Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

If you missed the Volume 1 review, check it out HERE.

Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

Road to Riverdale

In the past two years, the little town of Riverdale has changed in a number of amazing ways. The entire Archie universe has been given a fresh coat of paint and it’s only getting bigger and better from here. Road to Riverdale presents to readers all of the second issues of each of our new series so far, including Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats and Reggie & Me, timed to the Season One Finale of the brand new CW series Riverdale. This volume also contains a new story based in the show’s universe as a bonus for viewers! – Goodreads

Its surprising to see the there is a volume 2 of Road of Riverdale. I had talked about it when I first bought this that I had gotten it online without looking carefully and realized that its just a snippet of the different volumes in the Archie comics universe. If you want to follow through just snippets of their lives, these ones give you a good idea of the stories of each of the characters with their own graphic novels in the revamped Riverdale. This one does acknowledge the link of the revamp to the CW series, Riverdale so they added in an extra story for it, which is pretty neat. I’m a fan of the TV show (although I am currently behind on Season 2), so it was a touch that I appreciated.

The purpose as it stands with the review of the first one is to really get an idea of the stylings of each of these characters and their own stories. What is nice is that while we get the focus on different characters, like Archie is different from the tone in Jughead, as Betty and Veronica is different from Josie and the Pussycats. These diverse characters give us a hint of a different version of high school lives of these teenagers living in Riverdale. That is the charm of reading Road to Riverdale. For myself, I already try to catch up mostly with Archie however I am planning on getting the volumes from Betty and Veronica and Josie and the Pussycats as well because of Road to Riverdale because those tones work for me. However, it keeps me in the loop with say the Reggie & Me and Jughead stories also, which I feel less invested in.

With that said, I had already reviewed the full volumes of Josie and the Pussycat snippet and the Archie snippet. You can find them below:

Archie, Volume 2
Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

There honestly isn’t much to review here for Road to Riverdale. If you want a snapshot of Riverdale, these books are easier than having to follow 5 different series and still get the enjoyment as they pick the most standout story of the book (I would assume for the two that I didn’t read). Its a fun little trip to Riverdale. I still maintain that the revamped graphic novels are a modernized and stylistic version of the old comics as it retains the characters and their natures. While the TV series takes the characters but essentially changes them up quite a bit along with their back story and character arc. My best example always is that The Vampire Diaries did that and it worked out for an 8 season run so no reason that the TV series can’t do that. Putting aside the TV series (as this isn’t the discussion, that is coming up in a future TV binge post), Road to Riverdale has its benefits and charms for those looking for a quick visit to Riverdale.

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The Dream of the Butterfly Vol. 1: Rabbits on the Moon by Richard Marazano & Luo Yin

The Dream of the Butterfly
Vol.1: Rabbits on the Moon

dream of the butterfly

By: Richard Marazano
Illustrated by: Luo Yin

Tutu is lost in a village where winter is eternal and the rabbits of the secret police find her guilty of one of the worst crimes imaginable—being a little girl! The Emperor of this strange town holds the key to her redemption, but it will come at a price. – Goodreads

Dream of the Butterfly is a beautifully drawn graphic novel heavily inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. It is no surprise that I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli and that is probably th cover for this graphic novel caught my eye. I have no problem with being inspired by someone else and while some scenes feel very reminiscent of Spirited Away, it still has a decent flow of events, perhaps at times it loses itself in the trivial things but as a starting novel for a series, it feels like the idea of where the story goes is well enough. At the same time, the story also seems to revolve around a Chinese parable/folklore, especially apparent with its Volume 1 title about rabbits on the moon which is why on Moon Festival tins, you usually see a rabbit hopping around the Moon Goddess. At the same time, The Dream of the Butterfly is an actual Taoist philosophy sort of story which somewhat may link to the story here.  I appreciate that mostly because Chinese parables and Classic novels offer some incredible material that hasn’t quite made it into the Western world yet.

The only issue of the first volume of The Dream of the Butterfly is that it always feels like it is setting up the story for a more exciting second volume. While there were events to highlight the mysterious world that our main character has fallen into and the odd and quirky anthropomorphic characters she encounters, there creates too many mysteries and not really a lot of answers which makes it somewhat of a fruitless read. It may be the first book but in terms of pacing and set up, it might benefit from finding a better balance.

With that said, while its inspirations are very obvious, its art and world are respectively beautiful and intriguing to dive into. The first volume may have worked hard to set up and created some forced situations and had some pacing issues however, now that a good few events and characters are laid out, the second volume will hopefully get into much more intriguing things. If you are a fan of the Studio Ghibli and Alice in Wonderland sort of world, this is a decent choice to check out.

