It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
It has been awhile since I’ve featured graphic novels. While these two may not be easily classified as crime/thriller-related, they are definitely about adventure, mysteries, gods and mortals, with a superpower thrown in, along with a mystery title – both created by female authors/illustrators.
Written and Illustrated by Nilah Magruder
Published by Insight Comics (2017)
ISBN: 1683830040 (ISBN13: 9781683830047). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
This is the story of a wounded young girl named Abbie with a hearing impairment, traveling alone in the desert, carrying an urn of her mother’s ashes.
A long-haired young man named Jaime and his grandfather chanced upon this fierce, almost-feral, young girl. They brought her to their nondescript, almost-forgotten hometown called Little Marigold to be healed by the feisty, smart-talking, equally fierce Aunt Nifrain.
The artwork of Magruder has a very manga feel to it, that I am not sure how I feel about. But I did find the storyline fascinating, particularly the parasai, powerful thugs who were terrorizing this little community with the rationalization that the weak are meant to serve the stronger and the self-entitled. Unbeknownst to most, Abbie is herself a parasai, which brought a nice little twist somewhere in the end.
I was all teenage-giddy with the romantic tension between Jaime and Abbie – and look at that line above: “And if you’re bored, I’ve got books.” Hey, I am all in.
There are also a lot of embedded mysteries in the narrative, in particular, the fact that Jaime’s parents simply up and left him:
And most importantly, it is not clear where Abbie came from, why she is carrying her mother’s ashes, where she is going, and what M.F.K. actually stands for. Looks like I will have to wait for the other books in the series!
Written and Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg
Published by Little Brown and Company (2013)
ISBN: 0316225819 (ISBN13: 9780316225816). Literary Awards: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominee for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Writer/Artist (for Isabel Greenberg) (2014). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I first fell in love with Isabel Greenberg’s art and sardonic humour in One Hundred Nights Of Hero (see my review here). Apparently, The Encyclopedia Of Early Earth is the first book in the Early Earth series, which I am glad to finally read.
While the stories are familiar, expertly drawn from Biblical narratives, mythology, epic tales (hello one-eyed Cyclops, Medicine Man, giants, Old Crones) – Greenberg has breathed new and vibrant life into these ancient stories, reinventing them, making age-old classics her own.
I especially loved the story-within-story element, a tricky-and-very-risky writing tool as the reader can get lost down a rabbit hole with no hope of seeing the light. Yet it was done with a light, deft touch, the threads so seamless and unnoticeable that it was a joy to travel down Greenberg’s circuitous, meandering paths, even though there is a level of certainty that the reader will be joyfully gobbled up by the proverbial Minotaur right smack in the middle.
I found the gods to be petty, easily bored, meddling; and the Medicine Man somewhat dense and blessed with the mild and benign curiosity of one who couldn’t care less. I liked the Old Crone, though, her spunk and the fact that she feels sleeping off the entire day is something she has earned.
Among the gods, it was the female Kiddo I particularly adored. She is the mother of human beings and Earth, after all:
If you have yet to discover Isabel Greenberg’s visual and textual narrative, you are not too late to the party yet. Immerse yourselves in the universe of Birdmen, mortals who have lost a piece of their soul, helpful (and not-so-helpful) gods, storytellers, warriors, and reinvented mythology.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: Isabel Greenberg is from the UK, Nilah Magruder is from the US.