My parents had stacks of vinyl in my house when I was growing up in New York. My parents grew up listening to music from the 50s on and even had some disco records lying around the house. The music my mother loved playing in the house was the music of 1960s. You can tell listening to any song of the era, that it was decade of reflection.
Especially Jim Croce, whose voice, much like Luther Vandross, you felt every word he sung and the sentiment it carried. John Fogerty, another singer of that era, when he was part of Creedence Clearwater Revival, had songs like Proud Mary but after recorded a song that spoke to that era, but came years later, Fortunate Son. Then there were the Mamas and Papas, whose penultimate anthem, California Dreamin, has been remade several times and is their most identifiable song. In Penelope Bagieu’s California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas, we get to find out about Mama Cass, before she was who we know her to be, as a struggling actress and how she became the cultural icon she is now.
In the opening pages, we get a deep dive into the family, from her grandparents to her parents and growing up in Baltimore. The reader is introduced to characters who all tell their story, occupying their own chapter, all playing a part in Mama Cass’s upbringing. Eventually her talents lead her to put the Mamas and Papas together, where they would go on to make 5 albums in three years, a feat which modern musicians cannot seem to match their output. By book’s end, their personal lives eventually brought ruin to their public lives.
Overall, Penelope Bagieu portrays these famous figures as actual people who just so happen to have extraordinary talent. The story of the band could not have been in better hands than Bagieu. The art by Bagieu is both realistic and alluring. Altogether, a great book that will in short time make you a fan of this supergroup.
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
Top Pick: Grass Kings #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are delivering a series that looks like it would come from Image or Dark Horse, but instead it comes from BOOM! The publisher has had multiple great series, but this looks like the start of something new from them, and boy did they get a hell of a creative team behind this book. Kindt is one of my favorite creators, and with Jenkins on art, this series looks fantastic.
Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – RL Stine writing a Marvel comic about that other Swamp Thing dude?! Hell yeah! It’s about time Ted aka Man-Thing got his due with a good updated comic, and Stine may just be the perfect voice for that. Let’s hope he writes more Marvel stories!
Low #16 (Image) – Remender’s had some amazing series lately, and this is another one. I cannot wait to see what the heck is going to happen since this book left on a pretty crazy cliffhanger. Time to see if what I think happened actually happened. Knowing Remender, it did.
Action Comics #975 (DC Comics) – That last Superman issue was wild. What a way to kick start the “Superman Reborn” arc. I won’t give much away, but Fake Clark Kent is something else. I mean that kind of literally. This dude doesn’t seem to be human, and just made more questions than answers.
Old Man Logan #19 (Marvel) – Lemire is leaving the series after #24, and that makes me sad. Brisson has massive shoes to fill, and I can’t wait to see how Lemire ends this with the “Past Lives” arc, but we are not quite there yet. I am always excited for Logan, especially anything from Lemire on this run. It’s so good!
Top Pick: Secret Coders Vol. 3: Secrets & Sequences (First Second) – Gene Luen Yang and Mike Homes returns with the third volume of his kids focused graphic novel series. What’s wonderful about the series is that it not only entertains but also teaches how to code. Even as an adult I find myself learning more and more with each volume. Yang has a knack for teaching complicated (and at times boring) material in an engaging and fun way.
California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas (First Second) – This graphic novel is a biography of Mama Cass and the 1960s New York Folk scene. A fantastic graphic novel from Pénélope Bagieu taking a look at a music icon.
Grass Kings #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new series by Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins. Those two creators alone have gotten me to take notice. The concept of ” three brothers and rulers of a trailer park kingdom, a fiefdom of the hopeless and lost, of the desperate poor seeking a promised land” just makes it all the more awesome.
I Thought You Hated Me (Retrofit Comics/Big Planet Comics) – Retrofit/Big Planet puts out fantastic indie comic series and this one by MariNaomi is a great read that focuses on friendship through the years. This should be your small press buy this week.
Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – RL Stine brings his brand of horror to this classic character and Marvel. This has been a comic I’ve been fascinated by and can’t wait for. I have no doubt it’ll be fantastic.
Top Pick: Inhumans vs. X-Men #6 (Marvel) – This is the end! The X-Men and Inhumans face off to end the war between them and when the dust settles, both sides will be left affected whether good or bad. This has been an action packed event and I can’t wait to see the outcome!
Jessica Jones #6 (Marvel) – We now know how and why Jessica’s life has been turned upside down, and we know the big bad and their motives. Now we have to see how Jessica will get through it all. I’ve really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to see how this all comes around and if Jessica can get back to some level of normalcy…at least as normal as a super heroes life can be.
Old Man Logan #19 (Marvel) – This title has consistently delivered and I’m looking forward to this new story. The solicit tells of Logan righting a wrong and getting some help from an unlikely ally – given what we’ve seen from this book, that could be anyone!
Pick of the Week: Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys #1 – (Dynamite Entertainment) – It’s like the books we used to read when we were little, all grown up. Nancy Drew plays the femme fatale detective on a mission to prove that the Hardin boys, Frank and Joe, didn’t Menendez their dad.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1.MU (Marvel) – Groot has been kidnapped and the team reunites to get our fave monosyllabic nature man back from the bad guys.
Motor Crush #4 (Image) -An injured Domino might not be able to race and the origin of Crush is revealed.
Suicide Squad #13 (DC Comics) – Deadshot is getting out of the squad and the death of one of someone on the team is his way out.
Jessica Jones #6 (Marvel) – The new, improved bad guy is revealed and Jessica has got a lot of explaining to do.
Top Pick: Old Man Logan #19 (Marvel) – So…. I thought this was out last week… and it wasn’t. Anyway, having seen Logan twice now, I’m super excited to get my hands on this issue for the simple fact that Lemire has been writing so really good stories featuring one of my favourite characters.
Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – I know nothing about this other than it’s a five issue miniseries on a character that’s always interested me.
Redline #1 (Oni Press) – Based on the preview text, this looks like it’ll right up my alley – which is strange since I normally don’t like much sci-fi.