The last several years, I've tried focusing more of my comics reading/purchasing ones that are provide some kind of different voice than my own. I'm part of that prevading cisgender white male hegemony, and so I try to make sure I pay attention to stories that come from a different perspective. And given what the broader media landscape looks like, it takes a little effort. So today, I thought I'd share with you the graphic novels I've recently purchased which feature women and minorities prominently. (The titles in bold link to where you can purchase the books; only about half of these are available through Amazon.)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll and Glenn Diddit
There are any number of adaptations of Carroll's famous heroine, but this one is interesting in that Diddit tries to include the complete dialogue of Carroll's text, plus many (most?) of the descriptions. He's still forced to do some paraphrasing in a few places but it's interesting to see the attempt being made. I haven't read this one yet, but scanning through, I'm not sure how successful it ultimately is as a graphic novel -- it seems to weigh a little too heavily on the text, making the illustrations both crowded and, in some cases, redundant. Diddit's choice of fonts doesn't help either.
APB: Artists against Police Brutality
Edited by Bill Campbell, Jason Rodriguez, and John Jennings
I reviewed this just last week, so I won't say much else here other than to reiterate it's really worth reading.
The Arab of the Future
By Riad Sattouf
This is part one of Sattouf's biography as he grew up shuttling between Libya, France, and Syria. It was originally published in France last year, and only recently came out in English here in the States. Sattouf's cartoony drawing style belays a lot of ugliness he saw growing up, but since that was just part of his daily life, it seemed pretty normal to him. Since he follows his parents from country to country, it provides a wonderful set of contrasting views of how societies can (or don't) work. Sattouf also does an expert job in his portrayal of his father, making him immediately likeable but turning him slowly to an asshole that you really detest by the end. I'm eager to see the next volume.
Blades of Hope
By Maryam Awan, Paige Hartman, and Paolo Pantalena
I talked about the preview I saw for this last year, and the first book finally debuted recently. All guns in the world mysteriously have vanished, which causes some immediate security problems. Martial arts, not surprisingly, become quite popular and a group of women find themselves thrown together as somewhat reluctant heroes. This first book reads a kind of prologue to the broader story with a fair amount of background and origins. It's well written, though, and superbly drawn, and I hope the next issue doesn't take quite as long to put together.
By Darrin Bell
I only discovered Bell's work earlier this year, but have been summarily impressed by acerbic wit on social issues. While Candorville is ostensibly a daily gag strip, he manages to write it almost as an ongoing set of political cartoons but keeps a continuity with the various characters and relationships. Though the cast is considerably smaller, it almost has a Doonesbury-esque quality to it. Except Bell is a big geek, and there are a lot more references to science fiction books and shows. I had gotten the seventh collection of his strips much earlier in the year, and recently went back to get the fourth, fifth, and sixth ones as well.
Legend of the Mantamaji
By Eric Dean Seaton and Brandon Palas
This relays the story of Elijah Alexander, an upwardly mobile District Attorney who's got his sights set on becoming the Mayor. As he gets more involved with his detective girlfriend's big case, he finds things to get pretty dangerous. But they're at first more confusing than dangerous as he learns that his mother's been hiding his true nature -- even from him -- as a super-powerful protector of Earth. It's basically a "magical girl" story but with an adult Black male lead. This first book is primarily an origin story, but Seaton also sets up the next book rather intriguingly as well.
2 sides of alone
By Frank Page
This is a fairly quiet study of two women who feel alone and isolated. The unnamed older woman in a largely physical sense, and just-old-enough-to-drink Raquel in an emotional sense. Despite fairly little dialogue, we learn a lot about both women from their actions and surroundings. It's a fascinating study in both the notion of isolation, as well as comic book storytelling. Although Page is more known for his gag strip, Bob the Squirrel, he really showcases some nuanced and subtle ability to tell a longer, deeper, and more complex tale.
By Joe Sugg and Amrit Birdi
I stumbled across this quite by accident in a Barnes & Noble, never having heard of the title, the authors, or even the publisher. I gather Sugg is something of a YouTube personality, so take that for whatever it's worth. Evie is a terminally unpopular high school student. When her father dies, she goes to live with her aunt, uncle, and spiteful cousin. She then discovers her father left her a virtual world that's built off any real-world inhabitant's emotions for her to slip into as a way to relax. Unfortunately, her cousin also finds her way in and the digital world turns into more of a zombie apocalypse. Evie then has to find a way to reboot the system and log off before she's destroyed. The story is coherent enough, but I had trouble connecting with the characters. They weren't completely one-dimensional, but there wasn't a whole lot of depth there.
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