Goodreads: 3/5 (honestly, if Goodreads did half points, it would be a 3.5/5)

Received from Netgalley in exchange for honest review

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1 by Hope Nicholson

All the backlog of 2017 is finally done with books! Moonshot is the first book of 2018 to be read. I’m going through my book hauls from last year so Toronto Comiccon yielded this book and another that I have just started to read as I’m writing this up. AH Comics are the ones who put this compilation out of Indigenous stories told by various illustrators and writers. I had picked up this one and gotten Titan: An Alternate History, where you can check out that review HERE.

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1
by: Hope Nicholson

moonshot

From traditional stories to exciting new visions of the future, this collection presents some of the finest comic book and graphic novel work in North America. The traditional stories presented in the book are with the permission from the elders in their respective communities, making this a truly genuine, never-before-seen publication. MOONSHOT is an incredible collection that is sure to amaze, intrigue and entertain! – Goodreads

Moonshot is a beautiful indigenous comics collection. The variety and the diversity of its stories really had a wonderful touch to the traditions and storytelling nature that the culture has been known for. For myself, there is a lot of unknowns since I have never dug deep however ever since I’ve played the game Never Alone, its somewhat peaked my interest in learning more because there is just so much to learn from the different tribes (if that’s the right world). Each story is preceded with a blurb about the story’s origins and the approach it takes. Some of them stay true to the roots and look at possibly one angle of retelling while some has taken a story and injected into a futuristic world however still managing to portray its essence. Its genuine and knowledgeable while being entertaining as well.

Moonshot is a collection of 13 stories and while I really don’t want to have to evaluate each of them, here are the few that I liked the most:

  • Vision Quest: Echo: This story kicks off the compilation in such a creative way. It says in the beginning introduction blurb that its told uniquely in Indian Sign Language. There is a beauty of seeing the story unfold through elaborate pictures put together like a collage in some ways. Its a powerful and meaningful story told in such an effective way.
  • Ochek: What grabs me the most about this story is its art style and how it tells the story with anamorphic creatures heading out to look for warmth to help their families survive the cold harsh winter. It links it to the well-known constellations which adds on a new meaning and lessons to this story.
  • UE-Purcase: Water Master: A lovely twist of this story shows how lessons learned in these stories are timeless as this story is retold in the collection set in the distant future where people live out in space. The world here and the art along with the story is told so well.
  • Strike and Plot: Also set in the future, Strike and Plot resembles a lot of the story of God of Thunder and Lightning because here the sons posses the power of lightning and electricity respectively. They are sent on a mission that comes back with an unexpected outcome. The art and the world is very nice and the story is engaging.
  • Tlicho Nàowo: This story takes place on Halloween however, it is a story about paying respect to spirits and ancestor and the herds that feed them. The meaning stems deep and is a nice extension of how the indigenous Tlicho would celebrate their Halloween.
  • Ayanisach: Ayanisach means ‘he who tells stories of the past’ in Cree. With that said, this story uses a brilliant art style set in the future to emphasize the importance of storytelling to learn the past to improve on their future. Also one of the final dialogue in the story.

To be fair, a lot of the stories here are very stylistic. Whether it is the way that they choose to tell it in their words and/or the art style. These six are really the ones that appealed to me the most however, I was impressed by all of them. Its an enjoyable read and one that is very educational and entertaining as we learn about different groups (tribes? not sure how to say that) from different places in North America and their stories. Its definitely a creative way to share it.

Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

I’ve been working through the reboot of the Archie Comics branches. After being caught up with Archie Volume 1 to 3 and Road to Riverdale, Volume 1, its time to get into something fun with Josie and the Pussycats.

Let’s check it out.

Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1
by: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Illustrated by: Audrey Mok

Josie and the Pussycats

Starting right from scratch, the reboot for Josie and the Pussycats start at the beginning from how they formed the band together. Josie’s sluggish solo career, Melody’s endless dating life and Valerie’s love of pets and great heart for the shelter are three very different personalities but somehow these three balance each other out to become this trio that found their agent fairly quickly and was hopefully on the road to fame.

Josie and the Pussycats is a very entertaining read. In fact, if you enjoy a graphic novel that breaks the fourth wall occassionally, this one is just for you. They are incredibly self-aware and because of that, it becomes very fun to be in this world. Reading about these three girls who don’t all know their dreams or where they want to go something of a coming of age experience for them. Perhaps its a relatibility thing here. They struggle for their careers and make some rash decisions that catch them in a snag and then they literally use comic book power to get out of it. They are also starting their friendship especially Josie and Melody with Valerie so they have arguments over who takes the lead and how to work together.

