Oh boy! I've been reading lots of rad comics this past couple of months. While I was on residency I was able to tick off a lot of books that have been on my reading pile for aaaaaages. So let's not bother with chit-chat, let's go straight to the important stuff: comics!
1. Blankets by Craig Thompson
Blankets has been on my To Read list for ages. But it just looked to so big and daunting to read that I've always kept telling myself that I didn't have enough time to read it properly and give it the time it needed, so it just sort of sat in the back of my mind. But during the residency I finally had a big block of time that I could dedicate to sitting and reading.
And I'm glad I waited. It was a lot heavier (emotionally) than I expected and having the time to sit and absorb the story was not only useful but necessary. Thompson writes about hard-to-discuss events of his childhood and adolescent years and a coming-out of sorts from his Christian upbringing. It's a tough, but well written, read.
For those who love: Autobiography, coming of age stories and beautiful ink work.
2. California Dreamin' by Penelope Bagieu.
I'm a sucker for biographies of pretty much any type (in particular, biographies of musicians I grew up listening to with my parents), so when I saw this comic about Mama Cass arrive at my local I picked it up straight away.
I was really attracted to the scribbly, scratchy style of illustration and I dug that each chapter was from the point of view of a different character (none of which were Mama Cass herself). Like a lot of biographies that I love, I learnt about things I didn't expect to learn about and it made me want to investigate more about the main person (and everyone surrounding their life).
For those who love: Mama Cass, musician biographies and pencilled art.
3. Super Mutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
Super Mutant Magic Academy is another book that I've been meaning to read for a while. I would occasionally pick it up off the shelf at the comic store and flick through the pages, not knowing if I wanted to read it but not wanting to read too much in case I did buy it and wanted to immerse myself in it later. So when I visited a public library that I'd never been to before and saw a copy of the book on the shelves, just sitting there, as if waiting for me, I had no choice but to borrow it (South Australia has a great One Card system, so you join up to one library and can borrow from any in the state!).
When I got the book home, I made a cuppa and got stuck in. Instantly I knew that this was the kind of book I would've loved as a teen. Grumpy, sarcastic teens with teen problems, unrequited love, unexplained magic abilities. Lots of short stories, most no longer than 1 page, that link together slowly over the year, deepening the characters' character with every panel.
For those who love: Angsty teens, magic and secret love.
4. Baggy Wrinkles by Lucy Bellwood
I had a ball reading Baggy Wrinkles. I bought it for Owen for his birthday and once he had read it I quickly got my mitts on it. Bellwood hooks you into her love of everything oceanic with a mix of personal stories and information comics. The way she writes is just delightful and I loved every minute I was reading this book. My only complaint was that I wanted more! More I tell you!
For those who love: Adventure, the sea and silliness.
5. Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden
Rolling Blackouts is our very own comics tour guide into how American journalists report on foreign wars. This is a comic that tries to answer the question "What is journalism?"; it's a comic that reports on the reporters. It was an interesting book that felt part journalistic think-piece and part introspective travel journal. As someone who is woefully uneducated in what conflicts are happening around the world and has no idea about the first thing to do with journalism or reporting, Rolling Blackouts was a good place to start for me. I wanted to find out more about everything Glidden wrote about, which for me is a sign of a good book.
On a more personal note, at the end of the book Glidden talks about having to process everything she experienced on her trip before being able to tackle writing the book, which was not only something that I could relate to but also something that made me feel a lot better. I've been feeling pretty down about the speed at which I've been making my book, and feeling bad about taking breaks from writing it. It's always nice to read that other people have the same feels.
For those who love: Thought-provoking writing and learning about the world of journalism.
6. Bandette by Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
This comic was so much fun. A lighthearted romp in the genre of the gentleman (or more specifically gentle-lady) thief. Bandette is cunning, clever and loves chocolate. With her band of 'urchins' she both outwits and helps friendly rivals Monsieur (another art thief) and Inspector Belgique (of the police), while also clashing with more serious foes in a secret society called FINIS. Adventure, romance, chocolate, information about famous art and historically important pieces; what more could you want?
For those who love: Acrobatics, puns and Paris.
That's it for this post. I've still got a giant pile of reads next to my bed. Every time I get through a big chunk of my reading list I "accidentally" buy more comics from my local. Whoops!
What's been your favourite read lately?
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