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text 2019-06-04 13:14
Hugo: Best Graphic Story
Abbott - Saladin Ahmed,Sami Kivela,Jason Wordie
Black Panther: Long Live the King - Nnedi Okorafor
Monstress, No. 3 - Sana Takeda,Marjorie M. Liu
Paper Girls Volume 4 - Brian K Vaughan
Saga Volume 9 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan

So I started reading them yesterday and I'm mostly done.  On a sunbeam is a web comic (I can't link from work) and I'm making my way through it, I've read the first few episodes and find it interesting.


Again it was hard to choose within an interesting bunch, my favourite was Abbott, ranking the rest was hard.  

Eventually I just decided an order but it was work.


Abbott features a female investigative journalist who can see more than she wants to at scenes and a series of grotesque murders.  Stands alone and leaves room for sequels.


Black Panther: Long Live the King - Black Panther at home in Wakanda fighting a creature that is destabilising the country.


Monstress: Volume 3: Haven - this is so pretty, the artwork is very special and the story winds around and keeps me reading.  You need to have read the previous two books before this.


On a Sunbeam is a story of some people travelling around in a spaceship exploring buildings along with some exploration of the past of some of the characters.   Unusual and interesting.


Paper Girls - Volume 4 - this one really needed that I read the rest before embarking on it, lost doesn't quite describe it enough.


Saga - Volume 9 - I've read the previous stories, the artwork is lush and the story interesting, now I want to know what's going to happen next.

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review 2019-01-01 08:34
Monstress: Awakening Vol 1
Awakening - Marjorie M. Liu,Sana Takeda

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:


Maika Halfwolf is on a quest to discover information about her shadowy past. Along the way she must battle an ancient entity who shares her mind and body and makes her the target of every faction in her war-torn world.


Monstress: Awakening is the most beautifully illustrated comic book I have ever seen. Every panel is like a painting and so full of detail I could spend minutes taking in each one, yet the art never overwhelms the page or the story. Even the body horror and gore manage to look beautiful. In addition to beautiful art, Monstress contains creative character design and diverse characters. It is refreshing to see a fantasy world populated with resilient, chromatic, female characters whose existence is normalized. These women are the rule not the exception. 


Monstress also includes incredible world building. Immediately in the book there is the sense that this is a fully realized world, and there is little awkward exposition to explain it. It is left to readers to put the story together for themselves. Some of the more complex aspects of the world are explained at the ends of chapters in short lectures. The conceit works at conveying information that clarifies the story, but if this information is really that important, it deserves space in the actual comic rather than being relegated to a clever info dump.


Monstress is a fresh take on fantasy worlds. It deserves a spot in the graphic novel canon for its artwork alone.

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text 2018-07-10 22:59
2018 Hugo Ballot: Best Graphic Novel
Black Bolt (2017-) #1 - Leonard Bacon;Joseph Parrish Thompson;Richard Salter Storrs;Henry Ward Beecher;Joshua Leavitt;Henry Chandler Bowen;Theodore Tilton;William Hayes Ward;Hamilton Holt;Harold de Wolf Fuller;Fabian Franklin;Christian Archibald Herter,Saladin Ahmed
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick
The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu,Sana Takeda
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris
Paper Girls Volume 3 - Brian K. Vaughan
Saga, Volume 7 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan

This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so.


I'd only read 2 of these in advance of the finalist announcement. Two more are properties I'm familiar with from earlier volumes.


  • Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel) - 3.5 stars, loved the art and liked the writing. Still laughing that his name is Blackagar Boltagon. 


  • Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics) 4.5 Stars, this one I adored to much to even put into words.


  • Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics) -  4 Stars, a stronger book than the first one in terms of pacing, and with the same gorgeous art.


  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics) - Interesting concept, but very slow. I didn't actually finish this book.


  • Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics) - 3.5 Stars, did not love.


  • Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics) - 3 Stars, fine, but kind of a low point for the series so far.


So Bitch Planet is definitely at the top, followed by Monstress and Black Bolt. The other three could go in any order, but maybe I'll just leave them off because I don't really feel strongly about them at all. 


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review 2018-07-04 21:39
Another satisfying volume
The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu,Sana Takeda

I still want to get to the meat of the mystery - the creature that lives in Maika and that occasionally is brought out, with disastrously fatal results.    This ties to her mother, and others who are on the opposite side of the war from Maika, but again this moves slowly and is hampered - at least for me - by the historical aspect. 


I liked it, it just didn't move me the way many of my favorites do.

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review 2018-07-04 21:29
Beautifully illustrated, compelling story
Awakening - Marjorie M. Liu,Sana Takeda

I just didn't enjoy it as much as many of my go-tos: any TF written by Roberts or Barber, many of my Marvel titles and some of the DC rebirth titles.   That being said, I owned this and read it before volume 2 for the Hugo nominations. 


I enjoyed this more than I suspected I would because of the historical aspect and the fantasy tendencies and tropes that I usually don't enjoy; even alternate history tends to be rather, well, historical.  I've just always preferred contemporary or futuristic fiction. 


So I bought this on sale a while ago and just haven't gotten around to it.   I found myself frustrated by some of the constrictions of alt-history and I wanted the story to move along a little more quickly, but this was a surprisingly nuanced look at what war and the trauma that comes with war will do to people.   


I was happy to read volume two and will probably end up taking three out of the library. 

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