WWACommendations: Gourmet Hound, Buffy, Motor Crush, Mega Princess, and More

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Happy September! What comics are you reading lately? Every month, WWAC contributors share about the comics we’ve been especially enjoying. We have a packed list this month, with recommendations ranging from a delightful read for all-ages in Mega Princess, to newly revamped (sorry) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to chilling mystery in House of Penance. Let us know on Twitter what comics you’re currently reading!

Wendy Browne: I picked a book from my to-read shelf at random and ended up with House of Penance written by Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Ian Bertram, colors by Dave Stewart, and letters by Nate Piekos. Bertram superbly brings a subtle yet frightening touch to a story I didn’t realize was grounded in reality. I had never heard of the Winchester House before, much less Sarah Winchester herself and her obsession with the occult. It’s been speculated that the reason why she used the ample funds from the sales of her husband’s weapons is to appease the souls lost to those very weapons, but House of Penance brings that all to life in such a chilling way. Tomasi’s twist on the story is rich with haunting depth to characters I hadn’t expected to care about, and, though I didn’t initially like the rough lines of Bertram’s work, I quickly found myself drowning in the world they shape.

Reading House of Penance sent me down a rabbit hole of discovery as I learned about the protagonist’s life and the labyrinthine house she created. I discovered that Helen Mirren starred in a movie about her life, which I must see, and I’ve added a visit to San Jose to my travel bucket list.

Emma Snape: I was born in the sweet spot between millennials and Gen Z so that I was in high school when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was added to Netflix. It was an old show, but for me, who had been far too young to watch the show as it aired, it was brand new. And now that Boom Studios has brought the show back to life as a brand new ongoing series, the comic is poised to introduce the series to a whole new generation of high school students to Buffy Summers.

Boom Studios’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a fun retelling of the events of the first season of the original tv show, but with characters and plots recontextualized to feel like classic Buffy, if Buffy had arrived in Sunnydale in 2019. It doesn’t just retell the story, it reimagines it, opening the narrative up for a broader cast, and making the Hellmouth seem new.

The book is also a eye-catching read, from a consistently good crop of covers for each issue — Becca Carey’s episode variants stand out in particular as dynamic and unique on shelves — to bright, lively interiors. Writer Jordie Bellaire, artist Dan Mora, colorist Raul Angulo, and letterer Ed Berkshire do great work making the characters and stories introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer over twenty years ago feel as new and exciting to me now as they did in high school.

Kate Kosturski: To prep for an interview I did at Flame Con this year, I binge read all of Steve Orlando’s Martian Manhunter series and I am in love. *heart eyes emoji* Prior to this, my experience with J’onn J’onzz was thanks to David Harewood and Supergirl. Orlando’s series plunges more of that backstory that we get in Supergirl, but adds layers of depth, telling a story of a complicated being caught in between two worlds, with the ramifications of his decisions on Mars affecting both his Earthly and Martian forms. And the art from Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia is a visual feast – – rich in detail and color. At the time of this writing, there’s only four issues to go before the end, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Paige Lyman: A good friend of mine recommended Motor Crush to me back in May. She lent me her copies and I totally devoured the first two books pretty quickly. The comics art style, story, characters, and setting quickly pulled me in. With a sci-fi setting where motorcycle racing is key and a main character who has some mysterious things going on, it’s an engrossing story that really pulled me in. The art style is dynamic and gorgeous and Domino Swift, the main character, serves as a really cool intro to the world.

Emily Lauer: I just read Mega Princess with my kid and we both loved it. In Mega Princess by Kelly Thompson and Brianne Drouhard, Princess Maxine wants to be a detective but her mom insists she do princessy things like ride her show pony. On her tenth birthday, however, Max is visited by her very own fairy godmother, who grants her the power of… every princess. Ever. And upgrades her pony’s armour, too. Max can instantly converse with all animals, get tiny like Thumbelina, grow extra-long prehensile hair like Rapunzel, become a mermaid, etc. If a princess in a fairytale does it, Max can too. She is: Mega Princess! …And her pony, Justine, is now Mega Pony. Max’s powers are nigh-instantly put to the test when her beloved baby brother goes missing. Super sleuth Max combines her detective inclinations and her new powers to search for him, with Justine as her wisecracking steed and sidekick rolled into one.

I first saw an ad for Mega Princess in the back of another comic my kid and I were reading together. In the ad, Max is obviously a child rather than a teen, riding a pony with what seemed to be mecha wings and horn. My kid loves ponies, princesses, robotics and superheroes, and was instantly sold. The premise, too, was instantly fun and graspable when we started reading, and has already made its way into games my kid plays with her toys. I wholeheartedly recommend Mega Princess for the comics-appreciating kids in your life! I will even pre-answer a question that’s likely to come up: Max only gets the powers of princesses that her godmother already knows about. That’s why Max doesn’t also have all the powers of Wonder Woman, Princess of Themyscira.

Draven Katayama: I had seen Gourmet Hound, which is free to read on LINE Webtoon, because its popularity made it likely to show up in recommendation algorithms. After all, its first episode has over 62,000 likes! But it wasn’t until I saw its creator, Robyn aka Leehama, tweet in the #VisibleWomen hashtag that I knew I had to check it out immediately.

Gourmet Hound stars Lucy Fuji, an enthusiastic food connoisseur who has the nearly superhuman ability to identify the smell of specific foods and other scents, even when she’s standing on the street outside a restaurant. As a child, Lucy and her grandmother would occasionally splurge on a meal at a fancy restaurant, Dimanche. Now Dimanche’s cooks have moved on to other restaurants — a fact which Lucy discovers not only because the food tastes different, but because she can smell that the restaurant’s staff are different people — and Lucy, aided by her best friends Walt and Joanna, is on a mission to find them and be reunited with the exact food that she once enjoyed with her beloved grandmother.

What really impresses me about Gourmet Hound is its pacing. Leehama introduces a full cast of entertaining characters, including ideal boss Brie Malik, handsome love interest Graham Ramos, and likable barista coworker John Clementine. Each character unravels a little bit of the overall plot that’s connected with Lucy’s memories of her grandmother, and it works well like a good mystery novel. If you need a feel-good, upbeat comic with characters whom you’ll begin to feel a lot of affection for, Gourmet Hound is a delightful read.

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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