Graphic Novel Reviewlettes

Posted 1 March, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 24 Comments

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Comics in February was a blast! I love this month so much and spent many hours curled up with graphics as well as taking many trips to various libraries. I feel like I didn’t make a dent in what I wanted to read for the month and am sad to take back so many unread books back to the library. Some I’ll pick up again for Nonfiction November and hopefully I’ll remember to sprinkle them in throughout the rest of the year.

My apologies in advance for throwing all of this into one post. Reviews on 10 books would be like 4 months worth of blogging for me and I wanted to make sure I gave at least a little of my thoughts on each book. If you’d like to see more of my thoughts on any of these books (in a full post), let me know and I’ll add it to my list. I’ll definitely be talking about Blankets in more detail.


Bayou - Jeremy Love

Bayou by Jeremy Love | Published: 2009 |  Pages: 320 | Genre: Fiction/Fantasy

Quick Take:  Set in 1930s Mississippi, Lee Wagstaff’s father is accused of kidnapping a little white girl. Little Lee journeys to hell and beyond to find the monster that snatched her friend.  There are currently two volumes of Bayou published (of what will be a three volume series), and I cannot exclaim my love for Bayou loud enough. Gorgeous and haunting illustrations, sharp and puncturing writing. A story that was difficult to read but even more difficult to put down.

Bottom line: A must read, but brace yourself going into the reading. Love does not shy away from showing all of the hateful truths of racism and early twentieth century civil rights.

On Amazon | On Goodreads | Additional Thoughts


Anya's Ghost

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol | Published: 2011 | Pages: 221 | Genre: Fiction

Quick Take: Anya is a nearly normal teenaged girl, except she is a Russian immigrant trying to fit into an un-diversified world. She meets a ghost who helps Anya fit in better with her school peers…but at what cost? I loved the black and white illustrations of Anya’s Ghost but ultimately this one ended up just so-so for me.

Bottom Line: Not the worst of the bunch (there really isn’t a “worst”), but not my favorite either.

On Amazon | On Goodreads


march book one

March: Book One by John Robert Lewis | Published: 2013 | Pages: 128 | Genre: Memoir

Quick Take: In this first of a three part trilogy, Senator Lewis looks back at key moments of his childhood and the beginnings of his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. March: Book One takes a specific look at the Lunch Counter sit-ins and the Non-violent groups. I didn’t always love the artwork–it was very sketchy–but many of the images were incredibly evocative.

Bottom Line: Such a powerful story! Of course I learned about the Civil Rights Movement growing up but certainly not in this detail. As soon as all three volumes are available in a single publication, it will have a place on my shelf.

On Amazon| On Goodreads


fables by Bill Willingham

Fables: Legends in Exile (v1) by Bill Willingham | Published: 2002| Pages: 127 | Genre: Fantasy

Quick Take: The characters from our favorite fairytales and myths have been transplanted from their own Happily Ever After world into our own. Even though sometimes at odds with one another, the characters must come together to help solve the gruesome murder mystery of one of their own. Not your children’s fairy tales!

Bottom Line: Perfect for fairytale or myth enthusiasts. Reminiscent of the popular show Once Upon a Time, but this series certainly isn’t the copy cat. Lots of fun–though I’m terribly intimidated by how many volumes are in the Fables series.

On Amazon | On Goodreads


blankets by craig thompson

Blankets by Craig Thompson | Published: 2003 | Pages: 592 | Genre: Memoir

Quick Take: Largely centered around a youthful first love affair, Thompson also grapples with his homelife and his religious journey–I would argue that this book is as much about religion and God as it is about romance. The illustrations are fantastic–spanning from delicate to grotesque. As with many graphic memoirs I’ve read, there is a bit of sex and nudity.

Bottom Line: I absolutely adored and loved Blankets. This maybe reaches the top for my favorite graphic book. Stunningly and heartachingly gorgeous.

On Amazon | On Goodreads


over easy by mimi pond

Over Easy by Mimi Pond | Published: 2014 |Pages: 272 | Genre: Memoir

Quick Take: Scrambling to make ends meet while in art school in the 1970s, Margaret joins a caricaturized cast of misfits at a popular hipster diner. Sex, drugs, and fitting in are big themes in Over Easy. Perhaps this is just a case of “truth is stranger than fiction?”

Bottom Line: I found Over Easy to be entertaining but forgettable.

On Amazon | On Goodreads


Aya of Yop City

Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet | Published: 2008 | Pages: 118 | Genre: Fiction

Quick Take: Apparently this is the second chapter in a published volume. Shame on me for not doing more research on Aya before consulting the library. Anyway, set in 1970s Ivory Coast in Africa, Aya of Yop City detailed the soap operaesque lives of Yop’s citizens. A bit funny, a bit sad, entirely colorful, entertaining, and intriguing.

