Tag Archives: comics

Zine Review: Do What You Want

Published April 2017, edited and curated by Leah Pritchard and Ruby Tandoh.

35026501Cover blurb: Do what You Want is a one-off magazine, curated and edited by food writer Ruby Tandoh and her partner Leah Pritchard. Focusing on mental health and illness, it features an interview with actress Mara Wilson; writing from New York Magazine’s advice columnist Heather Havrilesky (Ask Polly); recipes from food writers Diana Henry, Meera Sodha and Bee Wilson; and an exclusive Q&A with Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara.

With essays, comics and poems by contributors from all walks of life, Do What You Want shows that mental wellbeing is for everyone. This is a project in aid of mental health charities and not-for-profit organisations. All profits will be split between Mind, Beat, Centre of Mental Health and more.

My Review: As soon as I’d heard about this zine, I knew I needed to order a copy! I’ve love Ruby Tandoh. So to hear she was curating a zine about mental health with her girlfriend Leah (now fiancees – congrats you guys omg), I was over the moon. As a Tegan and Sara obsessive, my excitement was undoubtedly furthered by the announcement that the zine would include an interview with Sara Quin!

Do What You Want covers a huge variety of mental health issues, from eating disorders to anxiety, depression and the intersectionality of mental health with aspects of identity such as being queer. I adored how broad this zine was, as it’s so eye-opening to read accounts from a variety of people from different backgrounds. I’m sure that many people who read this will find something to relate to, as well as come away from it having learned something valuable. It’s rare to see so many diverse, honest stories in one place like this; that’s what makes the zine so special.

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Every contribution is presented absolutely beautifully, whether it’s a personal story, report on statistics and services or a recipe. Presentation ranges from vibrant comics and portraits, to gorgeous illustrations accompanying heartfelt essays, interviews and first person accounts. I took my time reading this to admire all of the work that’s gone into making this book so visually exciting. The uplifting, wonderful artwork perfectly accompanies some incredibly hard-hitting topics.

I started reading Do What You Want during exam season, and that proved it to be the perfect read to dip in and out of. This zine is a wonderful read whether you’re leafing through a passage or two a night, or reading the entire thing in a day.

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As I was about halfway through, I did notice there were significantly more female contributors than male ones. It is fantastic to see so many talented female artists and writers in one place. However, I did want to see more representation of men’s experiences of mental health, after reading around the topic previously, and being aware of some shocking statistics. This is still a teeny tiny problem for me with the zine, but it definitely was addressed really well through a couple of contributions such as George Almond’s portrayal of toxic masculinity in a moving account of his family.

Overall, I am so, so impressed with Do What You Want; it’s the kind of book you want to shout about from the rooftops and demand everyone reads. not only is it an amazing resource on mental health information; it’s also a beautiful collection of art and writing, and has raised a lot of money for various charities. This is definitely up there in one of my favourite reads of all time. After selling out its initial 4000 prints, the zine is going into a reprint, so you can still order a physical copy now, or get the ebook if you’d like it sooner!

My Rating:

four and a half

 

The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour

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Every blogger and vlogger does one of these at some point, and yet in my five years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my shelves here! Admittedly I have on Twitter, a lot… but I figured a blog post would be nice. Especially as I just tidied / did a massive book cull so my shelves aren’t as cluttered so here goes!:)

MY MAIN BOOKSHELVES:

 

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These shelves are home to about half of the books that I have read and own. I’m usually incredibly obsessive and organised (as in, alphabetising everything I own, from DVDs to school books) but these shelves are in absolutely no logical order. They’re a massive rainbow, which I love sososo much even if it does show that I have way too much time on my hands. (Even the items on the shelves correspond to the colours… yep).

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These are part of the ‘main,’ bookshelf, but I count them at their own little sections, as they’re not YAwhich is what the shelves above mostly consist of. Two shelves are home to all of my classic books – from Enid Blyton, to Road Dahl, to George Orwell and my favourite thing I own – a 116 year old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A larger space is reserved for all of my graphic novels and collected comic editions! I’m definitely going to need more space on this one soon, as I’m looking to expand my series reading. Current favourites are The Runaways and The Wicked and the Divine.

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This bit is the untidiest bit D:

This is where most of the books on my to-read (or in some cases, to re-read) list live! I should really order them into some kind of logical sense, but somehow I actually remember where all of these books are placed, so, I guess it’s all good.

