Dani Kinney: Quarantine has been an opportunity to do a number of rereads. Some are bigger projects like rereading House of X and Powers of X, but some have been taking more time to revisit old faves. I’ve purchased Ruby Quartz Panic Room by Jay Edidin a few times. I’ll pretty much buy it whenever he posts about it. So when Jay posted on his Twitter that he’d be making it pay-if/what-you-can on the expected release date of his Marvel Snapshot, I figured it was a perfect time to reread.
To everyone who asked: X-Men: Marvels Snapshot is not out today. I'm sorry, and I promise I will let you know as soon as *I* know when/whether there's a new release date.
Meanwhile, I'll make Ruby Quartz Panic Room pay-if/what-you-want on gumroad. https://t.co/92E0FELhs7
— (((Jay Edidin))) (@NotLasers) April 29, 2020
It’s a love-letter to the often written-off Scott Summers aka Cyclops. I’ve read this zine at least five or six times so far, and it continues to inspire me. It’s a stunning, raw, authentic, and intense investigation of the connections we form with comics. This beautiful little zine is many things: it’s a beautiful look at Cyclops as an avatar for neurodiverse folks, it’s a history lesson, and it’s a window into an intensely personal connection that Jay has with Cyclops. If you love Cyclops, this scratches that very specific itch of appreciating yet another new facet of the mutant-revolutionary. If you’re not a fan of Slim Summers, by the end of this zine you will be.
Alenka Figa: I’m deeply amused to be popping into the roundtable after Dani, because I’ve got a totally opposite quarantine reading habit! I have an always full to-read shelf that is mostly zines, and in addition to picking at it, I’ve been using online gatherings like Quaranzine Fest and Chicago Zine Fest to order even more. A to-read shelf is always a Sisyphean task, right? During Quaranzine, I ordered a bunch of stuff from Radiator Comics, including two zines by Andrea Tsurumi: How to Pool And Other Comics and Eavesdropper: A Drawn Overheard-in-NYC Diary. Both are really wild comics to read right now, because they depict two different environments that are full of people, movement, and objects.
— Andrea Tsurumi (@AndreaTsurumi) April 19, 2016
I love Tsurumi’s wordless picture books because they’re wildly kinetic and incredibly fun, and her zines are quite similar. There’s a sequence in Eavesdropper in which a woman stops to pet a dog on the street, and every twist and turn to scratch under the dog’s chin or rub behind an ear had a beautifully intimate and, to me as a pet owner, a familiar flow. In How to Pool, an older woman suns herself slowly over a series of small panels at the bottom of several consecutive pages. Her skin gets darker and warmer and her smile broader until she bursts into astounding, joyous flames. If you miss the normal sounds and bustle of cities or of the world, these are perfect quarantine reads. If you’re a parent at home with library ebook access, see if you can also get Accident! or Crab Cake, and while away some time finding all the delightful little details.
Draven Katayama: I’m completely in awe of My Boo by Jeongseo, which you can read for free on Webtoon. My Boo is about Yuri So, a woman who is able to see ghosts. She moves into an apartment that’s been vacant for years since its previous occupant died. Yuri is able to see and hear the ghost of the young man who died there: Jun Ko. Yuri is hesitant to interact with ghosts and usually pretends she can’t see them because how they’ve imposed on her in the past, like asking her to meet with their family. She had a particularly traumatic experience with one ghost when she was younger, which the reader learns about gradually. Yuri and Jun settle into a comfortable rhythm, with Jun even proofreading Yuri’s writing for her job. Jun was only 20 when he died, so the reader must wonder how he feels about his (after)life now, especially since ghosts in My Boo are confined to the place where they died. If you need a beautifully drawn, poignant comic about relationships and how people’s lives intersect, My Boo will linger with you long after you’ve read each chapter.
In the words of @KennyComics, “My Boo is the flame that warmed this cold heart.”
— WEBTOON (@webtoon) December 5, 2017
Switching gears from Webtoon to Marvel, I finally read Iceman, the 2018-2019 five-issue run written by Sina Grace that follows up his 2017-2018 run. If you’re an X-Men fan, you’ll be happy to see Bobby Drake reunited with many familiar characters, including Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and Bishop. Bobby and Emma Frost team up in the second issue to resolve a Frost family crisis, and Bobby rejoins his classic pals Spider-Man and Firestar in the third issue. Sina Grace does a fantastic job balancing action scenes with more relaxed pages where Bobby can enjoy his newfound dating life. I especially liked a serene rooftop scene at the end of issue three where Bobby, Firestar, and Spider-Man discuss how difficult it is to date while having super powers. I really hope an Iceman solo series happens again, but seeing Bobby get page time made me more interested in checking out the current Marauders series where Iceman is a team member.
If you’re looking for a darker read, #Killstagram by Ryoung is a thriller about a social media star, Remi Do. (Warning: this comic has gory and violent images and themes.) Remi is stylish, beautiful, and has over a million followers on Instagram. Whenever she posts a photo, it immediately gets thousands of likes, and brands covet her sponsorship. Remi’s best friend, Jia Lee, tries to warn Remi to post less because of potential stalkers, noting that two other social media stars have mysteriously stopped updating. What Remi and Jia don’t know is that Jia’s fears are warranted: Remi is being stalked by a serial killer who’s using info in her posts, like when she says a restaurant is “nearby,” to find her. I don’t usually read thrillers, but I’m intrigued by stories about celebrities, and the way Ryoung depicts Remi’s Instagram use has a Black Mirror feel to it. Ryoung also draws impressive illustrations of settings and interiors, like the cute layout of a cafe.
Lastly for this month, if you need something sweet and romantic, The Doctors are Out by Blau is on Webtoon with superb art and the fluffiest, saccharin premise. Dr. Matias Guevara runs a local neighborhood clinic called Guevara Medical Clinic. Next door, an animal clinic has just opened. The veterinarian’s name and the clinic’s name? Dr. Fernando Guevera, Guevera Petcare. A steady stream of patients showing up to the (human) clinic looking for the animal clinic annoys Dr. Matias Guevara, but when he finally meets his next door neighbor, he’s stunned. Let’s just say both are handsome and the chemistry is undeniable.