Liz Prince Interview

This interview was transcribed from the Read Brave: Comics podcast. Hear the full audio version here:

Read Brave: Do you want to start out by telling us a little about Coady in the Creepies?

Liz Prince: Sure. Coady and the Creepies is the first creator-owned comic series, like month by month comic issue that you can go into your store and buy, that I've ever done. It's about a touring teenage punk band made up of triplet sisters and it has a supernatural twist to it. They were involved in a van accident about a year before the comic takes place which left Corey, the b assist and lead singer, with a scar across your face, kind of Harry Potter esque. She gets really mad when people make Harry Potter references at her. Chris is paralyzed from the waist down, plays guitar in a wheelchair and Cody is the drummer and unbeknownst to her sisters, actually died in the van accident so she is a ghost.

RB (Cory): I saw that Amanda Kirk, who is also known as Nation of Amanda, is doing the artwork for the comic book. Do you contribute any art or is it mainly just her?

LP: Amanda and I are doing the subscription incentive cover variants together, so I'm drawing those and she is water coloring them. I don't know if you're familiar with her work that she's done with Mitch Clem? She normally watercolors or ink washes his stuff, so she's been doing the colors on those comics, but that's the only artwork that I have contributed to this series.

RB (Cory): Have you worked with her before on any collaborations?

LP: Nothing more in-depth than like, I think we drew a razorcake comic together when I was visiting her and Mitch, and she penciled herself in and Mitch penciled himself in and then I inked all of them. So it kind of looked more fluid, but i think i can we have we've ever worked on a comic project together. 

RB (Cory): So I think that we're most familiar with your work through your personal zines, your comic zines, what got you into making comic zines?

LP: Well, I always knew that I wanted to do something that involved cartoons in some way and when I discovered comics in third grade, it was like cartoons & books which are my two favorite things like melded together. And I've pretty much solely focused on making comics since then. But it wasn't until I was in high school and I discovered more indie comics and auto-bio stuff like Evan Dorkin's Dork and Ariel Schrag's high school comic series, Awkward and Definition, Potential and Likewise came out much later on but that counts, that I really kind of saw the power of drawing comics about my own life. So that's kind of where the turning point was, before that I was doing like a lot of newspaper gag strip kind of work. Like I had a ripoff of Milk and Cheese called Scott the Angry Paper Cup who'd beat up people who eat fast food, because I was like a little militant vegetarian and I had this comic called Batrat that was like Batman but he was a rat. So I kind of worked my way up to doing my own ideas that were a little less derivative.

RB (Cory): Are there any comic zines that you feel are underrated or should be more well known than they are?

LP: Most of the stuff I read falls under that category. I've always been someone who has enjoyed people's self-published work and sought that out more regularly than comics that are traditionally published on the mainstream comic circuit. It's funny because when I was growing up and going to conventions and meeting people, I always found it way more important to buy the little photocopied stapled think that they put together rather than they're fancy published book and I've seen that people have migrated towards only wanting the fancy graphic novel version of things. I've actually had people come up to my table at conventions and i'll have my self-published work and they'll be like "oh yeah, I only want the Top Shelf one." and I'm like okay, well you can buy that anywhere. That's fine, I want them to read whatever book of mine they want. But I enjoy the diary comics of a woman named to Carrie McNinch. She has been doing a self-published daily diary comic for years and years called You Don't Get There From Here, I think she's on issue forty-something. Sam Spina, who currently works on Regular Show does some diary comic books that I'm really into. I guess if I had a choice I would pretty much almost exclusively read people's auto-bio stuff, I have a real soft spot for it, even if it's just kind of the rudimentary like: "Today I woke up, went to work, came home and watch TV." That's like a typical Ben Snakepit comic now. There's just something about it that invites you in. 

RB (Cory): So on the subject of diary comics, we're all Patreon supporters [of yours] and we've really enjoyed your monthly diary comics. Has doing that over the last year changed the way that you make comics or the way that you think about making comics?

LP: Well, that was a project that I started because I was experiencing some really pretty severe writers block after finishing Tomboy, which was my first actual "graphic novel." It was the first thing that I'd ever written that was like 250 pages and one cohesive story. That was a process that took about nine months from  starting to write it, to finishing it, which is actually an extremely short amount of time for writing and drawing a graphic novel. So I felt pretty burned out, but it was also like second I was done with it that people were like: "What are you doing next?" I was like, wow, this book isn't even out yet and I have to know what I'm doing next! I think I got kind of paralyzed by the idea of what the follow-up to that book would be. After close to a year of not really feeling all that inspired to work on personal comics, I decided to go back to the basics, which was just draw[ing] a comic about what happens every day and hopefully people will be interested in it. It was also a way for me to get back into self-publishing which is something that I hadn't done for a very long time. So getting to write and draw those comics and then also design a little book and the covers for each one, that really kickstarted my comics creativity again. That's actually one of the reasons why I changed the focus of my Patreon this year, was because I found that I was spending all of my personal creative time working on those diary comics and not actually exploring deeper stories. So that was where the idea to switch it up and focus on this longer narrative that will be released in chapters came from. 

RB (Scout): They're my favorite part of every month, getting those. Cory and I read through the last year's of them last night to jog our memories and I was telling him that, I don't know why because they're about you but they make me feel so good about myself. They're very self affirming in a way and I said I think the biggest lesson I've taken away is that it's okay to nap. I'm sure that's not your intention but it was like, I shouldn't feel bad about needing a nap every once in a while.

LP: I think that's the power of autobiographical comics, it doesn't necessarily have to be a big grand exciting story, people can find comfort in just like the little things, like: "Oh yeah that's right I can take a break or maybe nothing good happen today but there's always tomorrow."

RB (Vinton): I downloaded and read your latest one on Patreon while I was setting up to record and I was getting all emotional. It was a bit more emotional than I was expecting to deal with this morning! 

