I wasn’t intending to post anything today, but this prompt looked like so much fun that I just couldn’t pass it up! I had a ton of fun writing it, too – in fact, I may even do this towards the end of each year in years to come as well!
Bad Feminist was one of the main texts we used in my Intro to Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies course this semester… I ended up not liking the class as much as I thought I would, but Gay’s book was one of the high points. I’ve reread the essays here so many times already! She tells it like it is – and isn’t apologetic about doing so, either.
If anyone ever tries to tell you that graphic novels shouldn’t be considered “literature,” hand them a copy of Fun Home. (…I could recommend SO many other books to people like this. Actually, now that I think of it, I may post a list of them at some point!) I CANNOT BELIEVE I WAITED SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK. I mean, I CRIED. I don’t often cry while reading, and certainly not about nonfiction.
I read her debut, Honor Girl, immediately after finishing Fun Home, so… yeah, I was pretty overwhelmed with FEELS from reading sad/bittersweet graphic novel memoirs about lesbians. (That’s a very specific genre, isn’t it? I LOVE IT.) Honor Girl is by far one of the best LGBTQ+ books I have EVER read, and I look forward to reading more of Maggie Thrash’s work!
Alsoooooo, have you read any other good LGBTQ+ autobiographies/memoirs? Post your recs in the comments, because I want to find more!
Like Bechdel and Thrash, Noelle Stevenson writes AND draws her graphic novels! (I am impressed because I don’t like my own fiction very much and I cannot draw, like, AT ALL.) You might recognize her work from the cover of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and she was instrumental in the creation of The Hawkeye Initiative. (Which I totally gave a presentation about for my Superheroes Unleashed class, because why not?)
I loved the first volume of Lumberjanes! I’m still waiting for volume two to be available at the library. Yay for girls kicking ass! YAY FOR QUEER GIRLS. Yay for bizarre summer camps!
…and then there’s Nimona. (My 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards nomination in the “Graphic Novels & Comics” category! It didn’t win, though. INSERT SAD FACE HERE.) It’s a WONDERFUL high fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and had me literally gasping because I did not foresee those plot twists. Nimona herself actually reminded me of Valkyrie Cain from the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy, which is a very very good thing because I’m still a bit bummed that I’ve finished all the books about Val.
The recent film Carol was adapted from her novel The Price of Salt, and since I’ve wanted to see the movie for, like, FOREVER…. I had to read it, of course! I mean, 1950s lesbians? WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT FROM A STORY? The romance was soooo good.
I also ended up really liking Highsmith’s style. It would be erroneous to say that books from the forties, fifties, and sixties all have the same writing style, but I have found that many of them have a similar feeling. AND I LIKE THAT FEELING. So I’ll definitely be reading more of her work – she also wrote Strangers on a Train, which I fondly remember as one of the first (maybe THE first?) Alfred Hitchcock films I ever saw.
(Shhhhh, don’t question me. I DO HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF HITCHCOCK FILMS. THEY’RE SO SO GOOD AND CREEPY AND I LOVE THEM.)
Their novel George debuted this year, and OHHHH GOD IT WAS SO SO ADORABLE. OH MY GOD. YESSSS. ALEX ALEX ALEX I’M GONNA NEED YOU TO WRITE APPROXIMATELY 2439573255832548459 MORE CUTE LGBTQ+ MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS PLEASE AND THANK.
His graphic novel series, aptly titled Saga, is one of the best series I read this year! It’s kind of a cross between Star Wars and Game of Thrones. UGH IT’S SO GOOD. THERE ARE FIVE VOLUMES AS OF RIGHT NOW, WITH NO END IN SIGHT. OMG YESSSS GOOD.
I read the first two volumes of his Alias series just a few weeks ago, and they blew my mind. I can’t wait to read the next two! I may actually hold off on watching Jessica Jones on Netflix for just a few more weeks until I’ve read the next two volumes, because the character of Kilgrave doesn’t even appear until the final book.
I just… wow. The noir-ish art style is so so good (and from what I’ve heard, seems to have been included in the show as well), and there is some very creative arrangement of panels, and Jessica herself is such a great character.
9. Nathan Edmondson
SKDLGHALSKGHDLSGHDSKGSDHSLD. OH MY GOD. OHHHH MY GOD. If you only know Black Widow from the MCU, you are missing out. It’s that simple. Volumes one and two – The Finely Woven Thread and The Tightly Tangled Web, respectively – blew my mind. (I mean, I gave volume one five stars… I’m not sure I’ve EVER done that for a comic book before! Graphic novels, sure – but not comic books.)
I now firmly believe that her counterpart in the MCU is basically just Black Widow Lite. SERIOUSLY. I KNOW YOU ALL THINK BLACK WIDOW IS AWESOME BUT THE MOVIE VERSION IS LIKE AN INFERIOR VERSION. AN IMPOSTER, IF YOU WILL.
The version of Natasha presented here is soooo much more complex than the version most of us know, and her powers/origin story is much better too. (There’s also a subplot with the Winter Soldier that is one of the best stories I’ve ever read about him.)
The writing is absolutely stunning, and gives an excellent sense of her sadness and regret. There’s a passage in one of the books (I don’t remember which one) despairing about when – and how – she can ever possibly “wipe the red from her ledger” that made me stop in my tracks because it was so hauntingly beautiful.
tl;dr You think you know Black Widow, but you don’t. SO READ THIS.
10. G. Willow Wilson
I read the first volume of her Ms. Marvel comics this summer, and I actually read the second one today! (I needed a break from all the dense and/or sad stuff I’m reading for school at the moment.) Today I was reminded of why Kamala Khan is one of my favorite superheroes ever. Her story is just so much fun to read! She’s a Pakistani American teenager and Captain Marvel fangirl, who discovers that she has shapeshifting abilities… and she was the first Muslim character to headline her own comic book!
Now it’s YOUR turn: Which authors did you discover in 2015? Do we share any favorite new-to-us authors?!