WWACommendations: True Beauty, Crimes, Barbarella, and Winter Soldier

WWACommendations: True Beauty, Crimes, Barbarella, and Winter Soldier

What comics are you reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share a few favorites among comics we’re reading. Let us know on Twitter what you’re reading! Emily Lauer: I recently read CRIMES by Kelsey Wroten after seeing it at MoCCA where it was a silver medal winner for the “2019 MoCCA Arts Festival Award of

What comics are you reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share a few favorites among comics we’re reading. Let us know on Twitter what you’re reading!

Emily Lauer: I recently read CRIMES by Kelsey Wroten after seeing it at MoCCA where it was a silver medal winner for the “2019 MoCCA Arts Festival Award of Excellence, Long Form.” I liked it a lot! One of the many things I enjoyed about it was the title, as I liked saying, “I’m enjoying … CRIMES,” and “I’m giving serious thought to … CRIMES.” And honestly, I really did give it serious thought. I found it immediately engrossing, and I have thought about its creation of mood repeatedly since finishing it.

Crimes cover, published by Pyrite Press

Crimes cover, published by Pyrite Press

Based on the title and cover image, I had assumed it would be a pop noir story, perhaps with art akin to Andi Watson’s, but no! It was not. It was instead a quiet and nuanced story of a queer, neurodivergent woman grieving a friend’s death while she considers actions of her own that she regrets. Unlike the the cover, the interior art is a sketchy black and white, with thick pencil-like lines. The idea of “crime” comes into play not with a heist or murder mystery, but rather through the idea of breaking various social contracts, betraying trusts, and letting things slide that shouldn’t. While I think an argument could be made that the cover is somewhat misleading, ultimately I was drawn in by the cover and appreciated the book itself, so it all worked out well.

Crimes page, published by Pyrite Press

Crimes page, published by Pyrite Press

Louis Skye: I’d been hearing a lot about Winter Soldier: Second Chances by Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis, and finally got around to reading it. I haven’t really been following Bucky’s adventures in Marvel Comics but, if you have some background about the character (or have seen Marvel films), you have a starting point for this story.

Winter Soldier: Second Chances (2019) cover, published by Marvel Comics

Winter Soldier: Second Chances (2019) cover, published by Marvel Comics

The book itself didn’t develop like I expected it to – it was much darker and quite sad. Bucky is helping other people, setting up a new life for them, and then he comes across a teenager who also needs a second chance but things go sideways, pretty fast. In the end, Bucky and the teenager seem way worse off than when they started.

Reading this book made me feel so melancholic, but it also has some great action sequences that were mesmerising, plus plenty of suspense. More than that, Second Chances made me think a lot, and it’s an interesting examination of Bucky and the life he had versus the one he has now. I loved his interactions with Tony Stark (the MCU cheated us out of that, which I’m sad about), and his mentorship of the teen.

The art is quite beautiful, almost like watercolours, but with a hard edge. It pulled me into the story and kept me there. I am looking forward to reading more now.

Winter Soldier #1 (2018) page, published by Marvel Comics

Winter Soldier #1 (2018) page, published by Marvel Comics

Draven Katayama: I’m reading True Beauty by Yaongyi, which you can read for free on Webtoon. It’s been announced that this popular comic will be adapted into a drama. The story is about a student, Jugyeong, who reinvents herself after discovering makeup tutorials on YouTube and studying fashion magazines. While she’s universally praised and popular at school for her beauty, outside of school she’s unrecognizable sans makeup and in nondescript clothes.

She runs into the hottest boy in school, Suho, at a bookstore. He doesn’t recognize her, which begins an awkward friendship as they chat about geeky interests at the bookstore, while he unknowingly treats her like a different person at school. Since I just started reading this comic, I don’t know how much it will critique its own premise of obsession with the beauty industry and appearing flawless. I’m curious to find out.

Nola Pfau: Over the last week or so I read both volumes of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s translation of Jean-Claude Forest’s Barbarella. For something that gained so much notoriety when it was originally published, it’s a surprisingly tame bit of sci-fi, and not surprisingly a bit misogynist, although it actually does some very interesting, fun things with plot. I’m sort of fascinated by Barbarella as a heroine; an openly bisexual, sexually-liberated space-faring adventuress, it’s easy to see why she was so scandalous in the ’60s and ’70s, but even today there are mainstream comics that don’t dare approach some of the talking points that this book had no trouble laying out four decades ago. It’s fascinating reading, and honestly I wish the last two of the original Forest volumes had gotten the same English translation treatment. As it is I’ve thought about learning French more than once this week just so I can read them in their original language.

The cover to Barbarella, Jean-Claude Forest, 1962, translated by Kelly Sue DeConnick in 2014.

 

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