the Art style:

The River is a sweet story. To tell the story of the town and the river, Sanna has us focus on a character, a man, to see how the seasons and the river affect his life.

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Two Illustrated Books: “Armstrong” and “The Only Child”

I picked up these two illustrated children’s books the same day I grabbed J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives from the library. They were on display and since it’s been a while since I’ve read I picture book, I decided to give them a try. Armstrong looked familiar, but I couldn’t recall where I’d first seen it; and I’ve often seen the cover of The Only Child so I wanted to know why a stag was hanging out with a kid.


armstrong-the-adventurous-journey-of-a-mouse-to-the-moonArmstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (illus.)

Goodreads summary:

A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man’s first steps on the moon. (Goodreads)

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Comics Roundup #11: Doubts and Fears

It took a while for me to decide on the topic for this comics roundup post. I read them at different times (one for Halloween, the other because I saw it at the library a while back), but decided to review them together because they have many similarities. Though one is explicitly horror and the other strikes me as magical realism, both tap into our fears, what powers our fears, and our doubts about our capabilities. Also both include prominent characters battling mental illness and show the value of strong relationships. And both authors’ first name is Scott.


WytchesWytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, illus. by Jock with colors by Matt Hollingsworth

Genre:

Horror

Goodreads overview:

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH, to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.

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Two Illustrated Books: “The Arrival” and “Jane, the Fox, and Me”

I guess these mini reviews will become more frequent as I read more short books. This time I read two illustrated books that I borrowed from the library. Both were quick reads, but the story in both were quite touching. I’ll start with my favorite of two. (Click the images below for a larger version.)

The Arrival

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Quick summary:

The Arrival is a graphic novel in which the story is told using only pictures. The story is about a man who must leave his family behind as he travels to find a safer place for them to live because something large threatens his country. He travels overseas to an immigration agency elsewhere and gets a pass to settle in a new land that is very different to where he’s from.

People are close to the creatures in the new land, which they keep as pets, and the man has to adjust to this as well as the different language and food and surroundings. He makes new friends and learns their history, but his mind is always with his family. After working enough, he is able to send for them.

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