I’ve never read any of the original Josie and the Pussycats so how I have no comparison however, these three are three very interesting characters that could get decent arcs in future volumes. Josie struggles with love and sitting back to find a balance of talent with Valerie. Melody struggles to really keep the team together while Valerie doesn’t know what the future holds with mentions of being a veterinarian and now being in the band and performing. Three interesting characters are shown in volume 1.

Josie and the Pussycats show a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing where they go next with this series. So far the reboots I’ve read have been very good. Its been exciting to catch up to this world in their different forms.

Book Review: Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

In celebration of The Wolf Among Us FINALLY getting a sequel, I decided to also finally start reading its source material.

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile
Written by: Bill Willingham
Artists: Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton

fables

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world. – Goodreads

Wow! Fables may possibly be one of my favorite graphic novels to date. I played The Wolf Among Us before I had read any of these books and I loved the play on the traditional characters and Bigsby Wolf being a detective and how being a wolf he links into all these stories. Its kind of like what TV series Once Upon A Time does. Changing up fairy tales are one of my favorite premises and Fables does it so well. Actually, Fables was everything I expected and so much more. Bigsby Wolf is a great character and a detective and gives off something of a more rugged Sherlock Holmes feeling where he does a lot of things that helps him deduct a situation but the finale turns out to be a huge reveal that wasn’t apparent but makes so much sense.

This first case was definitely a mystery and it was a nice introduction to the wide cast of fairy tale characters that we are all familiar with from the famous Snow White and her Prince Charming to Belle and Beast as well as one of the few scenes used in The Wolf Among Us where a pig from the Three Little Pigs try to make Bigsby Wolf guilty for being the one who took away their house. At the same time, we do have some play on other characters like Red Rose which turns out to be Snow White’s sister and also the victim in this case making it close to our hearts. The key characters are generally introduced here and they are all dynamic and full of possible character development.

This 10th anniversary edition includes the first five issues of the Vertigo series and includes a short story which really was a great reading experience altogether. The visuals/art style was fantastic and honestly, I’m into the tone and the detective investigation story here.

What did make it much more surprising in a great way is that Telltale Games did truly adapt the character of Bigsby Wolf well in its game while switching up the story and mystery however still retaining most of the characters and their personalities. The tone was great. I actually did an episodic and overall recap over at That Moment In so feel free to head over there to read it.

Reading this has made me even more excited about The Wolf Among Us 2 while still hoping to get my hands on Fables Volume 2 soon.

Book Review: Road to Riverdale, Volume 1

Maybe not a book but a comic/graphic novel. If you’re new here or missed it, I’ve been checking out the revamped Archie comics. So far, I’ve been incredibly impressed.

Road to Riverdale, Volume 1

Road to Riverdale

ROAD TO RIVERDALE is an entry-level collection featuring the first issues of all modern-day Archie relaunches. – Goodreads

Road to Riverdale was apparently timed alongside the launch of the Riverdale TVseries (which I seem to have a hard time drafting up for some odd reason). I’m a fan and I personally had misunderstood what this comic was when I first bought it. Its intention is great because it actually is like a first look at each of the branches of the Archie comic reboot from not only the first issue of Archie but also Jughead, Betty & Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats and Reggie and Me.

What is really nice is that in one book, it gives you an idea of the tone and the art style and also what angle its going for in each of these characters and their story arcs. Of course, in Reggie and Me and Betty and Veronica, it has Reggie’s pet and Jughead’s pooch Hot Dog doing the background narrative. Its cool.

Archie: You can find my thoughts on the Archie, all available volumes right now. I’m definitely a fan. The art style and tone work so well in modernizing it.

Jughead: I personally love Jughead as a character especially in the TV series Riverdale. Something about this series works but is missing a little something more. At least from just this first issue section.

Betty and Veronica: The art style here is the most unique of all these branches. As mentioned before, it is narrated oddly by Hot Dog, Jughead’s dog. That also gives is a nice twist especially when it doesn’t objectify these ladies and has these funny snippets in between. Its a fun one. Not surprising since I did like the original Betty and Veronica comics also.

Josie and the Pussycats: This one comes a little more mid-range. Josie is a fun character because she’s kind of silly and the entertainment value is on point. Plus, this one takes the origin story point where we see how Josie and the Pussycats form.

Reggie and Me: I like bad boys and villainous characters and yet somehow, I’ve never been into the Reggie character much. While I do think this is a decent comic, I wasn’t as drawn into it as the other ones.

Road to Riverdale is an entry point to get a taste of all the branches of the Archie reboot and see if all or which works beat for you. However, it does seem that they are expanding this into multiple volumes and I’m not sure how the second volume works. If that’s the case, this can be either a cash grab or a convenient collection. It really depends on how you look at it.

Toronto Comicon Weekend Haul!

This past weekend was a fantasticLly awesome one as I headed out to Toronto for Comicon (just like last year). Its been a crazy process getting back and having everything cleaned and put away and getting back on routine so today, I am doing a simple one to talk about my haul.

I will take a few days this week (probably two) to share the Toronto experience because just like last year, as something of a reward or whatnot, I met up with Drew to hangout and visit Toronto and Comicon together. And just like true movie bloggers, we got in a movie as well amd even made it to a party (comicon related) as well as a sightseeing location. Lots of fun and a packed schedule but I think it turned out pretty great. Look for those posts while I get those new segments finalized (something I ran out of time last week for).

Lets check out what I picked up both before and at the Toronto Comicon.

Before the Comicon, I had a little bit of time before Drew arrived so I went out for a little shopping. I had a few stores on my list to hit and they were:

HMV
(because they are closing out of Canada so lots of discounts)

HMV

Disney Store
(never been to the one at Eaton Centre)

Disney Store Eaton Centre

David’s Tea
(spontaneously remembered  was running out at home)

David's Tea

Toronto Comicon was a weekend thing and we bought the weekend pass so we went on Friday to scout out the show and then did most of our shopping on Saturday after all the Q&A panels. Here’s what I picked up:

Movies & Video Games

I got a super sweet deal for Uncharted 4 at Iceman Video Games which was also there last year. I’m pretty happy about it. They had some awesome choices and selection.

However, I really want to talk about Raven Banner where we stopped by to look at horror movies. They were fantastic and we had a great talk about horror indie films in general. Not sure they’ll read this post but that chat was a highlight of the ComiCon for myself. It really defines why we do this movie blogging thing and meeting people who are equally passionate about this. It was a fun and enlightening chat.

Novel and Comics

Toronto Comicon

Let’s look at this from left to right.

  • Toronto Comics‘ Yonge at Heart is a Canadian comic author that sets in Toronto. This is a free preview to get a snippet of their comic for their Kickstarter campaign running right now till beginning of April, I believe. I saw them on Twitter before the trip and really liked the art style and the idea of using a Canadian setting. You can check out the Kickstarter here.
  • Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook is a novel with this plot below from their website. A part of selling your work is being passionate about it. And Andrew does a great job at it. To be honest, his enthusiasm as he told his story and the joy he had recounting the story was so genuine that I could feel the awesomeness in the story. I haven’t started reading it yet but this looks like a fun journey with Remy especially when its set in two provinces in Canada that I’ve visited numerously  and live in.

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list… – Snook Books

  • Moonshot & Titan from AH Comics: Moonshot is an Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 1) with various stories from different artists. With the purchase of this one (inspired by my peaked curiosity after my playthrough of Never Alone a few weeks ago), they also gave the gift of their graphic novel Titan: An Alternate History, which is great because then they saved me having to decide on which one to get with my purchase.

Artwork

Foiled Art

Foiled Art makes this beautiful little pop culture pieces. They do a lot with gold or silver (or both for limited edition) but I honestly thought that this galaxy one looks superb. It really brings out the art and pops. This is going right over my work station at home because its so fantastically awesome!

Chasing Artwork

Howl’s Moving Castle by Chasing Artwork

I love love love Miyazaki art and Chasing Artwork is a great artist. There are two comics out currently which I passed up on but these pieces are so atmospheric and creative. I actually stood there pondering which to get. He also has one for Nausicaa which just took my breath away. I’m personally a huge fan of Howl’s Moving Castle so this one is great.

Archie Dan Parent

Betty and Veronica by Dan Parent (with autograph)

For those of you who don’t know (which you might not because I don’t review comics), I love Archie comics and really I haven’t looked much at the newer ones although they do look cool but these traditional ones. I know I have a few volumes sitting in a box after we moved. I just can’t remember where so I couldn’t take it with me but Dan Parent was there who does a ton of these illustrations. I particularly loved this print and look he signed it also. Consider me a little star strucked when I saw him because I wanted to say a ton and just couldn’t.

The haul could have been so much more. There was so many great writers and artists that the choice was hard to make. However, I retain the idea of picking up stuff from the ones that I skipped but has an Etsy shop or other form of online retail. I have to say this was a pretty successful weekend!

What do you think about the haul? Anything that catches your eye?