I read books



AD After Death(2017) - The tagline to this comic is "what if we found a cure for death?" and the answer given by this book is so much more valuable and simple than I thought it was going to be. This has so many words that it's more of a book than a comic, but it is a book worth reading. Wonderful story, good characters, great plot. Into it.

The Adam and Eve story by Chan Thomas(historical fiction) - bit of a weird one. confiscated and banned by the CIA for decades, this book technically details what happens in the event of a magnetic pole shift, which apparently regularly occur every few thousand years. It's not good. Megaquakes, mega-hurricanes, lightning storms to melt rock and biblical deluges. This is backed up by simple scientifically proven concepts, and as I write this, our magnetic poles are displacing at an accelerated rate for an unknown reason. So that's terrifying. I enjoyed the book and found the copy online somewhere. Nobody knows who Chan Thomas is, eiher, if you needed another twist.

Agony(1987) - Very difficult to watch aesthetically, as though the charactersr are always being scraped with sandpaper. Weird. Fine.

Aion(2019) - A time traveler talks to a scientist after she finds his remains. Very nice read. Didn't like the last line. Too purple, as they say. But I loved the artwork and the whole story and everything.

Alice - From Dream to Dream(2018) - A fun, simple story where a girl who can see others' dreams saves her friend in a coma. It was very well done, and I loved the little frills that accompanied the turns in plot. Made me want to go to Chicago, just from a throwaway line. Or I shoud say it reminded me I want to go there. Has nothing to do with the story.

Amulet v1 by Kazu Kibuishi(fantasy steampunk) - I always loved the Copper webcomic and the Flight anthologies Kabu put together, well, pretty much everything he's written. Emily moves into an old house, finds a very powerful amulet, and has to figure out how to save everything she holds hear. It is a vvery emotional and thrilling story, and very surreal. That hyperrealistic sort of thing. It's great. I hope Em can save her mom. The amulet seems a conniving.

Animorphs by KA Applegate(science fiction) - Are you kidding me? Child soldiers with the ability to change into animals slowly realizing that their entire life is over and a constant nightmare forever while hordes of parasitic aliens try to take over the world? Good goodness, what a recommend.

Ascender(2017) - A great comic about what happens after the Machine War. Probably a good idea to read Descender first, so you'll be familiar with the characters. Not necessary, but it'll definitely be a more interesting ride that way. A litle too short for my liking, the pacing felt pretty tense compared to the first story, but I think I preferred the overall plot of Ascender more than Descender? They're both good.

Blankets by Craig Thompson(autobiography) - Craig Thompson talks a lot about his first love, the impact religion had on his family, dark secrets he and his brother share. Beautifully illustrated, this book helped me realize how much weight image lends to the feel of a story. If body language is ninety percent of comunication, surely the way each person uniquely communicaties one concept should be studied more. This is probably the graphic novel that got me hooked on graphic novels.

Brotherhood of the Scythe by Sam Whittaker(fantasy) - I loved all the characters and am so sad to see them go after investing so much time into them and following along their arcs. I really like the tragic story of the giantess, and thought the main villain was such a great bad guy. It almost seemed rushed, at seven books. I didn't understand the things that set Tag free. It's like he couldn't decide if he was fightiing for his family or what...but the black whispers were such great foul creatures, and the hunts and battles were all so exciting. The wizard, Zerrin, seemed too powerful for his role, I think we could have done with more explanation of the Source. Was it called the Source? Basically fate as an entitiy. I think Zerrin's reluctance to help coudl have been explained more, or his powers could have been capped from being pretty much unparalleled and all-powerful. The Reppa were wonderful reptilian warriors and goddamn did they make battles exciting. I really wanted the final line of the main bad guy to be more complete. I feel like his arc was building to something, but at the end he couldn't think of anything to say and the climax didn't feel as complete as I had hoped? Idk, I loved how he came about his downfall....maybe Tag just needed to say something more powerful and encompassing. It was too direct a final line? For me. But I shouldn't be listing these faults. I loved the series and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of magic, a lot of emotion and vivid, real characters that you come to care about on an epic adventure.

Coffin Hill by Kaitlin Kittridge: A witch to stop a monster. I liked the weird gothy overtones and the character design. The story was pretty coherent, but I was confused by the very ending chapter. Didn't seem necessary? A look back at what was to come. BUt it isn't like we were confused as to the role of the Coffin Hill witch anyhoo. I get irritated at emo kids, but these emo kids had realy demons to face and didn't spend too much time prattling about the meaninglsessness of life, since they were trying to hang on to their own lives second to second.

