Showing posts with label biography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label biography. Show all posts

Thursday 8 December 2016

Comics Wrap-Up - Setting Fire To The Sky

Graphic Novels

This week, I reviewed Rendez-Vous in Phoenix by Tony Sandoval (UK - USA ) a generally great graphic novel about a young man crossing the border into America.

There are some issues with the representation of black people, which I went into further in my review, but overall it's a great book.

Other Stuff

I read a fairly damn cool ghost-based webcomic called 'The Auntie' by Alyssa Wong and Wendy Xu.


Over on Women Write About Comics, Sergio Alexis wrote an awesome post about queer rep.

Alexis, quite rightly, points out that The Big Two (Marvel and DC to those who don't speak hard-core nerd,) are cr*p at selling queer comics, but that queer comics do sell elsewhere.

It's a really interesting piece, so give it a glance :)

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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) Rendez-Vous in Phoenix by Tony Sandoval

Title: Rendez-Vous in Phoenix

Author: Tony Sandoval

Genre: Graphic Novels, Autobiography, Non-Fiction, Contemporary

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This looked... intriguing.

And after making my list of graphic novels with Latinx characters, I became aware of just how few of them there are - particularly in terms of #ownvoices graphic novels available in English.


Tony's girlfriend is in America. Tony is in Mexico, and can't get a visa. So he decides to do what so many others do, and cross the border illegally.

This graphic novel is based on the creator's true story of crossing the border for love.

Best bits:

Even though this is so short (it's only about 80 pages in all,) the voice is so strong, unique, and authentic, that you will feel thoroughly satisfied by the end.

I love finding new and different voices in graphic novels - and this was so strong!

There's a definite confidence to this - maybe it comes from telling your own story - and that shines through.

It took a little time to get used to the artwork but I really warmed to it after a while.

It's certainly distinct - but with the hint of an air of Belleville Rendez-Vous that maybe comes from the author currently living and working in France, but without the slightly unnerving edge that I've always found that film to have.

This little book is, above all, a love story - a story about humans and love and hope and happiness. And that's beautiful.

Not so great bits:

The art style does take some getting used to it - but as I said in the previous section, I warmed to it.

There's a bunch of swearing and some racial slurs directed at Tony, as well as references to the harrowing journeys of some of the other migrants which may upset some.

My main problem with this book, though, was with the black people, when they featured, being portrayed mainly negatively - as leering criminals lurking in the shadows, for example.

I know that this book is based on personal experience, but I still think that the rep., and the images, could've been tempered - at least a little.

That note did sour things a bit.


In the end, though not perfect, this is a book about hope and love; it's about looking for something better, reaching for the stars; it's about people.

And that's pretty damned awesome.

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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Month in Review(s) - November 2016

November; the month in which the USA decided to make the UK's stupid political choices look relatively intelligent in comparison.

All we did was leave the EU... maybe... with no real plans, and a strong sense that nobody WAS LISTENING TO THE INFO ABOUT WHAT THE F**K THEY WERE VOTING FOR.

America decided to go bigger, and elected Trump. *sighs*

Still, we are so, so, so sorry America. We did let Farage faff around your country spreading his toady hatred by campaigning for Trump.

He's now wrecked two countries and potentially the whole world - maybe we shouldn't have given that man a passport.

But, my dearest nerdlets - if you're scared, if you're feeling hurt or alone, please understand this: THERE ARE PEOPLE ACROSS THIS ENTIRE PLANET WHO LOVE YOU AND ARE THINKING OF YOU. I promise.

On the personal side of things, my depression hasn't been as bad as it was last month (woo!) so that's got to be a good thing.

And my blog hit over 45k pageviews, followed by over 50k pageviews in the early days of December!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But what about the books?

Well my nerdlets, here are the books I reviewed in November:

New Adult

Eyes of Persuasion by Adrienne Monson - Novella, Fantasy, Historical Fiction*, Crime*, Romance (M/F)* (*ish)


God Help the Child by Toni Morrison - contemporary, magic realism* (*ish)
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin - classics (modern,) LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - LGBTQ+ (M/M; M/F,) Mythology, Historical Fiction*, Mythology*, Magic Realism* (*ish)

Graphic Novels

Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah by Nicolas Ortero - biography, contemporary, magic realism, non-fiction* (*ish)

Thursday 10 November 2016

Comics Wrap-Up - Something Strange

Film Trailers

A bunch more Doctor Strange trailers/clips for you guys:

I actually saw Doctor Strange on Monday - it was awesome BUT there are two things which CAN'T be ignored:

Tilda Swinton's character is whitewashed. (I love her, but it's true.)

