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September Staff Picks!

Check out this month’s staff picks from the Betty’s Books crew!


Betty’s Pick


Wonder Woman Black & Gold book coverWonder Woman: Black & Gold by Various Contributors
I decided to splurge on this anthology celebrating WW’s 80th anniversary after Colin AND an awesome customer recommended it to me. First of all, the tactile experience of the book is a treat. The cover is silky, the pages are thick, and it smells amazing (something about the paper or maybe the ink, I guess). The limited color palette of black and gold makes the diverse art styles and stories feel cohesive, timeless, and meditative.

Like any anthology, there were stories I liked better than others. I get pretty prickly about overly sexualizing WW’s appearance for no story-based purpose, and there was some of that here, but overall experiencing the art in these stories felt like the warm embrace of so many old friends gathered under one black & gold roof. Thanks to Tillie Walden, Jamaal Campbell, Rachel Smythe, Marguerite Sauvage and Jamie McKelvie among many others! Although the art was the clear highlight, there was also some standout writing–shout out Mariko Tamaki and Dr. Sheena Howard.

If you are a WW fan, or a complete superhero comic newbie, you can savor the many perspectives on WW offered up in this book. Since it’s an anthology, all the stories are self contained, and no prior knowledge is required. If you do read it, give the pages a sniff and let me know what you think. 🙂


Alex’s Pick


Junji Ito's Cat Diary book coverJunji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito
In the manga world, the name “Junji Ito” carries quite a bit of weight. Ito is widely considered to be the master of horror manga, having innovated visual storytelling in the genre in a way that’s timeless, genius, and downright horrifying. Considering that, it’s no surprise his work isn’t for the faint of hearted. If you fall into that category, or are unfamiliar with Ito, this is a great starting point.

Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is done in his typical style, but used for comedic effect, and hardly ever truly scary. The autobiographical book details his and his wife’s experiences as fledgling cat owners, and any cat lovers out there will absolutely relate to the content here. Mundane and, for some, forgettable encounters with their strange new houseguests become both hilarious and other-worldy through the magic of Ito’s gaze.

This book is a true crowd pleaser – funny, immaculately drawn, and a great way to get to know Junji Ito’s work if you’re too nervous to go for the harder-hitting stuff, like Uzumaki or Tomie. Plus, this sleek new collector’s edition will look stunning on your shelf.


Colin’s Pick


Primordial book coverPrimordial by Jeff Lemire & Andrea Sorrentino
Are you jazzed about the new images of space from the James Webb telescope? Well how about picking up this terrific feel-bad, alt history, sci-fi tale from Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. Primordial details an alternate history space race between the USSR and the USA, and the conspiracy behind what happened to the animals they sent out into the stars. For fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Homeward Bound. Be sure to have just as many tissues ready.


Cydney’s Pick


This Was Our Pact book coverThis Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews
A story about friendship and exploration, This Was Our Pact follows the quest of Ben and his classmates. They make a pact to follow the paper lanterns that their town floats down the river each year at the Autumn Equinox Festival each year. Legend says that the lanterns eventually float into the night sky and become stars. This year, the boys will finally know! This is my all-time favorite graphic novel because of the alluring, graphite-drawn world that these characters find themselves in. It is like nothing I have seen before, and creates an always intriguing setting for this simple story to expand and flourish with the characters.


Jake’s Pick


Yotsuba&! vol. 1 book coverYotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma
It may be in the kids section but this manga is not just for kids. It’s one of the funniest and creative slice of life manga out there. Yotsuba is an adorable little girl that makes the world seem much more interesting than it really is. The supporting cast of characters all bring in lots of entertaining moments!


Mary’s Pick


Baloney and Friends book coverBaloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli
This story has songs, jokes, and a delightful cast of characters including a grouchy, pink rabbit aptly named Krabbit. Younger comic readers and caregivers reading along are guaranteed to have the theme song stuck in their heads after reading – “It’s time for Baloney and friends!”


Bruce’s Pick


Creepy Crayon book coverCreepy Crayon by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
This slightly spooky read is the perfect mix of silly and creepy to thrill your little one without going too far into the scary zone. The art is so fun and the story so funny that you’ll have the whole fam giggling along as you read! And, if you’ve read the previous two works in this series, Creepy Carrots and A Creepy Pair of Underwear, you’ll love the clever allusions to them in this follow-up.