Episode 105: The Hazards of Love by Stan Stanley

Andi and Lise rave the hell out of this amazing first volume of Stan Stanley’s The Hazards of Love, which follows a nonbinary teen, Amparo Uribe, who ends up agreeing to a bargain with a shitty cat that allows the latter to take over the teen’s life and body and sends the now exiled teen’s spirit to Bright World, where they are a seriously marginalized human trying to survive in systems of debt and ever-changing rules that subject them to constant threats. But formerly Amparo (they lost their name when they agreed to the bargain) is working to find a way out. Wonderfully layered, meta-meanings, queer rep, gorgeous artwork and writing, dark humor, and fantastical beasts and Bright World denizens – Stanley explores what it means to be who we are, and what comes to define us. 

The first volume collects the first 12 issues of the comic and we can barely stand waiting for the next issues… 

Find more info about the volume at Indiebound

And at Simon & Schuster 

Stan Stanley’s website – we’ve heard she’s a devilishly handsome woman of science… 

Episode 99: Nubia: Real One

Woo! Andi and Lise do their 99th episode! This week it’s all about the brand new graphic novel, Nubia: Real One, written by the awesome L.L. McKinney and drawn by the equally awesome Robyn Smith. Nubia in DC comics canon is Wonder Woman’s Black twin sister (origin story HERE). Here in McKinney and Smith’s coming-of-age story, Nubia Johnson is an urban teen dealing with issues like police violence against Brown and Black people, racialized misogyny, a deepening crush, and her secret – that she’s a lot stronger than other people. In Real One, Nubia has to deal with all of that, and try to keep her secret hidden so she and her family don’t have to move again. Appropriate for YA and above; this is an excellent imagining of Nubia. Bonus: her guardians are a F/F couple. 

For more info: 

Nubia: Real One at DC Comics (shout-out to the graphic novel’s colorist Brie Henderson, who with McKinney and Smith produced it!) 

A chat with Robyn Smith 

L.L. McKinney talks about reintroducing Nubia to the DC universe 

Extra: Andi mentions Virtuous Con as where she first heard about this graphic novel. Find out more about VC HERE

Shout-outs! Lise is still working on her bathroom, but she’s also finished up another battle axe for cosplay and she’ll be posting photos! Andi has been finding a weird stress reliever in the game “Tail Gun Charlie,” available as a free app for mobile devices (Android and iOS). World War II tail gunner action against Axis warplanes. 

Episode 86: Cosmoknights

Andi and Lise highly recommend Book 1 of the 2019 web comic-turned full-color graphic novel Cosmoknights, by Hannah Templar and had a blast with it. Great story, intriguing world-building, excellent characters, fabulous art, and awesome queer rep that includes WOC (shout-out to the butch lesbian rep!). This tagline from the website will no doubt make you want to check it out: “For this ragtag band of space gays, liberation means beating the patriarchy at its own game.” 

Read the webcomic at the Cosmoknights website

And buy the graphic novel at all the places

Shout-outs: Lise would like to acknowledge the deliciousness of maple cream cookies at ALDI and Andi points out the simple fluffy joy of 80s movie Adventures in Babysitting and early 90s movie Clueless

Episode 79: Decolonizing Our Media

Andi and Lise have been working on expanding and decolonizing their media consumption, seeking out more creators of color and more creators who are differently abled, neurodiverse, and from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds than they are. They each share some of that media in this episode.

Lise:
Binti novella series by Nnedi Okorafor
Octavia Butler’s Kindred graphic novel adaptation
N.K. Jemisin, Inheritance trilogy; see also her short story anthology How Long ’til Black Future Month
Movie D.E.B.S., written and directed by Angela Robinson (We talked about this movie in our very first episode!!)
Ebony Warriors Studio, cosplay (also find on Instagram)

Andi:
Ascension, by Jacqueline Koyanagi
N.K. Jemisin, Far Sector comic series
Movie Black Panther, directed and written by Ryan Coogler
Website Black Girl Nerds (LOL Andi and Lise lost count and Andi did 4 instead of 5); NOTE: website was fine at recording time, but afterward, it appears to be undergoing some work. You can find BGN on Twitter and Instagram, too.

Shout-outs: Lise enjoyed the zombie apocalypse movie Anna and the Apocalypse while Andi was glad for Legends of Tomorrow season 5 this week.

Episode 78: Moonstruck

Andi and Lise are way into the comic Moonstruck (Image Comics), created and written by Grace Ellis (of Lumberjanes) and illustrated/arted by Shea Beagle. Here, Andi and Lise talk about Volume 1, which collects issues 1-5:

Werewolf barista Julie and her new girlfriend go on a date to a close-up magic show, but all heck breaks loose when the magician casts a horrible spell on their friend Chet. Now it’s up to the team of mythical pals to stop the illicit illusionist before it’s too late. –Image Comics description

We loved all the rep (including queer, POC, QPOC) and all the different body shapes and all the different backgrounds of the characters. The art is amazing, the story is fun, and the characters will resonate with readers. This comic is excellent for all ages!

Find Volume 1 at Image Comics, other platforms, and your library.

Shout-outs!
Lise recommends Avatar: The Last Airbender. All three seasons are streaming on Netflix.

