2020 Reads: November

1. Wonder Woman Vol. 8: Dark Gods by James Robinson.

When the world's greatest heroes are knocked-off one by one, only Diana and her twin Jason stand in the way of the Dark Gods. Will they be enough to stop the deadly deities of the Dark Multiverse? As with all wars, tragedy looms, and Diana and Jason learn that the power of the Greek gods comes with a heavy price. *Collects Wonder Woman No. 46-50 & WW Annual 2.

2. Over The Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness.

I didn't think it was possible to stan Jonathan Van Ness any more than I already did. Until I read his book. Given the amount of trauma JVN has endured, it's a miracle this story didn't end in tragedy. But if there's one thing a fierce queen learns early in life; it's how to rise strong in the face of adversity. If you're strugs to func and in need of an uplift, I dare you to read this and not be inspired. There is so much more to this incredible human than I ever imagined. He's 32 flavors and then some, and I love every one of them. This is not a light and fluffy memoir. It's messy, raw, and beautiful. I laughed. I cried. And I turned the last page wanting more.

3. Wonder Woman Vol. 9: The Enemy of Both Sides.

This jumbo-sized volume features Wonder Woman's 75th Anniversary Special, various never-before-collected stories, and the final installment of the Rebirth series. I think my expectations were too high going into this one. It ended with a fizzle, rather than the bang I'd hoped for. The previous volume was much more epic and climactic. But it was fun, and features an array of talented WW writers and artists. I'm excited to see what's next for Diana. *Collects WW 51-55 & various other stories.

4. Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski.

This is a perfect summer read. Set in Poland during the 1980s, it tells the story of Ludwik and Janusz. During a sizzling summer of swimming, camping, and reading forbidden queer literature, these two men fall in love at an agricultural camp. But once camp is over, they must return to Warsaw, and their dreary lives under the Party. Ludwik struggles to find a way to live authentically in this dangerously rigid society, and both men must decide how much they're willing to risk for love. This book is so beautifully written I wanted to bookmark almost every page.

"The odds had been stacked against us from the start: we had no manual, no one to show us the way. Not one example of a happy couple made up of boys. How were we supposed to know what to do? Did we even believe that we deserved to get away with happiness?" - Tomasz Jedrowski

5. Wonder Woman: Her Greatest Victories.

This will be my final Wonder Woman read of 2020. I've had so much fun deep diving into this character's incredible mythology this year. She has given me a lot of strength and hope during these turbulent times. I can't think of a better way to round things off, than with this greatest hits collection. With stories spanning from 1986 to 2017, it features a host of WW talent, such as George Pérez, Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and more. "The Secret of the Cheetah" was the highlight for me, as I'd actually never read it. I'm well and truly hyped for WW84. When it's finally frickin released! There are still a few titles I'm looking forward to adding to my collection next year. But for now, I'm gonna get an early start on my next DC deep dive: 2021 will be the year of the Bat! P.S. I will post my Top Ten Wonder Women graphic novel's at the end of the year, along with my Top 10 books.

6. Batman: Year One by Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli. (1987)

When it comes to the Dark Knight, there's no better starting point than Year One. It's the definitive origin story for Batman and Jim Gordon. This groundbreaking interpretation is gritty and contemporary, even by today's standards. It's hailed as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time, and every time I read it, I'm reminded why. It's a timeless classic.

"He's clearly a man with a mission, but it's not one of vengeance. Bruce is not after personal revenge ... He's much bigger than that; he's much more noble than that. He wants the world to be a better place, where a young Bruce Wayne would not be a victim ... In a way, he's out to make himself unnecessary.

Batman is a hero who wishes he didn't have to exist." - Frank Miller

7. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

I couldn't resist this gorgeous 10th Anniversary hardback edition of the book that sparked my obsession. It holds Brené's ten guideposts to wholehearted living and features a new foreword and tools to make the work your own. For me, finding this woman's incredible work has been one of the best things to come out of 2020. I highly recommend all of her books, Ted Talks, Netflix special, audiobooks, etc. I can't get enough! I've joined the revolution and there's no going back. I've never felt more empowered and brave. In one word: transformative.

"This book is an invitation to join a wholehearted revolution. A small grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, 'My story matters because I matter.' Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance." - Brené Brown

8. Batman: Strange Apparitions (1977-1979).

The issues in this collection are arguably the most influential Batman tales pre-Frank Miller. By the late 70s, Batman comics had started distancing themselves from the campy vibe of the Adam West TV series. Writers like Steve Englehart and Len Wein helped return the character to his darker roots. This volume features a host of famous faces from Gotham's rogue's gallery; The Joker, Penguin, Deadshot, Clayface, Hugo Strange, Dr. Phosphorus, and Rupert Thorne all appear. I also found Bruce's relationship with Siver St. Cloud very interesting. It's not often we encounter a loved-up Bruce Wayne. I don't read a lot of pre-1980s Batman, but this one's worth checking out.

Pick of the Month: Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness & Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski.

It was so hard to pick a fave this month. I couldn't choose just one. The Gifts of Imperfection and Year One are also incredible, but they were re-reads.