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Most of the rest of my TBR books are on the my windowsill (top of this left photo) and sitting on my library steps, by my desk! So many books, so little time.

I do keep many of the proofs copies I’m sent – visible at the bottom of the left photo, under my windowsill. Hot Key Books all look so lovely together. A couple of more recently sent ARCs live under my bed, as I’ve run out of room (despite culling 100 books the other day!)

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And, finally – signed books! I haven’t been to any bookstore events in a long time (GCSEs, general exhaustion, etc) but I used to go up to Waterstones Piccadilly practically every week or so, attending talks and signings. My signed books don’t live in my room – they’re on shelves at the end of the hallway. But I do like that little area at the end of the house! More rainbow-ordered books!

So, that concludes the bookshelf tour! What do you think of my chaotic order of things? How do you organise your books?

Five Reasons to Read Lumberjanes

FIVE REASONS SO READ LUMBERJANES HEADER
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It occurred to me a while ago that, despite Lumberjanes being one of my favourite comic series ever, I hadn’t talked about it on this blog! I have no idea why. I love this series, and the five campers, to bits. No matter what you are, or what age you are; if you’re looking for any comic book series to start, I’d mention this first. It’s such a brilliant, unexpectedly hilarious and riveting adventure, made ten times better by the fact that it promotes positive female friendships and girlpower.

Persuaded? Good! Go get started! Let me know what you thought of it 🙂

Volume 1 collects issues 1-4; volume 2 collects issues 5-8; volume 3 collects issues 9-12; volume 4 collects issues 13-16

Graphic Novel Review: Alex + Ada Vol. 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Published July 2014 by Image Comics

21823465Goodreads Synopsis: From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.
Collects ALEX + ADA #1-5.

My Review: This graphic novel was recommended to me on Amazon, after I’d read the likes of The Wicked and the Divine. I fell in love with the simplistic but beautiful cover, and the synopsis made it sound incredibly interesting. It reminded me of a lot of Sci-Fi I know and love, with its classic-feeling near-future-androids-are-becoming-independent vibe, but I was eager to try it out. I’m so glad I did; Alex  + Ada may not be the most original of stories, but it’s told in an incredibly unforgettable way and I adored it.

I’m always a little scared when I start an ongoing comic series, as like with The Wicked and the Divine, I can sometimes get too lost in a complex story. However, with this, I became absolutely absorbed in the story, and it was really easy to follow. Issue one begins with Alex, a relatively normal guy who is quite lonely, and living in a near-future world where many tasks are now performed by androids and robots. All over the news is talk of a Robot Rights movement, and a massacre caused by sentient androids, which is stirring tension. When an X5 android turns up on his doorstep, the newest in lifelike technology, and something he doesn’t desire – he reluctantly boots it up. Soon, he finds himself falling into a complex world of android politics, and discovers that Ada is seemingly more than just an android.

The story feels like an instant classic, and after binging the five issues in this collection, I was really eager to start the next volume. I often feel like the first few issues in a series can be a little dull, just introducing us to characters and story, with lots of yet to be answered questions, but with Alex + Ada, I felt immersed in the story straight away and loved the way everything was executed. I think some people might find it a little dull, as Alex isn’t set up to seem like the most exciting of characters, and his interactions with other characters aren’t that thrilling – but I really loved that! It shows how a lonely guy can become so isolated by the things around him, like the technology that’s running almost his whole life.

The artwork is pretty great. It’s a simplistic style, with a limited blue/grey colour scheme for the most part, but I really liked the way it reflects the sterile, depersonalised feel of the comic’s setting. It would have been nice to see some more variation in the style, but I do think it works with the story really well.

Overall, Alex + Ada was a really enjoyable graphic novel; one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend whether you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, or looking for a way to get into reading comics, as it’s a very accessible story. These first five issues are captivating and enthralling – and a brilliant set-up for what I’m sure is going to be a brilliant story  in the next instalments. I can’t wait to see what direction the story goes in the next volumes – this first one was a fantastic introduction to a Sci-Fi world that has a lot of promise.

My Rating:

four and a half

I purchased a copy of Alex + Ada Vol. 1 online.

Paragraphs to Pictures: YA Books That Would Make Awesome Graphic Novels

Recently, I’ve really wanted to start creating more blog posts about graphic novels, but as I haven’t read many recently, I was stuck for ideas.