And this film fails Bechdel.

Get your act together Marvel.


And there's a new Wonder Woman trailer:

Looks pretty cool, and clears up that this is supposed to be WW1 not WW2.

(The uniforms still look more WW2 in places guys, I know, but *sighs* anachronisms)


And the trailer for Logan came out last week!

This is the wonderful Hugh Jackman's last film as Wolverine :'O

It looks really awesome, and I always love me an Old Man Logan storyline.

(Oh, and the reason he looks older than Prof X? That's because he is older than Prof X - see X-Men Origins: Wolverine for details ;P )

Single Issues

This week I read Suicide Squad #1 of the 2011-2014 run. (US link)

One thing in particular I liked about this issue? Diablo doesn't speak much English in stressful situations (because why the hell would he?!)

Graphic Novels

This week I reviewed Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah by Nicolas Otero (UK - US.)

It's an interesting read, but I did have some issues with it. Check out my review here.

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Monday 7 November 2016

Review! (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah by Nicolas Otero

Title: Who Killed Kurt Cobain?: The Story of Boddah

Author: Nicolas Otero

Genre: Graphic Novels, Magic Realism, Contemporary, Biography, Non-Fiction* (*ish)

Release Date: 8th November

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

If anyone who has bipolar disorder and/or drug/alcohol addiction problems has reviewed this book, let me know and I will provide a link to your review.

This is weird. And probably needs to come wrapped in a 'trigger warning' protective plastic cover.

That said, this was interesting - so let's get down to this review, shall we?


Kurt Cobain's suicide note was addressed to Boddah.

Now, given the amount of conspiracy theories over Cobain's death, Boddah's identity and role has been discussed a lot.

The simple truth, though, is that Boddah was Cobain's imaginary friend as a kid.

This is the story of Nirvana, Kurt, Courtney, and Kurt's death - as told by Boddah.

Best bits:

Otero seems to honestly feel for Cobain - which stops the book from feeling as exploitative as I feared it would. (It still does feel disrespectful though - see next section.)

We're encouraged to empathise with a man who was, at heart, actually very childlike and lost.

I felt like the image of Kurt given here was one of an actual human being - as opposed to the caricature or legend that he's become since his death.

This book is also down-right heart-breaking. You are right there with Courtney screaming at Kurt to open the bathroom door, watching him as he slowly self-destructs, and unable to help.

The artwork is serviceable - and the boldness of the more experimental hallucinatory-type panels was sometimes breath-taking.

The way Boddah seems so realistic is impressive. He loves Kurt; when Kurt is gone... the panels where Boddah is left without him are just heart-breaking.

Not so great bits:

Things drawn graphically in this book that people need to be aware of:
  • drug-use (including heroin injection and joint smoking)
  • sex
  • child abuse (physical, emotional)
  • guns (and a suicidal fascination with them)
  • attempted suicide
  • drying-out in rehab
  • self-harm (I think... not 100%, I might be misremembering - a lot happened in this book)
  • hallucinations
  • childbirth
  • suicide - including a VERY graphic image of Kurt's dead body.
There's also swearing - but, to be honest, if you can get beyond the things listed above, swear-words aren't going to bother you.

The question of respect for both the living and the dead is a difficult one in this book.

Honestly? (And you guys know I'm always honest with you.) I found it quite disrespectful.

I sincerely doubt that anyone bothered to get Courtney Love's permission to draw her explicitly having sex with her late husband - and that's NOT OK. It's just not.

Likewise, I doubt permission was obtained from any of Cobain's family to show the final distressing panel of his dead body. Again, that's NOT OK.

I DO NOT THINK THE SHOCK-VALUE IS WORTH HURTING PEOPLE. If these were fictional characters, maybe it would be different. But they're not.

You're dealing with REAL people here - have some f**king respect, please!

I felt like Kurt's mental health problems weren't really explained. We got one or two blink-and-you'll-miss-them references to his bipolar disorder, and that is it.

Now, given that Kurt Cobain committed suicide, and there's a chance that Boddah was a hallucination brought on by the bipolar (or, indeed, a hallucination brought on by the drugs, or a combination of the two,) some attention to how his illness will have impacted on both his general mental state, and his susceptibility to drug and alcohol addiction, would have been a good idea.


It was interesting. It was readable. It was heart-breaking.

But there were also issues - and one's which can't be ignored; so give it a read if you want to, honestly, it's pretty fascinating, but do it with your eyes wide open.

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