“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 July which features a blooming romance, a unique retelling, slice of life stories, and parodies of history.
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
Synopsis: Hark! A Vagrant is an uproarious romp through history and literature seen through the sharp, contemporary lens of New Yorker cartoonist and comics-sensation Kate Beaton. No era or tome emerges unscathbed as Beaton rightly skewers the Western world’s revolutionaries, leaders, sycophants, and suffragists while equally honing her wit on the hapless heroes, heroines, and villains of the best-loved fiction. She deftly points out what really happened when Brahms fell asleep listening to Liszt, that the world’s first hipsters were obviously the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses from eighteenth-century France, that Susan B. Anthony is, of course, a “Samantha,” and that the polite banality of Canadian culture never gets old. Hark! A Vagrant features sexy Batman, the true stories behind classic Nancy Drew covers, and Queen Elizabeth doing the albatross. As the 5600.000 unique monthly visitors to harkavagrant.com already know, no one turns the ironic absurdities of history and literature into comedic fodder as hilarious as Beaton. (description from Goodreads)
Review: A book full of comedic comic shorts about history, literature, pop culture, and much more. Reads pretty quickly and each comic ranges from parodies, puns, and even poking fun at historical figures and events. A bit bummed that I missed out on some of the references the comic alludes too. I guess I need to brush up on a classic literature and history in general?
I enjoyed the cute and quirky art style. It reminds me of doodles in a notebook! I also appreciated that some of the comics have annotations to give it a clearer background and explanation. My favorite comics overall in this book were the ones that poked fun at literary classics such as Nancy Drew and The Great Gatsby!
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola (Writer), Emily Carroll
Synopsis: Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, and that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga’s house on chicken legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu!
Wry, spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s debut–with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll–is a storytelling feat and a visual fest. (description from Goodreads)
Review: I love fairy tales stories and retellings which made me seek out this book! On top of that, the artwork is done by Emily Carroll who I love (recommend her Through The Woods book). Though the narratives is short it manages to tell the tale of a girl who seeks adventure while also trying to heal from grief and adapt to new changes (the addition of a stepmother and new sister.
The author makes the story fun and engrossing for all ages as the reader will be entertained by Masha’s journey to outsmart the Baba Yaga. I enjoyed that it retold this old tale while putting a new, fresh spin on it. The art work was fantastic! Carroll’s attention to characters and landscape detail with vibrant colors truly brought the story to light!
Giant Days Vol. 1 by by John Allison (Writer), Lissa Treiman
Synopsis: Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird. (description from Goodreads)
Review: Giant Days is a slice of life series about a trio of girls: Susan, Esther, and Daisy, who became fast friends in college. They spend their days navigating university and life.
Normally, I love slice of life stories but this one fell flat for me. The characters are enjoyable, but I didn’t really feel a connection to them. On top of that, the comic was a little too ordinary for my liking. It didn’t stand out against similar stories I’ve read in graphic novels. There were a couple of moments that made me laugh out loud, but for the most part I felt like the plot was just going through the motions. The art work is a mashup of styles where it feels real, but the characters and objects look cartoonish.
I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this series.
Honey So Sweet, Vol. 1-2 by Amu Meguro
Synopsis: Little did Nao Kogure realize back in middle school that when she left an umbrella and a box of bandages in the rain for injured delinquent Taiga Onise that she would meet him again in high school. Nao wants nothing to do with the gruff and frightening Taiga, but he suddenly presents her with a huge bouquet of flowers and asks her to date him—with marriage in mind! Is Taiga really so scary, or is he a sweetheart in disguise? (description from Goodreads)
Review: I have been wanting to get back into a Shojo manga that was light and easygoing, and I am so glad picked the right series! Honey So Sweet is one of the cutest manga I have ever read, from cover art to the illustrations that line the pages of the book. Though its set in a high school it’s got a very innocent feel and look as it tells the story of a budding romance.
Both volumes one and two showed a smooth pace in writing as well as character development. Nao and Onise are likable characters, but are very naive. It’s a bit frustrating that they can’t always pick up on each other’s feelings, but once they get to one know another once they become more comfortable around each other. If you’re looking for a light story/manga, that will give you a warm, fuzzy feeling this is it!
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!