LP: Yeah, that story, I thought that it would only be an issue or two but I think that in the course of writing that first installment, I really realized that it's a much deeper story. So I think I'm just going to kind of write it in a stream of consciousness sort of way and see where it ends up. It will be interesting to see what my siblings think of it. I did show to my mom before I put it up on Patreon just to be like, hey I don't know if this is going to make you feel weird. We had a pretty interesting conversation about that but I think that it will hopefully open up a lot of lines of communication. For people that are confused about what we're talking about, this story that I'm focusing on for my Patreon right now is about my relationship with my father who passed away five years ago. It is not an uplifting story, at least it's not yet, it might be, I don't know.

RB (Scout): I think it's therapeutic for other people in similar situations to read and I think it really says something for you to put that much of yourself out there. I’m not sure that that's something I could do with my own family issues so that's pretty brave.

LP: Well, it takes time sitting with it.

RB (Vinton): To me that creates an even more beautiful story. Growing up and still being intrenched with superhero comics and that type of thing, it just sugarcoats what life really is and then when you go and you read a more personal comic like that, it shows you that there's beauty in the world even the pain and in the complications and you can relate a lot more.

RB (Cory): Does putting your personal life out there in comic form make you feel more vulnerable and self-conscious or is it more therapeutic and make you feel more self-assured to write it out?

LP: I don't know if I really feel like either end of the spectrum. Because a lot of times people are like wow you share so much about yourself and I don't know that I could ever do that and to meet doesn't feel like a big deal. Obviously I know that I'm sharing personal things but they don't feel like guarded secrets and I there’s definitely stuff that I haven't written about and probably never will write about but I think that I see more of an intrinsic value in telling those types of stories and I think that one of the things that I've always tried to be really conscious of when writing about my own life is to not try to make myself come out better in a situation than I initially might have. I don't want to paint myself in this picture that's like I'm so great, look at these great things I did. I try to be like, well that was douchey and I acted douchey in return, maybe I’m just douchey. The therapeutic aspect of it is interesting because I don't go into these situations being like I need to write this story because i'm going to feel better and sometimes then hit me way more emotionally than I thought they would, like writing some parts of Tomboy and I was really like, wow, I guess I'm still really hurt by that even though I haven't thought about it in twenty years, So it's just an interesting process. Sometimes I don't know how much something has affected me or still affects me until I'm writing about it. But the therapeutic aspects are just kind of like a nice afterthought.

RB (Cory): So to lighten the mood, we've read in your monthly comics that you are a member of the National Women's Pinball League, so if you were to create a pinball machine that doesn’t currently exists  what would the theme of that pinball machine be?

LP: I actually have drawn out plans for a pinball machine in a zine called Drop Target that Alec Longstreth and John Chad put out ( They did seven issues and each issue they have a different cartoonist create what they call their dream machine, a pinball machine that doesn't exist. For all the issues, since there's seven issues he did a machine based off of all seven Harry Potter books. My favorite pinball machines are always the horror related ones, like Tales from the Crypt,  Monster Bash, Elvira, Addams Family.  So i thought it'd be really great if there was a pinball machine based off of Troll 2. Some of the elements that I added in it was like in Medieval Madness, when you get the trolls to pop up but it would be you know goblins instead. I think it would be really funny if there were a Troll 2 pinball machine.

RB (Cory): What horror movie do you feel like every horror fan should see?

LP: I'm a really crappy horror fan, I like alot of the like way cheesier movies. I am a really big fan of the Final Destination franchise and I think that illustrates my point. But I just really enjoy the Rube Goldbergian deaths that happened in those movies and I especially like that it doesn't really waste much time just getting into the carnage. I don't know if I would really recommend those to everybody though. I'm actually not that up on my horror history, like I actually hadn't seen any of the Nightmare on Elm Street films until a couple years ago. My husband and I watched through all the Friday the 13th films and I was like, wow, the first one is really kind of the only good one huh? So, I don't know if I'm a good person to ask about that. I guess like legitimately good well-respected horror films, I really think that Suspiria is way up there because,  visually and the mood and all the parts of it kind of fit together. So I think that if people haven't seen that, they should check it out and if they want to see some really cheesy shit, watch Final Destination one through five or whatever it is.

RB (Scout): In last year's April comic that you sent out, you talked about Trailer Blaze and I was interested to hear a little bit more about that, being a woman who's interested in comics, I was interested to hear what happened there and what that was like.

LP: So Trailer Blaze is an all women's comic residency that is put on by the women who run the Short-Run comics festival in Seattle. It takes place at this like multi-purpose lodge in southern Washington on the coast. They have refurbished like old sixties RVs that you can stay in and there are cabins and then there's actually just like a lodge that has rooms that people can stay in also. They're doing it for the thirdtime this year I think. Basically what you do is you come and you have your own project and you talk about what your goals for the project are and most people just work on their own for most of the day and then there's group dinners where we talk about what we accomplished during the day and then there are studio visits where everyone comes to your room or your trailer or whatever and then you show them what you've been working on and talk about it and get feedback. It's really great, there's a lot of people who work in very different ways. There was a woman who was doing this cut paper kind of comics and artwork,  there was someone who had brought, a really old like Macintosh printer that had the paper that has the holes on the sides and they were taking photos and then putting it through that and it had the carbonpaper on it also so it was making these different prints. So just a lot of very different ways of making art, making narratives set int his very funky and folky lodge setting. There's also a tourist attraction museum with taxidermied animals that have like two heads and stuff and like Nickelodeon machines where you put the coin in and you get to see the little short movie of people just running around. It also has Jake the alligator man, which is a like an alligator merman that's taxidermied, he's great.

RB (Cory): What work are you most proud of?

