It’s Kids Month at Booktopia and we have lots of goodies!

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It’s Kids Month at Booktopia and we have awesome competitions for you to enter and signed promotions for you to enjoy!


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Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Book 10

by Jeff Kinney

Buy anything in the Kids Month range and you could win a kids book pack, worth $1000 RRP! Terms and Conditions apply.

The Diary of the Wimpy Kid series of books, by best-selling author Jeff Kinney, charts the highs
and lows of our middle school hero, Greg, as he stumbles and fumbles from childhood to teenhood via school-hood. Sometimes helped by his friends and family, often not helped by himself!

Life was better in the old days. Or was it? That’s the question Greg Heffley is more…


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blinky-bill-the-movie-a-guide-to-the-extraordinary-Order any title in the Blinky Bill range by September 17th and go in the draw to win a Double Pass to see Blinky Bill: The Movie. Movie is out in cinemas September 17th! Terms and Conditions apply.

Blinky Bill: the Movie is an epic adventure set in the Australian Outback. Blinky’s home town is under threat from a tyrannical goanna (Mayor Cranklepot) and Blinky must find his missing dad to restore peace and harmony to Greenpatch.

Blinky enters the world outside Greenpatch and sets off on a rollicking, hilarious journey complete with an eccentric wombat, a vengeful cat, two gossiping Emu’s and Blinky’s soon to be more…

 


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chase-your-goalChase Your Goal

The Netball Gems Series : Book 2

by Bernadette Hellard, Lisa Gibbs

Order any book from The Netball Gems series by August 31st and you could win a netball signed by the Diamonds! Terms and Conditions apply.

A junior fiction series written in partnership with Netball Australia

Can shy Phoebe find her place in the Gems?

Phoebe loves to shoot goals, and she’s great at it too. She dreams of being a famous netballer and playing in front of thousands. The problem is that she’s nervous all the time, even around her teammates – and there are only seven of them! Why can’t she make friends as easily as Lily and Sienna? Things don’t get any easier when her overenthusiastic dad starts coaching from the sidelines. Could anything more…


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How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury – Order Now For Your Chance to Win!*how-to-fight-a-dragon-s-fury-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-

How to Train Your Dragon Series : Book 12

by Cressida Cowell

Order How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury by September 7th and you could win every book in the How to Train Your Dragon series! We have 5 packs to give away! Terms and Conditions apply.

Dragons vs Humans: is this the end? Find out in the twelfth book in the How to Train Your Dragon series.

It is the Doomsday of Yule. At the end of this day, either the humans or the dragons will face extinction. Alvin the Treacherous is about to be crowned the King of the Wilderwest on the island of Tomorrow. His reign of terror will begin with the destruction of dragons everywhere. The fate of the dragon world lies in the hands of one young boy as he stands on the nearby isle of Hero’s End with nothing to show, but everything to more…


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xthe-65-storey-treehouse-signed-copies-available-.jpg.pagespeed.ic.SH2sT6Of7jThe 65-Storey Treehouse

The Treehouse Series : Book 5

by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Illustrator)

For a limited time only, order The 65-Storey Treehouse and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

Andy and Terry’s amazing 65-Storey Treehouse now has a pet-grooming salon, a birthday room where it’s always your birthday (even when it’s not), a room full of exploding eyeballs, a lollipop shop, a quicksand pit, an ant farm, a time machine and Tree-NN: a 24-hour-a-day TV news centre keeping you up to date with all the latest treehouse news, current events and gossip. Well, what more…


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The Sword of Summer – Pre-order Your Signed Copy!*the-sword-of-summer-pre-order-your-signed-copy-

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series : Book 1

by Rick Riordan

For a limited time only, pre-order The Sword of Summer and you will receive a signed copy. Please note: offer available while stocks last.

The first book in the incredible new series from the author of Percy Jackson, the Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus.

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met – a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him more…


 

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Russian Roulette

Alex Rider Series : Book 10

by Anthony Horowitz

Order from the Alex Rider series during Kids Month and you could win 1 of 5 backlist packs signed by author Anthony Horowitz! Terms and Conditions apply.

The deadly prequel to the number one bestselling Alex Rider series.

An international contract killer has been given his orders. His next target is a fourteen-year old spy… Alex Rider. The man’s name is Yassen Gregorovich. He knows Alex well. The two of them share a secret from the past. As he considers his next mission, Yassen remembers the forces that turned him from an ordinary schoolboy into a hired assassin. What is it that makes more…


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Just Doomed!

JUST! Series: Book 8

by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (Illustrator)

Order from The Just! series during Kids Month and you could win 1 of 3 Just! boxsets. Terms and Conditions apply.just-doomed-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-

It’s been five long years since Just Shocking! was published.

Just Doomed!, the next fabulous JUST title from the creative genius of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, is destined to be one of the greatest JUST titles yet. With nine superb stories of mischief and crazy happenings, readers will be hooked instantly.

But is this the right book for you?

Take the DOOMED TEST and find out.


Click here to see all of Booktopia’s competitions and exclusive offers

GUEST BLOG: Robin Bowles, author of Smoke & Mirrors, on the murder of Stuart Rattle.

smoke-and-mirrorsIn December 2013 the whole of Melbourne was buzzing with the details of a most bizarre murder.  The people most intrigued, far from being the criminal element where murder is often discussed, were the bold and beautiful of the socialite set. Someone many of them knew, others who’d relied on the victim, renowned interior designer Stuart Rattle, to transform their houses into enviable homes, could not believe the gruesome story as it unfolded across the Melbourne media.

The details were scanty at first, some journalists believing there had been a ‘typo’ in police media releases. At first, everyone assumed that Stuart had died in bed in a fire in his apartment, whilst his partner of 16 years, Michael O’Neill and their three pet foxies had made a lucky escape.

But the autopsy didn’t support this scenario. Within days of the fire, police arrested Michael for murder. The charge sheet showed a five-day disparity between a date of probable death and the fire. Police confirmed it was not a ‘typo’, but refused to release more details.

Sorrow and support for Michael changed to anger and more grief, friends realising that they had lost two close friends inRobin Bowels one week instead of one. Clients and customers were incredulous, uncomprehending about how such an outwardly ideal couple could disintegrate into such a sad and sordid ending.

Gradually the bizarre details emerged. Stuart had been dead for 5 days before the fire. After bludgeoning him on the head with a heavy saucepan and then strangling him with a handy dog lead, Michael had wrapped Stuart’s body in a clear plastic sofa bag and brought him a cup of tea. He sat with him, brought him wine and take-away curry, ‘watched’ TV beside him, all the while carrying on a semblance of their normal lives at work downstairs, pretending to all that Stuart was sick in bed.

Eventually the summer heat and the normal biological process forced him to make a decision. He says he set the fire so that Stuart would not be found in the undignified state of advanced decomposition.

Michael pleaded guilty at his trial and is now serving an 18-year sentence for murder and arson.

People often ask me how I make the decision to write about a particular murder, after all many murder trials take place in all the courts around Australia every week. I like to look at a story with ‘layers’ and if possible some psychological or social significance, rather than the story of A kills B, A arrested, tried and sent to prison—The End. The story behind my latest, 11th  book, Smoke and Mirrors had all the elements of things not appearing as they seem. Even Stuart Rattle, the self-confessed smoke and mirrors design expert, was an enigma. Lots published about his public self, but little known about the ‘real’ Stuart Rattle. Michael O’Neill, for reasons that become apparent in the book, also created a web of fiction about himself, too insecure to tell the truth. Here were these two men, both of whom had spaces in their personalities that the other filled, living a life behind the smoke and mirrors of their counterfeit public personas, struggling emotionally, physically and financially in their every-day unseen lifestyle. It was a perfect storm.

This book was not an easy one to write. With every book I have to struggle with ethics—what to include and what to leave out; trying not to extend the pain of the living victims created by a tragedy such as murder; frustration from the police and in this case, the prison system; reluctance of people to share their hurt or inner feelings; and at times being almost overwhelmed myself by the sadness and waste of it all.

Smoke and Mirrors was not the easiest book I’ve written, but I am already being rewarded by the feedback that it’s a riveting read!

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here


smoke-and-mirrorsSmoke and Mirrors

by Robin Bowles

Stuart Rattle and Michael O’Neill were the perfect couple. Country boys from working-class backgrounds, they became bon vivants and lovers, the envy of all their friends – until tragedy struck.

Stuart Rattle was at the peak of his design career, feted and entertained by hosts whose invitations were gold. His ‘Rattle’ interiors were his ticket into this exclusive lifestyle.

