Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Three books: Coloring, comic, and middle-grade

Cover detail of American Gods: The Official Coloring Book

American Gods: The Official Coloring Book

As a fan of Neil Gaiman’s novel, I’ve been looking forward to Starz’s American Gods adaptation since before it was hanging on by a wing and a prayer at HBO. So I jumped on the screeners as soon as they were available, published up my pre-air review, then was left to wait until the series actually premiered on April 30 before geeking out over Bryan Fuller and Michael Green’s strange, beautiful reimagining of the popular book with fellow fans. I killed some of that time with this American Gods coloring book—no, really. I know adult coloring books catch a lot of flak for, well, being intended for children but being marketed to adults with disposable income. But HarperCollins released a gorgeous coloring book that’s full of imagery from the novel/series, and now I’m free to put my own spin on Shadow Moon—who looks an awful lot like Drake here for some reason—Wednesday, Bilquis, and more. Look, I’m going to doodle anyway, so it might as well be on something work-related.


[Danette Chavez]

Faith (Valiant)

As an only occasional comics consumer, I let my much-more-obsessive girlfriend act as my filter; she reads everything, then passes the good stuff on to me. So when I woke up one morning with the first volume of Valiant’s Faith sitting on my desk, I knew I was in for something good. Still, I wasn’t ready for how much I needed a superhero comic like this, one where big, scary threats don’t get in the way of the fun of flying around, saving lives, and the inherent goodness of the superhero way. I’m entirely unfamiliar with the wider Valiant universe—looking at our own coverage, I can see that Faith is something of a big deal. Jody Houser does a great job of populating the stories with context clues that fill in the gaps. Personally, though, the most important thing is that Faith gets something right that almost nobody does when writing nerd characters: non-cringe-inducing dialogue. It’s not easy to drop a million references to Joss Whedon shows and TV Tropes into something without it seeming like the most hideous, “How do you do, fellow kids?” garbage. But Houser pulls it off, making Faith one of pop culture’s few pop culture nerds who actually nails the voice.


[William Hughes]


The new Baby-Sitters Club

Thanks to A.V Club contributor Oliver Sava, as well as my daughter, I have recently become a huge fan of Raina Telgemeier. Oliver offered a great Big Issues column about her Ghosts volume; meanwhile, my daughter was collecting other Telgemeier creations like Smile, Sisters, and Drama, which I loved as much as she did. (As a former braceface myself, Smile brought back a lot of horrifying orthodontic memories I thought I had blocked, but Telgemeier’s cheery illustrations helped soften the blow of some of the more excruciating aspects.) So we moved on to the Baby-Sitters Club collection that Telgemeier did as graphic novels, and they are similarly wonderful. While The Baby-Sitters Club has charmed preteen audiences for decades without sunnily colored panels and pictures, Telgemeier’s unique tap into the adolescent experience brings this beloved collection to life in a whole new way, thrilling not only former BSC fans, but also creating lifelong new ones. Her four volumes focused on each of the main club members, like the series opener Kristy’s Great Idea, along with Mary Anne Saves The Day, The Truth About Stacey, and Claudia And Mean Janine. Although Telgemeier has now bowed out of the series, the new Baby-Sitters Club will continue: Book five, Dawn And The Impossible Three, will be released this fall and illustrated by Gale Galligan. Good news for BSC fans of any age.


[Gwen Ihnat]

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