In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What’s one life lesson you learned from comics?
Nobody’s an expert on everything.
This is a lesson I learned from reading comics, I suppose, rather than from the comics themselves, since Tony Stark is always there trying to prove this thesis wrong. (He fails in several categories, including diplomacy and intimacy and ethics, but he’s trying).
In reality, though, I came into reading comics with the idea that there was an ‘in’ group of experts who had read and knew everything. Then there was ignorant little me, tiptoeing into the shop and whispering, “I guess there’s a Joss Whedon X-Men book or something? Are you going to laugh at me if I try to buy it?”
I can’t remember exactly when the lightbulb went off, when I was talking to some longtime X-fan about the storyline I’d just read where Senator Kelly from Days of Future Past reversed his position on Mutant Rights and tried to work for cooperation and Cable was acting as his bodyguard but he got assassinated anyway and it was all very tragic. (Okay, seriously, it was a late-90s X-Men comic. It was kind of dumb.) And whoever this person was gave me a strange look and was like, What are you talking about? For a moment I was actually embarrassed — HOW DARE I KNOW A THING MY MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE FRIEND DIDN’T KNOW? — but then I decided to smile at her, and lean forward, and say, Well, let me tell you about it.
That’s a silly story about a silly story, but it represents a lightbulb moment for me about how fandom (and knowledge in general) works. Nobody’s read everything, or been every place, or heard every song. Everybody has little pieces of the whole puzzle. So don’t feel inadequate because of the things you don’t know about, and for God’s sake, don’t make other people feel bad about what they don’t know. Instead, take the chance to share, and teach, and learn from each other.
One of the biggest life lessons I learned from comics was acknowledging major differences and embracing them for what they are. I could list off a dozen fandoms from X-Men to Saga where themes like tolerance and understanding strike a deep chord with me. I look to these narratives as guidelines on making compromises and building a stronger sense of community. Conversely, I look to see how these narratives deal with with prejudice and bigotry and use them as cautionary examples.
There’s a place for everyone. What I mean is, even if you’re the creepy kid with a singularity for a mouth or the last survivor of your planet, you can always find a place to call home and a group of people who will call you friend.
I know, I know, another Young Justice answer/picture from Sam. But it’s not just them, I swear! It’s Generation X – and all the X-teams, really – and Secret Six and Avengers and even World’s Finest. No matter what it is about you that makes you stand out from the crowd, no matter what it is that some people won’t accept, there’s a team out there for you. Whether it’s just one person to wander with, like Green Arrow and Green Lantern, or thirty mutants hanging around with you in Westchester, comics taught me that everyone fits somewhere.
So what about you? What’s one life lesson you learned from comics?
Chit chat is a dialogue between two or more of our contributors. It’s done online 99% of the time but you can imagine us discussing it over coffee. Or vodka, depending on the subject material.
The follow contains spoilers for the film The Wolverine.
Anika: Let’s start with: Did you like it?
Caroline: For me, this was about as good of a Wolverine movie as I expected I would ever see.
Sam: I liked it! It’s in my top three of X-related movies.
Anika: I came out thinking ‘I really liked that’ and I couldn’t pin down why — but the more I thought about it the more I came to the conclusion that basically everything in it is something I like and/or look for in my media or fandom.
Caroline: How so?
Anika: One, Jean and Logan are my X-Men OTP.
Sam: Can I ask, because the only X-books I read back in the day were Generation X and New Mutants… was Jean/Logan a thing in the books before the movie?
Caroline: I mean Idk if it’s EVER been a consummated thing for sure in 616 but there was always that tension.
Anika: Two, Yukio is like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl Badass Ninja Warrior aka My Kind of Girl. Three, related, Ninjas! And four, related again, Japan! Five, Robots! (Sort of). Six, Random costume changes. Seriously every time Viper came on screen she had a BETTER (and more random) costume. All of these things harken back to my teenage obsession with anime.
Seven, Mariko is the kind of character I will go to war defending — I know some people consider her a damsel in distress nonsensical character but she’s more, I promise. I loved her sister/BFF relationship with Yukio and even Ninja Archer had a childhood connection to her. These are all relationships I am drawn to. Finally, eight, the X-Men were never mentioned. None of Logan’s team type connections were. It was a LOGAN story. I appreciate that.
Sam: I think Mariko was actually a pretty decent female character. She didn’t die so that Logan could take his revenge/find his true heroism. She was capable of defending herself fairly well, considering ninjas, and she got TOOK CONTROL at the end.
I’d also like to mention that my first introduction to the character of Mariko Yashida was in Exiles, where she was Sunfire and a lesbian and fell in love with Mary-Jane Watson, who was the Spider-Woman of her universe. That was long before I read the Japan saga (or whatever it’s called), so that’s my ideal for the character. I was still happy with this version.
Caroline: I liked Mariko, too! For one thing, it was clear she had relationships that were independent from Logan’s story. Her characterization got a lot of room to breathe, too, particularly compared to how the Silver Fox relationship was played in ‘Origins.’ Of course anything looks good in comparison to ‘Origins.’ But on top of that, I know that I’m a lot less critical of the way female characters are treated when there are several who have substantive roles. So neither Yukio nor Mariko nor Viper nor possibly-ghostly-possibly-a-dream Jean has to stand in for all women.
Anika: That is a good point about female characters and I think the depth of them here is a strength of the film.
Sam: This movie had more female characters than male, really.
Anika: And they were more developed. Archer Ninja, who I’m sure had a name, was kind of a mess.
Caroline: I did like that he had his own agenda, as did the main bad guy. (Do we call him Silver Samurai?) There are unavoidable problems when you drop a white North American guy into Japan, make him the hero, and have him fight with a bunch of Japanese people. But if you’re going to make that movie, I think this was a decent way to do it.
Anika: We can call him Silver Samurai, that’s who he was when he was a bad guy. I liked that everyone had their own agenda, it made it so no one was really the VILLAIN. Just people making decisions. Mostly bad decisions. But for once it was a movie about a mutant where people weren’t constantly hating mutants. There was mutant prejudice but it was an individual choice not a societal edict.
Caroline: That’s a really good point! The conflict was related to Wolverine’s power, but honestly that was more of a McGuffin. It was a way to deal with Logan not being sure whether he wanted to live, of letting him find renewed purpose. Not that I’m against X-Men plots that deal with those big societal mutant conflicts. But I have felt like the movies tend to get confused between those big thematic stories, and the character-driven ones. In a way, this was the movie that’s been wanting to burst out of the franchise since the first act of X1 — just Wolverine having feelings and adventures. I like the school and the X-Men ensemble, but the franchise has been in love with Hugh Jackman’s star quality from the start. This is the movie that finally winds him up and lets him go.
Sam: Which is interesting for me, as I am NOT a fan of Wolverine, and never really have been. But I thoroughly enjoyed an entire movie of his angst/journey. I think it helped that the other characters, even the bad guys, were conflicted and therefore interesting to me (except Viper, who was just Viper, but I liked her because the movie needed a little camp). I also thought it was great that the movie was obviously filmed in Japan with Japanese extras, which led to me really understanding and empathizing with Logan, as he both stands out and is LEFT out.
Caroline: The setting definitely emphasizes the way he doesn’t really fit anywhere.
Anika: I’m sure bringing in the Ronin aspect of his character is why the creators picked Japan in the comics and I’m glad it got on film and was done with some respect.
Aside: I didn’t see this film right away because I couldn’t bring my 8 year old. After X-Men First Class scarred her for life (we left about 15 minutes in) I said no X-Movies without my screening them first — and then this film also started with the most traumatic parts of WWII. WWII is really traumatic.
Caroline: Yes, this movie was definitely not for kids. I’m not sure any of the X-movies are, which may be a contrast to the Marvel studios movies which seem more all-agey.
Anika: As a mom I can say there is a distinct difference, yes.
Sam: I don’t really have much of a concept of what is appropriate for all ages, since The Avengers destroyed Manhattan and I don’t consider that appropriate for kids. But I’m not a parent!
Caroline: It’s probably all relative (I’m not a parent, either.)
Anika: My daughter can’t conceive of “mass destruction of New York” the way she can “and then the Nazi shot the kid’s mom so he melted their faces”.
Sam: Yeah, valid.
Anika: Anyway, let’s talk about Yukio because I loved her.
Sam: Okay! She was neat and I like that she didn’t want to sleep with Logan and that she’s his buddy now.
Caroline: That’s just what I was going to say! I liked that they were buddies, that they had a relationship that wasn’t flirtatious and sexual on either side. It was nice to see that Logan can have that with women who aren’t, well, teenagers. (And with the amount of Logan/Rogue fanfic there was after the first movie, that doesn’t even seem to be a deal breaker.) And I loved what we learned about her relationship with the Yashida family. She was a homeless mutant thief rescued by an heiress! They are best friends and hug a lot!
Sam: I know! And they honestly care for each other and aren’t at all competing for Logan’s attention/affection! (I maybe ship them a little.)
Anika: I loved the line about her being Mariko’s only family. Because she was the family Mariko chose. That’s beautiful.
Sam: Yeah, I really liked that. Something about the X-allegory that has always rung very true is about chosen family versus blood family.
Caroline: Yes, and I liked that the movie was true to that spirit without leaning too much on established characters.
Anika: Yukio could so easily have been, and taken at face value WAS, just a plot convenience character — she had all the info Logan needed and she literally got him from point a to b to c — but she didn’t come off that way. She felt genuine. I cared about her and about her relationships to Mariko and to Logan.
fanart by Renata Castellini
Sam: Yeah, same. I’m not-so-secretly hoping she appears, however briefly, in Days of Future Past.
Caroline: It was definitely left open for her to be part of future movies!
Anika: So we had a few antagonists — the Silver Samurai, Viper, the Hand — what did we think of them?
Caroline: Was the Hand the whole bunch of ninjas that just showed up? I admit I had a little bit of a geekgasm over ‘Look at Wolverine on my movie screen with all those ninjas!’
Anika: Yes, those are Hand ninjas! I loooooooooove Hand ninjas. They are my go-to Heroclix team.
Sam: The fights! I loved the fights! The bullet train fight was AMAZING. So well done.
Anika: Aside, this sprang into my head at the mention of bullet train and was very distracting…
Sam: And in the village, with the arrows… I’m technically not talking about a specific villain, but most of those fights were with the Hand, so close enough. I was really impressed with the action. Also I really loved Viper, and I didn’t expect to. Camp factor!
Caroline: Some people have been down on Viper as a villain but she was fun to watch! And I agree about the fight scenes. In some ways I think Silver Samurai was the least effective villain because the movie tried to put more weight on his relationship with Logan than the story could really hold.
Anika: When Viper appeared to have changed from Green Comic Inspired Now I Am the Scantily Clad Supervillain Outfit to Green Comic Inspired You Better Believe I Am the Supervillain — Even More Scantily Clad and Now in Shiny Vinyl! Outfit… I made audible to the audience impressed noises of worship. She was ridiculous but the movie accepted her ridiculousness and I honestly think it was great.
Caroline: We are probably not going to get a movie about her being Spider-Woman’s crazy stepmother, huh?
Anika: I think we should Kickstart one.
Would you pledge money to make this movie?
Anika: I agree the Samurai’s plot was weaker — his relationship to Mariko wasn’t clear either. And that armor suit desperately wanted to be Starktech. Darn copyright nonsense.
Sam: The Samurai seemed to be a boss fight. Like it existed only to give the good guy(s) one last physical challenge. Movies are so much like video games now, it’s crazy. You fight the minions, you fight the mini-bosses, then you have to have the final boss fight, even though the story is mostly over by that point. My friend and I were chatting about it afterwards and he said “I don’t even get the point of the needles into his bones thing” and I said “meh, just to look creepy.” I got it as part of the story, but it was a moot point by then.
Caroline: Totally plotting via video game! I think that’s what people are talking about as far as the movie falling apart in the last act. There were too many things going on that weren’t related to outcomes we cared about.
Anika: I can see that. Ninja Archer had a line “This is madness.” and I remember thinking “Yes, accurate.”
Caroline: The movie had built up a lot of goodwill with me by that point, though. Admittedly, it helped that I had been assured neither Yukio nor Mariko was going to die. I’m not sure if that was a conscious effort by the filmmakers to switch things up, or just a belief that ghostly Jean was enough dead (sort-of) girlfriend for one movie.
Sam: At least she didn’t die IN this movie.
Anika: Speaking of Jean: real, dream, or something in between? She was in a room that was white and seemingly hot…but reminded me more of Hawaii than a White Hot Room.
Sam: I’m hoping Phoenix preview.
