60 Books In 2019 #38: Check Please: Book 1: #Hockey By Ngozi Ukazu

I don’t consider this comic Very Serious ArtTM at all, but I do consider it to be something even better: fun. – Ngozi Ukazu Foreward to Check Please

As a woman who has a complicated but deeply loving relationship with fandom, sports and bro culture, I was kind of nervous about reading Check Please. I was raised by a bro, and lived my life surrounded by them. I speak their language fluently, I understand that toxic bros have hurt and broken many people, but I knew only rowdy love and kindness from them all my life. No bro has ever made me defend my love of the Manning brothers or quizzed me about Zac Brown Songs I prefer. They did not say I was wearing that Hawaiian shirt to a Jimmy Buffett concert “for the attention” or scoffed when I couldn’t keep the plots of The Fast And The Furious sequels straight.

Bros are my brother, and future brother in law, and cousins and friends. I will drink PBR and defend Sublime in their honor against nerds for always. (In turn, I will also defend my nerd loves to the bros. I walk between worlds.)

Check Please is a warm bro-ey hug and I was so grateful for it. (I have gotten many of these hugs over the years, they’re great!) The comic is based around the experiences of Erik Bittle, a college hockey player who switched from figure skating for scholarship reasons. Bitty, as his teammates call him, comes to Samwell College in Boston from a smal town in Georgia, with a love of baking and pop songs and a deep fear of being checked.

Bitty’s also gay, not quite in the closet, but not quite out, really into vlogging and has a SUPER crush on his captain, the broody, mysterious Jack Zimmerman.

Bitty is, to use a fandom term I’ve never been particularly fond of, a total cinnamon roll. All I want to do is hug him and tell him he’s wonderful and perfect and deserves love. Luckily, this is what his teammates and friends, Shitty, Ransom, Holster and many others shower him with all the time.

And then there’s Jack. *SWOON*

This first volume ends with Bitty and Jack’s first kiss and it’s adorably well earned, but mostly, I just devoured this book like one of Bitty’s sweet pies, because of the healthy warm masculinity it models. There’s so much talk about toxic masculinity but less talking and modeling about the aspects that are good. The weird bonding rituals and group hugs and SO MUCH BEER DRINKING, that’s largely harmless and delightful and fun.

Ngozi Ukazu didn’t set out to make VERY SERIOUS ART with Check Please but I think she might have anyway.

Also, the book is so stinking cute, and volume 2 isn’t available yet! Which AHHHH!!!!

Up next is Party Of The Century: The Fabulous Story Of Truman Capote And His Black And White Ball by Deborah Davis. Showbiz bios are fun for everyone!


60 Books In 2018 #3: Crisis On Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez

OK so, I picked this up so that I would have a basis of comparison for when the Arrowverse version coming next fall.

Also, just because as I get back into superheroes (not that I was ever not into them, but you know what I mean!) and back into reading superhero comics this seemed a good place to start. (Seriously, last year the only superhero book I read was Grayson.) Like all it’s later immitators, Crisis On Infinite Earths is both wonderful and befuddling, and delightful and dull, all at once.

Wolfman’s story meant to forever simplify the DC Universe by streamlining it’s many alternate worlds into one, but only served to show the company that big crossovers will sell books and also that killing a Flash from time to time is to be expected, is given a huge leg up but Perez’s art. Seriously, I’m not even big into that era of comic book art, (I came to comics post Image and the glossy style of Jim Lee & Co really shaped my taste.) but Perez just so so good.

The story, though, well, let’s talk about that. The Monitor and Anti-Monitor are battling for the universe, and The Monitor calls the greatest heroes from across the multiverse to his side. Two Supermen, Supergirl, The Flash, Captain Marvel and many others, join in the battle, which in the end destroys worlds, and everyone forgets and the DC Universe spins on, but simpler, until it isn’t.

What Crisis really represents is a the last gasp of a certain time in comics. It was published in 1985, just before the earth shaking forces of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns changed everything. Crisis was trying to simplify a status quo that was about to be obliterated anyway, but on it’s own, it’s a fun exciting superhero story.

