Archive for book of the month

Book of the Month: Hopeless Savages Greatest Hits

Hopeless Savages
Greatest Hits

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Jen Van Meter‘s Hopeless Savages follows former punk rockers Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage and their four kids through all kinds of adventures — from the everyday to the exotic. With art by a revolving selection of Oni Press favorites — Andi Watson, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Ross Campbell, Chynna Clugston and Christine Norrie and more — it’s constantly fun and surprising.

In all honesty, I’d forgotten about Hopeless Savages until I saw Oni Press was releasing this collection (this is even despite owning a couple of the books). I don’t think I’m alone in that, sadly.

I do remember how fresh this felt when first came out. Maybe it’s just a matter of my perception, but I do feel like this was a predecessor for a lot of comics we’re seeing. That’s nothing but a good thing.

I’m happy to see this comic get its due and find a legion of new fans as well as get rediscovered by some of us old ones.

Book of the Month: Dolltopia


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Abby Denson lives in New York, makes comics and plays music. I think that was basically my dream life when I was 16 (and in all honesty, it doesn’t sound too bad to me now). Clearly, she’s awesome.

Dolltopia (2009, Green Candy Press) is the story of dolls that run away to a society where they can be whoever they want — they’re not stuck in the roles the factory gave them. Kitty Ballerina dyes her hair hot pink and cuts up Army Jim’s camouflage jacket. Jim, on the other hand, dons a kilt. The other dolls they meet are welcoming and encourage individuality. There are multiple outfit changes, a couple of helpful cats, and plenty of fun as the dolls find a permanent home where they can all be themselves. Yes, there’s a message of acceptance of others and yourself, but it’s never heavy-handed. Mostly, it’s just way too much fun.

Denson’s rock and roll sensibility is prevalent in her playful art and the black, white and pink color scheme. I don’t want to cut up my book, but it also comes with paper dolls that allow you to dress up Kitty and Jim in all their fabulous outfits. What’s not to love?

Really, nothing to do with Dolltopia and I’m almost sure I’ve posted it before, but I will use any excuse to share the “Teen Boat” theme song. You will get it stuck in your head for days and not necessarily be unhappy about that.

Book of the Month: Scary Godmother

Scary Godmother

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For real this time!

OK, I know this book isn’t quite out yet, but it’s October. How can I not be recommending Jill Thompson‘s Scary Godmother?

It’s spooky, but in an all-ages friendly way. It’s delightful and cute, and Thompson’s art is always gorgeous. And there are recipes and craft projects!

I’ve often lamented that it’s a shame Scary Godmother lapsed out of print because it’s a wonderful title and one more people need to discover. I am beyond delighted that Dark Horse is publishing this and I can’t think of a more appropriate time for it to be coming out.

Buy it to celebrate Halloween, October and all things spooky and fun as well as one of the best artists making comics today.

Book of the Month: From Girls to Grrrlz

Part of me hesitates to recommend this since it’s out of print (you can, however, still find copies), but Trina RobbinsFrom Girls to Grrrlz: A History of Women’s Comics from Teens to Zines (1999, Chronicle Books) is an essential read. Even with all the changes that the past decade has brought, it’s still an important overview of 60 years of comics aimed at women.

Robbins’ prose is smart and sparkling — this book is a quick read but also incredibly informative (dazzle your friends with fun facts about how legendary creators like Joe Simon and Jack Kirby wrote and drew many romance comics!). Robbins, of course, also covers women’s contributions to the underground comics scene of the 1960s and ’70s (something that I don’t think gets enough attention) and discusses titles like Love and Rockets and Strangers in Paradise as comics created by men but still featuring prominent female characters and perspectives.

The design of the book is fun — lots of comic images splashed across the pages and phrases highlighted — but it can be a little too much at times. Still, this isn’t mean to be a dull, academic read but rather conversational and playful.

Obviously, I think younger women and girls who are just getting interested in comics will find a lot to like here. But even if you like comics and know quite a bit about them already, you have nothing to lose by seeking out this book and reading it.

(Robbins herself may still have a few copies left for purchase, and there are some available through Amazon resellers. But also check your local library — mine has it on the shelves.)

Book of the Month: Tamara Drewe

Tamara Drewe

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Ooops. OK, it’s not so much that I forgot to do this yesterday. Well, I mean, I did forget, but it’s more that right now, you’re lucky I know what month it is. To expect me to know what day of the week or what date is it is kind of beyond my abilities at the moment.

Written and drawn by Posy Simmonds, Tamara Drewe follows the interconnected lives of various characters who all encounter the titular character, a former small-town girl turned beautiful scenster journalist. (Link goes to the Guardian page where you can read the whole thing online.) It’s probably not what you expect it to be. Simmonds explores plenty of ideas, from the male gaze to the power of women’s beauty to society’s obsession with the media, in a fun combination of prose and comics. It’s a great one to hand to your friends who are ambivalent about comics but it’s also a great one to read yourself. I found myself engrossed and surprised by this one.

The upcoming movie seems to take a little bit different approach the material, but I’m still looking forward to it.