{comics} exquisite corpse

Exquisite Corpse by Pénélope Bagieu

originally: Cadavre exquis (Gallimard 2010)

ARC via Netgalley w/ free and fairly regarded gratitude to First Second Books. Anticipate their English translation (by Alexis Siegel): May 2015.

Zoe isn’t exactly the intellectual type, which is why she doesn’t recognize world-famous author Thomas Rocher when she stumbles into his apartment…and into his life.

Zoe doesn’t know Balzac from Batman, but she’s going to have to wise up fast…because Rocher has a terrible secret, and now Zoe is sitting on the literary scandal of the century.–Publisher’s copy.

Zoe is an amusing protagonist because she is atypical in literature; which is to say, she is strikingly familiar.

The translation from the French is good—not only of text, but of situation. Zoe is appropriately rendered as the wide-eyed young woman who desires more for her life. She is objectified on the job and lives with a loser of a man/lover. What she lacks in education/sophistication, she makes up for it in fortunate meetings. Two cute-meets later, Zoe finds herself where she couldn’t have imagined, yet proving she has the wiles to pull it off.

The rhythm or lack of artful transitions took some adjustment, but it suits the no-nonsense characterization; melodramatics are foiled. The brief leaps through time and the presence of those life-changing (plot-turning) meetings support the multiple meaning of the title. You’ve corpse (the dead) that is multiply “exquisite” (see OED), and you’ve “exquisite corpse:” a story created collectively. Perhaps you’ve played the game where, say, I would begin the story, the next person would add, and the third, and the fourth around a circle or in a zig-zag… Exquisite corpse is a form that removes the notion of storytelling as being a solitary act. Exquisite Corpse reminds us of the same. The publishing world involves critics and publicists and editors and readers/consumers, cover designers, the muse, etc. A book/story becomes the property of more than one individual person.

Where the “dead” writer is not without ego, Zoe actually is—she cannot afford one. Okay, there is the confidence of her youth and sexuality. Her “not exactly an intellectual type” antics makes her difficult to deal with at first, but her earnestness wins over the end. Yet however sassy and daring she is established as, is she ever more than just a body with its bundle of desires and desirability? A device… and is this a bad thing at all for the protagonist to be (can they be anything else?). I digress into my degree. I was as wonderfully entertained in a lighter reading; Bagieu’s work is capable of a great deal.

The bold color palette and black inked line work is placed in basic panel-layouts. Exquisite Corpse is deceptively simple (not unlike its protagonist and the relationships therein). Cool ghostly tones mark Zoe’s initial interactions with Tom. Is he a ghost? Yet as we learn more about Tom, the cool tones remark upon his characterization in another way.

Exquisite Corpse is accessible comic work. And I had to appreciate the decision to tell this particular tale in the comic medium versus the short story. The novel is a conversation on the high brow versus low (as well as privilege, choice, selfish desire, economics). And it is (all) couched in a humorous story I feel the Europeans really excel in telling. This European novel’s sensibility, sense of humor, and its twist are well suited for American audiences.

Pénélope Bagieu’s Exquisite Corpse is both entertaining and thought-provoking. In the end, I suppose I should just say Exquisite Corpse is quite the provocative graphic novel for readers of comics or no.


recommendations: Lit majors/literati; it is for those frustrated with the celebration/privilege of the Dead White Guy in Literature; it is also for those interested in a nice female graphic-fiction departure from the memoir.

"review" · arc · concenter · fiction · juvenile lit · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · series

{book} charis: journey to pandora’s jar

of note: A good friend introduced me to her friend Nicole Walters via Facebook fairly recently. Nicole is publishing her first middle-grade novel and Leah knew N and I would very likely be interested in a story involving a strong female protagonist and Greek mythology. Nicole generously allowed me to read Charis in return for a free and unbiased reading and that is what follows, that is always what follows.

CHARIS titleCharis: Journey to Pandora’s Jar by Nicole Walters

published via BookTrope

ARC via e-reader

In many respects, 13-year-old Charis Parks is your typical girl: She goes to school, has friends, a crush, and is bright and sassy. In popular story, she is not so typical: One parent is white, the other is not, and the two adults have an easy affection between them and they attend to their children, too. Charis’ elder brother, though teasing, is kind and loving, and the depiction is mutual. Then there is that thing with her unusual birthmark which points to a destiny upon which the future of our world hinges.

When Pandora’s Jar was opened those many, many fateful years ago, Hope did not fly eagerly outward  into the world with the demons of chaos and instead was trapped inside when the lid was replaced. Pandora and the Jar were lost and with its return comes the one who was born to open it. It is up to Charis to release Hope and thus counteract the terrible curse the Jar has wrought on humankind.

The nefariously cast Hades has plans of his own for the Jar. He also has some very creepy henchwomen, the Erinyes Sisters. They are deliciously menacing figures, who are, at turns, also quite humorous. I adored them. Hermes, Athena, and Nike are determined to thwart Hades and see the Jar opened and Hope restored. Persuading the Fates and Charis to their cause, it is a race to recover the Jar. They have five days—the time span of the novel.

“I’m no damsel.”~Charis

Charis is someone portrayed as heroic without requiring a predestined quest to save the world to define her as such. Walters does not write a prophesied figure who needs a lot of convincing and employs excessive angst in the matter of destiny. It’s lovely. Now, that isn’t to say Charis does not have an occasional doubt, nor does it mean she doesn’t cry. She cries frequently—a nice (unusual) trait in a young hero.  A key personality trait for this hero is her curiosity. A curious mind is one that is taken with observing, questioning, and confronting the world. This is one of the traits belonging to world-changers and hope-bringers. It is beautiful to see it celebrated rather than criticized or hated—especially in a female figure.

Having a nearly 13-year-old girl, I know the age hosts the courageous and the articulate. I am also well acquainted with Charis’ repetitive use of “What tha?” Walters renders the middle-schooler and her world marvelously; though I did question every one’s ability to express themselves so well, but reluctance is an enemy of time when pacing and book-length is of import to middle-grade (one of the reasons I love reading it).

Where Rick Riordan comparisons will be inescapable, Walters favors a fluid writing style over amping up the adrenaline to compel her audience. This isn’t to say she does not provide great action. However, I do prefer the dark tension of that opening sequence to the cross-cutting effect found later in the novel. Of course, Riordan is not only about the ticking clock, so how does Walters do with the Greek myth in present day story? She is smart with it. One of the most enjoyable aspects to the novel is how Walters knows when to elaborate, and which details require prose or witty conversation or dramatic exchanges. She successfully contrives reasons and venues in which to share the myths that fuel the context and conflict in the story.

Gabe is a sweetie and the since-childhood-best-friend who is not Charis’ crush. The downplay of this romantic interest is handled rather deftly without eliminating possibility. And Gabe should add interest for male readers, who should enjoy the lovely insight into a powerful girl regardless. My only catch is how easily Gabe is maneuvered into a full-fledged side-kick role. And in some regards, Charis appear too clean; the plot points too well-finessed for an older audience. It has a very straightforward villain-hero dynamic; strong enough a dynamic at times to brush aside what the stakes truly are. The stumbling blocks placed in the way of recovering the Jar are unsurprising and not terribly threatening; then, perhaps the Reader is meant to be lulled by the “of courses” before that unanticipated ending.

Charis is a delight; and that smooth clean delivery is one of the reasons why. I do have to say I am more taken with the characters than the adventure itself, but such is where I found myself the most charmed. The writing in the mirror, the young eyes looking out upon the world and being affected by it. I worried a little that the premise is too juvenile in point of view: the sense that the world is worse than it ever was and more in need of hope than it ever has been. And then I recall the audience that Walters ever keeps in mind. It is just right. A darkling world in need of the hero pursuing a solution that will break its curse. The young (and old) should be so empowered. I am, just as the novel is, drawn to the pursuit of Hope and the longing for it to be just as part of the consciousness of our world as those other inmates of Pandora’s Jar. Charis already provides a positive image for which to strive: a loving home and friends and a fierce and articulate young lady activated for the good of mankind.

