What is Caitlin reading? Oct 13 2017

I've been listening to Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue once I'm done with my podcasts and really enjoying it.  It's a bit weird because I've met Mary Robinette Kowal, the voice talent narrating the book, before, but the voices and accents she does are just spot on and really elevate the experience.

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  • Wilde Life by Pascalle Lepas.  I just this second realized that Lepas made one of my favorite webcomics that I started reading in college (Zap!) and I'm really embarrassed I didn't recognize her art, but that's a testament to her skill, I think.  Wilde Life is VERY different than Zap! in a lot of ways, and I can appreciate that.  It's very kind, but without being soft, and I know that's not super helpful.  I find myself lately really needing to read (and watch) things that are full of people who care about each other, even if they can't always show it in productive, gentle ways.  There's a lot of crazy stuff and danger in Wilde Life, but the overwhelming sense is that the main characters are kind to one another, even when they're teasing.  It's a classic fish out of water story, a writer moves to a small town and gets caught up in a bunch of supernatural shenanigans, including the most wonderful petulant teenage werewolf in the world (the ginger up there).  Three's ghosts and witches and all sorts of fun stuff, and it's funny without being mean.  I love that.  Binged the whole thing in two sittings.
  • Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is just a very sweet webcomic about two boys in school in England playing rugby and struggling with their identities and falling in love.  It's the perfect way to combat all the worst parts of watching the news right now, and Oseman's art is so soft and expressive.
  • Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa.  I know Anissa and she is not only super skilled but also super sweet, so I was super stoked to check out this book.  Her art has gotten so strong and expressive in the five years (holy shit) since I first met her, so Cast No Shadow is an absolute joy to look at.  But honestly, the story was...a bummer?  For really nuanced reasons that an editor at First Second should have put a stop to right off the bat.  I'm still sorting through my feelings on the book.  I still think people should pick it up and check it out, the central idea is neat and the art is freaking delectable.
  • Batman: White Knight #1 by Sean (Gordon) Murphy).  I liked this book a lot more than other people I think, which isn't a huge surprise given that I'm a sucker for anything about Batman, anything about the GCPD, and anything about social justice.  My full review of the comic is up on the A.V Club this week, but one thing I didn't get a lot of time to dig into was the idea that the Joker isn't actually the best character to tell this story.  The central idea isn't "what if Joker was a good guy" but more "let's talk about the ways Batman (and the GCPD) are the bad guys" and I would be super interested in seeing that story told without the Joker being the protagonist.  What if the residents of the infamous Narrows filed a class action suit against Batman and the GCPD?  There aren't many famous lawyers in the DC universe, but Harvey Dent might still have his license, and it'd be neat to see one of the Manhunters back in the courtroom.  Even MORE compelling to me would be if the law suit coincided with a Justice Department investigation of the GCPD led by Amanda Waller and Jim Corrigan.  Can you imagine what would happen if Batman was confronted by Spectre?  Especially if it was the pants-shittingly terrifying version from Gotham by Midnight, I would pay good money to see that.
Templesmith and Fawkes just did some really goddamned neat stuff with Gotham By Midnight.

Templesmith and Fawkes just did some really goddamned neat stuff with Gotham By Midnight.

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I also re-caught up with much of the same list of monthly comics from September, with a couple of additions:

  • American Gods
  • Black Magick
  • Black Monday Murders

I was really doubtful they were going to be able to pull off getting American Gods to work as a comic.  It's way too wordy, but it's a really solid book that I'm enjoying the heck out of.  Black Monday Murders continues to be one of the most thinky comics I'm ready (it's basically Wolf of Wall Street + Cthulhu) and I love the art by Tomm Cocker so much.

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What's really blowing me away this week is Tom King's 'War of Jokes and Riddles' arc in Batman.  I really like King's work generally, but I'm not a fan of Mikel Janin (I know) so I've been waffling a lot about how I feel.  Especially since I hate Bruce and Selina as a couple, and their romantic relationship has been at the center of so much of this story.  But King did an incredible job with this arc, and he really pushed Riddler in particular to entirely new, and super fascinating, limits.  He's digging deep into the psyches of some really messed up characters (Batman included) and showing me things about them that I never even considered.  So even though Janin's art distracts me when it gets weirdly and inopportunely stiff, I loved this arc to pieces.  King somehow made me care about Kite Man, which is just...bonkers.

I'm gonna leave it there and go back to knitting and watching murder mysteries because it's finally fall and I feel like a new creature.