Noggin is seriously touching YA fiction, and perfect for fans of John Green. Whaley's protagonist, Travis, is pitch-perfect all the way through. Not t...moreNoggin is seriously touching YA fiction, and perfect for fans of John Green. Whaley's protagonist, Travis, is pitch-perfect all the way through. Not to mention his cast of memorable supporting characters, all of which have their own unique voice. Mostly, I loved Noggin because of its allegorical power, and how expertly it touched on the universal themes of growing up with such an outlandish premise. Travis tackles, head on (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) his short-sighted teenage naiveté, the dangers of expecting people to be exactly what you want them to be, taking for granted your support system, and how to let go of people who've moved past you. Mostly, Noggin is about learning to live again after you've given up, and how to convince the people you lost to risk caring enough to lose you again. Don't hold it against me, but I might have teared up at some scenes.(less)
You'd think you're too smart to fall for a con. Particularly a con involving a murderous German immigrant, who posed as a member of the high-profile R...moreYou'd think you're too smart to fall for a con. Particularly a con involving a murderous German immigrant, who posed as a member of the high-profile Rockefeller family for nearly two decades. But that's exactly what happened to Ivy-educated author Walter Kirn -- he fell for it. In Blood Will Out, Kirn reveals how he was duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley. In this candid exposé, he reveals how "Clark Rockefeller" preyed on Kirn's vulnerability -- his willingness to politely collude in lies rather than create a scene, and his pride in keeping such distinguished company -- to literally get away with murder. But Blood Will Out is not just a good yarn, but an excellently written one. Kirn dissects his own deception with the regret of hindsight, and the frustrated rage of a man betrayed by a fiend he thought a friend. You can't help but feel sorry for Kirn, and share the same manic creeping dread as he discovers just how much he aided in his own beguilement. If you loved In Cold Blood, this one is for you. Just don't read it with the lights off. (less)
After the Golden Age is a fun, nostalgic read for tailor-made for comic book nerds. Every major plot point was a treat -- with plenty of references to...moreAfter the Golden Age is a fun, nostalgic read for tailor-made for comic book nerds. Every major plot point was a treat -- with plenty of references to things like doomsday devices, spandex, and how evil goons are never very reliable. But behind the send-up to Golden Age comic book geekery, there's a cast of real characters. Through her protagonist Celia West, she explores the timeless theme of growing up in the shadows of your parents and their accomplishments -- except Celia's parents are the most famous superheroes of Commerce City, and she's just a normal accountant. Vaughn manages to both satirize and celebrate comic book tropes while crafting a such a compulsively readable novel that I couldn't put it down.(less)
I like the Cannes. I like graphic novels. So when I heard an adaptation of a graphic novel had taken the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival,...moreI like the Cannes. I like graphic novels. So when I heard an adaptation of a graphic novel had taken the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, I had to read it. "Blue is the Warmest Color" lives up to the hype and more. Maroh's art is emotive, but sparse, managing to convey the terrible burden of a life, and a love, in the margins. Veering between the raw operatic tragedy of teenage passion and the subtle, somber adversities of adulthood endings, Clementine's coming-out manages to be familiar, yet exotic -- woven as it is with the many shades of blue Morah chooses to represent mercurial Emma. This is a timeless, beautiful graphic novel -- one I'm sure to read again and again.(less)
I confess that I read this entire series in the course of a little under a week. I haven't been this obsessed with a comic since I first discovered co...moreI confess that I read this entire series in the course of a little under a week. I haven't been this obsessed with a comic since I first discovered comics. Vaughan uses an apocalyptic gimmick to delve the very depths of human resilience. Along the way, he also manages to tell a story about love and growing up that never falls flat.
The rest of this review pertains to the series as a whole, so I'm heavily spoiler tagging it.
What I like the most about this series is that it inverts my love/hate relationship with comicbooks, and geek culture in general. Comicbooks and the culture surrounding them have a big bad sexism problem, and you're basically asking to be tarred and feathered for even mentioning it. (view spoiler)[Bring up the last of good gay characters, nevermind good lesbian characters, and you might as well have opened Pandora's Box. (hide spoiler)] Geeks, as much we might like to complain about the comparison, are a bit like cockroaches. Shine a light of critique on us and we all scurry into the corners to have an existential crisis.
Throughout the course of Vaughan's series, he deconstructs a lot of the female archetypes that comics are pretty infamous for. In a world with only one man, you're going to have to have a lot of female characters. And they can't all be parodies of human beings. Sure, he plays a lot of characters and tropes straight, but all of the main characters manage to be fully fleshed out people of their own right, and not fan service.
What I liked too is that Vaughan doesn't take the cheesy way out. (view spoiler)[Instead of turning the female population into super-mothers who fix everything or invoking the "all women are a little bit gay" stereotype, he refuses to make his female characters fan service. In fact, the only lesbian character has a hard time finding a partner in a world of only women. (hide spoiler)] Likewise, with men (view spoiler)[Vaughan doesn't let Yorick become some nihilist pimp who screws his way through the apocalypse. (hide spoiler)] He refuses to vilify or or deify either gender, or reduce any of his characters to chromosomes (I liked the nod to all of the wonderful and various colors of the genderqueer rainbow too).
This series is really, really progressive, and a landmark in comics. I'm endlessly thankful to the friend that recommended it to me, as I am thankful to the author and Vertigo for the opportunity to read it.
Stuff like this is the reason I read indie comics and graphic novels: there's only so many times you can reboot Batman before enough is enough.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Super Graphic combines two of my very favorite things: graphic design and unapologetic geekiness. Flipping through this book is like viewing a collect...moreSuper Graphic combines two of my very favorite things: graphic design and unapologetic geekiness. Flipping through this book is like viewing a collection of the very best cutting-edge design pieces, except every single one references the parts of pop culture you like best. Here, there's almost 200 pages of clever, hilarious, and genuinely informative scatterplots, bar graphs, pie charts, and more. Leong's use of color, scale, and sparse text to convey massive amounts of information about the confusing, wonderful worlds (sorry, universes) of comics make this the kind of gift nerds of all stripes would be ecstatic to receive. This is the kind of coffee table book, without the coffee table price, that any comic aficionado should be proud to display alongside stacks upon fire-hazard stacks of Superman, X-Men, or Avengers back issues. And if you're more of an indie comic fan, like me, then there's plenty in here on indie favorites like Persepolis, Y: The Last Man, and The Walking Dead. There's even some manga! Super Graphic is seriously beautiful, and serious about comics.(less)
Burial Rites is gorgeous, the kind of book you both praise and jealously damn the author for masterfully writing. Melancholic and achingly claustropho...moreBurial Rites is gorgeous, the kind of book you both praise and jealously damn the author for masterfully writing. Melancholic and achingly claustrophobic, Kent's prose recreates the agony of waiting to die and the inevitable, impossible process of accepting one's harsh fate. Told in shifting points of view, Agnes' cynicism towards her impending death stay with you even after the axe falls. Kent also doesn't spare the reader from the heartless expanses of an Icelandic winter, faithfully detailing the minutia of a 19th-century peasant's rural life. What Kent has created is a beautiful speculative biography of a life half-lived, but hard-fought.(less)