Michael O’Neill, his loyal and loving partner, employee, dogsbody and whipping boy, was always three steps behind, never in the limelight. In the words of Paul Bangay, the international garden designer and Stuart’s former partner, ‘Michael really had to fit into Stuart’s way of life … Stuart had a more…

Grab a copy of Smoke and Mirrors here

GUEST BLOG: Bestselling author Barbara Hannay on the Writing Process

When I was first published, a wise and experienced author told me, ‘You’re only as good as your last book.’ It was a warning I took to heart and it has led me, inevitably, to taking on new challenges.

Pic-BarbHannay-rurowebAfter writing more than forty contemporary romances, my two most recent books, Moonlight Plains and The Secret Years, are intergenerational stories that combine a contemporary story with a historical thread set during World War 2. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the historical research, as well as trying to capture the speech patterns and atmosphere of another era.

It isn’t just the historical element of dual time lines that excites me, however. These more complex books provide extra opportunities for character development and for deeper themes. I’ve been able, for example, to explore the long-lasting impact of a decision made by a character in the past on his descendants. These “double” plots have also provided extra opportunities for secrets and surprises – devices that make commercial fiction hum.

Probably the biggest challenge of a dual time line is getting the right balance. It’s important to make sure that one story isn’t much more interesting than the other. Both stories need to be compelling. It’s important to create two sets of characters that the reader cares about. Both heroes (or heroines) need to follow an important emotional journey.

Interesting events need to take place in both time lines to move both plots forward. The central character in each story will have separate problems to overcome. Each story will have its own rising action, climax and resolution and there will probably be a significant point where the stories intersect, usually towards the end.

I’ve never been one for strict writing rules, though, and I know each writer will approach this challenge differently. Some authors like to write the two stories separately, so they have complete control over each plot. Then they work out how, where and when to interweave them.

the-secret-yearsThis is fine, but I prefer to do the weaving as I write. I enjoy the organic flow. Whichever way you approach this task, working out how long to stay in one time zone before switching to the other can be tricky. I’ve judged this intuitively, rather than by any hard and fast rule, but I know from my experience as a reader that I’m annoyed if the ‘back-and-forth’ happens too quickly. It’s a bit like watching TV with a channel surfer. You’re just getting interested in a show, when you’re suddenly whisked to a completely different story.

For this reason, I think it’s possibly better to give approximately equal weight to each story and to allow a chapter or two in each time period before making a change. You need enough time to develop important action and intrigue in one story and to allow the reader to become immersed in the characters and the setting, before whisking her back to another time zone.

To help the transition, I think it’s also worth dropping a hint, to subtly warn readers that a time switch is coming. This is possibly easier in intergenerational stories, as the contemporary characters usually know the historical characters (often grandparents) and some kind of linking reference can be made. A question, a supposition…

Objects like photographs, diaries and memorabilia also make useful symbolic links. Studying the way movies make similar shifts can also be useful. How many times have we watched a door close on one scene in a movie only to open on a completely different set of characters? One character goes to sleep. Another wakes up…

Despite the risks of dual time lines, I think it’s a challenge worth trying. As your story reveals extra, unexpected layers, you’re in for an exciting ride and your readers will be, too.

Grab a copy of Barbara’s new novel The Secret Years here

the-secret-yearsThe Secret Years

by Barbara Hannay

Some family secrets are best set free.

When Lucy Hunter stumbles upon her grandfather Harry’s World War II memorabilia, she finds a faded photograph of a stunning young woman known simply as ‘George’ and a series of heartfelt letters. They are clues about the secret years, a period of Lucy’s family history that has been kept a mystery . . . until now.

How did a cattleman from north Queensland find forbidden love with the Honourable Georgina Lenton of London and persuade her to move to his isolated outback property? And why are the effects of this encounter still reverberating in the lives of Lucy and her mother, Rose, now?

As the passions of the past trickle down the years, three generations of one family pull together. Each must learn in their own way how true love can conquer the greatest challenges of all.

From the wild beauty of the Australian bush to England’s rugged south coast, this is a deeply moving story of heartbreak, heroism and homecoming by a beloved, multi-award-winning author.

Grab a copy of Barbara’s new novel The Secret Years here

GUEST BLOG: Danny Katz on getting kids to read!

The brilliant Danny Katz writes about the difficulties of getting kids to read in this exclusive Kids Month piece

art-353-DK-300x0You can’t force a non-reading kid to read. You can’t occy-strap a book to their face and hold their eyelids open with alligator clips – they don’t like it, they say it hurts, kids today are so soft. If a non-reading kid ever attempts to read a book, they see it as work, not pleasure – give a preppie a copy of Miffy At The Seaside and they’ll give up after two pages, go online and illegally download the TV show on Pirate Bay (*SPOILER ALERT* Miffy said she wasn’t tired after her big day at the seaside, but she lied, because soon her eyes were shut tight! A shocking climactic twist that no one saw coming.)

