GeekeryDo

image comics

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: DEAD WEIGHT: MURDER AT CAMP BLOOM and BINGO LOVE

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment
dead weight murder at camp bloom cover.jpg

Dead Weight: Murder At Camp Bloom by Molly Muldoon, Terry Blas, and Matthew Seely

To be released April 2018. 

If you enjoy a good murder mystery, this book is definitely for you. Served with body positivity, diverse characters, and beautiful art and coloring. A group of teenagers at a weight-loss camp witness a murder at the hands of a counselor, but can't identify exactly which one. Now they can't trust any of the adults, but they still intend to find the killer and bring them to justice. Great characterization and design really make this story shine. Great for fans of Lumberjanes or any other away camp setting in their comics.

cover by Genevieve FT

cover by Genevieve FT

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San, et al. 

Released Valentine's Day 2018. 

Hazel and Mari met as young teens, become instant best friends, and fall in love at exactly the wrong time. Their families don't accept their love, and they go their separate ways, start "traditional" families of their own, and begin to grow old. Decades later, they meet again at the same place they met the first time around - church bingo. Is it fate? This beautiful romance spanning a lifetime explores love at different stages of life, the needs and desires of older women which are frequently under-represented, and how attitudes and conventions have changed over time. 

Comics Review: ODDLY NORMAL vol. 1 by Otis Frampton

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

"Meet Oddly Normal, a ten-year-old girl with pointed ears and green hair—a half-witch who will be the first to tell you that having a mother from a magical land called Fignation and a father from Earth doesn't make it easy to make friends at school! On her tenth birthday, she blows out her cake's candles and makes a disastrous wish. Now, Oddly must travel to Fignation to uncover the mystery of her parents' disappearance. Join Oddly as she navigates a strange new school, monstrous bullies, and Evil itself on an unforgettable fantasy adventure through the vibrant world of Fignation in ODDLY NORMAL."

Our heroine Oddly is half-witch, half-Earthian. The Earth she lives in isn't really magic-infused or anything at all, though: Oddly doesn't attend a Hogwarts-like school, and her mother is totally incognito. But her green hair and pointy ears scores her a lot of unwanted attention. Frampton doesn't hold back at all with the bullying theme in this series, and he created a main character who feels out of place everywhere: even at home. This Earth, in direct similarity to Dorothy Gale's world in The Wizard of Oz, is characterized by dull and drab color schemes (browns and greys and blues) and some gloomy weather. Everything about it is dreary.

On her birthday, she's frustrated, and says a few things she didn't mean, and suddenly her parents are gone. In the course of this book, she's transported to Fignation, which is the magical world her mother came from, and dives into a whole new set of experiences, including attending a new school, now with odd children who bully her for the opposite reason as before - she's simply not odd enough.

Once Oddly is in Fignation, things change for the reader, too. We start seeing some truly stunning background artwork filling the panels, with dreamy color schemes and funny little cameos - just as we experienced the change to vibrant color when Dorothy landed in Oz. I spotted nods to various classic horror stories, and even a twisted sort of homage to Totoro. If you know your fairy tales, you may spot a few references here and there, too, including a sign marking/labeling Yellow Brick Road and a delightful little tribute to Peter Pan. Fignation is all about what's in your imagination, and the stories we know about here on Earth.

The pacing is rather quick, and some of the characters are over the top, but I think it only adds to the experience. After all, our main character is a 10-year old whose life changes in the course of an afternoon. That isn't to say the story is rushed: we still get to meet key characters, including a few misfits who befriend Oddly at her new school in Fignation. There's a hopeful tone by the end of this book - an indication that despite being thrust into this new, unknown world that has always been kept from her, Oddly's probably going to be alright. And she'll get to explore her heritage, which is an angle I enjoy.

This book collects the first five issues of Oddly Normal, and is a full-color, 128-page paperback. It's going to be released March 11th for MSRP US$9.99. I read this digitally and in advance thanks to Diamond/Image on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. If you do pick up this book and end up loving it, you can read Oddly's continuing adventures issue-by-issue, starting with #6 slated for release April 15th.

Bite-Sized Book Reviews: RAT QUEENS, SECONDS, and UNDERSTANDING COMICS

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

Welcome to another comics-filled edition of Bite-Sized Book Reviews.

Rat Queens vol. 1

I can't really gush enough about this book and how obsessed I am with it right now. And it's a weird kind of obsession - I'm waiting for trades, because I want to own it in pretty editions I can put up on my shelf. So I'm waiting - patiently.

This book is about the Rat Queens, a 4-lady team of mercenaries who kick some serious butt for money. Or pleasure. It's got this fantasy setting, not unlike Lord of the Rings, or World of Warcraft, or Final Fantasy... lots of fighting, magical monsters, and our main team has a basic fantasy game party setup.

I love everything about this book - it doesn't lack in depth despite the super high level of fun (it gets a little dark), and also I really want to cosplay as Violet sometime next year. "Sass and Sorcery" is basically the perfect title for the first trade.

The team: Kurtis J Wiebe (writer), Roc Upchurch (art), Ed Brisson (letters), Laura Tavishati (editor).

Seconds

Seconds is about a 20-something girl, Katie, who is rather successful, but has some anxieties about a new restaurant she wants to open, her love life, and other things. They get the better of her when she learns she could turn back time to try and fix some of her past mistakes, and of course, things get out of hand. The story goes to some extremes - Katie really makes a mess of things - but I thought it was interesting. Why should she be rational?

In our own heads, we've probably all imagined ourselves trying to fix things, big and small, about our past, and have wondered how it would affect our future. In this book, we get a look at how differently some things might pan out. It gets a little scary.

I liked this story because it speaks a lot to where I am in life right now. I'm taking steps towards something bigger and better, and it's easy to get lost in all the doubt.

Recommended! Team: Bryan Lee O'Malley (art and story), Jason Fischer (art assistant), Dustin Harbin (letters), Nathan Fairbairn (colorist).

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

I read this book on recommendation of folks I work with at Book Riot and Panels. It's a great introduction to the history of comics, and an explanation of the kind of story-telling devices that make up the panel layout on the pages of a comic book. It helped me understand some terminology better, and was fantastically thorough, even including European and Japanese comics in the scope of its explanations.

This book is really dense with information, and it took me a while to read through it. That isn't to say that Understanding Comics is a drag - it's fantastic, and rich. It was nice to read a comic that was designed to teach, with Scott McCloud's character giving me a one-on-one lesson on all of the things he had to say.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to get a better understanding of where comics come from and gain a deeper appreciation for storytelling through sequential art.