Descender(2012) - A great comic with a bunch of twists about the Machine War. - Okay, so I'll remember this - Tim-21 is the main android, and the pilot Telsa is very brave and has cool pink hair. Turns out every shred of life in the universe was created by super-advanced AI, turns out even the super-advanced AI are a result of...read it! It's good!

The Empty(2015) - Very fun artwork and characters, I liked the story. I didn't even expect death to turn out the way it did, and usually I see that stuff early. An adventure to change the world back to how it was. Hm. That description makes me like it less. But whatever, it's better than I can describe.

Giant Days(2015) - This is one of my favorite comics. First time reading in 2021, but I love it. British comic about three friends starting college together, Esther, Susan and Daisy. It's UK and the humor is very wry and conservative in a fun way, each friend is a completely separate character and they're always getting in scrapes but know that the most important thing is being friends with each other. It made me think about Travis and how strangely reluctant he is to discuss anything that I consider "real" these days. I can't tell if he has other friends he can talk to about religion, or politics, or philosophy, or if, as the evidence points to, he just isn't interested in any of those things. He seems very conservative these days, like he just wants to not do anything until he dies. But I know he mountain bikes and I don't talk to him very often. I just feel like I don't ever get any interesting replies when we do talk and the boy has no strong opinions! There's fifty some issues of Giant Days, and I like how it makes me feel and I'm going to go get back to it. I don't want any more unfinished bits, John Allison, so please have a decent ending. I also like the overexaggerated emotions and animations set in realistic plotlines. Very fun; semicolon not period because I just finished the last issue. I love it even more and am really going to miss everything about it. The art, characters, the stories, the surreality. And the nice friendship. Damn. When I saw how long it was, I thought "oh boy is this" and then I was immediately hooked and loved it. i also like that I didn't understand everything since it's a Britto comic and they have some lovely bahn motts I'm not familiar with. But dang, great read, great feeling, great.

Gideon Falls(2018) - Super strong start, not my favorite ending, but definitely keeps in the spirit of things. I've been reading and watching a lot of Lovecraftian horror lately and that's what this felt like starting out. The Black Barn is a great nexus for evil, and the boy is a doorway, with likeable characters and unlikeable but intriguing characters. And the layout of some of the pages was amazing. The plot itself just seemed to break down a bit halfway when the setting started jumping around. Maybe this series would have benefited from being shorter? Or if they had stopped adding new plot points halfway through the series. I felt like new "maybes" appeared literally every issue. Fun crazy ride, just a little too convoluted and unsettled for me as a whole.

Girls(2005) - Huh. This definitely got a lot wilder than I thought it was going to. And it begins with a misogynist drunken rant, a streaking egg-layer and a cataclysm. I thought that the writing was kind of childish at first, somewhat simple, but I really got surprised by how the story and characters developed. I think it was good that there was only one law enforcement official, otherwise there probably would have been a much simpler story. And the childish portrayal of how people behave became very convincing and discerning. When all the separate runaway guys in their houses took to their own devices, it was fascinating. Great story. Weird.

Goners(2014) - A fun story about a couple demon kids stopping the end of the world.

Green Valley(2016) - A very good and surprising take on anachronisms. The Knights of Kelodia! Good characters. Yea, it was good. I liked the dinos as dragons and the whole techonology being magic to anyone not initiated in its digital ways. I wanted more of an introduction to the knights, it was implied that they were absolute heroes, but when the barbarians attacked I didn't realy see them fighting as heroically as I would have imagined.

Help Us! Great Warrior(2015) - A hilarious comic. I like how simple and pouty and funny the great hero is. It reminds me a lot of Bee and Puppycat, and I wish that there were more than five issues of this story, I would read all of them avidly. I love this type of sassy hero, hahah, the first scene where Hadiya asked the great warrior to help fight demons for the kingdom is hilarious, Great Warrior just says "nope" and jumps off a cliff to avoid responsibility. Hahahha.

Horizon(2016) - Okay, this is insanne. I keep reading comics that are reputed to be "completed" and then I find out in the last half of the final arc that he creator has passed, or the coronavirus necessitated a hiatus, or... I don't even know why the HELL Horizon isn't being finished. But I am bummed out about it. I love this story. I don't think eveyrthing was explained, but I don't think everything had to be. The pacing is very fun, the action is amazing, the art is perfect, absolutely perfect, and the story itself is the most fun I've read in a long time. It's an amazing story. That is incomplete. Augh.

