Supermutant Magic Academy – A Review

Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

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This was a purchase I made when browsing through the book shop one day, I was looking for some more comic books to try out and I stumbled across this. I flicked through the pages and just found myself getting drawn in.

Told in a series of single page comics, it follows the lives of the students of Supermutant Magic Academy, a prep school for mutants and witches; despite their obvious differences a lot of the issues they face are familiar. Some pages really made me think, and others made me laugh out loud. I’d say the characters of Marsha and Wendy act as the centre and feature more than say Trixie or Everlasting Boy, but you feel invested in them (Marsha especially) so  I didn’t mind.

It’s quirky, fun, provocative and not what I expected at all. I loved the artwork in this and the imagery worked so fluidly with the dialogue, Jilliam Tamaki just seemed to find the perfect balance of everything. It’s an easy enough read that you could probably get through it one sitting, but I’d suggest just taking your time, really look at the panels and take in what the characters are saying.

Thoroughly enjoyable and one that I would definitely recommend to other people, I will probably leaf through this again at some point in the near future and I’m SUPER keen to read some more of Jillian Tamaki’s work, but what a great place for me to start!

Star Rating out of 5: 5

‘I dunno, to be honest, I was just hoping to keep the demons away…’

Happy reading bookworms!

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Quick Reads – Clumsy – A Review

 Clumsy by Jeffrey Brown.

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I was looking at some of those ‘definitive’ lists for comic books to read and this one popped up on quite a few of them, so I figured why the heck not and bought a copy. This isn’t a comic book in the traditional sense, it doesn’t have amazing imagery nor are the drawings particularly detailed, in fact it’s quite haphazard but it’s exactly that, that gives it its charm.

It tells the story of a year-long, long distance relationship, through snippets we see the meeting, the initial romance, the arguments and insecurities and the unfortunate decline to the end of the relationship. Whilst the dialogue isn’t overly emotional it’s the honesty and observational quality of Jeffrey Brown’s storytelling that takes this from something that could have been mediocre to something that all of us can and should be able to relate to.

Not particularly lengthy (you could easily get through it in one sitting) this makes for a sweet little read, if you’re looking for some motivation to get nostalgic about ‘the one that got away’ then this is perfect. I recommend sticking on some mellow music and just allowing yourself to zone out!

Star Rating out of 5: 3

‘For being so weird!’

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 Happy reading!

Georgina

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Trespasser Issue #2 – A Review

Trespasser Issue #2 – A Review

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At the end of the last issue we saw Hector and Maria carrying on with their life after their visitor of the extra-terrestrial kind. Hector looking somewhat downhearted that the alien had gone without him being able to communicate with it properly, which begs the question are Hector and Maria completely alone? The lone survivors of an outbreak of some kind?

Unfortunately I didn’t get the answers to these questions in this issue, but I did get pulled in once more. The issue opens with Hector burying the alien’s spacesuit and gun. It’s immediately followed by Hector telling Maria about how he met her mum, the wording is interesting that Hector uses, it suggests that she hasn’t ever attended a school, which raises more questions about how long Maria has been living in this world where there’s radiation and food is sparse.

The big thing about this issue is the fact that Hector notices blisters on his arms which seems to send him into a panic. Again, it’s not fully clear whether this is down to the world they’re living in or something passed to Hector from the alien but Hector asks Maria to check herself and starts to grow weaker. Left to fend for herself Maria hears a noise and sees a shadow under the door, she shoots at the door and Hector stumbles out of bed and finds a strange symbol carved into the floor, another empty and bloodied spacesuit on top of it.

This was another great issue, the artwork and story really pulled me in, so many questions, so much intrigue and it ends perfectly, leaving me wanting more. I can’t wait to get stuck into Issue 3.

Trespasser is published by Alterna Comics and is available to buy on Comixology

Trespasser – A Refreshing Comic

Comic books have become increasingly popular over the years, with many titles being adapted into television series and films.  Preacher by Garth Ennis is the most recent one to be translated to the small screen (an incredible series that I urge you to check out) so I’m always on the lookout for new things to read.

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The first thing that struck me about Trespasser was the artwork by the talented Kristian Rossi, it’s not overly complicated but detailed and striking. The story starts off with a father and daughter in a cabin that seems isolated from the rest of society and it’s here that things get really interesting and I found myself getting pulled in. As the father ventures outside in search of food I found myself asking questions like why is he being so cautious? Why is he taking readings of radiation levels? But this isn’t even the start of it, what the protagonist finds in one of his bear traps completely blew me away.

