Sophie Bangs is a college student in a present-day New York in an universe where the world is completely dominated by science....morePosted on my book blog.
Sophie Bangs is a college student in a present-day New York in an universe where the world is completely dominated by science. There are flying cars and high tech buildings, cutting edge medical treatments, and fiction and myth are things of the past, relegated to academical studies. Sophie is interested in a mysterious character named Promethea, who keeps appearing at different and seemingly unrelated times in history. Soon, her research gets her closer to the physical embodiment of Promethea, and she discovers that she is the next person to channel the power of Imagination.
This was recommended to me by a friend who is usually spot on about books that I will like. Sure enough, I wasn't disappointed. The exploration of imagination and dreams, communication and stories as the next stage in the evolution of the human beings, was extremely interesting. I loved the humor in his portrayal of modern society in all its absurdity. The artwork was fantastic as well, with the paneling artfully depicting the narrative and the "parallel" worlds.
Looking forward to the next installment of the series.(less)
Background: I had never heard of this book until I got it as a gift for my birthday last month, but I have been a huge fan of Dave McKean's work since...moreBackground: I had never heard of this book until I got it as a gift for my birthday last month, but I have been a huge fan of Dave McKean's work since I discovered it around four or five years ago, so it was a really nice surprise. I first became aware of his work through the graphic novel Black Orchid, which he made with Neil Gaiman. I remember marveling at the beautiful panels in that book and wondering who this amazingly talented artist was. After that, it was only a matter of time until I got acquainted with the rest of his illustrative works. This, however, is the first book I got that wasn't made together with other authors, which got me curious.
Review: Let me be a bit unorthodox and start this review with a conclusion: go buy it. Seriously. You won't regret it, if you're a fan of his work or of the comic / graphic novel genre in general, specially if, like me, you like to see the boundaries of a medium being explored to the limits. That being said...
Pictures That Tick is a collection of short stories, some made of words and images, others of only images, some drawn, some painted, some photographed, some all of the above. The author includes a short introduction to each of the stories, which in itself I found very interesting. In some of them he would allude to what had inspired him to make it, including some references to other artists such as Duane Michals (who happens to be one of my favourite photographers), while in others it seemed like I was staring at written versions of his scattered thoughts. In fact, many of the short stories felt like that - a materialized string of ideas, or stream of consciousness, rather than a story per se - and this is particularly notable in the stories in which he uses no words.
The artwork itself is nothing short of amazing. Dave McKean seems to have mastered many different mediums in a way that many other people can only aspire to. If you're familiar with his work you probably already know this, but it still came as a surprise, to see so many mediums intertwined in such a lovely manner in one single book. The highlights, for me, were "Ash", a story about a girl with a tree growing through her, and "His Story", which follows the life of a boy who had listened to his father's story. It sounds rather simplistic when I put it down in words, but believe me, it's everything but. The book is full of metaphors and word play and little pearls of wisdom which sometimes come in the form of an image. This quote, from "Ash", particularly struck home with me:
She looked out at the other trees, and she realised that her life was one of thousands, any one of which could have been her, she had grown wherever her life had taken her, she had drifted wherever the wind had blown her.
This is a gorgeous, thought-provoking book and I am infinitely glad I came across it. It showcases Dave McKean's talent not only as a visual artist, but also as a skilled storyteller.
What's Next: Some of these stories touched me deeply and still linger in my mind. I now have all his books (including the ones he worked on with other authors) on my wishlist. I sincerely hope he makes another one with short stories such as these.(less)
I picked up the first volume of this collection because I had heard good things about it. The premise of taking the world of fairytales and blending i...moreI picked up the first volume of this collection because I had heard good things about it. The premise of taking the world of fairytales and blending it with our own seemed interesting enough, and I was curious to see how it would be approached.
I have to say I wasn't terribly impressed with it. The artwork is decent, and I liked the back story about the exile of the fairytale characters from their homelands. In fact, if I ever get another book in this series, it will be because I'm interested in knowing more about that story, because the plot for this one certainly didn't cut it. Basically you have a mystery that is neither complicated, unexpected or, in my opinion, as relevant as the characters make it out to be. I finished reading this and pretty much thought, "Who cares?". And the way it was presented wasn't particularly interesting either. The overall feeling was one of underwhelming.
Still, I will probably read another one from this series, not only for the reason I have explained, but also because I want to understand why everyone seems to like it so much. (less)
A book about the wonderful work of Dave McKean for the Sandman comics. There really isn't much else to say - if you love Dave M...morePosted on my book blog.
A book about the wonderful work of Dave McKean for the Sandman comics. There really isn't much else to say - if you love Dave McKean's artwork you will love this book. Each cover has a story, and all the little details will have you stare at the images for a long time. It's interesting to see how his work evolved over the years, and the commentary from both the artist and Neil Gaiman (who also wrote a short story for the book) is funny and insightful.
Definitely worth it if you're a Sandman fan. If you're not, I'm sure you'll be interested in checking it out after you read this book.(less)
Background: I will admit this right from the beginning: I got this book because of its cover. It's deceptively simple and quite...morePosted on my book blog.
Background: I will admit this right from the beginning: I got this book because of its cover. It's deceptively simple and quite brilliant. And the phrase that's pictured coming out (or going into) the book really piqued my interest: Stories are the only thing worth dying for. Food for thought.
Review: Wilson Taylor is the author of the most celebrated fantasy book series in the world. Surpassing even Harry Potter's popularity, the Tommy Taylor series follows the adventures of a boy wizard, his friends Sue and Peter, and a magical flying cat as they battle an evil vampire called Count Ambrosio (the similarity to Harry Potter's storyline is evident). The author's son, Tom Taylor, is believed by fans to be the model for his father's stories, and when Wilson Taylor disappears, his son tries to cash in on his father's legacy in any way he can. However, he is haunted by abandonment issues and resentment at being looked at only as a fictional character. When doubts are raised about his past, and whether or not he is truly the son of the missing author, Tom Taylor is thrust into a lot more trouble than he could conceive.
I liked the story, the premise is interesting, and all the literary references make this a true pleasure for any book lover. I had a few problems with the execution - for example, I thought that the story evolved quite slowly, with the main character not figuring out things that are made quite obvious to the reader. I guess this is fairly true to reality - after all, if you were in the main character's shoes, just how easily would you believe you were actually a character made flesh, or that all the literary mumble-jumbo your father taught you would be useful to battle enemies you're not even aware of? In that sense, the character of Tommy is believable, even if he's a bit insufferable (at least to me, he came out as whiny and kinda spoiled).
Even so, I found it a bit confusing, which I guess is the result of only reading the beginning of the story (when the book ends you feel like the story has only just started) and the bits of information that is thrown in in the form of blog entries, chat discussions, and back story. Still, I kinda liked the vibe of mystery-to-be-solved this gave, and I'm really looking forward to the next issue. Also, the fact that stories are presented as being the thing that makes the world go roung is really interesting.
Overall, thought-provoking and out of the ordinary. If you like fast-paced, action-driven comics, then I guess this one isn't for you. But if you're a passionate writer or a reader, I'm sure you'll be able to connect with this book.
What's Next: Will definitely check out the next volume.(less)
The second installment of the Scott Pilgrim's series continues to explore his burgeoning relationship with Ramona Flowers (a...morePublished on my book blog.
The second installment of the Scott Pilgrim's series continues to explore his burgeoning relationship with Ramona Flowers (and, consequently, the fights with her evil ex-boyfriends) and his withering one with Knives Chau (who seems to develop an unhealthy obsession for anything Scott).