I was sitting in front of my bookshelves brainstorming. Then it came to me, inspired partially by the recent news of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses getting a graphic novel adaptation. I started pulling a few books off of shelves and re-imagining them. What if some of my favourite YA books were graphic novels? What would they be like in that format?

So here we go! Five (very different) much-loved YA books – plus why I think they’d be great as comics or graphic novels.


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Banished by Liz de Jager – I love Banished and Vowed to bits and can’t wait for the third and final book. I had to include this book in the post! It’s easily one of my favourite Urban Fantasies, ticking all the boxes for a great graphic novel too; a riveting plot, a terrific fantastical world, awesome mythical creatures, and a gothic fantasy vibe to rival Guillermo Del Toro’s works. Also, of course, Kit Blackhart is a super kick-butt protagonist that would be amazing in a comic or graphic novel. Buffy who?

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This has a richly imaginative, almost steampunk-y fantasy feel to them. I really love the concept of the book, and being set in a future Oxford, would the setting not look gorgeous in a graphic novel? I haven’t yet read the sequel, but there are going to be seven books (I think). I can kinda see it as a comic series. Maybe I’m going too far away from The Bone Season’s genre, but I thought Joe Benitez would be a cool illustrator.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – This is quite an obvious choice! Comics have a large influence in this book, and if you put together all the fan art on the internet for Eleanor and Park I’m pretty sure you’d have a complete graphic novel anyway! Eleanor and Park would make a fantastic contemporary graphic novel and wouldn’t it be cool if it was drawn by Noelle Stevenson? (She illustrated the cover & inside cover of Fangirl!)

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan – The inventive Sci-Fi / Dystopia setting of this book would be perfect in a graphic novel format. Natasha Ngan’s books are so memorable for their incredible worlds. The Memory Keepers is set in a future London with a huge development gap, where human memories are traded like a currency. If this were a graphic novel, I could see it being in the same vein as the extraordinary Fray by Joss Whedon.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman – This might sound like a strange choice, but it was one of the first books I thought of. I think the format of the book, which is largely flashbacks of Mia and Adam’s romance, could be told really beautifully through illustrations. As the ‘present’ in the book is Mia in an out-of-body experience, that could be portrayed really interestingly in a graphic novel. My instant thought was a black-and-white world in the hospital, but Mia (out of her body) walking around, drawn in colour.


Noughts and Crosses, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and The Graveyard Book are three YA books I know to have been adapted recently. I hope to see more in the future!

What books do you think would make great graphic novels?

Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson

Published 12th November 2014 by Image Comics.

23093359Goodreads Synopsis: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

My Review: I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was about reading The Wicked + The Divine, when I spotted the first volume in Waterstones! I had been reading a lot of tweets about it on Twitter as the individual issues were released, but had to wait until the volume was published as I missed the first issues. There was so much hype surrounding this! And, of course: Gillen, writer, McKelvie, artist, and Wilson, colorist, are the super team that created Young Avengers – without doubt the best series I read last year.

The concept really intrigued me: Re-incarnated gods… as pop stars? It sounded crazy but inventive (And there are some really interesting ways to look a the concept); I was sold. The Wicked + The Divine had me completed gripped from the opening pages and I read the entire volume in one go (then cried a little a lot).

The plot was such a good crime story, laced with paranormal elements (and some really cool outfits.): Luci is seemingly framed for murder, and locked away in prison, so London student Laura decides to investigate and find the truth, investigating into the somewhat sinister worlds of the re-incarnated gods.

On the mythological side of the story, I think I missed some references; I read on Goodreads that the Gods all relate to different famous legends, which brings a whole new depth to the plot: I’ll have to reread it!

Jamie McKelvie’s illustrations, along with Matt Wilson’s beautiful colouring, were flawless. I loved the artwork in Young Avengers, so I knew I would enjoy the art in this series. The whole comic was drawn so beautifully: I loved how the Gods, particularly, were drawn. The outfits and the hair were SO cool. I will disappointed if I don’t see cosplay… OH WAIT LOOK AT THIS AMATERASU ONE OHMYGOSH.

Overall, The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1, was definitely as great as I hoped it would be – and worth the wait to read it, too. I’m so excited about reading on in the series soon! I’m sure it will be a future classic. Gillen has crafted a truly individual story that had me completely absorbed, and I can’t even describe how much I loved Jamie McKelvie’s illustration. I’m counting down until Volume two now… because AGHHH THAT ENDING.

My Rating:

four and a half

I purchased a copy of The Wicked + The Divine in a local bookstore.