August 2020 Reading List

Here’s a list of all the indie comics and graphic novels that I read in August 2020 with brief descriptions and information on where I found each publication. I was pretty broke throughout August: as an academic, I don’t get paid over the summer. By the end of the summer, I was scraping by. Therefore, most of the comics I read came from Humble Bundle purchases in July.

Graphic Novels

Black Dynamite
Brian Ash (w) & various artists
Based on the 2009 film, this graphic novel focuses on the titular character’s attempts to fight white supremacy and uplift his community. It’s a fun ride and surprisingly deep particularly in considering the effect that BD has on his community.

The Black Mage
Daniel Barnes (w) & D.J. Kirkland (a)
An satirical indictment of racism in contemporary fantasy, particularly Harry Potter. It feels a bit heavy handed at times, but in the best way.

Bramble, vol. 1
Jean-David Morvan (w) & Nesmo (a)
A bloody steampunk-noir story about the conflict between city life and the natural world. Great artwork; the story can be abstruse at times.

Destroyer
Victor LaValle (w) & Dietrich Smith (a)
A rumination on the nature of existence and motherhood in a sci-fi/horror package. Not particularly groundbreaking, but the artwork is fantastic, and the story is compelling enough. 

The Girl Who Married a Skull and Other African Stories
Various writers and artists
A black and white anthology of African stories told through sequential art. Some of the stories are a bit more adult than I would have anticipated. As with any anthology, it is a bit of a mixed bag, but the collection is quite good overall.

Metal Hurlant Collection, vols. 1-3
Various writers and artists
Published by Les Humanoïdes Associés, these graphic novels collect short stories from the 2002-2004 reboot of the classic French comics anthology. While the artwork is consistently great, I struggle to even remember any of the stories from these volumes. I understand that the 1970s run broke new grounds and inspired the American version, Heavy Metal. I don’t see that here.

Six Days in Cincinnati: A Graphic Account of the Riots that Shook the Nation a Decade Before Black Lives Matter Dan Méndez Moore (w/a)
A first hand account of the activism that took place around the murder of Timothy Thomas by Cincinnati cops, this graphic novel balances autobiography and citizen journalism in order to recount the events of June 2001. With the upsurge in anti-police brutality work around the country this past summer, I highly recommend folks check out this graphic novel. While the artwork is rough, the story is insightful. It’s one of my favorite books that I read in August.

They’re Not Like Us, vol. 2
Eric Stephenson (w) & Simon Gane
Disaffected, entitled teens with superpowers who use them for personal gain, entertainment, and little else. In volume 2, we see alliances change and new groups form among a widening cast of characters. Don’t bother picking this up. Between this series and Nowhere Men, I’m getting really tired of Stephenson not following through on stories and dropping them. It’s a waste of money and an insult to fans.

The Warning, vol. 1
Edward Laroche (w/a)
This story was tough to follow and needlessly so. The timeline jumps back and forth without warning. There’s some sort of war and aliens. I’m not particularly interested in sticking with this. The confusion didn’t add up to much, and it may be the only thing unique about it.

The Zombies that Ate the World, vols. 1-6
Jerry Frissen (w) & Jorge Miguel (a)
A fun take on zombies: I know that you’re thinking we don’t need more zombie stories, but this series may change your mind. The series is set in the future where the undead have come back to life, and they are treated as a minority group. It focuses on a trio of losers and their various misadventures trying to make money off the zombies. Sometimes their schemes are wildly successful. However, they always end up back to square one by the end of a volume.

Stores & Distros Supported

Humble Bundle
I purchased two Humble Bundles recently; one called “Be the Change” features over 80 books–fiction and nonfiction–about race and racism or by creators of color. As you may know, each Humble Bundle campaign supports particular nonprofit organizations. “Be the Change” supported the Urban League, the Carl Brandon Society, and the Bail Project. The second bundle I purchased featured all Image books and supported the Book Industry Charitable Fund and the Hero Initiative. In future posts, I intend to write about different nonprofits that support creators and the comics community. 

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