I Talk About Comics: Traditional Comics Edition

‘WHAT IS THIS?’ I hear you say. ‘An actual blog post????’ To which I say: yes, I think so?  Today I thought I would talk about comics! Over the last year or so I’ve gotten more and more into tradition comics but I realised that I haven’t actually written much about them. (You can also check out the rest of my comics series where I recommend some other comics.)

Anyway. Despite my love of webcomics, for a long time I found it very difficult to actually enjoy traditional comics. (Not only superhero but just like, traditionally published comics in general.) But now I derive a great deal of joy from them and I want to share it with you! So here I am!

Firstly: how does one read comics? Frankly, I’m not sure how much help I can be here, since almost every comic I’ve read comes from my local library. I am so thankful that my local library is free, and I am able to read the well-stocked collection of trade paperbacks, which I recognise is not something that’s available to everyone. If you are able to use your local library, then I really recommend you check out what they have. Otherwise, you can buy trade paperbacks which come in volumes, subscribe to issues (I’ve only bought like 1 issue of comics and honestly that’s a hidden world to me) or some companies have ways to read comics online like Marvel Unlimited.

Also, I want to acknowledge that both comics and webcomics are not very inaccessible in their current form for blind, visually impaired and other disabled readers. Although there are a few scripts out there, for example on the Comic Book Script Archive, and fan transcriptions (which I have here linked to if possible) these are not common. Thanks to this post by Michael Shifrin for some information on that. Additionally, Comics Empower previously sold audio comics but according to their twitter it’s no longer running. Although comics companies do sell digital copies they don’t provide any kind of transcriptions, scripts or audio comics which is extremely frustrating.

But, yeah, I personally get most of my comics out from the library. The comics section always seemed intimidating for me, so I’ve found it useful to research at least one thing I want to get out before searching for it.

Maybe this is a weird thing to say but…I kind of feel like I had to adopt a new attitude when reading comics. It’s a very odd place in which characters appear in different universes and are constantly reincarnated into new adventures. Sometimes I’ll be reading two different series about the same character and it’s WILD. I can definitely see myself getting annoyed at this inconsistency and lack of understanding but I just like…accept it and move on. I find that treating it like fanfiction helps a lot. I find it difficult to articulate but I just get a very strong fic energy from all the different universes and characters and things that are similar but not quite similar; like fic, a bunch of the comics I’ve read just tend to blur into one haha. I’m sure there’s some more interesting stuff to get into, but there we go.

So where should you start? Well, I read a couple of comics at the start but didn’t enjoy them loads so didn’t take too much of an interest. But once I found some I loved it was like ‘OHHH so now I get why people like this’. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is there are a lot of different comics and genres out there (even within the ‘superhero genre’).

The comics that I’ve most enjoyed have been recommendations from people I know; once I can tell we have a similar taste I can go and find some others! I’m just, like, going to share comics I enjoy the most now, depending on other things you like. (I have been toooo far away from blogging for this)

ms marvel
Image description: The cover of Ms Marvel: No Normal. Kamala stands on the cover wearing a t shirt with a lightning bolt on it, defiantly clenching her fist with one hand and holding schoolbooks in the other.

Ms Marvel

This series is popular for a reason! It follows Ms Marvel AKA Kamala Khan, a Pakistani teenager in New Jersey. There are so many characters to love (not in the least Kamala herself! She starts off as a superhero fan which is such a cool angle) and it’s rad to see a more diverse cast in a superhero comic. Plus, it ties in with Civil War II and actually helped me to, like, actually understand that whole storyline.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!

I have 100% talked about this series before but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s super cute and queer! I enjoy character development and interaction more than a billion fight scenes and a complex plot and this is just…SO GOOD for that. The art is super wonderful and I adore the characters. I am endlessly disappointed that this was cancelled after 17 issues, to be honest. (you may sense a theme here because a lot of comics I enjoy stop after only a few volumes or get cancelled…)

 

Young Avengers

I confess, I still haven’t read the first incarnation of Young Avengers. (Sorry. If it’s not in the library I probably won’t get round to reading it for AGES and that’s just life.) This was maybe the first superhero comic I loved? Again, I adore all the characters, and it’s queer!! It has America Chavez!!! (Among many other rad people including Loki.) It really got me hooked to figure out what happens next – but alas, once again it is only three issues. Transcriptions by Auden Granger of the first 7 volumes can be found for free on Google Drive here, along with some transcriptions of Daredevil, Ouran High School Host Club and Runaways (2003).

hawkeye my life as a weapon
Image description: the cover of Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon. Hawkeye stands with his bown drawn on a building. Stylised purple and white targets overlay the buildings.

