But I did manage to finish a lot of books, so let's do some quick comics hits. I feel like I never have a full review-worth to say about a comic, unless I'm reviewing a bunch of volumes at the same time. But since I have a bunch of first volumes to talk about, may I present:
Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews!
My new favorite thing is Amulet, which is fodder for another post, but it's made me a huge fan of Kazu Kibuishi. He hasn't written a ton of books, but he's edited a ton of comics anthologies, and I recently read Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, which was quite charming. As with any anthology, some of the stories were better than others, and I'm pretty sure it was intended for a middle grade audience. Some of the stories are completely charming--I especially liked Jason Caffoe's "The Keeper's Treasure," about a treasure hunter and the beast who guards the prize, and Rad Sechrist's "The Butter Thief," about a girl who is transformed into a spirit and has to steal a stick of butter from her wily grandmother to win back her form.
But I think my favorite was Emily Carroll's "Under the Floorboards." Carroll is one of my new favorites, and this story was just the right blend of creepy and clever.
Morning Glories was listed as a favorite by someone I know online, and the rest of her list read exactly like mine, so I picked it up. The premise seemed really promising--six oddball teens end up at an elite boarding school that is more than it seemed--but as I started reading, I felt like it wasn't quite coming together. It was just kind of crazy and a little warped.
Then I read a little further, and I realized, no, this book isn't a little crazy, it's BAT$&*^ INSANE, and it's not off the wall, it's hanging from the ceiling dripping black ichor on your shoulders (metaphorically; no beasties (yet)), and yeah, I'm totally on board now. The pretense that we were going to take the notion of boarding school seriously when there are attempted murders and actual murders and etc. going on was bugging me, but we left that behind, and now it's about our heroes versus their captors/teachers, and being the rats who can see the maze but can't escape it. Volumes 2 and 3 are both already acquired.
This next one was an advance copy from Netgalley, and as soon as I requested it I felt a little dirty, because it's about serial killers and the beginning is kind of gross and I know I'm a bit of a sucker for horrifying sensationalism. But I kept reading, and guys, Nailbiter is really, really good. Like, fast paced and actiony, not spending too much time on the gore, but really about investigation, with very likeable detectives.
Basically there's this town in Oregon with the unlikely name of Buckaroo and the even more unlikely honor of being the home of 16 separate serial killers in the past 50 years. This is weird, and when a disgraced FBI agent gets a call from an old friend who claims to have figured it out, he heads out to Buckaroo to meet him. But the friend is missing, and the most recent killer, the Nailbiter, is out on parole, so the agent teams up with the local sheriff (who dated the Nailbiter in high school) to try to sort things out.
This summary doesn't cut it--this book is really about the mystery, which is probably supernatural. There's dying, but very little of it is visually graphic, and it's not particularly grosser than most supernatural detective stories. I mean, it is violent--I'm not recommending this to people who are averse to serial killer stories. But I'm really excited about this discovery; can't wait to read more!