2020 Reads: August

1. Watchmen by Alan Moore

I read Watchmen for the first time over a decade ago. I’m usually a little hesitant when revisiting things from the past that meant a lot to me. There’s always the fear they won’t hold up. But there’s a reason Alan Moore’s masterpiece is hailed as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. It may have been written in 1986, but it’s still groundbreaking by today’s standards. A lot of people credit Christopher Nolan for propelling the superhero genre into adulthood. But what happens on-screen is often miles behind the written word. Comics grew-up in the 1980s. Comics grew-up in Watchmen. Moore dove deep into the psychology of the broken people behind the masks. He took these fantastical ideas and thrust them into a world much like our own, where nothing is black or white. The breath-taking illustrations by Dave Gibbons add to the gritty realism of this multifaceted story. Together, they created complex character profiles that are still being analyzed and studied to this day. I enjoyed this story even more the second time around. It was just as powerful and relevant. I’m not going to wait another decade before returning for a third helping.

“In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.” ― Alan Moore, Watchmen

2. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

If I wasn’t team Jacob before… I certainly would be after reading Midnight Sun. Edward Cullen is psychotic! I mean, I knew the relationship was unhealthy AF, and the story would inevitably take a much darker turn from Edward’s perspective... But Holy Cow! When he isn’t fantasizing about eating Bella or slaughtering any guy who so much as looks at her, he’s stalking her and watching her sleep. He’s legitimately terrifying. His narrative was reminiscent of Joe Goldberg’s from the “You” series by Caroline Kepnes. I really hope tweens, and those of us still tween at heart, don’t confuse this for romance. This is not a love story. If anything, it’s a field guide to obsessive unhealthy relationships. If any of this feels applicable to your own love life… Run Forest, Run! That’s probably a good rule of thumb for vampire fiction in general. But it makes for great allegory and storytelling. I’d call the Twilight series a guilty pleasure if I felt the slightest pang of guilt while reading it, but I don't. I love every minute of it. It's tragic, angsty, vampire fun, and I’m always down for that. That said, this one’s for the Twihard’s, weighing in at over 700 pages, it’s not a light read. But, if you devoured the series the first time around, and you’re in the mood for a thick dollop of nostalgia, join the party and sink your teeth into this juicy beast.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Legacy Edition, Volume 1

Welcome back to the Hellmouth! I've been enjoying another vampire related blast from the past this month. BOOM! Studios have very kindly began rereleasing the old Buffy comics from the 90s. This gorgeous newly designed Legacy edition features the first ten issues, and other short stories from the era in chronological order. It delivers untold stories set during Buffy's third season. Relive the glory days as our favorite Slayer and her faithful Scoobies slay through their final year at Sunnydale High. This took me right back to 1998. I remember reading these stories at the back of each official BTVS magazine. The writing is nowhere near the quality of the later released canonical comics, but they're tons of fun, and the artwork is terrific. Volume two also hit shelves earlier this month!

4. Here Is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan

How do you grieve the loss of someone the world never knew was yours? This is the dilemma Ana Kelly faces. Working as a solicitor, Ana’s life is upended when she receives a phone call from a grieving widow regarding her husband's Will. This would’ve been a routine call if she hadn’t been having an affair with the husband in question… Bam! What follows is a powerful story about grief, trust, and the loneliness that comes with keeping secrets. I love this concept. It’s no secret that Sarah Crossan is one of my favourite Irish YA authors. ‘Here Is the Beehive’ is her adult debut. Like most of her work, it’s written in free verse. I hope this format doesn’t deter new readers. It may look like a poetry book when you open it. But it reads beautifully and tells a coherent story. This form of writing isn't taxing to read. If anything, it’s less so. She creates a brilliant story with all the boring filler removed. Can’t recommend it enough! You’ll fly through it in one or two sittings. I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy. But the cover they released is so stunning, I'll be grabbing one as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on it. Because like the rest of Sarah Crossan's books, I'll be reading this one over and over.

5. Wonder Woman Volume 6: Children of the Gods by James Robinson

This volume was intense. I knew things were about to heat up when I saw Darkseid on the cover. But hot dang! The highlight was meeting Jason; Diana’s secret twin brother, and the long-lost Prince of Themyscira. As the only male ever born on the Island, Hippolyta knew she could not hide Jason among the Amazons. For his own protection, she sent him to Greece. He was raised by Glaucus and named after the leader of the Argonauts. When Grail (daughter of Darkseid) begins slaying the offspring of Zeus to resurrect her father, Jason and Diana finally meet. But when the Lord of Apokolips returns, where will her brothers loyalties lie? Ending in tragedy and a major cliffhanger, this one left me hungry for more. Thank Hippolyta, lockdown 2.0 is over! A trip to Heroes For Sale (My local comic store) is in order.

Pick Of The Month: Watchmen By Alan Moore