Nick Galifianakis writes a syndicated cartoon about men and women and relationships. He is the cousin of now-famous comedian and actor Zach Galifianak...moreNick Galifianakis writes a syndicated cartoon about men and women and relationships. He is the cousin of now-famous comedian and actor Zach Galifianakis, who wrote the foreword for the book. The book is a collection of his cartoons - I presume that some were printed in syndication and others may be original for this book. All of the cartoons are single panels with no continuity or story between them. They're all mildly amusing in that tired Mars-vs-Venus sort of way: men and women are different, and communication/relationships are sometimes hard between them because of that! Hyuk-hyuk! I got a couple of genuinely surprised chuckles out of the book, but no more than 3 or 4. Galifianakis also seems to have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with his dog, which may actually be the most amusing part of the book (in the introduction in particular). I felt kind of like this was a series of single-panel Cathy comics but written from the male perspective, and I found most of them about as amusing as you might imagine from that description. That said, it took me all of about an hour to read the book cover-to-cover, and it did give me a few chuckles, so the investment is fairly minimal for a little amusement.(less)
I was gratified to read the end of the series, and there were some great funny moments...but it wasn't my favorite book of the series, which a little...moreI was gratified to read the end of the series, and there were some great funny moments...but it wasn't my favorite book of the series, which a little sad. You always want the last one to be your favorite!(less)
An excellent story about the joys of being a book lover and the dangers of succumbing entirely to that passion. It simultaneously celebrates how aweso...moreAn excellent story about the joys of being a book lover and the dangers of succumbing entirely to that passion. It simultaneously celebrates how awesome books are, how much joy they bring into a book-lover's life, and warns about what happens when that love goes too far, when love of books comes before all else, including other people, your career, and even yourself. It takes all of 10 minutes to read, it's beautiful to look at, and I can definitely imagine reading this again and again. NOT FOR CHILDREN, though - I feel this needs to be said because it looks very much like a picture book, but the story has some very adult themes and plot points.(less)
Oh, Wet Moon. So angsty and drama-filled. I adore it. I love Ross Cambpell's pudgy little characters with the big eyes and the confusion about their l...moreOh, Wet Moon. So angsty and drama-filled. I adore it. I love Ross Cambpell's pudgy little characters with the big eyes and the confusion about their love lives. I love that the most tomboyish main character (beloved Trilby) is also the only outright straight female main character. I love the weird side stories and the feeling that they're all on the point of converging. I honestly cannot put a Wet Moon book down after I open it until it's finished.
Volume 5, Where All Stars Fail to Burn, is where the shit starts to go down. Things start happening faster. We watch Cleo kinda sorta start to fall in love with a close friend, and also deal with her sister Penny's big secret. We watch Trilby and her geektastic boyfriend, Martin, be just outright adorable, and Martin gets to meet Trilby's parents. We watch Audrey finally stand up for herself. Myrtle becomes even more psychotic, and Fern becomes even more unbelievably weird. We still don't know who the masked vigilante is, though I've got some theories going. And of course, we get to see the big softball game. Campbell, that incredibly talented SOB, leaves the book with a heart-breaking killer of a cliff-hanger - I almost fell out of my airplane seat in shock that he would leave the story like that FOR MONTHS! Until the next book comes out! ARGH! It sets my teeth on edge just thinking about it, even now, and I read this book two and a half months ago!
Bottom line, 5 stars. I cannot get enough of this series. It's killing me that I might have to wait a whole year for the next one. Damn you, Ross Campbell!!!(less)
This is an incredible book. And I don't mean, "incredible for a comic book." While it is a graphic novel, Asterios Polyp is a better book than 80% of...moreThis is an incredible book. And I don't mean, "incredible for a comic book." While it is a graphic novel, Asterios Polyp is a better book than 80% of the prose books I've ever read in my life.