Hawkeye

I LOVE HAWKEYE SO MUCH. It’s one of my favourite series I’ve ever read! Hawkeye is an actual ‘mainstream’ superhero series I like a lot, which I was surprised by. Again, it deals more with Clint Barton’s personal life than it does his official superhero one (though there’s still action in here) which, again, I prefer. This Hawkeye is a human disaster and I love him so much. Also, the art is actually INCREDIBLE. I can’t even. Bonus: Kate Bishop’s solo Hawkeye series is also pretty rad if you want to read more about her. (She’s a Young Avenger too.)

DC Bombshells

All my suggestions so far have been Marvel, since I’m not that familiar with the DC Universe, but I love this one! Thank you Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff for recommending it to me. It’s World War II but in a world with no male superheroes, just a diverse group of ladies being rad and IT GIVES ME LIFE.

If you’re looking for non-superhero comics, I can recommend Saga and Lumberjanes. I’ve also read part of The Wicked and the Divine which was an interesting concept but kind of got me down, so. If it seems like something you’d be interested in then do check it out.

Series I am looking to read more of are: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (because they never have the 2nd volume in the library and I am SAD), Spider-Gwen, Black Panther, and Iceman, in addition to MANY others.

Sadly I can’t list every single one of the comics I’ve enjoyed in one post! But I hope you enjoyed this, and please do let me know if you have any tips or recommendations. Also, I hope to be putting up a few more posts over the holiday period so look out for those. 🙂

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September Favourites!

The words September Favourites over a purple watercolour background

That’s right, folks, I’m back for monthly favourites! Maybe I’ll keep up with them, maybe not. Who knows?

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Rainbow by Kesha I saw a bunch of people listening to this album and I AM SO GLAD I LISTENED TO IT TOO. It’s not perfect but there are so many songs I loved — from jams like Woman to songs such as Rainbow and Spaceship which do make me a bit teary.

Young Avengers I finally picked up the last volume in this series and I’M SO SAD THAT WAS THE END because I enjoyed it so much! It’s one of the first superhero comics that I’ve really got into and I’m very much looking forward to reading more about these characters in the future. (Miss America has a solo series. And I think there are the previous Young Avengers comics too. But I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to these things.)

Brooklyn 99 I feel like I might have talked about this before on my faves? WHO KNOWS ANYMORE, NOT ME.  I’ve just about finished the first series which is an amazing show of commitment for me when it comes to a TV show (I can barely make it through 8 40-minute episodes) and AAH! I I love that everyone loves and supports each other and it’s very wonderful to watch. However, in the last episode I watched Gina talks about her ‘spirit animal’ which is a Super Not Okay thing to do and it wasn’t at all called out, so, that really sucks. :/

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat Another EXCELLENT comic here. It’s super cute, features a bunch of LGBTQ+ characters, and friends being wonderful with each other. Just, yeah. So wonderful. Though again I’m sad that this wraps up after a few volumes since it got cancelled. 😦 Is there a theme with the comics I’m talking about…?

Yerma I saw the Young Vic production of this with Billie Piper broadcast live at the cinema and WOW. I didn’t really know what I was getting into beforehand so it was quite hard-hitting but I thought it was such a great piece of theatre.

The Diviners by Libba Bray Well, it’s October and I still haven’t quite finished this, but I’m loving it so far — which is cool since I wasn’t really expecting that? (To be fair, I don’t quite know what I was expecting. But not magic and murder in 20s New York. THE COVER I HAVE MISLED ME, OKAY?) Plus, I’ve just found out that the sequel includes more of one of my favourite side characters, Henry, so yay for that.

stuff from around the internet:

  • Well, er, my stats were a bit up from the rock bottom of August when I barely posted? I talked about going back to school, comics I’m loving, and shared some cat photography in the What Cats Do book tag.
  • I started following the newsletter Two Bossy Dames when one of my favourite podcasts Witch Please how many times can I fit it into this post did a guest letter and I’m loving it! I’m new to newsletters (haha, amazing joke, I know right) so I didn’t really know what to expect but I just adore having all these links and things to go read… If you have any recommendations for newsletters I’d love to hear them!
  • I’ve definitely read some great posts, but…I’m kind of tired right now and I don’t want to miss any out. Hopefully I’ll be better at keeping track of them over October, my apologies.

in the diary:

