The Avant-Guards

The Avant-Guards was my answer to a friend asking the question of whether there was any American comic that could be described as sports yuri (which is manga about girl-girl attraction). It’s written by Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl), illustrated by Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer), and this collection reprints the first four-issue storyline. (There are 12 issues planned in total.) The dynamic go-getter Olivia is determined to create a basketball team at her all-female drama school “The Georgia O’Keeffe […]

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Invisible Kingdom

There’s plenty of science fiction in comics, particularly if you lump many of the superheroes in that genre, but it’s rare to find science fiction (in any medium) that deals with religion, particularly one that does it well (as opposed to using it as a cliche). Invisible Kingdom, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Christian Ward not only does this, but it does so gorgeously. It’s clear that the world we’re shown here has been well-thought-through, with the […]

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The Pineapples of Wrath

One of my favorite TCAF discoveries was The Pineapples of Wrath by Cathon from Pow Pow Press. I knew nothing about artist, publisher, or book, but it was a fun, escapist read with a distinct, unusual sensibility. Once I checked it out, I kept sending other people over to get some pineapples. In a small Quebec city with the “world’s largest Hawaiian neighborhood”, Marie-Plum bartends at a tiki bar but keeps getting distracted by the latest mystery she’s reading. She […]

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Bad Luck Chuck

Bad Luck Chuck caught my attention due how interesting the premise was. It kept my attention by wrapping the concept in intriguing layers of story. It’s written by Lela Gwenn and illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith. Chuck Manchester has really bad luck. Like “the building burns down around her” bad luck. So she’s made a business, “Disaster on Demand”, out of it, hiring herself out as, for example, an untraceable arsonist. She’s just been hired to bring a daughter back […]

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Just Jaime

The third in Terri Libenson’s series of connected middle school graphic novels, Just Jaime tackles the difficult question of how to react when “friends” decide they don’t want to hang around you any more. As with Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy, the format is unique, with interspersed chapters alternating between the illustrated diary format and full-out comics. (The lead characters from the first two books also appear here, tying the three together into a richer picture of young teen life.) […]

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Phoebe and Her Unicorn in Unicorn Theater

The eighth book in the imaginative series by Dana Simpson about a girl and her unicorn best friend is also the second original graphic novel (after Phoebe and Her Unicorn in the Magic Storm; the others reprint comic strips), making it a never-before-seen longer story. In Unicorn Theater, Phoebe is headed to drama camp. The unicorn Marigold accompanies her but is distracted by a visit from her sister, making Phoebe jealous and a little lonely. All of her other friends […]

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An Enola Holmes Mystery: The Case of the Missing Marquess

From 2006-2010, Nancy Springer wrote six YA mysteries about Enola Holmes, the younger sister of Sherlock. The Case of the Missing Marquess by Serena Blasco, from IDW’s EuroComics imprint, adapts the first. Enola has been living with her mother, Lady Eudora, in the country. On her 14th birthday, her mother disappears. Upon notifying her much older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock, who haven’t visited for ten years, she’s told she will be sent to boarding school to become a proper young […]

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Lafayette! (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales)

The latest installment (the eighth!) of the popular graphic history series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales returns to the setting of the first book, the US Revolutionary War. Spy Hale is still telling stories to prevent being hanged by the Hangman and a British redcoat. This time, it’s the story of the Marquis de Lafayette and his love of battle and adventure. Gilbert du Motier gained his title at a young age and was orphaned at 13. Although forced into the […]

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