Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee #AsianLitBingo

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while but never got around to picking it up from the library. But I wanted to read a book with an Asian superhero for Asian Lit Bingo so this filled the theme perfectly.

Although when we first meet Jess Tran, she’s desperately trying to find out what exactly her superpower is – does she even have any in the first place? Why so desperate? Well, it is post World War III, and there are meta-humans. More specifically, her parents are superheroes – her father can fly and so can her older sister. Her parents are Smasher and Shockwave, the two resident heroes of Andover. C-list heroes that is.

And since Jess will be turning 17 in a week, she needs to find out what powers she has, as no one has presented with powers after the age of 17.

She doesn’t even have an “unacceptable” ability like the power to change the colour of her fingernails. She’s resigned to the possibility that she will never have powers and lands herself a dream internship instead. But it turns out that she’s working for the town’s villains (and her parents’ enemies). On the other hand, she gets to work with Abby, whom Jess has had a secret crush on.

I love that Jess is bisexual Vietnamese- Chinese, and that she struggles with trying to figure out who she is. The background to the story is fun and Jess and her friends are very appealing. The romance in the story was sweet too. But parts of the book were a bit meandering and the plot wasn’t the greatest. I don’t want to spoil it for you but it’s kind of the way Superman puts on his glasses and tada he is unrecognisable as Clark Kent.

It was a fun read though and I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series, Not Your Villain, which has Bells as the main character.

#AsianLitBingo- Ms Marvel: Civil War II


I adore Ms Marvel and only wish I could have read these comics when I was a teenager!

This isn’t the place to begin with Ms Marvel of course, as this is volune 6 in the series but it is the latest volume I needed to catch up on, and what can I say, I just think that the Ms Marvel series continues to improve and grow and become this amazing and important superhero comic series.

If you’re new to comics, especially to superhero comics, Ms Marvel is a great place to begin. Partly because it’s quite clear cut which stories go where, and there aren’t a million and one different issues and volumes to confuse you.

So who is Ms Marvel?

Well, her name is Kamala Khan and she is a teenager from Jersey City. She also happens to be the daughter of Pakistani immigrants and a Muslim. And as a teen, a daughter, a student, she’s got plenty of other things to take care of, like schoolwork, her friends, the curfews. She’s just a regular girl, who so happens to have superpowers – she is a shapeshifter. And also, she’s not Carol Danvers, she’s not six feet tall and full of muscles. She’s kinda skinny and a bit geeky. And so of course she’s a superhero.

I love that Ms Marvel is part of the Civil War II storyline. This involves lots of different characters, with Captain Marvel on one side and Ironman on the other. It all begins with someone name Ulysses who can predict crimes in the future. In this issue, Captain Marvel ropes Ms Marvel in to help her with some future crimes in her neighbourhood – and she has to decide between her hero and her friends.




I read this book for Asian Lit Bingo – Asian Superhero MC. 

While writer G Willow Wilson isn’t Asian, co-creator (and Marvel editor) Sana Amanat is Pakistani-American, and illustrator Adrian Alphona is Filipino. 


Comics check-in: Gotham Academy, Zodiac Starforce

Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy – Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl (Illustrations)

First the good news – the illustrations were awesome! It’s got a female main character! And her sidekick ‘Maps’ Mizoguchi is great fun too. It’s entertaining enough but the storyline was rather confusing (one of those where they land you in the middle of things and hint at events that happened in the past and I guess you’re supposed to put two and two together). I think I may have been misled (by myself probably) as I half-expected Gotham Academy to be a place where superheroes are made. Well, it’s not, it’s a prestigious school that just happens to be located in Gotham. And Batman makes an appearance here and there.

Of course my library only has volume one so I don’t know if I will read more of this series!

El Deafo – Cece Bell

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now but never seem to have picked up this comic, which is aimed at middle grade kids. It’s based on the author’s own experience growing up hearing impaired, the result of a brief illness. Cece has to use a Phonic Ear which helps her hear her teacher – not just in the classroom but everywhere, from the teachers’ room to the bathroom. It’s like having a superpower. It’s a fun story for all ages and touches on many universal issues like being different, making friends, fitting in.

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra – Kevin Panetta, Paulina Ganucheau (Illustrator)
So. Much. Fun.

Teenaged girls who have cool outfits and magical superpowers that seem to have something to do with their zodiac signs. And best of all, great diversity! The artwork is just candy-coloured awesomeness. Is there more? Can there please be more?

Ann Tenna – Marisa Acocella Marchetto

Whereas this one. It was just not for me. I didn’t like the style of the artwork. And the main character is the star and owner of a gossip site, known for her hidden cameras. I guess it has to do with all this fakeness of the world and whatnot but I wouldn’t know as I gave up on it. I have better books to read!


Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible – Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack (Illustrations)

Ok I was not expecting this bloody and very dark story at all. The Sabrina in this story is Sabrina the Teenage Witch and while I didn’t read the comics, I definitely watched the TV series with Melissa Joan Hart (yeah you did too). Sabrina, as you may know, is a half-witch, her mother is mortal and her father a witch. She lives with her two aunts and a cat named Salem. So that part is pretty much the same. Then throw in lots of gore and blood, the undead and what not, and illustrate it all in that very macabre and heavy sepia-toned artwork by Robert Hack, which somehow amps up the 60s period setting and the ominous mood. It’s horror at its best, so definitely not for those of the faint of heart.

Library Looting comics because #comicsfebruary

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I put in holds for some comics last week and they’re here! I also had time to browse the comics shelves and grabbed a few more. I am however extremely disappointed to note that most the comics and graphic novels here in this post are by white authors. I do have some comics by POC authors up for Comics February (including the excellent Sonny Liew) but obviously not in this library loot. I’ll have to do better next time!


Above the dreamless dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics – edited by Chris Duffy


As the Great War dragged on and its catastrophic death toll mounted, a new artistic movement found its feet in the United Kingdom. The Trench Poets, as they came to be called, were soldier-poets dispatching their verse from the front lines. Known for its rejection of war as a romantic or noble enterprise, and its plainspoken condemnation of the senseless bloodshed of war, Trench Poetry soon became one of the most significant literary moments of its decade.

The marriage of poetry and comics is a deeply fruitful combination, as evidenced by this collection. In stark black and white, the words of the Trench Poets find dramatic expression and reinterpretation through the minds and pens of some of the greatest cartoonists working today.

With New York Times bestselling editor Chris Duffy (Nursery Rhyme ComicsFairy Tale Comics) at the helm, Above the Dreamless Dead is a moving and illuminating tribute to those who fought and died in World War I. Twenty poems are interpreted in comics form by twenty of today’s leading cartoonists, including Eddie Campbell, Kevin Huizenga, George Pratt, and many others.

Bad Houses – Sara Ryan ; illustrated by Carla Speed McNeil


Lives intersect in the most unexpected ways when teenagers Anne and Lewis cross paths at an estate sale in sleepy Failin, Oregon. Failin was once a thriving logging community. Now the town’s businesses are crumbling, its citizens bitter and disaffected. Anne and Lewis refuse to succumb to the fate of the older generation as they discover – together – the secrets of their hometown and their own families. Bad Houses is a coming-of-age tale about love, trust, hoarding, and dead people’s stuff from award-winning creators Sara Ryan (Empress of the World) and Carla Speed McNeil (Finder).

Bandette Vol 1, In Presto! – Paul Tobin; Colleen Coover

Suckered by the font.





The world’s greatest thief is a costumed teen burglar by the nome d’arte of Bandette! Gleefully plying her skills on either side of the law alongside her network of street urchins, Bandette is a thorn in the side of both Police Inspector Belgique and the criminal underworld. But it’s not all breaking hearts and purloining masterpieces when a rival thief makes a startling discovery. Can even Bandette laugh off a plot against her life?

Bandette Vol 2, In stealers, keepers! Paul Tobin; Colleen Coover


THEFT done well is not CRIME it is ART!

Bandette returns to steal readers’ hearts once again! The teenaged master burglar has thrown down the gauntlet with the Great Thieving Race, and friendly rival Monsieur has stepped in to take the challenge. This second charming collection of the Eisner Award-winning series sees the two competing to steal the most priceless artifacts from the criminal organization FINIS and turning over whatever they learn about its plans to the long-suffering Inspector B. D. Belgique. But FINIS’s response could make this Bandette’s final crime spree!

Marble Season – Gilbert Hernandez

Have had my eye on this for a while.


Marble Season is the semiautobiographical novel by the acclaimed cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez, author of the epic masterpiece Palomar and cocreator, with his brothers, Jaime and Mario, of the groundbreaking Love and Rockets comic book series. Marble Season is his first book with Drawn & Quarterly, and one of the most anticipated books of 2013. It tells the untold stories from the early years of these American comics legends, but also portrays the reality of life in a large family in suburban 1960s California. Pop-culture references—TV shows, comic books, and music—saturate this evocative story of a young family navigating cultural and neighborhood norms set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics.
Middle child Huey stages Captain America plays and treasures his older brother’s comic book collection almost as much as his approval. Marble Season subtly and deftly details how the innocent, joyfully creative play that children engage in (shooting marbles, backyard performances, and organizing treasure hunts) changes as they grow older and encounter name-calling naysayers, abusive bullies, and the value judgments of other kids. An all-ages story, Marble Season masterfully explores the redemptive and timeless power of storytelling and role play in childhood, making it a coming-of-age story that is as resonant with the children of today as with the children of the sixties.