  • Well, school started? It feels like I’ve been back for ages. We’ve packed so much in. Year 11 is…alright so far. A bit stressful, especially since it feels like everyone is always talking about A levels and careers whilst I freak out internally but, there we go.
  • Can I think about anything that’s not school…uh…
  • WAIT it was my birthday! Yay! I’m now 16 which feels very weird. But, it’s cool, I guess, and I’m looking forward to having my friends over for some fun. *nods* I have been kind of ill over my birthday though which sucks.
  • I went to the book launch It’s Only in the Movies by Holly Bourne! I was a big fan of the free content, especially the popcorn. Maybe a hint to other book events…? I can’t decide if I should do a recap of it so let me know what you think.
  • It was my school House music competition, which was pretty stressful since we had rehearsals almost every day for two weeks, but also SUPER fun and rewarding. (I am lucky in that I do love the people in my house and also I love singing in choirs.) Unfortunately we didn’t place but I’m still super proud of us.

how has your september been? did you return to education like me? have you read any good books?

 

I Talk About Comics, Part 3

i talk about comics final .jpg

I’m pretty sure this is one of my only successful series ever. (If you count successful as actually continuing as a series.) Probably because there are so many awesome webcomics out there! I’ve been reading a few more since the last update, but I thought I’d chuck in some traditional comics too because a) I didn’t have enough new webcomics haha  and b) I’m trying to get into traditional comics more so, you know, WHY NOT. Do feel free to check out part 1 and part 2 for further comic recs.

With Great Abandon by EH Macmillan Aah! I love this comic SO MUCH. Reasons I love it: trans MC! Hell yeah! Trans adults being trans and happy and doing stuff! Super cute romance, but also looks at the realities of actually being in a relationship. LONDON. Nerdiness. Russ and Harry meet in Forbidden Planet which I have in fact been to. Harry is so smooth which is like, woah. Also, oh my goodness the art is AMAZING. I really admire how the artist is able to continue the story without dialogue and just like…pretty arts… It actually just finished, which is sad because no more updates, but it does mean that now you can read the whole comic in one sitting. Go forth, friends!

Their Story by Tan Jiu I don’t normally read manga-style comics but my friend recced this to me and aah!! It’s so cute! And an F/F WEBCOMIC HELL YEAH LET ME READ MORE CUTE GIRLS. I feel like I read and see so many more m/m webcomics around than f/f ones which makes me really sad. 😦 I’d love to read more f/f and other queer girl stories so let me know if you’re reading any good ones!

Griefer Belt by Kales Y’all, I just really enjoy crime/con/heist stories. What can I say? This is basically queer criminals plus a lot of personal problems. Again, the art is so wonderful, and in general it’s just a super fun story. (Even though crime. Who knows.) Lars Van Allen really is a annoying, but he’s also…funny. The artist redrew him as Freckle from The Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo which I 10/10 agree with, if any of you have watched that. (Warning for violence & gore.)

Aspera by rrroux This comic has only started pretty recently, so we don’t know the characters too well yet, but it’s about LGBTQ+ students at art school in Paris and I’m super excited to see where it goes!

Eerie Crests by Bell I’ve only just caught up with this one and it’s…kind of creepy, to be honest, which isn’t normally my scene, but not creepy in a SUPER HORROR way. A lot of the story so far is characters interacting but there is just a sense of unease and weirdness. The art style is really cool, and I love the character designs too. You know when characters do the blush thing? That’s my favourite. I like it a lot. (Warning for a bunch of stuff in this; you can check the content warnings by the author here.)

ink swash 2

Now onto the traditional comics section, get hyped for my knowledge here. 😛

Young Avengers For once the library actually had all three volumes of this, including the first one, (*gasps*) which was awesome, so I took advantage of ! I find superhero comics difficult to get into, but I really loved this one. Miss America is so cool omg. I hope I can read her solo series soon, eep. 😀  Also, I’m always on board with multiple canon queer characters, heck yeah!

Saga This seems to be a frequent rec for people starting comics but, pfft, I’ll throw it in here anyway. It’s a space opera epic spanning the galaxy with so much good art and snappy last pages. Have I mentioned how much I love me a space opera? BECAUSE I DO. (Warning for violence, gore & sexual content.)

Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! I follow Kate Leth on twitter and she seems really cool, but I’d never got round to reading any of her comics. But I ADORED the first volume of this — yes, it was super cute, but that’s honestly what I love to read. It brought me a lot of joy and laughs, and again: HECK YEAH CANON QUEER CHARACTERS!

Lumberjanes Another popular comic but AAH I love this so much! It’s about a group of girls at a girl scout camp. Girls being cute, having fun & adventures together! LGBTQ+ girls! Super fun art! It just brings me a lot of joy. Also, I really need to catch up because I’m like 2 volumes behind, oops.

Ms Marvel I’ve only read two volumes of this as I keep forgetting to reserve the third one from the library, but I’m really enjoying it so far! Again, I don’t read a ton of superhero comics but I’m actually excited and interested in this one, so.

