One word for this graphic novel. Atmosphere. I definitely felt like I was in the late 1940s Hollywood. But the real Hollywood, not the glamorous, shinOne word for this graphic novel. Atmosphere. I definitely felt like I was in the late 1940s Hollywood. But the real Hollywood, not the glamorous, shining synthetic world that so many people in the industry tried to project. The point of view is from a screenwriter deeply immersed in the studio system who was emotionally broken by his war experiences. He wakes up in a bedroom and finds the body of the starlet in the next room. The star of the movie he's been working on. The list of suspects is long, and even if they aren't the murderer, most of these people aren't blameless and are far from innocent.
People like to say that the depths of depravity in society has gotten worse. I don't think so. I think people have gotten more blatant in their dark desires, but they have been doing anything under the sun for gratification since the beginning of time. This book shows that very dark side of Hollywood that swallows people whole, brings out the very worst in its denizens, exploiting their weaknesses and insecurities and their desire to be famous regardless of the cost. It features the wolves and the lambs (although the lambs aren't without blemish), and the bottom-feeders of the industry.
The artwork was alluring and perfectly paired to the narrative. It conveys the feel of a hardboiled, noir mystery, although the artist is not afraid to use color. I love the style of the 1940s, and I found myself a student of the character design in this book. It's done in such a way that it doesn't give a misleading tone of brightness that is completely opposite to the story.
This ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, in that there is no resolution of the mystery, but instead a big breadcrumb for the reader to follow in the next volume. I need to know, so I'll keep reading....more
This was a lucky find when I was browsing my library's graphic novel collection. I am a big ghost story fan, and I like the idea of a hero who has assThis was a lucky find when I was browsing my library's graphic novel collection. I am a big ghost story fan, and I like the idea of a hero who has assumed the powers of different spirits. It's not quite what I thought, but it's still pretty good.
There's a pretty significant old school vibe to this book. I think the creators were going for a pulp vibe. The adventure and ready mix of supernatural elements. The energy is evident in the artwork. It's raw and somehow visceral. Using a lot of warm shades. The cover doesn't quite represent the color palette that dominates the book.
I really liked how Fabian Gray's spirit helpers are famous archetypes from fiction and literature, and how their abilities are harnessed and used by Fabian, although it comes with a price.
I can't give this the highest rating. While there was much I liked about it, it wasn't ground-breaking and it doesn't appeal to me in the execution as much as other graphic novels I'm reading. However, I think it will be interesting to pick this series up again and see what adventure are next for Mr. Gray....more
Non-stop adventure and intrigue with very poignant human drama. Like a good spy/adventure novel with a healthy dose of weird/supernatural/sci-fi fictiNon-stop adventure and intrigue with very poignant human drama. Like a good spy/adventure novel with a healthy dose of weird/supernatural/sci-fi fiction thrown in.
I found the writing clever. I was transplanted into the cutthroat world of college politics. Who knew that the wives could be just as fierce as their faculty husbands? And that they would resort to sorcery and witchcraft to keep their husbands (and themselves by relation) in power? Things get pretty nasty!
I think that there is some very interesting commentary about male and female relationships here. That old Venus Versus Mars argument. I felt at first that Norman was a rampant sexist (in a way that is very common even today). He had a superior attitude towards his wife, while simultaneously being in awe of her at the same time. He seemed to view her as an alien creature, constantly analyzing the way her mind worked, as if it was so different from his. I liked how his feelings of mental superiority over her backfired when he realized that she was in fact the one who was right about what was really going on, and how he had to rely on her knowledge of the situation. I liked how things turned around and it was clear how much he did care for his wife. How he fought for her well-being, willingly putting aside his hard-headed scientific skeptical thought processes to save her.