Caroline: Yeah, preview and echo, I think. I felt strongly that it was molded by what Logan wanted to believe about their relationship (if you only saw this film you would have no idea she wasn’t his girlfriend). But there’s some reality there. I was weirdly cool with all of this, because it’s the kind of use of her character that used to bug the crap out of me in the comics. But maybe I’m more tolerant because teen Jean is around in All New X-Men these days.
Anika: Post X3 I decided that the most enjoyable way for me to watch the movies is with a heavy Logan/Jean slant. To believe their relationship is somehow transcendent to such things as whose girlfriend she actually is….
Anika ships tragedy.
Anyway, my reading is that this is specifically Logan’s movie and this is specifically Logan’s Jean. I have seen some comparisons to Inception and if you know how I read that movie (it’s all about Mal) you can guess how much I love that. My understanding of Phoenix has always been that she is broken into little pieces and scattered across the universe and however long it takes her to bring all the pieces back together is however long she stays dead. This is Logan’s piece. She’s real, she’s Jean, but she’s only one part, stuck in a kind of loop that is related directly to him. But as a sequel to X3, which is (obviously) a sequel to X2 and X1, it absolutely works for me. If they can bring it all together with Days of Future Past I will be thrilled.
Caroline: Hah, and while I enjoy Logan/Jean in the movieverse, I don’t do transcendent romantic love or whatever. I accept the perspective that Logan is a bit deluded (but mostly harmless) on this front and decide to love him anyway. And I was only tempted to yell, “Remember SCOTT?” at the screen like once in this movie, as opposed to half a dozen times in X3.
Anika: Scott’s absence works in my little reality because some other piece of Jean is worrying about him. I am VERY SKILLED at making movies work in my head if I decide I want them too.
Caroline: Oh, yeah, I’m definitely cool with Scott and Jean being a different piece of the puzzle. And for this film alone I think it was smart to keep the continuity minimal.
Sam: I love Famke Janssen. When the first announced her for the original X-Men movie, SHE is why I went to the theaters. I’ve been a fan of hers since Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “The Perfect Mate”. I watched that pretty awful Model by Day TV movie for her (and managed to turn it into a sequel to Watchmen in my head). So I was happy she was here, and I hope she is coming back to the franchise as a whole, and that is completely independent of any and all of her relationships with dudes.
Caroline: Yes, that was what I liked best about her appearance. It seemed like a confirmation that Jean’s role wasn’t over. And even though I like the movie more than most people do, I wouldn’t have wanted X3 to be the end for her.
Anika: I love that she was a doctor in X1 and presenting to the senate. I would watch a whole movie about just that. Dr. Grey Goes to Washington. But of course that’s not the kind of movies they want to make so, agreed. I was mostly just happy that she got to do anything — I went in thinking I had seen 90% of Jean’s part in the preview so I was pleasantly surprised that she was more of a factor — and she didn’t disappear, she just sort of walked out the door. That leaves lots of room to return. Also I love “The Perfect Mate” and I am going to include a screencap in this write up. Possibly I have a folder dedicated to just that.
There are 69 screencaps in Anika’s Kamala folder.
Caroline: I am not so up on Famke Janssen’s filmography, though I did kind of enjoy that movie where she’s dating Jon Favreau?
“Love and Sex”. And a kitten.
Caroline: …My obscure filmography of an X-men star exploration has mostly been about James Marsden.
Anika: Final thoughts?
Caroline: One of the reasons I was so frustrated with Wolverine: Origins was that I came away thinking how hard is it to make a good Wolverine movie? Don’t try to tell his whole life story, just send him on an adventure! And this movie did that, with a much better supporting cast than I expected.
Sam: I really liked The Wolverine. I’ve said to a few people that it’s in my top three of X-related movies, and I wouldn’t really feel bad about putting it in my top 5 superhero movies, except there are so many superhero movies now that I probably need to do a full analysis before I commit to that. Anyway, part of that is because Hugh Jackman kills it (ahem) as Logan, and part of that is because this movie didn’t do what so so many (read: all) other superhero movies do: make it a dudefest. Despite having a titular male character, the women in this film were important and strong and independent, and that was great. And the action, as I mentioned, was awesome.
Anika: Thor is my favourite of the MCU films because I’m never mad at it. I enjoyed this film for the same reasons. I had fun watching and I care about the characters. Even poor Ninja Archer.
Hey everyone! It’s a weird week for me. None of the Marvel comics that I’m reading are new this week. I’m not caught up on All New X-Men yet, and… that really would be it for me. Am I missing anything great out of the Marvel universe? I definitely tend to lean more towards DC, so I’m up for suggestions.
I’m on the fence about Satellite Sam; can’t decide if I want to keep reading month-to-month or wait for a trade/collection. I think I may do the latter, which is why I’m not reviewing it this week.
I tend to browse through Comixology, looking for new #1s to check out. That’s how I found Wild Blue Yonder and Change, two very different books that I really love. There are a whole bunch of first issues happening this week, but besides Trillium, I didn’t really take the plunge. Maybe I’m missing out on some great stories, but if a cover is a woman in a ridiculous, corsetted outfit with no pants, and it’s a western (Lady Rawhide) or if the cover is all dudes, written by all dudes, in a story about dudes (Sidekick, Lords of Mars) I’m just significantly less likely to be interested. I read plenty of comics, and most of them are about guys already, or have women in ridiculous outfits. At least with superhero stories I can kind of understand why. But lemme tell you something, artists, if you’re sitting on a leather saddle, you absolutely want to be wearing pants.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Joelle Jones, Nick Filardi (colors), Ed Brisson (letters)
As you may know if you’ve been reading this column for awhile, I checked out Helheim when I was deep in my “omg Fearless Defenders is amazing I want to read all the Cullen Bunn” phase. I love Joelle Jones’ art, and I liked the setting and the story enough to stick with it, especially once Kadlin was introduced. Issue six is the final issue of what I imagine is the first arc, as it ends on a cliffhanger. One that essentially turns my main link to the story, the only non-evil female character, into, well. Not a good guy, I imagine. It’s interesting how much the art can convey, really, because Kadlin went from zero to sinister pretty quickly. I wasn’t completely surprised, but I was hoping for something a little different. I may stick around in arc two, just to see if there’s more to this than meets the eye, but I have to say. Fool me once, amirite?