Ruins – Peter Kuper; edited by Dan Lockwood

Found this while browsing the comics shelves. Looked interesting.

Samantha and George are a couple heading towards a sabbatical year in the quaint Mexican town of Oaxaca. For Samantha, it is the opportunity to revisit her past. For George, it is an unsettling step into the unknown. For both of them, it will be a collision course with political and personal events that will alter their paths and the town of Oaxaca forever.

In tandem, the remarkable and arduous journey that a Monarch butterfly endures on its annual migration from Canada to Mexico is woven into Ruins. This creates a parallel picture of the challenges of survival in our ever-changing world.

Ruins explores the shadows and light of Mexico through its past and present as encountered by an array of characters. The real and surreal intermingle to paint an unforgettable portrait of life south of the Rio Grande.


ApocalyptiGirl – Andrew MacLean

Sorry, no idea who Andrew “underground sensation” MacLean is. But I just like the idea of cat named Jelly Beans.


The premiere graphic novel from underground sensation Andrew MacLean (Head Lopper), ApocalyptiGirl is an action-packed sci-fi epic!
Alone at the end of the world, Aria is woman with a mission! Traipsing through an overgrown city with her only companion, a cat named Jelly Beans, Aria’s search for an ancient relic with immeasurable power has been fruitless so far. But when a run in with a creepy savage sets her on a path to complete her quest, she’ll face death head on in the hopes of claiming her prize and, if all goes according to plan, finally returning home.


An Age of License – Lucy Knisley

Yeah, so it’s another Lucy Knisley!


Midnight picnics at the Eiffel Tower; wine tastings paired with blowgun lessons; and romance in cafés, cemeteries, and at the Brandenberg Gate–these are just some of New York Times best-selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley’s experiences on her 2011 European book tour. An Age of License is both a graphic travelogue and a journal of her trip abroad. Fans of Knisley’s food-focused autobiography (French MilkRelish) savor her mouth-watering drawings and descriptions of culinary delights, seasons with cute cat cameos. But An Age of License is not all kittens and raclette crepes: Knisley’s account of her adventures is colored by anxieties about her life and career, depicted with fearlessness, relatability, and honesty, making An Age of Licensean Eat, Pray, Love for the Girls generation.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer – Sydney Padua

I kept seeing this around the book blogosphere. Can’t remember exactly who read this one, so hands up if it was you!


THE THRILLING ADVENTURES OF LOVELACE AND BABBAGE . . . in which Sydney Padua transforms one of the most compelling scientific collaborations into a hilarious series of adventures.

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage’s plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines.

But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime—for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage’s mechanical, steam-powered computer, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible.

What I hate from A to Z – Roz Chast

I enjoyed, well enjoyed isn’t quite the word for it, perhaps I should say I was moved, by Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? a graphic memoir about her elderly parents. So am curious about this one.


The pages of the New Yorker are hallowed ground for cartoonists, and for the last thirty years, Roz Chast has helped set the magazine’s cartooning standard, while creating work that is unmistakably her own- characterized by her shaggy lines, an ecstatic way with words, and her characters’ histrionic masks of urban and suburban anxiety, bedragglement, and elation.
What I Hate is an A to Z of epic horrors and daily unpleasantries, including but by no means limited to rabies, abduction, tunnels, and the triple-layered terror of Jell-O 1-2-3. With never-before-published, full-page cartoons for every letter, and supplemental text to make sure the proper fear is instilled in every heart, Chast’s alphabetical compendium will resonate with anyone well-versed in the art of avoidance- and make an instructive gift for anyone who might be approaching life with unhealthy unconcern.


Gold Fame Citrus – Claire Vaye Watkins

Hey look! Not a comic!

I’ve been in the hold queue for this one for a bit so am glad to finally get it. May be hitting a bit too close to home what with the drought and all. But I’m typing this on a cloudy slightly drizzly day so there’s still hope.


In a parched southern California of the near future, Luz, once the poster child for the country’s conservation movement, and Ray, an army deserter turned surfer, are squatting in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Most “Mojavs,” prevented by armed vigilantes from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to encampments in the east. Holdouts like Ray and Luz subsist on rationed cola and water, and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.

