My Other Book is a Graphic Novel: 2019 in Comics

As with last year the categories for comics are largely based on just what I read this year. Sections are arranged roughly in the order I read the works.
My recommendations for must-reads are marked with a 🌟
Please note: Year of publication is based on the translated works when applicable.

Adaptations and Side Stories

Ace Attorney Volume 2 (Kenji Kuroda & Kazuo Maekawa & Alethea Nibley, Kodansha, 2011)

Comic companions to the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games, my favorite part about these manga cases is that they aren’t the cases from the games, giving you not only new fun whodunits to witness but also a strong idea of how long Capcom actually thinks it takes Phoenix to figure things out. It’s a nice low pressure change of pace, particularly compared to the less forgiving early entries in the series.

Miles Edgeworth Volume 2 (Kenji Kuroda & Kazuo Maekawa & Sheldon Drzka, Kodansha, 2012)

Like with Ace Attorney, I’ve really been liking the different look at Miles, less restricted than he is in the games themselves. It rags on Gumshoe perhaps a bit too much, but it’s great to see Miles’s basically Sherlock Holmes-esque persona shine through, with Gumshoe as a hapless Watson.

Persona Q P3 Side, P4 Side volumes 1 (So Tobita, Mizunomoto, Kodansha Comics & Atlus, 2015)

A pretty run of the mill manga unfortunately. It has a cute art style but it didn’t feel like any one character had any time at all to shine. The P3/P4 side gimmick did help them get more out of each event, and does follow the game, but putting them in separate volumes just felt like a way to pad wallets and pages beyond what the story really needed.

The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap and Phantom Hourglass (Akira Himekawa, Viz Media, 2009-2010)

I love how much personality each incarnation of Link gets to have in the comics. While silent and relatively flat in the games, here he’s a jerk or a naive fool or whatever personality fits the author’s vision for the game’s story. Cramming each game into a single volume seems like it would lead to a lot of plot threads being dropped on the ground, but in the end it mostly ended up feeling like each plot had just enough room to really exist before having to move on to ta new game, a new Link, and a new adventure.

Dream Daddy (Leighton Grey & Vernon Shaw & Kris Anka & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou & Wendy Xu & Ryan Manuilit & Lee C. A. & Jack Gross & Jarrett Williams & Jeremy Lawson & C. Spike Trotman & Drew Green & Reed Black & Josh Trujillo & D. J. Kirkland & Matt Herms, Oni Press & Game Grumps, 2019)

A collection of comics by a new team each issue that take place in the Dream Daddy setting using the dateable Dads. Ranging from a meditation on past relationships to a Dungeons and Dragons game, it’s quite a bit of fun. And it reminds me that I should finish a playthrough of the game–maybe in 2020.

Final Fantasy Type-0 (Hikoki Chiba & Tetsuya Nomura, GanGan Comics & Square Enix, 2018)

Fine? Fine. Makes me more worried about the actual storyline and pacing in the game than anything else to be honest. It’s a bit harder to parse than the introduction to a story really has any right to be.

Suikoden III 1-11 (Full series) (Aki Shimizu & Various Assistants, TokyoPop, 2002 – 2006)

The story is pretty basic popcorn fantasy fare, nothing to write home about, and likely something I wouldn’t have pursued if not for getting the first 6 volumes extremely cheap and then having to get volume 7 in French from a German reseller in order to get it for less than $80, giving me the drive to finish the series to show it what for. Was also a nice challenge to have to read a book in French; I hadn’t done that in a few years. 

Gravity Falls: Lost Legends (Alex Hirsch & Many Artists, Disney Press, 2018)

Great little treat for those of us that enjoyed the original show, it has show-accurate art and, considering it is by the show creator, writing to match as well. A set of unrelated stories that each felt like little episodes; my favorite was the third, which revolves around Mabel having to deal with her equivalent from a bunch of other dimensions, including one who tries to replace her–very Goosebumps but with a happy ending.

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