Sigh. Chef's Kiss is pretty to look at (art below) but it's really shallowly developed. The opening scenes consist of Ben moving in with three roommates shortly after graduating from college. He applies to and interviews for lots of writing and editing jobs before stumbling upon a job opening at a nearby vegetarian restaurant. Thus begins a drawn out plot in which Ben has to cook three existing dishes and develop one new one for the restaurant and get approval of the chef's pig, Watson.
Creators: Format: EBook Print
Romanceiness: Definitely a Romance
Tags: sci-fi straight
From JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids, but after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences?
Available as 3 volumes, 15 issues, or 1 complete Deluxe Edition.
A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):
ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people love it, but some older people prefer the more personal touch of a video call to relatives. Just like today, but advanced so that I'm one of the old people.
The male protagonist, Alex, is somewhat heartbroken, slogging through life in an office job. His well-meaning grandmother decides to send him a lifelike robotic Tanaka corporation companion, Ada. He's immediately put off by the idea, and with good reason. A few years back, there was a robot that achieved sentience and went on a killing spree. It's not the killing spree that frightens Alex - it's the fact that this creature, who must obey his every command, might be sentient, and completely unable to grant consent. The treatment of women is definitely a prominent thread through the entire series.
Alex decides not to return the unit - something he considers to be a moment of weakness. He starts to frequent internet forums where people discuss how to "unlock" the sentience within a Tanaka robot. When Ada wakes up, neither Alex, nor the world, are ready for what happens next.
The first volume is a story of emotional exploration and confrontation of bigotry. Lifelike robots fall into the concept of the "Uncanny Valley," and make some people extremely uncomfortable. They're all tattooed so that they can't be mistaken for a "real" person. The second volume deals with the social strain of someone trying to pretend to be something they're not - Alex and Ada have broken the law by unlocking her sentience, and Ada has a huge struggle ahead of her as an illegal entity. This volume is much more centered on her than on the romance. The final volume is much faster paced than the prior two, and relatively violent (compared to the rest of the series). This should not be mistaken for rushing the ending (as many comics do) - it feels well-planned and is the end of a steady accelerative curve. Their illegal actions have real world consequences, and the ending was definitely not what I expected, but gives a really great perspective.
It's a very delicate romance that blooms between Alex and Ada, as they didn't meet in the best of circumstances. One partner has trouble treating the other as anything but a child; the other has difficulty with the brand new emotions she's capable of. Somehow, with a lot of reliance on their mutual friends, they're able to work through. The ending is satisfying and heartwarming.
The artwork is very straightforward, and simple enough to convert the messages. It's a very sanitized future, which fits in well with so many of the themes. There's a similarity between the sanitization of AI and the meticulous nature of streets, offices, houses. The robots aren't the only AI creatures, and the remaining AI force keeps everything well-groomed, and you can feel it. This also leaves the facial features of many of the characters feeling a little bland, but it's made up for in body language.
Overall, I can definitely recommend this to fans of science fiction, romance, or both!
I posted a bit about Embodied over on the Love in Panels Instagram account, but I loved this book so much I wanted to make sure it got to as many sets of eyes as possible.
I received a digital review copy of the book but never got around to reading it, so when I saw it's shiny glory on display at my local indie bookstore, I picked it up. The cover is truly gorgeous, a computer image doesn't do it justice. (It's shiny in that silver-blue-purple way that only the best drag gowns are.)
The Girl From the Sea is a sapphic young adult graphic novel with a summer romance between a human teen and a selkie. Ostertag's recognizable art style is rendered here more clearly than in The Witch Boy series and Maarta Laiho's colors are beautiful. But yet again, I'm annoyed at a publisher for putting only one name on the front of the book when it's a collaboration. Colorists are so important and deserve credit, dammit. Worse, Laiho isn't listed anywhere on the book page on Amazon. Here's why it's especially important in this case: I think Laiho did a better job than Ostertag usually does and therefore this is a better product. It feels almost abusive. *shakes fist at Scholastic*
For those of us who like to wait for the last issue of an indie comic to get in on the crowdfunding action, that time is here! (I already backed this once before, but still.) I Am Hexed, a queer comic with so many witches, launches its fourth and final Kickstarter on February 16th!
I don't do this often, but this comic looks so cute that I figured I'd share the announcement from Oni-Lion Forge!
This book is only for adult audiences. If you are not 18+, please close this window.
This book is for adult audiences only. (18+)
This is the book for you if you like:
1) messy sister relationships
2) magic, used for both good and evil
3) a distinctive art style with emphasis on watery tones and pops of red
The Daughters of Ys is a retelling of an old Breton folktale, set in a magically protected and constructed seaside city called Ys. (Similar to Atlantis, it's a magical city that's now sunken and never seen again.) The Queen, possessed of faerie magic, has just passed away and her two daughters are left with an irresponsible, grieving mess of a father. The elder sister takes to the countryside, bonding with animals and local people, even finding love with a commoner. The younger sister takes her anger and magic and uses them to keep the city going with her father. She does all the things no one else is willing to do and it's unclear whether she's actually "bad" or just does evil things. If she didn't do them, the city would fall into the sea and the sea monsters that guard it would attack all the inhabitants, so is all the murdering she does to feed the monsters and magic really that bad? Hmm.
Come Together is a collection of erotic comics from a stellar group of comics creators. Many will be familiar to comics readers, including Niki Smith and Hari Conner, but several were new to me and I'm happy to have read them. One of my favorite things about anthologies is the opportunity to be exposed to new creators and Come Together didn't disappoint.
You Brought Me the Ocean is an origin story for Aqualad, this time as a gay Black teen living in the US Southwest. So many secrets. His mother's been keeping him away for water his entire life, but why? What are the "birthmarks" on his arms and why do they glow when exposed to water? Is he gay? Why does everyone think he's dating his best friend Maria? And is it time to talk to the only out gay guy at school? Or do more than talk?