LP: Probably Tomboy because of the scope of that book and I really did say a lot of what I wanted to convey about gender and my own personal experiences with that job. Also it's also the latest quote-unquote book that I've done, so I guess I feel closest to it. But I have been having al ot more fun than I expected to working on Coady and the Creepies. Not that I expected not to have fun, but I was really viewing it more as like, oh I don't really do fiction so it'll probably be really hard, but it's actually been really cool to be able to use real places and we're trying to use real venues. It's a four issue mini-series right now and I'm hoping that it does well enough that we can continue making more of a story out of it. I would like to have actual bands involved, like have them be characters in the comics. Basically I want to introduce younger readers to the idea of DIY punk and I want to use real people in real places that are accessible, so hopefully someone can be like "Oh, well I've never heard of this, but I live in Kansas City and I can go find this venue!"

RB (Scout): So what would your wish list of bands to be involved look like?

LP:  I have personal relationships with several of the people that I would like to be involved. I would like to have Lauren Denitzio from Measure [sa] and Worriors be involved because I think that she has a lot of really interesting things to say about the punk scene and touring in the punk scene. The comic riffs off of the idea in the new Ghostbusters movie that the bad guy was really just one of those m'lady fedora, bro-dudes, just kinda like "nobody likes me because I'm a white man." It kind of plays off of that idea in punk where so many people, so many dudes in punk are like: "why does everyone have to come in here and be so PC, punk is punk and if you don't like it, you're a baby!" It kind of tries to dismantle that argument a little bit. So I would like to have people and bands involved in the book that make strides to like combat that idea that to be involved in punk you just need to have a real thick skin. In the first four issues I don't know how deep I can really go into that, but I'm hoping that given more space, I can explore that theme more.

RB (Vinton): Having grown up in the punk scene that is a fantastic idea to me. I love that.

LP: Sometimes [I wonder] how valid of the statement is that anymore? There's so many people who understand that there's a real need for diversity and other people's experiences but I just moved to Portland, Maine and there's a Facebook group that's for punks and for some reason last week some guy on the board posted one of those Facebook polls [asking] "Does punk have aproblem with misogyny?" and the answers were like: yes or like it's a problem with our culture or no and it started this long argument where basically guys were [saying]: "There's no problem punk is super inclusive!" and women were [saying]: "No, I don't feel that way." and the [guys would reply] like: "Well that's because you're a baby, shut up!" I love the idea that the person who's had this experience is telling you about it and you're saying, "no, that's not the experience that you're having." I read that and was like, I guess that's still a thing, ok cool.

RB (Cory): That's unfortunate, but it's good that you have goals to combat that.

LP: Yeah, but I also want to have fun talking about stuff I like too.

RB (Vinton): Having a lot of friends from the punk scene back in the day that I don't talk to but we're still friends online in different places, I can say that's totally still a problem, it hasn't changed much.

LP: It's unfortunate. That makes the book sound way more serious than it is. It's also a very light-hearted, fun book.

RB (Vinton): That's the best, when you can talk about serious issues and still have fun in the book. Speaking of music, do you have a band or an artist that would make a good soundtrack to your comics in general? Not necessarily [Coady and the Creepies] but your your stuff in general?

LP: I actually have a collection of the comics that I have been writing for Razorcake magazine for the last several years coming out. It's actually going to debut at Emerald City Comicon which is just next week but it won't be out for the book market until July [or so]. I was going back to that and I was like oh they're like literally comics in here that are like my mixtape! Songs that I liked back then. I think The Ergs! is always a band that will have a place not just in my heart, but also like I feel like the way those songs are written make it a perfect soundtrack for my comics. As far as a book like Coady and the Creepies is concerned, we actually wrote and recorded a song as the band in the book that will be coming out in conjunction with the first issue, in the middle of March. My friend Danny Bailey from the band Jabber wrote the song, then we had some friends of ours play on it and it's really cool, I'm excited for people to hear it.

RB (Scout): So you've written comics for Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Clarance. Were you big fans of those comics before you started writing him or was it like they approached you and you got familiar with them, how did that work?

LP: Adventure Time is something that I had always wanted to work on and I was really stoked to be asked to write and draw a short story for the Marceline and the Scream Queens mini-series because it has to do with music and punk. Getting to write that story about Lemongrab being in a punk band was just kinda like yeah man! This is cool! And it's kinda funny because that concept became kind of cannon within the comic series, it has been referenced in other people's stories, like they have shown up in the background. Which is like, oh cool, this idea that I came up with kinda has some legs. Especially writing the Clarence series, I really liked the show and it seems like a lot of people hadn't really either heard of it or watched it. So getting to write stories for something like that, I was like, Oh cool, I've been watching this since it cameout and I didn't have to like go back and do like a whole bunch of research about it. The Regular Show thing, my husband is a huge fan of Regular Show. I like Regular Show but he's way more into it than I am. So that was kind of like, we both came up with story ideas for that and so he kinda worked on that in tandem with me.

RB (Scout): You saying that about Clarence is funny because when we discovered Clarence, we have three kids and we were watching it with them and I think that we became Clarence evangelist. Everyone we ran into we were like: "oh my god, have you watched Clarance because you need to be watching!"

RB (Cory): I felt like it was a better than anything else that was on TV. Not even just like children's shows but just across the board. It was just such a funny show.

RB (Scout): And it was pretty progressive, I mean I know Cartoon Network is more progressive than a lot of things but I feel like they still kind of walk that line sometimes. 

LP: Definitely. It was fun because Brian Gorsegner from Night Birds is a huge Clarence fan. So I posted online that I was writing those comics and he wrote to me like: "Oh my god, that is so cool! My daughter and I, we love Clarence! that's crazy!" and then I gave him some copies of the book in exchange for getting me on the guest list at one of their shows and he was like: "So like, are you like super famous now?!" And I was like, no, I think you're the only person who's ever been excited about it. So that was kind of a funny experience.

RB (Scout): Those four issues make me laugh out loud everytime

RB (Cory): Do you have anything that you want to add or you wanna promote?

