WWACommendations: LOST in TRANSLATION, Isola, Heavenly Blues, Die, and More

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Happy August! What comics are you reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share some comics we’ve especially enjoyed recently. Let us know your own recent favorites on Twitter!

Wendy Browne: Cover art for Isola graced my Twitter and Instagram enough times for me to request it from my LCS without even knowing what the story was about. I have no regrets after picking it up and discovering the story of a soldier — a queen’s guard — escorting the queen herself, who is trapped in the form of a tiger, to a mythical place in hopes of saving the queen from her curse. There is little said throughout the first few pages, but so much is conveyed through the art and the spaces between. A haughty, feral glare, a passionate, fearful cry. 

I’ve also been reading Cover by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Mack’s work, which is the main reason why I picked up the series about a comic book creator who inadvertently becomes a spy. With Mack’s art and that concept, it’s a pretty easy sell, but the series turned out to be even more interesting than I expected, taking a tone and route that was not merely the spy thriller I thought it would be.

Louis Skye: After hearing about Die from my sister, I finally got around to reading it for the comic book club that I go to. Considering my sister rarely recommends something unless she really loves it, I knew that this series would be good. It was better. I loved every minute, even though I have zero to no experience with D&D style games, except for what I’ve seen in films and television shows (oh, and one short story in Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions). 

Die was everything I love about comic books — an expansive universe that I could learn more about as I went along. Characters who were intriguing and mysterious, but human enough for me to care. The story sets up a whole new universe that I would love to keep exploring. And Stephanie Hans’ art is to die for (pun intended!). She has such an incredible eye and makes the universe work so well. It’s a long wait till the next issues are released.

Nola Pfau: I recently got a copy of Heavenly Blues, by Ben Kahn and Bruno Hildalgo, and I’ve already been recommending it to friends, as a story about “a group of dead gay assholes in hell who plan a heist on heaven.” Really — it’s Ocean’s Eleven in the afterlife, only it’s also gay. Hidalgo’s art is great — energetic and expressive, perfectly suited to the action of the story, and Kahn’s writing is superb — I actually enjoy the foul-mouthed kid trope here! Ben also has fun riffing on things like Batman: Year One and the narrative of standard westerns. Coin Counter, as a character, is a particular favorite of mine — a Val Kilmer-as-Doc Holliday pastiche that goes where Western cinema was far too afraid to in 1993.

Emily Lauer: I live in New York City, but am visiting California for the month. This is a weird scenario in which to read Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, but frankly, it was pretty great. Going Into Town by Roz Chast is a collection of useful information about the city, tips for living in it happily, and personal anecdotes about Manhattan things Chast enjoys. Satisfyingly, I agree with all of her New York City advice. 

The book grew out of a shorter personal work Chast made for her daughter when she was moving into Manhattan to begin college, and it offers Chast’s unique perspective as a Brooklynite who had moved into Manhattan as a young adult and then into the suburbs to raise a family. I’ve loved Chast’s work since I first saw her New Yorker cartoons, and I love New York also, so it was a nice cozy feeling to read this book while away. I definitely feel like the target audience, so I’d love to know how any non-New Yorkers experience the book: if you’ve read it, let me know! 

Draven Katayama: LOST in TRANSLATION by jjolee is a wildly popular comic which you can read for free on Line Webtoon. It currently has 33 million views and more than 455,000 subscribers. It’s about Jaewon, a K-pop idol in the group Mayhem, where he goes by the name Wyld. When we first meet Jaewon, he’s quiet and seemingly dejected, like a wounded puppy who’s only reluctantly been put together with energetic groupmates. Jaewon doesn’t want to hang out with the other members of Mayhem, and he spends downtime alone. What happened to him? As the story unravels, we learn how Mayhem’s management company has deliberately made Wyld the subject of scandals and gossip in order to keep Mayhem in the limelight. 

I wasn’t expecting to be hooked by LOST in TRANSLATION because in real life, I’m more a fan of girl groups (hey Midzy! Hey Blinks! Hi ReVeluv!) than boy groups. I started reading LiT because the creator of my favorite comic, courtneywirthit of Honey Lemon, has recommended it so highly. Jaewon hooked me as a character because of his natural sensitivity and compassion, like when he notices a fan get ignored by another Mayhem member, so he initiates talking to her. If you’re looking for a comic with well-written characters that looks at the behind-the-scenes struggles and loneliness of stardom, you might fall in love with LOST in TRANSLATION.



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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