Graphic Novel Reviews (Charlotte Pavlic)
Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler
It’s a time of discovery and adventure–a time to venture out and sail the current of curiosity into the unknown. It’s the age of elytra (that is, the hardened wing covers of beetles)! At least, according to Lucy, the fearless leader of an expedition from the beetle city of Coleopolis. Accompanying her on this perilous mission are Raef, a firefly; Mossy, a Hercules beetle; and Professor Bombardier, a, well, bombardier beetle. After a betrayal from one of their party, Lucy’s team has to find their way back to Coleopolis through the dangerous world of dyna-soars, screamers, velvet worms, and their fellow insects.
Aside from this graphic novel’s delightful character dynamics, great sense of humor, and insightful commentary on the nature of power and discovery, Last of the Sandwalkers is incredibly informative! Intriguing insect facts are sprinkled throughout in a way that feels organic and makes the graphic novel’s world more vibrant. If you’re an entomology-interested reader–or even if you’re not–the graphic novel’s end notes are filled with sources and slick commentary on the science behind the story.
If you’re a fan of feisty characters, found families, and fun facts, the urge to read Last of the Sandwalkers will surely be bugging you.
Ichiro by Ryan Inzana
Ichiro is a New York teen adrift. In the United States, he doesn’t know where to fit in–should he be a soldier like the father he never knew? A trip to Japan leaves him staying with his grandfather, a stranger he doesn’t remember in a country he can’t recall. After an incident with a persimmon and a tanuki, Ichiro finds he also has to sort out his place in Yomi and Ama, the land of the dead and the land of the gods.
Ichiro tells a cohesive tale about the nature of interpersonal conflict and war, adding nuance through the interaction of its three worlds. The graphic novel also gains color as Ichiro travels through these worlds, although the color palette remains relatively restrained. However, on panels with thematic importance, the graphic novel goes all out with astounding art. The gods and creatures in Yomi and Ama are similarly spectacular.
With compelling character arcs, strong themes, and a fresh rendition of the realm of the gods, Ichiro will set your questions of what to read at peace.
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland, and Hilary Sycamore
I’m not sure if any of the phantasmagoric residents of Poughkeepsie’s Spill Zone entirely qualify as ghosts, but each one is gloriously eerie, unsettling, and otherworldly. From the language-gifted cats to the soulless factory rats to the bug-eyed and spindly-legged wolf-deer, all are strangely affected by whatever destroyed the city three years ago. Addison, a former resident of Poughkeepsie, wasn’t at home when the Spill happened; her sister, meanwhile, was caught in the center. Though she escaped, she hasn’t said a word since. To support her sister, Addison ventures into the Spill Zone to take pictures of its peculiar phenomena and to hopefully not perish on the way.
Spill Zone does a spectacular job of making the titular Zone unearthly through a fusion of a bright color scheme and features straight out of an MC Escher painting. Narratively, the graphic novel raises a multitude of unanswered questions, making the world feel vast and mysterious. This is fabulous for a first volume, but as a single graphic novel, the story is unsatisfying.
Stuffed with spine-tingling sketches, an absorbing atmosphere, and a striking story, Spill Zone lives in the twilight zone between frightening and fantastic.
TV Show Review by Aditya Tambe
Women of the Movement by Marissa Jo Cerar
Airing on January 6, 2022, Women of the Movement, is a historical film series that portrays the rampant reaction to the widely-known, brutal murder of Emmet Till in the South during a time period containing the illegal Jim Crow Laws. Emmet TIll’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, is looking to establish justice in a segregationist America through the court system and by becoming an educator. The show conveys Mamie’s ability to educate children about the impurities of a Jim Crow and segregationist society. Additionally, Mamie strived to gain supporters to propel the uprising Civil Rights movement at the time. The show elegantly displays the urgency of the historical movement and how rapidly it spread across the North, especially. Overall, this show truly portrays a historical, real point of view of the hardships that many of the African Americans had to persevere through in the post-Civil War America.
Movie Review by Aditya Tambe
Rescued by Ruby by Katt Shea
Rescued by Ruby is a very recent film that is based on a true story regarding an endeavor. Daniel, played by Grant Gustin, is a state trooper in Rhode Island who has always dreamed of being a part of the K-9 search and rescue unit; however, in order to join the team, Daniel must own a K-9. In order to obtain a K-9, Daniel visits a shelter, where he is convinced that a highly spirited dog named Ruby, who was not the typical German Shepherd K-9, would satiate Daniel’s desires. Ruby didn’t become a tool that Daniel needed to join the K-9 unit; instead, Daniel and Ruby forged a special and gifted relationship as strong as iron. As Daniel and Ruby train for the K-9 team test, the film portrays the ups and the downs of the journey. In the end, Daniel and Ruby are given their first assignment with a murder victim. Do they solve the mystery? Watch the movie to find out!
Podcast Review by Aditya Tambe
Knowing Animals by Siobhan O’Sullivan
Knowing Animals is a popular podcast that entertains its audience and perpetuates a movement: the movement for animal ethics. The podcast establishes a clear position for the advocacy of inhumane practices with animals all around the world. One way the podcast spreads an informative movement is by inviting academic professionals such as professors to validate everyone’s opinions on the issue of animal rights. For example, one interview that O’Sullivan held included the topic of the future of ‘meat’ through problematization. Additionally, specific animals are brought up during discussion, which provides an opportunity for one to learn. Everyday, animals face complex struggles with endangerment and extinction due to the human race, but people can create an impediment to this negative succession by listening to the podcast and joining this humanitarian movement.