Welcome back! This blog is part of a series on what I’ve been reading lately (Check out part 1 on young adult books). As a comic fan, I am contractually obligated to get everyone I know to read comics. My friends will always throw up the “But I don’t like superheroes” defense. You fools! There as many different comic genres as regular book genres! So this Reading Round-Up for all those interested in comics, but maybe not the ever-expanding, ever-contradicting world of superhero comics. All of these books are self-contained within their own series. All you got to do is order issue 1 to join us.
Julie is just your normal werewolf barista who gets flustered around her crush Selena and accidentally gets her friends cursed.
ADORABLE, is the perfect word for Moonstruck. The art is cute (and diverse!), the story a fun adventure, the love story feel-good and warm (and queer!), and the characters absolutely loveable. There are rocker gorgons, college fratboy fairies, prophecizing baristas, and my favorite, the happy-go-lucky centaur Chet. Moonstruck is for anyone who loves magic and wants a fun romp.
Norgal, better known as the swordsman Head Lopper, does exactly as his name implies. He kicks ass and takes heads. This particular adventure has Norgal on the island Barra, sent by their queen to kill the Sorcerer of the Black Bog. However, his quest is not quite as simple as Norgal assumes. There are unknown dangers, treacherous advisors, and ancient orders of witches.
Head Lopper is bloody, but fun, adventure story with heavy Nordic influences. I could easily Head Lopper as a video game, where the hero is walking into a complex world already in motion. The action sequences are stunning and the side characters surprisingly complex. My favorite is the bitter, sarcastic witch’s head Norgal carries around. While it is a series, the first volume is a complete adventure. It’s nice not to be left on a cliff hanger.
Story and art by Andrew Maclean, color by Mike Spicer.
The budding romance between a ghost and a gardener is threatened when a dark forest starts to appear.
A sweet, queer love story, Taproot is a soft-spoken story. Really, anyone who enjoys drawings of plants is going to love this one. The art is beautiful. The love story is super sweet too but has some darker moments that gives you all of the feels. It’s also a graphic novel so its a stand-alone story. Would recommend for anyone who likes a heart-warming read.
Story and art by Keezy Young.
An unbeatable man, Hobo Jackson, is trying to find the mythical Rocky Candy Mountain and brings the unluckiest man alive, Pomona Slim with him. Meanwhile, the hobo mafia, the FBI, and the literal Devil are on his tail.
Rock Candy Mountain is a great mix of comedy and adventure. It really is a wild west story, but with hobos instead of cowboys. All I can say is it’s a wild time and you should read it. There are only two volumes so it’s a quick read (still got to get vol 2!).
Story and art by Kyle Starks, color by Chris Schweizer.
So on paper, it’s about a magic school and the misadventures of its student body. Harry Potter, but more high school drama with crushes, D&D, puberty, and performance art rather than epic quests to defeat evil wizards. Sounds like a fun young adult read, right?
However, the entire graphic novel is told in comic strips that are maybe two pages max, a single image at their shortest. It’s like Peanuts, but with high schoolers, magic, and the most absurdist, bizarre sense of humor. The result is a collection that is more than the sum of its parts. As you read, you get to know students like Wendy, Frances, Cheddar, and Marsha. You’re privy to their funny stories and their heartbreak. And by the end, you’ve connected with something, whether it’s the characters, life as a teenager, the greater entropy of the universe.
Story and art by Jillian Tamaki.
Do you have any favorite comics and graphic novels that aren’t superheroes? Tell me about them in the comments!