Review – Scales & Scoundrels Vol. 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw

Scales & Scoundrels Vol. 1: Into the Dragon's Maw
By: Sebastian Girner
Illustrator: Galaad
Release Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: Scales & Scoundrels
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

I love fantasy stories. So it isn’t any surprise that I picked up the latest fantasy graphic novel, which hit shelves today, February 13, 2018. Scales & Scoundrels Vol. 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw by Sebastian Girner and Galaad is a delightful fantasy perfect for people of any age.

Review – The Doomster’s Monolithic Pocket Alphabet

The Doomster's Monothlithic Pocket Alphabet
By: Theo Prasidis
Illustrator: Maarten Donders
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

Some people pick up books based on the front cover. Me? I tend to pick book based on the title. One of the last graphic novels I read based on the title was this one. The Doomster’s Monolithic Pocket Alphabet written by Theo Prasidis and with art by Maarten Donders is a love letter to doomsters. It’s short, it’s fun, and it’s cute (not necessarily a word I every expected to use in regard to doom metal, but hey).

Review – Lumberjanes Vol. 1

Lumberjanes Vol. 1
By: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, Brooke A. Allen
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Series: Lumberjanes
Award: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best New Series & Best Publication for Teens (ages 13-17)(2015); Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Graphic Novels & Comics (2015)

I’d recently heard some very good things about Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Faith Hicks, and Brooke Allen. When I found copies available in my local library I immediately delved in. This is a fun fantasy/mystery series that follows a group of girls at a Lumberjane sleepaway camp. The forest they’re camping in holds secrets, though, and seems to be filled with magical creatures. The story follows these girls as they go on various adventures and try to solve the mysteries of the woods.

Review – Winnebago Graveyard by Steve Niles and Alison Sampson

Winnebago Graveyard
By: Steve Niles; Alison Sampson
Release Date: November
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

Winnebago Graveyard is the story of a young family on a summer road trip. When they come across a fair, they stop for the day, intent on fun and absolutely no cell phones. As the day winds down and they’re set to go home, they find their Winnebago is missing, presumably stolen. When the fair’s employees are unwilling to help, they walk on to the next town. But the sheriff here is completely disinterested in their problems. The whole place feels off, wrong. Strangers aren’t welcome here, and soon a missing Winnebago will be the least of this family’s problems.

Review – God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw

God Country
By: Donny Cates; Geoff Shaw
Release Date: August 2, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

I am always game for a story about a giant Final Fantasy styled ridiculously oversized sword. Look, I just like them. They look cool. And they look cool in artistic formats like video games and graphic novels. When I found out God Country by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw was about an older gentleman who finds an enormous sword, I knew I needed to read it.

The story follows Emmett Quinlan, an older man who suffers from Alzheimer’s. His children and the local law enforcement are having an increasingly difficult time handling Emmett’s violent outbursts. When a storm sweeps through his Texas town, leveling his home. But when Emmett emerges from the storm, he is a different man, a man that his son thought was lost to disease. A magic sword has granted him a sound mind and great powers. But the sword belongs to someone else, and they will stop at nothing to get it back.

This was a bit of a roller coaster of a graphic novel for me, and not necessarily due to the plot. The book was one of highs and lows for me. The opening pages of God Country hit hard. The opening scene shows the sherriff of a small town in Texas returning an Alzheimer’s ridden father to his home and son turned caretaker after sneaking out of the house without anyone’s knowledge. The sheriff tries to tell the son that it’s time, that the Alzheimer’s is too advanced, and that they should really consider a nursing home. This scene hit hard, having been in similar situations and discussions with family members. The heartbreak, the questions with no good answers, all of that felt very real. Everyone’s experiences are different, of course, so not everyone who has cared for an Alzheimer’s patient will be able to relate to this scene the same way, but it did add a lot of realism to the story.

However, this hard hitting emotion didn’t quite carry through to the rest of the graphic novel for me. Overall, this is a very action packed story. There’s plenty of fighting scenes. More emotional scenes are also prevalent. But none of them had the same sort of impact that the opening scene managed to convey. Scenes that, for all purposes, were supposed to be gut wrenching never quite left me feeling that way.

There were some interesting questions posed in this graphic novel. Emmett had a real second chance, a chance to say the things he never said or never had a chance to. Yet, nothing changes. He is the same person he always was for better or worse. The relationship with his son doesn’t change very drastically despite the young man trying rather desperately to get Emmett to say something, anything. This brings up some really fascinating questions. Many other stories with similar themes play off of the concepts of things left unfinished or what could be changed if there was a second chance. In a lot of ways, God Country subverts that, with Emmett being very much the same person he was before Alzheimer’s took hold. This is something I haven’t seen a lot, and it was rather interesting to see play out.

