A group of teenagers find outlets for artistic expression and solve a mystery a uniquely whimsical world. The art is too busy on most pages, which dim...moreA group of teenagers find outlets for artistic expression and solve a mystery a uniquely whimsical world. The art is too busy on most pages, which diminishes the effect the truly fantastic double-page vistas, but overall, a unique story delightfully told with good design and solid art.(less)
My favorite of the Flight series thus far, largely because it's the most consistently excellent across all genres and art styles (Johane Matte particu...moreMy favorite of the Flight series thus far, largely because it's the most consistently excellent across all genres and art styles (Johane Matte particularly shines here). Read. Be transported.(less)
A wide-ranging collection of short graphic chapters on the subject of flight, ranging from silly to transformative. There's something for everyone her...moreA wide-ranging collection of short graphic chapters on the subject of flight, ranging from silly to transformative. There's something for everyone here.(less)
Surreal and mind-bending in the best way. Is it a parable on self-hatred? A metaphor for homosexuality? A plea for tolerance? A meditation on the impo...moreSurreal and mind-bending in the best way. Is it a parable on self-hatred? A metaphor for homosexuality? A plea for tolerance? A meditation on the impossibility of world peace? No idea, actually, but it's a damn fine read.(less)
Andy Runton's Owly is a friendly little owl who enjoys gardening and birdwatching. The latter hobby is complicated by the fact that birds are scared o...moreAndy Runton's Owly is a friendly little owl who enjoys gardening and birdwatching. The latter hobby is complicated by the fact that birds are scared of him, but Owly remains determined to forge unconventional friendships. Told almost exclusively without words (though there are passages told with symbols), these books are beautifully drawn, whimsical and absolutely charming.(less)
I picked this up at Comic-Con in 2007 and have come to the conclusion that Johane Matte is living up to the greatness promised by her beautiful, hilar...moreI picked this up at Comic-Con in 2007 and have come to the conclusion that Johane Matte is living up to the greatness promised by her beautiful, hilarious contributions to the Flight series.
This is a story of a feisty girl in ancient Egypt, her bratty little brother, and the tiny falcon-headed boy they bring home. Not since "Fantasia" have there been such marvelous hippopotami.(less)
A particularly stunning addition to Vertigo's "Fables" universe with constituent tales that are every bit as complex and fascinating as the lady who t...moreA particularly stunning addition to Vertigo's "Fables" universe with constituent tales that are every bit as complex and fascinating as the lady who tells them. Spectacular!(less)
There's loads to like here, provided you have a strong stomach in re: violence and gore and don't mind a walk on the morally ambiguous side. It's easy...moreThere's loads to like here, provided you have a strong stomach in re: violence and gore and don't mind a walk on the morally ambiguous side. It's easy to see the influence of this book on more current deconstructions of the superhero trope.
The book opens with the murder of a man later revealed to be one of the disbanned group of costumed vigilantes. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of the other former members, as they seek the murderer. The world that is revealed is a "what if" world. In this case, what if a nuclear accident produced a man with incredible superpowers whose alliance with the US allows them to decisively win the Vietnam War. There are a number of meta-fictional artifacts that intersperse the 9-panel pages, including sections of an autobiography written by a retired superhero, and a comic-within-a-comic about a man determined to save his village from ship of demon pirates, and media commentary from other Watchmen perspectives, all of which play up elements of intention, morality, and questions of truth and the greater good.
The only thing that I didn't wholeheartedly embrace was the art. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the sumptuous illustrations in Alan Moore's "V for Vendetta" and "Lost Girls," but I felt that some elements of design, not least of which how Dr. Manhattan was rendered, didn't really gel with the overall look of the book.
Overall, "Watchmen" is an exciting and ultimately chilling read. Not for nothing is it known as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time.(less)
A solid and entertaining noir-ish take on a society that loves and hates its superheroes. We follow veteran homicide detective Christian Walker and hi...moreA solid and entertaining noir-ish take on a society that loves and hates its superheroes. We follow veteran homicide detective Christian Walker and his new partner Deena Pilgrim (yes, author, we get the names...)investigate the murder of a popular superhero. An excellent yarn well told and fantastically drawn.(less)
Further adventures of Walker and Pilgrim investigating superhero murders, except these victims aren't really superheroes. A bit weaker, IMHO, than vol...moreFurther adventures of Walker and Pilgrim investigating superhero murders, except these victims aren't really superheroes. A bit weaker, IMHO, than volume I, but still with much to recommend it, particularly some fascinating exploration of the limits of superpowers and the as-always gorgeous art.(less)
A highly enjoyable extrapolation of the Buffyverse, "Fray" occurs in the future's urban slums, where weird faces and violence are commonplace. Fray, a...moreA highly enjoyable extrapolation of the Buffyverse, "Fray" occurs in the future's urban slums, where weird faces and violence are commonplace. Fray, a young thief, is the first active Slayer in generations, or so she's told. She thinks she's just tough. I was tempted to make this a three-star story, simply because Fray = Faith with backstory + season 8. And yet, for all that the individual elements are far from novel, they've been put together so effectively that this deserved four stars. Props, Joss. Well done.(less)
**spoiler alert** For those of you who have not yet read the “Flight” series, each volume is a collection of graphic short stories by different artist...more**spoiler alert** For those of you who have not yet read the “Flight” series, each volume is a collection of graphic short stories by different artists and writers all loosely linked by the subject of flight. It could be literal flight. It could be a flight of fancy. It could be a link so tenuous that you have no idea why the story is there. But you’ll be glad it is. All the “Flight” volumes are excellent, and this volume is no exception, with superb art and only a few offerings whose stories I felt were lacking. If you’d like to get an idea of what the art and stories are like, there’s a free preview of each at: http://flightcomics.com/flight5preview/
Notes on each story follow:
“The Broken Path” by Michel Gagne Gagne continues his wildly imaginative story of a fox exploring a strange new world in which he’s an unwitting hero. Weirdly beautiful creatures, landscapes, and planetscapes.
“Delilah Dirk and the Aqueduct” by Tony Cliff Sassy adventurer Delilah and her hired man run afoul of arrow-shooting villains in their flying machine. Excellent action sequence, though like many action sequences, there’s not much plot.
“The Dragon” by Reagan Lodge Though the art is lovely, the story of the everyman (or in this case, everyfox) with no talents to speak of who is inexplicably embroiled in conflict against Powerful Bad Guys and triumphs over them through dumb luck has been done to death and smacks of authorial self-insertion. It’s like the “Twilight” of the “Flight” universe.
“Beisbol 2” by Richard Pose A young boy, disillusioned when he meets his idol, finds another reason to love the game of baseball. This is the type of wonderful visual storytelling that transcends the cliché that lies at the heart of the story by making you understand _why_ it’s a cliché. You know how it’s going to end, but it’s still satisfying to read.
“The Courier” by Kazu Kibuishi A steampunk-inspired retro-futuristic world of precipitous cities where couriers travel by parachute. One contemplates his position in the world. Short, sweet, and a lot of visual impact crammed into a few pages.
“Malinky Robot” by Sonny Liew A deceptively simple meditation on personhood. Charming and poignant.
“Worry Dolls” by JP Ahonen Fabulously inventive story in which a gift from his girlfriend changes the fortunes of a down-on-his-luck actor, but not without a few missteps. Funny and relentlessly innovative.
“Igloo Head and Tree Head in Disguise” by Scott Campbell In a surreal world of monsters whose cranial protrusions define their identities and fortunes, two friends take a practical joke to the next level. Hilariously idiomatic and utterly charming.
“Evidence” by Graham Annable A strange, macabre little story by someone who obviously has a dog and knows what sorts of things they tend to dig up and bring home.
“The Changeling” by Sarah Mensinga Two lovers separated by their respective stations in life are brought together by an act of kindness. Beautiful, moving, and magical- one of my favorites.
“N” by Phil Craven I was utterly won over by this plucky little ninja who defeats an army of Bad Guys, until the Damsel in Distress was revealed. Darling art, excellent execution, but for crying out loud, why are women in ninja comics always useless?
“Mountains” by Matthew Bernier The most impenetrably weird story of the collection, a man and woman must face their fear of weirdness outside their usual existence and start a new life somewhere else.
“Big Dome - Flowers For Mama” by Paul Rivoche Golden-age throwback art with a steampunk sensibility perfectly suit this tale of aeronautical derring-do, all for the sake of some flowers for mama. Ironic and funny.
“The Chosen Ones Club” by Dave Roman Woodland creatures inform a boy that he is part of a prophecy, but you can never trust those woodland creatures, now can you? A delightful adventure yarn about how getting by with a little help from your friends is much more fun.
“Jellaby – Lost” by Kean Soo I love Jellaby, though his adventures are hard to describe. Summarizing it would be like summarizing Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro.” A girl, her friend, and a big cute monster get lost, and then get unlost. But that’s the beauty of the graphic novel format (and Miyazaki films): the visual elements turn a simple story into something beautiful.
“Two Kids” by Bannister, colors by Steve Hamaker Two kids are lost in the woods: one by choice, one by accident (no cute monsters, though). Thoughtful and sad.
“Scenes In Which the Earth Stops Spinning” by John Martz and Ryan North Exactly what it sounds like, and even funnier in execution. Wild, anarchic, funny, and sweet.
“Time Cat” by Joey Weiser Another favorite, the story of a cat convinced he can time travel and his attempts to make mealtime come faster. Hysterically funny.
“Voyage” by Kness and Made Breathtakingly beautiful journey of a polar bear. (SPOILER: So is she now a bi-polar bear?)
“On The Importance of Space Travel” by Svetlana Chmakova A new girl in school claims to be from Pluto, and her classmate is frustrated by her willful self-delusion. The casual cruelty of the age group is painful to see, but it makes discovering the underlying kindness even more satisfying.
“Franknfrank – Seasons” by Chris Appelhans This is perhaps my favorite- a very simple story with a spectacularly beautiful reveal at the end. This is everything I love about the short graphic story format. (less)
I admit, I only read this volume before seeing the movie, but to be fair, I probably wouldn't have wanted to see the movie if I hadn't thoroughly enjo...moreI admit, I only read this volume before seeing the movie, but to be fair, I probably wouldn't have wanted to see the movie if I hadn't thoroughly enjoyed this first installment. Y'all presumably know the story- boy loves girl but can't be with her without first defeating her seven evil exes, a wonderfully absurdist fable about dealing with the baggage that people bring with them when coming to a new relationship.
What this graphic novel does so very memorably is to combine the mystical/magical aspects of manga (as well as its visual style) with the wish-fulfillment fantasy of superhero comics. Scott is the everyman of indie comics- big dreams, dreary reality, who must do epic battle for the woman he loves against, f'rinstance, an insane man dressed as pirate ("Pirates are in this year!") who can throw fireballs and summon demons (of course he can).
And while these aspects of plot are highly entertaining, what made this a four star read for me instead of a three star read is the cast of well-written, quirky-but-not-for-quirky's-sake characters, including Wallace, Scott's gay roommate, Knives, Scott's fake high school girlfriend, Scott's sister Stacey, the band members, bitchy friends, and various other members of the music scene. These people with sharply-drawn relationships with one another and problems of their own serve to ground the over-the-top battle sequences in a form of reality. They're also damn funny.
Having not read the others yet knowing approximately how the story ends (I'm such a cheater), I am still looking forward to reading the other books for (I've heard) better backstory on the various exes, Ramona's and otherwise, as well as the original ending. Good fun!(less)