Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu
Publication Date: March 5, 2018
Some of history’s most spirited and inspiring women overcome difficult odds in this graphic novel representation of girl power at its best. Some of these include actress Margaret Hamilton, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch, performer and activist Josephine Baker, journalist and women’s rights activist Nellie Bly, and many more.
French author/illustrator Bagieu incorporates vivid, cartoony images that include women from varied cultures and circumstances all over the globe. Accessible short chapters concisely depict highlighted brazen women, and the book as a whole is highly browsable. Each candid memoir chronicles challenges faced by each rebel lady, with anecdotes of how she overcame adversity that will warm hearts and empower readers.
Recommended for those who enjoy biographies about strong women, such as I Am Malala by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai, or books that are less text-heavy. The theme of conquering all odds to succeed is uplifting not only for girls and women, but for readers of all types, everywhere.
Scales and Scoundrels, Vol. 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw by Sebastien Girner and Galaad
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Adventurer Luvander has a taste for gold but a nose for getting into trouble. After fleeing yet another village after an inexplicable blaze consumes the local tavern, she meets up with a motley group in the forest: a prince, his bodyguard, and a cheerful dwarf. They are all in search of gold, and the best place to find it is in the fabled Dened Lewen–if the angry villagers, giant insects, and sorcerous bounty hunters don’t get them first.
This comic has bright and stylish art. The quest storyline is familiar but moves along at a brisk pace, supported by a cast of diverse and likeable characters. Luvander is a quirky, spunky heroine with an intriguing mix of as-yet unexplained abilities. The hint in the first few pages that she may be a dragon, or at least has dragon-like abilities, is a great hook. Scales and Scoundrels is a fun spin on Dungeons and Dragons and the classic hero’s quest.
The art in this book is reminiscent of Studio Ghibli with a touch of classic anime. Fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona will enjoy Luvander’s roguish charm. The overall diversity and positive, upbeat, feminist take on the classic sword-and-sandal story will appeal to fans of Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Allen, and Shannon Watters, and The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks.