A 2016 Wrap-Up Post!
First of all — Happy New Year! 2016 was kind of a terrible year, but there were a few good things that happened.
Like… I read a ton of graphic novels, comics, and manga in 2016! Like, so many! Enjoy the last part of my 2016 reading wrap-up posts! Without further ado, here are the books. (Click on a title to read my review. I didn’t review every book, though.)
- Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, #1) | I absolutely love Hayao Miyazaki. This is the original manga that the famous anime film is based on. It’s fascinating to see where the film and manga differ, and I love that I get to experience more parts of Nausicaa’s story I’ve never seen before. Volume 2 here I come!
- Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley | This is a brilliant story with time-travel mushrooms, a feisty and relatable heroine, and a unique and adorable art style. Seconds really impressed me.
- Saga, Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Saga, collected, #5) | If you haven’t heard of Saga, where have you been? If you’re new to the graphic novel scene and aren’t afraid to start off with some epic sci-fi/fantasy, start with Saga.
- I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Colorist), and Nate Piekos (Letterer) (I Hate Fairyland, #1) | I was completely blown away by I Hate Fairyland, a book I reviewed purely by chance. It’s an hilarious and gory adventure that had me laughing at practically every page.
- Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata (Death Note, #1) | Death Note is unique, creepy, and gripping. I’d heard of the anime and had heard good things of the manga, and I was not disappointed. I like the dark story and the intense, unhinged (?) characters. It’s also funny.
- Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba, illustrated by Takeshi Obata (Death Note, #2) | I’m holding off on the anime until I get farther into the manga. Because, goodness, Death Note is fascinating.
- Maid-sama! Volumes 1 & 2 by Hiro Fujiwara (Maid Sama!, #1 & #2) | I watched the anime a few years ago and laughed myself some new abs. The manga reminded me how much I enjoy the crazy story and lovable characters.
- Amulet: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet, #7) | Kazu Kibuishi is an extraordinary artist. While the Amulet series is meandering a bit, but the art is what makes me return to every new volume.
- Explorer: The Lost Islands edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Explorer, #2) | An anthology of short stories by talented and accomplished artists. Some stories are stronger than others, but the Explorer series make wonderful coffee table books.
- Explorer: The Hidden Doors edited by Kazu Kibuishi (Explorer, #3) | Ditto above.
- Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle | Because photography in North Korea is banned, Guy Delisle drew from memory his travels to the closed-off nation.
- Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh | If I didn’t cry, I almost cried. I didn’t expect to like this story as much as I did. I read it in one sitting. It’s beautiful and sad both in art writing and art.
- Manga Classics: Great Expectations by Stacy King, Crystal S. Chan (Editor), and Nokman Poon (Illustrations) | I love the Manga Classics books! They make the classics fast-paced and interesting to experience in a different medium.
- Boxers by Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints, #1) | Gene Luen Yang writes and illustrates awesome stories about Chinese kids in all periods of history who deal with fitting in, growing up, and discovering who they are. Boxers is a gripping story about religion, prejudice, and a whole lot more themes I could spend all day trying to list.
- Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Saga, collected, #6) | Again, if you haven’t heard of Saga, where have you been living?
- Ms. Marvel, Vol. 2: Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona (Artist), and Jacob Wyatt (Artist) (Ms. Marvel, #2) | I liked the second volume of Ms. Marvel much more than the first, although the first was good, too. I love the diversity and how the series focuses on Kamala’s life. Yeah, she’s a superhero, but she’s also just a teenage girl dealing with normal teenage things.
- Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, adapted by Leigh Dragoon, illustrated by Kaari (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #1) | The Legend series is my favorite dystopian novel series. The graphic novel is fun, but leaves a lot of details out, and white-washes the characters. If you want a refresher on the Legend series, this is a great visualizer, but you should really read the novels to get the full impact.
- Prodigy: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, adapted by Leigh Dragoon, illustrated by Kaari (Legend: The Graphic Novel, #2) | Ditto above.
- Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim, #1) | Fun and crazy, but so fun and crazy.
- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 1 by Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon Renewal Editions, #1) | I’ve never been able to, like, binge Sailor Moon anything. I watched some anime when I was little, I watched some anime when I got older, I read these manga last year. I like Sailor Moon, but I don’t think I’ll ever become a die-hard fan.
- Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Vol. 2 by Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon Renewal Editions, #2) | Ditto above.
- East of West, Volume 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist), and Rus Wooton (Letterer) (East of West, collected, #1) | I found East of West when I couldn’t get my hands on the next Saga volume. East of West has become one of my favorite series. Essentially, it’s the apocalypse, but it’s complicated, vicious, and oh-so addicting. I feel like East of West is a bit underrated, but if you can get past the confusing aspects of Volume 1, the rest of the series will have you hooked.
- East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist), and Rus Wooton (Letterer) (East of West, collected, #2) | Ditto above.
- East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist), and Rus Wooton (Letterer) (East of West, collected, #3) | Ditto.
- East of West, Volume 4: Who Wants War? by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist), and Rus Wooton (Letterer) (East of West, collected, #4) | Ditto.
- East of West, Volume 5: All These Secrets by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist), and Rus Wooton (Letterer) (East of West, collected, #5) | Ditto. Check out East of West! It’s really great!
- Saints by Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints, #2) | The companion to Boxers. The same story, but the other side. I liked Boxers better, Saints was very, very short, and ended rather abruptly. But I appreciate Gene Luen Yang looking at both sides of the characters’ stories.
- Vampire Knight, Vol. 1 by Matsuri Hino (Vampire Knight, #1) | I watched the anime, which I had a love-hate relationship with. (Oh, I could go on a rant right now but I will refrain from doing so.) The first volume is pretty entertaining and introduces some cool mysteries. But vampires are so 2006, and I’ve never been a fan of vampires books. (The only two I liked that I can remember are Sunshine by Robin McKinley and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.) But, ahem, back to Vampire Knight. It’s fun for a while, but I wasn’t keen to revisit the stupid plots and stupid characters I’d already seen in the anime adaptation that spring up somewhere in the middle.
- Vampire Knight, Vol. 2 by Matsuri Hino (Vampire Knight, #2) | Ditto above.
- Blue Exorcist, Vol. 1 by Kazue Kato (Blue Exorcist, #1) | Exorcism isn’t my thing. I’ve never been one for horror and spirits and all that. Interesting premise, but it didn’t wow me.
- Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks | I wanted more resolution. I wanted more ghostiness. Lovely artwork, but while it was good, it left me wanting more.
- Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), and Matthew Wilson (Illustrator) (Paper Girls, collected, #1) | It’s hard to compare to Saga, which Brian K. Vaughan is known for. Paper Girls is much slower and has a completely different atmosphere. The cliffhanger at the end of the Volume 1 makes me want to read the next volume, but I think I prefer my graphic novels to be in the sci-fi/fantasy realm.
- Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (Author) and Adrian Alphona (Artist) (Ms. Marvel, #1) | I’ve never seen a Marvel or DC superhero movie, or read any of the comics. Ms. Marvel seemed like a good way to introduce myself to the giant superhero universe. I think 2017 will be the year I aim to dive into superheroes of all kinds in all mediums.
- Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya (Fruits Basket, #1) | Reverse-harem and a zodiac curse. Kind of wacky but kind of cute, too.
- Klaw: The First Cycle by Antoine Ozanam , Joel Jurion , Yoann Guille , and Mike Kennedy (Translator) | A fascinating premise: various Families possess the power to turn into their family’s zodiac animal. Sadly, the story was a confusing mess and my egalley loaded everything as slow as a sleeping snail, so my experience was greatly soured due to the long intervals of time trying to scroll to the next page. Not the hugest fan of the artwork, either. Disappointing.
Happy 2017! Cheers to all the reading we’re going to get done!