A Rogue Librarian's Reading List











{October 8, 2014}   Comics and manga of September

HabibiAd Astra, Volume 1 & 2 (French) by Michachi Kagano

  • Ad Astra tells the story of Hannibal’s campaign against Rome in amazing historical detail and breath taking detailed art. But the real hero of the story is Scipion the Africain, who will eventually defeat him. If you enjoy historical manga like Vinland Saga, this will be right up your alley.

Angel & Faith, Volume 5: What You Want, Not What You Need by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs

  • Angel and his allies succeed in reviving Giles but he doesn’t return exactly as he was. But before they can deal with this new development they must face down Whistler and his plot to destroy the world. The Buffy-verse comics have been every bit as good as the TV series and so far, Angel & Faith has been my favorite series. Read it.

Apple and Honey by Hideyoshico

  • A lovely boys love manga containing two stories. In the first cheerful and popular Komano starts circling quiet, lonesome Natsuki and it blossoms into a romance. In the second, thinking the world will end Takagi seeks out the boy he had a crush on in High School. I really liked the art and the touching relationships.

Baby-sitters, volume 3 & 4 (French) by Hari Tokeino

  • This story isn’t exciting, or innovative but it is always adorable. These volumes include Valentines Day, trips to the beach and to a mountain as well as, my favorite, a day spent alone with Kotaro and the mysterious secretary, M. Saikawa. Read for a bit of relaxation and a lot of adorableness.

Bokurano, volume 11 by Mohiro Kitoh

  • The final volume of the depressing sci-fi manga. There was only one kid left to kill after all. As this last volume deals with the least endearing of the children, it was a bit less emotional for me. But the conclusion also reveals a few last tidbits about this terrible world-destroying combat.

Boumeries, volume 4 by Boum

  • Everytime Montreal Comiccon comes around, I need to buy the new collection by Boum. I love her quirky three panel gags about her life and her bizarre dreams. Read the comic online here: http://comics.boumerie.com/

The Boxer by Reinhard Kleist

  • This is a slightly different Holocaust story. It tells the tale of Hartzko Haft who survives the concentration camps and then life as new American by boxing. It is brutal and fascinating with very effective black and white drawings. I can’t help the comparison to Maus.

Far Out, Volume 1 (French) by Gauthier Langevin & Olivier Carpentier

  • Robot cowboys. That’s it. You need more? Ok, a robot who literally fell out of the sky finds himself caught up in a power struggle because he looks like someone else. The plot can be a bit confusing at times but the aesthetics are amazing. You can judge for yourself at KimiQ.com

Ghostbusters, Volume 6, 7 & 8

  • Janine is possessed by the ghosts of Vikings and they must travel into her memories to free her; nightmarish creatures begin to manifest; and another god has come to Manhattan to complete the job Gozer the Gozerian started in the movie. If you grew up with the Ghostbusters as I did, this is an irresistable bit of nostalgia but while there are interesting, spooky tales, I think that non-fans would have trouble getting into it.

Habibi by Craig Thompson

  • This is a comic I’ve been meaning to read for a while. The physical book itself is beautiful, and well worth the exorbitant cost, and the story is complex and touching. I’m not sure how to describe the plot except to say that it is about language, calligraphy, faith, love, abuse (trigger warning: a lot of rape) and family. It is beautiful, that’s the word that I keep coming back to.

Ippo, volume 56 & 57 (French) by George Morikawa

  • While Ippo recovers from a terrible match, his friends must make some important life lessons. They also begin to suspect that as Takamura prepares for another World Championship, he might be putting his vision and his life at risk. I cannot wait for volume 58. I think that says everything that I need to say.

Koibana, volume 8, 9 & 10 (French) by Nagamu Nanaji

  • Chikai is finally starting to have feelings for Hanabi as she’s always hoped. But when she should be happy, she must struggle with the fact that her phobia of men still applies to Chikai, despite her love for him. Meanwhile Hanabi’s friends are working through similarly dysfunctional relationships towards an ending in volume 10 that may not be everything they hope for but is certainly satisfying. I have some issues with this series: the way Hanabi’s misandry, Atsumi’s weight and Sasa’s homosexuality are dealt with are high up on the list. But ultimately this is a gripping high school drama with an interesting cast of characters, even if I preferred Nanaji’s previous series Parfait Tic much better.

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, volume 3: Ten Days of Perfect Tunes by E.K. Weaver

  • This is the final volume of one of my favorite web comics. TJ and Amal discover each other’s secrets and grow closer to each other as they continue to drive across the country. It is funny and sexy and as the end of their trip approaches they’ll be more than enough family drama to go around.

Library Wars, volume 12 by Kiiro Yumi

  • The library forces face a new threat; the forces in favor of censorship have started to target authors directly. Meanwhile the relationship between Iku and Dojo starts to deepen. This great series about libraries and censorship just keeps getting better.

Loki: Agent of Asgard, Volume 1: Trust Me by Al Ewing

  • Loki goes on a series of seemingly unconnected missions for the All-Mothers but in typical Loki fashion he succeeds through lies and manipulation. And his game is much deeper than you could ever imagine. The Loki in this series combines elements of the classic villainous Marvel Loki with the recent young Journey Into Mystery Loki: just as pretty but with less conscience. This volume also introduces a great new character: Verity who can see through Loki’s illusion. I’d love to see more of her.