At the age of seven years old, our daughter was a hardline, fully-committed non-reader. We tried everything to get her reading: we filled her bedroom with tons of books, all piled up in great teetering stacks, hoping that something there might interest her, or a huge stack might accidentally collapse on her face and she might read something unintentionally. But sadly, neither of those things happened.

We read to her every night to get her into a book-reading habit, but that didn’t work either: my reading voice is drab and monotonous and I can’t do accents. I was reading the first Harry Potter book, and she just looked confused; she’d seen the movie twice, she knew Harry was supposed to be English, so why did he sound like a Mexican who’d spent a bit of time in Tel Aviv?

little-lunch-the-off-limits-fenceOne day I sat down with her and said “Why don’t you like books?” and she said “Because they’re all boring” – she said she didn’t like girly books, she didn’t like boysy books, she didn’t like fantasy books, she didn’t like books about post-apocalyptic vampires named Whitney who win the netball grand final, which is shame because we’d bought the whole set.

I said “So what kind of book do you want to read then?” and she said “A funny book about a kid like me, who has friends like I do, who goes go to a school like mine”. I said “Ahhh, so you want a book about yourself” and she said “Yeah. Buy that”. Unfortunately there was nothing in the bookstores about my daughter and her friends and her school, not even in the independents, which was surprising, they’re usually quite well stocked. Alright then, I thought, I’m going to have to write this book myself. So I did. It was called Little Lunch. My wife Mitch Vane drew the pictures. It got published, my daughter read it, she liked it, she asked for another. We wrote another, it became a whole series, and now it’s a TV show.

My daughter is about to turn 22. She’s a smart, unique and fascinating person who reads voraciously. We just wrote another Little Lunch book for her: it’s called The Off-Limits Fence.

We hope she likes it.

Check out Danny’s Little Lunch series here

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Danny Katz is a columnist for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. He writes the Modern Guru column in the Good Weekend magazine. He is also the author of the books Spit the Dummy, Dork Geek Jew and the Little Lunch series for kids.

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GUEST BLOG: Award-winning author Bob Graham on Writing Books for Children

Award-winning children’s book author Bob Graham gives us a glimpse at his process for writing kids books in this exclusive Kids Month guest blog!

Most days I sit at my desk and draw pictures. I fit words around them. I shuffle little bits of paper around and sticky tape them all together. Sometimes I walk around with that tape still stuck to the elbows of my pullover.

I am rarely conscious that I might be “writing a book for children,” as many of these little jigsaw puzzles of words and pictures are relegated to my bottom drawer. But they may also be used for Spare Parts at some later date in some mysterious process which enables these pieces to come together again and a story to be found hidden there. I try not to question the workings of this, and am just thankful when it happens.

how-the-sun-got-to-coco-s-houseSo rather than “writing a book for children” I am just trying to uncover a story and the people that might inhabit that space, (usually about 32 pages for a picture book.) And if all continues to go well, then a story for children, and for their families or anyone else really is a happy by-product of my efforts over the working year.

So it was with How the Sun got to Coco’s House. I had previously worked for some time on a story of a small girl taking flights of fancy into her imagination, and it being offset against her daily and mundane surroundings. I was not doing it nearly so well as John Burningham, so it went into that bottom drawer. But there was one picture involving a polar bear and her cubs which interested me when I revisited it some years later.

So that is where I started shuffling those bits of paper again. I gave the bears a snowy environment. Then I gave them a winter sun, and I gave the sun a trajectory.

And I was away!

It was all quite exciting to see just where it might lead, as I had potentially the whole world on my drawing board, (well, the Northern hemisphere anyway.) Suddenly I didn’t have enough hours in the day – that is, until the dogs demanded their afternoon walk.

I loved making this book, drawing the pictures and especially writing the text. And now I see the finished, bound copies of it lying on the desk where it started.

Where does the time go?

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Click here for more magic from Bob Graham

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Tristan Bancks introduces The Room to Read World Change Challenge

Bestselling Australian children’s author Tristan Bancks introduces The Room to Read World Challenge

WebAustralian children’s and teen authors are banding together with school children across the country to raise $40,000 to buy 40,000 books for children in Nepal by October. And you can join us. Authors behind the challenge include Melina Marchetta (Looking for Alibrandi), Jacqueline Harvey (Alice Miranda), Kate Forsyth (The Puzzle Ring, Bitter Greens) and many more.