Earth 2 #15
Writer: James Robinson
Artists: Nicola Scott (pencils), Trevor Scott (inks), Dezi Sienty (colors), Juan Doe (cover)
Remember last month, when I said that the lack of female heroes in Earth 2 was really noticeable? Well, the first half off this month’s book didn’t help. It was Jay Garrick flashing back to the Wonders’ defeat at the hands of the forces of Steppenwolf. And I love Jay, and I love Nicola Scott’s art on this book, especially during the action sequences, but man was I holding out hope for Hawkgirl to show up in some capacity. And she did! And also Barda, who I totally forgot had been introduced in the Annual. So that’s good! Yay! I really enjoy the characters in Earth 2, despite most of them being male, so I would have stuck with it anyway. I’m hoping the next few issues answer a few questions, mostly about the identity of Red Arrow and the new Batman. And in the meantime, Jay Garrick remains my favorite member of the Flash family in the new!52.
Trillium #1 (of 8) (Vertigo)
Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
Artists: Jose Villarrubia (colors), Carlos M. Mangual (letters)
I’ve heard good things about Lemire’s run on Animal Man, and I know people who enjoyed Sweet Tooth, but this is my first introduction to him as a creator. I wish that I had a better vocabulary when it comes to art, so that I could properly describe this style beyond just saying “it’s really good and looks like watercolors and surreal lines and this art is really good did I mention that?”
The story is science fiction with a teeny bit of fantasy, which will always hook me. A scientist in the 38th century, trying to save the last 4000 humans from extinction, stumbles upon a gateway to the 20th century, and a solider who survived World War I. The book is split into the scientist’s story and the soldier’s story, which I imagine will now overlap, since they’re at the same point in time and space. I don’t want to call it too soon, but I’m pretty sure I love this book. It’s got everything I like in stories: science, space, time travel, sentient viruses, time-crossed love stories. At first I was worried it was going to be a little Lake House-y, or too similar to Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (and there are some similarities, but I like The Fountain, so that’s not a bad thing), but it manages to feel like its own story. I’m in.
In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
Which part of your life would you render into a graphic novel if you could?
My answer is going to be a bit self-serving, but I’m going with my curling adventures. I’ve wanted a curling comic or graphic novel since forever. I mean, come on! How has there never been a scene of Alpha Flight just hanging out and curling? Like the old X-Men softball games, only more… Canadian.
I think a curling club would be a great backdrop for comic. You’ve got a hundred (or sometimes hundreds) of people from different backgrounds with very different interests all hanging out together and curling. And drinking. There are a lot of shenanigans at a curling club is what I’m saying. And a fair amount of drama.
On top of that, I like to use curling as an excuse to travel. So I’ve been to some really interesting places that happen to have curling clubs. Plop 8 Americans from the New York Metropolitan area in a small, northern town in Iceland to curl with the locals. You know you’re at least a little bit curious about what that comic would look like.
When I was twenty-five years old I was in an outpatient behavioral health program for not quite two months. It was a big catch-all program so little Susanna Kaysen wanna be me was alongside addicts, women recovering from a variety of eating disorders, a veteran suffering from PTSD and a couple people who had to complete a program while on parole. Ages varied from eighteen to fortysomething, men and women, mostly lower middle class. We had big group meetings, small group therapy, individual therapy, chores, required medication and every afternoon we had to participate in either guided meditation or volleyball.
What makes Orange is the New Black so good is that it highlights the truth that everyone has a story. All the background characters in our lives are the protagonists in their own. I freely admit I was the Piper Chapman of my recovery process: I volunteered to write inspirational quotes of the day on the blackboard each morning. I created a poster board chart illustrating my progress which I brought in and presented to everyone because obviously they would all want to make one, too. And here I am ten years later wanting to write it all down and turn it into the next internet sensation.
It’s okay, I know who I am. My experiences with behavioral health programs and processes helped me. And that is why it should be a book.
Growing up, I was fortunate to have many adventures.
I toured through Italy with my parents.
I lived briefly in Saudi Arabia.
I practiced Chinese martial arts in my Godfather’s dojo.
Then one day, I left my island home for Chicago, and discovered what winter was.
Unfortunately, all of this happened before I reached the tender age of six so I hardly remember any of it. Sometimes, I can get an inkling of a memory when I look at a photograph. For the most part, however, much of this history remains blank. I’m of the opinion that a mark of growing older is fine-tuning the ability to create our own stories. I can only imagine how much richer those self-narratives would be if we could see and experience our early childhood as easily as a graphic novel.
My life is so boring. Why did I volunteer for this Q&A? Actually, my life is so boring and I’m so terribly average (and nothing out of the ordinary has really happened to me besides one time when I fell down a volcano, but that only took about 30 seconds and it would make for a short graphic novel) that when I was a kid I used to daydream a lot. And by “when I was a kid,” I mean, “yesterday I also daydreamed a lot.”
But my junior high school years were especially rough on me, and so I daydreamed a lot in order to make my life a little more bearable. I imagine those are awkward years for most people. For me, I don’t know. It feels like my own personal dark ages, filled with identity-crushing changes in my body, the dissolution of my family and the introduction of bullies to my life. Also most of my friends disappeared into the bigger classes, leaving me feeling really alone and outcast.
So if I were to create a graphic novel, I’d make one of this period. I’d contrast my day to day life, wandering the crowded halls, sitting on the bus, doodling in class… with my very vibrant imagination. So I guess real life in black and white and daydreams in color. Each chapter would move forward in time. Little black and white me would gain weight, get more awkward, and imaginary me would be off on another adventure. I suppose I’d cover sixth and seventh grades, since those were the hardest for me. And that’s good, because my story will get a happy ending. I’ll make friends, I’ll grow up, and eventually my real life will go from black and white to color.
I’m sure you’re asking, at this point, what I’d daydream about. Well, swordfighting, space exploration, time travel, fighting alongside friends, getting my dream girl. The usual.
A lot like this, actually.
So what about you? Which part of your life would you render into a graphic novel if you could?
