After finding it difficult to sit and concentrate on novels early on in the summer (I blame the heat), I decided to dedicate July and August to catching up on all of the Graphic Novels I’ve been wanting to read, but haven’t had a chance to get to yet. It was refreshing to read something light and fun, and I flew through so many of them that I quickly lost count! In no particular order, here’s a rundown of a few of the good, and not so good, titles that I devoured!
Archie by Mark Waid, illus. by Fiona Staples
I have been DYING to read the new Archie ever since I found out that it would be illustrated by Fiona Staples, and I was not disappointed! Her illustrations were absolutely gorgeous, and combined with Mark Waid’s writing, the duo have revamped a treasured classic in a fun and fresh way, while still maintaining the charm that has entranced fans for generations. My only complaint? That Fiona Staples didn’t stay on the project to do more issues! Will I read more? YES!
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Cliff Chiang
I love Brian K. Vaughan…I really do! But Paper Girls fell a bit flat for me. Having read and LOVED every other work that Vaughan has written, I was surprised by how lackluster Paper Girls felt. I think some of this disappointment stems from the fact that for some unknown reason I thought Paper Girls was going to be a murder/mystery. I have no idea where I got this notion from, but I’m guessing it stems from all the Library Journal reviews I read for work. Anyways! I was all in the mood for a mystery, but that’s obviously not what I got. The story instead focuses on a group of paper girls dealing with a strange alien/time traveller invasion. Even when I realized it was Sci-Fi, a genre that Vaughan excels in, I still couldn’t get into the flow of the story. I’ll still give the second volume a chance though, as I can see several areas where the story line holds potential.Plus, its apparently a good read for fans of Stranger Things (which I haven’t watched myself yet).
Rating: 2.5 Stars
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
Although I was initially hesitant to pick this one up, the number of glowing reviews I kept reading online pushed me to take the plunge and check out The Nameless City for myself. The reviews did not lie. With its bright and colourful illustrations and intriguing story line, The Nameless City is a great read for middle graders and teens alike! The story focuses on a city that is constantly conquered by various nations who wish to control its valuable harbor. When the son of one of the most recent conquerors befriends a street girl named Rat, the two embark on an adventure that was entertaining to watch! I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment!
Rating: 4 Stars
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
I’ve been dying to read Sunny Side Up ever since I heard that it was a great read-alike for fans of Raina Telgemeier! The illustrations and general tone of the story were definitely reminiscent of Telgemeier’s graphic novel style, and I ate it all up! While light and fun at times, the overall story does subtly focus on the serious issue of substance abuse, and the authors do so in a way that kids will easily be able to understand. My only complaint is that I was left wanting more at the end. I’d love to read more about Sunny and her family in the future!
Rating: 4 Stars
Black Clover Vol.1 by Yuki Tabata
The perfect read-alike for fans of Naruto and Fairy Tail! Black Clover takes place in a fantasy world where magic is a normal part of life, and at the age of 15, most citizens receive a unique grimoire to help hone their magical skills. Asta is a young orphan, who dreams of one day becoming the greatest mage in the kingdom by claiming the title of Wizard King. There’s only one problem, Asta doesn’t possess any magic. In fact, he possesses anti-magic! This doesn’t stop him, however, and he soon finds himself battling his way to join the order of the Magic Knights. A fast-paced, amusing, and adventurous story that I couldn’t put down!
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
I haven’t been hearing much about this adorable graphic novel online, but it deserves way more attention than it has been getting! Awkward is a charming, lovable, and downright cute story with characters you can’t help but love! The story focuses on Peppi, a middle grade student, who is starting a new school and is determined not to get noticed by the mean kids. She fails on the first day when she trips in the hall, and is subsequently helped by the school nerd. The story that follows is heartwarming, as Peppi learns what it means to be a friend, and discovers her own inner strength to help end a hazardous club rivalry in the school. A must read for any Raina Telgemeier fans!
Rating: 5 Stars
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Vol. 1 by Ryan North, illus. by Erica Henderson
I’ve been loving all of the female power graphic novels that have been coming out lately, like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, and Batgirl, so when I found out about Squirrel Girl I was really excited. Not only did it sound amazing, it was getting a lot of rave reviews from critics and fellow bloggers alike. Unfortunately, while the narration was humorous, the art was bright and colourful, and the main character was endearing, I failed to feel a connection to the overall story. I’m hoping that will change with the next installment.
Rating: 2.5 Stars