November Books from All Six Clubs!
November was a busy month for the six separate groups of readers in the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Clubs, as Encinitas came online and had their first discussion meeting!
Downtown tackled the first 2 volumes of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s world-building epic, Lazarus in November, covering issues 1 through 9. Moderator James led the discussion through this dystopian future Earth which divides the population into 3 classes: Families, Serf, and Waste in an arrangement of financial boundaries. Each family includes one Lazarus, an enhanced protector. The titular Lazarus of the Family Carlyle is Forever, the magnetic and charismatic lead character of the series. Members enjoyed the strong female character of Forever, and commented on how the technology involved in the story all seemed possible. The art by Michael Lark with color by Santi Arcas really reinforced the grim, bleak future world. Readers felt the storyline and the entire world built by Rucka was rich and engaging. Those who had read the original issues (or the Deluxe edition) enjoyed the extra material in each issue that added immensely to the whole story.
Downtown will read all 3 volumes of Uzumaki by Junji Ito to jumpstart 2018 on a horror note in January.
Mission Valley read The Jekyll Island Chronicles (A Machine Age War) by Steve Nedvidek, Ed Crowell, and Jack Lowe, and illustrated by J. Moses Nestor and S. M. Miller. JIC blends historical fact with alternate history with a storyline taking place right after WWI, in a “dieselpunk” setting. It brings together real people such as President Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Nikolai Tesla. Moderator John led the discussion on this book, which the club enjoyed, particularly the historical setting and the art. The fictional characters and how they interacted with their “real” co-stars were also enjoyed. Most members would like to see the series continue and would like to read a sequel.
Mission Valley will finish their reading of the March trilogy by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, with volumes 2 and 3 in January.
The La Jolla Group decided to dive into the Batcave this month and read both Batman Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson. The group really enjoyed both books. Members enjoyed the artwork, classic panels, and the different texts. The group discussed both books seamlessly, jumping from one to the other and back again comparing and contrasting storyline, artwork, and time lines. The books brought on a great discussion, and members enjoyed how even though each book touched on the beginning or end of Batman’s journey they were both written within the same year. We also debated, discussed and enjoyed the idea of reading the books when they were released in 1986 prior to any movie release.
The group is already looking forward to the new year. In January they will be reading JLA Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, and Vision Vol. 2 by Tom King and Michael Walsh.
Encinitas discussed spy thriller Velvet Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting, and Elizabeth Breitweiser, reading the Deluxe edition that contained all 15 issues. Velvet is a former field agent turned secretary to the head of British Intelligence organization ARC-7. After one of their agents is killed under mysterious circumstances and Velvet is targeted as his murderer, she has to use her skills and training to find the true killer before ARC-7 finds and eliminates her.
Everyone in the group enjoyed the setting of London in the 1970s. It felt like a more realistic story, with a relatable and bad-ass protagonist in Velvet. One part of setting the story in the ‘70s that worked was being able to tell spy story in a world without modern technology. One member thought that much of the suspense of the story wouldn’t work if everyone had a cell phone or could look up information on a computer.
Everyone thought the art by Steve Epting fit the tone of the book well. The fights were well choreographed with one member commenting that she was able to follow the panels perfectly. The grey, muted coloring of Elizabeth Breitweiser also greatly complemented the art and story. Everyone felt it was an entertaining, self-contained, popcorn story and they could see it made into a great movie.
In January, the Encinitas group will read Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.
In its first real discussion meeting, the Escondido Public Library group read The Dark Knight: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini, illustrated by Eduardo Risso. Moderator Monica lead the discussion, and the group found Dini’s approach in discussing depression, mental illness and other sensitive topics very intriguing. His handling of the themes was unique and vulnerable with the use of the Joker, Batman, Harley Quinn and other DC characters to describe Dini’s feelings about his brutal mugging. The book’s illustrations also helped the reader get a feel for Dini’s emotional state, which was interesting to witness. The EPL group will read Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in January.
North Park continued their long, strange trip into Sandman territory with volumes 5 and 6 of the seminal Neil Gaiman-written series. An overview of their reading is coming soon, after they complete the series.
Holiday Party Time!
All SIX (!) groups of the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Clubs will gather together from the far corners of San Diego County in December to break bread and discuss Planetary Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday!