Solutions and Other Problems—Funny Stories About Horrible Things

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh is a partially illustrated, partially written memoir-ish book about parts of Allie’s life. It’s largely funny, even though horrible things happen.

1—Life is Weird

Seriously. A lot of what Allie chronicles are just the random, weird things in life, told in a way that highlights the what-the-fuck-ness of it all, but also made me laugh a lot.

Continue reading “Solutions and Other Problems—Funny Stories About Horrible Things”

The Prince and the Dressmaker—Sweet and Beautiful

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang book cover
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang, is a graphic novel about Prince Sebastian and his dressmaker, a girl named Frances. Together they take the Paris fashion world by storm, with Sebastian secretly going out as Lady Crystallia in the dresses Frances designs. But Sebastian’s secret life is beginning to wear on both Sebastian and Frances, who has her own dreams of becoming a famous designer.

1—A New Job

Frances fulfills a a difficult order for a difficult client attending a ball held for the prince. Frances designs a stunning dress—as in, it stuns the girl’s mother and all of polite society—and gets reamed by her employer for it. But someone at the ball loved the dress and send sends their trusted servant to hire Frances, which she accepts, not knowing who’s hiring her only that it’s got to be better than working for her old boss. Introductions are not what Frances expects, what with her new client covering their face. But due to a bit of clumsiness, Frances’s new employer is revealed to be Prince Sebastian. Frances accepts Sebastian for who he is and and he encourages her art. The two quickly become friends. Continue reading “The Prince and the Dressmaker—Sweet and Beautiful”

The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited!—The Adventures Continue

The Adventure Zone-Murder on the Rockport Limited! by Clint McElroy, Griffen McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch book cover
The Adventure Zone-Murder on the Rockport Limited! by Clint McElroy, Griffen McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited! is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffen McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and artist Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons and Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys. It continues the adventures of Magnus, Merle, and Taako from the first graphic novel adaptation, Here There Be Gerblins.

1—The Continuing Plot

In this outing, we find out the mission of the Bureau of Balance. But before the boys can settle into their new life, they’re called on for a new mission, to the city of Rockport where a BoB agent had found an artifact but was killed before he could return it to the Bureau. So Magnus, Merle, and Taako are tasked with getting to the train the dead BoB agent had hidden the artifact on and getting it before anyone else discovers its existence. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and the boys end up on the train, with a small cast of suspects and (later) some monsters to deal with. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited!—The Adventures Continue”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant

Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s third volume is based on the novel Blameless—which is book three of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Mrs. Alexia Maccon nee Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, has been cast out by her husband and pack, by society, and of her job as Muhjuh. She must travel to Italy, home of the Knights Templar, an anti-supernatural extermination order, in order to prove that her child is her husband Conall’s—all the while being hunter by vampires determined to kill her unborn child.

1—Fleeing England

Despite these dire circumstances, Alexia isn’t alone. Her friend and admirer Madame Genevieve Lefoux, a French inventor, and her butler Floote—who knows more about Alexia’s father and the Templars than he lets on—go with her as she flees to first France, then Italy. And there’s a certain white werewolf following them as well. Meanwhile, Alexia’s other supporter, Lord Akeldama, has swarmed out of London after something very important to him has been stolen, something it’s up to Conall to retrieve in one piece—after he sobers up, that is. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland

Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s second volume is based on the novel Changeless—which is book two of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, is now Muhjuh to Queen Victoria and charged with finding out if a spate of mortalness in the local supernatural community is due to a plague or a weapon.

1—The Characters

There’s the depictions of Ivy’s outfits, particularly the hats. I liked getting to see Madame Lefoux in her suits and little Quesnel, scamp that he is. Of course, Sidheag Maccon, Conall’s descendant, complete with facial scar and cigar. We see more of Biffy and Lord Akeldama, and Professor Lyall, too. And I had forgotten how much I dislike Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings, but he is fortunately not in much of the book—though my sister likes him. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland”

Soulless the Manga—Volume One—A Condensed but Still Charming Version

Soulless the Manga Volume 1 by Gail Carriger, art by REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume 1 by Gail Carriger, art by REM

Soulless the Manga’s first volume is based on the novel Soulless—which is book one of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, has accidentally killed a starving vampire. Things only get more complicated from there in this steampunk action romcom.

1—The Art

The art in the Soulless Manga is suitably whimsical, with even background elements showing thought to the steampunk Victorian setting—such as during Alexia and her best friend Ivy Hisselpenny’s walk in the park. I particularly loved seeing Lord Akeldama’s outfits being brought to picture. And the wax-faced man was suitably creepy. There was a lot of cleavage on display though, mostly Alexia’s. Not that Conall wasn’t naked too. Nothing too scandalous was showing though. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume One—A Condensed but Still Charming Version”

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch graphic novel book cover
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys (which I also recommend) and drawn by Carey Pietsch. It follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako on what seems to be a standard boy guarding gig but turns into a disaster of epic proportions.

1—Meet the Boys

Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter with proficiencies in, well, almost everything. Taako is an elf wizard who used to have his own cooking show. Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric spreading the good word of Pan with an Extreme Teen Bible. And of course Griffin, their D. M. (Dungeon Master) who pops in to make comments and chat with his players. It’s kind of meta but you soon get used to the conceit and just go with it. It’s all in fun. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation”

Rat Queens Volumes 1 & 2—Damsels who Cause Distress

Rat Queens volume one Sass and Sorcery

Rat Queens The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth
The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth

Rat Queens is a comic by Kurtis J Wiebe with art by Roc Upchurch and later Stjepan Sejic, and published by Image Comics. It follows the adventures of the titular group in and around the town of Palisade. Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, and volume 2: the Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth comprise a full story arc which is why I’m reviewing them together. Plenty of fights, some nudity and sex, and lots of cursing—in both senses of the word—Rat Queens is great fun but not for kids.

1—The Characters

The world of Rat Queens has a D&D RPG flavor to it, medieval-ish look with lots of magic, and lots of humor. The back of Sass and Sorcery describes the Rat Queens as “Hannah, the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.” Hannah, the leader of the group, is the most violent of the bunch, with Violet a close second. But whereas Violet is more professional about it, Hannah is definitely having too much fun. The most tactful, prudent, and introverted of the Rat Queens is Dee, who actually saves some of her earnings instead of spending it all on booze and drugs, and stays sober during parties. And Betty, who brings drugs and candy for dinner, and also plucks out eyeballs—not as a hobby, just the once…that we’re shown, anyway. Continue reading “Rat Queens Volumes 1 & 2—Damsels who Cause Distress”

Nimona—Essential Fantasy

Cover of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is a fantasy graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson and now a part of my list of essential fantasy reading (note: there is no actual list, it’s in my head…though I may have to start one now). Nimona started life as a webcomic. You can still read the first three chapters online at Noelle’s website, Gingerhaze. The remaining chapters have been taken down to, you know, get you to buy the book. Which I highly recommend. If you were listening to this post instead of reading it, I’d tell you to shield your ears. SQUEEEEEEEEAHHHhhhaaahahahaaaaaaMWAHAHAAAAAAAA! I love this book so much!

1—The Other Side of a Well-Known Story

Not any story in particular—Nimona is very much its own—but of so many stories. I know this story and I know these characters. The golden Hero, the Villain he routinely defeats but never kills. The back and forth, the banter, the weekly adventure…which we aren’t ever shown in the book itself because it’s unnecessary. That ground is so well trodden, the barest few hints are all that’s needed to walk me down it again. I can practically describe the narrative landscape in my sleep. But this story starts when that routine is disrupted by the appearance of a violent and chipper young shapeshifter into Lord Blackheart’s lair. And from there we get to see villainous side of it, not to mention a few others. Continue reading “Nimona—Essential Fantasy”