A random list of comics & manga I've read this month, Saleena

Found some really cool new comics while on Quarantine; you'll likely see/hear more on the library's manga/comics blog....(hint hint); but here are the ones with strong ladies to represent.  This series, Sleepless, is not only an original (and very cool) concept; but also has beautiful artwork AND features a lovely lady of color.  Lady Pyppenia "Poppy" is the daughter (illegitimate) of the King of Harbeny.  Her mother is a Queen (or lady of quality of some kind, I forget) of a province far away, where presumably most have varying shades of brown and black skin; whereas Harbeny seems to be mostly caucasian derivatives.  Skin color has nothing to do with the story (which is nice); however, I wanted to point this fact out because...well, you just don't see enough comics of the fantasy genres featuring people of color (sadly).   Anyway, Poppy is unable to (and really doesn't want to) inherit the throne given her lack of legitimacy; and thus is subject to the new king.  Her unique status has meant that she has had multiple attempts on her life, and thus has retained a Sleepless for her own protection.  In this world, a soldier (usually) or other designated person can elect to take a magical vow to not sleep in order to make sure someone is always watching.  Usually done for war purposes or guarding purposes, but not always with an end date; but eventually all sleepless lose the battle to sleep, and if they did it for too long, will die when sleep finds them (literally sleep the rest of their lives away).  Cyrenic is the knight Sleepless and is determined to take care of Poppy.  Poppy is trying to figure out a way to expose the person trying to kill her, or outwit them and force them to the king's justice (we all know who it is quickly enough, but there is no proof).  I read both volumes, and they seemed to come to an end with the resolution of the assassination (with a bit of light romance on the side); but I am kind of hoping they do some more.  Poppy is smart, politically savvy, fearless and an all around amazing character; and I didn't see the end resolution coming at all.  So good, definitely a must read for all of you.

These girls kick butt in a different, but equally important way.  They are 4 girls; Abby, Brit, Christine
and Sasha, who meet freshman year of high school.  Three of them have been friends since childhood; but one has just moved to school and has the most dreaded of all things happen; she gets her first period AT SCHOOL.  Of course she has no supplies and only knows after embarassingly staining her clothing.  (Seriously, I am pretty sure there isn't a woman alive who hasn't at least one story of stained clothing in public, being caught without supplies in some iteration).  Anyway, the three come to her rescue; and in the bathroom realize that the vending machine in the bathroom supposed to have supplies is out, and indeed ALL the vending machines are out.....but even if they weren't....who carries quarters around just in case.....or could wander (IN SCHOOL ON A PASS) from machine to machine trying to find necessary supplies?  One of the girls makes it her mission to inform the world of this unfairness, and to try and change her school and the other girls agree to help; because, yeah.  Of course administration is not interested, and of course it's a long fight; with sometimes embarrassing moments (because menstruation is a truly shameful thing and no one should ever talk about it).  One of the reasons this book works so well is that it really walks through the lives of all 4 girls, over the course of a school year and all the ways they grow and change.  It isn't trying to preach, just talk and show and be.   I really loved this book.

Heathen is one that sat for awhile on the shelf.  It's kind of an indie feeling comic, with different, very stylized artwork that not everyone will go for; but I decided to take a chance when the second in the series came out.  I am so glad I did.  Aydis is of a Viking style tribe who is excommunicated from her tribe for the crime of being caught kissing a girl.  Technically, she is dead; as her choices for her crime were death or marriage; but her father says he will kill her but instead helps her run away.  Aydis decides to follow a legend, and free Brynhild of the Valkyrie who angered Odin and was cursed to live surrounded by fire until a warrior frees her and marries her.  Aydis figures she is a warrior and smart; so she will do this thing to prove something to herself if to no one else.  Heathen follows Aydis and Brynhild and other Viking gods on this adventure and is really quite interesting.  I love the story.

The subtitle for this book is "50 Magnificent Women Who Changed the World"; so I was intrigued.  Obviously, who the author chooses is subjective, so I may not agree with all the choices, but they certainly were interesting.  The one thing that is both interesting and annoying about this book is that it truly is the book equivalent of a tasting menu.  Each person gets a page or two, and some people are mentioned solely based on how the author felt or interacted with them (so not even basic bio info, just a mention of the name).  That being said though, it allows for a quick view of a lot of people and perhaps will encourage someone to go look up a full biography of anyone that peaks their interest.  There is a variety of artists and writers in on this project so it is quick to read, offers a wide array of art styles and an different list of people than most "best of the best" biography books.  There is more inclusion here, purposefully making sure to include lots of women of color, as well as those on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.   All in all; happy to have read it....tell me what you think!

I really enjoyed this Manga series, it's quirky and fun all about girls who are really too shy to function and the outgoing guy (who dresses like a girl) trying to encourage them to expand their horizons.  There is also a bit of a love triangle with two brothers (the one who dresses up in female clothing and the one who doesn't) and one girl who is obsessed with jellyfish.  I really like how it's all playing out with the readers learning more of the personalities of each person living in the house; as well as the overall theme of trying to save their building from the "evil" renovation company who wants to buy their home to do a redevelopment project.  I heard there was an anime coming, I may look for it....I feel like this would definitely benefit from moving action.

This is a brand new Manga, and I really liked it....of course I'm a sucker for spy novels, so....yeah.  Basically Master Spy Twilight has to find a family to accomplish a mission; and he finds a young girl at an orphanage and adopts her.  She happens to be a telepath and wants to do whatever is needed to keep her family, but is also confused with the discrepancy between what her "father" says and what he thinks.  Twilight needs a wife, and stumbles across the path of an assassin who is undercover and needs a family to stay that way....the little telepath thinks they would be the perfect family; and now.....they are.  This is the first volume, so lots of setup, can't wait to see how things develop, really good so far.

I had to try this one, because I am a bit obsessed with Alice in Wonderland stuff; and though I enjoyed it, it was not what I was expecting and I'm not sure if I'll read more than the 2 I have read thus far.  Basically, it's called Wonderland because a strange "incident" (still undefined as to what) causes an entire provence to shrink to tiny size, and many of the people die (cats/birds/random accidents relating to incredibly small people in a big world).  Yukko is the main protagonist, she meets Alice as she leaves her house to try and find help.  Unfortunately Alice doesn't speak much Japanese so there are some communication issues; and also a secret government agency seems to be responsible and is hunting the little people, and Alice for nefarious purposes.  This is a dark book, not funny....and interesting....I may read more just because I'm curious.....we shall see.  Give it a try if you like darker manga.

This comic series has been here awhile but I never got around to reading it....it is also slow in production (only 4 of them thus far); but I tried it, and am really glad I did.  Liu creates an elaborate universe with warring tribes of nonhumans, divine creations and human mages (with all the atrocities that go with that).  The main character, Maika Halfwolf, is on the run and trying to see what happened to her mother and also how she came to be possessed by a god-like creature that causes her to need to feed (and quite violently).  The first volume gives a lot of background of the world, while pulling you into the issues of Maika.  The second volume is more exploration of the world and dribs and drabs of clues for what is happening and reminders of all the characters who are hunting Maika and why.  I really enjoyed this series, it is beautiful and full of emotion and action and just overall pretty cool.


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