Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu makes me want to know more about hockey

 

I know pretty much nothing about ice hockey! I grew up in a land where hockey = the kind with rounded sticks and a round ball and is played in a field. Very different kind of hockey.
And to be honest, this book was requested from the library because I saw “Check, Please!” on the Reading The End blog and thought, oh, a comic set in a restaurant? Yes, please!Turned out to be a different kind of check all together. But this comic has now turned me into a…. well, not a complete turnaround into a hockey fan but at least someone who’s curious now about hockey and wouldn’t say no to watching a game!

I love that the main character is a newbie, a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team. Bittle (or Bitty as he’s known) is a former figure skater, a baking aficionado (he makes pies!) and is gay but still hasn’t come out yet. And the teammates he has! There’s Shitty who’s funny and smart and deep. Holster and Ransom are in an amazing bromance. Then there’s Jack, the handsome captain with a sad past and who Bitty has the biggest ever crush on.

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

It reminds me of manga, mostly because of the way Bitty has such big eyes. And there’s a cuteness to it that I would never associate with ice hockey.

So even if you don’t care an inkling about ice hockey like I do, Check, Please! is a fun comic series to try out! Also it will make you hungry for pie.

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Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill #bookreview

Happy sigh. I adore the work of Katie O’Neill – she of the lovely Tea Dragon Society!

In this book, a young girl and her dad visit her aunt who lives on a small island that’s been hit by a storm. Lana discovers a baby aquicorn, a kind of seahorse-like creature and she nurses it back to health. It is a tale of loss and grief – Lana is learning to cope with the death of her mother. And also one of the environment – the underwater creatures’ homes are being destroyed by overfishing and pollution. And all accompanied by O’Neill’s gorgeous vibrant illustrations

#AsiannLitBingo – Such a Lovely Little War by Marcelino Truong

A beautifully illustrated graphic memoir of a young French-Vietnamese boy living in Vietnam with his family during the 1960s.

Marcelino Truong’s father worked as a translator for Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem in the 1960s. The family moves from the US, where they had been living for the past three years, to Vietnam. I’m not sure how old the three kids are but they look between the ages of 6 to 12. Their mother is French and their father Vietnamese.

It’s fascinating seeing the Vietnam war through the eyes of this young boy, upper-class, who lives in a nice apartment with servants to help his mother do housework and drive them around.

And more unusual for that time, whether in Vietnam or the US, a biracial family,

I may be from Southeast Asia (Singapore), but we never learnt anything much about the Vietnam War in school. I’ve since then read some books about it but I’ve learnt from this graphic memoir too, especially about Madame Nhu, the de facto First Lady at the time (the Prime Minister was a lifelong bachelor and she was his sister-in-law). She pushed for “morality laws” like banning divorce, abortions, dance halls, boxing matches.

Truong has a beautiful illustration style. The images look a little like woodcuts.

He occasionally includes drawings from his childhood, letters from his mother to his grandparents in France.

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – multiracial/multiethnic Asian MC. Find out more details about the challenge here.

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

I loved Jamieson’s previous comic, Roller Girl, and was excited to read this one. Jamieson is great at portraying young girls and the Renaissance Faire setting was such fun! Imogene’s entering middle school after years of homeschooling, and her adjustment, the peer pressure was very realistic. I loved her relationship with her family and it was just such a great read!

Last week’s #comics

Buffy Omnibus Vol 1 and Vol 2

I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to read the Buffy Omnibuses. I’ve read Season 8 (loved it) as well as the High School Years (not so much). It was so much fun being back amongst the Scooby gang and also Drusilla and Spike (I love how I can imagine Drusilla’s accent as I read her speech bubbles, which are very true to her character – poetic and also a bit insane).

Pop Vol 1 by Curt Pires

A fun enough but violent comic set in a world in which celebrities are grown and bred and one manages to escape. The storyline wasn’t the best but I really loved the pop art style of illustrations.

Ghost Vol 1 and 2 – Kelly Sue DeConnick, Alex Ross, Phil Noto (Artist), Jenny Frison (Artist), Patrick Thorpe (Editor)

In this case, I’m not a fan of the illustrations. To be honest, I couldn’t really tell the male characters apart (and there are quite a lot of them). I do like Elisa, the mysterious Ghost, who has a strange power and an unknown past. The storyline gets a bit better in Volume 2 as we find out more about what’s happening in the city. Not exactly DeConnick’s best but it’s still interesting enough so far (especially since I am just now only finding out about Elisa’s past life) that I may continue. However, it looks like Vol 3 wasn’t by DeConnick so we’ll see how that goes!

#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. 

 

The Best We Could Do – Thi Bui

This beautiful and moving graphic memoir opens with the birth of Thi Bui’s child, in the first chapter, titled ‘Labor’.

And this book, this work of labour that Bui started in 2005 and was released in 2017, is perhaps even more relevant today, in this climate of walls and bans and constant discussion about immigration, both legal and illegal.

This is a refugee story. This is the story of how Bui’s family escaped from Vietnam to the US. This is also a story of family – how her parents met, got together, and started their family. And how now, as Bui begins a family of her own, she realizes: “The responsibility is immense. A wave of empathy for my mother washes over me.”

 

It is moving, it is filled with memories, it is a tribute to her parents, to her family, to their lives in Vietnam and their new home in America.

 

 

 I’m using this book for “Asian refugee MC” for #AsianLitBingo