Books

Book 549: No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics – Justin Hall (Ed.)

I randomly stumbled across the Kickstarter for the documentary version of this book. So of course I had to see if the library had it and it was in the one near me so I walked down and got it at lunch. It was a quick read and covered a wide variety of comics.

I mean 40 years in LGBT/Queer history covers so much from AIDS to decriminalization to marriage to adoption rights to the wonderful coming of age of trans* comics. (For more information on the asterisks check out this graphic (It’s Pronounced Metrosexual link). The anthology did a great job by dividing the comics into three era’s of queer comics:  1) Come Out: Gay Gag Strips, Underground Comix, and Lesbian Literati (1960s-1970s); 2) File Under Queer: Comix to Comics, Punk Zines, and Art During the Plague (1980s-1990s); 3) A New Millennium: Trans Creators, Webcomics, and Stepping Out of the Ghetto (2000s-today?). I listed all of the authors at the end of this post because they all deserve credit in this wonderful anthology.

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Books

Book 412: Are You My Mother? – Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, Alison - Are You My MotherAfter re-reading Fun Home for book group I dove right into the follow-up Are You My Mother? As much as I enjoyed it and ultimately identified with it, it didn’t live up to the magical experience of Fun Home. It’s hard to say whether this lack of magic was a result of the intense navel gazing or the less compelling surface emotional story. To be honest it could be the daughter identifying with mother as this is an experience/story that I will never experience in the same way.

This being said, the story was still eloquently and humorously told! The graphics were just as poignant and detailed as those in the original. I enjoyed the complete color shift from the green-gray to the red, especially when Bechdel revisited scenes from her earlier work and the emphasis changed slightly. The book list in Are You My Mother? wasn’t quite as long as Fun Home but it was still pretty impressive at 38 separate works listed.

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Books

Book 411: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel

Bechdel, Alison - Fun HomeI first read Fun Home in undergrad after my friend Mia gave me a copy not long after it came out in paperback. (I’m pretty sure it was paperback and I’m pretty sure it was Mia. I wasn’t so great at tracking who, when or where books came from back then…oh the olden days :-D)

Either way, I remember thoroughly loving it that first time I read it. I even went out of my way to read Camus’ A Happy Death after I finished even though I have very little recollection of it now other than these quotes I saved on a proto-blog I had that I’m pretty sure it was called East Coast Traditional Meets West Coast Casual or something like that (I stole it from a furniture magazine.)

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Books

Book 393: Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Sony Liew - Sense & SensibilityI have finally made up for lost time. The downside is I’ve read them all now 😦 The upside is that I now want to turn around and re-read them, but I will wait a bit. It’s not like I don’t have a full shelf of Austen fan-fiction waiting on me, or that I still get to read Pride and Prejudice for Jane Austen Book Group this year.

With Marvel Illustrated’s Jane Austen books, this was the third and final illustration style. I’m not sure which is my favorite because they were all unique and each had their own drawbacks, so maybe I don’t need to pick one. I will say Marvel Illustrated and Butler got it right with all of the covers except Northanger Abbey. Which is even stranger because the cover I like the most, #4, from Sense & Sensibility doesn’t look like the illustration style inside!? It probably doesn’t hurt that the illustration cover for #4 makes me think of Wuthering Heights instead, or at least the idea of the Brontë sisters on the moors. The rest of the covers are more representative of Liew’s illustration style.

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Books

Book 388: Emma (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler and Janet Lee

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Janet Lee - EmmaBefore I conquer Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, I decided to read the Marvel Illustrated version of Emma. If you’re not aware, Emma is my least favorite of Jane Austen’s novels. (Gasp! Horror!) This being said, I’m getting ready to read my first manga which also happens to be Emma, so maybe I’ll find something to enjoy in the story.

I will start that having already read Northanger Abbey, also adapted by Nancy Butler and Janet Lee in the Marvel Illustrated series, it made reading this one a bit easier. I think a large part of this is a direct response to the cover art of Northanger Abbey, it was so different from Lee’s illustrations. This one had the same illustration style for the story AND the covers. It definitely helped and didn’t set up any false expectations.

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Books

Book 381: Northanger Abbey (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler & Janet Lee

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Janet Lee - Northanger AbbeyI’m so glad I’m on Austen overload this year. I’m not really sure what I do on the years I don’t read this much Austen. Does that actually happen? I should start tracking my Austen reads in addition to everything else I track.

This is the second of the Marvel Illustrated Jane Austen series and I have to say I’m impressed so far. Butler knows how to reduce down the stories to their key elements without losing any of the wit and humor Austen infuses into her work. I preferred the illustration style of Hugo Petrus from Pride & Prejudice versus Janet Lee of Northanger Abbey. Which is interesting because I know it took me a while to adjust to that style, maybe when I read Emma, also illustrated by Lee, I won’t have as many issues. All of this being said, I really enjoyed this adaptation.

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Books

Book 371: Pride & Prejudice (Marvel Illustrated) – Nancy Butler & Hugo Petrus

Butler, Nancy, Jane Austen and Hugo Petrus - Pride & PrejudiceI had a vague idea these adaptations existed, but I’d never encountered one in the wild until I read Jane Austen: Cover to Cover and went out of my way to visit a comic book store to look for one. I got lucky on my second try with Comicazi in Somerville, but they only had the one. (Hub Comics in Somerville was also great, but didn’t have any in stock.)

What truly strikes me, having finished this in one commute to and from work, is that doing a bit of research I’m not surprised I didn’t know these existed. Butler in the introduction talks about how these titles came about for Marvel Illustrated (full list of titles available under the imprint) and mentions that she said they needed to do some for young women and girls. When I did a bit of research I found that the imprint was only active from 2007-2011 and they didn’t finish Jane Austen’s novels 😦 However, I did find out there’s another imprint, Classical Comments, has WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Let me repeat this one more time, there is a are multiple graphic novel versions of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.

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