Illusions by Richard Bach - At one point, there's a moment where Donald throws a wrench into the air and it stays suspended there for a while before dropping back down. After I finished this book, I tried throwing it in the air to test if I could keep the book suspended in air as long as I disbelieved in gravity well enough. It never worked, and I tried often. I still try to use the Force sometimes. No telekinesis, but using the Force as a test to determine whether or not I am dreaming became a helpful lucid dreaming tool. The first time the Force worked, I tried to close the fridge door with a wave of my hand and it snapped shut. And I realized I was dreaming. Very cool.

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen(fantasy) - pretty standard as far as story skeletons go, but that is to be expected. Yolen likes convention, and dresses it up in poetry. The art is fantastic. I liked this story more than I usually like the stories of Yolen, maybe because it is a slow day today and I felt like I had the time to roll around in rhetoric and poetry. I especially liked fighting a dragon with a kite.

Lazarus(2007) - A fun yet unsatisfying short story about a guy who can't die. Taking down the big bad corporation.

Looper(2012) - The opening sequence of this movie with Paul Dano is still one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen. I liked the story, yea. Probably won't watch it again, but I'm glad I've seen it.

Lovf(2016) - This guy goes off his meds and sort of loses his mind in a quest to escape himself. He's from Portland. Y'know. It's good though. Very very convoluted and messy, but I've been wanting to read it ever since I heard about it. But it was so messy that it made me tired, because there's so much going on. It was a fun story.

Midnight Nation(2000) - great story about a long walk to reclaim a soul. It all fit together, and although there were a few angels and it kept being referred to as a religous comic, you wouldn't know it until the last couple issues and the focus is about the journey and relationships and choices. It just so happens that a couple secondary characters are divine. The story itself was very good and very satisfying.

Minimum Wage(1995) - In one of the columns I was reading, an author said this was one of the comics that helped set his mind around the art formr. I read the definitive edition, so far as it goes, called *Maximum Minimum Wage* and it is great. Very real. If you want to convince anybody that comics are literature, they should read this series. Friggin' goofballs, think words are less important if they have pictures next to 'em. It's great, highly recommended.

Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey(horror) - What an amazing series. A young boy goes to live with his uncle to discover a world of monster-hunting. Or monster examining. Or monster extracting. This is not a typical tale, and the horror is as captivating and burdensome as Lovecraft could hope of. How the apprentice deals with these monsters, all of them, was chilling. The characterization of the Wendigo is terrifying. There are so many ways I would like to praise this series. But as far as horror goes? I haven't read much better.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan - A mystical, allegedly true autiobiographical account of Marlo's travels with an indigenuous Australian tribe around the desert. There are a few supernatural points, but several interesting messages about the aboriginals that focus on their absolute knowledge of the land they inhabit and have continuously inhabited for at least 50,000 years. The concept that grabbed me most in this book deals with the title. According to Morgan, aboriginals view foreigners, especially white foreigners, as mutants. we lost our way from the land that gives us life and have biologically changed until we severed that connection with the land and our history almost entirely. Cited as evidence is how easily we burn, how thin the soles of our feet are, how pathetic non-aboriginal coordinaiton and physical prowess overall is. I have always thought it was weird that I am a human animal that developed on Earth, and our species has been developing for so many years, but my skin blisters on contact with the Sun we see every day? 'Sup with that? I also agree with the assessment of how weak non-aboriginals are. I am no great athlete, but I have walked for thousands of miles across many countries simply by putting one foot in front of the other. I am convinced anyone can do this. Your feet get thickke, your back gets stronger, your legs become lean and comfortable. Walking simply gets easier the more you do it. And in Western culture, particularly in the United States, we have eschewed walking in favor of conveyance. A lot of these messages hit home, and the book is very exciting overall and a good read, even if I did find myself scrutinizing the more supernatural accounts of aboriginal Australians.

My Teacher is an Alien(1989) - Wow, the new covers for the 2005 reissue are dogshit compared to the originals. Anyway, this series has always stuck with me. Once the first couple of antics-books are over, the main kids are taken to space and let known that Earth flunked, time to destroy us. We're too spiteful, too petty, too violent. All very true. And the kids are like "but Barney is cool!" or some shit and then the alien teacher shows them all the horrors of the twentieth century, including this African mother trying to feed her child, but her teat is dry. It's heartbreaking. And the kids are like, "yea, I guess we did fail." And they're right. We did.

