“Monthly Comic Corner” is a segment that compiles mini-reviews of comics, graphic novels, and manga that I’ve read for the month. Here are my reviews for the month of April which features a food memoir, an aspiring comic artist in a zombie apocalypse, and a supernatural high school. Enjoy!
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Kinsley
Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Synopsis: Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy’s original inventions.
A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a book for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product. (description from Goodreads)
Relish is a charming comic about a woman’s food experiences and how they shaped her childhood and overall life. Her drawing style is cute, the narrative is easy to follow, and I loved the usage of vivid colors as well as the delicious food that was depicted. The book is a fairly easy read and each chapter is centered around a certain part or event in Lucy’s life followed by a recipe of a food she mentions in that chapter. These recipes were not only depicted well, but the recipes seemed easy enough to try (especially for a non-cook as myself).
I love read graphic memoirs about people’s lives and while some people might look at Relish and not think this book is exciting because it’s based solely on food, they’re wrong. It’s engrossing and I love reading about Lucy’s food experiences and how it changed her as a person and a cook. Each story made me smile and laugh and I could definitely agree that food is connected/shapes one’s memory. I remember fond times I’ve had not only through looking at old photos, but also because of the food I ate and shared with others, whether it was good or bad.
I am a Hero Omnibus Volume 1 by Kengo Hanazawa
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Synopsis: The zombie apocalypse has never been more surreal! A mentally unhinged manga artist witnesses the beginning of a zombie outbreak in Tokyo, and he’s certain of only two things: he’s destined to be the city’s hero, and he possesses something very rare in Japan–an actual firearm! Kengo Hanazawa’s award-winning series comes to Dark Horse, and this realistically-drawn international bestseller takes us from initial small battles for survival to a huge, body-horror epidemic that threatens all of humanity! (description from Goodreads)
I Am a Hero follows the story of an aspiring comic artist in a zombie apocalypse who just can’t seem to get his big break. He’s kind of loner, is dealing with writer’s block, and feels extreme jealously against big mangka who are making it in the world. The first thing that caught my eye is the attention to detail in the artwork which was similar to shonen style manga, but stands out in its own way. Personally I didn’t like how the main character is drawn but the zombies are fantastic and creepy looking. They are so eerie their depictions gave me goosebumps!
I felt that I really couldn’t connect with the main character until the halfway point of the story, he wants to be a “hero” but all he does is complain about his rejection from society and the manga world. On top of that it moved a bit too slowly in the beginning even to build up his character and back story. Towards the latter half of the book some action finally starts to happen. My only complaint about this book is why does it take him so long to see that a zombie apocalypse is happening. He’s so aloof to what’s going, but he doesn’t seem to realize that his girlfriend a zombie when she’s trying to chomp his arm off?!
Overall, I won’t think I’ll continue with this series, and I’ll watch the movie adaptation instead.
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
Synopsis: The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.
Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy. Whether the magic is mundane or miraculous, Tamaki’s jokes are precise and devastating. (description from Goodreads)
SuperMutant Ninja Academy is about the story of and X-Men like school and the students within it. While features a lot of characters, but focuses on a set of students as the main cast. Honestly, it took me a while to get into this book at first. I enjoyed the comic strip style, but since the story is set up in short snippets it felt a bit all over the place and it was sometimes hard to follow.
Towards the latter half, I felt like all the pieces were finally coming together as a story and I could follow everything that was happening. On top of that the characters stories became linear and I could start to recognize who was who and what supernatural ability they had. The art style is fun and the story is entertaining, it’s a mix of coming of age and the supernatural. I found it really relatable at times and it has good commentary on social issues such as: sexuality, freedom of speech, gender equality, and peer pressure. I would have enjoyed it more if the narrative was more cohesive, but it was still a very enjoyable read.
What comics, graphic novels, or manga have you read lately? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any recommendations feel free to share those as well. 🙂
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links!