Stressing Out, Lightening Up

I’ve been feeling brittle, emotionally. Nothing particularly bad has happened, just all the little things adding up and putting their own tiny weight on my anxiety, so that I don’t realize it’s ready to break until it’s near happening.

Just like the little things stress me out, the little things lighten the load.

I got my library copy of I Hate Fairyland vol. 4 by Skottie Young. Nothing like candy-colored massacre to cheer anyone up.

Cheryl Strayed’s soothing voice giving advice on Dear Sugars. She and Steve Almond released their last episode, but I think I’ll go back and listen to some of the ones I missed.

My baby toddler dancing to the concert scene in Sing. It is a sight.

This closeup picture I accidentally took of the wood on our deck. It was a pleasure to find on my phone when I was flipping through videos of my dog and kid.

And writing. Anything I can get it, getting out a chapter while she naps, scribbling a few sentences in my car before walking into work, madly typing up a blog post after she’s gone down for the night and I’ve finally finished those chores.

Comics: Nimona, Zodiac, and Hellcat

I’ve been reading a bunch of comics and graphic novels lately! Mostly stuff aimed at teenagers and children, because that’s who I am. Let’s take a look!

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Noelle Stevenson is known for writing Lumberjanes, and apparently for writing on Wander Over Yonder (is this why I like the second season so much?) but before that she wrote a webcomic, Nimona, which last year was collected in a nice hardbound book. Nimona, a girl who can shapeshift into basically anything, decides to become the sidekick for Lord Blackheart, an evil scientist, whether he likes it or not. She helps him fight against the Institution, a group of knights Blackheart once trained to be a part of, including Ambrosius Goldenloin, his ex-best friend (maybe more?) and current arch nemesis. When I finally checked this book out of the library, I figured this would be a fun, light-hearted comic, and it is — at first, at least. Then the story gets kind of dark. The characters turned out much more complicated than I expected from a single-volume webcomic collection, with secret, twisted pasts, complex relationships, and moral codes that aren’t black and white but make total sense. I give it all the stars, and all the recommendations, and will probably buy my own copy.

Zodiac Starforce #2 and #3 by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau.
I still don’t have #1 of this! But oh boy, am I going to find a back issue of it. This story is good. A magical girl story, but, you know, in America. The four members of the Zodiac Starforce have apparently been broken up for a couple of years (that’s what I’m getting at least, I’m sure it’s explained better in the first issue) but are now working to fight off monsters again. Emma is a little bit too much of a self-sacrificing leader, but then, the leader was never my favorite character in these things, and Panetta and Ganucheau give me sensitive Savanna and hot-headed Molly to love. I’ve only read this little bit of it, but the four main characters are distinct and fun. The colors are soft and bright, definitely leaning towards the pink spectrum, and just adds to an overall gorgeous design. Plus, everyone’s got absolutely bombing hair. Just look at Emma as Gemini!

This is the kind of story I would have gobbled up in a quick minute as a kid, but it didn’t exist so I found the manga version of it instead. Now I’ll gobble it up as an adult!

Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat by Kate Leth and Brittney Williams. Patsy Walker, also known as the super heroine Hellcat, gets fired from her investigative day job with She Hulk (yup) and now is trying to start a temp agency for super-powered humans who want normal jobs. Also, her frenemy is reprinting the embarrassing comics her mother wrote about her teenage years, so she’s going to try and sue the pants off of her. PLUS, an evil Asgardian magic woman (“She’s basically Enchantress.”) is gathering minions, and Hellcat needs to stop her. I’d put this story in the same vein as The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl–funny superhero story written for girls. And it’s great. I love all the characters, including her new roommate with telekinesis, Ian (“Telekinian!”) and, obviously, Patsy, with her fun-loving, but still not-taking-crap-from-anyone nature. The cameos are great, too, like when Howard the Duck stops by the tattoo shop she’s working at, or when she calls everyone from Squirrel Girl to Lady Thor to get hamburgers with her since she’s having a bad day. I had a blast reading this, and it may be what gets me back to the comic store every month. (My wallet isn’t happy about that.)

Well, now that I’m through that part of my comic stack, I’ve got another pile from the library and bookstore to work through!

What comics have you been reading? Anything else I should pick up at the comic store?

