Live Oak, with Moss by Walt Whitman – A Review

Live Oak with Moss Walt Whitman

Live Oak, with Moss by Walt Whitman
Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Poetry | Graphic Novel | LGBTQ+
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Released April 9th, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

I’ve always been a bit intimidated by classic poetry. When we read it in high school and college, I never really got them and found myself frequently frustrated with the flowery language, as well as the teacher making us pull apart each line of the poem until I found myself hating it.

Recently, however, I’ve been getting into modern poetry and really loving it. When I was at my local library browsing their poetry collection, I came across this beautiful edition of Walt Whitman’s Live Oak, with Moss.

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I’d never heard of this poem, but I was intrigued by its format – the poem is told through Brian Selznick’s wonderful art. Of course, the actual poem is included as well!

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I will say that if you’re unfamiliar with the poem, the art isn’t going to make a lot of sense. At least, it didn’t for me. However, once I read the poem and went back through the art, I got it, and loved it.

Live Oak, with Moss is one of Whitman’s more obscure poetry collections. Written in a small book that he made himself, sewing the pages together, he wrote about his attraction to, and relationships with, men. At the time that Whitman wrote these poems, in 1859, “homosexual” wasn’t a word yet. There was a burgeoning homosexual subculture emerging in New York City during this time, of which Whitman was a part.

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Walt Whitman

The poems are passionate and personal and touch on lust, desire, love, and loss. They’re beautiful to read, and I’m glad that these poems were discovered and published in this manner.

Along with Walt Whitman’s words and Brian Selznick’s art, scholar Karen Karbiener’s essay about the poems and the author’s sexuality shed a lot of light on his life, the evolution of these poems, and their discovery.

Overall, I’m so glad that I picked this book up from my library’s shelf. It was an absolute pleasure to read, and I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in classic or LGBTQ-positive poetry.




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The Tea-Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill – A Review

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The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Graphic Novel | Fantasy
Published by Oni Press
Released in January 2019
Received in an Owlcrate Box
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

This short graphic novel is probably one of my favorite items that I’ve ever received in a subscription box. I had never heard of Katie O’Neill before, but she has instantly become one of my favorite artists, to the point that I’m actually planning on buying one of her framed art prints as soon as my budget will allow.

The story in The Tea Dragon Society is almost too adorable – there are tiny dragons that grow tea leaves on their horns, and they’re meticulously cared for by their providers. The main character is Greta, who meets two members of the Tea Dragon Society, Hesekiel and Erik. They start teaching her how to care for the picky dragons. Greta also meets and befriends Minette, who’s very shy and quiet, but starts to emerge from her shell with Greta’s help.

There’s so much diversity in the characters, which is so wonderful to see in a children’s graphic novel. Within these pages, you’ll also find plenty of healthy relationships, whether it’s romantic, friendship, or familial love.

It’s the art, though, that makes this graphic novel truly spectacular. It’s beautiful.

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I want so much more of this world in my life. I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this story or the art. Check it out, buy it, love it. I hope that one day we’ll get more Tea Dragon Society comics because I want to learn so much more about the different types of dragons and about what’s in the future for Greta and her friends.




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Best Variant Comic Book Covers This Week

One of my favorite parts of comic book collecting is seeking out the variant covers of my favorite issues. For those of you who are either not familiar with or new to the comic book world, variant covers are essentially special or limited edition covers.

These are the best for the week of December 12, 2018.


Defenders Doctor Strange #1

Art by Christian Ward

This is 100% my favorite for this week, and as much as I’m trying to talk myself out of buying it when I get paid Friday, I have a strong suspicion it’s going to end up in my collection. I’ve mentioned before that Christian Ward is my favorite comic book artist, and this cover would look perfect among my other Doctor Strange covers.

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Head Lopper #10

Art by Jeanne D’Angelo

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Black Hammer Cthu-Louise

Art by Jill Thompson

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Spider-Gwen Ghost Spider #3

Art by Carlos Pacheco

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Wonder Woman Vol 5 #60

Art by Jenny Frison

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Quantum Age From the World of Black Hammer #5

Art by Tula Lotay

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Flash Vol 5 #60

Art by Derrick Chew

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Bitter Root #2

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz

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10 Fun Adult Coloring Books You Need To See

what are some good adult coloring books; is coloring good for you; best adult coloring books; mindfulness techniques
Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

Coloring books aren’t just for children. Sitting down to relax and color can reduce your anxiety and practice mindfulness. I usually color while I’m listening to audiobooks, and it’s become a favorite past time of mine. There are so many amazing coloring books out there, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites.