LP: BUY MY BOOK! BUY MY BOOK! I mean really I just am hoping that people will pick up Coady and the Creepies and give it a try. I was really stoked to be able to give Amanda Kirk a vehicle for getting a wider audience for her comics and actually that was one of the main reasons why I even pursued creating this serious. Like I think if they told me that Amanda couldn't be the artist, I'd probably be like all right well, peace! And I think it came out great, Hannah fisher who colored it, did an amazing job. I don't have an eye for color, so when we got the first couple of pages back, lettered and colored... like the color pallette for it is  like bright pinks and yellows and greens and some colors that you wouldn't necessarily expect, like buildings in the background are pink. I was like "Wow, that's so awesome!" But I never would've thought of that. It's been a cool experience to get to see what other people are doing with this concept.

RB (Cory): Where can people find you online?

LP: My website is It has nothing to do with white power and my last name is not Prince-Power, which I actually get a lot. It actually came from when I was younger, my younger brother and I used to call our family's grayy station wagon "Power of Graycar" after "Power of Grayskull" off of He-Man and so I always had this idea that, yeah, power, it's such a cool thing. Prince Power! Whee! And I'm a little bit regretting that. But at this point, it's been so many years, it's just gonna stick. So, it has links to all my social medias where you can follow me and look at pictures of my cats and I make announcements about my books that are coming out and whatc onventions I'm going to be at and xyz on there. 

RB: Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to interview you and talking with us today!

LP: Yeah, no problem, it was great.


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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Review from Scout

Listen, this book has been out for nearly a month so there will be spoilers.

You should also know that while we keep the Read Brave Comics podcast positive (or try to unless, ya know, something really pisses us off) I can't promise this review will follow the same glass half full standard.

I'll try, Snape. Just for you. Let's hug.

Deep, cleansing breaths to start. Join me, friends. Breathe in...breathe out...breathe in...soonandsoforth. 

I'd like to think that all Potter fans had the same reaction when this play was announced. Mine (and likely yours) were as follows, in no particular order.

  • Why am I so poor? I'll never see this, my life is a dumpster fire. I hate everything.
  • Wait, Hermione is black? Oh hell yes. 
  • Scorpius is still the worst name, but at least Draco didn't name him Albus. (More on reasons why Albus was in some ways the worst later. Feel free to exit this review now.)
  • Okay, we're getting the script in book form. 
  • I'm excited.
  • No, wait, I'm nervous.
  • Maybe I shouldn't even bother.

Fairly accurate, right? When it came out and I saw fellow readers flock to Barnes & Noble for midnight releases I had mixed emotions. There was a strong desire to experience a midnight release full of the magic they had way back when along with the want to warn everyone, "You know this is basically fanfiction, right? Let's form a support group for when this all potentially goes wrong." 

Jo Rowling is the patron saint of authors in my heart of hearts. She is the bright light in the storm of trying to get your work out there into the world. This feels especially poignant as I write this today because I got turned down by the first two literary agents I queried last week. (Shout out to all the agents and publishers who turn me down for making me even more determined.) Jo's taught me to do the work, keep kicking to keep from drowning, and believe in myself. She's a huge part of why the magical story of Harry Potter means so much to me. 

With that in mind, please know that at the very core of it I did love reading this final story. Visiting my old friends was such a treat and I'm so glad it's out there in the world for us to take part in. It's been said that the play touring is a big possibility and you'd better believe that if it comes anywhere close to me I'll do everything I can to witness it first hand. 

Now that I've created a cushion to fall on, let's get down to the nitty gritty of it all.

Harry Potter is a bad father. No, really, that's what our playwrights would like us to believe. The proof is in the text. Let us examine this B.S. moment between Harry and his son, Albus.

"You know what? I'm done being made responsible for your unhappiness. At least you've got a dad. Because I didn't, okay?" 

"And you think that was unlucky? I don't."

"You wish me dead?"

"No! I just wish you weren't my dad."

"Well, there are times I wish you weren't my son."

Damn, Harry. When I told Cory the trauma I endured over the idea of Harry being a terrible dad he told me, "Well that just confirms what I thought all along. Harry's a whiny little bitch." This is now canon. Thanks, universe. 

The good side though? Draco finally getting some G.D. redemption, y'all. Guess what? Draco had one of the worst dads EVER. Like, ever in young adult fiction. But what did my golden boy do? He overcame and raised an amazing kid. 

Precious angel

I'm completely here and all in for Draco teaching Harry valuable lessons in how to not be a brat and stop shutting his kid out.

"...And being alone-that's so hard. I was alone. And it sent me to a truly dark place. For a long time. Tom Riddle was also a lonely child. You may not understand that, Harry, but I do..."

This is the part where Draco dropped the mic and left the room with a swish of his robes.

I'd also like to address the whole ridiculous moments where Harry had heart to heart talks with Dumbledore paintings. First of all, aren't we told over and over again that the paintings at Hogwarts are just memories? Are they really capable of having sentient thoughts and conversations with actual living beings? Umm, McGonagall actually tells Harry in the same exact piece of work that very thing, but no that doesn't matter now because we want to make you cry.

This feels like a good segway into telling you how angry I get when people forget Hagrid. You know, Hagrid, the giant huggable man who loves to nurture and care for children and magical creatures? That guy who took Harry into his arms when he was just a baby? Remember that time he knocked down the door and stomped in to rescue Harry from the abusive people Dumbledore saw fit to leave him with? Yeah, that guy. 

Oh, does that gif make you feel all emotional and weepy? That's because Hagrid was an amazing man with a heart even bigger than the rest of him and why do we always forget him? Why did we only get a flashback? Where the hell is Hagrid and we aren't we acknowledging him as a father figure, dammit? 

Wait. Unless he's living a perfect life with Madame Olympe Maxime in France making giant babies and raising dragons. This is where he is, I just decided and can finally have some peace. 

