Great premise but unsatisfying execution. It felt more like an outline than a finished story. Economics probably limited how many issues he was alloweGreat premise but unsatisfying execution. It felt more like an outline than a finished story. Economics probably limited how many issues he was allowed to tell the story in, but they just weren't enough. Also not sure how many readers would be attracted to both the story and the art. Not the drawing in general, which was fine, but the over-the-top gore. It was too tongue-in-cheek to be outright unpleasant but it didn't really fit the mood of the rest....more
Yes, you can read the story online for free. But one advantage to the print edition is you can also hand it off to a kid. It's a nice all-ages style wYes, you can read the story online for free. But one advantage to the print edition is you can also hand it off to a kid. It's a nice all-ages style with lovely art. The lieutenant in question is more the main character in that it's all from his perspective, and I think that angle does a nice job of making Dirk competent (and then some) without hitting you over the head with it or getting insecure. The costume still has room for improvement but it's progress. And I loved the running bit about the tea for whatever reason. I don't even drink the stuff....more
This is not a repeat of Darth Vader and Son, although that would have been just fine too. It's mostly Leia the teenager, which makes for a wider newerThis is not a repeat of Darth Vader and Son, although that would have been just fine too. It's mostly Leia the teenager, which makes for a wider newer range of jokes....more
I was one of those people who loved all the food logging in French Milk, so I was excited about this one. And probably the biggest difference I noticeI was one of those people who loved all the food logging in French Milk, so I was excited about this one. And probably the biggest difference I noticed between the two is the lack of angst in this one. Go figure because the author is older and more settled. But even in the vignettes from her adolescence, there's none of the attitude and resentment and her parents are simply awesome. Which is fine, of course. That contrast can provoke as much thought in the reader about their own evolving relationships with their parents as all the food talk can prompt memories and associations in that area.
All the food was fun, of course. There's not a lot of analysis or sense of how things specifically taste. (Which is too bad, because the one time she does that -- with the croissants in Italy -- it's wonderful.) It's more sentimental attachments and sometimes just being impressed (like at Alinea). (And this is written for people who are already familiar with things like Alinea.) Cute illustrations, a label, and then moving on. There are also some graphic recipes that seem feasible enough, if not for beginners. I'll probably try a couple.
And although this is for people who are familiar with the general food world, it is not snobby. There is a great piece on the appeal of fast food even for those who "know better." I especially liked the bit on the texture of french fries. And she's fine with those croissants from a tube. (!)
(This was a digital edition and it worked great. Not all graphic novels are translating well to a screen but they did a very good job with this one.)...more
This was just as fun as the first volume. Since these stories can be formula, I wondered whether the novelty would wear off, but there were some niceThis was just as fun as the first volume. Since these stories can be formula, I wondered whether the novelty would wear off, but there were some nice new elements to keep it fresh. I appreciated the addition of an upbeat supporting cast as a contrast to the relentlessly grim main character and the variety of styles of the assorted side heists. And although with a series like this, you at least know the main character will survive the book, there's certainly no guarantee his plans will succeed. There's still plenty of suspense. And of course your typically glorious, stylish Darwyn Cooke art....more
I'd been hearing good things about this series for a few years and the raves for the new Dark Horse edition were loud enough to get me off the fence.
TI'd been hearing good things about this series for a few years and the raves for the new Dark Horse edition were loud enough to get me off the fence.
This is well-done classic noir. Convoluted without being unrealistic. A charismatic hero who doesn't win every fight and is consistently unlucky in love. Sultry dames. Blatant villains. They do skip the corrupt police department cliche, which is nice.
The art is wonderfully atmospheric and does avoid the creepy 'furry' fetish angle that I was leery of. There is less sex/nudity than in your average human-based noir comic. The artist's Disney background is clear in his overall style and he put a lot of research into having each character express emotion in species-specific ways. He is inconsistent with the inclusion of tails and I had a lot of difficulty identifying the breed or even species of many female characters, although the males were always quite clear.
Because the creators are European (Spanish, with a French publisher) I was disappointed that the stories are all set in a version of the United States. I was looking forward to more novelty. And the race wars story never really made sense in a world of so many different colors/species. It was the pure white animals vs only certain brown ones and the rest of the population -- green, orange, tan, blue, etc. -- was simply background. But that overall story was the strongest of the three despite that. Don't miss the monochrome splash page at the end....more
I picked this up after reading/enjoying When the Wind Blows. This book is an earlier story with the same characters, although nothing is lost by readiI picked this up after reading/enjoying When the Wind Blows. This book is an earlier story with the same characters, although nothing is lost by reading them out of order.
