Thursday 21 September 2017

Comics: exploring a more varied diet

It happens every couple of years, this sudden urge to shake up my reading. Recently I've been expanding my pull list beyond my go to superhero series with stuff like Lumberjanes, Bombshells, Mech Cadet Yu and Rat Queens, all series I'm really enjoying for how different they are. Its not even that I'm burnt out on superheroes. Right now DC's in the best place its been creatively in about a decade and Marvel, recent Nazi missteps aside, has some good stuff going on that I hope Legacy isn't going to ruin.

Still, I feel the need to explore a bit so I went into town with a small budget and scoured the shelves of Waterstones and Oxfam Music (strangely, of the two Oxfam stores, the one that displays comics donations) for anything that looked interesting.

I ended up with a decent enough haul that will keep me busy for a couple of weeks.

To start with, Mendoza the Jew: Boxing, Manliness and Nationalism: a graphic history by Ronald Schechter and Liz Clarke. I have to admit, I did not expect to find a graphic novel with an Oxford University Press logo on the back cover. I love historical graphic novels and a biography of an eighteenth century British Jewish boxer is certainly not something I'd ever have thought to look up on my own.

A Contract With God claims to be the first graphic novel and given its written and drawn by Will Eisner I can well believe it. Again, a historical based at least somewhat on the author's own life. I'm always leery about foundational works, they tend to age worse than people give them credit for, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot.

100 Bullets: First Shot, Last Call is the first in Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso classic Vertigo crime series, which is one of those classics I've never got around to. I love Azarello's Wonder Woman and every time I've encountered Risso's... shall we call it “aggressively grotty” style I've been impressed. Plus, Oxfam only wanted £2.99 for it so how bad can it be?

Another classic I've never read, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi is an autobiography of a woman who grew up in Iran during some pretty scary times. It is also something I once promised a friend I would read and review and, decade late or not, I do want to keep to my promises.

The back cover blurb of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda's Monstress: Awakening promises me both art deco beauty and steampunk horror plus a quick flick through tells me the art is absolutely gorgeous. I know practically nothing about this series, only that I love the aesthetic and the protagonist Maika Halfwolf is looking for answers about her past so I'm very much looking forward to this one.

Finally there's Powers: Who Killed Retro Girl?, the first book in the series that brought Brian Michael Bendis to prominence. I liked the recent Powers revival at Marvel but got burnt out on it because I feel like I was missing a lot of necessary context on the main characters so it might well be worth my while.

Opinions to follow at a later date...

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