RIP X: Zombillenium




I came across Zombillenium while randomly browsing the Scribd catalogue. I would never have heard of it otherwise.

And it was perfect for RIP! A monster-staffed monster-themed amusement park! It’s latest recruit is Aurelian, a random guy the director (who himself is a vampire) hits and kills with his car. And of course the best solution to that in this case is to turn him into a vampire. And tada, a new employee for the theme park! Except that a werewolf also bites him so they’re not entirely sure what the new employee is now – vampire-werewolf? Something completely new altogether? Well, whatever he is, he’s making the other employees a little annoyed with his rather sensational new look which is stealing the show. Everyone, from the dancing zombies (This is Thriller! Thriller night!) to the werewolves and demons, wants to get Aurelian fired from the park, because when you are canned at Zombillenium, you are gone forever.

A surprisingly entertaining comic that’s just right for RIPX! There are currently three volumes of Zombillenium. All of them are available on Scribd.

Vol 1: Gretchen
Vol 2: Human Resources
Vol 3: Control Freaks



I read this book for RIP X (see the rest of my book list here)

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 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 February Week 3



This week started out a bit slowly but I finally got back into the swing of comic things and ended up finishing plenty more comics!

I travelled to outer space, Japan, France (in the far off future), Vietnam (past and present) and Lebanon this past week. Just one week left! Gaah!

Saga 3 – Brian K. Vaughan, writer ; Fiona Staples, artist




How does one begin to describe Saga? It’s a love story, a story about family and relationships and overcoming adversity, a story about struggle, about intergalactic love. It also has a lie-detector cat, assassins, a tree-spaceship, a little girl ghost, magic, android elites, and all kinds of bizarro goodness. It is weird and it is wonderful. This is the third volume so well, you know, don’t start with this one, begin at the beginning!



Glacial Period – Nicolas De Crécy

While I am into weird and wonderful (see above), this weird book may have gone over my head a little. Either that or it just doesn’t translate very well. Originally written in French, Glacial Period has such a promising premise – it is many years later and explorers somehow stumble upon the Louvre, buried under years of snow, hence Glacial Period. They wander among the artworks, speculating about the lives and culture of the people before them – were they non-literate? What’s with the angels? That kind of thing. Interesting idea that is not entirely carried out as well as one would hope.

And they are accompanied by talking dogs (ok so at first I thought they were pigs) who have wonderful powers of smell. It just gets weirder when artifacts come to life. The best part of the book are those lovely talking dogs, especially Hulk.

It also has this rather muted fuzzy style of drawing. To emphasize the cold, perhaps? I’m not entirely fond of it though.




Vietnamerica – GB Tran

Tran, born in South Carolina in 1976, not long after his family fled Vietnam just three days before the fall of Saigon, explores his family’s past after a visit to Vietnam for his grandmother’s memorial. It is the first time he has met many of his relatives and he begins to piece together the story of his family’s past – emotional, moving, painful. And their struggle to survive, by whatever means necessary.

Tran’s art is vibrant, bold, colourful, with different font styles used to differentiate the dialogue. The tiny cursive (see the bottom of the second picture) often trips me up though and requires rereading to figure it out.







A + E forever – I. Merey
I am so not the target audience for this comic which is definitely meant for the teenaged reader. The drawing style was more sketchbook-like, it has a hand-made kind of feel to it, the words not exactly flowing and orderly. I suppose that’s how it must be like to have grown up in the Internet age. And I suppose my calling that the Internet age tells you that I am way past that. I remember dial-up! I once carried a pager! We had a dot-matrix printer!
But back to the comic. It’s a relationship, friendship, love story between two schoolmates, one a girl, the other less certain of gender. Parents don’t really feature in this comic as they work the nightshift. So it’s pretty much a stay out late, hit the clubs, hookup with someone kind of story. But there is A and there is E and they are best friends, although one wants more than the other. It’s sweet sometimes, disturbing (at least for this parent) at others.



Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery – Kurtis J. Wiebe (Writer), Roc Upchurch (Illustrator)


This comic makes me want to throw something. Not the book or anything – especially since I was reading an e-comic on my tablet! But more of a hoo-ah! let’s throw some knives at this tree or shoot some arrows and kick some a**! It’s a fun action-packed comic starring four, er, women. I say “er” because one is a dwarf and another is a Smidgen? and well they are female but not necessarily human.

