Midnight Radio – Iolanda Zanfardino
An intriguingly interwoven tale of four lives changed by a mysterious late-night radio broadcast that wakes them up from their mundane existences. Each tale speaks to different social issues without pandering to a political agenda: LGBT+ rights, racism, social network addiction, and the difficult decision between settling down versus following your dreams. Each tale is told in a vivid, polychromatic illustration style that flows from one character to another and back again in a uniquely identifiable fashion
Midnight Radio tackled social issues and tried to be meaningful but does not really say anything new. The delivery was flat. It was kind of predictable. I was bored.
On the upside, loved the polychromatic illustrations! It helped me follow the 4 interconnected stories and it’s nice to look at.
I received a copy of Midnight Radio from Lion Forge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
2 Stars – it’s a struggle to finish the damn book
In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.
I learned the term asexual sometime in 2015 and more recently, gender queer. It wasn’t earth shattering or life-changing. It was more like something clicking into place with the knowledge that that disinterested state you have known all this time has a name. If this graphic novel was released much earlier, that light bulb moment would have come sooner too.
In my country, the term gender queer is relatively unknown. If you are not hetero, it’s either you are a gay or lesbian. People confuse gay with trans, even the gay guys themselves almost always have the idea that being gay means becoming or acting like a woman. Those who prefer to act masculine are referred to with derision as ‘pretending to be a man’ or ‘not a real man’. Lesbians were also expected to be butch and lipstick lesbians are not common. Much of my experience with gender queers are those born biologically male and would be automatically tagged as gay. Maia Kobabe would be tagged as lesbian and it would take a very lengthy explanation to make people understand. There are no guarantees they will.
This memoir will help open minds. It explores gender identity and self. It also talks about love and family and how having a sibling who just gets you could make all the difference in the world. It chronicles the difficulties and horrors a gender queer person goes through. It is raw and very honest, sometimes painfully so but always with a touch of humor and optimism. In itself, it is a highly enjoyable graphic novel with interesting illustrations and has an ending that leaves an opening for a sequel just in case.
I highly recommend this to everybody.
I received a copy of Gender Queer: A Memoir from Lion Forge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Waves – Ingrid Chabbert & Carole Maurel
A young woman and her wife’s attempts to have a child unfold in this poetic tale that ebbs and flows like the sea.
After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own.
Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope.
As somebody who has no interest in having children, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the grief and pain couples go through when they’re trying to have a child only to lose them to a miscarriage. I would even be an insensitive ass and dismiss the whole thing with “why don’t they just adopt?”
Author Ingrid Chabbert shares her story via Waves, a graphic novel about two women trying really hard to have a baby. They were so close to their dream only to have it snatched away. Truly heartbreaking! Theirs is a very moving story about coping with a loss so immense that simply to continue moving is like learning to breathe again.
“It’s like learning everything over”
“It’s kind of like learning to walk again”
“Yeah, just as frustrating”
Their journey towards healing and recovery is reflected on their dreams of being submerged in the sea and struggling to swim against turbulent waters. It was very overwhelming. I would have drowned already. Yet these women kept fighting and their love for each other and the baby remained strong.
They found support from other couples with similar experiences. The comfort and relief they received from these shared stories was palpable. I’m happy they found reasons to smile again. They also found solace in writing and traveling. The idea that healing and inner peace don’t have to involve prayer to a god also resonated strongly with me
Waves is an eye-opening experience for me. It reminded me and my callous streak, not to minimize other people’s pain. It showed my pessimistic self that even in their deepest despair people can still find the strength to move on. And in the midst of grief
“You are allowed to laugh.”
I received a copy of Waves from BOOM! Studios via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Watersnakes – Tony Sandoval
Mila is a solitary teenager ready to put another boring summer vacation behind her until she meets Agnes, an adventurous girl who turns out to be a ghost. And not just a regular ghost, but one carrying the essence of an ancient fallen king and a mouth full of teeth that used to be his guardian warriors.
Three-time Eisner Award-nominated writer/artist Tony Sandoval presents a wondrous world of secret places and dreamlike magic hidden in the everyday corners of our sleeping imagination.
Tony Sandoval’s imagination knows no bounds! Talking octopus. Magical girls. Badass teeth warriors. Awesome stuff!
Watersnakes is completely bizarre and surreal. The artwork is really beautiful and I love the combination of innocent faces, gruesome deaths and the copious amounts of blood that goes with it. I also love the dreamlike atmosphere and how it throws me off kilter. Several times I had to ask, is this really happening?
Despite the languid looking art, the pacing is fast and the story telling is not bogged down by too much dialogue. The talky bits were concise and to the point but they also had some snappy humor. The events of the story simply happened here and now and there is little backstory. But even with all the weirdness, the plot is easy to follow. Mila and Agnes were wild, adventurous girls with a streak of crazy. Yep, shipping them!
Watersnakes is a gothic horror graphic novel that sucks you deeper as it gets creepier and creepier. When the ancient king appeared, he asked to be taken to the water while doglike monsters hunted them. The warriors prepare to fight. The battle was fierce and took a heavy toll. The fields were red with blood.
We are already dead…You can only see and feel the projection of our energy like the light from a dead star.
Hold on to your teeth!
I received a copy of Watersnakes from Diamond Book Distributors via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits