April Books from Our Book Clubs!
The Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Clubs welcome our latest addition at the Encinitas Library for its very first book club recap! Here’s what all 5 clubs read in the springy month of April …
This month the Downtown club immersed themselves in the Dark Horse Originals graphic novel ApocalytiGirl by Andrew MacLean. Ernie lead the group in a lively discussion about Aria and her cat, Jelly Beans, who explore an abandoned city in search of an ancient relic. MacLean, who is both writer and artist, created a colorful and joyous world not often seen in an apocalyptic story, layering wonder and sentimentality into an action packed and often dangerous adventure. Members particularly admired the color and lettering for their ability to set the unexpected tone and enjoyed the many spectacular action sequences. There was much discussion regarding the process and vision of a story told by a single creator and the ability to rely on familiar sci-fi and apocalyptic elements while still managing to tell a unique tale. A few readers commented that the sound communicated in the story was so entertaining that they would enjoy reading it while listening to a soundtrack, with one member even going so far as to listen to the arias referenced in the story. While ApocalyptiGirl was reminiscent of many things we have seen and loved in this genre, it was agreed that MacLean took us on an imaginative journey that is all his own. Join us in May as the Downtown club reads The Vision, vol. 1 & 2, by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta.
This month Mission Valley read The Divine written by Boaz Lavie and illustrated by twin brothers Tomer and Asaf Hanuka. The inspiration for this novel came from Tomer and Asaf’s obsession with real life child twins Johnny and Luther Htoo, who in the ‘90s led the God’s Army guerrilla group in defense of their land in Burma. Legend says the boys also had magical powers.
The group’s general consensus was that despite it being a page-turner it was a simple story that left us with more questions. However, the majority of us loved the artwork and that’s what really drew Lisa, the moderator, to the book in the first place. The drawings were so delicate and fine and the color popped vibrantly on every page. There were many brutally violent scenes throughout the book but it wasn’t too off-putting because the art was so spectacular. The group still found quite a bit to talk about and it was a lively discussion and one of our biggest group turnouts in recent memory.
In May, Mission Valley will read Lake of Fire by Nathan Fairbairn.
In April, the North Park Book Club read The Vision, vol. 1 and 2 by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles. Moderator Jonathan, who also nominated the book, started the evening by asking the group to share specific panels and dialogue they enjoyed. One panel highlighted was of the Vision communicating with his wife Virginia about domestic matters while battling a super villain. The group shared their appreciation of how King made the effort to continuously tie-in and call back various elements presented at the beginning of the story through all 12 issues. The group then discussed whether or not being familiar with the Vision and Marvel comics had affected their experience reading the books. and agreed that the books did a great job of introducing enough of the Vision’s nearly 50-year-old history so that the story could be approached and appreciated by all readers.
The conversation then moved onto a discussion about one of the themes of the book: integration. The group debated whether humans would be able to co-exist with Synthezoids like the Vision and his family some day in the future. Some members likened the experience to living next door to an atomic weapon while others acknowledged we already do live alongside androids in some areas around the world. Later, the group took some time to explain which member of Vision’s family they empathized with most. A case ended up being made for all 5 members of the Vision’s family—the Vision, his wife Virginia, his son Vin, his daughter Viv, and his dog Sparky—showcasing how fully-formed and multi-dimensional these characters were written. Lastly, the group talked about whether they found the ending to be unsettling or hopeful.
Nearly all members commended the book for its art, its overall story, its themes, its accessibility, and for telling a different kind of superhero story.
Up next, the North Park Book Club is reading Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido.
This month the La Jolla group decided to read two books, Archie Vol. 1 by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples and Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla. We decided as a group to discuss both books together since they both come from the Archie universe. When asked to choose which one we liked better the group was split between the two. We thought both were a nice fresh take on the original comics and especially liked the story line of Archie’s dog Vegas in Afterlife. The group enjoyed the artwork but noted that it was noticeable when the artists switched midway through volume one. Overall the group enjoyed both books, feeling that it was relatable to all age groups, and many plan to continue reading.
Next month La Jolla will be reading I Hate Fairyland and Letter 44 Vol. 3.
The Encinitas group kicked off its inaugural discussion with the first volume of Greg Rucka’s Lazarus. Even though some elements of the story seem to follow some familiar science fiction tropes, the group agreed that Lazarus is engaging, intriguing, and leaves readers wanting to know more. Some book club members noted that the concept of families controlling the world seemed frighteningly close to a real-world possibility, especially given the corporate specialty each family focuses on. The artwork was a subject of universal praise by attendees, especially in the area of facial expressions. One book club member also noted that protagonist Forever’s body positioning is a great representation of the strong figure she is, with her feet planted firmly in a power position in every scene. Forever’s potential star-crossed romance with a rival Lazarus, Joacquim, was also a hot topic of discussion, and there were more than a couple hopeful comments that the relationship between Forever and Joacquim will deepen as the story progresses. Overall, the first Encinitas book club discussion was a stupendous start for the group, laying the groundwork of comradery amongst its members. Next month the group will tackle Mark Waid and Alex Ross's Kingdom Come.