But it is a bout of rambunctious fun.

The Big Skinny: How I Changed my Fattitude: a Memoir – Carol Lay


Wow Lay sure is disciplined when it comes to eating. She’s one of this calorie counters, making notes about what she eats and all that. It made me want to eat more vegetables and that’s always a good thing. I’m not sure why I picked this up though. Curious I suppose.

Will and Whit – Laura Lee Gulledge 


All the kids are so crafty! One makes lamps (which teenager makes lamps?? Or is that what teenagers do these days?), another does puppetry, yet another is into cooking and baking (ok at least that one I can understand). The “Whit” referred to here is a big storm named Whitney. Will is Wilhelmina, who’s coming to terms with her parents’ death a year ago. It’s a sweet story with lovely drawings.

Apollo’s Song – Osamu Tezuka

So I thought that the first Tezuka I read was odd, this one is even odder and has less certain a plot, to be honest. It’s an exploration of relationships between men and women, by a young man whose life has been a troubled one, emotionally and mentally strained, and so he’s in a mental hospital, with a doctor hypnotizing him and some thing about androids and marathon running and being marooned on an island where animals co-exist peacefully. I am still trying to wrap my head around it. I am still rather intrigued by Tezuka’s work!



I Remember Beirut – Zeina Abirached
I really enjoy Abirached’s bold black and white style. This book focuses on various memories, good and bad, of her childhood in Lebanon. But I think I prefer her first book, A Game for Swallows 




And that’s what I managed last week! We’re heading into the final week of February! That’s quick! Now I’m off to devour more comics before the month is up!


Comics February Week 2

We’re halfway through Comics February!

I read seven – mostly great, one not so – comics in the first week of February. And read some more amazing stuff this past week.


The Last Unicorn – Peter S. Beagle, Peter Gillis (Adaptor), Renae De Liz (illustrator), Ray Dillon (illustrator)
It has been far too long since I’ve read Beagle’s book. So long that I barely remembered the story. When browsing the comics shelves at the library, I wondered about this graphic novel version. Would it be any good? Then again, I figured, if I can’t recall the story anyway, this could be a great refresher.
And it was so very lovely. I mean, look at the illustrations!

The use of colour and shadow!



And of course that wonderful magical story about the last unicorn.





Gorgeous. Just brilliant and gorgeous.

And now I have to go find a copy of the book…

Fairest: In all the land – Bill Willingham (Goodreads Author), Chris Sprouse (Illustrator), Fiona Meng (Illustrator), Renae De Liz (Illustrator), Adam Hughes (Illustrator), Phil Noto (Illustrator)


This is a standalone graphic novel.
There is a killer on the loose and Cinderella is off to find out who.

Every few pages, a new artist takes over and the style changes.

It wasn’t very memorable a read.

The Shadow Hero – Gene Luen Yang, Sonny Liew (illustrator)


Gene Luen Yang just rocks my world.
He’s written such great comics! American Born Chinese. Boxers. Saints. And now Shadow Hero!
What will he come up with next?



Shadow Hero is a Chinese superhero. Based on The Green Turtle, an actual superhero comic first published in 1944 by Chu F. Hing, one of the first Asian American comic book writers . The back story is fascinating – it lasted only five issues and his face was always obscured by his cape or arm or something, which Yang suggests is because Chu was trying to circumvent the fact that his publisher didn’t want an Asian-American depicted – but you don’t need to get into that to enjoy Shadow Hero.

Hank Chu’s foray into superhero-ing begins with his mother, who is held at gunpoint and forced to drive a getaway car for a bank robber, then saved by a superhero. She’s convinced her son can do it too! She hilariously attempts to get him in superhero mode by dragging him to a toxic spill, taking weird concoctions etc. Eventually she gives up and makes him learn gongfu.

It is a fun, funny, heartwarming, sad, beautifully drawn, wonderful comic. I’m so happy to have finally read this!

I also have to give a shout out to Sonny Liew, who brilliantly illustrated this comic, and who lives in Singapore! (He’s originally from Malaysia.)

(Here’s a fun interview with Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang at First Second Books)

Black Widow Vol 1 – Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto (Illustrator)


Well I honestly didn’t think much of Black Widow aka Natasha Romanov from watching the Avengers movies. It wasn’t the best portrayal of her I know.


So it was with some hesitation that I picked this comic up from the library. But holey-moley it is good! She is tough, fierce, determined, bad-ass but she’s also very very human.



I am looking forward to the next installment of Black Widow!



Wonderland – Tommy Kovac, Sonny Liew


Another Sonny Liew-illustrated comic! Hooray! This is in a very different style from The Shadow Hero, more whimsical and cute, less black-edged and straight-lined. More meandering and fuzzy at the edges as if about to collapse into absurdity.

Wonderland’s focus is on Mary-Ann, the White Rabbit’s housemaid, whom everyone mistakes Alice for. It makes me want to read Alice again! There’s a treacle well, and the Cheshire Cat, and the Jabberwocky. Lots of fun, although the plot kind of wanders a bit. But those colorful illustrations by Sonny Liew really steal the show here. Gorgeous!










Let’s get graphic! or, how I got started with graphic novels and comics!

It’s Comics February!


Growing up all I knew of comics was the Archies. And, thanks to my Dad, a little X-Men.


Then in junior college in Singapore (junior college is kind of like the last two years of high school), some manga came into my life. My sister and I got interested in Slam Dunk, a manga about a high school basketball team. The anime version aired on TV and we bought the manga series, although it was in Chinese (I can read and write Chinese but not comfortably so this was a bit of a stretch!). My sister also adored Sailor Moon but that was just too cutesy for me.

And in between all that? I’m not sure!

But I can definitely say that it was Marjane Sartrapi’s Persepolis that pushed me toward graphic novels again. It was the first graphic memoir I ever bought for myself. It might have been sometime in 2009.

And since then my love for the genre has grown, as has the different types of graphic novels and comics available out there.

And there are many!

Here are some of my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE graphic novels. I hope you read them too!


Neil Gaiman has done some of his best work in the Sandman series. I’ve only added six of the books, they pretty much have similar styled covers. It has been five years since I’ve read them, and I hope to reread them some day!


Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – Roz Chast (my thoughts)


Locke and Key series (Books 1 to 6) – Joe Hill

Creepy, weird, but just absolutely amazing. Not for everyone though. The Husband read the first book and said it was too macabre for him.


Strangers in Paradise (Books 1 to 6) – Terry Moore

I didn’t expect to love this one but I fell head over heels despite those horrendous covers. The friendship! The love! The bizarre former life of Katchoo!



Castle Waiting – Linda Medley (my thoughts)

Oh! Just thinking about this makes me want to borrow (or perhaps just buy myself a copy!) these books again. So darling, so charming.



But I Really Wanted to be An Anthropologist by Margaut Motin (my thoughts) tells of parenthood from the perspective of a high-heeled Parisian. It’s funny, full of swear words and even bits about shaving legs.




Another French one, this one about wine and comics! You can read more about it here

I love how you can find comics and graphic memoirs for just about anything these days.

Depression? Read Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney
Epilepsy? Read Epileptic by David B
Young love? Read Blankets by Craig Thompson
Did your father administer radiation to you as a kid? Read Stitches by David Small
Are you cibopathic? Read Chew by John Layman, Rob Guillory
Do you want to know what it’s like to bring coffee to a shivering Kate Hudson at a photoshoot? Read Relish by Lucy Knisley
Waitressed at a diner in 1970s California? Read Over Easy by Mimi Pond
Life in a weird-ass prep school for kids who all have the same birthday? Read Morning Glories and prepare yourself to be bamboozled!
Wandered what it would be like if all the men (but one) on Earth were wiped out? Read Y the Last Man

Then there’s the way that graphic novels/memoirs can take you armchair traveling. With illustrations!

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert takes you to Afghanistan
A Game for Swallows by Zeina Abirached takes place in Lebanon
Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang brings you to China during the Boxer Rebellion
Rutu Modan’s The Property is set in Poland
March by John Robert Lewis is the story of the civil rights movement, beginning in Alabama

Guy DeLisle’s works – Guy DeLisle’s wife works for Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors without Borders so they’ve ended up in countries like Myanmar and Jerusalem, which he chronicles in his funny graphic memoirs. He’s also written about his stays in Pyongyang and Shenzhen (which I’ve yet to read). Delisle, who is from Quebec, writes in French but his books have been translated into many languages.

There is so much more!

Fables and its offshoots! Unfortunately I never got very far with Fables as my library’s collection is rather scattered. But it is delightful.

I’ve just started on Saga, and it is bold and such fun. It’s by the guy who did Y the Last Man.

I love how some of my favourite shows continue on in comic form. Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8. And in Serenity, the short-lived Firefly gets a second chance of sorts.

I’m sure I’ve left out so very many wonderful ones, but this post is getting a little out of hand.

What are some of your favourite comics/graphic novels? I’d love to add to my list!

More comics this Library Loot!


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.

Just a quick visit after lunch to pick up some more books for Comics February! As well as more books for the kids.
Wonderland – Tommy Kovac, illustrated by Sonny Liew


Among the numerous curiosities that have gone unexplained in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland, perhaps the most perplexing might be who, exactly, is the “Maryann” that the White Rabbit mistakes Alice for at the beginning of the story? Lewis Carroll first made us ponder this and, years later, Walt Disney again made viewers wonder who Maryann might be in his classic feature length film based on Carroll’s book.

Now, the amazingly talented folks at SLG Publishing, through a licensing deal with Disney, have finally answered this age-old question. In their beautifully executed comic book series, WONDERLAND, readers experience Alice’s fantastic world as they’ve never seen it before. Writer Tommy Kovac’s Wonderland is missing Alice herself, but it’s still populated by the other characters that make the world such a curiously exciting place. The Queen of Hearts is present, barking orders to lop off people’s heads, as is the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the rest of Wonderland’s beloved cast. And there are some new faces, too, including the book’s main protagonist, the mysterious Maryann herself. All are beautifully illustrated by Wonderland’s artist, Sonny Liew


Apollo’s Song – Osamu Tezuka



The gods with their poetic justice, can be unrelenting. Just ask the young cynic Shogo, who sinned against love. Electroshock therapy was only meant to bring him face to face with his own violent misdeeds, but instead landed him in the court of a stern goddess.

If the encounter was a hallucination, then it’s a hallucination that starts to encroach on reality in this unforgettable tale penned by manga-god Osamu Tezuka and inspired by Greek myths of divine unforgiving. Sharing with his longer work Phoenix the themes of recurrence and retribution as well as the spirit of high invention, Apollo’s Song explores the meaning of love and the consequences of its absence.

Shogo’s mother is a bar hostess, his father could be any one of a dozen of her regular patrons. Growing up, he learns nothing of genuine love and tenderness, and when he witnesses his mother in the nearest approximation of which she’s capable–lustful embrace–he receives a merciless beating soon afterwards. Shogo comes to hate the very notion of love. But goddesses, who are neither the Buddha nor Christ, do not excuse misfortunes of upbringing.

Apollo’s Song reaches Olympian heights of tragedy as the story proceeds from a boxcar bound for a Nazi concentration camp to a dystopian future where human beings are persecuted by an ascendant race of their own clones. Will Shogo ever attain redemption, or, like the human race itself, will he have to relearn the lessons of love forever? Is it better to have loved and lost if the heartbreak must recur eternally?

Love, propagation, nature, war, death–Tezuka holds his trademark cornucopia of concerns together with striking characterizations, an unfailing sense of pacing, and of course, stunning imagery.

Though marked by a salty pessimism, this unique masterpiece from Tezuka’s transitional period is also unabashedly romantic–and, at times, profoundly erotic. Combining a classic tale of thwarted love with cognitive ambiguities reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick, Apollo’s Song is guaranteed to plumb new depths of the human heart with each rereading.

Ode to Kirihito – Osamu Tezuka


It may or may not be contagious. There seems to be no cure for it. Yet, Monmow Disease, a life-threatening condition that transforms a person into a dog-like beast, is not the only villain in this shocking triumph of a medical thriller by manga-god Osamu Tezuka. Said to have been the personal favorite of the artist, who held a degree in medicine, and surprisingly attentive to Christian themes and imagery, Ode to Kirihitodemolishes naive notions about human nature and health and likely preconceptions about the comics master himself.

From pregnant vistas of the Japanese countryside to closed rooms full of sin and redemption, Tezuka astounds for more than eight hundred continuous pages, his art in turn easefully concise and flamboyantly experimental, his inquiry into our most repugnant instincts and prospects for overcoming them unflinchingly serious. Incorporating elements of the often lurid and adult-oriented “gekiga” style for the first time, Tezuka entered into his fruitful late period with this work.

