Space Opera + Graphic Novel = wonderful

Saga Volume Four by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

As I have previously mentioned, I love Saga. It’s an amazing series which I’m getting depressingly close to being caught up on.

The general pitch for the series is two planets have been at war for generations when a soldier from each side fall in love, marry and have a child which should be impossible. Governments across the galaxy are frantic to get their hands on the baby. The series followed the family as they struggle their way through parenting, marriage and being on the run, but also the people who are hunting them.

If you haven’t read it and are going to, stop here with this recommendation: It’s amazing.

After this point there might be spoilers for the last three books.

Volume Four starts with Prince IV’s son being born, while he is off world wasting time on Sextillion (the sex planet), Alana struggling with her newly established acting career, Marko fumbling his way through being the stay at home parent and The Will’s sister The Brand looking for a way to wake him from his coma.

In addition to the beautiful graphics in this book, the complicated characters and intriguing plot there is also a very basic, human story too. What it means to in a relationship, how easy it for every day stresses to come between people who love each other. What being part of a family means, the good and the bad that love can drive you to. What it means to be a parent and have to put someone else’s needs before your own all the time.

Just a heads up – there’s a lot of mature and graphic content of all varieties – violence, sex, drugs  it’s all in there.

The series is amazing though. I really recommend it.

Last movie I watched:

Part of Deadpool. I love it.

Last TV episode I watched:

Smallville. It’s got a lot of evolution as a show. I think it’s a good thing.

 

Slip into Batman

The New 52 Batman Superman Vol 2: Game Over by Greg Pak, Brett Booth and Jae Lee

I found myself without a book one day, so I picked this up.I really enjoyed it, it was very fun but looking back on it now, a few weeks later, it wasn’t very memorable.

The three major stories in this graphic novel are as follows: 1. A child genius inadvertently gains control of Batman and Superman through a computer game and has the beat the snot out of each other 2. Batman and Superman are both required to bring members of their family to Warworld to battle it out with each other in order to save the earth 3. Huntress and Powergirl come from a different reality to get help for Powergirl and other Kryptonians who’s powers are out of control.

While there were some really fun parts, particularly Batman/Superman banter and a few moments of interaction between their families, the story is mostly finagling situations for Bruce to hit Clark or vise versa. That’s what made it no memorable to me. I like character driven stories, not fist driven ones. Having said, I had a good time with this book.

Batman makes me happy.

Last movie I watched:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I gotta read the book.

Last TV show I watched:

Medici Masters of Florence. I’m on the first episode – show me what you got Netflixs and Rob Stark

The other side of the Second World War

A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson

This is an amazing older children or young adult book about Berlin after the end of the Second World War. Now, previously my history on that subject is a little dicey. As I recall it went something like “And then the Allies won the war and divided up Berlin with a wall, which was eventually torn down but we’ll cover that later in the semester”. We didn’t.

Gerta’s Papa and brother cross the into West Berlin one night to see if there’s a job for Papa there, away from the censorship and depression of East Berlin. That night, the Soviets  put up a fence, cutting Gerta off from half her family. Slowly over the next few years it turns from a fence to a wall to a manned wall and an overbearing state presence that controls every part of her life. One day she sees her father watching from the other side of the wall and he’s trying to tell her something, a way to bring them all back together. But it will mean becoming an enemy of the state and risking not just her life, but her family and friends as well.

This story is an incredibly moving depiction of a young person dreaming in a world that crushes dreams. Obviously the subject matter is a little complicated and if you’re not reading it with your child or your class you should still be prepared to have a talk with your young person about the historical context and the effects of war more broadly. This is a serious story, with only the lightest touch of humour in it  but a really moving and genuine, particularly focusing on the strength of relationships between people in hard times and that keeps it from being totally depressing. Also, the writing is very on point – if you’re not feeling nervous for the whole last half, I’m not sure you’re a human.

I strongly recommend this book (seriously) and I would recommend it even if it didn’t seem quite timely, given the current political climate. In today’s context, I think it’s even more important as a study in empathy, sympathy and for its unwavering conviction that people who do bad things are not always bad people but desperate ones and that people will defend their families no matter what the risk. This power shouldn’t be underestimated.

Last movie I watched: I have no idea. It might have been Home. It might not have been.

Last TV episode I watched: Smallville. I missed the season finale for this season (8 I think). I have to say, it’s very edge of your seat excitementy.