I have some mixed feelings about the art, too. The fight scenes were a strong point, with all of the flashiness one would expect when a character fights with a greatly oversized sword. While we don’t see a terrible amount of the Kingdom of Always, this was also rather fascinating, and I dwelled on these images, along with the battle scenes, the most. The characters, however, were entirely unappealing from a visual perspective. I really didn’t like how any of the characters were drawn. Faces looked sort of mushy and lumpy. Noses were pointy and eyes tended to be squinty. Color palates used fit the settings well. Bluish tones were used in Always while Texas had more yellows, browns, and reds, highlighting the grassy landscape.[/parapgraph]

This isn’t a story with a happy ending. Even so, the ending was very satisfying and fitting for the story being told. I won’t say too much more on this due to spoilers, but the story wrapped up extremely satisfactorily.

Despite a good ending, the story was, overall, forgettable. I only read God Country three days prior to sitting down and writing the review, but already details are fuzzing over. I think it’s worth a read. The premise is quite original. I like seeing heroes and main characters that are so out of the norm. Going into this I expected to rate it extremely highly. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to initial expectations. Still, if this sounds even a little interesting to you, I do encourage you to read it.

Review – Snotgirl Vol 1 by Bryan O’Malley

By: Bryan Lee O'Malley; Leslie Hung
Website: ;
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: Snotgirl #1

A graphic novel I’d heard about on booktube (that’s book based youtube videos for any who aren’t familiar with the term) and decided to pick up is Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley (creator of Scott Pilgrim) and Leslie Hung. While having a slight air of mystery about it, this graphic novel doesn’t fall into the usual science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres I normally read. This is both a blessing and a curse. I like stretching out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I am often reminded why I enjoy those genres to begin with.

Review – I Hate Fairyland Vol 1 by Skottie Young

I Hate Fairyland Vol. 1: Madly Ever After
By: Skottie Young
Release Date: April 20, 2016
Publisher: Image Comics
Series: I Hate Fairyland #1

One of the parts that I love so much about this series as a whole is that, yeah, the idea of a world that is perfect and charming in every way would become very frustrating and annoying very There is nothing I love more than completely over the top humor or stories that point out flaws and misconceptions in things usually considered ‘good’, ‘normal’, or ‘benign’. I Hate Fairyland Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young does both of these things with near perfection.

New Release! Review – The Tea Dragon Society

The Tea Dragon Society
By: Katie O'Neill
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Publisher: Oni Press
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

I picked up quite a number of early copies of books while at Book Con in June. None of them are have stuck with me in the way that The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Niell has. This is an amazing graphic novel about a little girl who saves a tiny tea dragon from a pack of wild dogs that will enrapture any reader.

New Release! – The Castoffs Vol 2

The Castoffs Vol 2: Into the Wastelands
By: M.K. Reed; Brian Smith
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Publisher: Lion Forge
Series: The Castoffs #2
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

During the Get Graphic Readathon I read an early copy of The Castoffs Vol. 2: Into The Wastelands by M.K. Reed and Brian Smith. The Castoffs is a graphic novel series filled with magic, mechanical enemies, and a trio of girls who go from adversaries to friends.

I had the opportunity to read volume one of The Castoffs a few months ago. When the opportunity arose to read an early copy of volume two I simply couldn’t turn it down. As always, major spoilers will be avoided, but minor plot points will be discussed (nothing that wouldn’t be on a dust jacket).

Throwback Thursday – Dream Country (Vol 3) by Neil Gaiman

Dream Country (Vol. 3)
By: Neil Gaiman (writer)
Release Date: (Original release) 1991; (this volume) October 19, 2010
Publisher: Vertigo
Series: The Sandman #3
Award: World Fantasy Award for Short Story (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Harvey Awards Nominee for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Material (1992); Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (for Neil Gaiman) (1991)

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone. This week I continued reading The Sandman series, written by Neil Gaiman. This is an excellent horror graphic novel series, perfect to read around Halloween that everyone should read.

For anyone unfamiliar with the series, or if you’d like to catch up on our reviews, check out the reviews of Preludes and Nocturns (Volume 1) and The Doll’s House (Volume 2).

Dream Country (Volume 3) of the The Sandman series reads more like a compilation of short stories as opposed to the previous volumes in the series. The volume is separated into three different stories. One is about a Here again Dream takes somewhat of a back seat. Dream’s presence is obvious, and very much felt in each tale. Yet, he is not necessarily the main character of each tale. He is the catalyst, the important factor, the other, at times.