Comic Bookish People to Follow on Twitter

I spend a lot of time on Twitter, so, I follow a lot of people. People that I think are great. Particularly, I love following my curated feed of comic people. Not only are they hardworking and talented at their actual profession, but they’re funny, passionate, and seem to just have a drive to find and create good art.

Some of these people I’ve been following for a while, some are artists I’ve found because of the other artists that I follow. If you’re on Twitter, and you love comics, I think all of these people are worth your time.

This post is done as part of The Broke and Bookish Top Ten Tuesday.

Read More »

What I’m Reading: Science Fiction and Lady Comic Books

I’m still working my slow, deliberate way through Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed. I still think it’s a good novel, but it gets so dense, and there are such long parts of the novel without breaks, that I have a hard time reading it for long stretches. Plus, I keep falling asleep on the couch while I’m reading the book…

I also started reading Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton. I bought the mass market at Barnes and Noble after reading the back and realizing it was a futuristic science fiction story, AND a detective murder mystery story. I really love it so far. Hamilton’s writing is accessible, and the super technological bits don’t make me go cross-eyed. I did almost roll my eyes right out of my head when he spent an entire paragraph describing how hot the main character’s wife is: “slimmer than anyone who’d had two children should reasonably expect”; “she was enticingly fit”; “the dark hair…still as lush”. Blarg. But I powered through it! And I still like the book.

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Comic Book Run: Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat and Zodiac Starforce

A trip to the comic store got me…some comics! I picked up the first four issues of Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat by Kate Leth, because I love Kate Leth and I’ve heard good things about it. I’ve read the first issue so far, and it’s super, super cute. I do wish that super hero comics had looked like this when I was a kid.

On top of that I grabbed some issues of Zodiac Starforce, which is colored like Steven Universe and sounds like Sailor Moon. So, really, probably for me, I figured! I read issue #2 (they didn’t have #1 at the store), and it turns out yes, I was right, this comic is my kind of deal. I’ll have to find the missing issues next time I’m in a comic shop.

What are you all reading? Anything nerdy? Anything smart?

Also, I think I’m going to frequent my comic shop more often (it is right next to the grocery store, after all). Any suggestions of what I should get?

 

 

Girls Comics Today (I’m So Jealous…)

I think I’ve always been a comic reader. I read Archie comics sporadically, and each Sunday it was of vital importance that I read every single strip in the funny pages — yes, even Doonesbury. I bought Garfield collections and started filling up a shoe box with issues of Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna.

But one thing was obvious, as I started moving into more story-based things: there weren’t a lot of comics, or graphic novels, meant for girls. There were some things, like Betty and Veronica, but nothing that appealed to the other stories I loved, fantasy and adventure, or even stories that just focused so deeply on characters and their problems. No, those were in “boy” stories, in super hero comics that didn’t usually appeal to me.

20151208_101015.jpgMaybe that’s why I fell so hard into manga. The first volume of manga I ever bought was Cardcaptor Sakura, where a girl gains magical powers and fights monsters in outfits designed by her best friend. On the cover she’s decked out in pink and is surrounded by swirling ribbons. This was a story made for girls, and I was so hooked.

Fushigi Yuugi, Mars, Kodocha, Magic Knight Rayearth — manga was an embarrassment of riches when it came to girls comics, even with the limited choice available when I first started reading. And I read plenty of “boy” manga, too, Inu Yasha and Rurouni Kenshin, but even a lot of those stories seemed to have a sense of their large female audience, so saying it was a shonen (“boy”) comic really more of a category than a directive.

Flash forward to nowadays. Now there are loads of lady comic artists/writers who were reading funny pages and Archie around the same time as me, and they are making their own comics for girls. There’s Smile and Sisters by Reina Telgemeier, Cece Bell’s El Deafo, Faith Erin Hicks and Friends with Boys, and Lumberjanes, oh my goodness Lumberjanes. A bunch of girls solving ciphers and fighting monster and preventing petulant gods from taking over the world and falling in love! Even some of those super hero comics that had never appealed to me would have been amazing when I was twelve, with Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the new Ms. Marvel. And of course, there’s more shojo manga around than I would have ever been able to read.

Lumberjanes!

I’m jealous of these girls today, finding comics made for them, sitting in easy reach in the front of book stores, waiting to be checked out from their school libraries. There are so many wonderful, special things being down with comics that I didn’t even know I craved when I was a kid. So many different stories for them to devour and grow up with and remember fondly as a part of their childhoods.

