It has been an incredibly long time since I wrote my one and only comic post (which I meant to do once a month) and I am FINALLY here with a follow-up. Good news is I have read a lot of comics since then, bad news is I have still NOT finished The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Snow Peircer, nor The Secret History of Wonder Woman (which is really good but I love TV).
Bad Houses written by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil would make a lovely indie rom-com if any young filmmakers are looking for great source material. It centers on Anne, Lewis, there single mothers, and the crumbling town in which they live called Failin. The two gain independence from there mothers by leaning on each other and of course falling in love. It is less trite then that last sentence made it sound.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama
Alison Bechdel’s memoirs about her father, Fun Home and mother, Are You My Mother? are two of my favorite books ever. Not only is Bechdel an amazing artist she is also an exceptional writer, both memoirs tell the story of her family and her role in it in an interesting and complex way. Though these are her stories of her relationships with each parent she is able to objectively create a portrait of each parent, you get the feeling that Bechdel is not just telling the story to entertain the reader but is using this medium to understand both her parents and her past. These are incredibly intimate books to the point that when I found out Bechdel’s mother died of cancer I cried for about 45 minutes at work as if someone I knew personally had died. [Vulture just published this Bechdel-penned coda to Fun Home, which also became a Broadway musical, this morning. -M]
Written by Paul Tobbin with art by Colleen Coover, Bandette is one of the prettiest and entertaining comics I read. It takes place in Paris and our heroine Bandette is both a thief and a superhero. She is also quite delightful with her catchphrase “Presto” and her adorable costume of red wig, black mask, cape, red jumper, black turtle neck and tights, and the extremely appropriate for jumping and climbing ballet flat. She also flees scenes on a blue scooter and has a network of dancers, skate-kids, and cute delivery boy Daniel to help her out when an escape goes array. I especially love her relationship with the curmudgeon police inspector Belgique. The first five issues were collected in Bandette Volume 1: Presto. Also in this collection is a section on how Coover creates the panels and it is AMAZING.
The online comic Henchgirl (The villain with a heart of gold) by Kristen Gudsnuk has a similar aesthetic to Bandette and both women are on the wrong side or wrongish side of the law. Instead of being standard anti-heroes they both also do good things. Mary in particular struggles with being on the wrong side of the law –but she needs to pay bills and eat. Henchgirl also benefits from artist Gudsnuk willingness to engage with her readers. She often comments at the bottom of each panel about the plot, Mary, her triumphs regarding the drawing of the panels, how much she enjoys Mad Men’s return (ME TOO KRISTEN, ME TOO!), etc. I love the artist notes and how it enhances my experience of reading Henchgirl. New Henchgirl’s appear every Tuesday and Thursday (I linked to #0 in the beginning of the paragraph).
And Finally for Non-compliant Women (and everyone else)
Bitch Planet (Issues 1 – 3)
In my last post I talked about Captain Marvel and how much I loved Carol Danvors so I was SUPER DUPER EXCITED about Kelly Sue DeConnick’s (the woman in charge of Danvers heart and brain) ultra feminist Bitch Planet and I was not disappointed. Bitch Planet is meant to look and feel like exploitation films of the 70s. Well a women-in-prison exploitation film written by a firebrand feminist –FUCK YEAH! The characters are diverse, interesting, and make you want to know everything about them, which is nice that every third issue is about a specific character. The character issues will have guest artists but the main issues are drawn by Valentine De Landro who really understands the material. The first two issues set up the world and give us some hints about the future series (DeConnick is shooting for 30 issues).
Next post (I am NOT even going to tell you when though I hope it’s May) I’ll cover Matt Fraction (I want to finish Sex Criminals Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 of Hawkeye), The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act, Lumberjanes Vol. 1, maybe the X-men and many more (just look at my stack in the opening photo).