Graphic Novel Review: Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms (2021)

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, illustrated by Val Wise

Synopsis: Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian starting her senior year of high school who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeeBee is a people-pleaser—a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life to keep their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.

Awww, this is such a cute graphic novel about two cheerleaders falling in love! Adorable. The artwork was bright and cheerful and the representation was wonderfully done, I must say. Definitely worth a go for anyone looking for a cheerful tale of love and pompoms! ❤

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Graphic Novel Review: White All Around (2021)

White All Around by Wilfrid Lupano & Stéphane Fert

Even in the land of the free, not all of America’s children are welcome.

Well. WELL. This is a gut wrenching graphic novel about historical racism. It’s a familiar enough story to those who know American history – white men at odds with Black women educating themselves – but the story of the Prudence Crandall School is new to me: a young white woman goes against the town of Canterbury to open a school for only Black girls in the 1800s. The white residents of the village oppose her actions and treat both Ms Crandall and the children terribly, but the ladies are determined to learn and defy the ridiculous restrictions placed upon them.

The artwork is simply stunning and vibrant and filled with warmth and colour. The women and girls that are the central focus of the story are wonderfully done. In addition to the lone lady teacher, and the girls aching to learn, you also encounter a woman living in the woods who has no love for the villagers, and a young boy who travels around regaling locals with tales of Nat Turner, a real life Black enslaved preacher who led a rebellion in 1831.

This is definitely well worth a read for everyone, although I’m sure it’ll leave you just as furious and frustrated as it left me. Equality is for everyone, and we need more girls and women like the ones herein. I really appreciate this novel for highlighting this true, heart-breaking story of injustice, racism, determination and feminism.

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review / review cross-posted to goodreads

Buffy, Willow and Comics Galore!

Oh my gosh, the new Buffyverse comics by BOOM! Studies are simply wonderful. The Willow comics take place after Hellmouth, which happens partway through the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. So I suggest starting with Buffy, Volume 1 and then going to the Willow comics when the timelines diverge. Basically, the comics reboot the original show in the modern day, with all the characters’ appearances based on the actors themselves i.e. Buffy looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar, etc. The whole thing feels like an AU (but in a great way!).

The Willow comics are such a fabulous side adventure to the new Buffy. And isn’t the artwork so lush? I’m obsessed with these covers, my word. In this storyline, Willow’s a witch from the start, not after spending ages researching alongside Giles like in the show and she’s taking a break from Sunnydale after events in the Buffy reboot. It’s only five issues long so far – not sure if it’s getting more? – so it’s a fun little fest that’s a great way to spend a couple hours. And, again, the artwork. (✿◠‿◠)

SPOILER WARNING! The Buffy reboot starts with Buffy, Willow and Xander in very different places than they started in the show. Willow has a girlfriend from the start, Xander is much less of a ‘nice guy’ and more nuanced (thank goodness), Joyce has a boyfriend who treats Buffy well, Giles and Jenny are already dating, Robin Wood is in school with the rest of the cast and has a side story with Kendra, and Spike and Drusilla arrive in season one. I haven’t reached Angel’s appearance yet in the comics, but I’m sure he’s coming as there’s also an Angel reboot comic.

In addition to all the Buffyverse comics, I also tried out Artifice and Vision #1. I also read and reviewed two great kids books: We Are All Under One Wide Sky and Theo’s Princess. All very good!

And now on to the Angel comics … (^o^)

Comic Book Review: Always Raining Here (2012)

Heartstopper was my wonderful introduction to online webtoons and kickstarted my recent fervour for comic books and graphic novels, and today the webcomics have led me to Hazel + Bell’s Always Raining Here. IT IS SO PRECIOUS AND WONDERFUL AND ADORABLE. This comic is definitely on the same wavelength as Heartstopper, but I loved it that little bit more, I reckon. Adrian and Carter are great characters and it’s the type of story that would make for a superb coming of age movie or tv series.

The whole story is posted online, but there’s a page where you can buy the paperback versions of the books and other stuff as well. EVERYONE IN THEIR SITE IS SO CUTE. The creators have also started a new comic series, Electric Bones, which is beautifully drawn.

Film Review: Venom (2018)

I wanted a movie that was going to cheer me up and I’m so glad I picked Venom. It’s honestly the funniest movie I’ve seen in a while and probably one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. I only realised after I watched it that it didn’t get great reviews – well, SILLINESS. IGNORE THE BAD REVIEWS, THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME SAUCE AND A KETTLE OF FUN. Tom Hardy is good in literally everything (Virgin Queen, Peaky Blinders, The Dark Knight Rises, etc.) but as I don’t keep up with movies at all, I had no idea Michelle Williams and Riz Ahmed were in it too! Great casting, great movie.

The film follows Eddie, a reporter who wants to hold bad guys accountable for their crimes and doesn’t hold back on his opinions of their awfulness. Unfortunately, being a good reporter and a good person doesn’t sit well with his bootlicker boss, and Eddie gets fired when he goes after a corrupt scientist, Carlton Drake, and asks him about the cover-ups of his company. To Eddie’s horror, the move also gets his fiancée Anne fired, too. Furious, Anne breaks up with him, and in one day Eddie loses his job, his love, his apartment and his cat. Poor, poor Eddie. 😥

Drake’s experiments continue when his company uncovers an alien ‘symbiote’ and tries to match it with various human hosts. Horrified by his methods, one of his scientists seeks out Eddie to expose the truth. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong, and the symbiote gets inside Eddie.

Cue, DRAMA AND ACTION.

Venom, the alien symbiote, is hilarious. (And he takes deep personal offence to being called a ‘parasite’ FYI.) He and Eddie are basically a sarcastic duo fused together. Like if Jekyll and Hyde could talk to each other and liked each other, but were constantly duking it out. I giggled throughout their ensuing escapades, fending off bad guys and trying to sort out their shenanigans of being stuck together. Eddie tries to keep Venom good, Venom struggles with listening, but he likes Eddie and comes around to the idea of fighting for the good side. Plus, Venom’s commentary of how awesome Eddie’s ex is, is so funny.

10/10, totes recommend, ignore the bad reviews, this movie is a m a z i n g.

Show Review: Titans (2018)

I don’t know why I put off watching Titans, but I’m so glad I finally started it! I think I was overloaded with Marvel, so DC got kind of pushed aside as a result. This one makes me want to dive straight back in, though! The show picks up after Robin, real name Dick Grayson, has left Batman’s side and gone off on his own. Now working for the police, he’s put Robin behind him and doesn’t talk to Bruce anymore. But when a girl named Rachel Roth crosses his path, he’s dragged back into the superhero world.

Rachel is a teenager with a dark secret – something lives inside of her. She think she’s evil as it takes over her, turns her eyes black and she often loses control. But the darkness also warns her of approaching dangers. She’s been dreaming of Dick and his parents for a while and recognises him when they cross paths at the police station. When someone masquerading as a cop kidnaps her, Dick goes after her. At the same time, a woman, Kory, who can’t remember who she is or where she came from, is also trying to find Rachel. Kory can channel solar fire, I think. It’s impressive to watch but I’m not at the reveal yet, so I’m not 100% sure.

The villains hunting Rachel are soooooooo creepy. They’re like evil Stepford Family. They call each other Mom, Dad, Biff and Sis. And they kill with smiles on their faces whilst thanking each other. It’s seriously chilling. They’re all part of a group hunting Rachel and their indoctrination programme is disturbing as frak.

My favourite part of the series is definitely Dick Grayson, although it’s a tough choice because everyone is so well cast. I’ve never really seen Robin be the focus in anything and he’s amazing in this. There’s a scene in season one where the whole group has super powers except Dick, and it’s him who has to take down all the bad guys single-handedly and it’s seriously awesome. He puts Batman in the dust with that scene. Kory is another highlight. Anna Diop is such a magnetic actress and she’s so captivating in every scene. I also adore Conor Leslie. She’s an amazing Wonder Girl. (I also didn’t know Wonder Girl was a thing?)

The family vibes of the central group are lovely, too, and Dick acting like Rachel’s big brother is adorable. I’m curious to see where this show goes and how the characters develop. I’m not even on season two yet, but I’m stoked that it’s been renewed for a third season.  ❤︎

Seriously, watch this one.