realism

Abolitionista!

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Human trafficking is a very serious issue. In comics and in film, we always expect the hero to save the day. Frank Castle and Liam Neeson wage one-man wars against vile criminals, but sadly, the real world is a much…

March of the Crabs

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Off the coast of France lives Cancer Simplicimus Vulgaris, or the Square Crab. (Not a real species, by the way. I had to check to make sure.) They can only move in a straight line their whole lives. They spend…

The Hockey Saint

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College sophomore Tom Leonard is on his way to becoming assistant captain for his school’s ice hockey team. He receives a tip about the address of superstar hockey player Jeremiah “Jake” Jacobson and decides to stake out Jake’s house to…

World War One, 1914-1918

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It was called “The War to End All Wars” in the early twentieth century. Forgotten by some and overshadowed by the war that followed 20 years later, the First World War helped to shape the twentieth century and was, as…

K-On! High School

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K-On! High School succeeds K-On!, continuing the story of the high school pop music club after most of its members have graduated, leaving third-year student Azusa as the club’s captain, guitarist, and lone member. The story of Afterschool Tea Time’s…

Bumperhead

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On the cover of Bumperhead, Gilbert Hernandez’s second book with Drawn and Quarterly, a boy looks out at the reader with a confident glare, suggesting he knows what he believes in and where he’s going in life. He’s caught the eye of a…

The Harlem Hellfighters

Harlem Hellfighters cover

  Educators and researchers: let’s all heave a collective sigh of disappointment that this is not truly a work of nonfiction. Max Brooks testifies that he conducted a lot of research and worked on this story for a long time, both…

Earthling

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Whether it be in Germany or anywhere else, the suburbs seems like the perfect setting for a story that examines alienation, malaise, and uncertainty. In Earthling, Aisha Franz explores this subject through the stories of a young girl named Mädchen, her older sister,…

Girls Und Panzer, vols. 1 & 2

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    Most high school girls spend their time studying, making friends, or carousing with cute boys. The girls of Ooarai Academy, however, have chosen to enlist in the school’s revitalized tankery club to practice World War II-style tank combat with…

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

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Assassination Classroom is exquisitely bizarre. One day, an alien being who looks like Pac-Man with tentacles destroys the Moon and threatens to do the same to Earth. Thanks to mysterious circumstances and an agreement with the Japanese government, the alien postpones his…

Sorako

Sorako

Ten quiet slice-of-life vignettes comprise Sorako, a thin yet evocative volume published by GEN Manga. Each story features a young woman struggling through the ennui typical of the transition between teenage life and adulthood. While each story is independent of the others, the titular character…

All Star

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The year is 1998. In Major League Baseball, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are beginning their race to break the long-standing home run record, Bill Clinton is being questioned about a girl named Monica, and in rural Vermont, senior, Carl…

Gast

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Helen has just moved to rural Wales with her parents. She’s quiet and solitary, but she isn’t shy. She’s the kind of child whose mother must ask her not to bring any more dying animals to the house. Helen loves watching nature…

All You Need Is Kill

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One of my favorite video games is a dark fantasy role playing game called Dark Souls. Developed by From Software, the game is notorious for its extreme difficulty. While most games take the time to teach users the rules and controls,…

JUDGE, vols. 1-4

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Yoshiki Tonogai has returned to torture teens once more in this judicial follow-up to Doubt. Previously, Tonogai’s victims were united by their interest in a mobile phone game called Rabbit Doubt. Their love of the game inevitably doomed them to participate in a real life version, created by a…

This One Summer

This One Summer

    Rose is just an ordinary girl with an average life and regular parents. Every year, her family travels to Awago Beach for a summer filled with sun and surf, accompanied by her younger friend, Windy. But this year, everything feels different, including Rose herself. She’s begun to notice things…

Doubt, vol. 2

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Warning: this review contains spoilers. A good mystery has to end on a high note. Ideally, all the clues scattered throughout the narrative should come together to form a plausible finale. Unfortunately, Doubt leaves a great deal to be desired as its chaotic and…

Doubt, vol. 1

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Doubt, vol. 1 is a lengthy whodunit that pits six teenagers against each other in a life-or-death situation modeled after a popular cell phone game. The manga calls to mind character-driven thrillers like Saw, building an intricate mystery and connecting the victims beyond…