June 2018 – Promethea

In June we read Promethea Vol. 1 by Alan Moore. The comic, which was originally published in 1999, sees New York City university student Sophie Bangs discover the history of Promethea, a character who has existed throughout the ages in literature… but then she discovers she can  become Promethea herself!

Everyone agreed that Promethea was a very dense read. This was good and bad, it made it very interesting but also heavy going. It is not a book to choose when you’re looking for something light to read before bed, but does start to cover interesting ideas of religion, mysticism, imagination and the mind.

It has dated a bit such as in the way some characters are presented and talk and some of the ideas raised. However it has not suffered from this overly much.

The idea of a science fiction based in 1999 was entertaining and well conceived.

The art was very dense, detailed and beautiful. Again a bit dated but could still be appreciated. The way the frames were done was very creative but this made it sometimes hard to understand the path of reading intended. Which combined with it’s density of ideas meant it was easy to get confused.

Overall a comic that deserves it’s title as a classic and a great intellectual comic.

The group gave it 4 stars!

(reviewed by Christy)

 

May 2018 – Snotgirl

Snotgirl is the story of Lottie, a young woman who is a social media success, but who seems to be failing any most other things in her life.

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Image via imagecomics.com

Lottie doesn’t think too highly of the “Haters” who are her friends, and she is lamenting a breakup with her boyfriend, but what really has Lottie down is her terrible allergies! She thinks new allergy medication might make things better, but things don’t go as you would expect!

Snotgirl is written by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who also wrote Seconds, which the ALCC read back in 2015 and really enjoyed! So what did we think of Snotgirl?

The ALCC really liked the art, but we tended to find the story a bit slow and the characters unappealing, if somewhat realistic. It did tend to leave people a bit curious with the cliff hanger ending.

We gave Snotgirl a 3 out of 5!

April 2018 – Spell on Wheels

Spell on Wheels is a fun supernatural mystery by Kate Leth (Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat). Reminiscent of Buffy and Charmed, but also with some fun Scooby-Doo vibes, this comic was something we would have devoured as teenagers (well, those of us who are in our 20’s-30’s now). 

 

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image via pipelinecomics.com

The story revolves around three young witch housemates, Andy, Jolene and Claire. Each of the woman has their own magical speciality and their own distinct personality and style. They are very fashionable witches, who are endearing, cute and likeable. We thought that the Leth developed these characters quickly, and skilfully. We all like a good “monster of the week” type of story that sees our coven of witches take on a few different challenges throughout volume one. We loved when the witched come across the group of older women who need their help with a haunting, but we especially loved Paul the goat man (we all wanted to read more about Paul)!

This is really cute and enjoyable comic with a great senses of humour, and fabulous colourful artwork that really captures the cute rock-and-roll road-trip vibes. The story is nicely resolved in volume one, meaning you can choose to read on if you wish but because it wraps up nicely you wont lose out on anything if you do not. 

The Adelaide Ladies Comic Club gave Spell on Wheels a 7 out or 10

March 2018 – Preacher

Preacher is intense! From start to finish, this is full-on ride, and it is not for sensitive readers.

Written by Garth Ennis, this is an American road-trip story that is anything but typically. We meet Jesse Custer, a small town Preacher who suddenly finds his body occupied by Genesis, an angel-demon hybrid that has escaped from heaven. He then goes on a search to find God, accompanied by his “it’s complicated” friend Tulip who is a fledgling hitman, and a new friend who is an Irish vampire. They are on the run from the police, and a mysterious gunslinger is also on their tail, oh and there is a serial killer plot line thrown in for good measure. There is a LOT going on in this comic!

 

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Image via Vertigo

Generally, we were pretty divided about Preacher. Half of us really love the book, some had also read it before, and had a bit of nostalgia. For others they just didn’t find themselves draw into the world, and thought that Ennis aim to shock was obvious. Yet overall we had mostly positive things to say!

There is a lot of humour in the horror, and a lot of horror in the humour! The story just keeps getting more and more “out there” as you read on.

Some of us didn’t really fancy Steve Dillon’s art style, stating that this only assisted in making the book seem dated. Yet, given that it is 23 years old, this is to be expected!

A few of our members mentioned that reading Preacher for the first time in 2018, they felt that they had seen this sort of story, or these sort of characters done before in comics and on TV and films. Many felt that the 90’s anti-hero trope is something that is very much of its time.

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Image via AMC

This might explain the many changes that were made in order to bring Preacher to the small screen. Reading the first volume of the comics, it seems like it was almost ridiculous to propose putting that on television! Not to mention the use of some words and phrases we just don’t throw around so liberally in 2018. Ennis has some pretty bizarre concepts he worked into Preacher, with some colourful characters, and despite of all this we generally found this to be a really a very funny and entertaining read.

The ALCC gave Preacher Volume One an 8 out of 10!

February 2018 – Clean Room

Our second pick for 2018 was Clean Room Volume 1 by Gail Simone.

Clean Room is horror story,  about young journalist Chloe whose fiancé killed himself after reading a book by the mysterious writer and guru Astrid Mueller. Driven by revenge, Chloe decides to search for answers, and when she meets Mueller she learns the terrible secrets of the Clean Room.