Which means I can now address my next issue of concern. Do we really believe Voldemort could've fathered a daughter? And even if he could (which let's get real. He couldn't.) there's no way in hell he would've chosen Bellatrix, am I right? I mean, Bellatrix was basically his minion and he kinda hated her. If you were conceived of a love potion and couldn't understand the idea of love you'd probably hate the person who was infatuated with you too, wouldn't you? Not to give Voldemort any credit here, but it sheds some light into why he couldn't stand her. 

Delphi so didn't happen, you heard it here first. 

Oh my word, unless Voldemort had planned on making Delphi a horcrux. I mean, supposedly she was born just before the Battle of Hogwarts. (This is why writing is good, friends. It can help you work through your emotions and/or thoughts. Still don't think the Dark Lord would have a penis if he didn't have a nose though.)

You know I'm right.

Friends and family, I am a proud Hufflepuff. When Pottermore first became a thing I fell into the trap and let the lying, cheating dummy Sorting Hat sort me. It's important that you know I've been a Hufflepuff since the very beginning and know that to be fact as much as I know that the sun will come out freaking tomorrow. Pottermore is a liar. Pottermore sorted me into Slytherin twice. Pottermore is wrong. 

I will protect and defend Cedric Diggory, my fellow Hufflepuff and eternal heart throb, til my last breath. 

Cedric would never kill Neville Longbottom. To quote the brilliant Will Ferrell as said in his role as Mugatu, "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" 

Tumblr user voldemxrt wrote an excellent piece on the reasons why Cedric wouldn't even ever. Read it and understand. The most important point made was this. "Cedric Diggory died with his wand out ready to fight along side Harry." The idea that Cedric would go all rage monster and kill Neville just because he was humiliated might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. Really? That was the only thing you could think of? Stop using Cedric as a tool just to create a world where Voldemort won 2016. I'm running for angry reader of The Cursed Child President, this is my slogan. 

Are you still with me here? Bless you. I had good thoughts and warm fuzzy feelings, too. I won't be storming the castle gates demanding justice any time soon, and here are some reasons why.

Scorpius Malfoy is reason number one. All of the bad is forgotten with what they gave me in this one boy. This one precious, beautiful boy. 

Scorpius and Albus sittin' in a tree...seriously.

In the same world where Hagrid and Olympe are snuggled up on the couch together nursing their butterbeers also exists Mr. and Mr. Albus and Scorpius Malfoy. (Albus took Scorpius's name because Harry's the worst dad ever and it turns out that his now father-in-law Draco is actually pretty fantastic.) 

Next topic? Ron loves dad jokes. And join me together when we all say, "Well, duh". Because we get no glimpse into what George is doing now I've decided that he and Ron run the joke shop together. George and I are also married, but that's not really relevant to this review. 

Love ya, you one earned doll.

McGonagall is so totally McGonadone with everyone being idiots. She also needs to close off the fireplace in her office already. And why is everyone still using floo powder when they can apparate? Seriously, guys, it's weird. 

My kids spilled cereal everywhere this morning. I feel your pain, girl.

Harry doing the cooking? I fully support this. Ginny's too busy being a kickass woman to be bothered with domestic things like cooking. 

I. Love. Ginny. Weasley. Thank you for giving me more Ginny. 

Few moments have brought me more pride and joy as a parent than the time my daughter told me that her favorite character is probably Ginny. A little part of me died inside when Jo said she got it wrong with she wrote Harry and Ginny together, causing all the Harry and Hermione shippers to throw parties and bask in their false ideas of love and destiny. 

Damn straight.

Dudley sent Harry the blanket Lily had wrapped him in as a baby. I needed a moment. Let's get real, I still do. 

A lot of this final story felt almost like emotional manipulation, so let's not even try to hide the fact that they were trying to make us cry. Why else would Harry be forced to watch his parents die again???? 

And now that I'm cleansed I think I'll take some advice from my dear friend Remus...

Me: Uggggh why didn't they give me closure on Teddy?!

Everyone: The play only lasts for 5 hours.

Me: Shut your mouth.

In conclusion, this was Jo Rowling and her team while writing this play...


I still love you, my queen.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Zone One is a thinking person's zombie novel. It's darkly funny, self-aware, and it's very, very smart. While most zombie novels focus on the landscape of how things have changed, the tone of Zone One is a meditation on how things remain the same. From corporate culture to branding to the protagonists previous job in his previous life as a social media coordinator, the vestiges of all of the things that contribute to the ennui of modern life are still there, in one form or another. Sure, we're not all wandering around glued to our smartphones ruminating about last night's episode of everyone's favorite sitcom, but the undead executive assistant that almost takes our protagonist's arm off has the star's haircut.

It's several years after the apocalypse, and really, the novelty has worn off. 

Those who live still go about their day to day, yearning for something different. For our protagonist (or as close as it gets in this wasted landscape) Mark Spitz — a self-proclaimed "solid B student/employee/human" dwell on the dreary sameness. Sure the cast of characters now includes flesh-eating abominations, but there's still paperwork.

For those who thought that there's really nothing new to do with zombies, this is another refreshing change, and one that visits the world-weariness of Chuck Palahniuk, who's almost always, especially in his earlier work is dealing with those who, despite insane situations, are just trying to get by. Whitehead's cast shares a lot with Palahniuk's world, especially the longing sense of wanting to be somewhere else. Unfortunately, in Whitehead's world, there's just not a lot of upward mobility.

Super quick read, and now I'm just excited to read more of Whitehead's work. If I'm correct (and I really do not know much about him other than his newest, Underground Railroad received all manner of critical acclaim. It's on my list, and if Zone One is any indication, I have a LOT to look forward to. 

The Newsflesh Series, by Mira Grant

“I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter what we wanted. What matters is what we chose to do with the things we had.” — G. Mason

I fell into these books by accident. They ended up surprising me at every turn. Going in cold, I thought it was YAF (Young Adult Fiction), I thought it would reasonably silly, and while I'm not completely done with zombies like most of my friends, I really thought there wasn't much more to be done. I was wrong at every turn. I even admit in hindsight that I went into this kind of side-eying the whole venture. I love being wrong.
Much like the fantastic Let the Right One In, where I discovered you could actually do something new with vamps, this book is the same with zombies. It is SO MUCH FUN.