Hey everyone! So over the past week, I’ve caught up on FF and Fantastic Four. I know there’s a new FF out this week, but I’m not going to cover it because there are a few books I don’t get to read until later in the day. Same with Uncanny X-Force, which is also new this week; I’m halfway through volume 2 right now, which I checked out because of Cluster/Psylocke (I’m easy and always doubly intrigued when a same sex pairing doesn’t get press) and Sam Humphries. Humphries wrote a book called Our Love is Real, and I liked it when I read it two years ago because it played with preconceived notions of sexuality and gender. I think that’s an interesting mix right there, especially when you’ve got a character who used to be one person with one gender and is now three people with two genders (Phantomex). I like it so far, and given my track record with X-books in the last decade, that’s saying something.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Dan Jurgens (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Hi-Fi (color), Rob Leigh (letters), Andy Kubert & Brad Anderson (cover)
Backup feature writer: Frank Hannah
Backup feature artists: Tom Derenick, Hi-Fi (colors), Carlos M. Maneual (letters)
Well, this sure was a comic! Imagine hopping into a time machine, going back to 1991, and buying a comic from your local comic shop. It would cost, like 99 cents, and it would feel a lot like Superman Annual #2, a comic that was allegedly created in 2013. I mean, it ties into the beginning of the Psi War that’s going to happen in Metropolis, the one that they’ve been building up towards in Superman for the past few months, but other than that… and it’s not just Dan Jurgens as the artist. The whole thing, the mix of voice over and exposition and random storytelling, felt, I don’t know. Not stale. But not fresh. Sort of middling. The highlight for me was literally one line, where Lois thinks about Clark as her “Best. Friend. Ever.” I really enjoy that spin on their relationship. And the last page was a great inversion of the now-classic Death of Superman page from 1992, albeit with more sigh-inducing cleavage.
Also there is inexplicably part four of a backup story that’s been happening in Action Comics, which I am not reading. It makes no sense whatsoever to have it in the back of Superman, but here we are. I’m not going to buy three issues of Action Comics just to know what’s going on, and I’m not going to buy next month’s Action Comics just to read the conclusion, so I have no idea what DC’s plan was with this one.
Nothing in this book made me change my mind about the coolering of Lois. I still don’t like it and don’t see the point, even if she’s suddenly got new, psionic powers. I’m not sure I get the point of that either, but if it gives her something to do in the Psi War, I’m willing to suspend my disinterest for a while.
The Wake #3 (Vertigo)
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth (colors), Jared K. Fletcher (letters), Jordie Bellaire (cover, with Sean Murphy)
I’m really enjoying The Wake. It’s a solid horror story with fantastic art. The colors… oh man, the colors. This month felt a lot like a scene out of Deep Blue Sea, which is a actiony horrorish movie you should see just for Samuel L. Jackson. But that’s a compliment, because every underwater horror story needs a moment like this, when the water’s coming in and you’re trapped with a killer sea creature. So there wasn’t a lot of character development here, mostly action. A bit more was added to the mystery, including the story of the Loneliest Whale, an actual thing that actually exists. I love when fiction uses really cool facts from real life to enrich the story.
Captain Marvel #14
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artists: Scott Hepburn, Gerardo Sandoval (pp 2, 12, 13, 18), Andy Troy (colors), VC’s Joe Caramanga (letters), Joe Quinones (cover)
Here we are, the end of The Enemy Within! Carol’s the best. I mean it. She’s just great, and I love her, and the climactic moment made me tear up a little and gosh, I just love Kelly Sue and her writing and everything everything and that this book exists and that Carol exists and I know I’m gushing but there we are.
So Carol makes a pretty big sacrifice to end this whole shebang, and I think this whole shebang would, with a few tweaks, make for a really solid origin movie for Captain Marvel. Not that it’ll ever happen, but if it does happen, you saw it here first.
Fearless Defenders #7
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artists: Stephanie Hans, VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters), Mark Brooks (cover)
I will say this for Fearless Defenders: it has really inspired me to think deeply about comics and minority representation. The first five issues were a lot of fun; I took an almost childlike joy in seeing this team up of fantastic female characters, the beginnings of a potential same sex relationship between two of them, and the great, often funny, camaraderie they had. The book was fun and funny. And then they killed Annabelle Riggs and it all got really serious really fast.
I don’t think this issue solves the problem. I think the art was beautiful, and I will put my faith in the creators to get this story to a place that fixes the issue, but we are not there yet and I hope they know that. Speaking of the art, I think Stephanie Hans’ style suits this issue perfectly, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her continue on the book (even though I think this is a one issue deal).
In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
[Side note: This is one of my favorite questions to ask people. It’s fun and silly, but it gives you an interesting look into a person’s character. Anyway.]
My gut instinct, always, is to say super speed. I am often late or running late, so being able to shave off a few minutes here and there would be really helpful. Of course, even if I had super speed, I’d still always be late.
So I’m going to stick with my old standby for this question: Telekinesis. What I like most about TK is it’s as close to magic as superpowers get. And you don’t have to worry about learning spells or screwing them up (which I’d do all the time).
I remember the moment I realized that there were too many books on this Earth for me to read them all before I died.
It’s probably the day I lost my innocence.
Suffice it to say that if I could have one superpower, it would be reading at the speed of light, and having the brain capacity to hold all of that knowledge.
I realize that it is an entirely selfish power. Oops.
Then again, everybody needs a know-it-all when there’s a crisis, right?
I think for me it’s got to be teleportation. I went to college a long way from home, and it would have been nice to be able to pop home any time I wanted. Now that I’m looking for a job and Boston Apartment, it’d be even more useful. Hang out with my friends and family while applying to jobs, then pop over to Boston for interviews – no planes, trains, or automobiles required.
In fact, I’m getting even more excited about teleportation as I think about it. I could live on cheap, East Tennessee real estate but work in Manhattan. I wouldn’t ever have to pay for a plane ticket or fill up a subway card. I could visit foreign lands without going through customs! I could get into theme parks for free. I would never fall out of touch with anyone, ever. Man. Teleportation is even more awesome than I thought it was when I began writing this post…
Pausing the flow of time would definitely be my first choice. I tend to take on more than I can chew and before I realize it, I’m always asking for more time!
I imagine that it would go something like Zack Morris’ “Time Out” for all you Saved by the Bell fans out there.
My completely-impossible-to-achieve dream is to fly through New York City, to weave in between skyscrapers and soar over miles and miles of traffic. Whether it was on a broom or magic carpet or Iron Man, I don’t care. I just want to feel the wind through my hair and my heart at my throat.
The Avengers made me ache for that experience. Following Tony through the skies was the most exciting part of that movie for me (and given how exciting that entire movie was, you can imagine what my heart rate must have been like).
So, yeah. TL;DR: I want to fly, man.
So what about you? If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Note: I’ve edited this a little because, as someone pointed out on twitter, it’s not up to me to decides what a fan is.
There will be some spoilers in here for the first few pages of Superman Annual #2.
