Graphic Friday- Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

I read Bechdel’s Fun Home a few months after my father passed away and even though her father and her relationship with him was much different from my own, I found it to be very soothing in my grieving process.  I’m sure that I added this book to my TBR soon afterwards but the two books are very different.  Actually, I recall breezing through Fun Home and kind of expected the same of this.  This was a much heavier book, full of quotes and psychology.  I had a completely different reaction to it.

Bechdel tells the story of her relationship to her mother.  She talks about her mother’s reaction to the book about Bechdel’s father and the many ways that Bechdel has been formed by her mother.  There’s a lot here, about her mother’s disapproval of her homosexuality as well as her disapproval of memoir writing.  There is a deep look into why Bechdel feels envy over other’s successes and how her panic attacks possibly stem from her anger with her mother.  What you end up with is a deep look at their relationship that seems fairly told.

Now, I enjoyed this book.  It got me thinking which is something I love a book to do.  Again, it seemed to find me at the right time, when I am considering my own parenting.  Toward the end of the book, Alison’s therapist asks her a question and tells her to answer the one thing that comes to her mind first.  She asks what she most learned from her mother.  And that question alone sent me reeling, the kind of reeling that pulled me right out of the book so I could look around my own life and see the ties.

This was a great read.  I’m not sure if I like this or Fun Home best or even if the two can be compared.

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Graphic Friday- Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya has all of the angst.  She’s worried about her weight because kids used to pick on her.  She’s embarrassed about being an immigrant and doesn’t want to hang around the only other Russian kid in school.  She has one friend who she doesn’t think is particularly great friend.  She’s got a crush on Sean From the Basketball Team but he’s dating Elizabeth who is perfectly perfect.  Then she falls down a well.

Seriously.  While feeling very angsty indeed she stomps off into the nearby woods and falls into an old well.  She’s stuck there for two days with a skeleton and the skeleton’s ghost, a girl named Emily who is about Anya’s age.  When Anya is saved from the well, Emily’s pinky bone somehow ends up in her bag allowing Emily to follow her.

Having a ghost around isn’t so bad.  She can keep an eye out for teachers when you’re smoking.  She can find the answers to your test.  But Emily seems to have a real need to run Anya’s life and before long Anya realizes just how dangerous a ghost can be.

I really enjoyed this comic.  The first few pages felt a little rough but after that I didn’t even want to look up.  A must read, or at least right up my alley!

Graphic Friday: The Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen

Sometimes you meet a character, say, and that character strikes you as being a bit of an ass but you stick with it and before long you find yourself thinking that the character maybe isn’t too bad.  Then, by the end of the book you think he’s great and then he hits you with a reference to Hole’s “Beautiful Son” and you’re like, “Dammit.  I knew I liked you.”

And that kind of sums up a lot of my feelings about Phonogram.

I know that I missed a lot because my musical knowledge is lacking and rusty but I also got enough to be heavily entertained.  What do I know about Britpop?  Not a whole hell of a lot but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment, it just added some Googling in and I am all for learning stuff while I read.

Phonogram is a collection of comics built around phonomancers, who are basically music magicians.  And while this system of magic is never really explained or gone into in any depth, that’s absolutely fine.  We all know that music can be magic and it’s cool to see it actually portrayed that way.  What you end up with are some stories about how much music matters and how things change and, really, about moving on and growing up a bit.

Yes, I grew to love Phonogram as much as I grew to love David Kohl and extra kudos for the mentions of my favorite band.

Graphic Friday- Psychic Academy by Katsu Aki

As I continue my discovery of the graphic novel connection, I want to take a minute to be real here.  I would not call myself a fan of manga.  I like graphic novels and comic books but the backward reading always drove me nuts.  Only, not really.  What I have learned through the years is that a good story is readable in any format.  When I was looking through books I’ve read in the past decade, there were some manga series that stuck out.  I liked R.O.D. and Hellsing, Princess Ai and Monster.  I know that it is possible for me to like good stories in this format.

But let’s be real here.  This is kind of a shit story.  It’s very… flat.  I know that I only read the first volume but there was nothing in that first volume that makes me want to continue.  Some of it even actively bothered me.

