Monday, May 21, 2012

A starter list

In the future, I hope to write about new (to me) comics and graphic novels as I go. But since I'm just getting started with this blog, below is a partial list of some of the ones I've read and liked in my last year of exploration (that were not mentioned in my first blog post). Also, be sure to check out a list of 5 more international graphic novels that I got from the library, published over at The Seattle Globalist.

This series was recommended to me by a friend of a friend who I met at last year's GeekGirlCon. She described it as a bit like a soap opera, which it kind of is. The main story revolves around two young women who are best friends and one of them has the hots for the other one. A mysterious, crime-ridden backstory factors in as well. The series is collected into 6 "pocket books" (all available from the Seattle Public Library) and the story goes back and forth a lot. Some of the books are better than others but I found the whole series very satisfying and a ton of fun. I was pretty impressed with (male) author Terry Moore's ability to write interesting and compelling female characters, not to mention draw women with different body types than what we normally see in mainstream media.

I'd been seeing a lot of comics by Los Bros Hernandez around but hadn't read any before I saw this on sale one day at the comic shop. It's a scifi story about a world in which robots struggle for human rights and can be indistinguishable from human beings. It's nice to see latino characters at the helm of the story and have it be NBD. The book is a fun little read but felt kind of unfinished to me, like part of a larger whole that doesn't actually exist. I'm in the middle of another book by Los Bros Hernandez that I'm enjoying a lot and I'll post about in the coming weeks.

A fantasy adventure comic that is funny, gripping and surprisingly deep. There are dragons, princesses, mysteries and a complexly balanced dreamworld. Thanks for the recommendation, Mathew!

A (fictionalized) memoir about a white gay man growing up in the South in the 1960s. Though the book's main characters experience a lot of sadness and hardship, I was absolutely taken with the unique glimpse it offered into gay bars and mixed race parties of the era, and the hope, love and happiness experienced there as well. I was also impressed with the complexity of the characters, especially the mix of shame, confusion and understanding experienced by the narrator.

The story of a cynical, hipsterish Asian-American guy living with his girlfriend in Berkeley. Though the protagonist is vocal in his attempts to be nonpolitical, the story speaks about race and society in some pretty interesting ways.

Taking place in Seattle in the 1970s, this dark story tells the tale of a sexually-transmitted disease that infects teenagers with varied physical mutations. The book does a great job of creating the particular mood and feel of the era, and the isolation and confusion of adolescence.

I haven't yet gotten into the world of Manga comics (though I'm open to suggestions on where to start... hint hint), but I had to check this one out after it was mentioned in a youth-made film (by Reel Grrls students) about queer and transgender identities. The book's main character, Ranma, has an unusual issue: when he is splashed with cold water he turns into a girl, and when splashed again with hot water he turns back into a boy. I've only read the first book in what is a long series, but it's an interesting enough premise that I'm looking forward to continuing.

You've probably heard of this series because of the recent film based on it and starring Michael Cera. The books feature a cast of young Canadian hipster musicians and draws heavily on video games and nostalgia from the 1980s. It's a very light read and I enjoyed it immensely.

A beautiful, simple story of childhood, religion and first love. There was quite a waiting list at the library for this one but it was worth it! Looking forward to author Craig Thompson's latest, Habibi.

That's it for now. More to come!

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