This book exists at the intersection of zombie apocalypse and journalism. You'd be right to perk up your ears. It's an interesting premise and turns out it's a pretty deep well. 

The zombie apocalypse happened — the result of scientists attempting to create a cure for the common cold. They end up curing cancer, and making the dead rise into mindless, flesh-eating monsters. 

Georgia (George) and Shaun Mason are journalists. The post-print journalism world has divided journalists into three categories: "Newsies" - hard journalists, "Irwins" - news makers who set up dangerous situations and film it. Yes, named after Steve Irwin., and "Fictionals" - does what it says on the tin. We pick up in a different-but-recognizable landscape of the near future where journalists are smart, savvy and armed to the teeth. Georgia and Shaun are given the chance to follow the favored presidential candidate on the campaign trail leading up to the DNC. 

These books are smart, funny and extremely self-aware. I expected that from the first mention of George Romero — no, George's name is no coincidence, and yes — he's considered the savior of the human race. And that's about the least corny thing these books do. The characters are relatable, competent and just damn likable. On top of that, these books delve into the depths of what it means to be a journalist, and what a journalist's responsibilities are. Grant is far more interested in the nuance between the lines of the basic tenant of "tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth" — Grant is interested in the unexpected consequences to any unwavering commitment to any approach. 

In addition to the complex and relatable characters, Grant is SMART. You can tell she left no stone unturned, and when it comes to science and biology, while there are fictitious scenarios, there are no false notes. Never once do you feel in the hands of a less-than-capable storyteller. Thanks to that, they move at a breakneck pace through the mire that is politics, news making, and the fully developed, gorgeously human people involved in these situations. 

What surprised me most was the grace and emotional honesty of these books. Where there's surface flash, there's also a lot more going on beneath the surface. It's hard to quantify how much I really loved these books, and they've stayed with me long past the satisfying conclusion. Grab these and be prepared to drop everything to find out what's next. And seriously, grab all three. If you're in, you're IN, and you don't want to have to wait to keep up. 

Books I Have Loved

Books. Beautiful books. Old musty books with yellowed edges and folded down corners. Brand new books with crisp pages and brand new spines that I love to crack open the second I get them in my hands. Words upon words of love, loss, sometimes sex, and rich characters are what, at times, bring me solace. A story can lift you up or tear you down. It can grab at your heartstrings in the worst or best way possible. Sometimes even the heart wrenching, tear inducing stories can do their own part in helping you heal.

The first book that ever made me feel real legitimate emotions that I can remember was To Kill A Mockingbird. Completely cliche, I realize. But there I was, a fifth grader, listening to one of the most wonderful teachers I’ve ever known read it out loud to our entire class. The rich characters, lessons, and the crushing desire to have anyone in my life like Atticus is something that I will never forget.

For the most part however I’m not a reader of great classics or highly philosophical works of literature. I’ll leave that stuff to my husband and other great minds. For me it’s all about escape. In college I devoured Nicolas Sparks books because I was a glutton for punishment; I loved the way they made me cry. Working at a call center left plenty of time for reading when things were quiet. It’s still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had, despite the thirty plus pounds I gained from sitting in an uncomfortable chair and snacking for 12 hours at a time.

Dean Koontz was also an office favorite and his worn out paperbacks made the rounds to all the girls in the office. My first Dean Koontz experience happened while driving from Oklahoma to Colorado in my sister’s car. She had checked out a copy of Seize the Night from her library and we listened in terror while driving along endless fields of nothing in the dark. Christopher Snow remained my number one book crush for years.

Koontz and Sparks were pretty essential reading for me through young adulthood. Apart from awful propaganda driven books on the dangers of rock music and Satanic worship that my mom fed to me, they were my first real foray into good (at least to me) reading. There were also the Christian versions of The Babysitters Club books mixed in there as well. The only Judy Blume book I was given access to was Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret and that book just created more questions for me. Questions that I couldn’t ask my mom. Questions that I, in turn, asked my big sister who would become my go to source for learning all things about growing up, being a woman, and not being a close minded church kid like everyone else in my life at the moment.

Adulthood has brought two gifts to me in the way of literature. And those two gifts are Rainbow Rowell and comic books.

Rainbow what? Rainbow Rowell, my Lord and Savior. Now it may seem odd to dedicate a lengthy section of this piece to one woman, but she’s just that important to me. Rainbow, should you ever happen to read this and feel alarmed I don’t blame you. My incessant tweeting to you in hopes that you’ll give me gold stars barely scratches the surface. Maybe...yeah...just stop reading now before you file the restraining order.

I was standing in your run of the mill discount book store one day when I saw it. I almost hate to admit it, but I’m one of those people who do, at times, judge a book by its cover. If a book has a beautiful cover I will immediately gravitate towards it. And this book...with its mint green beauty, gorgeous illustration of a girl who, if you shaved 100 pounds of her body, could’ve been me, and big pink colors splashing the word “FANGIRL” across it was like a magnet. I immediately picked it up, ran my fingers over the raised print and flipped it over. The recommendation from John Green sold me. There was no decision making to be had. It was mine.

That night I stayed up until three in the morning reading. That was the first time I’d done that since studying in college. I couldn’t wouldn’t didn’t dare to put it down. Have you ever read a book and thought, “This is mine. Someone was thinking of me when they wrote this. It belongs to me.” Exactly that. That’s what happened.

I could discuss with you, at great length, all of my fangirl tendencies. They range from Harry Potter to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and all things Joss Whedon to beautiful British men and filthy fanfiction about a certain detective with a head full of beautiful curls.

