Slow reading this week, mostly because of the fact that my weekend was taken up entirely with celebrations for Diwali, an annual Indian festival, and because the National Novel Writing Month began on the weekend too. So I was either having a blast with cousins, and getting tired out a lot, or doing lots of writing on a new project which you can read about here.
Right mix of comics once again, some of them disappointing, some of them unexpectedly good, and some in between as well. Got another graphic novel finished this week, which was good. I’ve had it on my reading list for ages now, so its nice to get that out of the way and reduce my immense reading pile by that much at least. Pretty tough to maintain a reading list as long as mine.
Next week, or this week rather, should be good since there are a lot of cool comics coming out. And I’m hoping to get another graphic novel out of the way. We’ll see.
More than two years into the New 52 line-wide reboot and we finally get a Nightwing Annual, something I’d been looking forward to for quite a long time. That this annual didn’t come sooner is a missed opportunity on DC’s part, in so far as the relationship between Nightwing and Batgirl goes here, because it was an excellent topic to explore, and at this length no less.
Kyle’s work on Nightwing has made him one of my favourite writers and while the title has had a few ups and downs, it has been a fairly strong title, something that ranks up there with the best in the New 52. Kyle has put Dick through the ringer several times and he has always been a character who has had little time for personal interactions. With this Annual, Kyle has changed that around, pausing the larger ongoing narrative to focus on Dick and Barbara.
There are some comics out there that are all action and little plot/characterisation. There are some comics that are the reverse as well, heavy on the plot/characterisation and little action. In that regard, there are few comics that manage to balance the two, and balance them well at that. This is where Gail Simone’s current run on Batgirl comes in because it is one of those few ongoing series that maintains that balance.
When last we were with Barbara Gordon, she had just suffered one of the lowest points of her life and things looked really dire for her as the Wanted arc kicked off to fanfare and horribly moving moments. As with Scott Snyder’s Batman, Gail’s Batgirl is one of the very few DC books that manages to be helluva consistent issue to issue, and Batgirl #24 is the latest in that stellar consistency.
So, I just finished reading the new issue of Batgirl by Gail Simone. For the fourth time. I’ve never done that before, ever. There hasn’t been a comic yet that has gotten to me like this one has. Through all the ups and down this title has seen since launch, I’ve stuck with it. Well, technically, I only started reading sometime in August last year, or thereabouts, so I haven’t been reading long, but I’ve stuck with each issue. Gail Simone is one of my favourite writers in the industry right now and a big reason for that is this book.
As someone who was never interested in the character before, much like with Aquaman, Gail got me invested in the character. She got me to vividly experience all the ups and down that Barbara Gordon, formerly Oracle and wheelchair-bound, experienced in the New 52. And with this issue, she’s hit everything home in the worst way possible. And I mean that in a good way.
Note: spoilers for the previous story arcs now follow, so best be aware of that.
I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.
It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.
Really weird how these things work out.
Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.