For how dang busy I was this month with San Diego Comic Con it is IMPRESSIVE I got as much read this month as I did. I also picked a pretty impressive graphic novel/comic haul while I was there but…. I don’t think that’s something to really brag about haha.
I finished a total of 5 Comic/Graphic Novels this month! And I LOVED pretty much all of them!
- In This Corner of the World by Fumiyo Kouno
- Rating: 5/5
- Thoughts: I know there a lot of people who say Grave of the Fireflies is the best anti-war WWII fiction to come out of Japan. And I’ve always felt a little uncomfortable with that. Grave of the Fireflies is a story cautioning pride and shows the horrors of desperation that late war Japanese civilians experienced. Which, while quintessential parts of War are featured staggeringly well, Fireflies starts mid war. You as an audience are never given any window into *before*, you’re baseline pretty much starts with pure human misery – which works on a level of pure parable, but I don’t think works nearly as successfully. It’s also incredibly limiting in its experience because it is looking at the war and its horror through the eyes of just children. But I’ve never really known what to give people as an example that I feel like succeeded. (Again, this isn’t to say Grave of the Fireflies is not a good or important film to watch.)
- Well, now I’ve read In This Corner of the World and I’m begging you to read this. This is phenomenal in every sense. The art is stunning – Kouno’s artwork has a very soft touch to it. She is REALLY good at capturing the full emotional spectrum of these characters lives – from long before the war til its very end. Her experiments with page layout and style are incredible successful from a emotional and story telling standpoint as well.
- But what makes this really special is the writing. Everything is so achingly human in this. The small humorous moments in times of absolute tragedy, its wistfulness, its heartbreak. Because we are able to see these character through SUCH long periods of time, you are able to really see what this war has done to all of these people. It is an incredibly ponderous and reflective piece as well – there are so many moments which Kouno gives you to just…. feel.
- Absolutely a triumph of a graphic novel. You should absolutely pick this up if you get the chance. Probably one of my favorite this year.
- Trigun: Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!! Vol. 1 by Yasuhiro Nightow
- Rating: 4/5
- Thoughts: It’s been probably 8 years since I saw the Trigun anime for the first time and it is STILL by far one of my favorite anime. So when I saw volume 1 & 2 at my used bookstore, I had to pick them up. And…. the pacing in this is super wacky. For an action manga, the latter half of the volume is a SLOG. That being said, you can really see the good foundational bones with the anime builds off of. This is some damn good action manga. The fights are excellent, and the characters are just as lovable and endearing as I remember. (Maybe even more so? Vash loses a lot of his really annoying flirtiness that it commits to in the anime). Not much to say – it’s a solid manga, but it’s kinda like Attack on Titan was – this manga was made to be animated. Give this a try if you’re not sure, but also just. Watch the anime.
- Go For It, Nakamura! by Syundei
- Rating: 4.5/5
- Thoughts: The absolute PINNACLE of cute high school romance let me tell you. This is just. So fucking cute. The art style is supremely nostalgic – its got that blocky 90s style with all the crispness of modern day. And the characters are just. Precious. Adorable. Also INCREDIBLY RELATEABLE. I’ve read soooo much slash and femslash manga that just has like. Fundamentally not been able to exist as anything more than tropey or fetish-y bullshit that this is just like. A breath of fresh air. A great pic if you’re looking for some mlm manga that actually feels like they have ever talked to a real human. And if your still willing to read that good ol’ high school romance stuff.
- The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, Written by
& Illustrated by Carey Pietsch
- Rating: 5/5
- Thoughts: Disclaimer on this one: I am one of the BIGGEST fans on of the podcast that this is based on, so it is absolutely no surprise that I love this. But this is such a stellar graphic novel. Pietsch’s art and expressions are 10/10 (her art is one of the reasons I got so into TAZ in the first place). I’ve read through this once already, and just flipping through to different pages, I found myself finding new hidden gems. It’s very very cool. And this is just…. a really really good introduction to the adventure zone. I’m one of the lucky ones – I got into TAZ pretty early and on my own accord. I had about zero expectations when listening to it. But since TAZ has kind of exploded in popularity, its kinda… hard to be like “get into this it’s super good and impactful and shit” without having to go through the first arc of well. straight up goofs. I think hindsight REALLY improves the story for this arc a LOT. There’s a lot more emotion weight and actual story kind of put in where the McElroy’s couldn’t originally do in the podcast mostly because…. they had no idea where it was going. And now that this whole story has finished and their going back and retooling it for the graphic novel…. y’all it is very good. (And don’t worry, it’s still pretty damn faithful to the original podcast!)
- This is just. A really good introduction to The Adventure Zone. Check it out if you’ve been hesitant to try it. And check it out if you’re a superfan like me. Or check it out if you love D&D! You know. Fun Fantasy fun.
- The Broken Vow (Spill Zone #2) Written by Scott Westerfeld, illustrated by Alex Puvilland
- Rating: 3.75/5
- Thoughts: Finally picked up the last part of this series! I really want to see this series made into a mini-series, I think it’d be tons of fun. The art for this graphic novel is just. Absolutely fucking amazing. This comic just OOZES style. It is absolutely transcendent in its coloring too. Everything just POPS. Story-wise, I think this volume isn’t nearly as good as its first volume. A lot of the spooky fun mystery is lost, and the ending is pretty….. mediocre? It still had some pretty solid character moments and story beats. It just felt pretty rushed and seemed to lose some of the incredible atmosphere that it built up in the first volume. Though that’s just story wise – again, the art just goes up to eleven in this volume.
- All that being said though, this is a solid series that I’m sorry to see end so soon. I think it should have gone on for maybe one more volume, but from the ending of this volume, I think we’ll see more of this world soon. I’m excited to see what else Westerfeld and Puvilland cook up!
Phew alright! Had a lot to say about that first one, haha. Onto the next two wrap ups!