For the moment, the couple’s fragile love, which somehow blooms in this arid place, seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins.

Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkins’s novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.

The kids’ loot:

Read more comics!

Comics round-up: Sharaz-De; Delilah Dirk

This post is so very overdue.

I don’t know how some bloggers manage to post regularly. I feel rather overwhelmed by everything that goes on at home and with the kids, yes, even though they go to school five mornings a week (boy do three hours go by fast!), that by the time bedtime comes around, and there is finally peace in the house, the last thing I want to do is sit at the desk and type things. I just want to read! So that’s probably why this is going to be one long post with short little notes about comics I’ve read in the past month or so.


Sharaz-De – Sergio Toppi (Illustrator), Edward Gauvin (Translator)

I’m starting with my favourite. One of the most beautiful books ever. The use of colour, the use of white space, the gorgeous features of each character, even if they only are seen on one page.

The story we all know, so it is the illustrations that make this book truly unforgettable.

Toppi was an Italian illustrator and comics writer who died in 2012. While he has written and illustrated many comics in his native Italian, so far only Sharaz-De and The Collector have been translated into English, at least that’s what I’ve seen online.

I borrowed this book from my library. 


Delilah Dirk and the Turkish lieutenant- Tony Cliff

Whee! Such a romp this comic! A sword-fighting, magic boat-flying, prison-escaping, treasure-stealing heroine with a sense of humour. And her new sidekick who makes the best tea in Turkey.

Good news! There are four other Delilah Dirk books!

Bad news! My library has only this one!
I borrowed this book from my library. 


Creatures of the night – Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli


This ones for the cat lovers. I don’t have a cat but have always wanted one. They are such gorgeous creatures and I love how this graphic story brings together so many different ones. The rest of the story though is quite dark. Very suitable for RIP if you’re looking for a graphic novel read for that!

I picked this one up while browsing through the ‘teen graphic novel’ shelves at the library, and was attracted by the Gaiman name. I’m always drawn to Gaiman’s graphic novels more than his novels!




Lulu Anew – Etienne Davodeau
Davodeau’s The Initiates, where Davodeau and a winemaker learn each other’s crafts, is one graphic novel I really enjoyed last year. And I was glad to see his name on another graphic novel, which I read via Scribd. Scribd by the way has quite a few translated graphic novels, mostly from French.


After a job interview that didn’t go well, Lulu decides to wander, and wander. She walks away from her deadbeat husband and three children and disappears off to the beach. Her story is told by her friend, to her other friends who have gathered at her house. I like that it’s a conversation of sorts, a story that takes place outside at the patio table, while we learn what Lulu has been up to. It’s a simple story, effectively told. And what lovely seaside views.


Miss Don’t Touch Me – Hubert and Kerascoet and Joe Johnson
Another French comic. This one is a bit more risqué.

Ok maybe a lot more risqué. For Miss Don’t Touch Me is a dominatrix in a high-class Parisian brothel. Blanche, for that is her real name, is trying to figure out who killed her sister, and that leads her to the brothel. It’s a bit of a bizarre tale, with some violence and debauchery and nudity, so it’s not for everyone.


But it does have some very lovely illustrations. And use of colour.

I read this on Scribd

Supermarket – Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson


Another comic full of vibrant colours that just pop off the page. Or tablet.

The story though was a bit lacking. A 16-year-old girl, Pella Suzuki, finds herself the target of the city’s rival crime families – Yakuza and Porno Swede (yes really). She’s the heir to a large fortune which everyone wants their hands on. Other than that, I didn’t know much about her.

A lot of action, a fun read, but also rather forgettable. Pity, as the artwork was great.

I read this on Scribd

Comics round-up: Far Arden; Crater XV; Little Nemo



I was in a bit of a reading slump recently. Picked up a book, nah not for me, at least not at this time. Picked up another. Also not quite the right fit.

So I figured a good comic would do. I’m not quite sure why I started on this one. Scribd recommended it to me, probably because I had read Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland before that.

I didn’t quite get it at first. Army Shanks? Arctic pirate? RCAN? What?

It’s quite simple.


Army Shanks and a whole other bunch of people are searching for Far Arden, supposedly a myth, but someone once found out how to get there. And there’s a map! Somewhere….

But first there are villains and an orphan! And the Royal Canadian Arctic Navy!

It’s a big frozen ball of fun and laughter.

Army Shanks dives for fish and grabs it with his bare hands!

Army Shanks fights Angry!

Face kick!



Army Shanks turns up again in Crater XV.

This time he’s downtrodden and a bit sad. And he’s off to Antarctica, where Arctic pirates go to die or drink themselves to oblivion or something. But there’s this girl he meets, and he’s convinced she’s Pravda, someone he knew from the orphanage.

There’s also something about astronauts on a simulated moon mission at “Crater XV”.

I’ll say it again. It’s a ball of fun.

Army Shanks! Army Shanks!

Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland –  Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez 

A very darling and enchanting comic for all ages, Little Nemo is an update on a classic early 20th century comic strip by Windsor McKay.

Nemo has been chosen as the royal princess’s next playmate. The only problem is getting him to Slumberland. As Nemo has no interest being the playmate. Because she’s a girl. Yuck! Will he ever get to Slumberland and meet the princess? Does he want to? What is Slumberland anyway?


Fun for the young and young at heart, that’s what Slumberland is! Even getting there is a thrill.



M.C. Escher would be pleased, I reckon. 

I read this because it was illustrated by the awesome Gabriel Rodriguez, who is responsible (with writer Joe Hill) for one of my favourite comics ever, Locke and Key. Little Nemo is about as far away from the gore and, as the husband put it, “so morbid”, Locke and Key as you can get but it is still a fun read nonetheless, with absolutely brilliant and whimsical illustrations from Rodriguez.



110 Per¢ – Tony Consiglio





So 110 Per¢ (110 Percent) is some popular boyband. I’m guessing like One Direction or something. And this group of women, “Mature Older Fans of 110 Per¢” are one crusty bunch. They’re united by their love for the band and that’s about it. They’re in the same fan club yet they’re mean to each other sometimes. It’s a little bit sad really. One ignores her family in her devotion to the band. Another is an unfortunate caricature of a heavyset woman who has no friends at work. It was rather painful to read at times. 



Second Thoughts – Niklas Asker

I was intrigued by the cover. Unfortunately, the story wasn’t as odd or mind bending as I was expecting. I mean, giant head! Teeny tiny town! But it was still an interesting enough story about the chance meeting of two strangers at an airport, and how this meeting changes their lives. I really liked the artwork but I think I was expecting something either a little more eccentric or deeper. 





All read on Scribd.


Comics round-up: Underwater Welder; Adventure Time; Jem and the Holograms; Hexed….

This post is just getting longer and longer. I really have to run it soon.



Underwater Welder – Jeff Lemire

Lemire excels in taking ordinary people, those living in small towns, their lives a little bit lost and their hearts a little bit broken, and turning it into an emotional, unforgettable, moving story. I loved Essex County, and Underwater Welder was just as excellent. It’s kind of weird to say, hey, you should read this comic about an underwater welder but luckily it s more than that. Jack and his wife are expecting a baby in a month when he goes off to the rig to work. He sees something in the water that makes him think of his dead father. Not just think but more like return to that time when he was a child and his father was still alive, and as that happens, as his memories creep into his life, they pull him away from his wife and his unborn child. It’s a story of how the past can affect, can take hold of the present.

Lucille – Ludovic Debeurme
A painful read this one. Lucille is an anorexic teenager. She is slowly starving herself so that she can look like the other girls. Arthur is a boy with OCD, the son of an alcoholic fisherman. And they somehow meet and become friends, then more than friends. The illustrations are spare and panel-less, which makes for a rather different flow from the typical comic. A moving, minimalistic read.


Borden Tragedy – Rick Geary
I didn’t know anything about Lizzie Borden except that children’s rhyme which I probably might be familiar with from watching TV/movies? So why did I read this? Still have no idea.

I did like the black and white illustrations. And the whole story, despite the potential for gore and bloodiness, is simply and effectively told, although we are not given any answers




Pride and Prejudice (Marvel adaptations) – Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus

This is one book that really shouldn’t be judged by its cover. Because I really adored the cover art – by Malaysian-Singaporean artist Sonny Lies – but I definitely did not like the artwork within. So it was very disappointing. Elizabeth Bennet always looks so harsh and angry. I don’t think I would recommend it, unless you’re introducing Jane Austen to a reluctant reader who prefers comics to classics.



Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy  – Kent Osborne (Writer), Dylan Haggerty (Writer), Mad Rupert (Illustrator), Britt Wilson (Illustrator), Whitney Cogar (Colorist), Leigh Luna (Letterer)

Ah what can I say, I adore Adventure Time. I never thought I would as it seemed rather cutesy. But it’s just such fun.


The Cape – Joe Hill, Zach Howard, Jason Ciaramella

One of the more disturbing comics ever. I mean sure, having read Locke and Key, as well as two of Hill’s novels, I know that he’s got a strange mind, wandering towards the macabre, the creepy, the disturbing. But with Locke and Key, while it was violent and morbid, it had a lot of heart. Those were some awesome kids. Here in The Cape, it’s a superpower gone wrong story. A deadbeat guy who seems to hate everything and everyone and thinks the world has done him wrong. I felt so angry reading this.

Jem and the Holograms – Kelly Thompson, Ross Campbell (Illustrator)

I hadn’t heard of Jem and the Holograms before Andi’s post. I guess this was one American TV show that didn’t make it to Singapore? It’s a fun read, mostly for its colourful outfits and big hair. And I love its diverse characters. That is, not everyone is skinny and white and straight.



imageHexed – Michael Alan Nelson  (Writer), Dan Mora (Artist)

So Lucifer is a thief and there’s a lot of artwork involved and something about a Harlot and spirits and a necromancer. Ok I don’t really get it either. But compared to another recent read, Pretty Deadly, it was a little more easily understood (although still puzzling) and had some decent and relatable characters. One thing I did appreciate is that this comic written and drawn mostly by men has females as its main characters. And they’re tough and strong. I was just disappointed that Scribd only has seven issues.

(I really liked that page above where they wandered through several different art styles)


Comics roundup – the Scribd version

Many weeks later, I have another Comics roundup for you!

Thanks in large part to a free trial of Scribd, I’ve been dabbling in a variety of comics.

marvelMs Marvel Volumes 1 to 7 – Brian Reed
Ever since I read the latest version of Ms Marvel (Kamala Khan) I’ve been curious about the other Ms Marvel, Carol Danvers, who has a cameo in Khan’s story. Confusing eh? Yeah so was I!

What I like about Danvers is that before she got he superpowers she already was tough and had a kickass job flying fighter jets and later working for military intelligence (Special Ops) before taking on the role of head of security at NASA. And it is around this time that she gains her superpowers. Please note that I’ve kinda put together that bit from what I’ve read in the seven volumes as well as from online sources.

I’m always confused by comics and the very many versions/reboots/plotlines that superheroes appear in. Danvers also has been known as Warbird, Binary and Captain Marvel (!). So I just went with what was available on Scribd. But from what I understand Carol Danvers has appeared in Avengers comics, Captain Marvel and more. And these volumes that I read follow on from an alternate-reality story House of M in which Danvers was one of the world’s top superheroes.

What I liked was all the drama of being a superhero. Not the fighting aliens and baddies bits but her having a PR agent, meeting this guy, going out on a date.

What I didn’t like – how she’s drawn and that ridiculous costume of hers. I mean isn’t that sash like a potential crime-fighting hazard?

Lumberjanes #1 to #10

How I adore Lumberjanes! I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of camp. It’s not something that you find in Singapore which is where I grew up. In the first place Singapore doesn’t have summer – it’s near the equator so it’s hot all year round. So our June and December holidays are about a month each, there are a few more weeks of school break here and there but nothing as long as the summer breaks here in the US.

But yes, as a kid in Singapore, the idea of summer camp always sounded rather fun to me.

Lumberjanes is the story of five best friends, who are campers at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. All kinds of weird stuff goes on at this camp. Magic foxes. Bear woman. Dinosaurs. Yup. It’s weird and so much “what the junk?” FUN!

I really like Noelle Stevenson’s work! She wrote the webcomic Nimona which I adored!


The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire

It was interesting to learn from Memory that Lemire is taking over Hawkeye. Mostly because one of the characters in Essex County, a young boy, loves superheroes. He wears a mask and cape and writes his own superhero comic when he’s not helping out at his uncle’s farm in rural Canada.

This is one of those graphic novels that’s about regular people. A small town in rural Ontario. A pair of hockey-playing brothers. A nurse who takes care of an old man who’s barely managing to look after himself. The stories at first seem separate but Lemire deftly weaves them together. It is a heartbreaking and emotional read. And I would definitely recommend it!

In the kitchen with Alain Passard: Inside the world (and mind) of a master chef by Christophe Blain and Alain Passard

Ok this one didn’t work so well as a digital read. the font was a bit small and cursive and I had to enlarge each page to read it properly. But it was a different – and good – read. Blain is given a look behind the scenes at Passard’s kitchen and gardens. Alain Passard is the chef-owner of three Michelin starred L’Arpège in Paris and is apparently quite known for his vegetable dishes. There isn’t an actual storyline, it is more like a series of observations that Blain makes from his perch in the small kitchen. But wow it is an insight into the mind of this culinary genius. I probably will never eat at L’Arpege so it was such fun to observe along with Blain. Blain also makes a visit to Passard’s gardens, which supply much of his restaurant’s vegetables.

My favourite parts were when the recipes included were ‘demonstrated’ in illustrations such as in the first image.

By the way, L’Arpege is the restaurant that Christopher and Lorelei supposedly dine at in Paris.

Love and Capes Vol 1: Do You Want To Know A Secret? by Thomas F. Zahler




Love and Capes Volumes 1 to 4 – Thomas F Zahler

Such fun this one! The Crusader is a Superman-like superhero. Flies, superhuman strength, super hearing, cape and all. And he even works as an accountant! His girlfriend is a regular non-superhero type who owns a bookstore! The Crusader has a superhero best friend, a rich playboy type who doesn’t really have superpowers but has fancy gadgets instead like Batman.

So first of all, hooray for having part of this set in a bookstore! And it’s funny too.

Among the things I really enjoy is that Zahler works a joke into every page.

And most of the actual superhero duties takes place off the page so what this book really is about is relationships. It’s a story about a guy and a girl who date. Except the guy happens to be a superhero that’s all.

This might be one of my favourite comics – ever!

It’s got great characters – not just The Crusader and Abby, but also I love Darkblade and his housekeeper! And Amazonia and Charlotte! It’s such fun and so full of heart.


All you need is kill 1 and 2 by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi and Takeshi Obata

Please note that this title is NOT available from Scribd.
The Tom Cruise-Emily Blunt movie Edge of Tomorrow was based on this manga. The world is at war with an alien species and Keiji is a new recruit who is killed along with the rest of his unit on his very first day out on the battlefield. But wait, was it all a dream? He wakes up and lives the whole day again. It’s like a Groundhog Day meets War of the Worlds type of story. It’s violent but well-written, and I love that the hero of the battle is a petite woman named Rita. The story is rather different from the movie, especially Tom Cruise’s character (who is an arrogant Major who hasn’t seen combat but specialises in public relations for the military vs the original character who is just a regular recruit), so it was interesting to see how much they differed.

Girl in Dior – Annie Goetzinger


Now why aren’t there more fashion-related comics? This was a rather lovely one, originally in French I believe, that tells the story of the fictional character of Claire Nohant who starts out as a rookie fashion reporter at the Christian Dior show and ends up becoming one of his models. There’s little real storyline here, and Claire has less personality than Dior’s dresses. Sometimes I can’t tell her apart from the other models. But it is lovingly illustrated and filled with such gorgeous clothes! Although Goetzinger is a best-selling and respected graphic novelist in France (her first comic Casque d’or was published in 1977!) this is the first of her works published in English. Which is a pity because I would really love to read more of her comics – she’s even written a comic about George Sand!

Here’s an interview Goetzinger did with W Magazine that has more images from the book.

Abelard – Renauad Dillies



It’s such a cutely drawn comic that at first I thought it was meant for kids. I mean look at that bird! It’s so darling! And he’s so sweetly innocent, having grown up in a pastoral rural place where they go fishing and play cards and bask in the sun. It’s a story about Abelard who decides to go to America so that he can fly in an airplane. No one believes him about the airplanes. And he gets cheated when he tries to get on board a ship that’s sailing to America. A grouchy old bear befriends him and takes care of him. So it is cute and kind of sweet, as well as a little melancholy and perhaps a little tending towards over sentimental at parts. A whimsical read that’s not for children.

Comics Sunday: Edward Scissorhands; Hinges; Rot and Ruin




Edward Scissorhands Vol 1: Parts Unknown – by Kate Leth, Drew Rausch (Illustrator)

I had such high hopes for Edward Scissorhands. Perhaps too high. I was looking for expecting a whimsical delight, a dark fairy tale, as I sort of remember the movie to be.

The story continues two generations after the movie, and stars Meg, Kim’s granddaughter who is curious about her grandmother and Edward. Edward is accused of hurting a kid and the town hunts him down. Again.

I was a bit disappointed that the artwork was more cute than the cover made it out to be. Nothing wrong with cute illustrations, i just prefer less-cute! It does have some nice detailing and great use of colours though.




Hinges Vol 1: Clockwork City – Meredith McClaren

Hinges is set in a made-up world where citizens are grown, given a choice of “odds” (kind of like their familiars, made me think of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series and daemons) and sent out to find their role in society.

Now this was the kind of cute whimsy that I was expecting from Edward Scissorhands. The main character doesn’t say much and to be honest the story doesn’t really seem to have much pull. The art direction also confused me in some panels. I wondered if it was because I was reading it as an e-book version on my tablet. But this wasn’t my first e-comic. Yet it was the first time I had to stare and re-stare at more than one panel, relook the rest of the page, and wonder, what am I looking at?? In one case it was a close-up, I think, but I didn’t really see the point of the close-up. It made me a little frustrated and confused at points. It was a cute story but it wasn’t really propelling me toward reading more.