When it comes to The Arrowverse, my guess is that it’s going to end with Kara Zor-El’s world merging with those of Barry Allen and Oliver Queen.

But by this time next year, we’ll know.

Up next is The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker. I’ve joined the book club at my library and this is the book this month, so I’ve gotta get it read.

30 Books in 2018 #17: Grayson By Tim Seely & Tom King

Depression’s a funny thing, when you come out the other side of it. I mean, the disease itself isn’t funny at all. But I’ve always found the odd transformations that occur during one of my “foggy times,” a little bit funny.

I had a rough week, last week. Nothing happened, particularly, I just, didn’t feel well. (Seriously, concerned friends and family, I’m good. It was like the mental health version of a cold or stomach bug!) When the fog lifted however, my mind snapped into place, looking to latch on to some old obsessions.

Plus I’d been doing some heavy lifting in the reading department, so I figured, yeah, let’s take a break with some sexy spy times with everyone’s favorite ex-acrobat, ex-superhero, double agent with buns of steel and a heart of gold.


AKA Dick Grayson, AKA Nightwing, AKA Robin, AKA Batman for like a minute (A GLORIOUS MINUTE) AKA The Fictional Love Of My Life.

So, when your depression brain wakes up one day and says , “I miss Dick Grayson,” and the part of you that’s trying to cope thinks, “that’s it? That’s what you want this time? We don’t need to eat our weight in pasta? Or skip work and walk around the Met? Or just lay in bed with the covers over our head wondering what the point of getting out of bed is? You just want to read some comics and obsess about Dick Grayson’s butt? WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS DEPRESSION BRAIN!” And then your depression brain goes, “Really? Cool! Now about that pasta…”

I’m not suggesting that you negotiate with brain weasels all the time, I’m just highlighting how low level this week’s funk was.

Anyway, I decided that since my crazy self missed Mr. Grayson, I’d reread and finish the spy series that bears his name. (And then probably read Nightwing: Rebirth…but I haven’t done that yet…) I went on Amazon, bought the soft cover collections, and realized I’d previosuly read about half the series, though remembered even less of it.

I enjoyed it immensely. Grayson is a really fun book, even if I can’t quite look at it objectively. Most comic fans have “their guy.” Dick Grayson is my guy, and Grayson is written for people who choose him as their guy. Here he’s the smartest, best, funniest and obviously prettiest boy in every room he enters. (I mean he usually is anyway, IMO.)

But Grayson in particular plays to the character’s strengths and history which makes it a fun read. The spy setting lets his abilities as a performer and man-skank (seriously he’s SOOO slutty. I love him.) shine, whereas the traditional Batman urban setting plays these down, focusing on the acrobatics and quips (Also great) (And in abundance here.)

It’s also got a fun cast, (Helena Bertinelli & Tiger are true treasures. Midnighter’s fun too!) and my favorite series of moments, when Dick reveals to his fellow Bat-kids that he faked his death. Jason punches him in the face while Tim lectures him. Barbara tells him that she wishes she could be surprised by how disappointed in him she is…which ouch. And Damian just flying tackle hugs him, and I cry forever. There’s a decent exploration of identity throughout the series and the way it shifts as we grow up and change. Given how much he’s changed (Robin, Nightwing, Batman, back to Nightwing) Dick’s the perfect character in mainstream comics to explore that with. And it’s explored prtty deeply.

Am I Straight

Also this happens…because FAN SERVICE!

Like a lot of tail end New 52 stuff, things sort of fall apart when the book is forced into the massive crossovers and complex retcons happening around it. While the Robin War stuff, which crossed over with We Are Robin and I would assume Robin and Red Hood And The Outlaws and Teen Titans, I guess, (What was even was Tim’s book at this point? But see what I mean about the confusion?) was interesting, it pulled you out of some pretty important Spyral action which then takes another couple of issues to pick up. But it’s a fun mystery with a bonkers conclusion that all ties back to the question of identity. And there’s a fun Coda featuring my new favorite Constantine story. So that’s fun.

