Brad Hawley

On FanLit’s staff since April 2012

BRAD HAWLEY received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon in 2000, specializing in ethics and contemporary fiction as well as rhetoric and composition. After teaching for two years at Jacksonville State University and a short break from teaching to be a stay-at-home dad, he now teaches at Oxford College of Emory University. During the past fifteen years, he has taught courses and independent studies in composition, Crime Fiction, Comic Books, Beat Literature, twentieth-century poetry, and Shakespeare. His wife, who also teaches English at Oxford College, thinks he has too many comic books.

Read Brad’s series on HOW TO READ COMICS.

The People Inside by Ray Fawkes

The People Inside by Ray Fawkes

The People Inside by Ray Fawkes is a follow-up to his fairly recent graphic novel One Soul. Ray Fawkes is currently writing a number of titles for DC, and those titles are well-written, but One Soul and The People Inside are absolutely brilliant works of art that attempt to expand the possibilities of sequential art on the printed page. Lately, I've seen a number of advances in sequential art in the area of digital comics; however, I felt as if everything new had already been discovered and tri... Read More

The Invisibles (Vol. 1): Say You Want a Revolution by Grant Morrison

The Invisibles (Vol. 1): Say You Want a Revolution by Grant Morrison

Grant Morrison gained recognition in the United States for revamping the flagging title Animal Man. He's now known also for some of his early, quirky Vertigo titles such as Doom Patrol and The Invisibles. I don't know why it's taken me so long to sit down and start The Invisibles, but I'm glad I did. At the moment, I've read only the first eight issues that comprise volume one of Read More

I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey

I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin (author) and Benjamin Dewey (art)

I've just found a great book for cat lovers: I Was The Cat by Paul Tobin tells the story of Burma, a cat who seems to be on his ninth life and is finally ready to have his memoirs presented to the world. In order to do so, he contacts Allison Breaking to act as a ghost writer for his biography. Allison is an American in London staying with her female friend Reggie, who is very wary of Allison's new job working for Burma. And who wouldn't be? Allison is contacted by a strange "man" who says he wants to pay her a very hefty salary to work for him. Burma doesn't tell Allison he is a cat, but he does warn her that she may be alarmed by his appearance. Reggie tries ... Read More

Cleopatra In Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack

Cleopatra In Space (Book 1): Target Practice by Mike Maihack

If you've read the excellent Zita books and are looking for a similar title, Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice is the graphic novel you're looking for. Just like Zita, Cleopatra is a young, independent, intelligent girl who, though stuck in space, manages to enjoy the adventures that fate has set before her. Cleopatra is a fifteen-year-old girl in Ancient Egypt who goes exploring with her friend, a boy named Gozi. They find a tomb, and in a reversal of classic adventure books, the girl is the brave one who goes in first and finds the one particular... Read More

The Wraith by Joe Hill

The Wraith by Joe Hill (writer) and Charles Paul Wilson III (artist)

The Wraith is a horror comic book based on Joe Hill's novel NOS4A2, and I can't tell you how much I dislike horror as a general rule. However, this book is absolutely brilliant, and I loved it. I have not read the novel, and probably won't, so you don't need to have read it to appreciate this comic book. I went in as a resistant reader, but since I've learned over the past few years that I do like some horror comics such as Hell... Read More

A Boy and A Girl by Jamie S. Rich

A Boy and A Girl by Jamie S. Rich (writer) and Natalie Nourigat (artist)

I was certainly surprised by this story. I’d seen it on Comixology before, but I'd passed it up. However, I decided to give it a chance after reading Natalie Nourigat's wonderful comic book Between the Gears, a coming-of-age autobiography about her senior year at the University of Oregon. I knew I liked her art, and just for that reason alone, I enjoyed A Boy and A Girl. It has the same style, with a touch of futurism, but Nourigat's main strength is on show here again: She has the ability to draw the same characters again and again an... Read More

Between the Gears by Natalie Nourigat

Between the Gears by Natalie Nourigat

I feel like I lucked out finding Between the Gears by Natalie Nourigat: I generally don't find myself looking for non-fiction sequential art, though I've certainly read enough to have favorites. What piqued my interest was a description of the book that let me know it's a year-long autobiographical comic of her senior year at the University of Oregon in 2010. Since I earned my PhD in English Literature from the U of O in 2000, I was extremely interested in seeing Eugene, Oregon through her eyes. However, if the book had been merely of personal interest, I wouldn't bother to write a review. I think it's a fascinating work that will be of interest to anyone who likes reflective coming-o... Read More

Letter 44: Escape Velocity by Charles Soule & Alberto J. Alburquesque

Letter 44 (vol one): Escape Velocity by Charles Soule and Alberto J. Alburquesque

I've just found a real gem in my stack of books to review: Letter 44: Escape Velocity by Charles Soule is a must-read for science-fiction fans. Saga by Vaughan is the first current comic title I usually recommend to fans of SF. Luckily, I now have another current title to recommend right along with Saga. Letter 44: Escape Velocity has equally compelling character development and perhaps even ... Read More

Batman and Robin: Requiem for Damian by Peter J. Tomasi

Batman and Robin (vol 4): Requiem for Damian (New 52) by Peter J. Tomasi

DC did a soft reboot of their universe almost three years ago. It's called the New 52, and Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi is one of my favorite books, particularly volume one, which I liked so much I taught it in my college English class. Overall, the entire series has been incredibly consistent. Even if you didn't know that Batman has a son named Damian who is the most recent Robin, you can still read and enjoy this series because it deals with significant themes and not just with superhero action. Volume one deals with Damian's coming of age in his rebellion against his father, as well as Bruce Wayne's trying to figure out how to be a loving authority figure to his young son. In events just previous to volume four, unfortunately, poor Damian died... Read More

Vampirella: Southern Gothic by Nate Cosby

Vampirella: Southern Gothic by Nate Cosby

Vampirella is in the Witchblade tradition of pin-up lead female comic book characters. If you aren't likely to enjoy comics with this type of art, there's not even a slight chance that you'll enjoy this comic book. However, if you are already a fan of Vampirella, you probably already follow her books, and nothing I say here will make you like them any less, though I hope to help you decide whether this new book is worth seeking out. Therefore, I'm speaking primarily to an audience somewhere in the middle, an audience of readers open to the possibility that while they may be offended by certain visual aspects of a comic book, they might still appreciate other aspects of Vampirella. For that audience, I suggest that, though no... Read More

Tales from Oz (Vol. 1) by Joe Brusha

Tales from Oz (Vol. 1) by Joe Brusha

Grimm Fairy Tales presents Tales From Oz (Vol. 1), unfortunately, was a bit of a disappointment. I was interested in reading the four short stories about the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow, and Toto. The general storyline is written by Joe Brusha, but four separate authors took over the task of taking his plot and writing the individual stories.  The background of this version of Oz is told to us at the start of the collection: There was an evil sorceress Zamora who once tried to take over Oz. She has been defeated, but now her daughters, Lynessa and Zinna, are attempting to rule over Oz. All four stories take place within this context.

The first story is abo... Read More

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew

The more I read by Gene Luen Yang, the more I am impressed. Like many people, I first learned of his work through American Born Chinese; however, I liked The Eternal Smile with Derek Kirk Kim just as much if not more. I also enjoyed his Level Up with Thien Pham. This newest work, The Shadow Hero, is another brilliant graphic novel, and Sonny Liew's art is perfect for telling the st... Read More

Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger

Viminy Crowe's Comic Book by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger with comics by Claudia Davila

Viminy Crowe's Comic Book is a great book for young adults, but oddly enough, it's not really a comic book. However, it will certainly appeal to those who love comics because the story is about two children who get pulled into a steampunk comic book. Young Wylder Wallace meets a girl his own age, Addy, at the Toronto International Comic Book Festival, and they immediately dislike each other, which creates a nice tension between the two main characters of the story. Wylder, a big fan of a comic book by Viminy Crowe, soon finds out that Addy is this great artist's niece. The rest of the book tells the story of their being forced to work together and even... Read More

Terra Formars by Yu Sasuga

Terra Formars by Yu Sasuga 

Terra Formars is a science fiction manga that takes place on Mars, and if you aren't totally creeped out by roaches, then you might be able to deal with this very violent, but action-packed, story. The astronauts sent on this mission are not picked for their intelligence or exceptional skills; rather, this group is made up of those considered disposable. Some are poor, some are criminals, but all are not valued by those in power and running the mission. These Terra Formars are treated as science experiments to send off to Mars to deal with the roach problem.

In making Mars habitable for human beings, the scientists have introduced moss and other plant and bug life into the Mars ecosystem.... Read More

Super Ego by Caio “Zed” Oliveira and Lucas Marangon

Super Ego by Caio "Zed" Oliveira (author) and Lucas Marangon (artist)

Super Ego is a superhero spoof about a clinical psychotherapist who specializes in the superhuman condition. In order to meet with his super clientele, Dr. Eugene Goodman wears a silver,j reflective, skin-tight mask. Otherwise, he's dressed in suit and tie and goes to a typical-looking office with a stereotype for a secretary. This set-up could result in a very typical type of superhero parody, a sub-genre that's become almost as cliché as the superhero genre itself. However, Oliveira's dialogue and clever plot twists make Super Ego far better than most other parodies of this type.

Central to the superhero parody is making fun of famous characters... Read More

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