Each Friday, we'll be letting a different DC.com writer share what they'll be reading over the weekend and why you might want to check it out. Here's this week's suggestion for a perfect Weekend Escape!
As Pride Month comes to an end, it's the perfect time to add some more queer comics to your reading list to keep you going for the rest of the year. Centered on one of DC's most beloved queer antiheroes, Poison Ivy: Thorns is a gorgeous Young Adult graphic novel that reimagines Pamela Isley's origins and introduces a vital and impactful early romance for the young teenager. So, if you're looking for a fresh new take on Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino's green-fingered gal, then let's dive into the gothic majesty of this bittersweet coming of age tale.
Introducing a new—non-canon—origin story for Poison Ivy, this chilling, yet lovely, YA graphic novel centers on the young antihero in her teenage years. We meet Pamela Isley living alone with her father in a looming gothic home, but her life brightens when a young girl named Alice Oh comes to stay with them. Yet, while Pam dreams of the burgeoning friendship becoming more, she's forced to keep a dark secret from Alice, one that threatens them both. If you’ve ever been curious about Poison Ivy’s childhood, this book is for you, as this horror-drenched yarn offers up a new and exciting vision of Pamela and the choices that made her into the infamous Gothamite we know and love.
Let’s Talk Talent:
Poison Ivy: Thorns was written by bestselling author Kody Keplinger, whose Mary Shelley-inspired yarn is brought to life brilliantly by artist Sara Kipin and colorist Jeremy Lawson. The team is rounded out by the impactful letters of Steve Wands and together the team present one of the most exciting and unusual titles from DC's YA line. Keplinger brings Pamela and her love interest Alice to life in a way that feels authentic and kind despite the often-dark topics the series covers. Kipin brings a youthfulness to the art that never shies away from the horror of it all and Lawson's smart color choices and often muted palette make the rare bright colors, like Ivy's hair and her beloved plants, pop impactfully from each page. Wands’ letters are readable and energetic, with his sound effects playing particularly well into the Victorian ghost story of it all.
A Few Reasons to Read:
- This is a cool new take on Poison Ivy that works for both established comic book lovers and new readers. It can work either as an accessible jumping on point or a fun Elseworlds-like expansion on the lore of this popular character. That duality makes this a great choice for literally anyone, especially anyone wanting more queer rep in DC!
- Artist Sara Kipin and colorist Jeremy Lawson bring a delightfully dark fairytale quality to Poison Ivy: Thorns that makes it instantly stand out. It's an aesthetic and narrative choice that fits perfectly with the mad science influences that inspired Pamela Isley and her alter-ego as well illuminating the gothic horror story the team is telling.
- Unlike a lot of the incredible comics that DC has published over the last eighty years, Poison Ivy: Thorns can be read in one sitting and is a self-contained story. So, if you're just looking for an easy breezy read that'll get you excited about learning more about one of the best DC rogues, there's no better place to start than Poison Ivy: Thorns.
Why It’s Worth Your Time:
A queer teen superhero story that not only embraces the horror genre, but isn't afraid of dealing with the realities that affect teenagers every day. The best comic books have often featured stories analogous with real life social issues, or have even dealt with them head on. DC has a long standing tradition of doing just that with landmark issues like Green Lantern #85 by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams—which dealt with Green Arrow sidekick Speedy's heroin addiction— and Green Lantern #76—a now-iconic issue about racism. Poison Ivy: Thorns continues that legacy. This is a queer, gothic coming-of-age story, but it's also a tale about abuse, family secrets and bullying. It's impressive, then, that the book is still such an enjoyable read and feels so true to Poison Ivy and the decades of lore surrounding her. So, whether you're new to the character or a diehard fan, this is the perfect book to pick up this Pride Month…or any month of the year.
Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing about those and more here at DC.com. You can listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Rosie Knight and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.