Markley’s Fevered Brain: I Feel Girly

Wayne Markley

Wayne Markley


by Wayne Markley

As I have written about many times over the years, I love the diversity of comic books from around the world. While I know in America the prominent form of comics is superheroes, there are lots of other genres out there, and I am pretty sure most of the readers of this blog, or comic fans in general, are unaware of all of these other types of stories. This time I am going to write about a sub-genre of comics that are developed for and intended for girls, and featured girls as the lead characters. I would argue they are appropriate for, and should be read, by everybody. The three books I am going to discuss are aimed at girls (not grown women, but teen and younger girls). I am not going to discuss manga where there are hundreds of books targeted for female readers, and tons of sub-genres. That is such a huge topic I will devote a separate blog to it at a later date. One other quick note, while all three of these books are in English and are available in America, two of the three were originally published in Europe. (Which is really not a surprise).

Fran of the Floods

Fran of the Floods


First off we have Fran of the Floods. This is the complete collection of this strip that originally appeared in 1976 in an English comic for girls called Jinty. This collection is part of the Treasury of British Comics from British publisher Rebellion. Jinty was a comic at the time designed for girls, similarly how the later 2000AD was designed for boys. The premise of the story is the climate has changed to the point where it is so warm that the polar ice caps have melted and the water levels around the world have risen (even though the story takes place only in England), and England, being an island, finds the waters rising and rising till most of the British isles are underwater. A young school girl named Fran and her best friend get separated from their families, and Fran and friend start off on a journey to try and get to Scotland where Fran’s sister is (and I am not going to give away the end). As they go north, Fran meets a number of people also struggling to survive and salvage what is left of their humanity. At first glance, I can see you thinking this is just a rip off of The Walking Dead, as both stories have a similar theme of a small group (well, two or three in Fran) wandering the countryside is search of other people, only to find most of them are evil and constantly being confronted by obstacles. Except this story was written more than 30 years before The Walking Dead and 40 years before today’s growing concern about climate change, which is the cause of the whole story. This tale is written by Alan Davidson and drawn by Phil Gascoine. These two do a masterful job of spinning a tale that leaves you hanging page after page and wanting more. Gascoine’s art captures perfectly the English countryside and small town life and that is a large part of this story. I also want to point out that Davidson and Gascoine tell the story in three page increments, as Jinty was a weekly comic, with serialized stories. Like a three panel comic strip, these three page stories forced the creators to tell a concise and quick moving story, something American comic book creators should take note of. Overall, I found this to be a gripping and moving story that I would highly recommend.

Vei Vol. 1

Vei Vol. 1


Vei Vol. 1 is a beautiful book by Sara Elfgren and artist Karl Johnsson published by Insight Comics. This is a 150 graphic novel in full color (and the colors are as much a part of the story as the words and art) and it is just beautiful. The story flows like water from page to page at a quick pace and the art is some of the nicest I have seen in a long time. While the book is done in traditional comic style, four to six panels, world balloons, etc., the art almost looks like animation cels, as it is truly beautiful and different from most comic books you will ever look at. The story is about a young girl named Vei who is trained for battle her whole life, and she is forced on a journey that leads her into the middle of a battle between Asgardian gods, giants, humans, and others. I could not put this book down as the story and art were such a draw and the story itself moves so quickly that with each page I was blown away by the art and the story wastes no words bogging down the art, allowing the art to truly tell the story. (Again, American writers should take note).

This story is a mix of mythology, a love story between Vei and a boy she meets, but also her family. There are also a number of bloody battles and graphic violence later in the story, but they are not gratuitous. There is also brief nudity so you might think twice before sharing with young readers. This story was originally published in Sweden where it was a bestseller. My only complaint, and this is so tiny, is this is only book one and I have no idea where the story is going to go, as I am left hanging and I cannot not wait for more. Sadly, at this point, I do not know when we will see the second volume, at least in English. I cannot recommend this book highly enough to fans of beautiful art, mythology, adventure, fantasy, or just great storytelling.

The Baby-Sitters Club Vol. 1

The Baby-Sitters Club Vol. 1


Finally, I want to recommend the Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novels 1-4. First off, let me note that I am only recommending the first four volumes as they are the only ones I have read (there are currently six volumes), and the first four are written and drawn by the bestselling comic book creator in America, (it is not anyone from Marvel or DC or Image), Raina Telgemeier. Also, the books I read were in black and white and all of these books have been redone in full color (and they look so much nicer). All of these books pre-date Telgemeier’s huge success with her non-adaptation work, such as Smile, Drama, etc. All of these books are adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s bestselling series of teen books of the same name. The stories are typical of these style of books, which are about four girls who have to confront and deal with all sort so issues, ranging from lost cats to kids that do not want to behave. More than anything else it is about friendship. These are charming books that are an easy read. While they are clearly done for girls, and I think they would be enjoyed more by girls than everyone else (while the first two books are enjoyable for anyone, even with the leads being girls and the target audience being female). Still, I enjoyed these books and I am still thinking about replacing my black and white books with the new color versions as the color adds so much to the books overall. While you may not finding this type of book to be your cup of tea, I would suggest you at least check these books out as they are light years above the typical teen young readers books.

So that is all for this time. All of these books are excellent, although all three are vastly different from one another. All of these books are prime examples of how to tell stories in a fast paced fashion and letting the art tell the story. I loved these books in part because these are so different than the weekly superheroes books I read. Once again I cannot not recommended Vei highly enough. I would love to hear from you if you have read any of the books or if you have any opinions on what I have written. I can be reached at MFBWAY@AOL.COM or on Facebook at Wayne Markley. All of these words and opinions are mine and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of Westfield Comics or their employees. As always…

Thank you.

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