“Graphic” violence and unicorns

fairyland1In anticipation of my Spooktober reading list, I decided to kick back and spend the last few days of the month catching up with some graphic novels. Just yesterday I finished the first volume of I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young, and it was fantastic. I enjoyed it so much, I am seriously considering getting everything he has ever been involved in. This includes the adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and illustration work for Neil Gaiman’s Fortunately, the Milk.

I Hate Fairyland is a tale of little girl who finds herself trapped in the magical land for twenty-seven years, fruitlessly trying to find the coveted key that would take her home. Naturally, the former innocent child becomes bitter and violent, and chooses to go through with her quest by wielding a battle axe and slaying as many cuddly critters as she can.

What I loved about the first volume was the great stylized illustrations, reminiscent of street art, the adult language disguised by hilarious puns, and a great variety of supporting cast of characters, each pocking fun of fairy tale tropes all too familiar in pop culture. If you have a twisted sense of humour, and can withstand obscene amounts of cartoon violence, I highly recommend you check it out right away. I can hardly wait for the next volume to come out on December 13th.

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For my next graphic novel selection I went with a kind of tasting platter, to see which series I might want to stick to in the future.

First up is Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos. I have seen this one circling around YouTube quite a bit, and it seems to gather very positive reviews. In a highly original way, the creators blend both fantasy and western genres to spin a tale of Death’s own daughter. Seems like a very promising start to me.

My second choice fell on The Massive, Vol. 1: Black Pacific by Brian Wood, Kristian Donaldson, Garry Brown, and Dave Stewart, which to be honest I have never heard of. The premise is what sold me. From the publisher: “In this first volume of Brian Wood’s new, sprawling postapocalyptic epic, follow the crew of the Kapital from the flooded remnants of Hong Kong to Unalaska, with stops in Antarctica and Mogadishu, as post-Crash ethics and economics are explored across a broken world.” You had me at Antarctica. If done right, this series could be a winner in my book.

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez has been on my radar of what seems to be eons. Being written by Joe Hill himself, the series received quite a coverage from both the literary and the graphic novel fans. I’m not sure why it took me so long to finally get to it. Perhaps it has something to do with the two thousand other titles off my tbr, competing for my attention. Wouldn’t this be the perfect thing to read for the season, though? All I know about Locke & Key is that it features a strange house with lots and lots of spooky rooms, each holding a secret. It’s Joe Hill, so do I need any further explanations?

Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Okay, so I’m cheating a bit, because I’ve read this one before. To my defense I don’t remember the subtleties of the plot, but would love to continue on with the series. Personally, I will gobble up anything written by Brian and illustrated by Fiona, and this will be evident to anyone patient enough to get to the end of my post. In a nutshell, Saga is… well… a saga about a couple and their baby being caught up in the inter-species war, featuring man/television hybrids, body-less hookers, assassin spiders, and other such oddities. Once I refresh my memory, I am planning on checking out Volume 2 right away.

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Am I the last person in the world who have not read Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan (!), Pia Guerra, and José Marzán Jr? Contrary to the popular belief, this is not a story about death by snu snu, at least not for now. Instead, we are introduced to the world where all Y-chromosome carriers go extinct, and Yorick, a probable last human male, must find the answers to the mysterious plague.

Another oldie, but goodie on my list is Fables, Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham, Craig Hamilton, Steve Leialoha, and P. Craig Russell. I read the first three volumes some time back, and left it off on a pretty good cliffhanger. I am rooting for Snow White and Bigby Wolf. Also, have you noticed how none of the covers make sense until you read the contents? Kind of like this blurb…

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (!), Cliff Chiang, and Matthew Wilson is relatively new to the scene, being released this year, but is quickly gaining popularity thanks to the reputation of the creators, the 80’s nostalgia, and kickass female leads. In a way the suburbia-meet-supernatural themes gives me the Stranger Things vibes. Just look at those bikes! The art looks to be bright and bold – right up my alley.

And finally, last, but not least, Descender, Vol. 1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen caught my eye thanks to its cover. It reminded me of Extant or A.I. Artificial Intelligence. In fact, the cover artwork looks to be heavily influenced by the poster for the Steven Spielberg’s film. From the publisher: “One young robot’s struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. A rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey that pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling space opera from the creators of Trillium, Sweet Tooth, and Little Gotham.” I’m curious to find out more.

  • Have you read any of these graphic novel?
  • Are you a fan of Brian V. Vaughan like I am?
  • What is the answer to the ultimate question?
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