Once again, if you have any recommendations for comics then I’d love to hear them! You can check out my Tapastic account for a collection of most of the stuff I’ve been reading (or wanting to read) on there, including stuff from past posts and some others that I haven’t got round to putting in.

do you read any webcomics? traditional comics? have you read any of these?

I Talk About Webcomics (Again)

webcomics cover

A while back I made a post talking about why I love webcomics, and linking to some recs, and I had so much fun doing that I thought I’d share with you some new webcomics I’ve been reading! (Because I have found a lot of new, awesome ones. JUST YOU WAIT.)

I’ve mostly linked to the Tapastic pages of these webcomics, since that’s where I can read many of them conveniently, but a couple of them do have other websites with extra info and things, to let you know. 🙂

Long Exposure by mars Contains radioactivity and pining. (Kind of queer superheroes? Maybe? Guys, there are a lot of queer superhero webcomics and I looove it.) The art in this comic is SO NICE. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The character designs are just GOOD. It’s so readable and, as a bonus, it updates in a couple of pages so you don’t have to suffer  wait for new pages ahaha.

Dead End by M.Mork Dead End is a little darker and more action-based than some of the ones I read, but I do adore the (under)world & its protagonist, Neely. I mean, all the characters are cool in their own right but in particular I love Neely, aah! Emo cinnamon roll! They’re Extra and Angsty but also extremely rad. *nods* I am just…really eloquent right now, wow.

strong female protagonist.png
image credit: Strong Female Protagonist 

Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag I’m only about two thirds of the way through this one, but I’m enjoying it SO MUCH. It’s been in my ~consciousness~ for a while now, since I know of Molly Ostertag through her other works & Twitter, but I only just started reading it for some reason…? ANYWAY. It has queer superheroes, it has great art, it has cool girls, yay.

Sharp Zero by robotsharks Yes! Another queer superhero webcomic! I fully support this genre, to be honest. Beyond the rad premise, this comic has made me actually laugh out loud more than once, and I really love the diverse cast! It actually returned for a new season the other day, which is super exciting.

Samuel & Djeya by KnightJJ I literally just finished reading this and I really love it so far! It’s by the same co-creator as Les Normaux, which I also love, so it wasn’t too suprising… I’m really exciting to see more of post-apocalyptic Amsterdam (!!!) and the two main characters who so far are much cinnamon roll haha. I can’t wait to see them interact more.

rock and riot.png
image credit: Riot Comics

Rock and Riot by Chelsey Furedi This is DEFINITELY the webcomic I would encourage you to go to if you want a pick-me-up! It’s about two teenage gangs in 50s, except there is DIVERSITY and CUTENESS and DID I MENTION CUTE ART YEAH EVERYONE IS SO CUTE. Yes to cute blushing people.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman Can I make it one post without talking about Alice Oseman? Er, probably not, to be honest. I briefly mentioned this in my last post, when it had just begun, but many months later I am STILL LOVING IT and I have also converted two of my friends to reading it, hehehe. Heartstopper is basically the backstory of two characters, Nick and Charlie, who feature in Oseman’s book Solitaire. I mean, I already adore them because they are cool dudes, but it’s cool to get more of an insight into their lives, and wow this is #relatable haha.

Mimon by Sas Milledge This one hasn’t been running for very long, but I’m already enjoying it! It’s about a girl with something in her attic, and a hedgewitch (maybe?) who helps her. I love the characters, and the art style is so pretty, mm. (I…say this for every comic. WHOOPS. #sorrynotsorry)

hotblood zarco.png
image credit: Hotblood! Zarco

Hotblood! Zarco by Toril Orlesky I know I mentioned Hotblood! in my last webcomics post — well, this is the sequel. *finger guns* It hasn’t been running for very long, but I miss centuars and morally ambiguous characters and the amazing art.

I had so much fun writing this post — it was a great excuse to spend some time rereading webcomics, hehe. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for stuff I should read! (If I mentioned it in my last post, I might have already read and liked it though haha.) (I feel like I have lots people have recommended, but I am terrible at recalling them. So PLEASE HIT ME UP.)

have you read any of these? do you plan to? do you enjoy reading webcomics?

In Which I Talk Webcomics

I have been having a lot of Feelings about webcomics lately. And I think that the time has come for me to share these feelings with the world. (Yes, essentially that means I am going to flail for an entire post. IT IS VERY FUN TO FLAIL FOR ENTIRE POSTS.)

