Friday, February 2, 2024

Friday Book Recommendations (Feb 2)

This Week's Reads

E-Man: the Early Years by Joe Staton and Nick Cuti: Yes, I read these in reverse order, doing the 1980's series first. That really made the things I said in my original Goodreads review stand out: "Nice, clean cheesy fun. OK, this is very second string publisher 1972 stuff and doesn't hold a candle to First Comics' 24 issue run in the 80's but there's no denying the goofy charm of the character. He is so straightforward in his presentation, so cleanly done and so good-hearted that he's instantly iconic. The introduction's description of him as being CC Beck's Captain Marvel mixed with Jack Cole's Plastic Man are spot on. I keep missing this sort of fun in the modern comics market, and am happy to have more of it on my own shelves"

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: This was just wonderful. The idea of the children returning from Portal Fantasies is not a new one for contemporary fiction, but McGuire's loving presentation of them being not just metaphors but examples growing up non-cis-het is delightful. I will admit a bias here as my own daughter is an Ace Romantic like the protagonist, so she and I both loved that representation. 

The Trouble with Girls by Tim Hamilton, William Jones, and Gerard Butler: I have a strong sense that this is a "you had to be there" book given exactly how much of this is a way over the top send up of the Regan-Era, 1980's iteration of the Men's Own Adventure Stories genre. Parts of it hold up very well on their own, but for the rest if you don't know that the creators are actively mocking the story cliches being presented - and have a lived in reference to the time/place in question -  then this is going to fall very flat. Its the problem with this sort of mockery: any distance from the zeitgeist and the send up just looks like a far edge example of exactly what you're poking fun at, and the whole soap bubble collapses because when you're making over the top references to offensive things to mock them, you're still putting them on the page. If this sort of attack via mockery on the Reagan 80's works for you, this is a recommended, otherwise you should probably steer clear. 

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