There is a thoughtfulness to the writing that is quiet beneath the smooth entertainment of the reading experience. I love that in a storytelling. Nicole Walters is a debut author to watch, one who has written herself very nicely into the middle-grade set with this smart and entertaining read.


recommendations: girls & boys; ages 8-13; for those who like good female protagonists, positive family portrayals, seeing the mean girl get her comeuppance, and both the grotesque and glorious figures of Greek mythology.

of note: There were notations for illustrations which I cannot comment upon, except to say that they promise to be a nice addition and I am curious about them. Too, have you noticed how lame most self-published covers tend to be? I was so pleased when this cover popped-up in my message box! I asked after the artist/designer and he is Nicole’s brother. Nice.


  meets w/ the once upon a time challenge.

"review" · comics/graphic novels · concenter · juvenile lit · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · Tales

{comic} august moon

August Moon by Diana Thung

Top Shelf, 2012. [Expected release November 6]

viewed via Adobe Reader. assuming the only color is that on the cover

Advanced Reader’s Copy [free & fairly reviewed] thanks to NetGalley and Top Shelf.

The townspeople of Calico believe in the legend of the Soul Fire – orbs of light dancing through the night sky, believed to be the souls of dead ancestors watching over the town.
But when eleven-year-old Fiona Gan comes to town with her dad, she learns the amazing truth: these “fireballs” are actually the light from lanterns carried by mysterious rabbit-like creatures as they leap across rooftops!
Leaping with them is the peculiar street boy Jaden, who rarely speaks and claims to come from the moon. But the games may be coming to an end, because Fi and her dad are not the only newcomers to Calico… when a creepy corporation starts bulldozing the nearby forests, she finds herself uncovering a whole world of secrets, and drawn into Jaden’s battle for the soul of a community.
Diana Thung’s debut Top Shelf graphic novel is a true adventure, rooted in the diverse local traditions of Asian festival culture, with a modern sensibility and a hint of magic.—marketing copy

A mysterious group of corporate thugs are looking to turn Calico’s forest into a developer’s playground and since the people of Calico are fierce in their protection of the woods, they must go about its destruction in a devious manner. The forest’s extinction isn’t their only target, but the annihilation of the “vermin” as well—mythical creatures ala Totoro who are solid enough to take a bullet, yet folkloric enough to remain unseen by most adults.

After witnessing one of these creatures up close, a scientist is asked to come to Calico to consult. He brings his 11-year-old daughter Fiona “Fi” Gan back to the place where her late mother was born and raised. Staying with her maternal Uncle while her father becomes increasingly endangered by his hunt for the rabbit-bear-like creature (aka the find of the century), Fi encounters a strange creature all her own, a peter-pan-like boy named Jaden.

Diana Thung writes and illustrates a solid magically-real adventure. The gangster-corporate figures are literally looking to destroy the heart and soul of Calico by destroying the forest and the Soul Fire. The question is: can Fi and Jaden stop them? There are other conflicts in August Moon, too: Science vs. Mystical (Fi’s father’s staunch and starchy science’s inability to cope with the loss and grief haunting their family); Law vs. Free-spiritedness (the comically stressed Sheriff trying to maintain some order amidst the whimsical graffiti and rebellious cart owners). Can the “old ways” help heal old wounds? Are they still of value to the imagination of the young and old? [And what do we do with the belief that the lanterns these creatures carry are the souls of ancestors? And what are these creatures anyway?—a mystery I am still working out—my knowledge of lore in this geographic region is limited.]

August Moon has much the humor, magic, and adventure we’ve come to expect from the offerings of Studio Ghibli, whom the author acknowledges for Totoro. It is less sweeping, however, the panels tighter of focus. Thung metes out sound effects, silence, text, and perspective with patience. She is conservative with exaggerative expression (in any way), grounding the magical in a real like a dark mystery adventure (or super hero) story might be grounded. In keeping with the shutter-bug Fi, Thung includes finely drawn polaroid snap-shots to divide up the story—again, a nod to the modern and the real; it also a really nice touch for the comic and artist.  August Moon isn’t a Saturday morning cartoon lacking that kind of pacing or energy, but it works as any day fare, one easy to recommend to the school-going set as well as its adult audience. The villains look mildly ridiculous in their suits and monkey-ish faces and the heroes are urban children, wise grandmas and cool uncles.

