BLACK PANTHER VOL. 1
Coates wrote last year's excellent essay collection BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME and I was curious to see what a comic written by him would be like. Turns out not good. I'd never read any Black Panther comix before, and knowing more about the character and his backstory might have helped, but there were so many overlapping memories and mythologies and narrators and so little explanation of who any of the characters were that I could never figure out much of what was happening. I'm probably not the only person who read this just because Coates wrote it, and I feel like Marvel just should have let him reboot the character and start with an origin story or at least a quick history of his fictional country. Despite Wakanda not being based on a real country or culture, there's a brief mention in here of orishas, and I kept thinking that a comic about Yoruban mythology could be really cool. I'd also love to read a good graphic novel about the real Black Panther Party.
THE LAST BOOK OF BAGHDAD
THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON VOL.1 1
These are both about the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Both are pretty violent, but since SHERIFF is a comic the violence is more visceral and disturbing. At first I didn't like it very much, but as the characters proved to be more complex I ended up liking it quite a bit. I still liked LAST BOOK better though. It felt less cynical and I understood the characters more. Maybe poets and translators and screenprinters are just easier for me to like and relate to than soldiers and mercenaries.
It felt weird to read Amerikans writing from the perspective of Iraqis. I'd like to read some modern Iraqi fiction, but so far I've only found Hassan Blasim. If anyone knows who else I should read, talk to me.
other books I read this month: