Speculating this Insufferable ‘Best of 2020’ List by Book Riot

Book Riot’s prepared some picks for what they think are the best of 2020, and one that looks really annoying is Arkhamaniacs:


In this recently released graphic novel, we follow a truly lonely and young Bruce Wayne who is in need of some true blue friendships. What I loved the most about this tale is that we follow Batman’s younger years in a truly inspiring and creative way and meet a lot of DC characters as children. The plot follows Bruce, who learns the power of imagination and the importance of having fun, through his brief visits at the Arkham apartments. He learns these lessons from the most unlikely of teachers, his usual sworn enemy, The Joker. The tale has its heart warming and laugh-out-loud moments and it’s a great introduction to DC characters for middle grade readers. I highly recommend it, and it’s a great addition to any graphic novel and beloved comic collection.


Well now we’ve seen it all. There’s been way too much attention heaped on all that’s Batman, and now DC’s wasted tons of money producing a GN where the Clown Prince of Crime offers up “inspiring” lessons for Bruce? Ugh. The next item titled The Banks is fishy too:


Roxane Gay wrote a heist graphic novel. I repeat, Roxane Gay wrote a heist graphic novel! A Black family, three generations of women, are divided: two are thieves and one went corporate America. But revenge is a funny thing, and it ultimately reunites them into pulling off one big set-us-up-for-life heist. Fun and smart, Gay will have you rooting for the “robbers.”


I know there have been heist stories before, like Bonnie & Clyde, The Hot Rock and Sneakers, but for some reason, this sounds like there could be a politicized social justice theme to it, and if so, that makes it a big dismay, much like this next example, Beetle & the Hollowbones:


This middle grade graphic novel was just the cutest. Beetle is a goblin witch learning to do magic with her gran as a teacher. Then she finds out the mall in her Halloween town—which her nonbinary friend Ghost Blob is doomed to haunt—is going to torn down. By who? Power-hungry Marla Hollowbone, whose niece Kat, a cat skeleton sorceress, is back in town. Can Beetle and Kat save Ghost Blob, defeat Marla, and admit their feelings for each other? Can kindly old healer midwife witch Gran bring back the badass sorcery from her youth? Gorgeous art, endearing characters, and fun LGBTQ+ representation for kids!


Whoa baby, that’s all we need, more mature, anti-science themes to be aimed at children for the sake of indoctrination, coupled with potential anti-capitalist themes! Isn’t it wonderful how much of this liberal propaganda is being shoved down our throats all the time? Seriously though, it’s absolutely regrettable we still have this problem becoming a sad staple of modern storytelling, and all the while, there could be children’s books out there devoid of political motivations that’d make far better recommendations, but such ideologically driven sites will never give those a recommendation, will they? Nope, all they’ll do is continue recommending similar titles already mentioned like Magic Fish:


By far one of the best graphic novels I’ve read this year. Maybe ever. Full of beautiful illustrations and a heartwarming story of love and acceptance. Nguyen weaves together fairy tales, each uniquely reimagined by the character telling them, to help a family connect across generations and cultural divides. Stunning in every sense of the word.


This truly is a favorite of the ideological left. As is the graphic novel My Friend Dahmer:


Derf Backderf tells the story of Jeffrey Dahmer as he knew him: A weird kid in high school who was welcomed into his friend group. My Friend Dahmer is a sympathetic view of the notorious serial killer during his formative years of being disturbed and lonely. He was ignored by parents who fought constantly before divorcing and leaving him alone at the family home. He struggled with his sexuality. He came to school drunk and kept extra liquor in his briefcase. He became performed wildly in front of his classmates. It’s all a very sad story, but Backderf is adamant that his sympathies for Dahmer end the second he commits his first murder, and that’s where the story ends.

And this is all we need too. Sympathetic views of serial killers. Ugh. If they think allegedly ending all feeling for the savage after he really goes schizoid is going to alleviate concerns, forget it. Another fishy item cited is a GN titled Moms:


The moms in Moms are grasping, funny, gross, weird, sad—in other words, they’re a lot more interesting and relatable than middle-aged mothers in pop culture are usually allowed to be. (Usually, it’s only affluent, gorgeous moms who are permitted to be messy; yes, I’m looking at you, Bad Moms.) Moms also has a subplot about labor rights that manages to tackle gender, sex, class, and age all at once. This is a book with bite.

This sounds like an insult to women if they imply it’s okay to be messy, and I’m sure there’s quite a bit of leftist political motivation in that GN too, so what else is new? Well, there’s a GN called When Stars are Scattered:


“No one chooses to be a refugee.” When Stars Are Scattered is an incredibly moving graphic memoir of one Somali refugee’s experience growing up in the Dadaab camp in Kenya with his brother, who has an intellectual disability. The comic format captures so many heartbreaking, vulnerable moments in his life story, yet he also speaks with an undertone of hope—a hope rewarded when he was finally resettled in the U.S. I’m so glad this got a nod for the National Book Awards; it’s a powerful tool for building empathy and awareness, so I hope many more come to read it as a result. Made in collaboration with the creator of Roller Girl, it was designed for a middle grade audience, but I recommend it for anyone 8 and older.


Hmm, I wonder if this’ll turn out to be pro-Islamic propaganda, vilifying Kenyan government and authorities in the process for trying to keep the country safe from potential threats to security? And most award programs are already politicized themselves as it is, so it’s never a shock when they decide if something propagandistic is worthy of an award. I’m sure the site writers were gleeful as anything to include this in their joke of a year’s best listing.

And there’s another example of hopeless propagandists recommending it all based on political motivations and considerations, not entertainment value.
Originally published here.
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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1