 

Readers! Did you read comics as a kid? What did you love and collect? Are you as jealous of kids comics today as I am?

Books on My Summer To-Be-Read List

It’s been some time since I wrote a blog post! Partly because I have things going on in my life (I’m moving! Agh!) and partly because I’ve been in that awful I-don’t-know-what-to-write quagmire. I figured I’d use a Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish to get me back in the swing of things. Today: books on my summer to be read list.

  • 23899174In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume. Judy Blume has a new book! I haven’t read any of her adult books before, but I started getting into a Judy Blume kick last year and I have heard good things about this one, and also it’s Judy Blume so let’s just do it.
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I’m fully aware this has been on lists before, but I’ve actually started reading it! It’s a thousand pages, though, so it’s going to take a chunk of my summer to get through.
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. This is one of those fantasy novels that came out a while ago that I’ve meant to read, but never have.
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer. A bonus book in the Lunar Chronicles series. After reading the first three back to back, I’ll need this to tide me over until Winter comes out.
  • Drawn & 22752444Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels. A collection of comics and essays about comics. Margaret Atwood writes an essay about Kate Beaton! Wow.
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I liked Wives and Daughters. This is shorter than that, so probably good for a summer read.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab. I don’t know much about this except that people I know seem to like it, and the cover looks cool.
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. See above.
  • Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett. Night Watch!

No children’s books, I know…right now I can’t think of a specific one I want to read, but rest assured, I will spend plenty of time reading books for twelve-year-olds this summer. =D

What do you all plan to read?

My Favorite Graphic Novels (As a Kid and Teen)

As I finished off my list of favorite graphic novels last week, I realized something: I was listing my favorite comics now, books that have meant something to me as an adult, or at least into adulthood. Even some of the ones that I think would have been important to middle school me, like Smile, did not exist then, and if there were manga series being sold in bookstores before I hit high school, I never saw them. Comics have branched into my specific tastes more and more over the years, but I always knew it was a medium for me, and I managed to find some graphic novel stories to cling to.Read More »

Weekly Finds: Meditation, Running, and Lists

MeditationAsapSCIENCE is a fun science YouTube channel I follow, and this week they had a great video on meditation, if it works, and does it change your brain. (Yes to both.) Basically, meditation can make you more empathetic and less stressed out. I want to watch the video again, and also actually try to meditate.

I’ve been linking to Kate Beaton a lot on here lately, haven’t I? Well, let’s do it again! The latest series of comics she published on her website is about Tom Longboat, a Canadian Olympic marathon runner and World War I soldier. Having recently started running and being interested in reading about it I thought this was great, plus Beaton gave me another book I want to read.

Puke It Out
Yeah I’ll be sticking to jogging not marathons I think.

A writing friend posted a list of Books to Make You More Interesting. I’ve only skimmed it, but there are some cool books on there that I’d like to read, like Bad Feminist and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, and even some that I’ve read and talked about, like Persepolis and Fun Home. Which I guess makes me already interesting? But I could be more interesting.

What do you think? Did you find anything awesome this week?

Weekly Finds: Internet Comics and TV Cartoons

The latest story arc on Octopus Pie ended this week. It’s been a pretty emotional one, which I truly need to go back and reread, but I can’t get over how good Meredith Gran at conveying complex emotions with her drawings, and sometimes a little bit of dialogue. The last page of the arc is particularly wonderful, showing, I think, pretty well how someone can get better and worse as they struggle to get over something.

pantyhoseAnd another comic: I read this one last week on Boumeries, but I still think about how very true to my own personal life it is.

I was also very excited about this past week’s batch of cartoons on Cartoon Network. Of the three that I actively watch — Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and Regular Show — they all had interesting growths in character and plot. We got to see Princess Bubblegum try and teach herself to chill out on Adventure time, which grows from a personal revelation in another recent episode, and Regular Show tied off a story arc that took a close look at how complicated relationships can be, especially for a kid’s show.

Steven Universe got me very excited, though. I’ve pointed out how much I love this show before, but a big event at the end of the episode shows how the plot is deepening, making the deceptively simple show more fantastically complicated than it already is.

Me, waiting for the next Steven Universe episode.
Me, waiting for the next Steven Universe episode.