November volume 2 picks up in the immediate aftermath of the first volume that came out last year. This volume is about the same length as the first volume, coming in at about 80 pages. I think the release model for the series is pretty interesting. You'll end up with amounts to a pretty hefty graphic novel coming out in three chunks over the course of about 18 months.
It's a little bit early, but here are my favorite things that I read in June 2020. Most of them had been released before this month. It was a month marked by trying to focus on primarily reading work from Black creators. It was also a month marked by having difficulty focusing on reading, spending a good deal of time doomscrolling instead. Nonetheless, I still managed to read quite a bit and discovered some great works from authors old and new to me.
This was absolutely bonkers. Usually I start a review by giving a brief synopsis of what the book is about, but I felt this one warranted a bit of commentary first. Crocodile Baron is a manga about a talking, high-class crocodile novelist who is always on the search for the finest culinary treats that Japan has to offer. Donning his top hat, with his side-kick, Rabbit, in-tow, Crocodile departs to a new area of Japan in each chapter after hearing about the best place to get Japanese favorites like Udon or Takoyaki. If that sounds like a pretty crazy premise for a book, it's only because it absolutely is.
Rep. John Lewis, the Congressman serving Georgia's 5th district since 1987, is one of the most titanic figures of the United States Civil Rights movement from the 1950's and 1960's. In a trilogy of graphic novels, co-written by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, Lewis recounts his involvement in the movement. Across the three books, virtually every major event during the movement is covered. This history of the battle for justice and equality for Black Americans is essential knowledge as the fight continues well into the twenty-first century. March serves as a reminder of how far the nation was able to progress due to the sheer, unrelenting will of African Americans during Rep. Lewis' life and just how far we collectively have to go.
LaGuardia is a 4-issue series written by Hugo award winning author Nnedi Okorafor with art by Tana Ford. The series is part of the Berger Books imprint at Dark Horse that's run by legendary former Vertigo editor Karen Berger. Taking place an indeterminate amount of time in the future, LaGuardia finds an Earth where aliens are now integrated with human society. Future, a pregnant Nigerian-American doctor, is returning home to New York City after several years living in Lagos, Nigeria. Future's stated reason for returning home is to raise her child at home in America, but some mystery surrounds Citizen, the father of her child, and the sentient illegal plant named Letme Live that Future has smuggled into the United States.
As part of an effort to boost Black voices in the comics and book community, I'm trying to mostly only read works by Black writers and artists for the month of June. This time I pulled down one I've been looking forward to for a while. Bitter Root , Vol. 1 collects the first 5 issues of the series written by David F. Walker and Chuck Brown and drawn by Sanford Greene. A sci-fi/horror series about a family of Black monster hunters living in 1920's Harlem, it felt like a natural fit to read this month.
I'm a subscriber to both Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe, so I'm perpetually behind current releases, but I get to read just about everything from those two companies at like 10% of what it'd normally cost. Every week I peruse the "new" releases to the services and catch up on most of what gets added. This week, I figured I'd do a roundup of the comics I read that finished up some volumes and give a brief review for each. Check them out below!
I was writing a review today about a superhero comic book today and frankly it felt like a pointless thing to be doing this week. Instead, inspired by my friend at Words for Worms, I'm just going to list some of my favorite books and comics written by Black creators in my favorite genres. There's a ton of material going around about anti-racist material written by Black people. These books, poems, films, TV shows, etc are essential, but it seems vitally important to support Black creators in their endeavors that aren't just about explicitly tackling racism. I've put together a short and not-at-all comprehensive of some of my favorite recent fiction from Black creators. Black Lives Matter. Black Art Matters.
Paying the Land is the latest work from acclaimed comics journalist Joe Sacco, who is best known for his works like Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza. In Paying the Land, Sacco turns his eye towards the Dene, who are the people indigenous to the Mackenzie River Valley in the Canadian Northwest. Sacco recounts the the impact that the booming mining and oil industries have had on the lives of the Dene Nation. Sacco then works his way back through other struggles the Dene have faced as they continually weigh the benefits of industrialization with the costs to their way of life.