It's a fairly simple story when boiled down to its basics. A man, our hero Asterios, has a broken heart, and it's really his own fault. So he's depressed and miserable. Then he goes through some mental and spiritual rejuvenation in a small town where he happens to get off the bus. And then he goes and tries to get back his girl.
The genius of the book is in its construction. Everything is laid out in dualities. The book uses two main colors, as you can see from the cover image. The story is told in segments alternating between the present and the past. The narrator is not Asterios himself, but his twin brother Ignazio - who died at birth. And there is imbedded in the story some literal discussion of duality in architecture and design, in art, in science, in human nature, in the universe. Layered on top of all of this duality is the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice, acted out in the persons of Asterios and his love, Hana, and also making a literal appearance in the story when Hana becomes involved in an actual production of Orpheus, the musical. Add to all of this some insights into the nature of architecture and design, told in a story constructed in an architectural manner and through artwork that is the epitome of good design, and you have a pretty complexly constructed book.
That brings me to the art. The very colors used in each scene are weighted with meaning. In a book where even the colors have such significance, you can guess how important the rest of the artwork is. It's very modern - in a late-'50s/early-'60s kind of way - and very focused on high design. The lines used to draw the characters are frequently used to give the reader insight into their personalities, even when they are minor characters. I have never read a book where the art was so important to understanding the moods, personalities, even souls of the characters.
This book was just amazing. It touched my heart; it made me think; it made me laugh; it made me slow down and study the art; it's stayed with me for weeks. I want to read it at least 10 more times in my life. And I'd highly recommend anyone else do the same. I'd give it 6 of 5 stars if that were possible.(less)
Wow. Kick. Ass. This series features undercover FBI agent Dashiell Bad Horse returning to the Sioux reservation he spent the first 13 years of his lif...moreWow. Kick. Ass. This series features undercover FBI agent Dashiell Bad Horse returning to the Sioux reservation he spent the first 13 years of his life hating. He has a bad attitude and an apparent love of fighting. The series rips open his rocky history with his mom, Native American rights activist Gina Bad Horse, who sacrificed her relationship with her son in the hopes of influencing the greater good with her protests. Dash gets a job working for Red Crow, Gina's former compatriate and now the most powerful and most hated guy on the rez. His secret mission is to catch Red Crow with his hands dirty, while his personal mission is to get the damn job over with so he can move on to somewhere as far away from the rez as he can possibly get.
I think it's a really interesting look at reservation life and just a bad-ass story with lots of action and fighting and a hard reality. It also has a prophet-like character, Catcher, who is my absolute favorite drunk who still rides a horse everywhere in modern times and receives visions from the thunder gods. I loved this story from the first page. I'm totally hooked and can't wait to make my way through the rest of it!(less)
Maus is a two-volume comic book memoir written by the son of Auschwitz survivors, about their story of survival and also the author's story of his som...moreMaus is a two-volume comic book memoir written by the son of Auschwitz survivors, about their story of survival and also the author's story of his somewhat difficult relationship with his dad. (An aside here - I had a hard time coming up with that first part, because I didn't want to say "graphic novel" [it's not a novel:] and "graphic memoir" sounds like a Penthouse exclusive, and "comic book memoir" sounds kind of dumb, but it's the best I've got. ) As the inside flap of the book says, it's a story about the Holocaust, and a story about those who survived the survivors.
We've all seen/heard/read a million stories about the Holocaust at this point. It's horrible and heart-breaking every time. It never gets easier to witness in any way, largely I think because most people have a very difficult time imagining how anyone could treat another person in that way. People have treated other humans as animals or worse throughout history, and it still goes on today (which is partly why the stories are still so relevant and raw), so I know the attitude is certainly within the human capacity...but I don't understand it. Spiegelman ups the ante a little by depicting the characters as animals already - the Jews are mice, the Nazis are cats, the Poles are pigs, the French are frogs, the Americans are dogs, etc. It eliminates the hackneyed cliche of "treating people like animals" and it also makes you view the story with fresh eyes because it's told a little differently than usual.
