If you read my Monthly Meow or subscribe to my YouTube channel, you'll know this month I decided to give comic books, graphic novels and manga a try. I'm late to the game, I know, but I'm loving the illustrations and pacing of the titles I purchased.
Why I Bought Comics
For Christmas, my partner bought me 1-3 of the Artemis comics by Lindsey Stirling. I'm a huge fan of her music, and I really enjoyed both the story, the feel and the artwork. I can read them cover-to-cover in about 20 mins each due to their length, and they're light-weight and don't involve too much brain power after a long, busy day. An hour later, I've enjoyed all 3 of the comics in the series so far, which tell the story of her most recent album.
Because I have such a busy schedule with full-time work, clients, running a publishing house, writing and housework/family life, getting stuck into a 600+ page novel is daunting for me right now. I wanted to try something visual, that didn't involve a high learning curve such as a paperback or hardback science-fiction series, that also wouldn't take me forever to finish. As I enjoyed Lindsey's comics so much, naturally this was my first thought!
Which Comics Have I Bought/Would I Recommend? (Part Two)
If you're new to comic books or graphic novels etc. like I am, you may be wondering which I decided to try and how I'm finding them so far. The above video from my YouTube channel in February talks you through a few, and how I'm mainly sticking for titles I'm already familiar with in some other way, such as movies, books or TV shows. You can read about those in the first blog post, just follow the link above.
If you haven't already read part 1's recommendations, check it out here:
www.erachaelhardcastle.com/post/comic-books-1. In this post, however, I'll introduce you to two others I purchased PLUS the Artemis comics by Lindsey Stirling.
The Extinction Parade
Max Brooks, who wrote World War Z (also now a movie starring Brad Pitt), released a comic series called The Extinction Parade, with some fascinating, if a little gruesome illustrations.
I stumbled upon the graphic novel online 2nd hand (pre-owned) and thought I'd give this vampire-zombie cross series a go by ordering the collected first volume (comics 1-5). This volume is followed by The Extinction Parade: War (1-5).
The series is gripping and easy to follow, with detailed and colourful artwork (but be warned, it's definitely an adult-only read!). It's gory and bloody, and some pages you could easily spend 30 minutes looking at due to the detail and action going on in the background alone. But, overall it's an amazing recommendation for any zombie fiction fans (both on and off the screen).
The feel of this volume is almost like a magazine, with thick shiny pages and a spine thick enough for text, unlike some stapled comics (like the Trueblood series in my first post). Brand new, the trade paperback edition I have retails at around £15.
Whilst browsing the internet, I also discovered The Massive: Black Pacific by Brian Wood. To my knowledge there are also 2 other volumes in this series, and it's similar in style to the paperback above whereby it's like a thick magazine, or even a thin textbook with full-colour vibrant artwork and thick, glossy paper.
This story is about an environmental group at the end of the world, and I found it a bit harder to follow than the other comics I tried. It may be because the scenes skip back and forward in time. Not knowing the story already from another means such as TV or a novel added to my confusion, but after a second (slower) read, it made much more sense and I found I was able to enjoy it more.
What I did love about this book was the cover, and initially it's what drew me in. Plus, it had stunning reviews on the back and for the price, is a great thickness.
Alongside her recent album, Artemis, the comics follow the story of a young woman who Lindsey cosplays in her music videos. Per comic, due to their length and feel, they maybe take 20-25 minutes to binge read cover-to-cover, which is ideal if you're new to comic books as I was in December.
The colours of the artwork really pop and the story hooks you in - there are also QR codes on the pages which you can scan to listen to the music as you're enjoying each chapter. But, the downside is these are exclusive to her official website and aren't currently available on Amazon or through other retailers. If you do manage to get a signed copy on E-bay or other 3rd party sites, be prepared to pay a high price, as I've seen what they are currently auctioned for. Brand new and purchased individually, though, they retail at about $20 (so roughly £15 each in the UK), which is reasonable for the amazing quality.
These comics feature in the video I posted to my channel, so it's worth watching to check out their stunning covers.
Here's a link to the bundle on Lindsey's site too if you'd like to order 1-3: https://lindseystirlingmerch.com/products/lindsey-stirling-artemis-comic-book-bundle.
I hope these recommendations have given you some ideas if you'd also like to check out this type of book/reading style, and of course if you have suggestions for me, I'd love to hear from you! Be sure to also go back and read blog post 1 about my love of comic books if you haven't already done so.