I’m trying not not let this suck me down a dark hole of comics reading, because so much time and money. But I was happy to pop in and revisit, especially with Dick. I’d missed him so.


Agent 37

And did I mention the fanservice?

30 Books in 2018 #10: Persepolis: The Story Of A Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

I became seriously interested in stories about the Iranian Islamic Revolution about five years ago when I read Reading Lolita In Tehran. (THAT BOOK IS SO GOOD!) I’m pretty sure I watched the movie of Persepolis in college, but I watched a lot of things in college that I don’t really remember. (SO MUCH CHEAP WINE! And Yuengling.)

Anyway, Persepolis reminded me of Reading Lolita a lot, actually. It’s about the same group of people, the academic class of Iran, and specifically the women in it. Satrapi’s father was an engineer and her parents were staunch communists. The revolution started as something great for them, overthrowing the Shah, and creating a new more equal regime was something they’d work for.

But as fundamentalism took hold this group of people found themselves strangers in their own country. That’s explored much more deepy in Lolita, because Persepolis is about a girl, it’s about Marjane. And it captures the wierdness of being a kid in the best way.

Everytime Marjane gets in trouble or is confused because of adult contradictions, it’s perfectly executed. She doesn’t understand how her parents can be screaming about injustice and forgiveness one moments and then condemning others the next. She talks back to teachers, she loves western music and fashion.

Overall, there are a million little moments in Persepolis that are perfect encapsulation of that weird space in adolescence between childhood and adulthood. You think you know everything and the people around you know nothing. And every day it feels like the world will end.

But for teenagers who are literally living through a reset of their society and a deadly war, their world might actually end, not just figuratively and Marjane’s does, and also begins when her parent’s decide to send her to school in Europe to  give her a shot at a better life.

Seriously, though, one of the best things about reading memoir, particularly memoirs about people who’s lives seem different from yours, is finding the moments of universal intersection.

Up next is, Crazy Rich Asians because two memoirs of horrifying but not childhoods needs to be chased by some romantic comedy and conspicuous consumption.

ACBC, Special Edition And Why Small Cons are My New Jam

Two years ago I walked with a great deal of excitement and trepidation into New York Comic Con. I’d always been wary of Cons even if I was curious, and as I’ve previously stated, would take any chance to wear a costume.

I had a great time and went back and had an even better time my second year at NYCC. And, having a bit more disposable income these days, I decided to expand out. (And being locked out from NYCC this year, at least initially helped this decision along.)

So as I drove down the New Jersey Parkway to get to Atlantic City for the first ever Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, I was nervous, for a lot of reasons. I’d never been to a smaller con, where the general pop culture loving, band wagon jumping nerds created a safer space, and also, I was heading into battle without my con slaying partner, since Aless was busy (she was graduating from college that week, as if that were more important! I’m kidding of course, super proud of you my dear!) What followed was one of the most fun weekends of my life, completely with getting to ask a question of one of my heroes, and talking to a bunch of new people.

I was energized heading this weekend into Special Edition NYC, which incidentally, I also attended alone. (Though I at least one person who was going to be there! Hi John! Hope you had a good weekend.) I was prepared to chat with other con attendees and creators. I was nervous about walking around New York City in cosplay without the buffer of, you know, another person in cosplay with me, but I was excited.

Not twenty minutes into my wanderings around Pier 94, I was approached by a group of guys dressed as various DC Characters and recruited into the DC Cosplay photo shoot later in the day. While milling around waiting I met another girl dressed as Black Canary and her friend as Catwoman (They were the bombshell versions and it was great…Hi Jen and Jess, if you’re reading). I went out after the show and talked to and met people. I exchanged cards, and flirted with guys. I danced, I drank. I had the time of my life.

