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Various Anthologies – Broad Appeal


Broad Appeal

In case you missed the pun, this is a collection of work from mostly female cartoonists and, like most anthologies, has good things and bad things. It’s a great concept though, as it has bios for everybody in here along with links to their sites and even interviews with a few people. At least two of them work for Marvel in some capacity, but who am I to judge? Granted, a few of the stories are more than a bit cute (as admitted by the creators, so it’s not like I’m being sexist or anything), but the strength of this collection is the sheer variety of stuff involved. You have a nine year old girl reading and dealing with a comic about the atomic bomb in Japan on one page and a mostly wordless story about lazy cats working in a glue factory on the next. All kinds of great female cartoonists in here too. Check out the website if you don’t believe me. $9.95 is pretty cheap for something this packed too, so check into it, see what you think.  Contributors: Sara Varon, Becky Cloonan, Raina Telgemeier, Ariel Bordeaux, Ellen Forney, Diana Sprinkle, Miss Lasko-Gross, Missy Kulik, Jen Benka, Kris Dresen, Hellen Jo, Kristen Petersen, Jen Sorenson, Michele Roman, Abby Denson, Jenny Gonzalez, Rachel Hartman, Mary Minch, Megan Kelso, Doreen A. Mulryan, Lark Pien, Sarah Anderson Lock, Elena Steier, Jennifer Moore, Lela Lee, Vanessa Satone, Shaenon K. Garrity, Catherine Tutrone, Ellen Lindner, Elayne Riggs, Robin Riggs, Janet Hetherington, Donna Barr.

Benka, Jen – Manya: Marie

Link to buy comics (website down as of 7/21/07)

Manya: Marie

OK, I don’t know much about Marie Curie and, seeing as that’s who this comic is mostly about, I thought it best to mention that right away. I’ll speak as someone with limited knowledge of the subject, so feel free to dismiss my uninformed opinion. Does that mean that I hated it? No, far from it, I just wanted you to know that I don’t know what I’m talking about. This one is pretty simple, where the last issue I read (see above) was all over the place, but in a good way. The bulk of this story is a day and night in the life on Manya. She hates her job, has dinner with her grandma and has a conversation from beyond the grave with Marie Curie. I learned a few things, the art is still incredible and the dialogue is fantastic, all around not much to complain about it except that it was slightly, um, dull. Sorry, I just didn’t know the character. There were more Manya books at the comic store and you’ll be hearing about the rest of them sooner or later too. Check this one out if you’re a fan of Marie Curie, otherwise stick to the other one and get this when you’ve read everything else these two have done. Contact info is above, don’t you know…

Benka, Jen – Manya: Prose, Poetry and Mosquitoes

Link to buy comics (website down as of 7/21/07)

Manya: Prose, Poetry and Mosquitoes

I’m constantly amazed at the sheer number of comics that are really well done that I’ve just never heard of. Remind me to never assume that I know everything about comics just because I seek out the small stuff. Anyway, what you have in this comic is a gifted poet/author and a wonderfully expressive artist. How can you go wrong from there? There are more than a few great comics out there from female creators and it’s always great to add another couple of names to that list. My only fear with this was that this book came out in 1996. A little searching turned up a website. Turns out that they’ve been doing stuff ever since and they have quite a few books available. The site is a little sparse still, but it looks like they moved the site recently, so give them time for samples. The comic is all over the place, but in a good way. She deals with work, camping, growing up, oppression, stereotypes, and pretty much everything else that you can think of. This one is apparently sold out (unless you go to The Laughing Ogre in Columbus, OH like me), but I’d have to imagine that she has plenty to say in her other books too. Check some of their stuff out. I’m curious to see where they went from here…