Comics/Graphic Novels I read in August 2018 – Reading Wrap Up

Wew, I did not finish a lot of comics this month. I was on vacation for like… the last week, and I usually read my comics during the weekend. Still, I got a good three comics done this month. That’s pretty good right?

  • Giant Days, Volume 1, Written by John Allison and illustrated by Lissa Treiman
    • Rating: 3.25/5
    • Thoughts: This is a fun graphic novel, though I don’t think I’m quite as enamored with this comic as a lot of other people are. I enjoyed my time reading it, and the characters were fine, but I kind of found myself being a bit…. annoyed with almost all the characters? Which granted, they’re like 19-20 so ofc they have annoying tendencies but they ended up being more…. annoying than lovable to me? This is supposed to be a kind of light hearted college comic and it’s just… fine. There really isn’t anything about it that makes it stand out to me. Sure there’s some fun #feminism moments, but a lot of them came off a bit… paint by numbers. Granted I don’t read a TON of pure slice-of-life comics, so I don’t think I’m 100% the audience for this. Still, I did enjoy this volume enough to be curious where the rest of this series goes. It’s not really good slice of life fun, but it’s. Fine. Enjoyable.

  • Boxers by Gene Luen Yang
    • Rating: 4.25/5
    • Thoughts: I had really enjoyed Yang’s American Born Chinese  when I was in high school, and though I was pretty ambivalent on his Avatar comics, I was excited to see one of his latest forays into Chinese History on BookOutlet for a good boxset price. I picked up the first volume and really enjoyed it! Yang uses this book to talk about the Boxer Rebellion, which was a part of history I was semi-familiar with, but was eager to learn more on. And all in all I think Yang does a great job at being  entertaining, educational, poignant and heart wrenching all at once. I really do enjoy the simplicity and clear lines of Yang’s style – I think it really adds to the both the fantastical and realistic elements of his stories. He also does an excellent job making these really fascinating characters and explaining ideas of the time period through them in a really easy to parse way, without making them just mouthpieces for educational purposes. There are characters in this book you will just feel for. A lot of times those emotions are not positive, but I think  that’s the point of the whole endeavor. Yang gets the point he’s going for across incredibly well.
    • I have to say though, the fantastical elements in this did not work as well in this graphic novel for me as they did in American Born Chinese. I’m actually having this problem with another book I’m reading as well (you’ll see the discussion of it later – I will have finished it up  by the time August is over). I do like magical realism for the most part, it’s usually not such a hurdle for me. But with how serious and terrible some of the subject matter can be in this book, I found the more fantastical pieces took a bit of the impact away from parts of the graphic novel. Granted, I do see why Yang did use it – He uses these magical elements well to discuss character conflicts and as powerful metaphors, but to be honest, it felt like it really worked only about 30% of the time. The other percentage I was a bit indifferent to it all.
    • All in all, I think this is a really interesting exploration of Chinese history, and I urge anyone who has any passing interesting in it to pick this up. Yang has a lot of things to say in this one, and I think for the most part he’s able to hit it right on the head about 90% of the time. I’ve got the sequel in my pile now, and I’m hopeful I’ll get to pick it up sometime in September.
  • Moonstruck, Volume One, Written by Grace Ellis and Illustrated by Shae Beagle
    • Rating: 4.75/5
    • Thoughts: I met the writer of this at San Diego Comic Con this year and they were!!! Super lovely, so I picked this book up. It’d been on my reading list because 1) lesbians and 2) supernatural stuff but seeing the author was the final push I needed to pick this up. And this was SUPER ADORABLE. The art is absolutely top notch – it’s not only super cute, but the soft line work and colors really just make this such an easy read. Moonstruck is pretty slice of life mixed with supernatural/fantasy fun, and honestly, I found that the slice of life stuff worked WAY better for this one than it did for Giant Days. And I think that all really comes down to the characters.  They are absolutely top notch and an incredible joy to watch interact and overcome their issues. There is a ton of mental health stuff discussed in this as well, and its a really uplifting and positive book. There’s just tons of good representation in this – the cast is absolutely pitch perfect. My one criticism might be that I think the plot of this volume is a bit oddly paced and not super compelling, but I don’t think that’s a huge detractor.
    • Also full disclosure the main characters in this are lesbian werewolves which is honestly up there in “major weaknesses that I have in fiction” so please take my opinion with a grain of salt. I don’t get much in this extremely slim genre.
    • All in all, this is a great pick-me-up read if the world is getting you down and you just want some like. Cute representation and girls being in love and fun supernatural stuff happening as well.
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