Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin

Cover Art

Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
ISBN: 9781684156061

Everyone’s favorite supernatural detective, Lottie Grote, is back and ready to show the world who the best detective is! Fresh from her time in John Allison’s Giant Days and Bad Machinery series, Lottie is now 19 years old and wanting to start her dream life off right. She’s on her way to Oxford, ready to be on her own, and on top of that, she’s finally being recognized for her years of stellar detective work by being nominated for the National Solver’s Teen Detective of the Year Award. But, things go horribly awry when Charlotte is framed for attempted murder at the very awards ceremony where she was going to wow them all. Her choice: go to jail or join up with the local police to try and clear her name. She decides she’ll show them all just how talented of a detective she really is or maybe just how well she can fix everyone a nice cuppa.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Wicked Things by John Allison and Max Sarin

OUTspoken: Teen Graphic Novels for Pride Month

Though Pride month recently wrapped up, the need for these titles lasts all year. These positive, inclusive graphic novels span many genres (contemporary, fantasy, mystery, memoir) and include LGBTQia* characters just going about their business, whether that be going to school, finding love, solving crimes, rescuing princesses, or reaping souls. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – add your favorites in the comments below!

*lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual

Continue reading OUTspoken: Teen Graphic Novels for Pride Month

Women in Comics: Fairytales & Fables

Fables and fairytales are some of the oldest types of stories around and they continue to be an important part of the literary world. With their combination of art and story, comics and graphic novels are a particularly great medium for this sort of story-telling. These are just a few of the multitude of great options that are out there for fans of fables and fairytales.

Troll Bridge CoverThe Little Red Wolf CoverThe Tea Dragon Society Cover

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman with art by Colleen Doran – In this modern day take on the classic tale of the troll under the bridge, a young boy goes wandering in the countryside only to encounter a troll living under a remote bridge. To describe the plot much more would be to give away the ending, but the story comments on many modern issues that go beyond classic troll stories, including technological process, urban development, and the choices each person makes and must ultimately live with. Doran’s artwork brings realism to a story that could have been completely fantastical and complements Gaiman’s story perfectly.

The City on the Other Side by Mairghread Scott and Robin Robinson – Opening in San Francisco shortly after the 1906 fire and earthquake, this book introduces readers to Isabel, a young girl who lives with her wealthy but remote mother. When Isabel is sent away to her father’s for the summer as her mother travels, she suddenly finds herself unexpectedly crossing the veil to the world of fairies where the Seelie and the Unseelie are at war with one another. Tasked with protecting and delivering a necklace that is important for ending the war, she finds herself on an adventure with new friends, including a Filipino boy who can also cross between the two worlds. This fun romp of a fairytale mixes fantasy and adventure well. It is being released later this month.

The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais – Told in a style somewhere between a graphic novel and a picture book, this story flips the typical story of Little Red Riding Hood on its head. In this case, the protagonist is a little wolf who always dresses in a red cape. When he is tasked with taking food into the forest to his grandmother’s house, he will encounter unspeakable danger. In this version of the tale, it is ultimately about revenge, guilt, and the unending harm that can come from both. The gorgeous artwork complements the story and makes for a great
reading experience.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill – From the author of Princess Princess Ever After, this delightful story follows Greta as she learns the dying tradition of caring for tea dragons from Hesekiel and his partner Erik. Tea dragons, which are small dragons who grow tea leaves on their horns and antlers, store the memories of themselves and their caregivers in the leaves that they grow and brewing tea from these leaves allows the drinker to experience these memories. However, because the process of cultivating their tea is long and difficult, few have continued the tradition. But Greta and her newfound friends, including Minette, a shy former prophetess, manage to rebuild the Tea Dragon Society for themselves. This is an adorable story with cute artwork and a great cast of characters. It is perfect for fans of Princess Princess Ever After and is sure to earn O’Neill even more fans.

Henni by Miss Lasko-Gross – In this modern fable, Henni is a young girl who lives in a dogmatically religious community where her freedom to be herself is strictly limited. Seeing her father attacked for daring to cross the religious leaders has a huge impact on her at a very young age, but still she stays a part of the community until she sees evidence of the true corruption of the tenets she was taught to believe in. At that point she flees into the unknown, desperate to find a just place where she will have the freedom to be herself. By setting this tale in a fantastical world populated entirely with humanoid creatures with the ears and tale of cats, Lasko-Gross makes this a relatable story that can feel applicable to so many situations. The emotional and moody illustrations and the terrifying obstacles that Henni faces throughout make it a powerful reading experience. And, by ending simultaneously with a moral and an open-ended final scene, Lasko-Gross makes the fable genre seem fresh and modern.

What are your favorite fables and fairytales in graphic novels? Let us know in the comments!

– Carli Spina, currently reading Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Women in Comics: Princesses with a Twist

Tales of princesses are timeless and, generally, adhere to a host of tropes and conventions. These representations exist in comics as well, but the comics in this post all combine some of these tropes with a twist that modernizes the storyline and makes it far more thought provoking than more standard adaptations. Whether you are generally a fan of princess stories or not, the books here are sure to spark your interest and keep you reading.

Spera coverPart-Time Princesses coverPrincessLess cover

Spera by Josh Tierney with art by Kyla Vanderklugt, Hwei, Emily Carroll, Olivier Pichard, Jordyn Bochon, Cecile Brun, Luke Pearson, Leela Wagner, and Matt Marblo – This story stars not one but two princesses! When Princess Pira arrives with news that her mother has killed Princess Lono’s father, Lono is thrust into a life of adventure that she never expected. Together with Yonder who can appear as either a human or a fire wolf at will, they set off for Spera, a place they have heard of in tales and stories. Along the way they encounter a variety of spirits, demons, and even a warrior cat. This volume includes four chapters and five short stories, all illustrated by different artists, which gives readers several different interpretations on the characters. Continue reading Women in Comics: Princesses with a Twist