Comics are one of my favourite things to read but I haven’t had a chance to really dive into some long-awaited titles thanks to life being a bit chaotic. For the rest of September and especially for October (my pumpkin-infused spoopy month of birth) I want to dive into my backlog and reacquaint myself with this truly fantastic and incredibly underrated medium.
Out of the nine volumes I’ll be sharing today, a few of them are re-reads for some of my most beloved serials. I’m sure that most of you will recognise at least one of them, as it’s a rather popular series of late and should finally be off hiatus within a year or so. Any previous reviews I had of the re-reads shall be axed in lieu of newer, fresher, and more relevant perspectives, so please keep an eye out for those to drop if you see something interesting here.
If there is a title listed here that you’d like more information on, I’ve shared respective links to their publishers’ pages and ISBN numbers. I will no longer be using GoodReads as their latest update has made the website quite intolerable with respect to navigation, and I just don’t want to engage with it any further. But if you’re a GR user, the ISBNs should help you find their pages relatively easily. Snippets are in my own words and are entirely spoiler-free. (Aside from listing the re-reads first, they aren’t in any particular order either.)
A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman & Rafael Alburquerque: A Lovecraftian horror mystery about two individuals who get called in to help solve a rather disturbing and gruesome murder with positively cosmic intimations. [978-1506703930]
This is one of my favourite graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. It’s just so bloody brilliant in so many ways. Recently, it was gifted to me as I didn’t have a copy of my own, and it’s made me extremely restless to revisit it. I’ll be polishing and re-posting the original review that I had up for this (currently taken down for that purpose), which shall go live (again) in October, appropriately so.
Monstress Volume 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda: An Asian-inspired, dark fantasy, steampunk series about a woman that due to some very specific and fucked-up circumstances ends up with a great and powerful entity inhabiting her body. This leads to everyone, their mum, and their mum’s butlers (*heavy sass*) coming after her with a vehement vengeance or greed. [978-1632157096]
This is such an intricately crafted and darkly twisted fantasy series, unlike anything else I have ever read within the comic medium, and it’s absolutely phenomenal. The setting and atmosphere, as well as the characters and depth they attain with each new volume—it’s all so good. I’m really excited to re-read this and also to catch up to the current most trade paperback release, which is volume six (hits stores on the 21st of September). I did review this a long time ago, but like the others, it shall be re-vamped and re-shared in October.
Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples: A Western-style space opera that follows two individuals on opposite sides of a big ass fucking war. Hell in handbasket starts brewing when they become romantically affiliated, forcing them to go on the run for treason from their respective worlds (and moons). The adventure that ensues is their epic and magnificent love story. [978-1607066019]
Before Saga went on hiatus in 2019, it fucking ripped me to shreds. I can’t even properly bitch about it because it would divulge major spoilers, so… I’ll restrain myself. But to say that I’m preposterously dying to know what happens next is the perfect overabundantly melodramatic way to describe why I must re-read this… again. A new and fresh review will replace the last (which has been taken down already, sorry folx) before the month is out.
Fables Deluxe Edition Book 1 by Bill Willingham: A dark fantasy, fairy tale retelling that takes all of the beloved fairy tale characters from yesteryear and tosses them into the blender of bullshit known as… the real world. How do they cope living in a “normal” world? Do they hide their powers? Do they even have powers? Do they fight for world domination? Who knows! But I’m hoping to find out (again) when I pick this up over the next weekend or so. [978-1401224271]
My main reason for wanting to re-read this is because I want to re-play the Telltale Game, A Wolf Among Us, and I figured it would be good to refresh my familiarity with this setting, world, and as such, modified character personas and plights.
Descender Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen: A science-fiction comic that takes place sometime in the far and distant, more technologically advanced future. Ten years have passed since Harvesters, or planet-sized robots, appeared and fucked things up everywhere. A young robot kid named TIM-21 wakes up to discover that because of this robots have been outlawed. But little Timmy has a secret: his genetics and techno DNA holds the key to unlocking Harvester machinery, making him the most wanted and hunted android dude in the galaxy… far, far away… just kidding. [978-1632154262]
Two things drew me to this series and a third has made it imperative for me to finally pick it up and read it. Firstly and secondly, it’s about robots who basically caused a bunch of chaos and got themselves murdered in the process, along with a remnant’s potential for them to come back and possibly repeat their sins. The third thing is that there’s a sequel series being released, so I need to read through the first part of the story pronto.
The Beauty Volume 1 by Haun, Hurley, & Rauch: This dystopian, sci-fi volume introduces us to a world where people can become more and more beautiful, physically, merely from sexual intercourse. The world has taken huge advantage of the effects of this strange little STD. But when a horrible cost starts to become more relevant, we have to ask ourselves, was it really worth it? [978-1632155504]
The cover for the first volume is so dark and sinister, and the premise is an interesting take on the virus sci-fi subgenre. I’m really curious to see how the world and repercussions unfold.
Moonshine Volume 1 by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso: A horror thriller taking place during the Prohibition Era, it follows a gangster that is sent from New York to Appalachia to track down a new badass shipment of illegal booze. In the process, he ends up uncovering a supernatural secret that can never ever see the light of day. Or night. [978-1534300644]
Brian Azzarello has written one of my favourite Joker comics, so that combined with a Prohibition setting and some shady supernatural shite is totally going to be an irresistible treat for me.
The Woods Volume 1 by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas: A sci-fi mystery story about the disappearance of 430 some odd students and fifty-ish teachers from a pretentious preparatory high school in Wisonsin. They all vanished without a fucking trace. A billion lightyears away (slight exaggeration), on the outskirts of the universe, 500ish people find themselves in the middle of an ancient prehistoric wilderness. Just where the fuck are they and why the fuck are they there? [978-1608864546]
I read some of Tynion’s Something is Killing the Children, and it was so dark and discomforting, while also feeling original and different than other stories I’ve read about missing folx. I can definitely say that Tynion’s stories aren’t for everyone, but they wholly satisfy my taste for the macabre and twisted.
Joker/Harley: Criminal Insanity by Kami Garcia & M. Suayan: A superhero, crime thriller story about a forensic psychologist named Harley Quinn that becomes fixated on the unsolved murder of her roommate. Five years later when the case remains unsolved, a new series of killings begin and escalate until a connection become apparent. Harley’s obsession with finding the culprit shall take her down a dangerously fucked up path, where she’ll have to decide how many lines and rules she’s willing to cross and break to solve the cases for good. [978-1779512024]
Okay, I have a few problems with this comic already. For starters, her name is Harley Quinn right off the bat instead of Harleen Quinzel (pet peeve… I know) and this bothers me for a plethora of reasons. Secondly, the author is Kami Garcia who was a co-author for the young adult supernatural series, Beautiful Creatures, and… let’s just say I didn’t care for that series all that much…at all. You’re probably wondering, “Nyan, if you’re going to be an arse about the comic before reading it, why bother reading it at all?” What can I say? I’m weak as fuck for anything to do Joker and Harleen together in a story with a very serious (seemingly) tone. Will this make me angry? Probably. Am I still going to read the hell out of it? Of course. Does this mean I can’t bitch if it does turn out to be atrocious? Abso-fucking-lutely not.
Those are my comic reading plans for September and October. If planning out my comic and graphic novel reading lists for a month or so at a time ends up working positively for me, I’m going to feel so happy because it’s something I’ve always wanted to try out, but assumed wouldn’t work due to past TBR failings. I’m keeping my fingers crossed this party stays hearty.
Have you read any of these comics? Do any of them pop out to you more than the others?