Yellowstone National Park by Dave Ember

Color Super Cute Animals by Jane Maday

The Throne of Glass Coloring Book by Sarah J. Mass, John Howe, and Craig Phillips

Doctor Who by James Newman Gray, Lee Teng Chew, and Jan Smith

The Beauty of Horror 1: A GOREgeous Coloring Book by Alan Robert

Dinosaurs with Jobs by Theo Nicole Lorenz

Tattoo Coloring Book by Jade Summer

Dragons by Peter Pauper Press

Birds in Beards by Shoshanah Lee Marohn

The Witcher Adult Coloring Book by CD Projekt Red

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Photo by Mint Owl on Unsplash

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Comic Book Review: Black Bolt by Saladin Ahmed & Christian Ward

The Comic Book

Black Bolt (Issues 1-12), collected in Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
Written by Saladin Ahmed (Twitter | Patreon)
Art by Christian Ward (Website |Twitter | Tumblr) & Frazer Irving (Tumblr |Instagram)
Goodreads (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2)
Marvel Unlimited
Published by Marvel, 2018

What It Is

Black Bolt is the King of the Inhumans. Well, actually, he was King, but he abdicated his throne and now finds himself in an ancient Inhuman prison out among the stars. He had meant to place his brother, Maximus the Mad, in the prison, but Maximus used his technology and wits to change places with Black Bolt.

The prison would be terrifying by anyone’s standards. Black Bolt’s powers are gone, and he has died many times at the hands of the mysterious Jailer, only to be brought back to life. He meets some of the other prisoners and befriends them, and they work together to escape. Their escape comes at a cost though.

This series explores Black Bolt’s history, his relationship with his son, Ahura, and who he is versus who he wants to be.

In case you’re not familiar with Black Bolt or the Inhumans, here’s a quick refresher:

My Thoughts

I loved everything about this series, from the writing to the art. Especially the art. I remember picking the first few issues of this series up in my local comic book shop months and months ago. I wasn’t a big Inhumans fan, but Black Bolt seemed like a pretty interesting character. After all, writing a character that cannot speak takes talent (Black Bolt’s power is the ability to topple enemies and even entire cities with just his voice). The reason I ended up buying all of these issues, however, was due to Christian Ward’s spectacular art. Every time I open up one of these issues, I’m blown away by the characters and the vibrant colors.

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Those are a few of my favorite examples, but it’s all good. Good art is vital for a comic book series; I can’t tell you how many issues I’ve picked up and abandoned because of how terrible the art was. After reading this Black Bolt series, however, I have found myself seeking out all of Christian Ward’s art.

I need to talk about Saladin Ahmed’s talent as a writer as well. As I mentioned before, a writer needs to get creative when telling the story of a character who cannot speak. Granted, there are parts of this series, such as in the prison, when Black Bolt loses his powers and is able to safely talk with his friends, but for the most part, he’s still the same Black Bolt we’ve come to know. With creative storytelling and the art to back it up, Black Bolt is an incredibly dynamic character who wants to save his friends and return to the world he knows.

I appreciated the character of Blinky a lot. She’s a child who was thrown into the prison after stealing at a bazaar and can use her Inner Eye to communicate with others and share memories. I love the childlike innocence her character brings to the story.

Blinky - Black Bolt, Marvel Comics
Blinky

Another aspect of the story I enjoyed was the peek into Black Bolt’s past, where he was completely isolated and experimented on by his parents. His son, Ahura, gets to relive his father’s memories alongside Blinky, and the last couple of issues deals with Black Bolt’s fragile relationship with his son, and Ahura learning about some of the reasons his father acts the way he does.

The last thing I’ll say about this series has to do with a panel that made me laugh. For those of you who might not know, Black Bolt is short for the masterpiece that is his real name: Blackagar Boltagon. Seriously. His real name always makes me giggle, but I lost it when I came across this panel:

Blackagar Boltagon - Black Bolt - Marvel

Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)

Buy. This is an amazing series, and a great introduction to Black Bolt if you’re new to comics.