I actually enjoyed this one more. I'm not sure if it was because it's a bit more different from the movie than the first volume, or simply because the story picked up pace. It was still quite easy and fast to read, but there were more funny and unexpected moments. The scene with Ramona and Knives, in which Knives shows the reason for her strange name, was particularly enjoyable. The book ends in a cliffhanger, after we meet, for the first time, Envy Adams, Scott's ex-girlfriend and now member of a successful, art rock band (or something).
This whole series is a funny, but honest look at how complicated relationships are and how emotional baggage really prevents people from moving on. I'll definitely keep reading.(less)
A story about a CIA-backed brigade of people who are supposed to keep superheroes in check,...morePosted on my book blog.
That was... Interesting, I suppose.
A story about a CIA-backed brigade of people who are supposed to keep superheroes in check, because apparently all superheroes are vicious, murderous rapists, and just all-around horrible human beings. And the only way to fight them is to get an equally vicious group of humans who hate them, give them a compound that effectively turns them into superheroes as well (the irony of the situation!), and unleash them upon the "supes" to remind them who's boss.
I guess I just don't see the appeal of extremely gratuitous revenge stories like this, where most of the characters end up acting like caricatures of themselves, with only a couple of them being believably human. I'll still read the second volume to see if it gets any better, as some of the characters have potential... But I'm not keeping my hopes up.(less)
I was looking forward to reading this book. I had heard and read about it, and even watched the movie adaptation (which, in my opinion, is not as good...moreI was looking forward to reading this book. I had heard and read about it, and even watched the movie adaptation (which, in my opinion, is not as good as the book itself) before reading it. I wasn't disappointed. While this book probably must have had a much greater impact at the time the comic first appeared (due to the political and economic climate) it's still a wonderful read today. To top that off, it's presented in a very original way, as far as comics go.
I won't go deep into the plot here, to avoid spoilers. The atmosphere is dark, almost depressing, mostly detached. The most interesting thing for me was the psychological and philosophical studies of the characters' motives. The side stories, newspaper clippings and excerpts, and even the "comic within the comic" added interest to an already intricate story. I found myself fascinated by Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach. Not your usual comic book heroes, that's for sure.
**spoiler alert** It's no secret that I love the Fables series, and this volume follows a very cool, but overlooked character: Flycatcher. That being...more**spoiler alert** It's no secret that I love the Fables series, and this volume follows a very cool, but overlooked character: Flycatcher. That being said, I didn't love it as much as I would have liked to.
The story reminded me way too much of Lord of the Rings, and everything happened too fast. The Prince's amazing and sudden magical powers (not the ones related to the armor or sword) aren't really explained, and since the kingdom's very existence depends on that magic, it's a flaw that can't be overlooked. The artwork is also weaker compared to other volumes in the series. Character-wise, Flycatcher loses some of his spark and becomes a pure, incorruptible king / martyr who insists on only seeing the good in people, which might work well in regular fantasy stores but was really strange for the Fables universe. Also, Red Riding Hood is boring. But hey, at least Snow White and Bigby Wolf are still their regular, cool selves.
Still, I like where the story seems to be headed, and I'm curious to see the war developing.(less)
Even though I'm usually one of those people who won't watch a movie until she's read the book(s) it's based on, I did the oppos...morePosted on my book blog.
Even though I'm usually one of those people who won't watch a movie until she's read the book(s) it's based on, I did the opposite with Scott Pilgrim. I watched the movie first. I actually really liked it, but it did dampen my enthusiasm somewhat as I was reading this book, because, understandably, not a lot of it surprised me.
But, first things first. Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year-old guy from Toronto, Canada, who has the perfect life. He's in a rock band with his friends, between jobs, and dating a high-school girl. Then Ramona Flowers, a delivery girl on rollerblades, comes into his life.
I liked how honest and funny this was. Ramona's interesting, confident personality is a nice contrast to Knives's innocent and childish demeanor. The artwork and storytelling were simple, but different enough to keep me interesting. Still, this feels very much like the beginning of the story. At least it's a fast read and makes me want to read the others right away.