Bruce’s Reading Round-Up: The “Graphic Novels Featuring Family Secrets” Edition…


Saddle up suckers (and I mean that in the politest sense), it’s time for another Reading Round-Up! Today I have three graphic novels for you that are about as different as it’s possible for three graphic novels to be, yet they are all linked by a theme of family secrets. Or secret family. Or secretive family members. You get the idea.

We’ll roll through these in descending order of age-appropriateness, so let’s begin with one for the grown-ups.

October Faction, Volume 1 (Steve Niles & Damien Worm)october faction

Two Sentence Synopsis:

A family with an ancestral job of monster-hunting comes under attack from some seriously supernatural forces. In order to survive though, they’ll also have to deal with backstabbing, betrayal and secrets that are all too human.

Muster up the motivation because:

Along with the blood-splatting, monster-killing, robot-deflecting, zombie-evading action story, you will also get quite a delightful and charming tale of family bonding. So it’s the best of both worlds, really. I was surprised at how well developed the characters were, for the graphic novel format and I particularly enjoyed the twist at the end of this volume that, while satisfying, set the scene for increased monster-destruction in the next volume. I’d be very interested to see where this series goes, but as an opener, this was a fun, action-packed, engaging tale.

Brand it with:

Sibling rivalry, History coming back to bite you, family diversity

*I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley*

Now one for the YA set:

The Clockwork Sky, Volume 1 (Madeleine Rosca)clockwork sky

Two Sentence Synopsis:

Teenaged Sally Peppers is sent to stay with her Uncle, London’s foremost provider of steampowered automatons, after some anti-social behaviour at her school. After managing to escape from the clutches of her odious governess, Sally reluctantly teams up with steampowered police-bot Sky and uncovers some sinister facts about her Uncle’s business empire.

Muster up the motivation because:

If you enjoy steampunk, you’ll enjoy the rich world that Rosca has created here. Steambots aside, the story itself is fast-paced with Sally’s headstrong thoughtlessness balanced by the overly cautious, right-thinking Sky. The story ends on a cliff-hanger, leaving us hanging just as the meat of the story is revealed but there is at least one clue to how things might turn out partway through. The art style is manga and the story is easily short enough to be read in one sitting. I’m hanging out to see how the series develops.   Oh, and did I mention that Rosca is Australian? Bonus points!

Brand it with:

Steamy conflict, sewer-racing, behavioural problems in teens

And finally, one for the MG kids:

Punky Brewster, Volume 1 (Joelle Selner & Lesley Vamos)punky brewster

Two Sentence Synopsis:

Loveable homeless rogue Punky Brewster is found aiding and abetting a hustler in a store robbery, and sent to a group home. On discovering a long-lost cousin, the grouchy old Henry, Punky sees her chance at a great home – but can she and her dog Brandon convince the authorities (and Henry) that this is where she belongs?

Muster up the motivation because:

It’s Punky Brewster for a whole new generation. I’m sorry, I would have thought that was the obvious reason to read it. And fans of the original (and I definitely include myself among that number) will be happy to know that this is true to the original story, right down to the annoyingly quirky word mix-ups that Punky indulges in every so often. For purists, Henry does seem significantly younger as a cartoon than he was in the original, but apart from that, the tale contains all the cheekiness and hair-brained schemes that one could hope for. I did find it a bit strange that modern references to mobile phones and computers and texting and things were plonked right in the middle of a classic 80s environment, but it surely won’t phase young readers discovering Punky for the first time. Long live the random-bandana-tied-around-the-leg fashion statement.

Brand it with:

Young Punks, lonely old widowers, petty crime, 80s pop culture

*I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley*

I hope you can find something to rope you in amongst this lot. And just for old times’ (old-timers?) sake, here’s the Punky Brewster theme song.


Until next time,



3 thoughts on “Bruce’s Reading Round-Up: The “Graphic Novels Featuring Family Secrets” Edition…

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