FANGIRL. The story of a girl obsessed with a boy wizard and hiding behind writing endless words of fanfiction is my hero. The book. It’s my cozy blanket. It’s my mug of hot tea after a really shitty day. It’s my husband curling his arms around me, being the big spoon, when he climbs into bed with me after a long night of work. It’s hugs from my kids and words of love and adoration. It’s everything.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, every one of Rainbow’s books have hit a chord with some part of my life. In FANGIRL it was Cath dealing with her issues of abandonment in regards to her mother. It was the social anxiety and resistance to new situations and people. It was finding that person..that one Levi..the one who was made for me. Landline was written for 36 year old me. The working mother with a nurturing, kind husband. It was marriage and the sometimes difficult nature of keeping a marriage together. Every book means something different and beautiful to me.

I wrote a little about my dedication to Rainbow on Facebook a couple years ago, and it went like this (No I didn’t tag her in it. But should she ever see it and decide that this is the life for her I would gladly comply.)

"You guys more than likely know by now that I adore my husband. Along with adoring my husband however I have pretty severe boy crazy tendencies. It's the foundation to any healthy marriage, being able to freely express your appreciation for other people of the opposite (or same really) sex.
My super embarrassing Tumblr proves it. In it you will find pictures of Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan over and over again. However, Rainbow Rowell has been posting magnificent tweets about Daniel Radcliffe today...complete with imaging scenarios where he goes out for a night of karaoke...and that's when I realized that she's my biggest crush of all. I'd walk to the ends of the earth for her if she asked me to. I'd walk til I had nothing left but bloody stumps where my legs & feet used to be, then I would drag my wasted body the rest of the way. I'd do her laundry, wash her feet, babysit her children, then read fanfiction to her in bed while sipping on glasses of wine and eating chocolate."

And now that the idea of letting me get too close to you is a terrifying thought, I move on to the world of discovering comic books for the first time a couple years ago as a 34 year old woman. A world that used to interest, yet terrify me. A world that I still feel a bit too intimidated to truly be a part of, so I rely on Cory to feed my fairly new found addiction.

It all began with an amazing comic book called Saga. I tend to resist things that other people are so sure I’ll love. I think it’s that insecure adolescent buried deep down inside who still wants to hold fast to the idea that she’s completely different from everyone else. I can’t like what you like because then we’ll all be the same. Scout Castoe, an original hipster since conception more than likely.

But Cory wore me down. More like, he annoyed me until I finally caved. I was hooked. While I won’t waste your time with a lengthy synopsis of the magic that is Saga I will tell you to make haste. Run to your nearest comic bookseller or library. If they don’t carry it bonk them over the head and shout, “BUT WHY?” then find yourself a better bookseller or library. Start with the trade paperback of volume 1, read, then feel free to thank me.

While I can barely draw stick figures, I have always been drawn to the visual arts. It was a love that began during my freshman year of college with an arts history class. Slide upon slide in a darkened room accompanied with history lessons on who, what, when and where is how it all began. Even now as an adult I entertain the thought of an art history degree at some point before I die.

What Fiona Staples does in Saga is nothing short of astounding. And Brian K. Vaughn’s writing was perfect for a comic virgin like me. He keeps the reader engaged without giving me a moment to feel bored or distracted, two things that have caused me to abandon many a novel in the past.

It’s a love story. Love between partners, but also love between parents and their offspring. It’s about survival and the lengths that these characters will go to just to keep the people they love safe. It’s about sex, war, tolerance and the impact that literature can have on society. In short, it’s perfect.

And it was my gateway drug. While I’m still learning the ropes and feel intimidated by the male dominated world of comics I can’t wait to discover more. Watching our daughter Faith devour them one after the other brings me so much joy. Elliott, our son, was such a reluctant reader until he discovered comic books and graphic novels. The other day he declared to Cory that he does, in fact, love reading, and we attribute that to nothing more than patience and the wonder of comics.

Don’t be afraid to dive in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, not just with comic books but all books. Read brave. It’s just two words but two words I’ve been using as my mantra for the past few years. I’ve been reading things that I normally wouldn’t even give a second thought, but opening up my mind to new words has brought stories into my life that I now can’t imagine living without.

My Alaskan Summer & Get Over It! - Two Reviews from Cory

I’ve enjoyed perzines since I first serendipitously discovered them about 10 years ago. Then when I found out there were perzine comics? Mind. Blown. I discovered creators like Liz Prince and Jeffrey Brown, and I instantly fell in love. I love the way each page was like its own comic strip, but all the strips combined to form a narrative. I felt deep connections to these people I’d never met over the shared experiences in their stories. What it’s like to fall in love, to lose touch with friends, to fart in front of your spouse/partner. I loved the artwork, and how the books felt like they had been handmade, just for me to read and enjoy. I loved the sizes of the books, which were typically smaller in length and width, but not necessarily in depth. Needless to say, I was hooked.

In the same by chance way I came upon Liz Prince and Jeffrey Brown, I found two books this week by Corinne Mucha; My Alaskan Summer and Get Over It!. Mucha’s style is much in the same vein as the previous mentioned creators, so I instantly knew I was in for a treat.

My Alaskan Summer is all about her summer spent working at a bed and breakfast in Alaska with her boyfriend. During their time there, they take mini-trips, encounter giant mosquitoes, go hiking….everything you would do if you went on a trip to Alaska. It was especially wonderful to me, as it reminded me of my friends in Alaska, and a week during a summer I spent with them.

Get Over It! is about her breakup with a boyfriend, the same one who had gone to Alaska with her in the previously mentioned book. She discusses in the introduction that writing the book was therapeutic, and helped her to be able to move past the awful feelings that often come with breakups. The emotions she went through will be instantly familiar and relatable to anyone who has gone through a breakup.