I’m starting to think I should make this a regular column called Oh, DC!. If you read my weekly recaps of comics, follow me on twitter, or know me in person, you know I’m a DC Comics fan. In the sense that it’s that universe, and those characters that I love. I even like most of the new 52! But the editorial staff, the people in charge, well. I don’t know. Since I’ve returned to comics, and since I’ve started paying more attention to the companies themselves, DC has consistently made decisions that leave me scratching my head or shaking my fists.
And that brings me to Superman Annual #2! The preview went up this morning on CBR. I’ve been reading Superman regularly for about a year, enjoying the writing of Scott Lobdell and especially the art of Kenneth Rocafort (who didn’t draw the Annual, more on that later). I know it’s gearing up for a big psionic battle for Metropolis, so I thought I’d check out the preview and see what’s in store.
This is page one:
“Oh wonderful,” I thought to myself. “They fridged Lois. This is going to go well on the internet.” That was my first reaction. My second was “WTF at they thinking?”My third was that we all know she’s not actually dead but it doesn’t matter because look at that page.
I don’t think this was an actual fridging, in the sense that the story seems to be from her point of view and, well, we all know she’s not dead. This is now the third time in as many months that I’ve seen the fake-out death of a female character used to tell a story. It’s like a quasi-fridging or, as Anika said to me when I brought it up to her after Fearless Defenders #7, a coolering.
A coolering uses the same, often brutal, imagery of female death to motivate its main heroes (usually but not always male) and forward its plot, while hiding behind this strange comic trope of “don’t worry, death is never permanent.” It’s like a loophole that is supposed to save creators and editors from criticism.
Except we still see it. They’re still using a woman’s death, even if impermanent. The imagery is there, added to the brains of every person that reads the comic or sees the preview. These comics don’t exist in a bubble, they exist in a world where violence against women is a very real, very serious, very deadly problem, and consistently normalizing it as a storytelling tactic even if you erase it in the next issue, by the end of the issue, or by the end of the arc, doesn’t help anyone. Also sorta lazy story telling at this point, but we live in a world where the white, straight, male hero (or anti-hero) journey is still the most told story. So I don’t expect much creativity from any outlet, comics or otherwise. But I expect a little.
Now, of course, maybe the entire issue will make me change my mind. Maybe Scott Lobdell and the crew at DC are going to subvert the trope, and I’ll walk away from this comic – yes, I’m going to read it – pleased with the end result. Maybe.
Even though DC isn’t the only team doing this, they have so many already-angry fans paying attention to every single thing that happens to Lois in the new 52. There is no way DC isn’t aware of it, right? So maybe this is a response. I don’t think it’s going to win anyone over.
So what are they thinking?
I wish I knew. And that’s just page one. Page two includes a panel of Lois in a shirt that is cut so low it would would not actually contain her breasts. I’m not kidding:
The art is by Dan Jurgens, an artist whom I love dearly mostly for nostalgic reasons (I have a Jurgens-signed “Funeral for a Friend” poster in my room) but it’s 2013 and, I don’t know, . Of course, one page later the shirt is buttoned up another four inches. So that’s some consistent drawing right there.
Credit where it’s due: the dialogue in the preview, particularly between Lois and Clark, is nice. I like reading a story where two adult, heterosexual people are capable of being best friends, even though I think their romance is inevitable because they’re, well. Lois and Clark. And this is only a few pages, I get it. But it starts with a pretty big, flashing sign saying “status quo.”
I say every week that DC makes it really hard to defend them as a company. I love reading World’s Finest, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and have even been getting a lot of joy from the various Superman books, Supergirl, and a few other titles. I love these characters. I love their world. But we’re coming off a weekend where I’m told Marvel keeps a middling-sales title around because of the passion of the fans. And the first thing I see on Monday morning from DC is a dead Lois Lane.
I should have realized earlier that the first four Harry Potter books are essentially mystery stories. Harry, Ron, and Hermione collect clues, J.K. throws us for a twist, and the mystery is solved. I loved the thrill of completing those books for the first time, of being delightfully horrified that Voldemort was attached to the back of Professor Quirrell’s head, or that Mad Eye Moody was Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise. These books proved Rowling has a knack for mystery stories, and The Cuckoo’s Calling is another example of her marvelous talent.
The Cuckoo’s Calling has a distinctly different feel than Rowling’s last novel, The Casual Vacancy, although it’s hard for me to put my finger on the reason why. It may be because so much of TCV’s plot was concerned with social commentary—while I sympathized with those characters, and very much enjoyed the book, it was impossible to forget that the novel had very prominent political and cultural connotations. With Cuckoo’s Calling, the characters are just as real, just as compelling, but Rowling seems to have re-immersed herself in the joy of pure storytelling. Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are easy to root for—each is clever, brave, kind, and flawed.
The point of view is a close third, Rowling’s standby, and the chapters alternate between focusing on Robin, Cormoran’s temp secretary who has always secretly desired to solve mysteries, and Cormoran himself, the detective who is also a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. The novel is populated with a colorful cast of characters that Cormoran and Robin encounter as they investigate the death of supermodel Lula Landry, ranging from the designer who claims Lula was his muse to Cormoran’s beautiful and volatile ex-lover Charlotte (who’s a sure bet to turn up in the sequel arriving next summer!). The book is a quick and engaging read, and reaching the final pages and discovering whodunit was an utter delight, and if it didn’t completely blow me away, it was still a satisfying and unexpected conclusion to the novel. The Cuckoo’s Calling isn’t a masterpiece, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery romp, and does an excellent job of establishing two main characters that readers will be excited to hear more about in the coming installments.
Also present in the book are some telltale signs of J.K.’s stances on social and political issues, and, as always, she is very progressive. You’d never know it from the American cover (that’s an issue I’d like to take up with the publishers), but the supermodel in question is half black. It shouldn’t be a big deal that the beautiful, successful, revered, and widely mourned young woman at the center of this novel is a person of color, but somehow, even in 2013, it’s not something that happens very often, and I can’t help but love Jo for the fact that Lula isn’t white. Further, the fact that it was hard for Lula to be raised both mixed race and in an adoptive family isn’t glossed over—it’s a key issue in the book. Jo’s never been afraid to challenge norms, and one of the joys of this book is that she adds progressive elements to her story flawlessly. Characters addicted to drugs or on welfare are depicted unflinchingly and with compassion, with all the full reality of their humanity.
And so, even though I said just a couple of paragraphs ago that this book isn’t a political commentary in the way that The Casual Vacancy was, it does have vital social themes that run beneath the narrative. The same is true of Harry Potter—just think of S.P.E.W., the power of love, or the pointless prejudice against those who aren’t pure bloods. I know that J.K. Rowling wanted to stay Robert Galbraith a little bit longer, and I can certainly understand why. I know I can never understand the pressure that she must go through every day, especially when she is publishing something that has nothing to do with Harry Potter. But I can’t be sorry that having her name attached to this book has increased its sales 507,000%, because that means more people will read it. Small steps like acknowledging the issues of growing up as a mixed-race person in popular fiction, in MEGA-popular fiction, is a big deal. You only have to look at the Cheerios commercial from a couple of months ago to see it. At the same time, it’s not the POINT of the book, which I also love, because it means Jo has normalized it. The point is that The Cuckoo’s Calling is a very fine book—one that, in my opinion, is the first in what is going to become a beloved series of mystery novels.
Happy Wednesday everyone! July sure is a long month. I thought Fearless Defenders #7 was coming out this week, but it turns out it’s next week. I’ve written up some thoughts on the events of #6, mostly about the creator reaction to fan concerns, but I want to wait for #7. So look for that next week!
In other news, I’m dropping The Green Team. I actually kind of liked it, but not enough to keep it around when I had to make room in my budget. I’ll check it out when prices drop and/or my budget expands. The Trinity War is in full swing this week, with Justice League Dark and a tie-in from Constantine. If you’re reading the event, let me know how you’re liking it. I wish I could keep up, but there’s no way. I’m hoping it becomes a collection on ComiXology at some point, which seems to be their version of trade paperbacks. Sorta. Anyway, there are some events ramping up at Marvel too, but as the only person in the universe who pays more attention to DC than Marvel, I’m not really sure what they are (I think Infinity and Battle of the Atom?).
Stuff I’m reading this week that I’m not going to write about, because plenty of other people will: Lazarus #2, Hawkeye Annual #1, and Young Avengers #8.
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Eddy Barrows (pencils), Daniel HDR (pencils & inks), Geraldo Borges (pencils & inks), Eber Ferriera (inks), Rob Leigh (letters), Blond & Pete Pantazis (colors), Kenneth Rocafort (cover)
One of my least favorite part of comic books is the weird need for exposition about what happened in prior issues. I’m not talking about a reference to something and then an asterisk with an editor’s note. I mean multi-panel rehashes of events from several issues leading up to the current one. It’s in this month’s Superman and it’s annoying, because I’ve been reading the damn book. It feels like filler at best and a waste of story at worst. I’d like to think we comic readers are pretty good at picking up story information from the story itself, and not from thought bubbles filled with old art and bad exposition.
Anyway. This is the start of what’s apparently going to be a psionic war between Hector Hammond and Braniac over the fate of Metropolis. I actually like the idea of Hammond as an enemy to Superman, because Superman is a physical superhero, and is neither equipped nor trained to deal with extremely strong mental attacks. They mention this a few times in the issue. I don’t like the actual character of Hammond, though. But that may be the giant head thing. I do not like giant heads.
The art takes a downturn, since Rocafort isn’t doing anything internally in this issue. I seriously hope he comes back. His fantastic style and layouts made Superman a superior book.
I’m a sucker for a Superman-to-Clark (or vice versa) transformation scene.
Journey Into Mystery #654
Writer: Kathryn Immonen
Artists: Valerio Schiti, Jordaie Bellaire (colors), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letters), Jeff Dekal (cover)
You know, it’s really too bad this series is ending. The guys on the House to Astonish podcast made a good point: they really should have started renumbering the book when it shifted to Sif. It would have given the book more of a chance to strike out on its own. But oh well, done is done, and we only have one issue left after this month. I know Sif will continue on in other books, but this one has a great blend of action and comedy that is really rare in comics.
So in this penultimate issue of Journey Into Mystery, Sif and Beta Ray Bill are still in outer space, dealing with an ark ship and Gaea’s mysterious illness, which has mysteriously disappeared. And the death of Bill’s ship and girlfriend, which has been, well. Sort of a two birds with one stone solution happens. Sif tries to get a newly-recovered Gaea to leave and head back to Earth, but she’s having none of it. Not a good sign. Eventually, Sif goes for a space walk and Beta Ray Bill (and Ti Asha Butt… not kidding, so hilarious) encounter a mutated Gaea. To be concluded in the final issue! Sad.
My favorite panel was extremely hard to choose, because Schiti’s art imbues these characters with so much depth and humor and adorableness to match Immonen’s story. But eventually I picked one.
Wild Blue Yonder #2 (of 5)
Writers: Austin Harrison (story), Mike Raicht (story/script), Zach Howard (story)
Artists: Zach Howard, Nelson Daniel (colors), Thompson Knox (letters)
The art on this book. Man do I love the art. They use Ben-Day dots! Not everywhere… sometimes for shadows, sometimes for highlights. It works. It’s great. It feels like I’m reading a pulp comic, but it has a very modern feel at the same time.
So it’s training day for Tug, the miner’s son that the crew of the good guy’s airship picked up last time. Training day mostly means using a jet pack getting your body smashed against various parts of various planes, but it’s a lot of fun to watch because, in case I didn’t mention this, the art is great. The Firefly vibe for the crew carries through to this issue, as post-training, Tug sits down to watch Bambi with fellow Gun (the jet pack guys) Scram and some of the kids, while Cola (the awesome female pilot) watches.
There’s also a really fantastic scene with Judge, the bad guy, at an about-to-be-abandoned mine. I’m happy we’re seeing more of him, because he’s my biggest question mark in the series.
I think this book was on Kickstarter at one point, and let me say that I’m really glad that it got funded and that IDW decided to publish it so I could find it on ComiXology. I’m going to be really sad when it’s all said and done. Luckily, we’ve got four more issues.
Mass Effect Foundation #1 (of 13)
Writer: Mac Walters
Artists: Omar Francia, Michael Atiyeh (colors), Michael Heisler (letters) Benjamin Carré (cover)
I love Mass Effect. For those of you who aren’t gamers or aren’t familiar with gaming at all, Mass Effect is a science fiction video game trilogy. Mass Effect 3 was released in 2012, and I have played through the entire series four times. That’s about 200 hours of play time for each run, give or take. Why? Well, your experience is really customizable. Not only in character creation (and you can play a female hero, which is even more rare in video games than it is in comics), but your choices can make a difference. Your love interests can be different (sometimes members of the same gender… again, more rare in games than comics). Members of your party can die because of decisions you’ve made (or haven’t made). Side characters can die. And the writing is so good that you care about each and every one of them.