The Man of Glass by Martin Flink

  • This is a very short comic about a boxer and his failing marriage. There is almost no text but Flink’s images are very evocative.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Volume 5 by Katie Cook

  • This is MLP at it’s best. Are heroines discover that Princess Celestia had regularly visited a parallel universe in her youth which had serious consequences on both worlds. They must aid the ruler of the other world in order to save their own. Half the fun of this storyline was seeing the differences in the two world. A world where Derpy Pony is the spirit of wisdom is worth reading.

No Longer Heroine, Volume 8 (French) by Momoko Koda

  • Hatori’s boyfriend got a job so that he could take her on a trip. But when she gets jealous of a cute girl at his job who has a crush on him, she is forced to admit her own hypocrisy: after all, hasn’t she been enjoying Rita’s feeling for her? I can’t say that any of the characters in this series are likable but they are complex and interesting and they do not behave as shojo manga heroes usually do.

Princess Jellyfish, Volume 13 (French) by Akiko Higashimura

  • Geek girl Tsukimi has been drawn into the confusing, whirlwind world of fashion. She is completely off balance but both her best friend, the cross dressing Kuranosuke and his brother, who wishes to propose to her, are desperate to get her back. This remains one of my favorite shojo manga of the moment. Read it.

Une Sacree Mamie, volume 4 (French) by Yoshichi Shimada & Saburo Ishikawa

  • This volume of the autobiography of the author’s childhood with his impoverished (who uses who few resources very creatively) covers his friendship with an odd boy from school and the arrival of a travelling theater group. This series is funny, uplifting and honest. It also gives a fascinating picture of post-war Japan.

Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 1 and 2 by Alan Moore

  • Moore’s classic run on the series about Alec Holland who after an accident becomes the vegetative creature known as Swamp Thing. The story and the panel layout sometimes lean towards the psychadelic but Moore tells a truly engaging tale about humanity and monsters… and the monsters aren’t always who you think. A must read comic.

Say I Love You, volume 3 by Kanae Hazuki

  • This volume focuses on Aiko and her body issues. There are lots of stories about self-hate and anorexia but Hazuki presents it with great complexity. But she doesn’t neglect Mei’s continuing relationship with Yamato. The unemotional girl is finally coming to terms with the overwhelming feelings that she has for her. This shojo manga continues to impress me: it feels so personal and defies my expectations… despite the large number of manga I’ve read over the years.

Silver Spoon, Volume 7 (French) by Hiromu Arakawa

  • Yugo collapses from overwork just before the school festival and consequently misses the whole thing. But there is always something exciting going on at his agricultural school: in this case Ichiro baseball team is headed for the championships. Whether it’s fantasy or school life, Arakawa does it with humour and emotion.

Skip Beat! Volume 33 by Yoshiki Nakamura

  • Kyoko has kept her heart locked up since her terrible experiences with Sho but living in close quarters with Ren is bringing her feelings of love back to the surface. Worse, her boss has come to the set and she may not be able to hide her feelings from him. As much as I love the angry, romantically-clueless Kyoko, I’m curious to see where Nakamura takes her relationship with Ren next.

The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Volume2: The Crime of the Century by Nick Spencer

  • Boomerang betrayed the Superior Six and some dangerous criminals in the first volume now he’s going to try and lie and scheme his way out of trouble while his former teammates fail crimes just as well without him. This volume also includes a pathetically hilarious issue about a villains’ support group. This series is always good for a laugh.

Switch Girl, volume 23 & 24 (French) by Natsumi Aida

  • These are the final two volumes of Aida’s bizarre, trope-defying shoujo manga. Nika and Arata’s relationship is tested but Nika makes a great sacrifice to bring them back together. This series has been funny, unexpected and absolutely shameless from beginning to end. I’m so glad to have been along for the ride.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures, volume 3 by various

  • A series of light, silly one shot stories inspired by the new cartoon. They aren’t quite as well written as the TV series (but that would be hard) but it surprised a laugh out of me several times. My favorite involves Mikey teaming up with a Foot Bot. Recommended mainly for fans of the series.

Tomboy by Liz Prince

  • This is Prince’s memoir of growing up a girl with masculine dress and interests. It is a familiar story to all of us who don’t quite conform to gender expectations but it also gets at how we often displace our hatred of the social pressure to conform onto women and femininity.

Tora & Ookami, Volume 4 (French) by Yoko Kamio

  • Mii is saved by a boy named Shishio who then shows up at her school and tries to get closer to her. But more dangerous is the girl who is jealous of her friendship with Ookami and Tora and is ready to do anything to get close to them too. If you liked Kamio’s classic Hana Yori Dango, you should read this too.

Twittering Birds Never Fly, Volume 1 by Kou Yoneda

  • Yet another Yakuza boys love series but what can I say, they love them. The first story deals with a yakuza doctor and a young recruit but more interesting is the growing romance between an impotent body guard (and the complex traumas that led him to prison) and his masochistic boss. You might be wondering how yaoi about an impotent man can be hot: give it a chance and you’ll find out.

What Did You Eat Yesterday? Volume 4 by Fumi Yoshinaga

  • This continues the culinary tales of two gay men. In this volume Shiro stresses out about cooking for two of Kenji’s friends and must find a way to turn down a television appearance. And of course, as usual the manga is full of delicious recipes to try.

Young Leaves by Venio Tachibana and Akeno Kitahata

  • The unlikely friendship between two very different boys slowly grows into love. The story isn’t revolutionary but it is a quiet, sweet story of two boys daily life.
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