The black ink on white, the sinister corporation, the gun-violence, and the moving around at night lend a dark edge to the story, but I didn’t feel much of that weight. [Maybe I needed the weight of holding the book and flipping pages?] The silences, the moments of deceptive calm, the mother’s notebook, the strange Jaden-figure and the telephone booth lend a secretiveness which is great in peaking the reader’s curiosity and promoting Fi’s discoveries, but I guess I didn’t grasp the thrilling shiver of those elements either. The only sense of urgency to know the outcome or secret of anything was whether certain characters were going to survive the story and how victory over the corporation was going to be handled. And yes, I am not so heartless as to hope warmth would be restored to Fi and her father’s relationship—or that maybe she could move in with her Uncle. Maybe I wasn’t smart/educated or patient enough to figure out the answers to the mysteries I wanted to know more about from the story—the “vermin” in particular. Maybe the title holds a clue, but I missed that one, too—damn my ignorance (and my impatience)!

Overall, I found the story charming enough, the artwork a nice match, and the idea of it satisfying enough to give it another go in November as well as recommend everyone else make the time to find a copy of August Moon, and keep their eyes out for more from Diana Thung.

recommendations… NetGalley has categorized under Fiction—Adult: action/adventure, and while I think adults should and will enjoy August Moon (perhaps enjoying the conflicts and mysteries tucked here and there or have patience for some of the sequences), the story could really appeal to a smart younger set–w/ a caution regarding foul language. Also, I used the word “solid” to describe August Moon deliberately; it doesn’t feel exceptional nor smooth and I do not say this meanly; the comic is good. So sure, grown-ups, check this one out, those interested in lore familiar to Asia will probably find the stronger interest/enjoyment and/or those who like magical realism in the modern landscape. August Moon is easy to recommend to any age group middle-grade and up. And it is easy to follow structurally for new or non-comic readers.

of note: August Moon has me hungry for stories of this kind set in North America—maybe some ewok-sasquatch-wolf sort of woodland spiritual creature? Nothing that emigrated with us from European roots, yet something less creepy than the Stick People (of the tribal NW). Something drawn in the styling of August Moon, and not some naturalist or non-fiction sketchery.


{All images belong to Diana Thung}

see a trial run of August Moon here.

Graphic Novel Reporter hosted a nice interview w/ the author here.

"review" · arc · comics/graphic novels · concenter · juvenile lit · recommend · series

{comics} welcome back to Hereville

Thanks to Abrams and NetGalley I got a sneak peek at the sequel to Barry Deutsch’s Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. It should be noted that the advanced copy/peek was pre-color and still sketched at the end, so I cannot speak to the color throughout or any detailing toward the end, but I can say that it is drawn and formatted consistent to the first book (that is good news, by the way). Love the cover.


How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch

Amulet Books (imprint of Abrams), 2012. 128 pages.

Mirka is back, and she’s still the only sword-brandishing, monster-fighting Orthodox Jewish girl in town. Or so she thinks.

When a misguided troll aims a meteor at the witch’s house, the witch grabs hold of the closest thing possible to transform the flying, flaming rock-and that would be Mirka’s hair. The meteor is changed, all right: it’s now Mirka’s identical twin.

Doppelganger Mirka, vowing to be a better version of the real girl, sets out to charm all of Hereville, including Mirka’s own family. Our heroine challenges the meteor girl to a three-part contest . . . and the loser will be banished from Hereville forever!—publisher’s comments.


How Mirka Met a Meteorite picks up after the events in the first, unsurprisingly grounded. So while she finally has the sword to fight dragons, she is stuck in the house—knitting. Before she gets unleashed on the world (trading curtain rods for an actual sword) it is a nice time for those new to Mirka to get to know her. You should really read the first, but Deutsch acquaints (and reminds) readers just who our lovely protagonist is. And it becomes of vital importance to know who Mirka really is—for Mirka and her family and friends.

“Isn’t there anything special about me at all?”

How Mirka Met a Meteorite provides a very nice exploration on identity, of knowing who you are and who you want to be; the things you wish you were good at, and the things you already are good at—and the things you are actually good at. It’s a nice exploration because Mirka is funny and earnest and so so brash! And her half-sister Rachel is so sweet and earnest and wise. And it’s a nice exploration because the adventure that facilitates it defies expectation. Mirka is one of a kind.


{page 87 (via bk site, see below). I really appreciate what the fluidity, his lack of hard edged (or any) paneling, does for the story. for instance, the bottom half of this page could be read chronologically or in simultaneity.

How Mirka Got Her Sword is a success and I was pleased to find Mirka’s encounter with the Meteorite as thoroughly enjoyable in story and illustration. I am eager to see the effect of some of the sequences in book form (and with color) even though they were still fun to view in my Adobe Reader–Deutsch does movement really well. And expression. For example, the above image emotes and storytells quite effectively without text or true context (though I’m sure you are recalling the publisher’s synopsis).

That previous characters return is of no surprise, but Deutsch does thread elements and references from the first, like the very covers, the ball of yarn, grapes, a pig, and I find Mirka knitting very amusing. I enjoy Deutsch’s sense of humor and his imaginative flair; as well as his inclusion of that charming little Totoro doll on Rachel’s bed (43). And those glimpses into the culture and language of our Orthodox Jew protagonist?–yeah they are still present and influential to the story. Thank you Barry Deutsch for offering us something so different from our standard fare.

How Mirka Met a Meteorite is a delightful follow-through of How Mirka Got Her Sword. I am very much looking forward to exploring it again with you upon its release in November.* So mark your calendars for the 1st (or pre-order/request).

*convenient timing for Christmas? I think so. This is one of those series you should be adding to your shelf; for your young person and you.

recommendations… ages 8 & up;  girls & boys; readers of comics or no; lovers of tales, fantasy, the comedic, the cultural, and/or the highly dramatic yet short lived games of chess. this one is for fans of Jimmy Gownley’s Amelia Rules! without a doubt, and I would add that Jeff Smith’s Bone fans would probably like it, as well as Will Eisner’s (as his illustrations certainly came to mind during the read; and coincidentally, he speaks to this in the interview below).

of note: this review is my pleasure. I was not paid or bribed in anyway. one of these times, though…

my review of Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword.

do checkout Hereville.com

{all images belong to Barry Deutsch (found via the book’s site)/Abrams; after the cover, (1) penciled title page. (2) from page 87. visit the site for more images and information about the author/illustrator}

I found this great interview on the Hereville site; thought I would embed it here, too.

I love his suggestion that we exchange “strong” for “rich” in reference to female characters.  and hey, he went to Portland State, too!

he does school visits, so Portland friends, check that out.

"review" · arc · fiction · juvenile lit · sci-fi/fantasy · series

{book} the invisible tower

The nearly-twelve daughter inhaled The Invisible Tower, and said she was already for the next. Too bad since Otherworld Chronicles book one was only just getting published. How did I feel about it?

 In Artie Kingfisher’s world, wizards named Merlin and fire-breathing dragons exist only in legends and lore—until the day a mysterious message appears in his video game Otherworld springs to life.

You are special, Arthur, Says the mysterious message in his game. In one week’s time you will come to me at the it.

Cryptic clues lead Artie to a strange place called the Invisible Tower, where he discover the fantastic destiny that awaits him…

Brimming with powerful sorcerers, ancient magic, and life-changing quests, Otherworld Chronicles is perfect for Rick Riordan, Artemis Fowl, and Ranger’s Apprentice. The first book in this explosive tween trilogy brings the heroes of Arthurian legend to brilliant new life–and the promise of greater danger to come will leave readers breathless for the next volume.–back cover.

I’d been wonder when Arthurian legends would make the rounds in popular juvenile fiction. I understand Meg Cabot has modernized the lore for teen girls and Mary Pope Osborne plays with it a bit (near the beginning at least) with The Magic Tree House for the early chapter books set.