Powerless(2004) - An interesting story based on what life would be like if superpowers weren't real for some of the most popular superheroes. It was a very well crafted story, but difficult for me to really enjoy since I don't like superhero comics much anyway and so seeing superheroes cast against lesser versions of themselves was not very compelling. Still an interesting book, just not my flavor.

Sheltered(2013) - Survivalist kids kill all their parents, convinced by one kid that it's the only way the colony will survive. Doesn't really work out that way. It was really good. I usually get irritated listening to survivalist rants, but the issues that come up all seemed very organic and real. Really good series.

Sidekick(2013) - A really good story of how heroes come about. I'd recommend it, f'sho.

Skyward(2018) - A really fun comic that did have a good ol' fashined deus ex machina that turned out to be just as surprising as the rest of the story! Gravity abandons Earth one day, or rather, floats away, and everyone gets used to floating around and rebuilds society now that nothing is holding them back. Or down. Each chapter was surprising and I'm very happy it ended when it did. Because I want more but I feel like the story is complete. I love that people in this world didn't have to wonder about flying under their own power, everyone had to worry about flying too high.

Skyward by Jeremy Dale(2013) - a very fun story without an available ending - A boy and his dog have to escape death and destruction while an invading army attacks the reigning sovereign. There are some warrior rabbits that I enjoyed as they were more realistic than goofy. Unfortunately, Jeremy Dale passed away before realeasing issue #10 and the series ends on a cliffhanger. There is an omnibus somewhere thanks to a kickstarter by his wife. Jeremy Dale passed away at 34. And I'm 34, idly reading comic books all day. Thank you for helping the world by adding some hope and adventure and compassion, Jeremy.

Strange Girl(2005) - This is one of those books thot nothing really gets spoiled by knowing what's happening. The rapture happens, a goth girl is left behind, and she fights against demons and angels, with the help of a little magic, to get to the christian god and try to talk some sense into him. she has a good point that we were made in his image, so it's very likely god is as fallible as his creation. I liked the book, and it seems very unpolished to me. not the artwork necessarily, which fits into the grime of a post-rapture world, but the looseness of the plot and characters and arcs while still being so emotionally vivid. I didn't think the story was very compelling, to be honest, but I still like it in the same way that I enjoy a group of three drunk mohawk-heads on stage screaming and banging away on instruments. The ending is conventional and almost lazy if you look at it on paper, but the "was it all real or wasn't it" felt very approrpriate for this ending and made me happy. Good series. I read the omnibus, I don't know how much different the individual issues feel.

Ten Grand(2013) - Really good story, really wish the original artist frorm the first four issues had stayed on, but oh well. Still great. The storyline is so abstract and often convoluted that it benefited from the coarse and beatiful touch of the original artist. The further iterations look too polished to fit the storyline for my liking. I still read the whole thing and loved it, great story, great concepts. Great.

Trent(2017) - I was looking for Dino Stamatopolous' work Trent and instead came across this Canadian mountie period piece. It was fun, but I always get a bit bored with stories of Old-West justice. I'm going to try out the second issue as well, see if it hooks me or we're at a dead end. Okay, I read the second issue and will continue on with the series. The Old-West justice slant is not my cup of tea, but I do like how they mixed in Rimbaud telling the story of a madcap murderer and the Mountie pursuing him. Maybe I just liked the poetry. 3 will tell me! - Okay, I've finished the series, which surprised me. Historical fiction always seems a bit disingenuous to me, like we're propping up these people who are not as noble or savage as we would like them to be. They just aren't real enough to enjoy. Not complex enough. The art was very good, and the story was nice, and I'm glad I read the whole story, but Trent was rigid. Everyone was rigid. Or crooked. But not in-between. Sorry, historical fiction. This is the first example I've read through, but still hasn't convinced me the value of reading historical fiction vs. history. Maybe I should try Master and Commander, everyone loves that book.

Maestros(2017) - Really great take on the creation myth with absolutely fantastic drawings and pretty funny dialogue. About a dynasty of wizards. I also appreciate that it was written and illustrated by the same guy. I guessed the twist at the end but still liked the elements of the human world that remade the fantasy world. And the strongest force acting against the good-ish guy is a great villain. Mardok. Welp! See you later.

The Mantle(2015) - A good take on supervillains. And heroes. I liked it. Good art, good story. Check it out. Not very long.

