History, Zombies, #Feels, and a Whole Lot More Can Be Found in These Graphic Novels

And here’s the last of our comic round ups! The are more comic book reviews coming – don’t you worry – but after I get these out I’ll be caught up. Well, I’ll be caught up on graphic novel reviews anyway. If you’re a book blogger you’ll know how good that feels and if you’re not then trust me when I say it’s a great relief to check something as massive as an entire genre’s backlog off your to-do list.

My top pick from this batch is definitely Batman: Li’l Gotham. I love cute versions of classic stories and since I’m a total sucker for Scribblenauts Unmasked you know I love this series. That said, War Dogs and Noah are also worth a read.

The first title on this list, though? Eh, maybe not so much.

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I Survived The Zombie Apocalypse
and All I Got Was This Podcast

18208497Author: Chris W. Freeman and Korey Hunt
Illustrators: Rich Bonk, Andrew Magnum, Alan Kupperberg, Anthony Diecidue, and Jerry Beck
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Zombies, Humor

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Spoilers:  High
GoodReads | Amazon

This started off promising… and then became really, really stupid. The premise was pretty great. You’ve go this regular girl who is just keeping up with her day to day during the zombie apocalypse. She’s got herself nicely tucked away at home with her garden. She’s still podcasting gardening tips. She’s basically a ditz but it works for her.

Except then the zombies come after her and she think’s she’s done for, right? They don’t want to eat her, though. Apparently the zombies only want to eat men. This makes no sense, however, since all the zombies seem to me women. Desperate for friends this girl then goes around trying to be all BFF with these zombies who promptly make fun of her and tease her.

Yeah.

Mean girl zombies.

That’s pretty much where I stopped caring. But I read on hoping it would get better. Nope. She just decides to massacre all the zombies and that’s about it. It’s a really dumb read. Really well illustrated, I will admit. But over all just pretty dumb in general. Worth a read, I guess, but it’s nothing special.

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Batman: Lil’ Gotham Vol. 1

17978547Author: Derek Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Humor

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers:  Low
GoodReads | Amazon

Yeah, okay, I’m not going to lie. These comics are adorable. I kind of loved them. But they also made me super pissed off at Batman and completely and totally validate my choice not to read Batman comics any more after they killed of Damian. Because Damian is in these and he’s adorable. Seriously, Bruce and Damian were the best ever. I’m still not over it.

Anyway.

Batman: Li’l Gotham is a sort of kid friendly series of shorts featuring Gotham’s heroes and villains. Bruce teaches Damian about Halloween, they celebrate Christmas. Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn run around together having fun. Everyone in Arkham seems to be having a good time. It’s just cute. That’s all I can really say about it. It’s basically just a lot of cute little non-canon features that really anyone can enjoy.

If you’re looking for an extension of Batman canon this is not it. This is more akin to that pre-school Teen Titans series they released. It’s just a little bit of fun for fans to enjoy. And it’s something you can give your kids without worrying about them having to see someone getting murdered or something. Plus it’s filled with all the characters you know and love and want to see. How can you go wrong picking this up? You can’t. I could read these stories all day and never get tired of them.

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Dogs of War

14830188Author: Sheila Keenan
Illustrator: Nathan Fox
Release Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: GRAPHIX (Scholastic)
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): History, Middle Grade, Children’s

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers:  Mild
GoodReads | Amazon

I am a sucker for war dog stories. I have been ever since I was a kid. I love dogs, I love war stories. From the moment I first saw the Chips: The War Dog movie I definitely got hooked on this one very specific area of history. So when I saw this book come up for review I knew I had to read it.

Dogs of War follows three military service dogs: Boots, a search and rescue dog in WWI; Loki, a sled dog WWII; and Sheba, a war dog in Vietnam. Each story features the dogs helping their handlers. Boots helps an orphan boy from Scotland survive the trenches and help his adoptive father figure, a doctor, in his duties while also seeing them take place in the great Christmas cease fire. Loki helps his handler avoid a crashed Nazi airman and survive the unforgiving Greenland landscape. Sheba’s story, though, is probably the saddest. Like all dogs, she was left behind in Vietnam as ‘equipment’ and her handler, an African American vet with PTSD, has a hard time dealing with it. I really appreciated that they added that final story because too often these sorts of stories all end happily and the fact was that nothing really ended well for war dogs in Vietnam.

Now, obviously, this is a graphic novel for kids. The stories are simple. The artwork is fantastic. And the obvious point of it is for the kids who read it to be engaged in history and reading where they may not usually be with other graphic novels.

Still, I enjoyed it. If you got kids, they probably will, too.

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The People Inside

cover45907-mediumAuthor: Ray Fawkes
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: NetGalley DRC
Genre(s): Drama, Real Life, Graphic Novel

Rating: ★★
Review Spoilers:  
Moderate
GoodReads | Amazon

There is a certain audience for artsy books like this and I’m not entirely sure that I am part of that audience. I took a chance on this book and I actually kind of liked. I don’t think I got out of it all that I should have and I certainly didn’t think it was amazing but even I can appreicate the kind of story – or stories – this kind of book can tel.

The People Inside is a graphic novel that tells the stories of twenty-some odd people in a series of panels in each page. These stories are told in little snippets of life and each one is even more touching than the last. They aren’t all great moments. But they are very real moments. We follow one family from the birth of their first child, through the trials of parenthood, and into retirement. Other characters are having sexual discoveries. A couple struggles with infertility and several couple struggle with a partner’s mortality.

As each character’s story ends, their panels go black until in the end everyone’s story ends one way or another.

Bookending the everything are two cycles – a branch budding leaves and ultimately losing them. The symbolism is clear and it’s almost a bit too obvious but like I said. I’m not the artsy sort and I’m not the sort that can really critique this sort of storyteling.

What matters is that I really liked it. I didn’t like the art style – I should be clear on that. I am not a fan of these sorts of rough sketch drawings with awkward proportions. But the story is what matters so its easy for me to over look that. I was kind of surprised that I liked this book as much as I did and I found myself going back and forth between pages very frequently watching as things progress, relationships changed, and stories came together or fell apart. It was a really great read and I couldn’t stop until i had gone from from to back at least three times just to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything.

 

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As always, sound off in the comments if you’ve got anything to say about any of these books!

Love them, hate them?

We want to know.

2 responses to “History, Zombies, #Feels, and a Whole Lot More Can Be Found in These Graphic Novels

  1. Lil’ Gotham sounds like it has the same appeal as seeing Batman in the Lego movie – the pleasure’s in seeing him mocked rather than seeing him taken seriously. And honestly, they’ve done so much with his dark, edgy persona now, this seems like the best way to get more out of it.

    • Exactly. That’s the sort of feel I got from it. When I was reading it I got this sort of Scribblenauts: Unmasked feel. So I definitely agree with you. I’m not going to lie, though. I kind of prefer some of the quirkier recent adaptations over the ongoing series. But I’m a Marvel fan for a reason. DC just gets too dark for me sometimes, lol.

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