Graphic Novel Round-up!

I have been in a major reading slump lately. Usually, I can read several books at once and finish at least a couple of books a week. I read fast and my lunches at work are the ideal time to get some reading in. Lately however I have felt nothing but severe ennui when thinking about the books stacked up on my bedside table. It happens to the best of us, i suppose. The more I looked at those books the more I felt bored by them. So to shake things up I decided to read some of the graphic novels I recently purchased. They are quick and easy to read and I get to look at some (hopefully) great art while enjoying the story!

When I was younger and had more disposable income I had a pull list at my local comic shop but hardships and school loans made me abandon it a few years ago. I still love comics however so I usually pick and choose a few to buy in Trade paperback form. If you don’t know this is where they collect a bunch of comics together , usually #1-15 or so, of a particular comic and sell it in a fancy paperback. This is how I get my comic fix in now and I love it!

So, what have I been reading lately? These fine books (some NSFW images follow):

Sex Criminals

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist: Chip Zdarsky

sex-criminals-vol-01-releasessexcriminals_tp_02

I have read the first two trades in this series and I really like it a lot. Here is what it is about:

“Suzie, a librarian, and Jon, an actor, meet at a party and, after sleeping together, they discover that they share the ability to freeze time when they orgasm. As their relationship develops and their sexual histories are explored, they decide to rob the bank where Jon works in order to save Suzie’s endangered library.”

This book is pretty funny with quick jokes and an interesting plot. Jon and Suzie narrate their lives and they are both funny and honest about their screw-ups. these are two people who have real lives and they feel lived in and 3 dimensional. They are both loving and smart, but also this book lets them be angry and, well, jerks, sometimes. The second trade shows how hard a relationship can be as they drift apart from each other and have to really work hard to stay together. That is one of my favorite things about this story, Matt Fraction lets them be real people with all the BS that entails.

The art (by Chip Zdarsky), is fantastic and beautiful. I love the way he uses colors when Jon and Suzie are in “the Quiet”.

sex-criminals-image-1

There are all sorts of in jokes, not only in the text but also in the art as well. I will admit to being very unsure how things like the jokes in the artwork come about, whether it is a collaboration by the two or just Chip Zdarsky, but they work and are really funny. I’ve re-read the trades just to look for fun stuff in the background.

Another thing I like about this book is the fact it is super sex positive. Yay! no one is shamed for liking sex and it is all wonderful.

If I had to criticize these trades for anything it is this: i feel it moves a bit too slow. I’m not sure how to articulate this feeling really. I’m not saying that nothing happens, in fact the plot moves pretty well along……but it just felt slow to me, i guess.  This is probably 100% a me thing, maybe no one else felt it. It did take some of the shine off the book for me, but not enough to dislike it.

Hawkeye

Writer: Matt Fraction

Artist(s): David Aja, Annie Wu

Hey look Matt Fraction again!

hawkeye

I actually started reading this after friends raved about it. It turned out they were right. I have never really cared about Hawkeye one way or another. He was just kind-of there, you know? Fighting with a bow and arrow, being kind-of a jerk.

I think this run has really made me love the character. It reminds me a little of the new Daredevil both because he is another character i previously didn’t know much about being fleshed out by a new story and medium and also because their stories are both “ground-level” heroics. For the most part, these guys aren’t fighting Thanos or Ultron everyday. They are fighting for a small specific areas against street level crime. For Daredevil it is Hell’s KItchen he protects and for Hawkeye it is the people in his building (for the most part).

The other thing i love about this book is it introduced me, and made me fall in love with, Hawkeye. No not Clint Barton, but Kate Bishop. I have never previously read a story she’s been featured in, but after reading the third trade (L.A. Woman) I want to go find other stories she is featured in posthaste.

The art by David Aja (and in L.A. Woman by Annie Wu) is simplistic in a way that is actually very hard to do well. It serves the story well and is great looking.

That drawback to liking this run of Hawkeye is the fact it has been plagued with delays. These delays make it very hard to stay connected to the overall narrative and the reader can lose focus and get bored. In fact an all new run of Hawkeye comics has started up and this one (Matt Fraction’s) hasn’t even finished yet.

Thor: God of Thunder

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist(s):  Esad Ribic,  Butch Guice

THorthor2

I’ve only read the first two trades, Thor God of Thunder volume 1: The God Butcher and volume 2: Godbomb. I don’t feel like I am very qualified to say much about the story line of this comic since i am not very far into it, however i love the themes of love and faith and what it actually means to worship a god, both for the people following and the god him(or her)self.

Ms. Marvel

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Artist: Adrian Alphona, Jacob Wyatt

msmarvel

Kamala Khan is just an ordinary girl from Jersey City–until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman?

This might be my favorite new book I picked up. I love the “voice” of the characters and the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan is fantastic. I will always love books that bring new perspectives to established characters and now that the old Ms. Marvel is Captain Marvel we need a new one to take her place! I love that it is not just another statuesque blonde lady. Kamala is funny, and obsessed with superheroes, and a teenager who is looking to find out who she really is.

I have only read the first trade but I fell in love immediately.

Afterlife with Archie

Writer: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Artist: Francesco Francavilla

alwarchie1

Archie comics! But with Zombies!

Wait come back! this is a legitimately good, scary and weirdly touching story! i was grossed out and it even made me tear up a few times, which I was not expecting.

I think it is better if you go into this book cold. It’s Archie but with Zombies! Get it and be amazed!

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2 thoughts on “Graphic Novel Round-up!

  1. I’m with you on “Afterlife with Archie” and will have to check out “Sex Criminals.”
    Have you read “Shutterbug Follies” or “Motel Art Improvement Service” by Jason Little? They are a bit noir with some dark humor and sex.

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