First, a handful of comics:
- The second volume of Saga (Brian K. Vaughan/ Fiona Staples) is every bit as marvelous as the first, and I'm just leaving it at that. You should all be reading it.
- Superhero-wise, Chris insisted I'd like Flashpoint (Geoff Johns/ Andy Kubert), and indeed! The Flash is my favorite character in the DC Animated Universe, cause he's such a goofball--this story's quite different, but it's gritty without being too gritty for my taste (*cough Frank Miller cough*), an AU where Barry Allen (The Flash's forensic scientist alter ego) wakes up in a world consumed by the war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans, his old friends scattered and changed, many beyond recognition. There's the parallel-worlds fun of matching up the new characters with the familiar ones; my favorite of these was the reimagining of Captain Marvel as a ragtag bunch of teens, each possessing one of Shazam's powers. And I'm a sucker for time-travel narratives, the more twisty the better.
- And since I've read and loved all of Joe Hill's prose-only fiction, I wanted to add his just-completed comics series, Locke & Key, a try. I didn't dislike it--Hill continues to be my favorite modern horror writer--but I found myself wishing it was a novel; all Gabriel Rodriguez's dudes have really big chins and I found that super distracting. (I know, I'm not very good at reading comics.)
- Jeremias Gotthelf's The Black Spider is nineteenth-century horror in microcosm: come for the deals with the Devil and some frowny-face-earning sexism and class snobbery...stay for the titular evil arachnid literally bursting out of someone's face in gloriously florid detail. So worth it.
- And for my feelings on Catherynne M. Valente's astonishing The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two, I shall refer you to my prior gushing over the series. These are seriously among the best books for children I've ever, ever read. No, scratch that, they are among the best books period I have ever read. This one ends on a cliffhanger, which usually annoys me--but in this case, it just means there's more to come. I am already breathless with anticipation.
(FTC disclaimer: I received free copies of The Black Spider and The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two from NYRB Classics and Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan Books for Children, in exchange for honest reviews.)