Clean room has a great story and concept and flows well and kept us mostly wanting more! There are hopes we find meaning to some of the themes in the next volumes. We found it to be more horror than sci-fi so be warned – this is not for young ones, between the gruesome imagery of creatures and death it did leave some squeamish.

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The art and colouring in general, was loved by everyone. It was basic yet pretty and detailed all at once!

Overall the group scored this a 7.5!

January 2018 – Your Lie In April

Your Lie In April is the melancholy, lightly-romantic story of a piano prodigy Kosei Arima who meets quirky violinist Kaori Miyazono. Kosei is haunted by the demons of a childhood that was devoted to playing the piano. He has two close friends, yet when he meets Kaori he forms a bond with her that inspires him to work through his problems and get back into music. This is the first volume in what is a much larger story, and although it is a good introduction to the characters, this volume alone does not really satisfy the reader.

The ALCC thought that this is a well-crafted story, but like a fair amount of Shōjo manga Your Lie In April is very “tropey” – for instance there is the “accidental pervert” trope when Kosei is mistaken for an upskirter and although it is humorous, it is also painfully obvious. Kaori is also very much the “manic pixie dream girl” trope, which troubled some of us, who wondered if her purpose as a character is just to inspire Kosei rather than be interesting in her own right. She IS interesting, though. She is rebellious, clever and funny, and when you read on (or watch the anime as some of us did) then you will learn more about her.

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This book alone did not thrill us, mostly becauses it does not feel complete in and of itself. However some of us did find the overall story line enjoyable, and we all agreed that reading this manga was very different to the themes of any of the comics we have read recently.

Overall we gave this one a 6 out of 10.

And Thats a Wrap!

2017 comes to a close, and the ALCC have read another 12 great comics:

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Wiebe, Kurtis J.
Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars by Lemire, Jeff
Batman: The Long Halloween by Loeb, Jeph
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 1 by Leth, Kate
I Kill Giants by Kelly, Joe
March: Book One by Lewis, John Robert
Princess Leia (Star Wars) by Waid, Mark
It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken: A Picture Novella by Seth
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Stevenson, Noelle
Groot by Loveness, Jeff
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Cliff, Tony
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Vaughan, Brian K.

December 2017 – Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery

Wow, this was a really fun read! We meet our heroes Violet, Betty, Dee and Hannah. Each of these woman is complete different, and brilliant in their own right! They are a bunch of trash-talking, sassy, ass-kicking black sheep who have caused a bit of havoc in a small village. Turns out there is a sinister plot afoot, and naturally our girls are the ones to figure it out.

rat-queens-1The world is really well-developed and rich, and draws you in straight away. We meet characters for the first time and they already feel very fleshed out and real. Even the secondary characters are intriguing, like the other guilds of fighters. We need to note that this comic is rude, crude, features drugs and alcohol, swearing and sex… all in good humour, but it is definitely trying to push the boundaries.

If you love adventure fantasy games like DnD, then you will probably find this funny, as there are plenty of in-jokes. We all agreed that Rat Queens has some of the funniest dialogue ever; Genuinely laugh-out-loud funny! We loved that the four heroes are down-to-earth, and many of our group said that they identified with one of other of them, and found  they were “realistic” in their representations, despite being over-the-top. And despite this being a comedy-fantasy, it felt a lot more relatable that many comics set in a realistic or serious world.

We gave this read a 9/10

November 2017 – Descender

Descender is a different take on the AI tale, with a space opera setting plus giant killer robots! The ALCC group was a little divided with this one. The story has a lot of heart, and at the same time is very depressing. The hero is Tim-21 a child-like companion robot (think the kid from the movie A.I. Artificial Intelligence, but more badass).

He has been programed to trust and love humans. However when giant robots bigger than planets turn on humankind, its war. For a first volume, we felt that it set up the story well, and we are interested in learning more about this world and the characters.

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The story has a bit of a twist, which adds to the richness of the world that is being created. This makes for an interesting scenario! What we loved most though was the absolutely beautiful and unexpected watercolour artwork! It made the story so much better.

We rated this one 7/10

October 2017 – Batman: The Long Halloween

Thanks for everyone who came out today for our October meet-up. We had a few more new faces this month and we were shoulder-to-shoulder!

This month the ALCC discussed Batman: The Long Halloween by Joseph Loeb. Some of our members are hard-core fans of The Dark Night, but even newcomers or causal readers of Batman enjoyed elements of this comic.

The plot revolved around Batman, Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent working together to track down the killer known as “Holiday” who is picking off Gotham’s crime bosses one-by-one. Many of us loved the noir detective element, and Tim Sales artwork really complimented the story. The layouts and style of art were really cool. 

tumblr_nilt3hepeL1qifv4go1_500.pngThe comic is quite long, but the plot remained interesting, and we loved that Loeb included almost all the original Batman villains in one mystery. This is a good jumping off point if you have not read any Batman before, as you will meet almost all of the well-known characters (including Catwoman, The Joker, Poison Ivy and others) and you really get a sense of the world of Gotham City. We loved that we were kept guessing about “who dunnit” all the way to the end. The twist came out of left field, and really elevated the story, as none of us saw it coming (but we wont say any more about that)!

The ALCC members gave this one an 8 out of 10!