First Trade: Comic Reviews for Booksellers - October 2019

DBD introduces a new graphic novel review series by bookseller Bianca Walters. Every month, Bianca will provide reviews of three graphic novels, providing information on suitable audiences for each title, artistic comparisons, and sell-through suggestions.

CONTRIBUTORSSuzanne Walker, Wendy Xu
ON SALE: 10/22/19
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance

Tam Lang and Nova Huang have reappeared in each others’ lives in a gust of mystery and magic. Nova works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, same as always. Tam has been rambling, exploring wolf magic and tracking a demon spirit in the forest. Their reunion is a happy one and the romance that follows is soul nourishingly sweet, even as they deal with dark forces and the woes of late teenhood. 

Lion Forge is killing it with the magical coming-of-age graphic novels this fall! They’re doing so by paying attention to queer, inclusive web comics. If Slamet’s Witchy (out last month) is the political thriller one, Mooncakes is the mischievous romance one. 

FOR FANS OF: Tea Dragon Society and Kate O’Neill in general, Kiki’s Delivery Service (movie, 1989) and Grace Ellis’ Moonstruck. 

ART: Swoopy hair, pointy ears, and leafy creatures, oh my! 

SELL IT: To the horde voracious teen graphic novel readers and those trying to buy gifts for a member of said horde. There is light swearing (Nova exclaims the s word, understandably, in a few scenes) and a fair amount of smooching.  A flexible 13 & up.

Assassin Nation
CONTRIBUTORSKyle Starks, Erica Henderson
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ON SALE: 09/24/19
GENRE: Crime Comedy, Mystery

Before becoming the head of the Pizda Rulyu gang, Mr. Rankin was the #1 killer in the city for 20 years. Now, someone is trying to kill him. He’s hired 20 of the highest ranking assassins in town to protect him and put a stop to it. Maxwell Bishop is the man who took the #1 spot from him years ago, and is coming out of retirement to respond to Rankin’s call. Bishop makes clear upon arriving that his return wasn’t inspired by duty or loyalty, but revenge. One of the assassins in that top 20 killed his husband, and they’re going to pay. 

FOR FANS OF: Deadpool, Hot Fuzz (movie, 2007), Starks’ other wild blam-blam works (Sexcastle, Kill Them All.) Assassin Nation is like if Shoot ‘Em Up (movie, 2007) and Smokin’ Aces (movie, 2006) had a lovechild that was 5x sillier than its progenitors. 

ART: The style pops in the sweet spot between Batman: The Animated Series and Tarantino flicks. Despite there being over 20 assassins, Henderson manages to keep them all distinct and recognizable as (most of them) die in a symphony of improbable headshots and oversized humans.    

SELL IT: To Rick & Morty fans and as an upsell for folks buying The Boys omnibus.

La Voz de M.A.Y.O
CONTRIBUTORSHenry Barajas, J. Gonzo
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
ON SALE11/19/19
GENRE: History, Biography/Memoir

Written by the great-grandson of its protagonist, La Voz is an effort to pass on the story of Ramon Jaurigue and his activism with M.A.Y.O. to protect the land and well being of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. Barajas’ tone is earnest and conversational as he narrates between the scenes. He is interested in historical truth and tells it alongside his conclusions about how the struggle affected the family’s dynamic.    

Don’t skip Frederick Luis Aldama’s foreward, a framing of the events in the book and a quick history of Latinx presence in comics journalism. 

FOR FANS OF: John Lewis’ March - the reading level and content maturity is about the same - Cuba My Revolution by Invernez Lockpez & Dean Haspiel, 21 by Wilfred Santiago, King by Ho Che Anderson. 

ART: Gonzo’s bold lines and rich colors serve the story well. After the story there are facsimile pages of La Voz de M.A.Y.O., a newsletter written for the tribe and movement at the time. 

SELL IT: To history-minded youth.



Bianca is a bookseller, a polite troublemaker, an eventual time traveller, and a graphic novel evangelist. Bianca and their two cats are from Berwyn, IL, and they currently work at The Book Table in Oak Park. Read more of their reviews here: or catch them on the Twitter @catscomicsclops