In Nepal’s most earthquake-devastated areas, over 90% of schools were destroyed in April / May of this year. The earthquakes seem to have dropped off the news cycle but the work to get kids back to school with proper materials, including books, goes on.

In previous years the Room to Read World Change Challenge has funded the building of a school library in Siem Reap, Cambodia and, last year, $20,000 for 20,000 books for children in the developing world. But in 2015 we’ve doubled our goal and here are three ways you can help us:

1. If you’re a teacher, student or parent you could create a FUNdraiser in your school. Watch our fast-paced 3-minute video for ideas: https://roomtoread.everydayhero.com/au/2015-world-change-challenge.

2. If you’re an individual or business, you could donate directly to our secure Everyday Hero page: https://roomtoread.everydayhero.com/au/2015-world-change-challenge.

3. You could spread the word about the Room to Read World Change Challenge by sharing this blog post or the link to the Challenge homepage: http://www.tristanbancks.com/2015/05/room-to-read-world-change-challenge-2015_28.html.

Room to Read believes that world change starts with educated children. We agree. Help Australian authors and kids change the world by providing books to earthquake-affected children in one of the world’s poorest countries.

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Tristan Bancks is a children’s and teen author with a background in acting and filmmaking. His books include the My Life series, Mac Slater Coolhunter and Two Wolves, a crime-mystery novel for middle-graders. Two Wolves was shortlisted for the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award. His most recent book is My Life & Other Stuff Massive Mistakes, a third book of weird-funny-gross, semi-autobiographical short stories.
Bestselling children's authors Tristan Bancks & Jacqueline Harvey!

Bestselling children’s authors Tristan Bancks & Jacqueline Harvey!

Queer Characters in Comics

Guest Blogger Jeremy Vine looks at the most famous Queer Characters in the Comic Book World.

Superhero comics push a lot of story-telling boundaries and often touch on some very topical issues, but let’s be honest, they aren’t always down with the rainbow.

Over the years there have been a lot of characters who would fall into the category of ‘queer’ but not as many who would qualify for the modern definition of LGBTQI. However, there are more (certainly more now than there have been) than you’d expect, and quite high profile ones too. Here’s some of the most recent series to feature major queer characters.

Constantine

john-constantine-hellblazerConstantine the character has been around since the early 1990s, originating in the envelope-pushing imprint of DC known as Vertigo Comics. However, since 2011 he has been exclusively used in the DC Comics universe, receiving his own title in 2012. John Constantine is a trickster magician, a demonologist, a wizard, and a con man. He’s often only marginally better than the evil he’s fighting and ends up getting a lot of people killed, which doesn’t do much for his love life.

In his original title, Hellblazer, John Constantine had relationships with both men and women of the course of the nearly twenty year run. When NBC decided to make a TV series about the character, they specifically stated that he would not be bisexual, which was disappointing to a lot of fans. However, the series only lasted one season so perhaps any future adaptations of the character will be keep this aspect of the character.

In the most recent comics featuring the character, he hasn’t had a romantic relationship with anyone save Zatanna, but his past and former lovers of both sexes have been referenced repeatedly. The current series, beginning with Constantine vol. 1, is definitely worth reading if you enjoy snarky anti-heroes.

Harley Quinn

harley-quinn-volume-1-hot-in-the-cityOh Harley. Harley Harley Harley. Real name: Harleen Quinzel (because comics!), criminal psychiatrist. Working at Arkham Asylum, she fell in love with the Joker, and decided to bust him out, dressed up as a harlequin and commit crimes with him. She’s the Joker’s “better” half, but he didn’t treat her right so she often goes on crime sprees with her best ‘gal pal’ Poison Ivy. (And yes I’m using ‘gal pal’ in the same way the media does about Kristen Stewart.)

Harley is a fascinating character when she isn’t being used as a foil to the Joker. Originally created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for Batman: the Animated Series, Quinn’s popularity led to her being introduced into the main comics as well. Over the years she’s had a couple of solo series but her most successful is the current run, written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. It’s light-hearted and could even at times be called goofy, but every moment is fun.

Away from the Joker (and the brooding of Batman), Harley becomes a loveable anti-hero; still prone to violence and the occasional psychotic act, but it’s made very clear that she sees herself as the good guy. The series revisits the Harley/Poison Ivy relationship and makes it very clear that their bond goes beyond ‘friendship’. The best place to start is Harley Quinn vol. 1, although you could also try the new spin-off series, Harley Quinn and Power Girl.

