This is the first in my Graphic Reading Wrap Up series.
I read enough manga, comics and graphic novels that I figured I’d be better off doing separate wrap ups so I don’t find myself having to cram a shit ton into my reading wrap ups every month. I want to spend more time actually talking about what I read, especially graphic fiction/non-fiction, which I get through so much of that I feel like I don’t spend enough time explaining my thoughts.
If you would like longer reviews of anything I talk about in this post, let me know. I have some P L A N S for Christmas blogging to make up for what will be a smaller November upload month.
#1 is my first wrap up after my September wrap up, if you want to see what else I’ve read.
Assassination Classroom Volume 5 by Yusei Matsui
I’m very fond of this series, and the growth of its characters. The prioritisation of developing the students and their self esteem is so incredible: rather than beating his students down, Korosensei works them towards improvement, and it’s interesting seeing so many layers of characters who aren’t strictly good or evil. This volume has the end of the baseball arc, a fight against the new PE teacher, and the next arc is another assassination attempt on Korosensei, which is exciting.
Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
I’ve been reading this webcomic since 2016, so finally being able to pick up this volume now I have money has been a long time coming. I hold every character deep in my heart and I know pretty much every chapter/episode like the back of my hand, so reading this was more like revisiting an old friend than something new. I HIIIIGHLY recommend this webcomic, and I will only discuss it with you if you also rate it 5 stars and love it unconditionally!
The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited by the McElroy’s (especially Clint) and Carey Pietsch
This is my favourite arc in the podcast, so I was expecting to love it more than I did. It feels like some of the humour isn’t translated as well over to these graphic novels, but I think changes made are important to fit the format. I think this works well for people who are fans of the podcast, but I’d definitely recommend the podcast first for other people, just to understand the characterisation and the D&D self-inserts Griffin has. But I will say…. Angus McDonald is still my baby boy and I love him.
Momo to Manji Volume 1 and 2 by Sawa Sakura
A very heavy series, while still being cute. Momo to Manji is set during the Edo Period and follows a male prostitute who is taken in by another man after growing too old to still serve. It has confusing moments, and has very dark material– some violence, obviously prostitution, as well as incest and very young characters having sex with adults– but the relationship between the two main characters is very endearing, and I really grew to care about Momo especially.
Welcome to Wanderland #4 by Jackie Ball (not pictured)
Finally got to read issue 4! A very quick and fantastical series, and I think the new artist did a great job helping finish up a series that was very dear to the hearts of the writer and the original artist. I was satisfied with this conclusion and I think I’ll end up re-reading it, maybe next year, just to experience the full story in all its glory.
Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
This is a solid 3 star collection. None of the stories really lingered with me other than Gentle Goodbye, which is now one of my favourite short stories. It’s a beautiful and incredibly moving story for me, even if that wasn’t Ito’s original intention when writing it as a horror story. There’s something to be said about generational horror and ghosts, and what family means to different individuals.
Dissolving Classroom by Junji Ito
My new favourite Junji Ito manga! There’s a focus on body horror, as there always is, but this felt more… fun. Chizumi is a nightmare child, I think she’s so great and definitely up there with my favourite children in horror now. I know the ending will be hit or miss with other people, but it’s not like Uzumaki, where I waited 600 pages to be disappointed at the end.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride Volume 1, 2 & 3 by Kore Yamazaki
A series I’m very much in the middle about. I’m enjoying the fantastical elements, but the setting and time period are so confusing to wrap my head around in terms of modernity. It very much reminds me of Lore Olympus in that regard, but that webcomic is more straightforward in explaining, so I just don’t know with this manga. There’s also something stopping me for completely loving the characters. I’m not a fan of age-gap romances that don’t spell out what’s going on: is this romantic, or is it purely platonic? If I don’t know where I’m supposed to stand, I can’t feel at ease reading it.
The Avant-Guards #7 & #8 by Carly Usdin
This series is so good! Great cast of characters who are believable in their love for one another and their basketball playing. There’s a genuine wholesomeness to this series that really reminds me of Check, Please! and Haikyuu!!. What is it with sports stories and exclamation marks? Anyway, I highly recommend this series, I’m glad it’s been longer running than Usdin’s other stories. Also, did you see the Heavy Vinyl graphic novel announcement? SICK.
Lovely Complex Volume 2 by Aya Nakahara
This series is getting better by volume. It definitely draws on cliches and tropes of the genre, but I really enjoy that, and I’m still attached to the characters and the slow burn complexity of the feelings between the two leads. It’s easy reading where the conflicts never linger and isn’t at all difficult to get through, which is definitely something I need more of in my reading.
Parasyte Volume 1 by Hitoshi Iwaaki
Meh. For some reason, I was really expecting to love this– a dude learning to live with a parasite who controls his arm is a great premise– but there was something about the writing that stopped me from feeling compelled. I can’t really feel any risk, and that’s something I like in my horror. The body horror is also not too great, which was one of the selling points for me. Sad! Not sure if I’ll carry on with this series, honestly.
Out of Skin by Emily Carroll
Another freaky short story from Emily Carroll, who honestly does no wrong in my eyes. Amazing art– character design, colour palette, all of it, amazing– and the eerie story at its heart. I love Emily Carroll’s focus on more feminine voices and stories, it never feels exploitative of women and draws on violence towards women without feeling nasty or targeted.
Teen Dog by Jake Lawrence
The ULTIMATE graphic novel. Literally, one of my all time favourites. It’s the perfect balance of silly and existential, and I genuinely love every moment of reading this. It was my second read through and I just smiled the whole time.
Are you a fan of this new recapping format? I found it a lot more easy to only talk about manga/comics/graphic novels, and doing this means I don’t put myself under pressure to get wrap ups out at the same time every month and have about 40 things to get through in one go!
I’d love some recommendations in the comments.
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