A promising young doctor, Kirihito Osanai visits a remote Japanese mountain village to investigate the source of the latest medical mystery. While he ends up traveling the world to discover what it takes to be cured of such a disease, a conspiracy back home attempts to explain away his absence. Hinging upon his fate are those of his loved ones: an unstable childhood friend and colleague trapped between factions of the medical establishment that nurtured him; a fiancée emotionally transformed by Kirihito’s mysterious disappearance; and a stranger who becomes his guardian angel, a sensual circus-act performer with volatile psychological secrets.

From plutocratic Taipei and racially divided South Africa to backwater Arabia and modern Osaka, ambition and desire beckon “normal men” to behave uglier than any beast. Riveting our attention on deformity and its acceptance like The Elephant Man by David Lynch, Ode to Kirihitoexamines the true worth of human beings through and beyond appearances

Kids’ loot:

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll



How to begin with a book like this?

Would it turn you off if I told you it was dark and a little creepy?
A bit unsettling?
Weird and wonderful at the same time?

A delightfully eerie collection of illustrations that illuminate the unnerving stories. The use of colours, of darks and blacks and greys and startlingly vibrant reds. Her use of lettering which has a haunting handwritten quality, makes me feel like I’m reading a diary full of secrets.

Emily Carroll makes use of our fears of the dark, of the unknown to such great effect. Though the Woods was such a gorgeous vivid creepy read.


The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs


Bande dessinée.

Perhaps that was my first ever inkling of how much the French enjoy their comic books/graphic novels.

That in my first few weeks of learning French in university the term ‘Bande dessinée.’ was introduced. I’ve also taken some basic Spanish and Italian classes (yeah I lack commitment) and do not recall learning the terms for comics/graphic novels  in those languages. I was forced to learn Chinese for years in Singapore (from first grade through to our equivalent of high school) so I do sort of know that 漫画 manhua is the term – although I had to google it cos I forgot!. But bande dessinee. It is a term I remember. And not just because my teacher was a cute young Frenchman.

I’ve read some French (translated into English that is – my knowledge of French is way too basic) graphic novels like The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec by Jacques Tardi, Epileptic by David B, and of course Tintin and Asterix ! Plus, did you know that Marjane Sartrapi’s Persepolis was published in France before it was translated into English (she lives in Paris)? But it was only in The Initiates that I understood how wonderful the variety of graphic novels in France is – and wished that more of them were translated into English.

The book’s premise is simple: a winemaker (Richard Leroy – an actual real-life winemaker who makes chenin blanc and is apparently very respected in the field) teaches a comic artist (Davodeau) about wine-making and vice-versa. Davodeau tags along as Leroy prunes his vines, ploughs the fields, works the harvest through the year, and lovingly nurtures his vineyard. And of course, the two of them drink plenty of wine in an attempt to hone his palate. Leroy on the other hand reads up on graphic novels (an extensive list of both the comics read and the wines drunk is thoughtfully provided at the end of the book) although some put him to sleep, visits Davodeau’s publishing company, attends the French version of Comic Con, and meets other comic artists.

But the best part about this book were the conversations about wine and comics, usually over a long meal complete with wine (and some of the best parts were when Leroy peruses the wine list and tells the waiter “I’ll have water”, perhaps the ultimate insult from a winemaker!).

The tones are muted, the mood generally quiet (nothing terribly exciting going on here), and when I first began this book, I was a little worried that this would be like an instruction manual, that we would learn this this and that about winemaking, and here, this is how a comic artist works. But it is in no way like that at all. It is informative, sure, but it is also thought-provoking. Not just about the art of comics and winemaking, but on the meeting of diverse people and having conversations about books and wine. It helps that Leroy is a bit of an eccentric character, and the two of them have a great friendship.

Davodeau said in this interview with Comic Book Resources that he and Leroy had been friends for a few years when Davodeau learnt that Leroy, at age 50,  had not read a comic book before and proposed this idea.

I’m just so very glad that Davodeau and Leroy got together, and that Davodeau took notes and sat down and illustrated and wrote this fantastic book. It was two years of hard work, both in the vineyard and in his studio. It makes the reader want to sit down and read more graphic novels, preferably with a lovely glass of wine.

And so it’s a perfect Weekend Cooking book! Conversations about winemaking and books!





Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs