In this epic tale, writer/artist Bryan Talbot draws on centuries of European history and graphic storytelling to pen this complex, interlocking storyIn this epic tale, writer/artist Bryan Talbot draws on centuries of European history and graphic storytelling to pen this complex, interlocking story of the Sunderland area of England, Lewis Carroll, and Alice, both fictional and real. Talbot, a comic-book artist veteran of some 40 years, creates his most ambitious project to date.
Talbot, as a multiple-identity narrator, uses the legendary Sunderland Empire theatre – Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Marlene Dietrich, and the Beatles all performed there – as a backdrop and himself to recount the history of Sunderland and through it the major British events of the previous 3,000 years intertwined within the lives of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the author and mathematician. Contrary to popular belief, Dodgson, better know as Lewis Carroll, conceived of his book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in Sunderland rather than Oxford. Talbot spends a goodly portion of the book supporting this fact while leading the reader through various aspects of Sunderland, Great Britain, and the myth of Alice.
Related in a nonlinear style, Talbot uses a stream-of-consciousness method owing more to William S. Burroughs than to traditional comics. To further enhance the telling, he employs a mixed-media approach, combining a variety of techniques like photographs, collage, paintings, and drawing in a wide range of visual styles. The combined effect enables Talbot to jump from historical period to historical period and from scene to scene without losing his reader and/or having to explain the dramatic changes. The final project offers a beautifully unique graphic novel.
While Alice in Sunderland represents a visual high point of Talbot's storied career, the author occasionally meanders, causing the reader's interest to waver. His attempts to illustrate the contemporary importance of Sunderland often fall flat.
Ultimately, Talbot succeeds in producing a fascinating, insightful, and entertaining history of Sunderland, its environs, and the troubled story of Alice and her creator, Lewis Carroll. Alice in Sunderland ushers in a new epoch in visual storytelling, solidifying theories espoused by Scott McCloud and others while expanding on the works of artists such as Dave McKean.
In 1949, while attending college on the GI Bill, writers Arnold Drake – the co-creator of the comic-book cult classics Deadman and The Doom Patrol whoIn 1949, while attending college on the GI Bill, writers Arnold Drake – the co-creator of the comic-book cult classics Deadman and The Doom Patrol who died earlier this month – and Leslie Waller – author of the acclaimed organized-crime trilogy that included The Banker, The Family, and The American – envisioned a new kind of story that would bridge the gap between the comic book and the novel. From Drake's afterword to the Dark Horse edition: "stories illustrated as comics but with more mature plots, characters, and dialogue." The duo convinced St. John Publications to produce a line of mass-market "picture novels." Only two books were published, both in 1950 and both to overwhelming apathy: It Rhymes With Lust and The Case of the Winking Buddha (written by mystery scribe Manning Lee Stokes, with illustrations by Charles Raab).
Under the pseudonym of Drake Waller, the college friends successfully created a lush, complex noir story. The recently widowed Rust Masson assumes control of Copper City, the town her late husband once controlled, politically and financially. Masson summons her old flame, hotshot award-winning big-city reporter Hal Weber, to run the Masson-hating city newspaper, The Express, which she secretly owns. The infatuated Weber uses the power of the press to distract the townspeople from Masson's secret agenda. Masson's plot goes as planned until Weber falls for Masson's angelic stepdaughter, Audrey, who reawakens the reporter's inherent sense of morality.
The art of penciller Matt Baker and inker Ray Osrin elevate It Rhymes With Lust above other early-Fifties crime thrillers. The first known African-American comic-book artist, Baker pioneered good-girl art with his work on Phantom Lady, and throughout this graphic novel, his love and understanding of the feminine form is evident. Unlike many modern comics, Baker renders the woman in realistic styles and proportions, creating a noir feel throughout that emulates the lurid crime covers of the era.
Often considered the first graphic novel, sadly It Rhymes With Lust has rarely been reprinted during the past 57 years. Dark Horse reprints the unabridged classic – the first approved by both authors – for a lucky new generation of crime-fiction and graphic-novel fans to discover and enjoy.
Essential Man-Thing: Vol. 1 collects the first appearances of the lesser known of the 1970s "muck monsters." Created by writer Gerry Conway and artistEssential Man-Thing: Vol. 1 collects the first appearances of the lesser known of the 1970s "muck monsters." Created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Gray Morrow, the Man-Thing first appeared in Savage Tales No. 1 (May 1971). The better-known Swamp Thing, created by Conway's roommate Len Wein and Berni Wrightson, premiered one month later in DC's House of Secrets No. 92. While the friends claimed synchronicity, they were most likely influenced by their memories of earlier comic-book marsh monster the Heap, who first appeared in Air Fighters No. 3 (December 1942). The oft-reprinted Wein/Wrightson Swamp Thing tales attracted acclaim and served as the source materials, along with a popular revamp from Alan Moore, for two movies and a TV series. A dreadful 2005 Man-Thing movie went direct-to-video. Ironically, Wein scripted the second Man-Thing adventure (Astonishing Tales No. 12), which introduced the monster's most unique characteristic: Whatever knows fear burns at the Man-Thing's touch. Soon after the initial appearance, writer Steve Gerber took over Man-Thing, producing a spate of often goofy yet engaging stories centered around the empathic swamp creature with no personality of its own, who guards the Nexus of All Realities. Within this framework, Gerber littered these far-out adventures with an intriguing supporting cast – including the first appearance of Howard the Duck – exploring Seventies politics and alternative culture with humor and particular insight. In Man-Thing No. 1 – the previous tales appeared in other Marvel comics, primarily Fear – Gerber and artist Val Mayerik took us through several layers of reality on a quest for the mysterious Overmaster, who turned out to be a man in a suit toting a briefcase. This collection also contains the two issues of the most misleading comic title of all time: the distinctly unpornographic Giant-Size Man-Thing. Throw in art by cult favorite Mike Ploog and eerie covers by Frank Brunner, and Essential Man-Thing: Vol. 1 offers a wild ride through a forgotten piece of weirdness.
Created by the legendary Joe Kubert, The Unknown Soldier follows a hideously scarred soldier who expertly assumes different identities through variousCreated by the legendary Joe Kubert, The Unknown Soldier follows a hideously scarred soldier who expertly assumes different identities through various World War II espionage missions in the European and Asian theatres. The never-named Unknown Soldier's earliest missions, while entertaining, are standard military-comics fare. The stories are littered with historical events – including a stint impersonating Adolf Hitler – so much so that you begin to wonder if the Unknown Soldier, like some comics version of Forrest Gump, was involved in every major happening of the war. However, the eighth story in the collection, "Totentanz" (Star Spangled War Stories No. 158, August-September 1971) elevated the series. With the aid of scripter Bob Haney, Kubert produced a powerful story that presaged his acclaimed 2003 graphic novel, Yossel: April 19, 1943. To rescue a woman who smuggled Jews out of Nazi-occupied territory, the Unknown Soldier, posing as a Jew, gets placed in a concentration camp. Ultimately, he completes his mission but not before suffering Nazi tortures. This and every story here reads like a mini-Mission Impossible episode and contains some of the best work of Kubert's career.
Will Eisner was one of the most influential graphic artists of the 20th century. He pioneered the graphic novel form, and his life partially inspiredWill Eisner was one of the most influential graphic artists of the 20th century. He pioneered the graphic novel form, and his life partially inspired Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Sadly, Eisner passed away in January, but not before he finished what might be his finest effort. The Plot uncovers the origins of the most infamous and most inflammatory anti-Semitic documents of all time. Originally published in Russia in 1905, The Protocols have been used to justify oppression and even obliteration of Jews by Tsar Nicholas II, Henry Ford, Adolf Hitler, present-day Arabs, white supremacists, and many others. All this despite the fact that the document was a hoax. The Protocols tells the story of a purported Jewish conspiracy to control the world. The hoax was first revealed by the Times of London in 1921 and on many more occasions, yet the damaging articles are currently in print in many languages and are used by hate groups throughout the world as an illustration of the "Jewish menace." This exquisitely rendered graphic novel is divided into two sections. The opening two-thirds recounts the history and events surrounding The Protocols, including detailed evidence of the hoax. The latter part follows Eisner as he researches and uncovers the full origins of what Umberto Eco in his introduction dubs "The Big Lie." The novel concludes with visions of what The Protocols means in our contemporary world. It's not pretty. Eisner once again demonstrates the power of the graphic form in his interpretation of this controversial and disturbing aspect of history. In his afterword, historian Stephen Eric Bronner describes The Plot as "a fitting legacy [to] a long and distinguished career." I couldn't agree more.
Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentleman reprints all of the information from Nevin’s popular websiteHeroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentleman reprints all of the information from Nevin’s popular website plus biographies and analyses of all the major players, commentary by Kevin O’Neill, introduction by Alan Moore, and an interview with Moore. All this wrapped in a gorgeous John Picacio cover. Nevins’ book is not needed to enjoy League, but it will greatly enhance your reading pleasure....more
The second League of Extraordinary Gentleman adventure picked up immediately where the first volume ended. Martians are invading the Earth and it’s upThe second League of Extraordinary Gentleman adventure picked up immediately where the first volume ended. Martians are invading the Earth and it’s up to Mina Harker, Allan Quartermain, Captain Nemo, Mr. Hyde, and the Invisible Man to stop them. More Victorian madness and fun from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill. This sequel is actually better than it’s predecessor....more