I think that webcomics are wonderful. If you don’t have much experience with them, then they’re essentially just comics published online, usually available to read for free and updating with new pages every so often. I mean, in general I really enjoy serialised media because it gives me something to look forward to. But I also love that there are so many great, beautifully-drawn stories accessible. For some reason I actually find it quite difficult to read traditional comics? (Like, superhero ones. Also manga, which aren’t really traditional comics but you know what I meant.) I have done it, but I find it hard to focus on the page, and it takes me a long time. SO! Reading one page week by week is basically the perfect situation for me.

Anyways. Since I’ve been following some great webcomics for a while, I thought I’d share some of my favourite with you! These range from sci-fi to romance to fantasy and combinations of many genres. 🙂

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Witchy by Ariel Rees I think this one has my favourite art — it’s STUNNING. Seriously. I die a little inside. But the story and world are also completely kickass: basically the longer your hair, the greater your magic power. The MC Nyneve is my precious angry child. And all the characters are just so wonderful. MY CHILDREEEEN. Um, I have a lot of fictional children, it seems. Updates every Monday/Tuesday depending on where you live.

princess-princessPrincess Princess by StrangelyKatie You will probably collapse from the cuteness of this. (Or at least, I did.) It’s everything I want — yay reversal of fairytales, yay queer characters, yay awesome artwork. The Hello Kitty palette definitely adds to the cute vibes. And you can now buy a physical copy with some extra epilogue stuff! Complete.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson I feel like…many people I know have read Nimona? And it’s no longer strictly a webcomic since you’ll have to buy a physical book to read the whole thing. But it was the first webcomic I ever read, and I still adore it. (I was so smol back then, oh my goodness.) I do think the experience of reading it as a graphic novel is a bit different — you miss the banter in the comics, the comments from Noelle and the many running jokes such as Goldenloin runs like an idiot — it’s still AWESOME. It’s a kind of…hero and villain shapeshifter story in a monkpunk setting? (MONKPUNK. That word makes me laugh. It wasn’t coined by me, but it’s supposed to be medieval steampunk.) I’d definitely recommend this as an introduction, and you can still read the first few chapters online here. Complete.

Les Normaux by KnightJJ & Al Les Normaux is about the daily lives of characters in a supernatural Paris — and if that setting isn’t cool enough, everyone is such a cinnamon roll. The cast is super diverse and although there are lots of characters, I really felt involved in each of their stories! The art is adorable too.always human3.jpg

Always Human by walkingnorth This is another really cute webcomic! It’s in a sci-fi setting but I love that the technological advances are seen as positive. The main focus are the two MCs Sunati and Austen, but there are many other great characters — once again the cast is really diverse. (I am pretty sure that the majority of the webcomics I’ve recommended has canonical queer characters though haha.) he art is so pretty and glowy; plus, the author writes an original soundtrack for each episode! Updates every Saturday.

SIGNS by julshii This one is a little less developed than perhaps some of the others on here, but the mystery is half of the fun. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?? SHALL WE EVER KNOW??? It’s about some kids in a weird place and a secret computerised metropolis. The art starts off black and white, but woah there are GIFs later on and it is very awesome. Also, I would like to achieve Victor’s hairstyle for myself. Thank you world. Updates are sporadic currently.

Space Boy by Stephen McCranie Space Boy is a slightly more action-based one. YAY SCIFI SPACE AND MYSTERIES. It follows the story of Amy, who’s just woken from a cyrogenic sleep as she travelled to Earth from her home in outer space. (Because space journeys are very long, peoples.) There she meets the mysterious Oliver, and…well. We are still working through the mystery, but nevertheless. Again, all the characters are precious and wonderful, as is the art! In later episodes the creator also features fanart and gives little comment things which are very cute. Updates every Thursday.

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Hotblood! by Toril Orlesky Alongside Witchy, Hotblood! has SUCH. BEAUTIFUL. ART. The colouring. The scenery. I am basically dying from the wonderfulness of the art. But aside from that, the premise is centuars in the old American Wild West, and WOW IT IS SO COOL. I have come to love all these idiots. Especially Rook, my favourite smol/extremely tall cinnamon roll. I could have read it all in one sitting, but I decided to save it and read it over…er, two. 😛 Complete.

Various other ones that I occasionally pop by and/or have read small portions of are Check, Please!Heartstopper (by Alice Oseman! yes, of Radio Silence fame!), Rock and Riot, Dissent, Best Friends Forever, Paranormal Investigators, & Mias and Elle. And there are thousands more out there so HURRAH. *throws all the links into the post. Um, so, yes. This post has mostly just been me talking at length about things I like. Go forth, friends! Read away! I’d absolutely love it if you enjoyed any of the webcomics I recommend and I’m also keen to get recs from you guys.