WWACommendations: Nana, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, The Refrigerator Monologues, and More

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Happy December! Every month, WWAC contributors share the comics we’re reading purely for fun. What comics are you enjoying lately? Let us know on Twitter!

Draven Katayama: I’m currently reading Nana for the first time. Though it debuted in 2000, Ai Yazawa’s masterpiece about two strangers who meet on a train and become roommates feels timeless. You quickly fall in love with Nana Osaki’s detached demeanor, her tentative hope for her music career, and of course, her flawless fashion. Yazawa makes you ponder the impact of people who’ve entered and exited your life as you see Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu navigate their ever-changing relationships.

Louis Skye: I’ve recently finished reading Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth. I can’t believe I hadn’t read this series before, because I absolutely loved it! I didn’t like the art for most of the series, but the stories were excellent. Batgirl/Oracle is such a positive superhero. How does she put up with being in the surly Bat-family? I’ve met Huntress in the comics, but she gets to be a full-on fleshed out anti-hero-turned-superhero here. I love her backstory, which isn’t anything like I expected. But, the reason I adore this series is Black Canary. I confess, I haven’t read much Canary, but I am so in love with her now. She is such a pure and wonderful soul, the kind of character that makes me believe in the power of comics. Also, there were so many fantastic all-female team-ups which gave me life! Where can I find more of this?

Wendy Browne: My Ladies Night Comic Book Club read Catherynne M. Valente and Annie Wu’s The Refrigerator Monologues this month. Though I didn’t make it to the meeting due to the weather, I definitely had a lot of thoughts about the book that I wanted to share. First of all, I love Valente’s work, but I have a hard time reading it. She does such an excellent job of giving you characters, uncut, sharing the unfiltered thoughts that run out of their brains. Sometimes, I find this to be a bit repetitive, despite being realistic. Which is why I have an easier time appreciating her work as an audiobook. Anyway, The Refrigerator Monologues gives several fridged women of comics the opportunity for the spotlight. Their lives were taken or controlled to further the stories of men, and that does not change, but Valente lets them have a voice, humanity, and most importantly, the support of other women. It will be very interesting to see all of this brought to the screen via Amazon

Nola Pfau: I finally got the last issue of my 2017 COPRA subscription this week, so now’s a good time to ask: have you read COPRA? The indie book that made Michel Fiffe’s name is a love letter to ’80s and ’90s big two comics in general, and to John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad specifically. It’s full of dimensional shenanigans, trippy, chunky art, and intense, adventurous panel work. It features characters like “Lloyd,” an expert marksman with wrist-mounted guns, who’s something of a dead shot, or “Gracie,” a former model who is now an expert martial artist. You can get COPRA trades through Bergen Street Press, or you can grab individual issues on Comixology.

Liam Conlon: So this year I finally started Q Hayashida’s Dorohedoro. The manga just finished in September, and there’s an anime adaptation on the way, so it seemed like the right time! If you’ve never heard of Dorohedoro, it’s kind of this weird, sketchy, post-apocalyptic story with bug and lizard people wearing some really choice sneakers. Juxtaposing the infrastructure of an almost completely destroyed old world with characters who are warm, funny, silly, and violent (while initially seeming grotesque and off-putting), Hayashida is able to avoid the formulaic nature that the so many post-apocalyptic stories fall into. I guess part of that is from the fact that Hayashida had been writing and drawing the series since 2000, but I think that’s also unfair to her craft as a storyteller and artist. I’m not yet finished with the series, but it’s brimming with life and intrigue around every corner. You can join amnesiac (and lizard-headed) Caiman’s adventures as he hunts for the sorcerer who transformed him over on Viz.com.

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Draven Katayama

Draven Katayama

Writer at Sidequest and WWAC; past executive editor of Kollaboration and writer at Newsarama and Comicosity. I'm a huge fan of Life is Strange, The Last of Us, TWICE, Blackpink, and ITZY. My MyDramaList: https://mydramalist.com/profile/loudlysilent Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/loudlysilent Tell me about the fandoms you love! @loudlysilent