Forgiveness is Really Strange by Masi Noor, Marina Cantacuzino, and Sophie Standing Singing Dragon Publication Date: February 21, 2018 ISBN: 978-1785921247
In this short graphic novel, social physiologist Dr. Masi Noor and The Forgiveness Project Founder, Marina Cantacuzino, explore the concept of forgiveness by summarizing the most recent research and exploring personal stories of forgiveness in extreme situations. The authors present the intricacies of forgiveness in a clear balanced manner, demonstrating the personal and social ramifications of choosing retribution over forgiveness, yet also the harm of forgiving in situations like domestic abuse when forgiveness only gives more power to the perpetrator. The quotations and interviews of individuals who chose forgiveness in extremely challenging situations make the otherwise scientific presentation personal and emotional. The moving stories showcase those such as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, parents who lost children in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and both victims and perpetrators of racial and sectarian violence.
Comics may not necessarily seem like a natural fit for music fans, but in reality there are a number of great (and in some cases, even iconic) bands in comics. Best of all, many of these comics feature female musicians and are written or illustrated by women. This list collects a few of the best of these and offers a little something for everyone.
Jem and the Holograms Volume 1: Showtime by Kelly Thompson with art by Sophie Campbell – Jerrica is a skilled singer but she also has a serious case of stage fright. When the band that she and her sisters have formed has an opportunity to play as part of a video contest, she finds that she can’t even record their song due to her shyness. While struggling to live up to her sisters’ expectations, she discovers that her father has left her the technology to create a hologram to sing in her place. This is all just the background though for a story that is really about relationships of all kinds including fans, friendship, family, and romance. The story features a great and diverse cast and it will please both readers who are fans of the 1980’s Jem cartoon series and those who have never met these characters before.
Josie and the Pussycats by Marguerite Bennett and Cameron Deordio with art by Audrey Mok – Starting in the Fall of 2016, Marguerite Bennett, Cameron Deordio, and Audrey Mok reinvented the classic story of Josie and the Pussycats. Built on the same foundation as the classic comics, this new incarnation has a brand new origin and a great focus on the importance of friendship to the band’s success or failure. This is a great read for musicians, Archie fans, and those who want to read a great story about fame and friendship. The first volume won’t be out until August, but you can start catching up on individual issues now.
Zebrafish by Peter H. Reynolds and Sharon Emerson with illustrations by Renee Kurilla – This comic, which is perfect for younger fans, tells a cute story about a bunch of friends who want to launch a band. Unfortunately, only one of them can play an instrument. They’re hardly going to let that stop them though! The book incorporates a message through a discovery that the band members make about one of their new friends, but this isn’t presented in a heavy-handed manner and doesn’t limit the focus of the story. The cartoon-inspired drawing style is engaging and entertaining. Readers will really enjoy this lighthearted book, which also has a sequel entitled SPF 40. Continue reading Women in Comics: Let The Music Play
It is hard to believe that it is already the start of a new year. But, the good news is that with the new year come new comics to be excited about! This year there are plenty of books and series by female creators to get excited about. Hopefully you will find something here to add to your to-be-read list.
Zodiac Starforce: By The Power of Astra by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau – Compared by many in style and story to Sailor Moon, this series has bright colors, great art, a focus on a team of teenage girls, and entertaining adventures. This first volume will collect the first four issues of the series, so it is a great way to introduce it to existing Sailor Moon fans or those who just love action-packed fantasy comics.
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley – When Lucy Knisley suddenly ends up engaged to her ex-boyfriend, she finds herself unexpectedly planning a wedding. As with her past books, she recorded it all in comic form. This promises to be another great peek at family life from an author who won a 2014 Alex Award and appeared on the Great Graphic Novels 2014 list.
Harley Quinn and Power Girl by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Stephane Roux – In addition to upcoming volumes of the Harley Quinn series, Amanda Conner and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti have a new series in which Harley Quinn and Power Girl team up in a foreign dimension. A great option for fans of this team’s Harley Quinn series, this will also appeal to Power Girl fans and those who want a combination of humor and superheros.
Starfire Volume 1 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Emanuela Lupacchino – Another collection from the team that brought us the latest Harley Quinn series, this is the first solo series for Starfire. With its Florida setting and battles against threats from the underworld, this series is sure to attract new fans for Starfire.
Tomb Raider by Mariko Tamaki and Phillip Sevy – Mariko Tamaki, author of This One Summer, is taking over the helm of the Tomb Raider series, which is sure to bring new attention to the series. This is a great option for fans of the Tomb Raider game series, especially since it continues the storyline set up in the games.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks – Hicks is a perennial fan favorite who has written some great comics, so it is easy to get excited for her upcoming work. This book follows Kaidu, a member of the group that is occupying the Nameless City, and Rat, a native of the city. Though they initially seem like unlikely friends, eventually they must work together for the city they both love.
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain – If you read the standalone Mockingbird issue that was released as part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary, you will be happy to know that there is more to come from this great character! As with the standalone, the new series will be written by Chelsea Cain and will focus on Bobbi Morse’s adventures. Mockingbird has popped up elsewhere as well, including on TV’s Agents of SHIELD and in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man, so this title has promise for wide appeal.
Spiderman by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli – With Marvel’s Secret Wars coming to an end, the All-New All-Different series are ready to begin and one of these series is a new Spiderman story. Though limited information has been released about this series, it has an all-star team of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, so it looks like it has great promise.
Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran – In this first Octopus Pie collection, readers meet Eve and her roommate Hanna as they live in Brooklyn and tackle complicated relationships. Filled with humor and observations of 20-something life in the city, this will have wide appeal, though it is probably best for older teens given the age group represented.
Black Canary Volume 1 by Brendan Fletch and Annie Wu – In this series, Dinah Lance hits the road with her band Black Canary and along the way they’re going to encounter more than their fair share of trouble. This combines great fight sequences with a rock and roll setting that will have broad appeal, particularly for those who are already fans of Batgirl.
Faith by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage – In many ways, Faith Herbert is a standard superhero: she is an orphan with special powers (including flight) who works as a journalist. But, where this could lead to a bland rehash of previous stories, here this serves as a jumping off point for playing with the standard comic tropes. This looks like it is going to be a great series for fans of Batgirl and many more!
These are just some of the great new works from female creators that we have to look forward to in 2016. It promises to be an exciting year for comics and I can’t wait to read these and more. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any that you want to read in 2016!
Sad as it may be for some, summer has come to a close and the new school year is upon us. In honor of this time of the year, here is a list of great comics by women that focus on back to school, whether this means starting college, transitioning to middle school or starting over at a new institution. The books range from realistic to fantastic, but they all capture the emotions of the start of a new school year.
Giant Days by John Allison with art by Lissa Treiman – Susan, Daisy, and Esther are three university students facing all of the typical problems of relationships, school work, and living away from home. Though it is set in Britain, the themes are universal and will have appeal both for those who fondly remember college and those who are looking ahead to it. This new incarnation of the webcomic by the same name follows the same three characters as John Allison’s original series, but this time with Lissa Treiman’s artwork. Designed to be a self-contained 6 issue series, it doesn’t presuppose any knowledge of the earlier series, but it will likely leave many interested in finding those earlier stories as well. Continue reading Women in Comics: Back To School Edition
Fantasy is in many ways the perfect genre for comics and graphic novels because the combination of text and art allows creators to even more vividly bring to life the worlds that they create. Given this, it is not surprising that so many comic books and graphic novels fall into this genre, including some of the most famous superhero stories. This post includes some of the best fantasy stories found in comics and graphic novels and offers many different options for fans of all types of fantasy.
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (2007 Great Graphic Novels For Teens) – Set in a world made up of anthropomorphized animals, bearded women, mysterious travellers, and magic, this graphic novel is in the style of traditional fables, but with a more modern focus. Though set at the castle of the title, which is isolated since a Sleeping Beauty-like incident decades before, the book is actually broken into a series of stories, each of which focuses on a smaller group of the castle’s inhabitants. It is an interesting and unique read that is perfect for fans of fairy tales and fables. Continue reading Women in Comics: Fantasy
As 2015 opens, I have decided to focus this month’s Women in Comics post on the great comics from women that we can look forward to this year. It looks as though 2015 will bring many exciting options for fans of everything from superheroes to memoirs. Get ready for some great reads in the new year!
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Marvel will be bringing their Squirrel Girl character back as an ongoing series created by Erica Henderson and Ryan North. The series starts this month, so you can check it out right now.
G. Willow Wilson: Author G. Willow Wilson has two exciting projects coming in 2015, the release of volume two of Ms. Marvel at the end of March and her involvement with the X-Men series starting this month. Both are part of her recently announced exclusive deal with Marvel, which may well point to a future with many more Marvel Universe stories from Wilson. Continue reading Women In Comics: Looking Ahead to 2015
Last month when I started writing my Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist post I envisioned it as a one-time list of suggestions, but as I got into the process of collecting books with women in charge of the story, artwork, or both, I realized that (1) there are far too many examples for a single post and (2) I was having way too much fun to only go through the process once. When I published the post and started getting supportive comments with even more reading suggestions, I decided that I wanted to turn it into a recurring series. So, my current plan is to continue writing Women In Comics posts that offer suggestions for those interested in finding great new comics and graphic novels.
As I was preparing to write this post, both Marvel and DC released plans for upcoming superhero movies for the next several years and this gave me the inspiration to focus on the contributions that women have made to superhero comics. This post will highlight a wide range of superhero stories written or illustrated by important women in the field. Without further ado, here are some more great stories to choose from: Continue reading Women In Comics: Superhero Edition
Batgirl is my favorite superhero. Not just any Batgirl, though: Barbara Gordon is my hero. She is smart, strong, and an information professional! She has been portrayed as a librarian, an information broker for other heroes, and, in younger versions, as a tech-savvy student.
Barbara “Babs” Gordon first appeared as Batgirl in 1967, six years after the first ever appearance of a Batgirl. Most often, Babs is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon and works as part of the Bat-family alongside Batman and Dick Grayson’s Robin; however, there are variations to this in the many portrayals of her.
Batgirl has always presented as a strong female character, fighting with male heroes as an equal. She served as an important figure in conversations regarding female representation in comics after she was sexually assaulted and paralyzed during a violent attack in Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke. As this event became part of the canon, the now wheelchair-bound Barbara Gordon once again gave voice to an under-represented population in comics when she left behind her Batgirl cowl and became Oracle, an information broker who supports superheros fighting on the streets.
In 2011, the DC Universe went through a reboot of sorts with the New 52. Under Gail Simone, who had been writing Barbara Gordon as Oracle, this relaunch saw Babs going through rehabilitation, regaining the use of her legs, and heading back out to kick some baddies’ behinds as Batgirl, once again. Continue reading Batgirl of Burnside: A New Take on an Old Favorite