i don't know how you comic book people do it, writing consistently interesting reviews of these things without getting eiARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???
i don't know how you comic book people do it, writing consistently interesting reviews of these things without getting either bogged down or burned out. i still haven't reviewed volumes 2-5 of this because i never know what to say and i'd rather keep reading 'em to see what happens next than to slow down and try to discuss a part of a story that's still happening. but THIS one, something definitely needs to be said...
i just read a bunch of reviews of this on here and - was there a memo? DID WE AGREE TO JUST NOT TALK ABOUT IT?? OR EVEN FREAKING ALLUDE TO IT??? AM I THE ONLY ONE FREAKING OUT HERE???
i guess so. suffice it to say, something happens in this one that surprised me.
and this is exactly why i've tried to make sure i have one volume on deck in-house before reading one of these. and this is - naturally - the one time i failed. and now i have to wait until wednesday to buy the next one (next few - i learn from my mistakes) to see what is going to happen now.
everything starts out all nice and cooperative when these tiny creatures are first thrust into the world wandering dazed, unmoored and bewildered, but things quickly devolve into Lord of the Flies-style anarchy, selfishness, manipulation and rapid desensitization; from casual cannibalism to equally casual live burials and even the best-intentioned are ultimately forced to acclimate themselves to the harsh world by accessing their most primal survival instincts.
i'm gonna drop some words now, and those of you who have read the book will remember what they correspond to and we can all have ourselves a little shudder together:
slurp plop plop
but revolting in that way that totally rejuvenates me because i love knowing i can still be horrified.
i really want a sequel to this, or a rec for a book that is as as gorgeously repellent, horrifyingly alluring, beautifully dark.
so hit me with 'em.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
okay, so i'm just trying to get all my little bitty reviews out of the way now, while my brain is too preoccupied with baking and wrapping and WHERE
okay, so i'm just trying to get all my little bitty reviews out of the way now, while my brain is too preoccupied with baking and wrapping and WHERE HAS ALL THE SCOTCH TAPE GONE AND ALSO THE SCOTCH to focus on reviewing anything with a sustained narrative for adult readers that's more than twenty pages or so even though i am more than thirty reviews behind because i am suck.*
to wit: nailbiter
this is just the first comic book, so it's like thirty pages of tease, but i like where this is going. i think. i mean, it's got the weirdest serial killer schtick ever:
Edward Charles Warren. Warren's modus operandi was to kidnap innocent men and women who had the habit of chewing their fingernails. Warren would keep them captive until his victim's nails grew back, and then chew their fingers down to the bone before ultimately killing them.
in all my years of police procedurals and horror movies, never have i ever encountered this particular kink, and i like the added plot point of buckaroo, oregon:
a town that just oozes with serial killers and the early stages of the investigation into why this is. also, the artwork is decent, and i really appreciated the ouroboros shape of the first issue.
so it's got good bones, a solid foundation, originality and some cleverness.
i'm definitely on board to follow this thing where it leads.
after the holidays are over.
* i wrote this and forgot to post it which makes me even MORE suck, and also now i am more than 40 reviews behind because ditto....more
i am a fan of the spirit and the messaging and the energy of this book but i'm not personally crazy about either the artwork or the story.
i am a fan of the spirit and the messaging and the energy of this book but i'm not personally crazy about either the artwork or the story.
when this book first started making the rounds here on goodreads, for some reason i didn't clock that it was YA. i saw that people were adding it to their YA shelves, but i've come to terms with the fact that as long as there's a teenage character in a book, people are gonna shelve it as YA on goodreads regardless of whether it's intended for teen readers, or even appropriate for them.
so when i finally decided to board this lumberjane-bandwagon and found it officially categorized in the teen section of the bookstore, it threw me for a loop for a second, but then i was all "i am glad i am now so broad-minded in the scope of my reading that i am not unwilling to read a book for a teen audience."
it just read so young to me. young enough that you could probably get away with marketing this to a middle grade audience without any comprehension/content concerns. and having already adjusted (not lowered, mind you, but adjusted) my expectations to teen mode, i found myself requiring additional mental adjustments to try to fit in with the enthusiastic fans - to be the thoughtful reader this book deserved.
maybe i'm just accustomed to the way teens in the YA novels i read sound like they're twenty-five and maybe this is a more accurate representation of how teens really speak and behave, but it still felt really childish and i don't think me-as-teen would have liked it. i think i would have felt talked-down to, the way religious material directed at teens misses that target of age-appropriateness by presenting unilaterally shiny and morally flawless characters who are perky and great at everything and willing to pitch in and fight fire and succor the needy, perfect and unstoppable like a fifties housewife on benzos. without, naturally, the benzos.
as a female-person, it's hard not to want to love a book that's so oohrah girl power and full of smart math-loving girlnerds who say things like
and that's emphasizing confidence and empowerment and athleticism and building strong female friendships, but it's just so excessively "HOLY ROLE MODEL, BATMAN!" that it becomes off-putting.
it's a little too much of that tone that irked me in Boy Meets Boy where everything's acceptable! and girls can do anything! and conflicts are easily resolved! in this hunky dory goody goody role modelly wonderland!
there's no tension here, and you know what happens when things are too relentlessly positive, right?
when other perfectly normal emotions go unacknowledged?
it's not at all bad, i guess i'm just too much of an old shriveled husk of cynical coal to not be filled with double-rainbow x chromosomes in response to this. i'm perplexed. i don't know how old these characters are meant to be, i don't understand how the magic works or what the blend of reality and fantasy is meant to serve, i don't know why everyone's going crazy for it.
and that makes me feel lonesome.
things i did like -
every part that had to do with discovery channel-inspired phobias of blood-sucking catfish, river monsters, murder rivers etc…
the fact that the pungeon master badge looks deeply ashamed and disappointed in itself. as it should.
and pretty much every loud, adorable thing ripley says.
ripley reminds me of a special girl i knew in the wayback - someone i was very close to and who rubbed off on me a bit, so i guess ripley also reminds me of ME, which makes me like her even more.
here is a celebration of ripley
whose "hungry" posture is the same as her "i have to pee" posture
who is a marine biology enthusiast
who likes kittens
and also puppies
who is willing to fight a rude bird for some chocolate
and this especially made me misty, thinking about my old galpal, who was so refreshingly free from social niceties that when someone pissed her off, she'd just pee in their car at a party or something.
my wonderful little beastgirl.
i'll probably keep reading because sisterhood, but i'm not fangirling it yet.
******************************************* 3.5 stars for the reader-who-is-me, but i definitely love and respect it more-stars as an objective overseer acknowledging its important contribution to the bookworld....more
why on earth did it take me so long to make my way over to this series? plenty of people were telling me to - kat stark straight-up reco
nom nom nom!!
why on earth did it take me so long to make my way over to this series? plenty of people were telling me to - kat stark straight-up recommended it to me with her words, and there were the passive recommendations in the form of glowing reviews from people like anne and jeff and that big bear melki! (who has read 450 books this year and that's just crazy. you have to trust a bear that reads more books than there are days in which to read them.) and then there was a crossover event between this and my beloved revival series… the point is - sometimes you gotta stick a horse's face in the water before she figures out how to drink.
and now that i know how to drink, i'm ready for a bender. i've bought the next two volumes already, and i cannot wait to dive in.
for those of you who haven't read this, all you need to know is that tony chu is an fda agent in a world where fda agents get the opportunity to be more badass than they do in our world. a typical day can involve some of this
see, chicken has been banned for human consumption after a bird flu pandemic made it a sketchy foodstuff and there's all kinds of chicken speakeasies to bust up and chicken smugglers to bring down and - YES - I SAID 'CHICKEN SPEAKEASIES!!!' I KNOW; IT'S AWESOME, RIGHT???!!!
but on top of all that, poor tony is also cibopathic, which is an unenviable condition where whatever he eats, he can see its paaaaaaast. so, he can see the tree from which an apple grew or he can see the last squealing shudders of a pig's death throes. and a lot of times, it's better not to know what's been done to your food.
but then he finds a way to put his condition to good use. because his skills aren't limited to food. or, to look at it another way, anything or anyone is food to something.
so i loved it. i love amelia mintz, i love mason and i looooove tony chu.
and considering how quickly things escalated in this volume, from "no i don't wanna!" to "sigh, okay then" to "nom nom nom imma GET you!"* i am super excited to see where this thing goes.
i mean, any book that has this kinda decadence:
that leads to this kinda houseparty aftermath
is my kinda book. cannibalism is just the icing on the human remains-cake the way communism is just a red herring.
and i cannot wait
* zero of which are direct quotes, mind you......more
all right, all right, all right. anne is correct in all things and maybe hawkeye can be interesting, in the right hands.
so, anne was kind enough to ball right, all right, all right. anne is correct in all things and maybe hawkeye can be interesting, in the right hands.
so, anne was kind enough to bully me into reading a hawkeye book. i'm not a superhero person, and i've read very little in the way of superhero-based graphic novels. i read Watchmen and X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga because they were assigned for one of my library-school readers' advisory classes, and i've read a bunch of batman books because - batman, but as far as the rest of the world of superheroes is concerned - i was completely at a loss. they're not approachable to me; too many different artists and conflicting storylines/alternate timelines and the early ones seem dated and cheesy but i felt like you would NEED to read the early ones in order to have a foundation for the characters and to see how things evolved or to understand the references or to get the jokes and it was one of those things that seemed too much trouble to even begin getting into now, when i'm probably more than halfway through my lifespan.
and hawkeye - meh. i may not know much about superheroes in graphic novels, but i do watch all the superhero movies that come out because i'm a sucker for the action films kaboom kaboom pow pow. and while i didn't actively dislike hawkeye the way i did captain america, he's just kinda … there. there's nothing particularly appealing about him, he's just the guy with the arrows, and he doesn't have pretty elfhair
and he's not katniss
so it's hard for me to be enthusiastic about archery when there's a giant green thing stomping and smashing and there's scarlett johansson and her attributes to look at instead.
but sometime it's good to be bullied into things. because that's kinda the point of this hawkeye book - he's just a guy. just a regular old joe whose heroic deeds include paying a dog's vet bills and preventing his neighbors from getting evicted. just a guy who can't even keep his arrows organized and labeled, but still gets to intercourse pretty girls and fumble into car chases and kick the butts of ninjas and magicians and various other hoods along with girl-hawkeye, while making plenty of self-deprecating remarks and having some great banter along the way.
it's a fun story, and i'm glad i read it despite my initial reservations of "i do not like this art" and "what is going on with this formatting and are these pages out of order because why does this dog story keep popping up into the middle of this other story and what is even happening?" but greg assured me things were as they should be, and even though i did not understand the last story at all and i think it relates to something outside of the boundaries of this book and is exactly the kind of thing i was worried about being confused by coming so late to the superhero world, i still enjoyed reading this for the laughs and the pizza dog and the general shrugged tone of the narrative.
greg sent me the next group of hawkeye adventures and i will read those soon, and thanks to anne for giving me virtual swirlies and beating me up by the internet flagpole and all that. i have promised to make her turtles from this book: Milk Bar Life: Recipes & Stories, and i will be making good on that promise probably next week - as soon as it cools off a little bit here and they won't turn into liquid blobs in the mail.
just don't make me read a captain america. even i have my limits.
in which we discover the answer to the age-old question: Does Alice Cooper actually give a crap about anything?
okay, so i am going to give this book ain which we discover the answer to the age-old question: Does Alice Cooper actually give a crap about anything?
okay, so i am going to give this book a million stars for existing, but i can't say i enjoyed either the story or the artwork. i love alice cooper. is this known? well, i do. but i have a pretty hard cutoff point, and it is 1978, with the release of probably my favorite of his albums, From the Inside. along with Alice Cooper Goes to Hell*, it's a concept album, where the songs are connected to tell a story, which is just like chapters in a book and seven-year-old karen was BLOWN AWAY by this completely revolutionary way of presenting music. because seven year old karen loved books. nerd. and seven year old karen was approached by her daddy one day and he put these giant seventies headphones on her tiny little head and he played Millie and Billie for her (which may constitute child abuse in some states) but karen did not feel abused, she felt enlightened. this was music-as-performance, not unlike the 45 rpms of her little golden books. only much much bloodier. and from then on, i (because third person is lame) was smitten. i loved everything from the zappa/syd barrett weirdness of Pretties for You to the blood-splattered carnival of Welcome to My Nightmare. what i was responding to so favorably was his storytelling abilities and all the theatrical possibilities of rock and roll that would later lead me straight into the loving arms of queen, oingo boingo and the residents. there are some terrible songs on those early albums, sure, but the ones that are good are GREAT. and then the eighties came and everything started sounding the same and even young karen could identify a decline into self-parody when she heard it.
but so this book. this book is illustrated fanfic not unlike eighties alice cooper. it's just … cheesy. i was really hoping it would be loaded with references - little tips of little hats to the fans, and that expectation was titillated when page one offered the line a realm left unattended…but hardly uninhabited, which sounded like a nod to "I may be lonely, but I'm never alone" from I Never Cry, but may not have been. i was probably just seeing what i wanted to see. there are some references: kachina, jesse jane, jacknife johnny, nurse rozetta, "the quiet room", aemon price, who looks a bit like vincent price, etc, but they were unsubtle when i was hoping for easter eggs.
our dear alice leads a dual life. or maybe a treble life. he is a rockstar, yes, but he is also contractually obligated by the diabolical lucius black (of "clan black" - most lazily-named villains ever) to steal the souls of boy band members in vegas. he is also the "lord of nightmares," existing in an alternative-plane fantasy landscape, and he's kinda like a genie in a bottle, who can be summoned how, class?
and once he appears he is bound to his summoner for whatever purpose they choose, such as to teach young children lessons about bullying. and such.
and also to have tea parties
alice cooper loves tea parties.
he also loves tantrums
the book seems to know it's a little silly, and it rolls around a little in the cheese.
it can't even curse properly, instead using silly fake expletives like "holy craparoni" and "my darkened stars!" and these:
the worst of it is a villainous character who speaks in rhyme:
Cooper is bound. A new master he's found. We don't expect he would come easy. But from what we hear, that picture is clear and our stewardship would be considerably less cheesy.
there are some genuinely funny things, though: the nightmare lord discovers snapchat.
and this sad/funny part
and this weirdness, which came out of nowhere:
i thought some of the artwork was cool
because "pecked apart by birds" is definitely a nightmare
it's a pretty decent story about hubris and ambition and having the best stage show ever, and the life of a rockstar in this realm or the other - the fame and the waning of that fame. but it's still pretty silly.
and as soon as i reached the end of the story, i thought to myself, "someone should totally make a graphic novel of From the Inside."
well, be careful what you wish for. because i kid you not, also included in this collection is that very thing, which apparently has existed since 1979, unbeknownst to me.
oh, and it's terrible. it's the worst kind of hokey slapstick and greasy sexual innuendo with characters from other comics roaming through the background and puns and other cringey things. and for some reason, in this comic, veronica is a snake. which makes no sense. everyone knows veronica is a dog.
not my favorite book, but i enthusiastically applaud the endeavor.
here is your alice cooper listening station, so you can hear some of my favorites:
this is not on From the Inside, but it totally could have been locked up next door.
* and i wouldn't fight you if you said Welcome to My Nightmare was also a concept album, although that one might technically be a rock opera. all i know is that it made one hell of a stage show. that i saw on teevee, not live like my daddy did, alas....more
i'm glad i read The Fox - the second volume of this standalone graphic novel "series" first. i definitely liked this one, but that fox one made me imm
i'm glad i read The Fox - the second volume of this standalone graphic novel "series" first. i definitely liked this one, but that fox one made me immediately order this one in with "must have" fervor, and i didn't feel the same sense of urgency after reading this one.
it's the same format as The Fox - wordless sequential art that represents a "day in the life" of a tiger as it hunts, fights, and eventually gets a good meal. the art is great, but it's somewhat less-great than fox. i do not have the vocabulary necessary to discuss art, but there's something about this one that just seems a little more basic; there's less background detail filling up the panels, and there's a tendency to show a little too much "emotion" in the animal expressions, which cheapens it and makes it less "this is nature" and more "this could be a disney movie."
if this were disney, this tapir would be "dopey."
compared to this panel from fox:
it's still great, don't get me wrong, and there's even a fox for greg, although not the same one-eyed fox from the second volume
the best parts are, naturally, the animal smackdowns
but also worth noting is panther vs. piranha
and, of course, the ending. no spoilers here!
i am definitely going to grab the next volume as soon as i can, and i hope at some point there will be a red panda protagonist. fingers crossed!...more
this is a stunning book of sequential art in which the only words are the epigraph and a quote from emerson at the end.
i was a little concerned with
this is a stunning book of sequential art in which the only words are the epigraph and a quote from emerson at the end.
i was a little concerned with the epigraph, initially, because it's one of those goopy new age-y sounding statements full of abstractions but signifying nothing:
IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, ANIMALS NEITHER LOVE NOR HATE EACH OTHER.
LOVE AND HATE ARE PARTS OF A NATURAL WHOLE. A SUPREME BALANCE MANY CONSIDER TO BE UNIVERSAL, OR EVEN DIVINE. AN ELEMENTAL LOVE.
A LOVE THAT MANKIND COULD NEVER EXPERIENCE.
i'm not really sure how that's supposed to apply to this story, unless that's simply the mission statement for the series as a whole. in any event, it made me very glad that there are no words to the actual story, because the artwork speaks for itself. loudly. clearly.
"mankind" doesn't come into play at all - this isn't one of those "man is bad and nature suffers" messages. here, everything that happens is completely within the natural world. there are orcas, elephant seals, musk oxen, rabbits, polar bears, etc, and animals fight each other, hunt their prey, save their young, live and die while a volcano erupts sending burning lava and avalanches throughout their habitats.
the animals neither speak nor grieve - there are some close calls, but also many animals who get crushed, burned, eaten. there are no songs, none of the animals make dresses or play the banjo.
it's ragged, brutal survival. and the artwork is phenomenal
you can almost hear the bears roar
it's absolutely magnificent - beautiful and badass and realistic. i have already ordered the first book in this series; The Tiger and i await the third Le lion; being made available in my country.
and obviously, i will be buying this one in hard copy ASAP.
the follow-up to the very successful The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, this book is a compilation of strips collins wrote for the guardian weekend and several other uk-based publications. i don't know if it will ever be published here in the u.s., but i thank my lucky stars for the incredibly sweet and generous canadian laima who is willing to grab me all the stuff i can't get in my country. thanks, laima! some of the strips are centered around british political and pop cultural figures less familiar to an american audience, which may impede a u.s. publication, and some things flat-out will not translate here:
(also, i apologize for whatever is going on with my pictures and their sizing. i need to adjust whatever went haywire on photobucket, because that badger down there is alarmingly big)
so many of these strips are brilliant and made me giggle out loud (GOL), and i absolutely love his artwork; he reminds me a bit of tom gauld in both style and humor. and britishness.
collins' visual preoccupations seem to be crocodiles, things on vacation (sisyphus, mr. terror), historical figures experiencing modern technology (mona lisa, noah, louis daguerre), aliens, leonardo dicaprio, and kim jong-un.
also tian tian the panda
i love the way he draws animals, whether they be badgers
(see?? i am alarmed!)
or supernatural beasties like ghosts
and you know i always love me a good "oi!"
here are some of my favorites for either art or humor or concept. i won't spoil too much - for some i will just give the first-panel title-tease or a single enigmatic panel-excerpt and make you track down the book itself, but you'll get the gist.
this one is great because of how shouty the aliens are. they remind me of me. except for the liking of cocktail part.
look how much darwin loves his job!
look at this boastful bag!!
and i totally saw this guy the other day:
here, i am giving away the punchline; you'll have to find the joke yourself. but ahhhhh so funny!!
this one wins "most disturbing."
you don't even want to know what's going on there.
these are the title-panels of three of my favorite strips (one of which, yes, includes a crocodile!):
also a story with the perfectly precise title emergency pocket guide for an unsporty man who's got a ball coming at him, which is better seen by you than photographed by me.
there's also an excellent lars von trier strip, FYI. and one of malcolm gladwell. and a crocodile.
and since you have been such good sports, here's a full strip for ya
naturally, when you WANT the picture to be big...
hopefully you can read that. because i can. and it made me laugh. OH! but if you CLICK it, you can see it bigger. thanks, internet age!
i liked this book even more than The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil and i hope he gives us many more books. in all the countries.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
volume five - in which things are still pretty weird in wisconsin.
i'm pleased that this story is continuing to develop in interesting ways. like anyvolume five - in which things are still pretty weird in wisconsin.
i'm pleased that this story is continuing to develop in interesting ways. like any good "zombie" story, it acknowledges that yeah, zombies are bad, but once you have zombies, you have a whole host of other social problems that ripple out from that situation. you have people who want to die but can't, you have religious zealots popping up, you have ethical questions around town quarantine and enforced containment of the affected individuals, you have complications in legal and law enforcement areas, you have people trying to come in, people trying to break out, showboats and protesters and vigilantes and demonologists and cranky old preppers.
in this volume, characters will die, and some might not even come back. old scores will be settled, plots will be hatched; there will be unexpected alliances, fantastic speeches, heroism and duplicity and a farting dog.
'cuz you'll need a laugh in all of this.
once again, the artwork is spectacular and much better than my rinky dink little camera can capture.
and the story keeps going in surprising directions that make me excited about what the future will hold.
thank you to greg for buying me a book!! and such a fun, cute, weird book!!
the illustrations are wonderful:
and i loved the story as well.
sally the bthank you to greg for buying me a book!! and such a fun, cute, weird book!!
the illustrations are wonderful:
and i loved the story as well.
sally the bear is owned by a real pill of a child
who throws her out of the car window and into the mud while tantruming
where she is captured by this giant bird!
she escapes using the "hit with stick" method
but then falls into MORE mud and is nearly captured by ANOTHER creature.
but no means no
and if no doesn't work, grab a rock.
sally is prevented from braining that puppy by a bizarre assortment of creatures.
a greaser unicorn named hank
pentapus the … pentapus. who changes colors and has a neat hat
and phineas who is maybe a scarecrow? or is maybe just a guy with a scarecrow hat and a triangle nose. it doesn't really matter.
sally wants to go back home (although why is beyond me), but this little group is having their own problem right now. they promise to help her out after their crisis is averted, and off they go to their home.
and that's where i stop telling you anything about the story, because it needs to be seen by your own two eyes. or one, if you've had an accident.
it's definitely not something i have ever encountered in a graphic novel before, and the solution to the problem cracked me up and was, as miriam notes, trippy.
one thing to note:
no, kid - THIS is how voice your desire for a giraffe without having a tantrum over it, jenny lawson-style
a wonderful present, and a super-fun book. i would love more adventures in this world....more
"I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence."
- Maurice Sendak
this is a gorgeous book that reminds us how unsettling m"I refuse to lie to children. I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence."
- Maurice Sendak
this is a gorgeous book that reminds us how unsettling many esteemed classics of children's literature are. you know, when they're not flat-out terrifying. this is not a book for children, but it uses children's books as its foundation. that's not to say a kid couldn't flip through it - there's nothing more scandalous than a boob, but the point of this book is to kind of reimagine or recontextualize familiar works into something new, something unexpected. they've already been illustrated for kids - let's see what it's like without the disney treatment.
There's something about seeing a children's work fully illustrated sequentially to make the terror and weirdness that much more visceral, that undeniable…We don't often see "Little Red Riding Hood" faithfully related in pictures. It's a shock to see Pinocchio hanging from a tree, Ratty brandishing a pistol in The Wind in the Willows, the wasp ruthlessly torturing the snake in Aesop's fable, Humpty Dumpty cracked wide open and dead, and the three blind mice getting tailectomies, to say nothing of the nightmarish seven-headed Mouse King from The Nutcracker.
and this book delivers. naturally, i wasn't crazy about all the artwork, or all the reboots, but come on - how great it this?
there are fifty texts covered at length, followed by a "gallery" of 61 single images illustrating a storybook, fable, fairytale, nursery rhyme etc. and although i hadn't read or even heard of some of the texts being referenced, this is a truly laudable project, and i definitely want to check out the other books in this series:
and now for a game!! i will post pictures, and you will guess the story!! i will try to limit it to things people have actually heard of, because some of them are a bit obscure, but i'm not going to make it TOO easy! there should probably be prizes, but i haven't figured that part out yet. feel free to make wild suggestions.
okay, here we GO!
1) manuel sumberac (i do not know how to make a háček over the "s")
2) andrea tsurumi
3) david w. tripp
4) lesley barnes
5) maëlle doliveux
6) maëlle doliveux
7) isabel greenberg
8) billy nunez
9) keren katz
(this one is probably too obscure, but i wanted to include it for greg because - foxes!)
10) sandy jimenez
(this one is probably also too hard out of context like this, but yes - that is indeed ziggy stardust and freddie mercury)
11) joy kolitsky
12) molly brooks
13) alex eckman-lawn
14) roberta gregory
15) lance tooks
16) kevin h. dixon
17) dame darcy
18) vicki nerino
19) caroline picard
20) eric knisley
21) shawn cheng
22) matt wiegle
23) kate glasheen
24) katherine hearst
(probably also too hard without context, but i love this artwork, which i photographed poorly)
these photos were taken from a physical arc, and don't do any justice to the actual illustrations and color palette, which is more like this
these photos were taken from a physical arc, and don't do any justice to the actual illustrations and color palette, which is more like this
this book is one of those graphic novels that uses anthropomorphized creatures to address real-world situations. but unlike The Complete Maus, in this one the cat gets to be our heroine. and i am on board with catgirls as heroines.
i'm pretty sure this is intended for a young adult audience, as it concerns the typical YA theme of "the journey of self-discovery." it follows the experiences of a young catgirl named henni, an inquisitive soul born into a constraining society, as she enters the wider world for the first time, ripping the veils away from everything she has been taught along the way. it's about toppling superstitions, unmasking corrupt spiritual leaders, art used as revolution, religion misused as crowd control, the socially imposed limitations of gender, strength in the face of injustice and choosing one's own path.
henni starts out the book as a young and carefree creature, shown joyfully chasing a dragonfly, innocent enough to be genuinely shocked by her father's lie to her mother that they were going to temple, when he was really going to talk to some guy. in a mere five panels, her illusions of marriage are shattered.
shortly after arriving home, her father is sold out by her mother, stuffed in a bag by cruel men, and mutilated. henni is told by her mother: Don't you dare cry. He brought this on himself.
years pass, but henni retains her curiosity and her spirit. she has always been a high-spirited catgirl; always questioning, always having difficulty with the "obedience" part of her role as a woman. she is told that it was a waste for her father to have taught a mere girl to write, told that she should just be quiet and obedient, told that the elders would make all decisions for her, through divine guidance.
she is apprehensive about her upcoming arranged marriage, and mistrusts the unfair traditions she has been told to obey.
henni begins her solitary quest away from her homeland after seeing something she shouldn't have seen and subsequently doing something she shouldn't have done. she meets an unexpected ally who saves her from punishment and sets her on her path, which first takes her to another village much like her own (except with rounded rather than pointy rooftops), but steeped in the same hypocritical and self-serving leadership
the scoffing of the "primitive" by the "civilized"
and the unfair treatment of women.
henni's stubborn resistance to blind subservience lands her in trouble again, but this time, she is resourceful and clever enough to talk her way out of punishment on her own, using the leaders' own xenophobia against them.
but she hasn't become wicked, she has just learned how to play the game.
the final part of this book involves henni's meeting the rebel known as "the disruptor" who teaches her that there's a difference between obeying and agreeing and gives her a gift - a special and personal item that fills her with hope and purpose, her adventure presumably to be continued in another volume.
it's a charming and occasionally very dark little book. its themes are treated a little shallowly for the adult reader, but henni's transformation from questioning being to acting being is well-handled, and there is one scene in particular where she is balancing her impulse to help someone against her instinct for self-preservation and her respect for the traditions of others that is very effective.
i would be interested in seeing where the rest of the story goes....more
this was a gift from the lovely kat stark. and noooo, i haven't read the earlier books in the series, but there was a handy little summary at the starthis was a gift from the lovely kat stark. and noooo, i haven't read the earlier books in the series, but there was a handy little summary at the start of this one to catch me up, and i don't think i missed too much by starting partway in.
i always enjoy a good fairytale-based riff; familiar characters, unfamiliar storylines, and while i'm not in love with the artwork in this book, i really enjoyed the various tones of the tales - a little noir, a little crime/intrigue, some love, some murder, some talking animals, some goofiness - all over the map, but continuing to hold my interest.
it's hard to review anthology graphic novels, especially this one, wherein many big things happen which i'm sure will have long-reaching consequences. so instead, i will post my favorite panel from each of the stories and call it a day.
thank you, kat, for this introduction into a new graphic novel world!
i am so glad this series is still going strong and still holding my interest. this is the first graphic novel series i have ever read; i usually prefei am so glad this series is still going strong and still holding my interest. this is the first graphic novel series i have ever read; i usually prefer standalones, but this one is just so much fun, so thoughtfully written and it's such a unique spin on the zombie genre, i am thrilled to have gotten sucked in. and i am also very impressed with myself for showing uncharacteristic restraint by not running over to forbidden planet and buying all the individual issues as they came out, instead WAITING PATIENTLY like a grown-up for them to be collected in these book-books.
i don't want to give any spoilers, for people who haven't been reading these (FOOLS!!!) but i will say that the mystery continues to deepen, and this chunk takes some fantastic and unexpected turns. obviously, i love em the most, but there's just so much other stuff going on right now that her arc is kind of smallish (although SO RAD!), and every storyline is ratcheting up the tension and you feel like very soon everything is just going to freaking EXPLODE.
the main focus in this one is on dana, who is allowed to break out of quarantine in order to travel to new york and investigate some strange occurrences that seem to be related to revival day. but while she is there, there's plenty going on back in wisconsin.
here's a little list of what to expect in this volume: showdowns, powerful kisses, glowing figures, cannibalism, hypnosis, comeuppance for the entitled, native american lore, so much blood, a giant purple octopus,
and …. this
it also includes a little crossover chapter between this series and Chew, Vol. 1: Taster's Choice, which i have never read, but had suddenly wanted to after reading kat's review earlier this month, and this want was only reinforced by this chapter, which opens with a giggle of self-poking meta-reference and turns into crazytown. this part is just a little self-contained offshoot of the main story, and i doubt it will resurface, but it's awesome and gruesome and full of the daaaaance.
a great book, all told.
i'm a little frowny at my adopted home as seen through dana's eyes
although my beloved nora durst's ♥ similarly fraught trip to here was my favorite episode of the leftovers
but i do agree with her on this
there's a lot to process; a lot going on, but i'm confident that the series will continue to expand in an exciting direction. i just hope we don't get to the end too soon - i'm not ready to leave this world.
if you haven't started reading this series yet - get on it!! ........................................................................................................................................................................
i forgot this was coming out, and when i got to "work" on wednesday, greg had set one aside for me and it was the best day ever whe! thanks, greg!
review to come. too busy doing a zombie dance to type right now["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
should you suddenly develop aphasia, never fear! here is a book you will still be able to enjoy!
this graphic novel consists of three separate storiesshould you suddenly develop aphasia, never fear! here is a book you will still be able to enjoy!
this graphic novel consists of three separate stories, blessedly free of pesky words, words, words. the stories fall into that horror-humor category, and duarte's artwork is fun, vibrant, and dynamic - he really manages to capture movement well in these static images, and i can see these translating very easily into excellent animated shorts.
the first story is called có!, and was my least-favorite of the three, so probably not the best introduction to his work, or to this collection, for me. i just thought it was a little confusing at times, which is probably just my being accustomed to words being the storytelling engine, and occasionally i would have to stop, go back, and reorient myself to figure out what was going on. dummy.
it's your basic alien-invasion and transmogrification story, by someone who draws both pigs and chickens very well.
the second story is called birds, and is the only title that doesn't get to be exclamatory. this one is about two office-working birds who try to evade fate and capital-d death, when they start encountering their own corpses littering up the office one morning. awkward!
this story made me laugh, and not just because i know the truth about how eeeevil birds are. it had a sort of mad-magazine feel to it, beyond the easy-reference spy vs spy bird association. but - yeah - i am always gratified to see birds get what's coming to them.
the final story is called monsters!
it is about… monsters!! monsters who start rampaging through a city, and the one brave man who will battle them all. these are definitely my favorite of his illustrations.
that man sure can draw a chubby-cute tentacle…
and i didn't realize this when i was reading this book last week, but duarte is also the illustrator for marvel's 100th anniversary special #1 Guardians of the Galaxy issue, so he is a very timely name, and draws a damn cute raccoon:
this is a cute little graphic novel that is all pictures and no words, so it is appropriate for any age (perhaps not for babies a fewBIRD!!
this is a cute little graphic novel that is all pictures and no words, so it is appropriate for any age (perhaps not for babies a few hours old, but you get me), and for speakers of any language. it is the great equalizer.
it follows three creatures on the adventures of their day: a bird, a cat, and a dog. (viz., title). the stories run atop one another on each page in concurrent narratives, with some overlap as the animals cover the same ground and their stories intersect. the reader can opt to read each story separately, following one storyline to the end before flipping (or scrolling) back to follow the next one, or it can be read page by page, top to bottom. my advice is to read it page by page, which is how i "read" it the second time through. i personally thought it worked better that way, because of all the echoes of experiences between the stories and the way they encroach upon and blend into each other. but you do as you wish, this is YOUR reading experience.
in the stories, there are several parallel experiences: an initial escape/exploration, a meeting up with something bigger that wants to eat our hero (or something smaller that our hero wants to eat), encountering and fighting another member of the hero's own species, evasion, and a return home.
it's a cute little book, and while i think the illustrations skew a little younger-reader, it's an interesting way to tell a story, and i think it will appeal to older fans of graphic novels for that novelty alone.
i was intrigued enough to want to check out nordling's earlier book - The Bramble, which looks like that perfect combination of cute and creepy. i'll let you know... ...more
OH MY GOD GIANT EVIL BEARD CUTOUT!!! BEST IDEA EVER!
Beneath the skin of everything is something nobody can know. The job of the skin is to keep it aOH MY GOD GIANT EVIL BEARD CUTOUT!!! BEST IDEA EVER!