Jim is basically a British Walter Mitty, but he even tries to implement his grand dreams of becoming a cowboy, highwayman, etc. With his wife's support, no less, although it was never entirely clear to me whether she was humoring him or equally dense. (Probably the latter.)
Jim is very sweet but not at all bright. He also seems to have left school quite early, which is a significant plot device and source of humor. The British caste system also factors in quite a bit.
The art is more complex than in When the Wind Blows. I particularly liked Briggs' portrayal of various authority figures, although the Prohias-esque magistrate is a distractingly dramatic change from the others....more
I'm probably the only librarian in the U.S. who hasn't read The Time Traveler's Wife so this is my first experience with Niffenegger and libraries. AnI'm probably the only librarian in the U.S. who hasn't read The Time Traveler's Wife so this is my first experience with Niffenegger and libraries. And I did enjoy it. Hadn't realized prior to purchase that she was also the artist, and it's fairly unpolished zine-type art. But it doesn't usually distract from the story. The speech bubbles, on the other hand, could have been handled better, and I went back and forth on whether there should have been actual lettering rather than print font. Then again, that ties it back into the prose theme.
I love the premise. And it's the sort that many readers will find themselves daydreaming about for years afterwards. Without giving away much (especially for a $20 short story; you need some idea), the bookmobile contains every book the main character (Alexandra, missing a vowel) has ever read. But she has no control over when she encounters it, with years passing between visits.
I didn't figure out the ending in advance but it made perfect sense. And it was also a spread where the visuals were particularly well laid-out. While still on the lefthand page, you caught just enough of a glimpse of the bottom corner of the opposite page to build anticipation.
Alexandra has no real inner life but that doesn't work against the story or her fate. Her career moves unrealistically quickly once she begins it, but that's probably only apparent to librarians. The book also moves quickly for what it costs, but it will be a fun one to regularly loan out. ...more
I wanted to enjoy this much more than I did. You never want to speak ill of tragedy-laden true stories, of course. And it's a part of 20th century hisI wanted to enjoy this much more than I did. You never want to speak ill of tragedy-laden true stories, of course. And it's a part of 20th century history that has never received all that much attention in the West, thanks to the distraction of our own horrors.
But I did have difficulty with the art. I was really surprised to learn at the end that Yang is an established artist, so it was a style choice rather than simply a lack of experience. Things were just too tightly packed for me, and not even specific to the given mood. Of course, it didn't help that I had an advance copy that was more error-prone than most. Many speech bubbles only had half of their words and others had temporary notes mixed in with the dialog. The methods of expressing strong emotion and peril were strong; it was more the scenery that got over-detailed and too strongly inked.
The story itself was very well-structured and always engaging. The only quibble there was how blithely the ex-boyfriend was written off at the end....more
I've been reading Fables all along and I do love the concept of Cinderella's character, but the story itself was disappointingly insubstantial. I've rI've been reading Fables all along and I do love the concept of Cinderella's character, but the story itself was disappointingly insubstantial. I've really enjoyed the Arabian Knights fables and Aladdin was a great choice as co-star, so there's that.
The second half seemed rushed, which was a greater weakness than its predictability. The side plot back at the shoe store was just annoying, however classically-based. Not least because the staffer provoked zilch sympathy. The flashbacks to past capers at the beginning of each issue (more of a distraction when you're reading it in trade) were a better idea than execution and retconning her into the Frankenstein story was pointless. (That or my memory is worse than I thought.)
Probably the biggest downfall was the art, though. I appreciated that so many characters were just average-looking, and that such a variety of appearances, but it was a problem that there was so much variety in the appearances of the two main characters. And he gives a little too much attention to noses....more
Inspired by a few recent raves over on LibraryThing, I ordered this from the library. Had never heard of it.
The Day After gave me nightmares in juniorInspired by a few recent raves over on LibraryThing, I ordered this from the library. Had never heard of it.
The Day After gave me nightmares in junior high and the Berlin Wall came down during college, so this story was a chilly blast from the past. It's an equally vivid portrait of the British character of a certain era.
Although surprisingly short (40 pages), the story is quite dense with many small panels and takes longer to read than expected, although still just one sitting.
Suspense is built by the reader knowing far more about what will happen than the characters do. They're not a particularly bright couple, and the husband is a little too prone to malapropisms, like a less cranky Crankshaft. That gimmick gets old. The interjected 'Meanwhile...' splash pages are also more distracting than distressing. But especially in the second half of the book, there is some genuine tension, with so many grim possibilities looming.
After reading, I handed this off to someone younger, who neither remembers the Cold War nor has read/watched anything about it (or much of anything post-apocalyptic) and also has little knowledge of British culture, slang, etc. He set it aside halfway through as just too unfamiliar to follow. But I think it's still accessible to many.