I feel that there is a heavy tone of satire cleverly mixed in with well-executed psychological horror. Norman's internal dialogue engenders a tone that is analytical and observational (although he doesn't seem to be as observant as one would think for a sociologist), wry and sarcastic at other times and quite laden with a menace that sneaks up on the reader. At first, I found him to be a bit of a pompous twit. I admit I can't stand when men treat women like their brains and mental capacities are limited. But I couldn't stay angry at him. He learned the hard way not to underestimate women, particularly his own wife. I think in this, Leiber is making a point. For all the men did have a tendency to view their spouses through a skewed lens, not realizing just how much power the women truly had in their lives and over them. Leiber seems to throw sexist ideas out with a wink and a nod, as if he expects the readers to reject those thoughts, or perhaps to poke fun at those who believe what he's saying. My take, anyway.
I wonder what the reception was to this book in the 1940s. The ideas of male/female relations are probing and insightful in a way that seems a bit subversive. But what do I know? At any rate, I liked this story very much. It's beautifully subtle in the slow building of menace and fear, and the ideas about society seem to be relevant today in how men and women and spouses relate to and view each other. Also it speaks to the often venomous way that women can sometimes turn against each other, belying what some (including myself) naively believe about the sisterhood of women. On the horror level, the truly heinous and scary nature of witchcraft used as a tool for power and control is enough to send a shiver down my spine. It makes you wonder just how much witchcraft may be going on behind the scenes today.
This was a very good book, although the start was a little rocky. I think that this is an ambitious story, but the reward was sweet. I haven't read thThis was a very good book, although the start was a little rocky. I think that this is an ambitious story, but the reward was sweet. I haven't read that many Alien Invasion novels, because I don't find them that interesting. However, Golemon took the events of Roswell and made it relevant and also far from cheesy. In fact, he took it in an imaginative direction.
When people think of UFO and alien sitings, the 'little green men' always come up. Also, there seems to be a dichotomy when people speak of aliens, either the kind, friendly little green men or the evil aliens who want to probe and dissect humans, and have a sinister purpose. I really liked how Golemon speaks to this alien folklore in a very cool way. He also threw in the type of aliens that scare me like crazy, you know like the Ridley Scott/James Cameron xenomorphs, animalistic creatures of mass destruction with no pity and no morality, but only a hunger and a desire to propagate? The thought of those creatures of earth is massively scary. So it was a neat mix of what we consider aliens in popular culture.
For the conspiracy theorists, there's a nice bit of government alien coverup conspiracy thrown in. The Event Group is integral to that, but also larger and more expansive. This was a really neat idea that I feel the author can take into many directions. I like the tidbits of other famous history elements that were thrown in, like finding the body of a certain 4th century King of Britain (you know who!).
As I read this, I wondered how the author could take such a broad concept and cover it in the relative short 470 odd pages in a satisfactory manner. He does. The ending was quite epic! I hate that so many people died so horribly in this book. I guess that's how it would pay out if there was an invasion of such brutal aliens, but I still didn't like it. Quite a few wince-worthy moments, but also plenty of cheering as the good guy stick it to the next alien monsters of devastation.
Other than the slow start, my major criticism was characterization. I felt that some the characters weren't as well-developed as I would have liked. I sure did like Senator Lee though. What a character! I would love to meet that guy. I pictured an elderly Gregory Peck as Lee. I liked his assistant, Alice Hamilton. Their relationship obviously was a lifelong bond, and it showed. I also liked Gus, the gold prospector who plays a pivotal role. I did like Jack Collins, but he did seem a bit thin at times. He could have used more fleshing out, I thought. Mainly portrayed as a man of action and deep principle. I would just like more of his inner life. I think that is the brooder/analytical thinker in me. I like to dive deep into characters and explore their inner lives as much as I enjoy action moments. I will look forward to following him in later books, regardless. Sarah certainly could have used more development. She seemed like a throwaway character to a big degree. I know with this ambitious story, it's hard to keep up with all the characters, but I feel that the author should pick the most pivotal characters and develop them to the best degree possible.
I'm glad that this was selected as the group read this month. It was a fun, involving read, and while aliens are not a favorite theme or subject for me, Goleman perked my interest and took me on a varied emotional reading journey with this book. ...more