Happiest of Tuesdays, comic fans of the River City! Welcome to yet another summer-fresh issue of RVA Comics X-Change. Not only do we have T-Minus 33 days left of summer, but we get to start the dog days as well.
Luckily for you and for me, local musician and improv comedian, Josh Wright, and I have some graphic novels and a brand new television series on Amazon Prime to keep you cool as you camp out in front of your oscillating fan this week. Grab your favorite flavor of La Croix and your popsicle of choice and let’s dive on in.
This week we have some recommendations from Wright — as one half of an improv team, Sweet Sweet Angel Babies, and one half of the sweet indie stylings of LovelyDove, Josh is no doubt multi-faceted. From the list of recs he has for us this week, it shows that he doesn’t stop there either.
Paper Girls, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
“[Paper Girls] tells the story of four 12 year old newspaper delivery girls and their accidental entry into a war across time,” Wright said. “The artwork by Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson does a great job of capturing each different time period, and making a complex story easier to follow. The last issue comes out this week. If you are a fan of mystery and science fiction, this is the perfect time to catch up on this series.”
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
“[Laura Dean is] an amazing high school relationship story that we all can relate to,” Wright said. “You feel for the characters and watch them make mistakes that you know they shouldn’t make, but they do anyways. We need more queer fiction like this for younger people to read, and to understand that they are not alone in the world — and it’s okay to get out of the relationships that are not healthy for you.”
Bloom, by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau
“Ari wants to follow his dreams of making it in the music industry, but struggles with his commitment to his family’s bakery,” Wright said. “In comes Hector Galea to take over for Ari: Ari thinks this is the solution to all his problems, but is it? What do you think will happen if you hire a cute boy who bakes? If you love boys in bands, lush illustrations of baked goods, and a realistic coming-of-age story, then you should definitely check this book out.”
The Witch Boy, by Molly Knox Ostertag
“Aster is thirteen years old and still hasn’t shape shifted, but maybe Aster doesn’t want to,” Wright said. “Will a fascination with spells and witches get Aster into more trouble than they bargained for? This graphic novel does a great job of exploring gender roles, and presents it in a way that is easy for kids to understand. This series should be in every school library. Does anybody need a copy for their kid? I’m happy to donate mine. I can’t wait to pick up the next volume of this series.”
Pretty Deadly (Volume One), by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
“The first volume is a gritty, fantastical western that presents a fresh take on mythology and folklore,” Wright said. “This book is a visual wonder. Emma Rios and Kelly Sue DeConnick created these characters that you will be dying to find out more about. Learn about death-faced Ginny and her search for vengeance in this super affordable $9.99 trade paperback.”
One of my biggest guilty pleasure tropes is the normalization of superheroes. It should make sense, right? After a while, most people I’d think would stop being impressed or shocked that someone has superpowers of varying degrees. The Boys (now streaming on Amazon Prime) takes it one step further — what if people with superhero status took normalization in a darker direction, and explored the corruption tied to money and celebrity status?
The Boys is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robinson, and is produced by Eric Kripke (known best by Supernatural fans), and stars Karl Urban (of Star Trek fame, amongst other things). Not only are superheroes taken advantage of, succumbing to the dangerous trappings of celebrity and the web woven therein, but a company called Vaught International goes so far as to try monetizing it. The Boys is grimly dark and addicting, and is already picked up for a second season.
That wraps up this week, comic fans! What series are keeping you cool in these balmy summer days?
Until next time!