Bottom Line: I’ll definitely be seeking out more Aya! In full volumes this time (there are two–Life in Yop City and Love in Yop City).

On Amazon | On Goodreads


age of license by lucy knisley

An Age of License by Lucy Knisley | Published: 2014 | Pages: 189 | Genre: Travel/Memoir

Quick Take: A little bit of coming of age, and a little bit of travel, a little bit of romance, a little bit of reality–mixed together with mostly black and white art with some gorgeous water colors mixed in. There’s something amazingly fresh and vibrant about Knisley’s take on life–even as she recognize her extreme privilege.

Bottom Line: I was entirely annoyed with Lucy after reading French Milk but An Age of License totally solidifies Lucy as someone I can relate to and could probably be friends with. So, put this one in the “adore” category with Relish (though Relish still tops the cake for me)

On Amazon | On Goodreads


Holy crap I’m tired. Ha!

Are there any above that you’d like to hear more about?

What graphic novels/comics have you read lately?



24 Responses to “Graphic Novel Reviewlettes”

  1. These look and sound great! The last time I read a graphic novel was when the author (Christopher Fowler) of a favourite series of mine (Bryant & May) released one as an aside for the series. I really enjoyed reading it too, despite not often dipping into the world of graphic novels.

  2. Love your list, Trish! Those books sound good, and I’m so glad you loved Blankets! That’s one of my favourite reads! :)

  3. Looks like you had quite a fine Comics February, Trish!!! I’m with you–so many books I’d really hoped to get to but didn’t. :( Admitted defeat a few days back and returned a whole stack to the library, but just couldn’t bring myself to return them all (going to try to fit this last stack of 10 or so in before I have to return them). Was so glad to see yours and Memory’s conversation the other day about Aya on Instagram–it made me go dig deeper into their order and found I had the first and third volumes checked out instead of the first and second. Our branch didn’t carry the second (amazing how often that sort of thing happens, and I totally don’t get it), but was able to put hold on the second from another branch. (Those are three that I haven’t read yet but couldn’t bear to return quite yet.) Anyway, you’re in for next February, right? :D

  4. Ahhh, so much goodness here! :D I’d love to check out Bayou and March. Blankets, hooray! I think that was the first graphic novel that I ever read so it holds a special place in my heart. And it’s just stinking GOOD. Oh, and it takes place in Wisconsin too. Now I want to read it again, lol.

    I have some graphic novels (El Deafo and the last 3 volumes of Saga) that I’m trying to hold off on reading until the next readathon in April. (It’s hard to resist them as they call my name from the shelf…)

  5. You’ve piqued my interest in Blankets! I’m definitely going to check it out at work on Monday.

    I just finished Roz Chast’s graphic memoir, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? It was a quick read, but it was so sad in so many ways. Reviewing coming soon.

  6. Ha, I just reread my post on Blankets. I didn’t care for it and everyone tries to assure me that I’m truly not ‘dead inside’. too funny.
    I could maybe try Bayou or March. These appeal to me of this list.
    Or I could just admit that this style is not for me.

  7. So many comics! I am so jealous Trish! I am almost up to date with Lumberjanes and started Bitch Planet. I also read Strong Female Character, which I can continue reading as a webcomic :D

  8. Blankets is one of my absolute favorite graphic memoirs, along with Persepolis and Maus. I have Bayou and Aya on my TBR. I should try to get to them soon. I liked Anya’s Ghost, but I agree with you – there are several better graphic books.

  9. Ooh, I’ve just added more Graphic Novels to my list thanks to your post! I especially am intrigued by Aya. I actually just checked out the Lucy Knisley book. I loved French Milk (although I totally understand what you mean about being annoyed with her) and Relish so I have high hopes for this one.

  10. Aya looks awesome. I need to track it down. I read and loved March and can’t wait for the rest of it. I actually loved the sketchiness of it.

    And Lucy Knisley is one I can’t believe I haven’t picked up yet.

  11. I read five graphic novels in February. My thoughts on them are on the blog today. I meant to read more graphic novels. In fact I still have a bunch. More will show up in March I’m sure.

  12. Oooh some new to me titles here. Yay! Hope you love Fables. I’ve been reading it for a couple of years but hope to be caught up before the end. Anya’s Ghost … I know I read and reviewed it but can’t remember it. I guess that says something.

  13. I am working through Fables, too. I have volume 3 and 4 here waiting for me. And Age of License too! I just put a hold on Blankets – it sounds good.

  14. Great round-up! These all sound good, but I guess I’ll just add Blankets to my list for now. Have you read Stitches by David Mitchell? I remember that as being kind of shocking in its brutal honesty about his bad childhood. (I should read it again, obviously, as that’s all I really remember!)