Here's What We Read in February!
Our Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Clubs warmed up the chilly, rainy month of February with some brand-new reads!
The Downtown book club dove into the Mignolaverse with a reading of a non-Hellboy entry into the world of Mike Mignola, Baltimore, vol. 1: The Plague Ships, written by Mignola and Christopher Golden, and illustrated by Ben Stenbeck with color art by Dave Stewart. The story of Lord Henry Baltimore, who fights vampires and zombies after a devastating plague following World War I. Everyone loved the Gothic feel to the storytelling and art, and Stenbeck’s work was singled out as being totally in-step with Mignola’s work and a worthy addition to the whole Mignolaverse. As usual in anything he colors, Dave Stewart’s color work was spot-on with an evocative palette that perfectly suited Stenbeck’s line art. Readers loved the WWI setting and the symbolism of the dead rising from the broken battlefields of Europe. And everyone was wondering what would have transpired if Guillermo del Toro directed a Baltimore movie, with endless possibilities based on his two Hellboy translations to the big screen. Some readers mentioned that this was a textbook example of perfect graphic storytelling, too.
March’s book for Downtown: the appropriately titled March, vol. 1, written by Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell.
Jeff Lemire and Emi Lennox’s Plutona is a superhero Stand By Me, a graphic novel about a group of kids that find a dead superhero in the woods. Moderator Lupe led the Mission Valley Book Club through an exploration of the characters and how each member related to them. What does it say about a person who relates to the outcast, or to the mean girl? Many personal stories were shared and it is always interesting to see how people’s past experience shape their view of a certain graphic novel. Everyone agreed that they loved the art and story and wished there was more!
Next month Mission Valley takes a trip with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds.
The North Park group’s February pick was Deadly Class, vol. 1 by Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and it was a great change of pace from stories involving dystopia, time travel, and magic. Juan moderated the meeting and brought fun, sugary treats resembling the ones consumed by the characters during a drug-induced road trip.
Many members thoroughly enjoyed the story of deadly assassins-in-training and found it easy to read in one sitting. Although it started out slow, it was appreciated that the story didn’t dive in to the action immediately. The art was well received and the group’s favorite part was the road trip, since the colors were so striking. Despite the inclusion of typical teenager stereotypes and cliques, the book represented the time without being overly obvious with '80s references. However, in many ways, it felt timeless and relatable, but with a twist since the story had a heavy amount of violence. The majority of the group expressed interest in continuing on with the series.
Next up: Castle Waiting, vol. 1 by Linda Medley.
This month, the La Jolla group took a different approach to our readings as we selected two graphic novels, one of which was entirely new and the other which was a continuation of a previously read series. The first book discussed was Andrew Maclean’s Head Lopper. The story follows the adventure of the Viking warrior Norgal as he is hired to defend an imperiled kingdom from monsters and defeat an evil sorcerer. The group felt the artwork stood out, providing a whimsical aura for this fantasy adventure and everyone enjoyed the carefully choreographed action sequences.
The second book discussed was Letter 44 vol. 2: Redshift, written by Charles Soule with art by Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque. We continued the story of President Stephen Blades as he prepares the United States for a potential alien invasion while a dispatched team of scientists and military personnel travel to space to assess the true threat level of the extraterrestrial visitors. The group really enjoyed the storytelling, as the action easily transitioned between events on earth and in space. Some members liked the political aspect as the president navigated between war preparation and diplomacy with world leaders and people within his own government. Others liked the sci-fi quality of the space mission, as the crew interacted with each other and the aliens. The group enjoyed this series so much that we plan on reading the next volume in the series later in the year.
Next up for La Jolla: The Authority vol. 1 by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and Saga vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
You Can be a Part of Our Book Clubs!
Interested in joining in on the discussion? We’ve started a fifth Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Club at the Encinitas Library! If you’re a San Diego resident, above the age of 18 and looking for a friendly place to discuss comics and graphic novels, this could be for you! Click here for more details. The deadline for submitting a membership application is Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.