I’ll be honest I was expecting this to be another zombie comic (not that there’s anything wrong with them but the story has been told in so many different variations that there’s nothing fresh anymore) but it’s not zombie, it’s an alien. What happens next is the main character looking after it, trying to communicate and understand it. I won’t give away the ending because I want you to read it, but this debut comic left me wanting more and left me with plenty of questions which I hope (and I’m sure) will get answered along the way. Refreshing, intriguing and unusual Trespasser is definitely one you should check out. I was lucky enough to get some time with the writer Justin M.Ryan and here’s what he had to say.

Where did the idea come from?
The first image that came into my mind and eventually grew into Trespasser was of the alien stuck in the bear trap. The rest of the story grew as necessary around that situation, and the moral quandary it presented to the protagonists. 

What made you want to sit down and tell this story?
I’m a genre fiction writer through and through so sooner or later I was going to write a story about aliens visiting Earth. I don’t enjoy writing anything that feels like it’s been done a hundred times before though, so it had to have a unique angle. Once I started expanding on the original idea, I ended up with a setting and cast of characters that added a lot to the base plot and I really enjoyed writing. This allowed me to expand the story past the initial idea and explore the relationship between Hector and Maria more in the following issues and how the events of the visit impacted them in the future.

How difficult was it putting all the pieces together?
It actually went pretty smoothly, much more so than I’m used to! Story wise there aren’t very many ingredients so I was able to focus on the key elements and let them all move at their own pace. As far as actually producing the book, I was very lucky to find the team I did pretty quickly as well, and got my first choice with both. Kristian and David both responded to help wanted ads, and were able to fill their initial roles and then some to great effect. Keeping the team small has also helped make sure we don’t design a camel, as there’s a consistent style that we can maintain all the way through pencils, inks, colors, and then lettering, lay out, and design without worrying over much about miscommunication or anyone stepping on anyone else’s toes. 

Could you visualise how you wanted the protagonist to look or did you leave that to the artist (Kristian Rossi – who is incredibly talented by the way)?
I had an image in mind and a very loose description of all the characters in the script, but I think Kristian might be a mind reader as they came out perfect on his first try. In fact, the sample page he did before we started is in the final book without any changes. His work keeps getting better too!

It felt quite isolated, will the entire series take part in the house or will the characters venture outside?
The majority of the series will take place either in the house or the areas directly surrounding it. Saying any more ventures into spoiler territory though! I will say there was an early version of the scripts which saw Hector and Maria hitting the road for the last couple of issues but I ultimately scrapped the idea since it felt too much like other post apocalyptic road stories and lost a lot of Trespasser’s unique feel. I ultimately decided that the isolation and tighter narrative lens were necessary and served the plot and characters better.   

What’s next?
Hard to say! I’ve got a finished script for a graphic novel called Fifty Teeth that I’m going to work on once Trespasser’s over and a few other projects at varying stages of completion which I won’t mention for fear of cursing them.

Published by Alterna comics. The second issue was released in April, and the upcoming issue 3 will be released on June 15th. The final issue will be available in August, either the 10th or 17th. It’s available on Comixology  I will be reviewing the remaining issues on here too, so to avoid any spoilers why not read it yourself?!

A Joyful Quick Read

Soppy by Philipa Rice.

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My husband and I finally went on our honeymoon last week. We’ve been debating for a while where we should go, but with our jobs it’s difficult to find the time. As we both love London but have never been for more than a day, or been able to play tourist we decided to go. We booked a nice apartment in Bayswater and spent 4 days and 3 nights in the Big Smoke.

Sadly I will bore you with the full details in a separate blog post but one thing I wanted to share was this cute little graphic novel I picked up. I’d been aware of Philipa Rice in the past but had only seen one or two of her strips via the Internet. So you can imagine my joy when I spotted the book.

Soppy shows the story of a girl meeting a boy and the progression of their relationship as they movie in together. It shows all the little idiosyncrasies that go hand in hand with sharing your love, life and living space with another person. The drawings are loveable but it is the dialogue of the strips that really brings this to life. At so many points I giggled and showed a strip to my husband excitedly whilst uttering the phrase ‘It’s you and me!’ and to my delight he agreed.

Philipa has created something universal with Soppy, it could speak to any couple in any country and it’s a wonderful little treat. It feels all the more special that I found whilst on our Honeymoon. Why not give it a try?

Happy reading my beautiful bookworms.

Georgina

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