Dark Horse has been putting out Mass Effect comics for a few years, mostly miniseries or one-shots that fill in story holes in the games, such as what takes place between the prologue and the main events of Mass Effect 2. As far as I know, this is the first ongoing series set in the universe, focused on new characters but still written by a series writer. So I thought I’d check it out.
I’m not sure how great this comic would be for a non-fan. The reveal on the last page literally made me flail with excitement, because now I know the series focuses on a character whom I not only love, but have been dying to know more about. Without that, it’s a science fiction comic about an assassin in space and a shadowy organization you don’t know much about, and the art isn’t awful but isn’t anything mindblowing. Is it still readable? Sure, probably. Big Tim, over at Giant Fire Breathing Robot, thinks it’s an accessible first issue and he’s never played the games.
Honestly, if you’ve never encountered the Mass Effect universe before, and you’re interested in getting started, this is probably not the best way to do it (hit me up on twitter or in the comments; I’d be happy to guide you). But it’s a solid first issue.
In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.
What is a favorite fantasy book series?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
I don’t love this series. I find about 80% of the last book annoying — the entire Mary the scientist subplot is Just Not My Thing and the end is somehow both rushed and drawn out with all of the resolution, for every character, centered on how much it sucks to resolve things. Or how much it sucks to TRY to resolve things because actually nothing is resolved because LIFE.
Still, however sweeping, too ambitious, and overwrought the series can be I find the characters terribly engaging. I really like everybody — bear, witch, fairy, villain. Lyra’s a great heroine. And Marisa Coulter is maybe my favourite character in all of literature.
I love her. I can’t explain why without spoiling it but it is my opinion that Marisa Coulter has the best arc of any antagonist in any book series ever.
P.S. I want a golden monkey of my own.
I’m going to take this space to gush about a series I LOVE that has been on hiatus since 2007! It’s The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch, and it’s absolutely amazing. The first two books, The Lies of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies, were released in 2006 and 2007, respectively. As far as I know, they got a lot of love from fantasy nerds but never really broke-out into being wildly popular. The third installment, The Republic of Thieves, is due out this Fall, and I am so excited I can hardly wait. I need to get started on my re-read of the series before the new book comes out, but in the meantime I’ll do my part in supporting the creation of a Scott Lynch fan club by telling you fine people all about it.
The series takes place in the city Camorr, based on medieval Venice, and follows the exploits of the Gentleman Bastards, a gang of elite criminals – thievery, disguise, all of the good stuff – who also have a particular penchant for stealing from the rich. It’s like Ocean’s 11 but with magic and cool people and a killer love story. I’ll admit that I am a sucker for heist stories, and this one is even more fabulous because it’s been expertly transplanted into the fantasy genre. I’ve been waiting for this third book since I was sixteen, and the last couple of months seem like they are going to take forever!
You can check out Scott Lynch’s website here and his blog here.
First, I’d like to give a little shout out to my runner up: The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen Lawhead, which is a historical(ish) fantasy series about, well. Arthurian legend (you’re going to notice a theme if you keep reading). It starts with the destruction of Atlantis, and actually ends in modern times… thought the last book of the series is only semi-related. It’s essentially another retelling of the familiar stories, in the vein of Mary Stewart or T.H. White.
Okay, but my favorite series is The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper; hands down, far and away, my favorite fantasy series of all time. It’s also one of my favorite series of all time. I first read it when I was about ten years old, and I reread it yearly.
So a brief overview… it’s getting to the end of a millennia long battle between the forces of good and evil, and a bunch of British kids – some with magical abilities, some without – get caught up in events that are tied to English folklore and Norse and Welsh mythology. And Arthurian legend, my first love. There are five books in the series, and a lot of the plot centers around the kids finding various Things of Power to bring to the final battle. I actually read the second book, also called The Dark is Rising first. It stands alone really well, and is probably my favorite book in the series.
This series really ignited my love of all things Britain, which up ‘til then had been a little spark of “Arthurian legend is cool.” Cooper does such an amazing job describing the landscape of southeast England, Cornwall, and Wales that it felt like I was there, adventuring along with Jane, Barney and Simon Drew at the seaside, with Will Stanton in Buckinghamshire, or with Bran Davies on the Welsh hillsides (this descriptive awesomeness is one of the reasons my runner up is my runner up).
As with all the best books, parts of the story have stuck with me and become a part of who I am. I can recite the entire prophetic poem (“When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back…”); I used to write it over and over again in the margins of my notebooks. And I often say to myself “tonight will be bad and tomorrow will be beyond imagining” when a night feels particularly mysterious or mystical. Obviously those mean nothing to you if you haven’t read the books, but… you should read the books.
If you have any interest in British folklore or mythology, or Arthurian legend, you will probably enjoy this series. If you don’t, but you enjoy fantasy and/or young adult fiction, at least check out the second book. It won the Newbery Award in 1974 and consistently shows up in “top 100” book lists.
And let us never ever ever speak of the movie “adaptation” ever.
This one is a no-brainer. My identity as a fangirl and as a human being is tied to my answer to this question.
Storytime! When my twin sister and I were 9, she picked up a book from the school library. That book was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. She started reading it one day and finished it by the next day. Yara loved it. Loved it. She was consumed by the world that J. K. Rowling lovingly created. So much so that she re-read the book four times in one week.
You might be wondering why in the hell she would have re-read the book that many times. Our friends in that fourth grade class were wondering the same thing.
Classmate: You’re still reading that book? I thought you read super-fast!
Yara: I finished it five times. It’s a really good book!
Classmate: Yeah, it’s a really great series.
Yara: Yeah, I r–wait, WHAT DO YOU MEAN SERIES?
So Yara was unaware that there were two more books out there for her to read and four more to be released. You can imagine her euphoria.
Yara on the night of the 6th book release. She was an “undercover Auror”. She was lazy.
I indoctrinate kids I babysit at an early age.
From then on, our lives revolved around those books. Harry Potter did more for me than anything I’ve ever read. They were more than just books. To me they brought happiness, self-esteem, an escape from the pressures of reality, and a moral compass by which I would judge all my actions on. Hell, Harry Potter brought some of my best friends into my life. I will never, ever be thankful enough to Rowling for giving me an identity to be proud of.
Awesome, right? I promise I’m not casting Morsmordre.
Harry Potter themed 21st Birthday Party. Can you say Quidditch Pong?
So what about you? What is a favorite fantasy book series?