Unable to focus on any of my fave literary genres for more than 30 seconds at a time, I thought: “what better way to spend my 75 days of January, than reading a bunch of comics!” So I did. Here are a few you may want to check out to combat your winter blues:
Saga: Volume 8
As soon as I know when the next compilation of Saga is set to publish, I put a reminder in my calendar because I don’t want to wait one second longer than absolutely necessary to get my Saga fix!!
This series tells the story of soldiers from opposing armies in an interstellar war, Alana & Marko, who fall in love, and make a forbidden, unbelievably adorable, mixed-alien baby, Hazel. They live on the lam, hiding from their respective armies, a mercenary, ex-fiancees, and more who want to bring them to justice. Along the way, they visit crazy worlds and pick-up an assortment of frenemies. The writing is great, the visuals have tremendous depth, and the adult characters are all funky and weirdly sexy, regardless of whether or not their face is a TV screen.
Weirdly hot. #noshame
Volume 8 picks up here after Alana loses her baby in utero at 8 months, and the family travels to an outlaw planet to find medical help. Alana discovers that in death the fetus has transferred its powers to her, which she uses to defend herself and project her wishes for her future child in the form of a boy named Kurti. Kurti and Hazel together are heartbreakingly precious, and Alana risks her health to continue the projection, not for herself but because she can’t bear for Hazel to lose another person from her young life. SO SAD!!!!
This plot arc deals with miscarriage, transgender depression, violence, and mercy, and is such an amazing antidote to the vicious dumb that is IRL.
Abbott: Issue #1
I started following Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt) on twitter because he tweeted something funny/politically spot-on, but had no idea who he was. So glad I did, because I got to be in-the-know about the release of his new comic “Abbott.” The series follows African-American news reporter Elena Abbott as she covers some very weird and gruesome murders in 1970s Detroit, and she is a total badass.
It being the 70s and Detroit, fellow reporters and police officers are quick to pin the murders on black activists, but Abbott finds herself having strange psychic reactions to the murder that suggest something otherworldly is afoot. We learn that her husband was killed sometime in the past, but not before frantically carving mysterious runes into a tree for “protection”. Elena must find the connection, all while dealing with rampant sexism in the workplace, and racism in society.
This comic has a very throwback vibe to it, with its rat-a-tat dialogue and classic comics visuals by Sami Kivela. As a child of the 70s, the references to desegregation busing, dudes who blame stuff on “women’s lib,” and aggressive bell-bottoms are like a clammy hug from an aging relative – familiar but also kind of uncomfortable. It’s also pretty damning to realize how little the world has really changed in its whiteness and maleness since that time. I’m looking forward to the rest of this series! Get Issue 1 now – issue #2 is set to drop February.
Mine! A celebration of freedom and liberty for all benefiting Planned Parenthood
Rounding out the feminist comic theme for this, the longest month, is a comic with this, the longest title. This comic brings together 150 contributors to tell stories of motherhood, abortion, feminism, and family whose proceeds, as the very long name suggests, support Planned Parenthood.
While I inhaled Saga and Abbott, this work feels a lot more like, well, work. I learned a lot about the history of PP, and all kinds of interesting/enraging/appalling factoids around women’s health in America, but the sheer length alone was overwhelming. The most important stories here highlight the challenges faced by women of color in getting care, and IMO this tome could almost have been pared down to that theme.
God help me, I did
In short, if you want to invest some time and effort into fueling your feminist activism tank, this is a definite read (In small doses. Over a long period of time). If you just want to support PP, donate online and take a pass.
Take my money. No really, just take it.
Hope these reads can give you something to look forward to during your next Polar Vortex/Devin Nunes shenanigan/porn star revelation. Look out next month for Twisted Romance 1-4 (starting February 7), The Prince & The Dressmaker (February 21), and TN fave Fence (#4) on February 21!!!
And have a Happy January 67th!
What comic books are you reading? How many comic release dates are in your calendar? Have you read any with sexy washing machine characters? Asking for a friend.
Saga images courtesy of Image Comics
Abbott images courtesy of BOOM! Studios