Tag Archives: graphic novel

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Book Review: Heathen, by Natasha Alterici

I accepted a review copy of The Complete Series Omnibus Edition of Heathen by Natasha Alterici (author/artist/colorist), Ashley A. Woods (Illustrations), Rachel Deering (Letterer) and Morgan Martinez (designer). The graphic novel was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for author/artist information and Rockstar Book Tours‘ tour schedule.

WOMAN. WARRIOR. VIKING. HEATHEN. OUTCAST. 

THE GODS MUST PAY…

Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, and exiled from her village for kissing another woman, the lesbian Viking warrior, Aydis, sets out to destroy the god-king Odin and end his oppressive reign. She is a friend to many as she is joined by mermaids, immortals, Valkyries, and the talking horse, Saga. But she is also a fearsome enemy to the demons and fantastic monsters that populate the land.

my review

I enjoyed the heck out of this and, my goodness, could it be any more timely, with it’s ‘throwing off the oppressive yoke of the patriarchy’ theme? At one point, a character even explicitly says, “Each one of us is the person she is because we reject the authority of men.” And let me tell you Odin (the representation of male authority here) does not give that oppressive authority up easily, nor the insistence that it’s actually benevolence.

I also loved the art style. I’m admittedly picky about what I like and don’t like in the graphic part of a graphic novel, but I like this a lot. I did find all the female flesh on display an odd choice. I’m not necessarily bothered by it—and sure woman can enjoy it too—but all the…I’m gonna call it fan-service…has always seemed very male-gazey to me. And that just felt out of place in a graphic novel that so explicitly was addressing female liberation (sexual and otherwise) from male dictatorship and control.

I also thought the last volume felt far more rushed that the previous ones and therefore the ending was a little anti-climactic. All in all, however, this was a winner for me.

heathen photo


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of HEATHEN, US Only.

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Book Review: Witchblood, by Matthew Erman

I accepted a copy of Witchblood for review. The graphic novel was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for the tour schedule and for information on the author Matthew Erman, artist Lisa Sterle, colorist Gab Contreras, and letterers Jim Campbell and Andworld.
witchblood cover

A modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood. From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes Witchblood, a blend of action, lore, and Americana—perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods.

my review

I liked the art a lot. And, while I know it’s an itty-bitty little thing, I cannot tell you how much I loved that Yonna had armpit hair! I liked some of the way the world is changed. Women in the confessionals and Mother Superiors giving orders, for example. It also blends humor and horror, with a punk-ish dystopian Wild West vibe. If I say it felt super Tank Girl-like, will I be showing my age too much? Actually, now that I’ve said that, Lori Petty would make a great Yonna, IMO.

But the whole things sags on story. I wouldn’t say I disliked it. But I wasn’t blown away by it for a few reasons. For one, the pacing is off. It meanders through the first half and then rushes through the second, where arguably the more important action happens.

But the real issue for me is that here you have a story full of powerful women— a female deity, all of her female witch descendants, some female hex hunters, and a female vampire with important knowledge. But the story hinges on a man. The vampire with knowledge doesn’t use it herself. Noooo, she gives it to a man. And he becomes the cliched villain while she clings wordlessly to his back through out the story. Where this graphic novel had an open opportunity to do something interesting, it instead trod the dull, well-worn path. It just felt cheap and unoriginal.

All in all, I’d call this a middle of the road read. I merely enjoyed the graphic part more than the novel part.


Other Reviews:

 


Giveaway:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of WITCHBLOOD, US Only.

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Book Review: The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman

I picked up a freebie copy of the Audible dramatization of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

the sandman cover

When The Sandman, also known as Lord Morpheus—the immortal king of dreams, stories and the imagination—is pulled from his realm and imprisoned on Earth by a nefarious cult, he languishes for decades before finally escaping. Once free, he must retrieve the three “tools” that will restore his power and help him to rebuild his dominion, which has deteriorated in his absence. As the multi-threaded story unspools, The Sandman descends into Hell to confront Lucifer, chases rogue nightmares who have escaped his realm, and crosses paths with an array of characters from DC comic books, ancient myths, and real-world history, including: Inmates of Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, Doctor Destiny, the muse Calliope, the three Fates, William Shakespeare, and many more.

my review

I have a kind of middle of the road feeling about this. I fully admit I’m not a big reader of graphic novels (or surely I’d have read this before now). This means I didn’t have any preexisting connection to any of the DC characters that popped up or underlying love of the Gotham world. And, in listening to it, I found I much prefer a regular old audiobook to a dramatization. (Obviously this is what it is because there’s no novel to narrate and it’s very well done.) My point is that, unlike a lot of readers, I didn’t come to this predisposed to love it. I liked the idea of Morpheus a lot and I’ve read several Gaiman books I enjoyed (though not all of them), but I was a fairly blank slate.

When the story settled into a single narrative arc for a while I enjoyed it quite a lot. I like Morpheus and his crew. I chuckled frequently, even amongst the grimness. But most of the individual, single episodes bored me. And there were more rapes and women being menaced in alleys (and such) than I felt necessary. Though I acknowledge that this was first published in or about 1998, and that seems to have just been the norm of the time. (Still is, honestly, though I think we’re at least becoming more aware of it as problematic.)

All in all, I’d probably listen to volume II if I could get it from the library. But I don’t think I’d buy it. I do plan to watch the Netflix show though, and that’s why I listened to this in the first place.

the sandman photo


Other Reviews:

REVIEW: Audible’s “The Sandman”

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Audible Review: Simply Brilliant

Review: The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Dirk Maggs, full cast production