As for style, I thought Spiegelman's style of story-telling was very similar to that of Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame), which is to say it's very common man, it's a little self-deprecating at times, it breaks the fourth wall on occasion...and something else intangible that I can't describe. I love Pekar's work, and I love this as well. It's hard to choose which parts of the books I liked most. The moments between the author and his father in the present are so realistic, rotating among frustration/anger at his father's irritating habits and attempts at guilt/manipulation, and worry/tenderness over his father's advancing age and physical/mental deterioration, and admiration for the strength and ingenuity his father had in order to survive the Holocaust.
On the other hand, the historical parts about Vladek and Anja in Poland and the many hells they went through to come out again alive and to find each other were so poignant and gripping - those were the parts that were impossible to put down. I'm still affected by this, two days after I finished the books - I have tears in my eyes as I type, thinking about all the people they lost, including their first son, and all the terrible things they saw, and what an unbelievable miracle it was that they both survived and found each other after they earned their freedom (because they were separated in Auschwitz and didn't see one another or hear from one another for a long time).
It's an incredibly moving story told in a somewhat unconventional manner. It has won several awards and a great deal of recognition. All well-deserved, in my opinion.(less)
Love Proof! This is the first book, the real origin story of the chupacabra that has been weaving in and out of the periphery of the story since her b...moreLove Proof! This is the first book, the real origin story of the chupacabra that has been weaving in and out of the periphery of the story since her big storyline here ended. It also gives some background on the origin of Proof itself, and the history of cryptids, and backstory for both Ginger and Elvis. Personal favorite moment is when Ginger is sitting in the conference room, waiting for her new partner to arrive so they can be briefed on a situation, and Proof walks in and she tries to shoot him. Luckily, Leander made her empty her gun as soon as she got to the Lodge...though Proof would probably survive a bullet pretty easily.(less)
A collection of short comic works, four each on four themes of four-letter words: love, hate, fear, and fate. Some creators I'd never heard of, and so...moreA collection of short comic works, four each on four themes of four-letter words: love, hate, fear, and fate. Some creators I'd never heard of, and some were creators I already love (i.e., Chynna Clugston). All were excellent. The story that stands out the most in my mind is the one where Fate is drug into a meeting with God's new marketing team, who have decided that he needs a new image. HILARIOUS. Also, the first story in love, which has no dialogue at all, just artwork, was fabulous and sweet and poignant - I was very impressed by that. Loved Chynna's stuff, as always, and also Andi Watson's. Good collection, easy to read, fun stuff!(less)
I was excited to get a new Extraordinary Gentlemen fix. This is a (mostly) new team of "gentlemen" for a new century. The real centerpiece of the book...moreI was excited to get a new Extraordinary Gentlemen fix. This is a (mostly) new team of "gentlemen" for a new century. The real centerpiece of the book is the story of Jinna, Captain Nemo's daughter. She turns into a bad-ass pirate bitch by the end, and I loved that.(less)
This is a fascinating crime story. A criminal known as much for his cowardice as for his talent and intelligence somehow lets himself get involved in...moreThis is a fascinating crime story. A criminal known as much for his cowardice as for his talent and intelligence somehow lets himself get involved in a really messy heist that goes bad...and for the first time, he can't run away. The most interesting element of the story to me revolves around why our hero is known as a coward: he doesn't generally carry weapons, if something goes wrong he runs from the scene immediately, he always has a back-up plan to get himself out of any sticky situations. And that is what has caused his fellow hustlers and theives to label him a coward. In the end, though, he reveals that his so-called cowardice has a rather unexpected reason (as he tears to pieces everyone who caused the hell of the last several days, including himself). There are some touchy-feely moments with him and a dead buddy's wife (and her daughter), a bartender friend, a heroin junkie with Alzheimer's who raised him after his dad went to prison...but mostly, the story itself is fascinating and gripping and the art is BEAUTIFUL.(less)