Batwoman

batwoman-volume-1-hydrologyBatwoman is by far the most high profile of all of DC’s queer characters. Originating in 2005 during the 52 epic, she took the place of Batman in Gotham City while he was off training to become a better Batman. She was a former lover of Renee Montoya, a member of the Gotham City Police Department, and it was hinted during the course of the series that this relationship would rekindle. Batwoman’s latest series began with her in a relationship with Maggie Sawyer, a police captain. While at one point they were engaged to be married, this didn’t quite pan out, but the less said about that the better.

Kate Kane is a different sort of vigilante to Batman – her first volume deals with a supernatural threat stealing and drowning children, whereas Batman is heavily grounded in crime families and mob bosses (and the Joker). In comparison, the other Bat-family titles are light and fluffy (and one of them involves the Joker removing his own face).

A later story arc has Kate in a relationship with a vampire, although that is the result of brainwashing. This series of Batwoman, written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, has been received with much praise by fans – it starts with Batwoman vol. 1: Hydrology.

Earth-2

earth-2The Earth-2 series reimagined the classic Justice Society of America in an alternate universe, one where the Justice League had already fallen to an alien invasion. One of the founding members was Alan Scott, who was given phenomenal power as the hero Green Lantern. Alan was introduced with his fiance who unfortunately died soon after. While Alan hasn’t really had another love interest since then, this was a major step forward, as the origin of the character dates back to the earliest days of comics.

The best place to start with this series is right at the beginning – Earth-2 vol. 1: The Gathering. Sure, it deals with a lot of backstory and Alan’s poor fiancee dies very early on, but it keeps the action coming and the characters are memorable. Volume 1 was illustrated by Australian artist Nicola Scott (who is amazing) and the following volumes were written by Australian writer Tom Taylor (who is also amazing).

As a team book, not every character gets the full focus of the story, so as long as you’re prepared for some of your favourites to occasionally sit a story out, it will be enjoyable. Unlike the other titles, this series takes place in an alternate universe, so you can read it without having to worry about any tie-ins with other books.

Catwoman

catwomanSelina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, has been one of Batman’s villains since the 1940s but has had her own title a number of times since then. Sometimes a villain, sometimes an anti-hero, Selina has been a central part of Gotham for over seventy years. Most recently, she’s played the role of mob boss to one of the crime families in Gotham City.

Selina has been a love interest for both Bruce Wayne and Batman since some of her earliest appearances, and it’s not uncommon for her and Bruce to have married in alternate universes. However, Catwoman came out as bisexual in a highly publicised story featuring an old flame who had returned as an antagonist. While this is a new development in the character’s long history, many other writers have hinted at Selina’s bisexuality. In many instances, flashbacks to her early days as a criminal/activist show her with an extremely close friendship with another woman (who for one reason or another, is no longer around).

The new series builds on these hints and has made them explicit. The storyline involving Catwoman’s new relationship began when Genevieve Valentine took over writing duties and can be found collected in Catwoman vol. 6: Keeper of the Castle.

Batgirl

batgirl-volume-1-the-darkest-reflectionBarbara Gordon, daughter of Commissioner Gordon, doesn’t identify as queer (although fan fiction might beg to differ) but members of her supporting cast certainly are. The initial run in the New 52, written by Gail Simone, introduced Alysia Yeoh as Barbara’s roommate. Alysia is a transgender woman who shares her secret with Barbara, who in turn reveals her secret identity as Batgirl. A later story has Alysia filling in for Barbara as Bat-girl (although not in costume, just carrying a baseball bat) when Barbara has been injured by a villain.

After a change of creative teams, Alysia left the series but was replaced by a number of other characters, some of whom identify as queer. The new creative team of Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr had a small setback with some transphobic language regarding one villain, but after seeing fan reaction, they quickly issued an apology and removed the offensive content from the collected trade paperback. This has made the series one of the best in terms of inclusiveness to the queer community.

There are two great runs of Batgirl available – the one written by Gail Simone, starting with Batgirl vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection and the new Fletcher/Tarr series, which starts with Batgirl vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside.

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Jeremy Vine has been hooked on comics since he taught himself to read with the help of Asterix and Tintin. When not dressing up in costumes and attending pop culture conventions, he is an account manager for Penguin Random House Australia.

More of his thoughts on comics and superheroes in general can be found on the Comics Watchtower Facebook page or at his Twitter account @salesreplyfe

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