Thursday, 24 December 2015

Panels Read Harder Challenge

I've been reading challenge free for a few years now, and I'm starting to feel the list making urge returning. Although I don't want to commit myself to not being able to read what I want when I want, I do seriously love the idea of the Panels and Book Riot Read Harder Challenges, and some of the best books I've read in 2015 have been outside my comfort zone so why not continue the trend?

I'll do two posts as each challenge has a lot of categories and I'll probably list multiple titles for each, so best to split it! Rather than a definitive list of things I will read, I'm seeing this more as a list of inspiration.

For the Panels challenge there are 18 categories which are thus:

Read a self-published comic

I have nothing for this. Please feel free to suggest things to me.

Read a feminist comic

I'm thinking Bitch Planet at the moment, but also maybe Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman (as I own it already), or Tank Girl for the same reason. A-Force by G. Willow Wilson and Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe (whose Peter Panzerfaust I'm currently reading the first volume of) also look intriguing, and Lumberjanes and Hark! A Vagrant have been on my wishlist for years, so it's quite likely I'll read more than one for this category.

If anyone's interested I can highly recommend anything by Alison Bechdel, Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, Saga or of course Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Read a comic featuring one or more teenage protagonists

This has to be Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, or maybe Morning Glories (which is a hilarious name if you're British and is what's put me off it so far, but it does sound good).

I'd recommend Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba for this category, although the third and fourth books are a really long time coming. Hurry up, will you??

Read a superhero comic whose race or gender has been swapped from the original or traditional hero

I feel like there's going to be a lot of Kelly Sue DeConnick on this list... I have to go for Captain Marvel I think, but I would recommend G. Willow Wilsons' Ms Marvel although I've only read the first volume.

Read a complete run of a comic

I'm just finishing up Fables by Bill Willingham (massively recommended) after about four years of reading it. I've been looking at Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan (again) for a while and I think this will be the year for it! Also I have a few volumes of the Moomin comic strips by Tove and Lars Jansson so maybe those, as an excuse to buy the rest?

I'd highly recommend Fables, The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and I don't know if it counts in this category, but Hyperbole and a Half  by Allie Brosh.

Read a comic based on a book and the book that it's based on

Going for The Hobbit here because we've had the graphic novel for years and Rhys has read it and I haven't and I always feel slightly uncomfortable when that's the case, as it is with probably the majority of our graphic novel collection actually!

Read a graphic biography

I have previously mentioned John Porcellino's Thoreau at Walden, but it's even more fitting now that I'm actually reading Walden! So this could also count for the previous category I guess.

Read a comic that was originally published in a language different to your own

I know I've mentioned it before, but a friend told me about Blacksad literally years ago and I still haven't got around to it, so that as a first port of call definitely! I also like the look of Bluesy Lucy: The Existential Chronicles of a Thirtysomething by Veronique Grisseaux and Catel. Given my love of all things Chinese history I guess it won't be surprising for anyone to hear me mention that I've been talked out of buying A Chinese Life by Li Kunwu and Philippe Otie several times this year. I may well cave in 2016.

Obviously my own recommendation for this category, as my reading is disgustingly limited, would be Persepolis again.

Read a comic set in space

I had no preconceived ideas for this category but looking through the list that was linked on the Panels website I'm intrigued by Astronaut Dad by David Hopkins and Brent Schoonover. It sounds really interesting.

I guess Saga might count for this as well though? In which case I'm totally getting like all the remaining volumes which are out during 2016. It's happening.

Read a collected webcomic

Nimona all the way. I want to read this book soooooo much! For hopefully obvious reasons I also am oddly compelled by the idea of The Adventures of Dr McNinja by Christopher Hastings.

Recommendations would be the previously mentioned Hyperbole and a Half. It's hilarious.

Read a comic with at least one creator of colo(u)r

Genius by Marc Bernardin sounds incredible. I've also previously mentioned my desire to read March by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. I'm sure there are many more.

Read a comic set in Asia by an Asian creator

Mythspace by Paolo Chikiamco sounds like it could be exactly my kind of thing. Also Halina Filipina by Arnold Arre.

Read a superhero comic NOT by one of the big two

I've picked up Grace Randolph's Supurbia a few times before - if you've read any of my posts about my trips to Forbidden Planet you'll know I generally allow myself one graphic novel, two at a push, and pick up a pile and let them fight it out. This sounds brilliant though, I want it now. I also really like the look of C.O.W.L by Kyle Higgins, Alex Siegel and Rod Reis.

Read a slice-of-life comic not set in the U.S

Having just finished and loved Lucy Knisley's Displacement: A Travelogue, I feel it's only fair to follow it up with An Age of License

Read a comic that has been adapted from a TV show or movie

I want to read Dark Shadows because it was adapted from a TV show and then there was a movie and I was in the minority of people who actually liked the movie. So.

Read a comic about a real life historical event 

Like, literally everything. March as previously mentioned, but also I'd like to finish Palestine by Joe Sacco and read everything Guy Delisle's written, and American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, and The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert.

I'd recommend Maus by Art Spiegelman and obviously Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

Read a black-and-white comic

I had to have a google to find out what was black and white and what wasn't because Panels haven't got a list for it yet, but Google tells me that Essex County by Jeff Lemire which I put on my wishlist a while back is black and white, so that.

Read a watercolour comic

I don't have one for this yet. I shall be eagerly awaiting the list on Panels.

So I'm really sorry that there are like, no graphics in this post, but I got to the end and there are soooo many titles and it's so full of goodness and possibility that I'm basically just staring into space imagining all the graphic novels I'm going to buy/borrow next year... Have you read any? Do you own any you want to lend me? (Laura, I'm looking at you because I know I bought you one of these titles :-p) Basically, tell me all the things!


  1. I am of no help with graphic novels, but I admire your commitment to this project! :)

  2. Ooh, great post! I'm planning on just trying the Book Riot challenge because I'm a bit intimidated by the Panels one since I'm not hugely knowledgeable about comics. But I might actually try to read from a few of these categories, those are some interesting sounding recommendations :)

    Oh, and I second you on the Umbrella Academy! I keep forgetting how much I love it because it's been so long. Even though I'm a big My Chemical Romance fan, is it bad that when they split the first thing I thought was "Oh, now he can finally write Hotel Oblivion!"? :P