August was a hard reading month for me: I felt like I slogged through some long novels that I never got that into, a reader’s slump that always breeds anxiety and angst. To shake off some of those icky feelings, I’m ready to jump into things that are quicker, more fun, and more satisfying. In other words, it’s time for some graphic novels. Here are our selections: Blue is the Warmest Color, Julie Maroh; Arsenal Pulp (September 3)
Originally published in France as Le bleu est une couleur chaude in 2010, this graphic novel won multiple comics prizes in Europe and was then turned into a film, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. (Sundance Selects/IFC will begin airing it in the US in select theaters in October of this year, with an NC-17 rating—ooh la la!—even though author Maroh has said she wasn’t pleased with the cold, porn-ish quality of the sex scenes. The original book is now translated into English and about to be published by Arsenal Pulp, available on September 3rd. It tells the story of young Clementine, who meets and falls in love with the blue haired Emma, a love story which “bristles with the energy of youth and rebellion and the eternal light of desire.” You had me at “blue haired,” Julie Maroh! Willow Volume 1: Wonderland, Jeff Parker, Christos Gage, and Brian Ching; Dark Horse (September 3)
OK, now, don’t lose your shit everyone, but this is happening: Willow is getting her own adventure in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic labyrinth. Well, I guess this has already been happening for a while, but this new collection of the first Willow comics, which began last year, is actually the first I’ve heard of it. My one concern was that you would have to be caught up on all the other Buffy comics (of which there are many, and which I most definitely am not caught up on) to understand what was happening. And one review does say that it’s “best understood” if you’ve read the Season 8 comic series. But as it’s the beginning of a separate offshoot, I think it could still be accessible to anyone who’s watched the show. Or hey, it could just be the impetus for you (me) to finally pick up those Season 8 books. In any case, it’s easy to be pumped reading this blurb from the publisher: “Armed with Buffy’s broken scythe, Willow has entered another dimension and begun a quest to somehow, someway, against all odds, bring magic back to Earth. She must keep her darkest self at bay while she battles demons – the scaly and horned type, as well as her own! On a journey of her choosing, Willow runs across familiar faces who will aid in her quest and lead her on a path of self-discovery, even if it doesn’t garner what she was most hoping for… “ Stumptown: Volume 1, Greg Rucka; Oni Press
I admit I don’t know if there’s anything outwardly gay in this series, but I assure you that Greg Rucka is at least firmly on the right lady side of things, in an almost Whedonesque way. He has said smart and wonderful things about female characters in interviews, and more importantly, he has impressed with his previous work with both Batwoman and Wonder Woman. I have wanted to check out Stumptown forever, mainly because it’s based in Portland, Oregon (which, let’s be honest, makes it pretty lesbian already) and because the protagonist is a female private investigator solving crimes and kicking ass. And until the Veronica Mars movie is released, I am sorely in need of a good female PI solving crimes and kicking ass. Note to e-readers: It appears that Willow is the only selection this month available on Kindles and other e-readers. I apologize for this, but I really wanted to include all three of these intriguing choices. I have also heard that sometimes graphic novels can be problematic with e-readers, so print might be best this month anyway. So what book should we should in September?