Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments edited by Nadia Shammas

Corpus is a book of stories by people whose health isn’t perfect.

Frankly, that’s all of us — if not today, than someday.

Body shenanigans range from the annoying to the profound disability, from the terminal or deadly to the “oh god this again, I just want to go to the store”. Around 17% of people in the United States self-report a disability (which means the number is higher) and body shenanigans, whether formally disabilities or not, affect a much higher percentage of us than we want to talk about.

And, at least in the United States, the last few years have been filled with political, public discourse, (and in my case personal) health crises of such proportion that frankly, I’m surprised I’m sitting here to write about it.

But that’s why this book is excellent and that’s why it’s important. We are all human, and one of the things that makes us all human is the annoying, frustrating, sometimes horrible ways in which our bodies break down, act weird, create what shouldn’t be created, destroy what shouldn’t be destroyed, and expect us to persevere regardless.

Humanizing body shenanigans brings us together.

We need to talk more about health.

This book opens the door to having conversations about what we’re all going through, and reminds us that no matter how small or large the problem, we’re in it together.

Great thanks to the editor, Nadia Shammas, for putting it together, and I hope there will be many sequels to come.

Note: I purchased this through a Kickstarter, so it was probably a limited print run. If you want to order a copy, I wouldn’t wait around too long.

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos by Dave Kellett

Pugs: God’s Little Weirdos is a collection of all Dave Kellett’s Sheldon comics that involve the pug, Oso.

It is clear that Dave owns pugs of his own because nobody who’s not lived with the little beasties would be able to describe them visually and verbally as well as he does.

It’s also clear that you don’t have to be a pug owner (or even a pug-liker, although I think they’re pretty cool) to like this book. As always, Dave writes heartwarming and hilarious stories about Oso, his humans, their talking duck, and the lizard.

Note: normally I’d send you to the publisher, Topatoco, to order this, but they appear to be out. (I got it through a Kickstarter.)

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

Kill the Farm Boy is a coming-of-age story. Well, sort of. It’s as satirical of its tropes as Monty Python is of, well, everything. It’s got enough puns to be a Xanth novel but it’s a lot better a story. It’s got a Chosen One who isn’t up to the task, political intrigue, romance, an elder statesman I can actually look up to, and interesting ways to die.

Oh and did I mention the talking goat?

Here’s how good this book was. I finished it, put it down, and preordered No Country for Old Gnomes (the next book in the series) immediately.

Come for the poop jokes, stay for the talking goat.

Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine: Clocktaur Wars series by T. Kingfisher

Okay so the first thing you need to know, because I tip my biases, is I’ve essentially loved everything that Ursula Vernon / T. Kingfisher has written since Digger was just another webcomic in the list of 100 I hit daily.

That being said, most of the works of hers I’ve read have been in the form of either modern retellings of old fairy tales (of which Bryony and Roses is probably my favorite) or Dragonbreath chapter books (because you’re never too old for good chapter books).

The Clocktaur Wars aren’t like that. Way way not like that.

My understanding is that Ursula Vernon got annoyed about how poorly other people told the “tortured Paladin rejected by his god” trope, and decided to fix it. And fix it she did.

This book has supernatural dealings. It has a pantheon of gods. It has tattoos that bite. It has a very talented forger who I want to be when I grow up. It has a tortured paladin. It has dead demons and live ones. It has romance and tension and cute talking animals and not-cute-at-all terrifying monsters and an ending that had me both going “wait what the FUCK just happened?” and “well of course because that’s the only logical thing that can happen no wait WHAT THE FUCK.”

Oh, yeah, this one is certainly not a chapter book for the kiddies. ¬†(Although frankly 12-year-old me would’ve loved it as much as I do now.)

So read Clockwork Boys and love it and then read The Wonder Engine because after the first one you’re not just going to hang on that cliff forever.


Superman: Secret Identity by

Superman: Secret Identity by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen (Illustrator) ¬†book is about an Earth where Superman is a comic book hero, and Clark Kent is a boy who grew up in Kansas hating Superman — because of the name, obviously.

I get it. I was born a Kent too. (According to one site I checked, Kent is the 778th most popular surname in the United States, so there are quite a lot of us.) I didn’t get nearly as much teasing as my brother (who is not named Clark), and certainly not as much as Clark Kent in this book gets — because his family all thought it was hilarious.

But just like every kid, I wondered if I was a superhero, or a mutant, or any of those things (It was a little too early to wonder if I was a wizard.) And I wish I’d had this book at 13 or 15 or even 25 to remind me that superheroes lives aren’t any easier, nor are they any harder, they’re just different. And ultimately, that somehow makes it all okay.

Update: It’s hard to capture in one post how much this story meant to me. Six months later, just thinking about it still makes my heart ache in a good way. Hopefully you’ll get as much out of it as I did.