Separate from the plot, it was interesting to observe that although the husband's retirement-based leisure is remarked upon more than once, the wife is always performing some sort of household chore. Not sure whether that was an additional dig by the author though....more
It's very rare that I buy the collected version of a comic that I've already purchased and read in single issues, especially when it's collected in thIt's very rare that I buy the collected version of a comic that I've already purchased and read in single issues, especially when it's collected in the more expensive hardcover format. I made an exception for this case primarily because it will be popular with my friends and a collected format is much easier both for loaning out and for reading. Also, it's good to demonstrate a market for stories other than typical superhero cape fare.
This is basically a horror story. It has elements of fantasy and mystery but what horror stories don't? There's some humor and hey -- it's cute animals talking. But it's not for small children. One chapter in particular was too dark for even some animal-loving adults I know. (Worse than We3, even.) Characters die violently and not just the bad guys.
Thompson's watercolor art is amazing, as usual. She does a really good job of making the animals expressive but still canine/feline. And some of the creepier panels will not leave your memory any time soon.
Dorkin is a popular humor writer than I haven't tried before and he was a weaker link. The humor is sitcom-y and can distract from the larger themes. The irascible pug that's clearly set up as a favorite is particularly irritating. But when the scenes become serious, the dialog smooths out.
This collection is intended as a first volume. Each of the eight stories stand on their own but later ones also hint at a larger threat....more
Some friends were recently discussing how this series is a highlight of both Simonson's career and of the Thor title so I decided to try it.
The art waSome friends were recently discussing how this series is a highlight of both Simonson's career and of the Thor title so I decided to try it.
The art was less distinctively Simonson than it is today, which was disappointing but not surprising. It's still quite good, of course, especially for being from the 80s. Often in books from this era, the hair and clothing styles are distractingly dated, but Simonson kept things more generic. And the coloring is much better than your average 80s book from DC. But the visual highlight is the lettering, which always comes into its own when mystical or cosmic elements are involved. There are some wonderful panel-crowding sound effects, especially when swords are involved. The choice for bullets was a little strange, though. I understood what Workman was trying for but it didn't quite work. Very creative, though.
The story itself is less compelling. Fine, but nothing exceptional. The classic Thor-speak is toned down to a coherent level but not so far that the gods sound like mere mortals. Demons streaming from a portal is a remarkably common effect in comics but it's possible this was one of the first instances. There were some inconsistencies, like characters wearing safety goggles to visit a dwarven forge but head out into space with no protection at all just a few pages later. Or a hammer emerging from that same forge with the leather wrist strap already in place (in multiple panels). And -- mild spoiler -- over all the centuries, no one ever used an iron weapon against the Wild Hunt?? I did enjoy the three-part expository sequence designed to show us that the villain was left-handed though. Over the top but fun. Also loved the DC crossover joke of course.
I'd always assumed from the design that Beta Ray Bill was a Gerber-type parody character but he's actually quite serious. Which makes me question the wisdom of the design.
The story jumps around a *lot* among four to six threads at any time, with only a couple pages before each switch, but I didn't have a problem with that....more
I don't know why it took me so long to warm to this webcomic. Friends kept forwarding me the wrong ones at the wrong time, I guess. But now it's one oI don't know why it took me so long to warm to this webcomic. Friends kept forwarding me the wrong ones at the wrong time, I guess. But now it's one of my favorites. And I don't even know that much about history (or Canada). The quirky snark works regardless, plus you end up learning new things. She's a history major who works in a museum, so the scenarios are fact-based, if never the dialog. And the art itself can be just hilarious....more
So I read this and I enjoyed it but I was quite sure at the end that I'd missed something very significant. So I read it again (it's short) and that dSo I read this and I enjoyed it but I was quite sure at the end that I'd missed something very significant. So I read it again (it's short) and that didn't help. So I had my husband read it and he was equally perplexed. So then I read a handful of reviews, relying in particular on Douglas Wolk. And my conclusion is that I didn't miss anything. The book simply disregards formula and has a misleading official description hinting at cliches that don't exist. So then I felt much better about both it and myself.
I bought this because I buy most things from the Immonens. And everything that isn't Marvel. It was a given that I'd love the art. The writing is less certain but it was gorgeous as well. Immonen's writing seems to always jump around a lot, so it works better (for me) in stories where the scenes keep jumping as well. The alternative is irritatingly unfocused, hyperactive characters. But everyone was very deliberate here. With some very thought-provoking perspectives. This is a good discussion book. Once you accept where the action is....more