Beneath the skin of everything is something nobody can know. The job of the skin is to keep it all in and never let anything show.
dave lives here. not here, in my studio apartment with me - that would be crazy. no, he lives in a place called "here," which is a tightly controlled walled-off urban island, where everything is impeccably, impossibly neat. the streets make up a perfectly-aligned grid, the trees are obsessively maintained, everyone is well-groomed and polite, and every person every day follows the same routine like clockwork.
dave is a completely hairless individual, except for his eyebrows and this one stubborn hair under his nose that grows back immediately no matter what he does to remove it. he works at a&c industries, where his days are spent deeply immersed in charts and graphs and powerpoint presentations, organizing numbers and data into orderly rows. but he has no idea what the company actually does. and neither does anyone else working there.
And every lunchtime, once he's conveyed all of the latest information in his careful brightly coloured, many-fonted presentation, Dave was always left with a nagging question at the end: did any of what he'd just said mean anything at all? And following the question, the familiar, disturbing suspicion that the real reason for all the data and the meetings for A&C even being here was fear.
and fear of what, you ask?? fear of "there."
"there" is what exists out past the boundaries of "here," out past the sea - a place of disorder, chaos and evil. i mean, reputedly. no one has ever actually been "there" and lived to tell the tale, but the mythology of "there" persists in urban legends - those who venture "there" undergo a painful reassembly where their bodies are turned inside out
dave's free time is spent in his chair sketching the view outside his window and listening to this song over and over to keep the questions and the fears and the "untidy dreams" at bay.
until the day everything changes.
that stubborn hair that has plagued him all his life begins to multiply and grow unstoppably and equally resistant to grooming or cutting.
and all hell breaks loose.
dave's beard upsets the natural order of here as it begins to grow and grow and eventually take over the town. at first he is a curiosity that people line up to gawk at through windows, but the beard's continued growth becomes alarming - this can't happen "here."
anxiety breeds anarchy and the ordered foundations of "here" become vulnerable. the story becomes a funny and haunting commentary on everything from the stagnation of conformity to the flash fire spread of celebrity to the mutability of legacy. it is beautifully drawn, occasionally subtle and cautionary without becoming treacly.
plus, it is one of the best titles ever. and it works in any language:
this book reminded me of the best garfield book ever: Garfield: His 9 Lives, which was basically authorized garfield fanfic, taking the reader throughthis book reminded me of the best garfield book ever: Garfield: His 9 Lives, which was basically authorized garfield fanfic, taking the reader through his past incarnations, all with completely different styles of artwork, many of which terrified the crap out of me when i was just a little kid.
good lord. goosebumps, still.
this one is a little less jarring, since i didn't have to watch the death of a beloved cartoon character again and again, but it still has its moments of subdued horror.
this is a book about a talking cat. but it doesn't take place in a world full of talking animals - this is our world, and burma is a one-of-a-kind deal.
he is now on his 9th life, and he decides it's time to write his memoirs. however, just because he can talk, it doesn't follow that he can also write - he is stuck with these little cat paws with their little toe-beans and all.
so he hires a ghost-writer - allison breaking of the blog BREAKING NEWS (groan) to write it for him. he does not tell her she will be writing the memoirs of a cat before he imports her from america to london, but he does warn her over and over again that she may be alarmed by his appearance, to the paranoid consternation of her friend reggie, a london-born girl with whom allison is staying.
but once they meet, the cat's kind of out of the bag (!!), and after some "should i or shouldn't i??" allison decides to embark on the project.
she had been warned of the unusual nature of the situation, yes, but she had not been warned that burma was quite so eeeevil, having used pretty much each and every one of his former existences to try to take over the world. because he is a cat, and they appear lazy, but are secretly ambitious:
This is going to sound arrogant, and maybe it's just because I've always been different, always an outsider, the only talking cat, but for my whole life, for all of my lives, I've always felt superior. And there's no sense in being superior without exercising that superiority.
burma has been around for millennia. i'm not really sure how cat-lives work, but i guess when one of their lives is finished, they get to scoot forward in time to a different significant period and carry on from there. as such, burma has seen WWI, met audrey hepburn, and served napoleon, each time a different breed, but with the same basic goal.
he also got to be bayonetted, drowned, eaten by dogs, beheaded, etc.
so - some wins, some losses.
and if you have been paying attention, you have already come to the conclusion that no cat with such a history of world-domination attempts is gonna slack off in his last go-round. so, all the while he is dictating his life to allison, he is also mobilizing a cat-and-human army to try for the gold one last time. conspiracies, assassins, doubles and disguises - a whole criminal underworld at burma's beck and call.
it's a fun little book - the only part i hated was the james bond-interlude. a little cringe-y, and definitely not as interesting as his other lives.
but, like all books, this one came to an end. and like many comic books, it ends with what feels more like a pause than a coda. so, maybe there is more to come, or maybe this is just a standalone with a weakish ending.
but it's about the machinations of a talking cat. worth a read, right?...more
in case you are just joining us now, this is a basic summary of the first two books:
this series just keeps getting better and better. it's a zombiesin case you are just joining us now, this is a basic summary of the first two books:
this series just keeps getting better and better. it's a zombies-but-not-reeeeally book, which gives you zombies as a recognizable touchpoint and then takes the traditional mythology and spins it in a completely unexpected direction until you forget there were ever any other kinds of undead beings.
the events keep building and escalating and i have no idea where they are going to end up, but i am HOOKED. HOOKED!!!