ARC/Graphic Novel Review: Golem by Lorenzo Ceccotti

Golem by Lorenzo Ceccotti
Series: N/A
Published by Roca Editorial on August 31, 2016
Genres: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Pages: 280 : Paperback edition
Source: A copy was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

Set in post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a bizarre form of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows a young boy kidnapped during a political protest gone sour, who learns that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself. This wildly imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti.

Admittedly, I flew through the first 200 pages of this in a single day and after finishing up the last 80 I sort of regretted it because it flew by almost too fast and then the ending felt so rushed. The final battle was only a couple pages and I was left wanting more explanations for what had happened and what was going to happen after the book ended.

Additionally, I don’t think I fully understood everything that was happening in the world because there wasn’t a ton of background given to us. I do think there is a good story here, but it just seems like something that we’ve seen so many times again and again.

What really saved this for me and what caused me to give it more than just two stars was the art work. It’s really phenomenal and compelling to look at. Story aside, it’s a beautiful piece of work because of the vibrant colors that clash with the dark imagery. Really exceptional.

I would say give this a try if you’re having a thirst for some dystopian graphic novels, but don’t spend a lot of money in doing so.

Advertisements

Graphic Novel Review: Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan

Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (illustrator), Matthew Wilson (illustrator)
Series: Paper Girls #1-5
Published by Image Comics on April 5, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Comics
Pages: 144 : e-book edition
Source: Received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (via NetGalley)
Add to Goodreads

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

My first thought when I finished reading this was “WOAH. That went a little fast.” And this can be seen as both a good and a bad thing. I like that the story didn’t drag out and moved along, but it also moved at a pace that was just a bit too fast for me. I wanted it to slow down and show me more of what was going on.

That being said, I think it was an okay set up for what seems like is going to be a really cool series. I anticipate liking the next compilation of variants to be better since they’ll be able to dive more into the nitty gritty of what is going on in and have more world/character building.

I’ll admit, I do have a soft spot for Brian K. Vaughan’s works (especially Saga) so that was what originally pulled me in to this series, but the artwork is also incredible and very 80’s. Radical. I mean look at that cover! Those girls look awesome!

Speaking of the girls, they were all a tad underdeveloped, but again, I think with time they’ll be able to show how awesome they are in their own way. Not to mention that each of them seem to have their own skill set and capabilities/knowledge that disallows them from falling into the tropes of so many comic girls I see. They’re not simpering ladies waiting for someone to save them. They take charge and do what they can (all at 12 years old!).

Overall, I gave it a three out of five stars. The pacing and lack of development in some areas bothered me, but the art and dialogue made up for that. I’m excited to read the next one!

Graphic Novel Review: Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf

IMG_3796

Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf
Series: N/A
Published by First Second on October 1, 2010
Genres: Graphic Novel, Music, Nonfiction
Pages: 208 : Hardcover edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
Add to Goodreads

A fascinating, exhilarating portrait of the Beatles in their early years.

Meet the Beatles . . . right at the beginning of their careers. This gorgeous, high-energy graphic novel is an intimate peek into the early years of the world’s greatest rock band.

The heart of Baby’s In Black is a love story. The “fifth Beatle,” Stuart Sutcliffe, falls in love with the beautiful Astrid Kirchherr when she recruits the Beatles for a sensational (and famous) photography session during their time in Hamburg. When the band returns to the UK, Sutcliffe quits, becomes engaged to Kirchherr, and stays in Hamburg. A year later, his meteoric career as a modern artist is cut short when he dies unexpectedly.

The book ends as it begins, with Astrid, alone and adrift; but with a note of hope: her life is incomparably richer and more directed thanks to her friendship with the Beatles and her love affair with Sutcliffe. This tender story is rendered in lush, romantic black-and-white artwork.

Baby’s In Black is based on a true story.

If you follow me on Tumblr or Twitter, or have had the misfortune of interacting with me on any social capacity, then you know I have an obsession with this little band called The Beatles (sorry by the way to all the people I’ve tried to push their music on).

Anyways, when I found this little graphic novel about Astrid Kirchherr and Stuart Sutcliffe (he was the original Beatles bass player and Astrid was his fiancee/the one who inspired a lot of the Beatles’ early looks and a kick ass photographer) and nearly screamed. This graphic novel felt like a split between Persepolis and Maus, though obviously with a much less serious topic.