Rot and Ruin Vol 1: Razor Smart –  Jonathan Maberry

Ok so another comic set in a zombie-infested world. This time the main characters are four teens, one of whom wields a samurai squad. Oh and they’re not zombies, their “zoms”.

For me, The Walking Dead is probably THE zombie comic or zombie anything really, especially since I’ve gotten further with the TV show than the comics. So reading this one was a bit tricky. I was trying hard to be fair and not compare it to The Walking Dead all the time. There are a lot of similarities of course as zombies are pretty much zombies wherever you go. This one is set in California and they start out living in Yosemite. I kind of wish they had shown more of Yosemite! But the kids move on, trying to find a plane they saw. And after finding a zom-infested hospital, they end up on a farm, a well-secured place with beds and toilet paper and a secret. Of course there’s always a secret hiding in the barn that has armed guards in front of it. It was however a bit different from what I was expecting and so I was intrigued enough to keep reading. However a part of my jaded 30-something self doesn’t fully buy the whole four teens on their own thing. I’m on the fence about this one!

So three comics from NetGalley this week, and I was just wanting a bit more from each of them. One I had too high expectations for (my inner teenager was very disappointed and thus, rather angsty). One was beautiful and whimsical but a bit confusing – it really needed more exposition. And the last, because it was yet another zombie story, needed to push the envelope more than it did. 

Comics round-up

Comics February had me on a roll, writing about the comics I read each week last month. So here I am, continuing with that. Hopefully every Sunday!


Children of the Sea #1 and #2 – Daisuke Igarashi












The first few pages of this series floored me. The artwork just took my breath away and I just stared, mesmerized by the colours and the stunning beauty of it.


Those colours! That surreal magical wonderland that is the ocean and its inhabitants!

Sadly the rest of the book isn’t in colour. And that is such a pity. There were so many panels of undersea creatures, of the ocean, the horizon, that I really liked, and really wished were in colour! But even without colour, they are still wonderful to look at. The little coastal town that it is set in is full of lovely empty beaches. And Igarashi’s passion for the ocean life shines through in his gorgeous atmospheric illustrations.

As for the story, almost as fascinating.

Ruka’s father works at an aquarium and there she meets Umi, an unusual boy who is most comfortable in the sea. It turns out he was found living with a group of dugongs. Umi (which means ‘ocean’) has a brother named Sora (‘sky’) who is in hospital. Because they’ve grown up in the sea, life on land is difficult for them.



Umi and Sora are kind of magical, kind of mysterious. Ruka too has a similar affinity with water and becomes friends with them. All kinds of weird things are happening. Sea creatures are disappearing from aquariums around the world. Others are beaching. Fish from different parts of the world are found swimming off the seas of Japan. Are all these events connected to Umi and Sora?

There are hints of folklore not only from Japan but from various parts of the world. A lovely series! Can’t wait to read the next book. It looks like there are five books in the series.



 Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka – Naoki Urasawa

Osamu Tezuka is best known for creating Astro Boy. In this series, Urasawa has adapted Astro Boy. Pluto opens with the death of a beloved robot hero, Mont Blanc. This is a world in which robots live like humans, marrying and living together, working at jobs, going on holidays and so on. Some of them are obviously robots (think Rosie from The Jetsons), others look a lot like human beings – one way to tell them apart, as one robot explains, is that humans make unnecessary gestures. One humanoid robot is detective Gesicht who is starting to unravel the mysterious deaths of several robots and humans – and discovers that he could be next.

I’ve never read or watched Astro Boy so that pretty much is new to me. I quite enjoyed Urasawa’s robot-human world and the mystery, although sadly my library only has the first volume (there are 8 volumes), so I might have to Inter-Library Loan the rest of it to find out what happens next!!



deadlyclass1Deadly Class  – Rick Remender,  Sebastian Girner (Editor), Wes Craig (Illustrator)

Oh what is it with comics and violence?

Essentially King’s Dominion High School for the Deadly Arts is Assassins High. Where students take classes in poisoning and killing and all that. Marcus Lopez Arguello is Nicaraguan, a teenager who calls the streets of San Francisco home. Some (government?) agents are out to get him and he’s saved by some teenaged assassins-in-training. He gets accepted into the school but this high school of wannabe assassins is still like a regular high school, with its very many cliques. Oh and its set in the 1980s. Interesting.

But also rather violent. So be warned!

I haven’t figured out if I want to keep reading. There are currently two collected editions.