In effort to catch up on the 12 books I'm behind schedule I added some graphic novels into my typical YA Fantasy rotation. What follows is a quick recap of the three series I've been reading and enjoying.
First up Paper Girls
I started this series right at the beginning of 2018 and read the first three. Then I had to wait a while for the fourth to come out and I think the fifth will come out later this year. First of all, these covers are just so beautiful and I love them. The color palettes in the stories are really interesting to me and the art is very clean. The story follows four paper girls on an adventure that involves religious fanatics, the distant past, the far future, incomprehensible language evolution, and the terrible disappointment of realizing you didn't quite achieve all your dreams.
In the most recent volume I read, the girls encounter Y2K, coded messages hidden in a popular newspaper comic strip, and giant battling robots. It was wild to read the flash sheets between issues with actual headlines about Y2K. Did you know that the federal government was, until 2017, working on Y2K preparation? Like. Come on.
Anyway, this type of storytelling is difficult for me to consume. It forces me to slow waaaaaay down. I tend to accidentally just read all of the dialogue and not pay as much attention to the art. Though I find that the pages for Paper Girls are almost luxurious in their pacing. There is a lot of room for the dialogue and the art. And the color tones aren't too distracting or overwhelming for me. I'm looking forward to more of this story. There are so many threads set out we've only barely gotten into the main motivations and consequences of the story. It's written by a group of dudes, but it focuses on a variety of women, even making the inventor of time travel a female scientist. This story is great. And if you've heard the comparison to Stranger Things I'd say it's sort of there, but not the biggest take away I got from it.
Next up, The Wicked + The Divine
I'd been meaning to read this series for a while. The covers always pulled my attention when Daniel and I went to a comic book store, but I put it off for a while. Then for my birthday, I bought myself the first two. I do really enjoy this story. It's weird and wonderful and pulls in information from all sorts of different mythologies while tackling the world of social media fame and pop music. The gods-as-pop-stars is an interesting motif. For the most part, I do really like the art and pacing. It's very cool how each god has a totally different color palette and speech bubble type. Volume 3 has some guest art in it that I didn't like as much, but eh. I do enjoy that at the end of each Volume there is a ton of behind the scenes type information. How they chose to lay out panels and the art direction. It's interesting. I'm lucky with this series because they are several volumes out that I haven't read yet. I'm sure I'll keep coming back to this one.
Finally, Ms. Marvel
Daniel got me the first 4 volumes of these for Christmas a little while back. I'd heard a lot of good things about this re-launched series and was really intrigued by what they were doing with her story. The first four deal a lot with Kamala learning what her powers are and trying to fit them in with her regular high school life. I think my favourite sequence from those first four was when she met Wolverine and forced him to take a selfie with her. So great!
Anyway, volume 5 picks up right after Kamala's first major big-bad defeat. She saved the high school and Jersey City from being overtaken and as a reward gets to be part of The Avengers. The volume opens with her sort of coming back to reality as she is forced to deal with balancing being an Avenger, finding out her best friend now has a girlfriend, and her brother's upcoming wedding. Hijinks ensue, relationships are tested and survive, and Kamala learns firsthand what it's like when your popularity turns against you. The big bad in this set was an interesting twist, for sure. And the mentoring moments with Captain Marvel are really great.
All in all, Kamala is a lot of fun. There is a lot of silly stuff that happens, but also some really powerful, wonderful stuff. Fat-shaming and religious discrimination feature in several of the story lines and Kamala learns that even independent, capable women need healthy boundaries.
The art and color palettes for this comic are what you'd expect from a big publisher. They're pretty standard, but done very well. I do enjoy some parts of the art when the background characters are given really simplistic features, almost cartoony, it's cute and works well with the character/story.
Anyway, I have a lot of fun reading these series. Have you read any of these? What are your favorite comics out right now? What kind of stories are you looking for in comics? Tell me in the comments below.