Corinne Mucha’s storytelling and illustrations are both top notch, and met my expectations of what personal comics should be. I really enjoyed both of her books, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Seveneves: a very not-little book about the importance of the moon

Neal Stephenson doesn't do anything half-assed. Following his career from the beginning when he came screaming onto the scene with Snow Crash - a slick, funny smart younger sibling of Burning Chrome by William Gibson, he was immediately recognized as worth your attention. A gifted storyteller with a wild imagination, Stephenson stories are rich with the unexpected and clever. A lot's changed since Crash, and Stephenson has revealed himself as a little bit of a polymath-come-renaissance man. It shows in every one of his increasingly dense tomes that show off his big, sexy brain. His books, if lobbed form a window would (hopefully) instantly kill the unlucky pedestrian below. They also double as a bludgeon, or as fellow Okie Geek Joshua Unruh is fond pointing out: a doorstop.

I adored Snow Crash for what it was: fun, funny and fast. It was the last of Stephenson's books of a manageable size. Since then he's been wowing us with HUGE stories filled with intricate world-building and lush narratives that we inhabit for weeks, sometimes months as we experience the wonderful.

Stephenson isn't just asking for your attention. He's the real deal, baby - he wants a commitment and if you're willing, he will take you on a trip that you can't get out of your head. But only after you've got the lingo down (no, really - Anathem has an actual glossary) and you can describe, from stem to stern the world in which all the action happens. Along the way you'll meet fascinating characters — in The Baroque Cycle, follow the adventures of the plucky (and not particularly lucky) Jack Shaftoe, a syphilitic (of course) former navy man-turned-pirate as "The Imp of the Perverse" leads him on improbable adventures. While telling his and several other people's stories, Stephenson manages to inform readers of the history (part of) world, especially the provenance of the modern financial system, primarily dealing with coinage. Yeah, it's that kind of story. Stephenson's works, when broken down by plot description, sound like PhD dissertation topics. Isaac Newton makes regular appearances.

It's wonderful. It's daunting. For someone who's thrilled at the prospect of spending no less than two months on a trilogy, it's so firmly up my alley.

"The challenge of writing a novel in which some of the most important entities are rocks is that some of the most important entities are rocks." - Charles Yu, Sunday Book Review - New York Times, 27 May 2015

Seveneves is a treatise on the future of the human race via our scientific achievements in the middle of the 21st Century. It was my favorite book of 2015, and as my fellow hosts and sweet husband can attest, I couldn't shut up about it for months. It took me a good month to read, which is unheard of. I'm always snatching a few more minutes to continue the story, and I read really, really fast. This one took me what felt like forever, with more joy every minute.

It begins with an unemotional account of the day we lost the moon. In the telling of this event, the author treats us, in hindsight to a dispassionate-yet-intricate description of what happened and it's effect on the characters — of which there will be very few in a short time. A few days later, the world's leading scientific minds arrive at the ramifications of the loss of the moon, and the importance of that beautiful orb hanging in our sky.

If you are not comfortable with loving and detailed descriptions of celestial bodies, (and, okay - I really don't understand, but,) I can firmly say that this is not the book for you. Part of the joy of this book is the loving descriptions of that beautiful rock that keeps the tides in working order, and how much we would miss her were she gone. Succinctly — that's the story of Seveneves — and that's not the story at all. The opening action seems almost random until you are firmly in the story. Not a word or a moment is wasted. Nothing is unnecessary. The editing must have been brutal. What remains is jaw-dropping.

It's that kind of story.

What follows is an impossibly good narrative about space, science, human technology and advancement told in detail that would, in less capable hands, make the most ardent science wonk squirm. And yet, when told in Stephenson's passionately curious and ridiculously informed voice: the novel is part tech manual, part compassionate meditation on the best and absolute worst that humanity has to offer.

The result is simply staggering. It's all the things the author has to say about science in all its geeky detail — it's beautiful, it's hopeful and it's the author (and his characters) at their nerdy, curious and absolute best.

originally published on OkieGeek Blog, 27 Apr. 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse

  • Based on X-Men by Stan Lee,  Jack Kirby
  • Apocalypse created by
    Louise Simonson
  • ADAPTED BYBryan Singer
  • cinematic franchise by 20th century fox

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE was not perfect. It was not a perfect adaptation of the source material and it was not a perfect "summer blockbuster." But perfection is a lot to ask for and if you expect it, 99.9% of the time you will be disappointed. I went into this film with a low bar. We've seen the worst the X-men has to offer cinematically in the past and early reviews were not very positive here. I did get some glimmer of hope that the film would at least be enjoyable from friends who saw it early on, but I would not let my heart truly believe this film would be anything more than just "fun," if even that.
I went in ready to be angered. I left full of joy.

Apocalypse was a very fun film that built off the last two films in the franchise very well, while bringing in new elements from the comics in fresh ways. Their new character designs offer a beautiful nod to the eighties in general, but especially in the case of one mohawk clad goddess, a specific nod to the eighties source material. The eighties were arguably the best period of time for X-Men related comics, so making this adaptation a period piece was pure genius.
As a life long X-Men fan, I easily looked past the flaws and spent most of the film in a nostalgic, awe-like excitement. It was everything that 8 year old me could want. And it did exactly what a good adaptation should, it gave me a desire to return to the source material. I have never wanted to revisit the old X-Men comics more, especially the iconic work of Louise Simonson. I have hope for the future of the X-films, I hope they branch out, taking notes from Gaurdians of the Galaxy and Deadpool. I want to see all of the weird teams that branch out of the X-Men. (Come on DOOP!)
- signed a surprised and overjoyed X-fan

P.S.- I recently read that the Russo brothers greatly desire getting Wolverine into the MCU. While I love Wolverine, I can't help but agree with so many others who groan at his over saturation. That being said, if they could make a deal for Wolverine, I imagine the rest of the X-Men would follow and I would be X-static (See what I did there?) to see my Marvel universe pieced back together at long last.
P.P.S.- Fox if you ruin the New Mutants film, I will move to Canada, destroy everything you love, or some other generic angry promise no one ever goes through with.