Amy Says Read This

Seriously, you should totally read this.

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Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

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Image from

Fraction, M., & Zdarsky, C. (ill.) 2014. Sex Criminals, vol. 1: One Weird Trick. Image Comics: ISBN: 9781607069461.

Annotation: Suzie has the power to stop time when she has sex, and she thought she was the only one until she met Jon. Together they come up with a plan to save Suzie’s beloved library, using their superpowers to rob banks.

Reaction: Describing this book to people is ridiculous. Because the premise is RIDICULOUS. It’s crazy and weird and totally awesome. It’s so much fun to read (as an adult! This is definitely not one for kids, and I wouldn’t even recommend it to a teen [but I also wouldn’t stop them from checking it out if they found it]). As my husband and members of my book club can attest, I’m not usually a huge fans of things that can be described as “weird,” but this book manages to find a great balance between weird and not-weird that really works for me.

The two main characters are great, and I would like to go out for drinks with both Suzie and Jon. And, not gonna lie, I fell a little in love with Jon the first time we meet him, too. His Lolita quoting is so sexy, and Fraction and Zdarsky perfectly capture that moment between Suzie and Jon. Honestly, it made me want to read Lolita, which is not a book I’ve ever harbored a secret desire to read.

My buds, Matt and Chip, actually do a great job of portraying their burgeoning relationship for the entirety of the book. I enjoyed watching it unfold and develop, and I especially love their epic first date when they spend a lot time talking and getting to know each other. It just feels very natural and genuine to me, and it makes me really excited to see where Matt and Chip take them in later volumes.

I also really like the way Suzie breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the reader, which is something I feel like I’m seeing a lot more often in various media, and it super works here. It really helps make the story feel intimate and as if Suzie’s having a conversation with a good friend over drinks. I also like how Suzie will actually insert herself into scenes from the past as she narrates. I find it clever and fun, but I also have a little bit of a girl crush on Suzie, so I’m not sure she can do any wrong in my book.

I know this review has already turned into an ode to how much I loved this book, but we have to talk about the art. It’s amazing. It really helps sell this ridiculous story. I really like the classic pinup vibe of the character designs and that they look like normal people. Suzie and Jon are hot, but not supermodel, superhero hot. They’re regular people hot (and most of Jon’s appeal comes from his humor and intellect). Zdarsky does really interesting things with the characters’ flashbacks, and the stopped time scenes are crazy cool. I also love the coloring here. I love everything. It’s all good.

So, you know, read this. But only if you don’t mind copious amounts of doin’ it in your comics.

Author’s website (Incidentally, Matt Fraction is married to the excellent Kelly Sue DeConnick.)

Illustrator’s website

(Contributed to Cannonball Reads 7 as part of my 52 reviews in 52 weeks. I’m a little behind.)


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Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

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Wilson, G. W., & Alphona, A. (ill.). 2014. Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No normal. New York: Marvel. ISBN: 9780785190219

Annotation: Kamala Khan is a Muslim-American teen living in Jersey City, who, caught in a mysterious fog blanketing the city, wishes to become like her hero, Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.

Reaction: This book is amazing. Seriously. So good. I’m not sure how this book got published, like who at Marvel thought a series about a Muslim-American Ms. Marvel was a good idea? Because that person deserves a raise. I’m so glad they took a chance on this. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to see more of in comics: strong female characters, great diversity, good writing and art. I am definitely going to start following this series (should I stick with trades or get individual subscriptions?) I want Kamala to be my new best friend or my little sister. She’s totally, delightfully clueless in the way of all sixteen year olds, and she’s such a normal American teen, except, you know, with super powers, which I think is such a positive message to be promoting in comics today, especially from one of the big publishers.

I especially love all the identity stuff they have her dealing with in this first volume. She’s a normal girl, except the people around her won’t let her forget that she is different, but she just wants to be normal, dangit. But at the same time, the idea of abandoning her beliefs and her heritage are not something she even considers. She might have issues with her local sheikh but not with her religion.

The art is also really fantastic in this book. Alphona does a great job of making her look like a 16 year old Muslim-American girl. I love that she doesn’t just look like a slightly younger, slightly browner version of Carol Danvers (and every other woman in superhero comics [though she does have super awesome hair]). She is distinct without being charicaturized, and I love that the art doesn’t have that high gloss, super polished sheen of other major superhero titles. It has a younger vibe to it, without the art being dumbed down.

All in all, I think this book is great, and I think everyone should read if only for the super awesome feminist, non-white perspective.

Author website

Illustrator website

(Contributed to Cannonball Reads 7 as part of my 52 reviews in 52 weeks.)

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Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius by Chris Eliopoulos

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Eliopoulos, C., & Sumerak, M. (2010). Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius: Ultimate Collection. New York: Marvel Worldwide, Inc. ISBN: 9780785149248

Annotation: Franklin Richards is the 10 year old son of The Smartest Man Alive, Reed Richards, and The Invisible Woman, Sue Storm. His parents make up half of the Fantastic Four, and when their attention is occupied with saving the world, Franklin uses his father’s inventions to get into all sorts of trouble.

Reaction: This book would be really fun for 10 and 11 year olds, especially boys. It’s made up of lots of 4-6 page stories featuring Franklin and his robot nanny, H.E.R.B.I.E., getting in and out of trouble around their home in New York. Each story is fun, quick and easy to read, so kids with short attention spans can easily pick it up and put it down without having to worry about losing the thread of a long story. Franklin’s adventures are fun and fantastical, and H.E.R.B.I.E. is a terrific character who provides plenty of laughs for adults reading.

Eliopoulos’s art reminds me a lot of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, which gives the stories a fun, weekly adventure feel. The illustrations are fun and joyful, and it is clear that Eliopoulos enjoys his job.

The stories do get a little repetitive (I actually didn’t read all of them), but original enough that I think kids would be able to enjoy them. Plus, the format allows for easy reading and rereading of one or two favorite stories, which is valuable even if kids don’t read every story.

Media Used: Ink and brush on 2-ply bristol board.

Author’s Website

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Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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Krosoczka, J. J. (2009). Lunch Lady and the league of librarians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN: 9780375846847

Annotation: The Breakfast Bunch think the city’s librarians are hatching a nefarious plan. It’s up to Lunch Lady and Betty to foil the plot, but with they be able to defeat the Librarians’ secret weapon?

Reaction: This book was good fun, and I enjoyed the depiction of Evil Librarians. Plus, their Book Beasts were ingenious and hilarious.

Krosoczka uses panels to help the story flow, but the action scenes are just too big to be contained in a measely panel! Those scenes use full one and two page spreads to show the action, as well as allow some of the characters to escape the bounds of the panels, some of which are angled as if knocked ajar. Krosoczka also uses full page spreads to help set the scene: the 2 page illustration of the library and the one page one of the Book Fair.

This book uses alliteration in the title.

Media Used: Black india ink with a brush for the line work (a pen for some of the detail work) & color digitally w photoshop.

Author’s Website