Nils Johnson-Shelton traps Merlin in a tower that has since taken on the appearance of a gaming store in Cincinnati, Ohio–exotic right? He can’t leave, but Artie when comes along, he finally has hope of escape. And why Artie? because he is the genetically replicated (not cloned) sibling of the original King Arthur. Yep, Artie was adopted. Better, there are other coincidences and encounters involving other paralleled Arthurian characters.

Unlike Rick Riordan who educates as he goes, Johnson-Shelton dives right in, and readers will need to do some research on their own. I know a reasonable number of the stories and characters, but I get the feeling I am missing quite a bit. But do you have to know any of the stories to enjoy the read? Not at all.

Gamers will take a special liking to the Otherworld Chronicles because well, access to the Otherworld is via a portal or a gaming console. The virtual representation is a mimicry of an actual overlapping yet paralleled world. There are exchanges between the two worlds and even though some do not care for the idea, they are interdependent. What excites Artie’s adoptive father is Otherworld’s clean energy. Oh yeah, there is a strong eco-message, too.

There are a lot of pop culture references and slang and high-action sequences. Excalibur is painfully convenient, essentially gifting Artie with all the info and skills he needs, but I don’t think young reader’s will mind. There are the bad-ass, the creepy, the ignorant/helpless adults, and a nerd who gets muscles, confidence, and very likely a girlfriend by the end of the Chronicles.

If you are a grown-up who is curious how Johnson-Shelton translates the stories and characters, I would love your thoughts on it. Otherwise, this is most certainly a book for tweens–boys and girls alike! I don’t think it will have the timelessness of Ranger’s Apprentice, or the massive myth-adventure appeal of Percy Jackson and series, but for your reader’s looking for a quick, adrenaline read, pick this one up from your local Library.


The Invisible Tower (Otherworld Chronicles, book 1) by Nils Johnson-Shelton

Harper (HarperCollins), 2012; Tradepaper, 333 pages, ARC

N was lent this book and in turned handed it to me, no compensation involved.


good for the Once Upon a Time VI Challenge

"review" · arc · comics/graphic novels · recommend · sci-fi/fantasy · wondermous · young adult lit

{comics} womanthology: heroic

Womanthology is a large-scale anthology showcasing the works of women in comics. It is created entirely by over 140 women of all experience levels, from young girls who love to create comics all the way up to top industry professionals. All of the short stories will center around our theme for this volume; Heroic. There will also be features, such as Professional How-Tos, a Kids/Teens section showcasing their works and giving tips, as well as a section dedicated to some Iconic female comic creators of the past, such as Nell Brinkley, and much more. Profits of this book will go towards the Charities of GlobalGiving.org.” publisher [IDW publishing] comments.
I heard mention of Womanthology a while back, I believe it was on The Mary Sue; and they’ve since hosted a preview. Recently I encountered it on NetGalley, and w/ IDW’s permission I caught a glimpse of what is to come this month! I can’t wait to get a hold of the whole book. Womanthology has a blog, so check it out, they hosted a preview, here. Meanwhile, let me share my free and honest glimpse of this excellent collection of comics created by the females of the industry.
Super Less Hero : story by Kelly Thompson, Art by Stephanie Hans : p. 5-12.
This story is a gorgeous lead, all the way around. The art, color, lettering, the story is wonderful… It is waiting to be unseated as my favorite.
—–Each contribution shows its creators at the bottom of the page, where you are introduced and can then follow-up via their website information; a touch of loveliness there.
—–there are “Womanthology Statistics” here and there, balanced within & between comics, at bottoms of pages. p. 10: “Contributors come from over 11 countries; and range in age from under 10 to over 70.”–exciting, right?!
The Spinster : by Ming Doyle, pencil, ink, writer; & Jordie Bellaire, colorist : p. 29-31.
A classic and classy story that has you smirking at ridiculous social/gender expectations.
—–lest you mistakenly believe that all comics involve are a writer and an artist: you’ll meet those skilled in lettering, pencils, ink, color, editing. Plenty are skilled in multiple ways, like Kate Leth who is a writer, penciler, inker, and colorist. Womanthology: Heroic would show off the different facets of comic work and their collaborators.
——there are “Pro-tips” tucked in corners, laced along edges; they range in type, like drawing, editing, writing… p. 12:
“Don’t give up. Everyone who can draw beautifully now was a beginner once. And don’t get frustrated if your work doesn’t yet look the way you want it to. Perseverence is the most important skill you’ll need, and it’s one you can start using right now.” –Laura Morely.
——-check out the extended preview on the blog-site. You’ll note the range of style and story. All center around heroic and are female-centric. I adored Renae de Liz and Nei Ruffino’s contribution (of which I am unsure of the title, High School?) featuring a non-thin heroine called Lady Power Punch (the result of a last minute scramble for a name). She is an awesome figure in red and gets crap for not being empty-headed or Barbie-esque in proportion. It is a smart and beautiful comic that shows off positive girl values, great story-telling, and fantastic color. (p. 18-22)
——-there are How-Tos; Interviews; a section on “Women in the Past.” Womanthology proves itself to be an ambitious project, without being burdensome.
   Womanthology : Heroic is project worth spending time with, lover of comic or no. It isn’t only about informing us or contributing in support of the women in the comic realm, but to share a love of the comic arts–where it just so happens to have a place for women and their stories, too.
   So, I only had a taste (pages 9-34), and then the previews. It was enough to hook me and share it. The release says February 07, 2012–er, tomorrow. Keep your eyes out for this collection, make sure your Library is going to have this, and think about ways you can support them in any future projects, as I hope Heroic will not be the last we see of Womanthology.
Womanthology: Heroic ed. Barbara Kesel.
contributors credited: by Camilla D’ Errico, Ann Nocenti, Anya Martin, Barbara Kesel, Kimberly Komatsu, Gail Simone, Trina Robbins, Samantha Newark , Renae DeLiz,Ming Doyle, Colleen Doran, Fiona Staples, Stephanie Buscema, Bonnie Burton.
to be released Hardcover, 300 pages.
{cover & banner-work (1st/last images) by Renae de Liz. other images are attributed their creators, and can be found via womanthology.blogspot.com}
"review" · arc · comics/graphic novels · fiction · recommend · young adult lit

friends with boys (1)

in full disclosure: my ability to get my hands on the latest Faith Erin Hicks comic (advanced reader’s copy) was thanks to NetGalley and First Second. What follows is a free and honest review.

Being homeschooled and raised with three brothers had its problems, but Maggie’s life is about to get a lot more complicated as she faces her greatest trial yet – entering public school for the first time! ~Publisher’s Comments

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

First Second—February 2012

comic, Teen/Young Adult

I know you love all those angst-ridden young adult novels, but Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends with Boys is not so overly dramatic. Okay, there is angst. Maggie is entering High School after all. Add the fact she has been homeschooled up to this point, her only real friends have been her three older brothers, there is some mystery surrounding her new friends, her father got a new job that requires a significant change, mom left without explanation, and there is this ghost that is following her around. Whew! It works, though—marvelously so. Between heart-warming interactions, a quirky character or two, and Faith Erin Hicks fantastic sense of humor, Friends with Boys has an effervescent quality the Young Adult readership will find refreshing. They’ll even ask for more. I know I will be seeking out more works by Faith Erin Hicks in the coming year.

We talk about voice in literature, and perhaps less so with its graphically rendered relative. I am still struggling to articulate what I mean when I note that Faith Erin Hicks’ work has a strong voice. Hicks engages her audience from the very beginning. There is an anticipation. Her form is fluid and the pages turn and track easily without insulting craftsmanship. Maybe it is her gift of characterization and the familiarity of her landscapes that feels singularly hers. The artwork is among the most accessible kind, and harbors a vibrant energy. Faith Erin Hicks is a capable author and artist whom I would recommend to both Readers of comics or no, any gender, primarily of the Young Adult audience.

Keep an eye out for Friends with Boys in February! Meanwhile, the wonderful Faith Erin Hicks has Friends with Boys up on the book’s site. Check it out! –and enjoy that school musical.