Andi binged the fifth and final season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. She laughed, she cried, she’ll watch it again. Find all 5 seasons on Netflix.

Episode 63: Rat Queens

This week, Andi and Lise waxed philosophical fangirl about the first 2 collected volumes of the comic Rat Queens, put out by Image Comics. First launched in 2013, Andi is horrified that she didn’t look into these sooner and thanks Lise profusely for telling her to get with it and read them already. ComiXology might have the best description of the Rat Queens:

Who are the Rat Queens? A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all gods’ creatures for profit. It’s also a darkly comedic fantasy series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Hobbit Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

Rat Queens is also full of diverse characters (primary and secondary), kickass women, and LGBTQ rep (it won a GLAAD award), including Betty, one of the queens. Great world-building, awesome characterization, strong writing, explorations of relationships and past baggage – Rat Queens is the shizzle. Give this comic a read and re-read!

Shout-outs: Lise recommends Jodi Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s books, which are a time traveling historians saga (and Andi will be running out to read) that Taylor insists you NOT call time travel because it’s “about a bunch of disaster-prone historians who investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And Andi is just about done with Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth (Lise’s recommendation), which is mind-blowing and so much awesome – lesbian necromancers who also do some space travel. I mean. Why would you not want to read that? Also, Andi wants a poster of the cover.

Episode 55: Monstress

Andi and Lise are way into the first collected volume, “Awakening,” of the multiple award-winning comic series Monstress (Image Comics) by writer Marjorie Liu and artist Sana Takeda, who combines elements of manga and Art-Deco in the portrayal of this grim world wracked by violence, racism, slavery, and war. The protagonist, Maika Halfwolf, is the descendant of a wolf-goddess, but there’s something else inside her that’s older and stronger and it may or may not be key to saving this world, in which most of the world’s human population despises Arcanics – the human/deity hybrids like Maika. The sadistic witch-scientists called the Cumaea may hate them the worst, and they capture Arcanics and run terrible, painful experiments on them.

The world-building in this epic fantasy series includes steampunk and magic and nods to Asian history and culture but also Egyptian mythology as it explores themes of survival and violence, the commodification of mixed-race bodies, and women’s rage and power, and how the latter can corrupt. The world of Monstress is almost entirely female and WOC, to which Andi and Lise say, MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.

Lise also highly recommends the second season of She-Ra, Princesses of Power, streaming on Netflix while Andi is sad about the end of the AMC series Into the Badlands, though she does think it didn’t do justice to its female and queer characters in the end.

Episode 47: Nimona

Andi and Lise are complete fangirls of the graphic novel (and National Book Award finalist) Nimona, written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, part of the creative team behind Lumberjanes and currently the showrunner of Netflix’s She-Ra: Princesses of Power.

Stevenson originally posted Nimona as a webcomic while working on her art degree. It was then published in book form by HarperTeen. Nimona is infused with elements of fantasy and science fiction and follows the story of a young woman who wants to be the sidekick/squire to Lord Ballister Blackheart, formerly a staunch enforcer of the law until his best friend blew one of his arms off after which Blackheart began to follow his own moral code. Throw in a shady kingdom with shady officials secretly manufacturing bioweapons along with Nimona’s cloaked and traumatic past, and you have a recipe for a brilliant story that deals with not only larger contexts and the ramifications of choices made, but also the hurt and healing that can come from interpersonal relationships.

Totally appropriate for YA and younger.

Find out more:
Noelle Stevenson
Nimona
Cory Doctorow on Nimona

This week Andi and Lise geeked out over the TV show She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and River Solomon’s novel An Unkindness of Ghosts.

Episode 33: Raven the Pirate Princess

This week, Andi and Lise rave about the comic Raven the Pirate Princess, a spinoff of the Princeless series, both written by Jeremy Whitley and, in the case of Raven, arted up by Rosy Higgins and Ted Brandt.

This is Volume 1, a compilation of initial issues (chapters) 1-4, in which Raven Tsingtao, the daughter of a pirate king, is double-crossed by her brothers. Her father’s legacy was supposed to be handed down to her, but her brothers poisoned him against her and now she’s looking for a pirate crew to reclaim her legacy and get revenge on her brothers. Follow Raven as she auditions potential crewmates, meets other strong badass women, and prepares to find her brothers.

Andi and Lise rate Raven the Pirate Princess, as A—Awesome! Not only in characterization and storyline and art, but in diversity (many different body types, backgrounds, ethnicities, and races) and Awesome in potential queer rep. Raven is most likely a lesbian, and there are a few other characters who probably identify that way, too.

Find it at Action Lab Comics and Amazon.

Want more info? Check Keri Crist-Wagner’s piece at BookRiot and Mey Rude’s observations at Autostraddle.

Episode 23: Paper Girls

This week Andi and Lise get into the retro-cool mystery sci-fi comic series Paper Girls, in which four twelve-year-old girls have paper routes in 1988 and band together to deal with weird and crazy things happening in their town. So you’ve got monsters, strange beings, time travel…and what seems to be a conspiracy underneath it all. Appropriate for kids, strong female characters, and unpredictable plotlines. Have fun!

If you’re interested in finding out more about Paper Girls (AND YOU TOTALLY ARE), see Image Comics.

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