November 2, 2018

First Friday 5: Determination

This month I'm spotlighting some comics with characters who are determined to have the lives they envision for themselves and those they love. The characters in these books show fierce determination to take control of their own destinies and make things happen, no matter the cost to their social lives, livelihoods, and often their own personal safeties.

Check, Please!: # Hockey
Written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu

Eric Bittle is a vlogger, former figure skating champion, and he loves to bake, but being a freshman on his university's hockey team is a whole new ballgame for him. As a Georgia native with a relatively sheltered upbringing, he has to balance quite a few new challenges, like coming out to his teammates and learning how to literally roll with the punches––hockey is a contact sport after all! Eric shows determination to stay true to himself and still pursue his many (many!) passions. This book started as a webcomic, so this is book one of two!

Written and illustrated by Kayla Miller

Fifth grader Olive is surrounded by friends and she “clicks” with everyone she knows, but one day she wakes up and things just feel different. The school is putting on a variety show and everyone is split into groups, but Olive is left without a group and panics about what her contribution to the variety show should be. But Olive is determined not to sit this one out, and she finds a way to stay true to herself and feel proud.

Grand Theft Horse
Written by G. Neri and illustrated by Corban Wilkin

Gail Ruffu is a respected racehorse trainer known for her unconventional training methods, but when she goes into business with someone to buy a horse named Urgent Envoy, everything changes and she suddenly finds herself struggling to save the horse and herself from an overzealous money grubber. One more race will kill Urgent Envoy, and nobody wants to listen to her, so she steals him. Based on a true story, Gail is set on making sure no one is ever in a position to hurt Urgent Envoy ever again, and she'll put her life on the line numerous times to live up to that promise.

Making Friends
Written and illustrated by Kristen Gudsnuk

Danny finds herself starting seventh grade by lamenting how easy sixth grade was. She had a predictable life with friends she liked. But now that she's in middle school, her friends are in different classes forming new friendships, and Danny finds herself in desperate need of best friend. So when she finds a magical sketchbook at her deceased great-aunt's home, she draws Madison, who comes to life! But drawing your friends is easier than keeping them, and Danny struggles with telling Madison about her origins and Madison's overwhelming popularity at school.

On a Sunbeam
Written and illustrated by Tillie Walden
A weaving together of two separate timelines, On a Sunbeam shows readers that love has no boundaries and second chances are everything. In one timeline we see two girls meeting and falling in love, only to be separated shortly after. In the other, we see an older version of one of those girls traveling through space to rebuild fallen structures––and her own past. Without giving too much away, we see characters show determination in every situation to help the ones they love and keep each other safe.

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