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Reading time: What is the use of a book without pictures or conversation?

Dudes, it’s time I started reading comics. For goodness’s sake, comics and graphic novels are rad lit: what am I waiting for? I’ll tell you what: I’m waiting to know where to start! If you’re keen on comics and aren’t sure how to start — because it’s like trying to take a bite out of a city-sized gingerbread house — I recommend Book Riot’s comic-focused site Panels. They’ve got an awesome overview, and you’re bound to figure out what turns your crank, comics-wise. Realising that most comics don’t have a decades-long history that you need to get acquainted with before you start makes the choice way easier. I decided to jump in with the three comics that have been getting a lot of noise lately: LumberjanesRat Queens and Ms. Marvel.

Lumberjanes – Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson, Shanonn Watters, Brook Allen

Holy catfish, so much fun! Imagine Buffy goes to summer camp and meets up with a whole bunch of best friends. Friendship, mystery, supernatural monsters, merit badges, archery and canoes: there’s just so much dang fun in this book. Five girls spending the summer at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types uncover a mystery of the night with evaporative foxes, anagrams, river dragons and riddle-filled caves: they cheer each other on, boost each other up, and generally kick both mental and physical arse. The first trade paperback (link above) ends on a juicy cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next one. Although I’ll have to, ‘cos it’s not out until October. Great fun, especially if you’ve got some tween-to-teen girls in your life looking for a comic.

Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery – Kurtis J Wiebe, Roc Upchurch, Fiona Staples

Full of boozing, drugs, swears and sexytimes, Rat Queens follows the adventures of a band of mercenary besties: Hannah the Rockabilly Elf Mage, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric, Violet the Hipster Dwarf and Betty the Hippy Smidgen. They fight, cuss, screw and pun their way into a mystery that turns out to be deeper and more sinister than they guessed. There’s traditional fantasy tropes piled on top of sauciness and fun, and it was an awesome adventuring read.

Ms. Marvel: No Normal – Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona

I understand Kamala Khan is the third woman to bear the Ms. Marvel moniker, and hot dang if she doesn’t kick it. A Pakistani-American Muslim teenager growing up in Jersey City, Kamala ends up with the Ms. Marvel title through a series of surprising events. The first trade paperback outlines the origin story and lays the groundwork for some of the conflicts that Kamala is going to wrestle with over the course of her career: the fundamental tension between her upringing and her new identity; her deep conflict between the need for secrecy and the wish to gain the support and love of her family; and her (perfectly understandable) fears about suddenly being able to follow her superhero dreams. I’m super excited about this. An awesome combo of interesting, relatable central character and pun-making adventure fights.

I’m calling this venture into comics a resounding success, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more. This is so awesome. (Why didn’t anyone tell me?)

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