This substantial history makes for an impressive graphic novel. Moonbound: Apollo 11 and the Dream of Spaceflight by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm alternates chapters between the story of the Apollo 11 moon landing (in full color) and topics related to spaceflight (in monochrome). Those latter range greatly, involving a lot more than a technical memoir, including a survey of historical astronomers, a history of rocketry, astronaut training, designing the spacesuits, and the symbolism of the moon to various cultures. It’s well-drawn, straightforward […]
It’s that time of year, when we start thinking about ghosts and goblins and jack-o-lanterns and things that go bump in the night. There are plenty of comics and graphic novels with ghosts in them, but not all are scary. Here are some great reads that happen to have spirits in them. Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz, Oni Press After struggling with mental health issues, Celeste takes an archivist job at a creepy local museum. A ghost […]
Combine apprentices, magic, and caring for animals, and you have Hex Vet: Witches in Training by Sam Davies. Clarion and Annette are aspiring veterinarians for supernatural creatures. Clarion is cheery and good-hearted, while Annette comes from a family with a scary reputation, and the town gossip has made her grumpy. Clarion is sent to clear a bugbear out of the storage room, while Annette has to work reception. When a strange rabbit with magical eyes appears at the office, while […]
“The future is female,” they say, and nothing demonstrates that better than Sanity & Tallulah, a science fiction adventure by Molly Brooks about two smart, daring girls living on a space station. Super-creative Sanity has genetically engineered a three-headed kitten named “Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds”. Having a pet is a rule violation in such a tightly controlled environment, particularly one that’s a science experiment created using untested equipment, and Tallulah’s mother, the senior scientist on the station, grounds them […]
Science Comics: Polar Bears: Survival on the Ice, another installment of First Second’s excellent non-fiction graphic novel series, dives deep into the life of one of the world’s most distinctive animals. It’s written by Jason Viola and illustrated by Zack Giallongo. Anik and Ila are sibling polar bear cubs. As they spat with each other and follow Mama around the Arctic, the reader learns in great detail the nature of life in such a harsh environment. The book covers types […]
I was heavily disappointed to hear this wonderful fantasy romance would end after only 11 issues. However, looking on the bright side, that makes for a complete story in two collections, a tidy but not over-committed read. It does mean, though, that events move very quickly in Sleepless volume 2, the second half of the series by Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Duca. Poppy is dealing with a number of substantial challenges. With her father no longer king and her […]
The Avant-Guards was my answer to a friend asking the question of whether there was any American comic that could be described as sports yuri (which is manga about girl-girl attraction). It’s written by Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl), illustrated by Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer), and this collection reprints the first four-issue storyline. (There are 12 issues planned in total.) The dynamic go-getter Olivia is determined to create a basketball team at her all-female drama school “The Georgia O’Keeffe […]
There’s plenty of science fiction in comics, particularly if you lump many of the superheroes in that genre, but it’s rare to find science fiction (in any medium) that deals with religion, particularly one that does it well (as opposed to using it as a cliche). Invisible Kingdom, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Christian Ward not only does this, but it does so gorgeously. It’s clear that the world we’re shown here has been well-thought-through, with the […]
One of my favorite TCAF discoveries was The Pineapples of Wrath by Cathon from Pow Pow Press. I knew nothing about artist, publisher, or book, but it was a fun, escapist read with a distinct, unusual sensibility. Once I checked it out, I kept sending other people over to get some pineapples. In a small Quebec city with the “world’s largest Hawaiian neighborhood”, Marie-Plum bartends at a tiki bar but keeps getting distracted by the latest mystery she’s reading. She […]
Bad Luck Chuck caught my attention due how interesting the premise was. It kept my attention by wrapping the concept in intriguing layers of story. It’s written by Lela Gwenn and illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith. Chuck Manchester has really bad luck. Like “the building burns down around her” bad luck. So she’s made a business, “Disaster on Demand”, out of it, hiring herself out as, for example, an untraceable arsonist. She’s just been hired to bring a daughter back […]
The third in Terri Libenson’s series of connected middle school graphic novels, Just Jaime tackles the difficult question of how to react when “friends” decide they don’t want to hang around you any more. As with Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy, the format is unique, with interspersed chapters alternating between the illustrated diary format and full-out comics. (The lead characters from the first two books also appear here, tying the three together into a richer picture of young teen life.) […]
The eighth book in the imaginative series by Dana Simpson about a girl and her unicorn best friend is also the second original graphic novel (after Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm; the others reprint comic strips), making it a never-before-seen longer story. In Unicorn Theater, Phoebe is headed to drama camp. The unicorn Marigold accompanies her but is distracted by a visit from her sister, making Phoebe jealous and a little lonely. All of her other friends […]
From 2006-2010, Nancy Springer wrote six YA mysteries about Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock. The Case of the Missing Marquess by Serena Blasco, from IDW’s EuroComics imprint, adapts the first. Enola has been living with her mother, Lady Eudora, in the country. On her 14th birthday, her mother disappears. Upon notifying her much older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock, who haven’t visited for ten years, she’s told she will be sent to boarding school to become a proper young […]