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Graphic Novel Book Clubs' June Discussions

Both the Downtown and Mission Valley branches of the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Clubs met this week to discuss their June reading choices. As usual a great time was had by all, including baked goods!

In fact, the Downtown group stepped up their game, thanks to the efforts of moderator Randy who brought numerous Locke and Key-themed goodies, including a cake with a beautiful icing treatment and chocolate covered keys. There were also some pineapple/chocolate lollipop type thingies to enjoy. Hey … it’s a book club. Food will somehow be involved.

Randy's Locke and Key-themed Goodies

Let them eat cake! The Downtown Book Club's Locke and Key-themed baked goods, courtesy moderator Randy.

As you probably guessed the Downtown club’s June book was Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Moderator Randy led the group through the first pertinent question: Who liked the book and who didn’t. Most of the members liked it, some loved it and declared they couldn’t put it down and also went out and purchased the remaining volumes in the series, because they couldn’t wait to find out how it ended. All agreed it was a great story, filled with amazing characterizations, good pacing, and cinematic storytelling. A few readers objected to the horror genre in general, and the violence of the piece, two or three mentioning how it may have been a little too similar to what is sometimes seen on the nightly news. A lot of the readers loved Gabriel Rodriguez’s artwork and his attention to detail, while one in particular felt that the art was too detailed and not enough left to the reader’s imagination. Some people singled out the interaction and great characterizations of the family, although one person questioned whether a 15-year-old girl would act that way, but he was countered by the mom in our mother/daughter duo of club members who attested that yes, she would, indeed (much to her daughter’s good-natured embarrassment, sitting right next to her). One reader pointed out that this was the first book she read exclusively on a digital platform (her iPad) and upon seeing the printed book she felt the book looked much better, even though she enjoyed her digital experience.

The Downtown group will be reading Fray by Joss Whedon, Karl Moline and Andy Owens for July. August’s book is Level Up by Gene Yuen Lang and Thien Pham. The club also picked their selections for the next three months: Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 1: Ultimate Collection by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday (Sept.); Hellboy: Conqueror Worm by Mike Mignola (Oct., the perfect Halloween book!); and Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.

Fables cupcakes

Fables-themed red velvet cupcakes baked and decorated by moderator Christy.

This month, the Mission Valley Book Club delved into Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton, and Sherilyn van Valkenburgh. With moderator Christy leading the way, the discussion got off to a great start … this was the first graphic novel for the club that was unanimously enjoyed! Everyone thought that this idea for a graphic novel was a great one and the conversation quickly led to a discussion about adapting Fables into a TV mini series. Everyone agreed they would watch it and even started to cast which actors would play the lead characters. Without someone who disliked the novel, the conversation was a very different one, but one that was enjoyed by everyone … almost as much as the “Rose Red” velvet cupcakes that were beautifully baked by moderator Christy. The Mission Valley club is still definitely leading when it comes to baked goods, although the Downtown club made a distinct comeback this month.

Next up for Mission Valley in July is Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven and Sara Picelli. Their August choice is Get Jiro! by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose and Langdon Foss. The MV group also picked their next three choices for September, October, and November. They are: Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Sept.); Chew, Vol. 1: Tasters Choice by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Oct.); and The Unwritten, Vol. 1: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Nov.).