Like, cool, your two female characters are smoking hot and both into the main character and you have your typical love triangle where one girl has known him forever and the other is edgy and perfect for him or whatever.  BUT I do not think that I have ever seen so much accidental boob grabbing in my life.  The first time it happened I was surprised enough to send a picture of the frame to my husband with a chuckle.  Around the third time it happened I was rolling my eyes.  There is a lot of sexy for sales sake going on here, I think.  None of the sexiness makes any sense for the story.  And, for the love of God, why do their gym suits have nipples??!??

Suffice to say that I won’t be continuing this series.  In fact, I considered removing it from the collection so that I could replace it with something better but it appears to still check out.  This one was not even laughably bad in my opinion, just irritating.

Graphic Friday: Archie, vol 4 by Mark Waid

It is no secret that I am in love with the new Archie, sometimes called “hot Archie.”  When the newest in the series lands on my desk, I have been known to squeal and hug it.  This updated comic has branched out into other things, too.  I love CW’s Riverdale, though I am watching on Netflix so don’t ruin the second season for me!  The revamp of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is also pretty great.  I even saw an Archie Diegest the other day that was a special Riverdale edition that I did not buy and have been beating myself up about ever since.

This new volume is more serious than the last and it was a roller coaster ride for me.

Now that Veronica has returned to Riverdale, her relationship with Archie is strained.  Veronica has matured slightly, at least on the surface, and she’s starting to talk like the future heir of her father’s billions while Archie is the same old Archie.  Things already shaky between them, Archie is worried about Veronica finding out that he could be cut from the football team so when Reggie threatens to tell her if Archie doesn’t drag race him in Betty and his newly restored 1969 Mustang Mach 1 Cobra, Archie feels trapped.  He takes off in the car without telling Betty where he is going but when she finds out there are dire consequences.

Even though this was a much more serious run than the previous volumes, it was still loads of fun.  Plus, cliffhanger!  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  (Also, so much fun to read the car stuff out loud to my husband. Ha ha.)

Graphic Friday- A-Force: Rage Against the Dying Light by Kelly Thompson

So, I read the first A-Force trade and liked it a lot more than I expected.  When I finished reading, I noticed that it was by G. Willow Wilson and I really liked her Ms. Marvel so I felt less surprised and also very excited to start the second trade.  Then I checked it out and I realized another reason that I get so pissed off about comics.  New writers.  New artists.  I know Kelly Thompson from her work on Jem, the first trade of which I really liked.  So, in short, I gave it a try.

I liked it.  I did.  Again.

Which has left me in a kind of conundrum.  Am I going to have to admit that maybe I DO like superhero comics, if they are the right ones?  Am I going to have to trust Marvel’s choice in writers and artists?  (I don’t think I can do that because we all know they have a tendency to do stupid shit constantly.  Though I do like that both writers for this series were women.)  And, you know, is there ever going to be more A-Force because I kind of need it?

We join the team this time in the midst of a battle that is going poorly.  It goes poorly enough that She Hulk ends up in the hospital, in a coma.  Meanwhile, Captain Marvel has heard a prophecy that Nico will kill a woman named Alice.  Cap wants to arrest Nico in order to prevent this murder until they can figure out what is going on.  Nico is not a fan of being arrested by her teammate and runs away (ha) to a safe house she has in Colorado.  However, when she gets there she finds that the townspeople are being turned into giant insects.

Another fun run!  I want more, damn you, Marvel.

Graphic Friday- Emitown, vol 2 by Emi Lenox

Now that I have read both volumes of Emitown, I feel comfortable telling you that I am in love with these books.  I don’t know what it is about them.  I find them comforting, somehow.  They make me feel a little more upbeat.  Even when Emi is dealing with *some shit* she manages to make herself go out and try to have fun and reading these daily entries made me feel like I could do that too.

This volume differs from the first in that Emi constructed it from notes at a later time and so the book has more of an actual arc to it.  At first I was concerned about this because I loved the randomness of the first volume but this book was just as good.  Emi is going through the publication of her first book and a relationship and a job loss.  There is a lot going on but she ties it all together nicely.

I know that these books aren’t for everyone but I can tell you that when I finished volume 2, I wanted to start back at volume 1 again and keep going in an infinite loop.