On Sunday, I sat and listened to Brian Michael Bendis talk about his life influencing his work and vice versa, I shopped for gifts for

Few if any of these things happened at NYCC. Yes, I talked to people on lines, but my socializing was limited to people I already knew for the most part. I’m finding at these smaller conventions, everyone’s having the same experiences, and everything’s more intimate and a little bit lighter. I’ll still do my very best to hit the big boys. And I still dream of San Diego, I just want to see it some day. But for now I’m looking for my next small to mid size show.

I’m leaning towards this one. Anyone else in?

Special Edition NYC


Hey everybody! I’m headed to Special Edition this weekend.

Let me know if you’re going to be there, on facebook is probably the best way!

I’m excited about the show! On Saturday I’m dressing as Black Canary and Sunday I’m doing Ramona Flowers. I’m really excited because I recently cut all of my hair off which means that I’m now not going to have to spend twenty minutes plus getting into the wig.

As for Ramona, well, I mean, what nerd girl doesn’t want to be her right? So for a few hours I’ll get to be. (Also my new haircut suits her, I just have to spray color it pink or blue, I haven’t decided yet!)

So if you’re going to be there, well, I hope you say hey! Or if you’re just finding it because I gave you a card or something, Welcome to my little world.

Reader Survey

I took this reader survey from Maggie at Magpie Making Do, because, I don’t know, it felt good to have something in my back pocket like this and you can all get to know me a little better. (And I was lazy and uninspired this weekend.) So, here we go!

1.  What is your favourite book?

That’s pretty hard. There are a couple, but it always comes down to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, with a very special mention for Emma by Jane Austen, both of which I’ve read more times than I know how to count, I love them both so much. Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling is probably my favorite book written after 1900 though…

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?

I want to be published, paid for writing more than just about anything. I’d like to see that happen this year, and I’m doing things to see that actually happen. Otherwise, my big year goal is to move out of my parent’s house, which is looking more likely as each paycheck hits my bank account. 🙂

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.

I am a writer. I blog daily (weekends off) mostly about nerd culture and being a woman interested in nerd culture. (I talk about Batman and Doctor Who, a LOT). I also make attempts at fiction, and have a few manuscripts that I’ve been playing with. I also occasionally write but don’t share dribbles of fan fiction. I used to write and share a lot of it. I’ve mostly left that behind.

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

France. Paris specifically, but also I want to go to Provence and have ever since I watched Jean De Florette in sixth grade French class. Not because I liked that movie, let’s be honest, it’s kind of the pits, but because the scenery is so beautiful.

5. What was the last movie you saw in the theatre and was it worthwhile?

Into The Woods. Yes.

6. I’m curious, are there any books that you’ve tried to read and simply couldn’t finish? This is a no judgement zone.

I generally finish books, because I tend to go crazy if I don’t. There have been things that have taken me a while to finish, like, I’ll start, leave it for months and then come back and finish them. But I guess, what’s the fourth Sookie Stackhouse Mystery? That was pretty much when I decided I was over vampires and just never picked it up again.

7. Are you currently working on a new book/project right now? If it’s secret, you don’t have to tell me about it. If so, however, I hope it’s going well.

I am! Would you like to hear about it? I’m basically reimagining the whole YA “Chosen One” action genre, as if those kids didn’t find out about their destinies until they were in their mid-20’s, so they’re kind of burnt out and blasé about it and would rather just go to the bar. I’ve written the first part as a novel, but I’m rethinking it as a graphic script, but I need an artist. If you draw or know someone who’d be into it…

8. If you could live in any of your favourite books, which one would you choose?

AHH! So hard. I spend a lot of time thinking about this, but I do actually think I’d like to live in the Marvel Universe, and be like a minor character. Like not Spider-Man or Captain America, but someone on a Ms. Marvel level. Actually, I could just be Ms. Marvel. I could live with being Kamala Khan.

9. Are there any book-to-movie adaptations that you think are just incredible? That you absolutely hated?

The Princess Bride is the gold standard book-to-movie adaptation in my opinion. It captures everything magical about that book and in fact streamlines and improves on some of the novel’s flaws. It has flaws of it’s own (though I’m hard pressed to think of any at the moment. I love that movie.)

Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Lightning Thief was the biggest let down I’ve ever had. I was so absorbed in those books when I saw that movie and the movie was just, *sigh* it was just.

10. What do you look for in a book that you want to read? What’s the first thing to capture your attention?

An author that I’ve previously liked, or been recommended. Some kind of monster fight, or a young person struggling to find who they are. Also if there are pop culture references, I’m almost immediately in. Ditto baked goods.

11. If you’re an author, what do you do when you first get an idea for a book?

If an idea has obsessed me for more than a week or so, I’ll try to write it. Sometimes it isn’t even enough to sustain a few paragraphs, but at least it’s out of my head.

12. How do you feel about different genres? Romance? YA? Sci-Fi? Poetry? Do you have any favorites? Any least-favourites?

I like a lot of different genres. In fact “genre” material makes up a majority of what I’m reading these days, since I mostly just read comics and graphic novels lately. Romance, only if it’s historical. Unless there’s a corset getting unlaced, I have no interest. It would be nice if there were spies of some kind too. YA, I like “paranormal YA,” I think it’s called? I want my teenagers angsty and fighting monsters, if you please. While I get the appeal of an author like John Green, or Rainbow Rowell, it’s just not really my thing. (I did think Fangirl was pretty fantastic though.) Sci-Fi, I like, but I prefer Space Opera to hard Sci-Fi. (Think Star Wars over Star Trek) Poetry? After getting a lit degree, I don’t read much poetry anymore. It was never something I enjoyed studying and I never read it for pleasure. I do like some of the romantics, and I will revisit Keats, usually when spring is coming.

I’m not a fan of anything described as “hyper realistic.” While again, can appreciate the craft, why would I read about anything in our world, when there are teenagers going on quests to save the world that I could be reading about, you know?

13. If you could meet any writer in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?

Neil Gaiman. I just want to talk to him. Now, please. Also Mark Twain, I wrote my thesis on him and I think that would be a really fun talk.

14. Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?

It depends. I really love non-fiction, particularly memoir, but I find it easier to escape into fiction, so it all depends on my mood. If I’m picking up non-fiction though, it will usually be a memoir of a woman with a strong point of view. I’ll never get enough of that.

15. Are there any characters that everyone loves that you can’t stand? Or vice versa?

Have to agree with Maggie on this one and say Draco Malfoy. I don’t get it. I’m also not really a fan of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, I mean, I wouldn’t say I couldn’t stand him, but I don’t get what all the fuss is about. Also Holden Caulfield.

Vice Versa? I really love Cersei Lannister, and I know that most people who’ve read the books hate her. I think she’s endlessly fascinating.

16. What do you like to do besides reading/writing?


17. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?

Just one? I guess my passions.

18. What is your favourite guilty pleasure book?

Twilight…well, not even Twilight, really. Eclipse. The third one? I love it sooooo much. I know, it’s stupid, poorly written, alarmingly sexist and weird, but I just…the scene, where Jacob and Edward talk about how much they love Bella and they think she’s asleep but she hears everything? I love that scene. Also this is where you hear most of the Wolf-people legends, which are really cool. But also, admitting how much I like Twilight is always kind of embarrassing.

19. Do you have a reading goal set for this year?

I want to read at least two prose books a month, because last year I fell into this weird rhythm of only reading graphic work, which is fun, and often challenging, but well, limiting in a lot of ways.

20. Tell me anything about yourself that I haven’t asked. Random fact. Weird human trick. Whatever.

If you ever hear me mumbling under my breath, chances are I’m cursing in French. Most of my high school linguistic skills are gone, but I can still get some mean Franco-profanity out, the general mantra goes, “ah! mon dieu, merde, qu’est-ce que c’est la vie?” Which roughly translates to, “Oh my God! Shit! What is this life?” It’s an excellent expression of frustration.