Books and Comics

The Read Pile – The GP Comics Blog #3

by on 23/04/2016
 

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Welcome to another edition of The Read Pile the GP comics blog where we’ll be talking about what we’ve been reading recently, what was good, what was bad, what you should be checking out and other randomness. Just like before other contributions are colour coded, whilst mine are black.

One of my top new finds is InSEXts from new publisher Aftershock, it’s written by Marguerite Bennett with art from Ariela Kristantina4945074-01 and you should go pick it up now, seriously. Aftershock have seemingly come out of nowhere and are putting out some quality stuff. InSEXts is probably one of the stranger things I’ve read, it’s set in the 19th century in London and it’s the story of Lady Bertram who is in an unhappy loveless marriage and her lover Mariah who is the house’s maid and also some sort of insectoid hybrid. There’s weirdness, body horror, steamy lesbian sex, scheming in laws and more besides. The art is great, the writing is unhinged.

Something else I got is Goldtiger which is pretty meta. The story behind the creation of comic strip Goldtiger, it’s one of the more bizarrely entertaining affairs you’re likely to read. So utterly convincing in its so mad it must be true way that it’s a little disappointing to realise that “Antonio Barreti” and “Louis Shaeffer” the creators of Goldtiger are in fact creations of artist Jimmy Broxton and writer Guy Adams.

Who wouldn’t want to read the adventures of Lilly Gold and Jack Tiger, gay fashion photographers/designers/secret agents in 60’s London?

Peter –

Judge Dredd: Titan is awesome.

So is that 2000AD then rather than IDW?

Peter –

Definitely 2000AD…

I picked up Brit-Cit Noir (Written by John Smith, Leah Moore, John Reppion, art by Colin MacNeil, Tom Foster) the other day and that’s brit_cit_noir_rebellion_covergood, with some impressively quirky stories totally different from the sort of thing you might associate with Judge Dredd. I like how Judge Dredd has expanded to this massive world full of characters that are doing their own thing in their own corner of the Dredd verse and you can read stuff without really having to read Judge Dredd previously.

Peter –

Agreed. Dredd stories are great stories in themselves but he is not always the most engaging character. I tend to prefer the Judge Armitage, Devlin Waugh and Judge Anderson stories.

One of my favourite books is The Simping Detective with Jack Point by Si Spurrier and Frazer Irving.

I also just picked up volume 3 of Rat Queens, which I cannot recommend enough. Not only does it avoid the common pitfall of being written and drawn with the male reader in mind, it’s also a great story about about a group of foul mouthed, badass, dangerous adventurers that happen to be women. The art by Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain is great and the writing by Kurtis J. Wiebe is sublime. Rat Queens is one of few comics to actually make me laugh because it’s genuinely funny and deconstructs or makes fun of fantasy tropes, also it features some of favourite characters in comics. The fact it’s gone on “hiatus” is pretty depressing really.

Hellina about a badass executioner from Hell is something else I picked up. Boundless (an offshoot of Avatar) are bringing back Bad Girlboundless-comics-belladonna-issue-0e comics (which seems a little anachronistic I know) but despite some good art by Gabriel Andrade Hellina comes across like an unintentional parody of Bad Girl comics due to woefully bad writing from Jai Nitz, more on Hellina here. On the flip side Belladonna about a vicious Viking shield maiden in the 9th century by Mike Costa and Ignacio Calero is actually good, a bit like a way more intense Red Sonja with added brutal violence and sex magic and features a newly coloured back up story reprinting an earlier Belladonna comic by Brian Pulido and Raulo Caceres. Definitely niche appeal but the difference between the two is striking.

Callum –

Only had two things recently. Batman and Robin Eternal finally wrapped up which was fairly relieving. Wasn’t a bad series overall but I don’t think it really justified 26 issues, as cool as it was to have Cassandra Cain back in the universe. Then just today I got my pre order of Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One which is rather brilliant, if in a typically Morrison way. Interestingly it’s devised as largely drawing from the original Marston stuff.

I saw that, I have pretty much no frame of reference since I’ve never read any Wonder Woman but the art looked good. Grant Morrison seems to be rather hit and miss I think, The Invisibles and Doom Patrol are excellent as is All Star Superman but I really didn’t like his Batman stuff at all.

Callum –

2016-04-22_2046This is basically the first proper Wonder Woman thing I’ve read but I’ve got a lot of time for Morrison so I’ve given it a go. Like you I’ve got no real broader frame of reference so I’ve no idea how it fits more consistent fans view. But generally I like it. It’s a retelling of wonder woman and of the Amazons and it does pretty cool things with that retelling. The art (by Yanick Paquette) is also rather wonderful. In terms of Morrison generally I’ve always found that his stuff intrigues me even if it doesn’t necessarily fall into the category of things I like. His batman in particular did certain things I really liked while other things were interesting but didn’t really connect.

 I’m sure I saw some histrionics, something to do with Wonder Woman being in chains is playing into male readers sexual fantasies or something and DC should be ashamed, etc, etc.

Callum –

Yeah, there’s this whole thing from the originating comics (I believe the name of her creator was William Marston) where she could be rendered powerless by being bound and there’s a lot of dubious shit about it originally. Because this is in some way drawing from and retelling elements of the Marston ideas, there are notions of the bondage stuff in there but I wouldn’t really say it’s male fantasy sexualisation in this.

The whole reason she’s in chains is (MILD SPOILERS) she’s on trial. There’s actually this notion of loving surrender and bondage worked into the amazon culture that I feel the book deals with pretty maturely

 So are they special chains then I assume?

Callum –

Um they’re not really special chains, or at least not mentioned to be, though the lasso of truth is interestingly brought in by the trial. The2016-04-22_1155 idea is that Diana surrenders willingly because she believes in what she has to say and that her mother can be convinced. In an interesting moment, the Amazons are sort of portrayed as elitist, body shaming bitches. So there’s a sort of unusual approach to various aspects of femininity in the book

I figured it might be more of a symbolic thing, kind of like when Colossus went to prison and stayed there even though he could just bend the bars and walk straight out.

Callum –

Yeah, it’s an entirely voluntary surrender. The book very clearly shows in several moments how strong Diana is. The chaining of her is of her own volition, it’s symbolic like you say.

That’s it for this edition of The Read Pile, let us know what you’ve been reading, what was good, what was bad and what would you recommend?

Contributors for this edition Peter, Callum and myself.

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