 

 

Tiny Owly

Owly: Tiny Tales by Andy Runton

This is basically a baby chapter book (seriously, I watched a baby try to read it this morning). I’ve previously reviewed Owly and I don’t have a lot more to add to it. Owly is great for earlier readers because it’s basically a graphic novel but instead of text it’s got pictographs of sorts – mostly punctuation and the occasional picture image so it really helps teach early literacy skills to children with very little letter knowledge. There’s lots of opportunity for decoding, literacy skills like page orientation and narrative understanding without getting the frustration of letter knowledge and phonetics. Obviously it’s a stepping stone book, and your kid should grow out of it, but particularly for struggling readers, Owly is a great place to gain confidence and prepare for their future of prolific reading when at present, things are a little challenging.

Last movie I watched: Home I think. Very sweet although apparently no one’s favourite Pixar. I loved it though.

Last TV episode I watched:

Smallville. One of the things I love most about this show is how many women are on it (no tokenism here) and that they are friends with each other, not rivals (or even if they are, they’re still friends), not enemies but friends.

7 Evil Ex Boyfriends

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley

This is another one that I read months ago. I really liked it and understood how it became such a classic. It probably won’t  be my classic, but that’s okay. I support other people’s classics too.

Also, I feel really sorry for Knives the whole time.

Last movie I watched:

Die Hard 2. Not genius but fun!

Last TV show I watched:

The first episode of the Crown. Love it.

Hilarious comic book fun, in unexpected places

The Tick # 1,2 and 4 by Ben Edlund, Eli Stone, George Suarez, Bob Polio and Dave Snyder

This is going to be a shoddy post. I’m really sorry about that. It just is.

I read these comics almost eight weeks ago when I was sitting in my (then) new, tiny, tiny apartment a week into a new job. Since then I’ve moved to a new tiny apartment and am about a month into a different new job.

Mostly what I remember about these comics is that they were hilarious. I really, really liked the one that Superman guest starred in because it was just full of hard core satire of comics in general, not particularly Superman. Full of clever word play and comical sketches, they were way more fun to read then I thought they would be. Picked them up for free somewhere and really didn’t have high hopes for them. So the laugh out loud was pretty great.

I don’t know what else you want from me. It was too long ago. I’m sorry. Life is hard and complicated.

Which is why comic books are great.

Last movie I watched:

Cool Runnings! I love that movie!!

Last TV show I watched:

I have no idea. Haven’t watched any since I moved. It might have been North And South? Does that count?

Value Village Comic Books

Superman 204 by Brain Azzarello, Jim Lee and Scott Williams

Rai and the Future Force 9 by Bob Layton, John Ostrander, Sean Chen and Kathryn Bolinger

Eternal Warrior 9 by Mark Moretti, John Dixon and Paul Autio

Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder 2 by Frank Miller, Jim Lee, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair

Superman Action Comics 728 by David Michelinie, Tom Grummett and Denis Rodier

The Silver Surfer 85 by Ron Marz, Ernie Stiner, Tom Christopher, Hen Bruzenah, Renee Witterstaetter, Craig Anderson

This blog post is going to be lame. I’m just going to be upfront about that.

I read these comics weeks ago, but then I once again became an unemployed librarian (contract up, out of my home, squatting with friends, squatting and settling, driving places, sleeping on couches, job applications, interviews, etc) so blogging just didn’t happen. While I like to think I had some clever thoughts about these comics at the time I read them, I have no idea what they were.

This Superman was super broody as our hero confesses his guilt about how he can’t be everywhere for everyone. I guess broody Superman is a nice change, and as usually I love Jim Lee’s drawings. By far, my favourite part.

The Future Force I have no context for, at all but it seemed like a cool concept, even though I don’t understand what’s going on. Old school ethnically diverse cast. You know, in an awkward stereotype kinda way.

Eternal Warrior was like Highlander, but not as wonderful. Maybe it’s the cat people. Whatever. I actually would read this one for the story.

Batman and Robin I have conflicting feelings on. Jim Lee illustrations, so that’s a plus. I don’t know how I feel about Frank Miller’s Batman and Robin series. It’s Dick’s origin story but Bruce takes the “I’ll torture him” approach to shaping his sidekick. Which I don’t love. It felt too cruel, and maybe a little forced. Or at least, not in line with my Bruce Wayne. But that’s how comic books work right? Everyone gets to pick their own stories.

This Superman Action Comic was actually just an adventure of Manman, because Superman has no powers. It was fine, if a little plodding. It’s probably a better read if it’s read in it’s arch.

Silver Surfer featuring the Xmen? Whatever. Crossovers are all well and good, but I didn’t love it, probably because I was missing too much of the story.

So, now that I’m unemployed, I’m going to be blogging a lot more. Should be fun.

Last movie I watched:

Pitch Perfect 2! Not as good as the first one, but still pretty excellent!

Last TV episode I watched:

Game of Thrones. Rewatching, with people who haven’t seen it yet. THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT’S COMING.

Also I’m catching things I missed before. That’s cool.