September Book Club Report
All 4 branches of the Comic-Con International Graphic Novel Book Club met to usher in fall with 4 brand-new reads!
The Downtown club continued their deep dive into Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West series, finishing up with volumes 4 and 5 of the trade paperback series. This dystopian tale of the future features an incredible feat of world-bulding by author Hickman. Some of the members likened the ongoing story to a huge soap opera, with added political intrigue and mysticism. Volume 5 was a favorite of the group, since it dealt with the political machinations of some of the characters. The extremely complex storytelling is aided immeasurably by Dragotta’s great artwork and Frank Martin’s color art. Next up for Downtown: the late, great Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier.
September found the Mission Valley Book Club discussing Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona. Nimona is a beautifully crafted story of the importance of love of all kinds. All members agreed that this was a simple story, but at the same time an extremely complex one. Foils Blackheart and Goldenloin (whose names everyone agreed are amazing) lend depth to the tale of Nimona, a shape-shifter who wants to cause chaos as Blackheart’s sidekick. Led by moderator Kaitlen, all agreed that this graphic novel is a must for both kids and adults with its intricate world-building and lovable characters. Everyone also agreed that they would read more of Stevenson’s work. October is for the occult, so Mission Valley tackles its first Hellboy read!
This month the North Park club read The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Many of the members were new to the world of Squirrel Girl/Doreen Green (the character basically has the power to take on the Marvel Universe and win), and the Internet build-up surrounding her piqued their interest while also creating a high expectation. From the beginning of the discussion, most members agreed it was an easy, breezy read. For the most part, the artwork was found to be refreshing compared to most superhero comics. Another notably unique aspect was seeing a female superhero with a realistic figure, which was appreciated unanimously.
The incorporation of Twitter handles was a group favorite and some even went as far as declaring those to be their favorite part. The Twitter conversations between Squirrel Girl, Iron Man, and other characters even made many laugh out loud!
Overall, the main consensus was the volume got better as you progressed through it and Squirrel Girl’s personality developed as you went along, which made it even more enjoyable. Next up for North Park: The Sculptor by Scott McCloud.
The La Jolla club tackled the first volume of the Preacher saga by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, now a hit AMC TV series. The club members waited to read the first volume in the book until after they watched the first season of the series, so they could compare the two. While much was changed, the unusual flavor of Preacher remained intact. Some of the members weren’t quite sold on the series until the last few episodes, and now they’re eagerly waiting for season 2! As for Ennis and Dillon’s original series, all members agreed it was great, with the main characters being standouts, especially the Irish vampire Cassidy. The angel characters were thought to be better defined in the comics series than in the TV series. Many felt the “Genesis” angel/demon entity chose Preacher Jesse Custer because of his crisis in faith. Next up for La Jolla: Paul Dini’s harrowing Dark Knight: A True Batman Story, illustrated by Eduardo Risso.