I really enjoy these types of graphic novels where the art is more sketch based with some ink in there for contrast/depth. They’re easy to read and especially for an era like this where all the photographs were in black and white it read as if I were diving into a photo from that time period and taking a peek at their lives.

The real question here is: should you read this if you’re not a Beatle fan? Maybe. If you’re a die-hard, overly obsessed Apple scruff like me, then absolutely pick this up. I finished it in about half an hour and was laughing and saying “aww” through the whole thing. Even if you’re a casual fan it’s a good read about the early “Teddy Boy” years when Ringo wasn’t even in the band and there were 5 “Silver Beetles”. But if you’re not a huge fan (what is wrong with you) then I’d say perhaps give this one a pass.

You know, despite having no artistic or musical inclinations, I often want to chop off all my hair like Astrid and wear dark eyeliner, and go to little clubs to listen to rock and roll bands. Sigh, guess that’s a by product of me not being born in the right time period. Darn it.

harddaysnight3-82915

Honor Girl: A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
Series: N/A
Published by Candlewick Press on September 8, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Nonfiction
Pages: 272 : Hardcover edition
Source: A review copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Add to Goodreads

All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort.

Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand.

NPH-dissapoint

Hmmmm. I really don’t know how to start this. When I sent in my request for a review copy of this, I think I expected a different story than what came across on the page. I was initally drawn to the title because of its more diverse theme (i.e. LGTB) and as a Gender and Women’s Studies major I like exploring that through different genres of books.

So that being said, I liked the components that the book had exploring the topic of sexuality and confusion, but I think the story itself fell a little flat for me. I realize that it is a nonfiction book, but the ending was just…meh. I wanted more of a continuation or a build up. Even if the parts before and after the camp were kept out and kept me in a cliffhanger I would have been more pleased.

The fact that it was in a camp setting was what boosted the extra star on my rating since I’m weirdly drawn to graphic novels that have anything to do with summer and summer camp. Maybe due to me having spent one too many summers at Girl Scout camp singing songs, learning how to sew, and make silly putty.

At the end of the day, I’m sure this will be right up some readers alley’s and maybe I just didn’t relate enough to the events in the story, but it just wasn’t for me. Again, thank you to the publisher for taking the time to send along this review copy to me!

Captain America: Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker

Captain America: Winter Soldier by Ed Brubaker
Series: Captain America, Vol. 5 #1-2
Published by Marvel on April 14, 2010
Genres: Graphic Novel, Comics, Superheroes
Pages: 304 : Paperback edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
Add to Goodreads

A midnight call to duty brings Captain America aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D Heli-carrier to identify the corpse of his most feared adversary: the Red Skull! The shocking murder of Cap’s oldest enemy may not be the end of the Skull’s plans, however, because whoever shot the Skull has stolen his final project: an unfinished Cosmic Cube with the potential power to alter reality itself. Adding to the imminent danger, a cadre of the Skull’s followers has already set in motion a plan to ignite bombs in the hearts of Paris, London and Manhattan – causing untold death and destruction. Racing against these bombs’ rapidly ticking clocks, the Star-Spangled Avenger must not only solve the mystery of his nemesis’ murder, but find the Cube before it can be used in the Red Skull’s malevolent plot against the United States! Then, the questions plaguing Captain America’s dreams and memories have been answered in the most brutal way possible. And in the wake of this brutality, General Lukin makes his first…

Warning: MAJOR feels ahead. Proceed with fangirl caution.

Let’s just preface this review by me pointing out that I’m a huge Captain America fan. HUGE. I once said to my mom, “No one understands my love for Captain America” and she responded “I know.” If you follow me on Tumblr or Twitter you may be sick of my fangirling moments/Stucky trash reblogs/general over excitement about a movie that is 119 days away (but, hey, who’s counting?). C’mon though, have you seen Chris Evans?

tumblr_inline_nrfoy9MtKb1ttifab_500

We are all Sam Wilson.

Sure, I’ve watched all the Cap movies (plus Avengers and the other various supers), so I figured what the hell, might as well try the comics. *distant laughing* Yeah, that was a challenge. I had NO IDEA where to start. Thankfully, I was pointed in the right direction by a fellow Tweeter (Twitter-er?), and dived right into this edition, as soon as it became available at my library.

A day later, I was finished and my feels were in shambles. The entire Captain America/Steve Rogers, Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes thing has always been really sad and tragic. In the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) their relationship, I have always felt, has been really downplayed, so to go into the comics and see the depth of how close they were, was really awesome.

w8fIAh

I was talking to one of my friends while I was crying reading my way through this and I said at one point, “SERIOUSLY!? How are they not canonically gay?” He threatened me with sending me smutty fanfiction, and I said bring it on, I’ve probably read more than you. But we’re getting off topic here…

The point is, Ed Brubaker does a really excellent job of portraying Cap as this not perfect guy. He clearly has a ton of issues (ie. PTSD, he deals with a lot of loss, etc.) and the gritty drawings coupled with the very real dialogue is what sold me on Ed Brubaker’s talents with comics. God, I just can’t wait to pick up more of his stuff.

*deep sigh* If you are like me and are an avid fan of the MCU, I definitely recommend picking this up. It’s a great way to slowly break into the comic universe while also destroying what you thought was left of your sanity. Or if you’re just Stucky garbage, like me, and want to laugh/cry your way into oblivion, pick this up as well.

tumblr_nnmmo2X6Sm1s4m545o1_500

vma-crying-9

(me in the theatre during CA: TWS, and most likely during CA: CW too)

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Series: N/A
Published by Harper Collins on May 12, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Pages: 265 : Hardcover edition
Source: Checked out from my local library
Add to Goodreads

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I first heard about Nimona as it was making its way around my Tumblr feed for awhile when it first came out (because, duh, I follow a lot of other kick ass female/feminist bloggers who were just raving about this book). I had put it on the back burner for awhile and I’m so disappointed in myself for doing so!

Nimona had a lot of different things that I look for when it comes to a graphic novel. Really rad female protagonist who can hold her own? Check. Fantasy? Check. Awesome art work? Check. Awesome writing/dialogue? Check! Nimona was so much more than I thought it would be.

While I think it’s intended for a younger audience than myself, I still breezed through this in an hour or so total because it was just so much fun to read! I wanted to know what was going to happen next and what was going to be around the corner (or on the next page).

I just wish there could have been more! The ending didn’t really do it for me. There was all this build up for kind of…meh. Don’t get me wrong it was still good, I just wish there had been that one more chapter where everything worked out the way I saw it in my head (though I guess if I wanted stuff like that to happen I’d become an author myself *laughs into the distance*).

Seriously, a great graphic novel though! I liked this MUCH better than Lumberjanes which is also by Noelle Stevenson and a few other people, though her distinctive writing/artistic style shine through in both works and separates both graphic novels away from the grittier, more well known, crowds. I can’t wait to see what she’ll put out next!

Also, I’m definitely Blackheart x Goldenloin trash.

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Series: N/A (unfortunately)
Published by First Second on February 28, 2012
Genres: Graphic novel, paranormal, young adult
Pages: 220 : Paperback edition
Source: Purchased at a Scholastic Warehouse sale
Add to Goodreads

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.

Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.

Oh. My. GOD. I loved this graphic novel beyond words (well obviously not too beyond words since I am writing a review for it). Irregardless, this was amazing! I cannot figure out, for the life of me, why I had stuck this up on my shelf and never picked it up before. I have seen this before in bookstores and a couple other places and was really intrigued by the cover, artwork, and title, but didn’t really think anything of it until now.

That being said, once I opened this I literally did not close it until I finished it about a half hour later. I was immediately pulled in by the characters, the drawings, all their backstories, the plot, everything! I devoured this so quickly because number one it is an easy read and the material is not too dense, but it’s real enough that I felt as if these characters were quickly becoming people who were sitting around me, watching over my shoulder as I poured through it.

I think I also personally related to this too, since it went through a couple struggles that I experienced in high school (unfortunately, sans brothers) and I felt as if the whole thing was very…real. This is certainly going down as one of my favorite graphic novel reads of the year and I highly recommend this to anyone who is entering high school or beyond; it’s a lovely little story!

Side note: Alistair? Totally my new graphic novel boyfriend (watch out Marko).