Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of The Witch Owl Parliament: Clockwork Curandera, Vol. 1 by David Bowles and Raúl the Third

The Witch Owl Parliament: Clockwork Curandera, Vol. 1 by David Bowles and Raúl the Third
Tu Books
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781620145920

Set in an alternative colonial Mexico of the 1860s, the Franco siblings, Cristina and Enrique, are pulled by tragedy into a mysterious world of conspiracy, alchemy, and witches. Cristina is an apprentice curandera, a Christian-magic based healer, and while at a train station waiting for her brother, she is killed by three lechuzas, witch owls. Enrique uses alchemy, a crime in their society, and robotic parts to bring Cristina back to life. Now an outcast with super strength, Cristina, Enrique, and Enrique’s friend Mateo search for answers about the witch owls’ return, as it has been 300 years since they were wiped out. While the witch owls are taking refugees hostage, the group finds that the return of the witch owls has a connection with the mysterious death of Cristina and Enrique’s parents. 

This volume manages to deliver dense worldbuilding and beautiful artwork in this first, fast paced part of the Franco siblings’ story. Raúl the Third’s artwork has a distinct style and a limited color palette that work well with the age faded look of the pages. The witch owls look truly horrifying, and the artwork sets up the atmosphere of this world very well. The story also includes action and humor at the right moments.David Bowles revels in world building and, in his author’s note, he relays that he wanted to make a steampunk story outside of a euro-centric country and closer to the Mexico/Texas border areas where he grew up. Frankenstein is also a major influence on the story, but takes a unique approach to the classic with the emphasis on family, as well as the impact of colonialism and Christianity on Cristina, Enrique, and society as a whole. 

Hand this graphic novel to fans of Hazards of Love: Bright World by Stan Stanley, as both worlds are influenced by Mexican culture and also provide stories with mystery and horror elements. M is for Monster by Talia Dutton is another read-a-like that is a Frankenstein re-telling that focuses on identity and sisterhood. Finally, fans of the Shadowshaper series by Daniel José Older may want to try this series out, as both feature a Latinx female protagonist with magic unraveling a mystery.  

—Rachel Johannigmeier

Other Nominated Titles:

  • Free Speech Handbook: A Practical Framework for Understanding Our Free Speech Protections by Ian Rosenberg and Mike Cavallaro (November 30, 2021)
  • Coven by Jennifer Dugan and Kit Seaton (September 6, 2022)
  • Eat the Rich by Sarah Gailey and Pius Bak (May 1, 2022)
  • Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame (June 21, 2022)
  • Static: Season One by Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey (June 7, 2022)
  • Junkwraith by Ellinor Richey (January 18, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Crumbs by Danie Stirling

Crumbs by Danie Stirling
Etch/Clarion Books
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
ISBN: 9780358467793

Every time Ray enters the magical Marigold’s Bakery she orders a Romance. As a Seer, she’s seeking something with a taste of the unknown. On a day when Romance is sold out, Marigold’s nephew Laurie invites Ray out to hear him play guitar as an alternative unknown experience and their relationship blooms. But Ray is starting an internship and on the verge of becoming part of the Grand Council of Sorcerers, a job that requires leaving all of the rest of her life behind. Will she be forced to choose between her new romance and her dream job, a choice even her Seer’s ability can’t help her make?

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2023) Featured Review of Crumbs by Danie Stirling

Women in Comics: Looking Ahead to 2017

Though it may be tough to believe that a new year has begun, 2017 is here and it brings with it some great comics by women! Below are some exciting comics that will be released in the coming months. Take a look and find something fun for this brand new year.

Mighty Captain Marvel coverSquirrel Meets World coverBatgirl and Birds of Prey cover

2017 is going to be a great year for superhero comics written by women. Marvel has a number of options coming up that are both by women and about women, with three debuting next August. Over the span of just a couple of weeks, we’ll see The Unstoppable Wasp, Vol. 1: Unstoppable! by Jeremy Whitley with art by Elsa Charretier, The Mighty Captain Marvel by Margaret Stohl with art by Ramon Rosanas, and Sif: Journey Into Mystery by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Kathryn Immonen with art by Ryan Stegman, Valerio Schiti, and Pepe Larraz. Versions of all of these character tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe or will in the future, so they are great options for those who love the movies and want to start reading the comics too. There will even be options for those who aren’t fans of comics, with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World novel by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale coming out at the beginning of February. Continue reading Women in Comics: Looking Ahead to 2017