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle(science fiction) - Sound scientific notions concerning space travel and interworldly diplomacy wrapped up in a fascinating an shockingly realistic alien species. This is another book I discovered young and have reread multiple times. It starts out with what becomes known as the "Crazy Eddie" probe, a satellite encountered by humans conducting a light-sail propulsion test, with a "Motie" in it, an alien species from the area of space dominated by a nebula known as "God's eye," and specifically, from the world dubbed the "mote in God's eye." We follow Roderick Blaine as he discovers more and more about the incredibly advanced and prolific aliens who offer help with human design and material science. Roderick and his crew, over a long period of time, realize that the Moties are hiding something, and their secret is so appropriate and horrifying that I don't want to give it away. I can't recommend this story enough. All of the characters are very engaging and likeable, of any species, and the story buttressed by sound science is wonderfully immersive.

Pisces(2015) - Agh! How frustrating. Two good issues, a third brilliant one and nothing else for 6 years. Guess something happened. What a good opening to a series though. Bummer. Great opening, if you can stand the story ending before its time.

Pop Gun War(2003) - One of the first comics that made me realize why some people insist on calling them "graphic novels" instead of "comics". I did that too for a while, but they're all comics to me now. Graphic novel is too interpretive. Like calling *It* a novel and *A Tale of Two Cities* literature. They're both books. Get over yourself. Anyway, Pop Gun War is all about poetry and abstroct symbols creating a story that I still can't understand but am happy to follow in a less rosy fantasy setting that I'm used to. The boy has wings, and everyone is immortal, and everyone is missing something and looking for something and figuring out what they need to survive as the entity they want to be. It's a very good book.

Prism Stalker(2018) - I see why this didn't get a continued run, but I enjoyed the first five issues. It was a little too psychedelic, but the setting and story were compelling, if not very new. I feel like most stories follow the trope of thrusting someone into a situation where theey almost die and then discover their hidden power. And by "I feel like" I mean "I've read." That moment has to be so organic, or it just feels artificial. I think it was done alright in this story, but I'll never get to find out any further character development.

Saga - A very fun fantasy stories with aims to edumacate you about war and fucking without taking itself too seriously. I highly recommend it.

The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur(children's fiction) - I guess I've always liked absurdity. These children's novels are that. Stanley and Fluffy are two plants that eat dirty socks. They belong to a couple of brothers. Hm...not much to tell here. The brothers go to school and get in wacky situations becaues of their plants that eat dirty socks.

Walkabout by James Vace Marshall(fiction) - A white Australian sister and brother become stranded in the Outback and encuonter a tribal aboriginal going on his walkabout. It's a fascinating look into the cultural interplay between European and aboriginal Australians. The part that really hit me was when an argument occurs and the sister tells the aboriginal that he can go die. He sits down, then lies down, and for days, just waits to die. And he does. This is a documented fact, that Australian aboriginals can will death to take them. Not necessarily by starvation or thirst, but aboriginals have the ability to stop living if they believe their life is over. It is a fascinating book.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman(inspiration) - I probably literally read this book cover-to-cover ten times. It helped me identify the traits that helped a person be healthy and gave me a role model to admire. I had been looking for someone to listen to for a long time, because growing up in the United States is crazy and my parents were wackos. This helped define for me how to eat, how to present yourself, how to treat others, and most importantly, how to enjoy life. I used the quote "Be happy now, without reason, or you will never be at all" as my high school yearbook quote and

Wayward Pines(2012) - I like this book, but it does have a "written on a phone" feel to it. Still, the story is very exciting and original and just fun to go through. and the abbies are good creepy little mountain monkey mutants. I am liking the second book as well and will certainly finish the trilogy. Okay, finished. I want to say that I enjoyed the story, but was very surprised to find out that the writer is established. It definitely felt like an experimental foray. A lot of words bent into shape rather than free-flowing. I liked the third option the townies took at the end of the book, dead-heading until they wake up in a more advantageous time. Much more sensible than trying to survive further winters at Wayward Pines or eking out a new existence somewhere else. I'd like there to be further books, and am not very interested in reading more about Pilcher creating Wayward Pines in the prequel. It's such a stilted style of writing, to my delicate sensibilities, though. I'll have to check out some other books by Blake Crouch and see if they sound the same.

We Stand on Guard(2015) - Super fun and worryingly realistic portrayal of the near future when Americans sully their water supply to the point they invade Canada to take what they want. Terrorist/freedom fighter? Amber. Les Lepage. The Gorilla. This is a fantastic book.