With characters that are profoundly touching and a storyline that twists in ways you might not expect, Kevin C. Pyle's Katman is enormously enjoyable,With characters that are profoundly touching and a storyline that twists in ways you might not expect, Kevin C. Pyle's Katman is enormously enjoyable, with subtexts that remain open long after the graphic novel has been read. Though not especially challenging or unique, Katman presents a number of themes in an innovative manner without obsessively moralizing or resolving all conflicts with standard, pat solutions (although there are a few unfortumate examples of this).
Though flawed, Katman is a strong entry into Mr. Pyle's repertoire, and is suitable for any comics-lover's bookshelf....more
An oral history of the world's first "zombie" band, The Beatles, Paul is Undead has the capacity of being one of the most groundbreaking works of rockAn oral history of the world's first "zombie" band, The Beatles, Paul is Undead has the capacity of being one of the most groundbreaking works of rock music reportage to date.
Instead, the book consists of anecdotes of three zombies and a ninja beating the crap out of each other. Very little focus is given to the music of The Beatles, save for a scattered song title reference or concert date. No, this is just about the in-group physical altercations - which may sound amazing at first, but as Geoff Emerick observes, "There's only so much busted gear, or so many stray limbs, one can see before one gets bored."
Ironically, though reporter Alan Goldsher admits that modern readers have become quite used to the sight of the undead, he dedicates a significant portion of his book to descriptions thereof. One might think that the space would have been better utilized by granting it back to the history of The Beatles.
To his credit, Goldsher managed to track down some practically invisible persons. The "deceased" Brian Epstein, for example, reappears in these pages - to surprisingly little fanfare outside of the book's pages. One cannot help but question the validity of Goldsher's claims -- or at the very least, the caliber of his "research." As readers, all we have are his claims to journalistic integrity.
Internal illustrations by cartoonist Jeffrey Brown make the book a delight to browse through....more
Coupled with a handful of typographical/contextual errors ("[I]n 2007 a Lexus RX350 sold for $52,000 in Canada, but only 37,000 in Canada" is but oneCoupled with a handful of typographical/contextual errors ("[I]n 2007 a Lexus RX350 sold for $52,000 in Canada, but only 37,000 in Canada" is but one example of such a textual error), this booklet provides readers with a well-balanced glimpse into North America's Northernmost country. Though not rich on detail, the book delves into major elements of Canadian history, politics, finance, geography, and society in such a mannr as to make them more accessible to the public.
Published yearly, Canada 2008 (or its subsequent revisions) is one of the handiest guides to the country, providing on its most elemental level a jumping-off point for those interested in learning more about Canada.
A vaguely interesting, if cliched, concept about a futuristic world ruled by violent anarchist factions. The reader propels the ultimate story throughA vaguely interesting, if cliched, concept about a futuristic world ruled by violent anarchist factions. The reader propels the ultimate story through a series of plot arcs provided throughout.
Although more elaborate than many books of this nature, there are numerous "endings" which are arrived at suddenly with no real resolution (in comparison to the build-up leading to the final scene). Too, upon re-reading the story and opting for a variant story arc, it is revealed that the baseline story is inconsistent. That is, a plot device revealed during one reading (thus validating or negating the benefits of said option) has changed substantially through the alternate choice. Or, the "background story" remains completely arbitrary.
(*SPOILER: In one critical junction, the reader must decide whether or not to wait for an impending rescue flight. Choosing to wait, of course, brings the reader aboard said plane, whereas opting to stay on ground and hide out in a "safe house" reveals that the plane had been shot down some time prior to the decision to retreat.)
Such flaws in the basic story make the reader feel some sense of having been "cheated" out of a cohesive story, although this is only made apparent upon making a different choice. Still, this does lead into wholly different stories within one book....more
Though some of the humour is dated (and, sometimes, borderline offensive due to more contemporary cultural sensitivities), Jogfree of Canda remains asThough some of the humour is dated (and, sometimes, borderline offensive due to more contemporary cultural sensitivities), Jogfree of Canda remains as unique and jocular as it did when it was first presented in 1974. A companion piece to his first book, Histry of Canada, the text within Jogfree is even more sporadic and phonetic than its precursor because the book was alleged to have been "ritten" by Charlie Farquharson himself, and not dictated to Valeeda Drain Farquharson, "the wife an' former sweethart," who was to have typed the first book.
The book is fully illustrated, with amusing captions beneath each erroneous "fotygraft" atributed to a specific place, person, or event (the image of the "Shat-ola Comb Hotel" in Alberta is, in fact, a still of The Leaning Tower of Pisa, for instance), and comes with rampant punnery in place of geographically-accurate maps of each Canadian province, U.S. State, or international country.
Best enjoyed with at least a rudimentary concept of social, geographical, and historical elements of Canada, Jogfree of Canda does not so much teach as it does entertain....more
A lacklustre attempt to enlighten students upon the subject of Canada: its land and its people. Though laden with beautiful, full-colour photographs,A lacklustre attempt to enlighten students upon the subject of Canada: its land and its people. Though laden with beautiful, full-colour photographs, the text itself merely glances past major elements of Canada's history and definitive culture, making headway into a tedious social studies lesson.
Too, the book is filled with superfluous references to its own website, encouraging young readers to go online for further, more up-to-date information. It is, in fact, almost a teaser for the publisher's Internet presence, providing the most cursory information possible this side of a pamphlet.
This book is best left as a refresher to Canadian history, or a supplement to a more complete learning of the great nation. By itself, it does not provide an adequate stand-alone source of information, nor does it give any new (or, arguably, vaguely interesting) information.
The high quality of the pages and photography are the sole saving graces of this book....more
Having been penned by one of the innovative minds behind the creation of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Series, Horror House is a comparative failureHaving been penned by one of the innovative minds behind the creation of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" Series, Horror House is a comparative failure. It is, in fact, quite possible to read the book and go through several sequences, only to be ordered to turn to specific pages without the element of choice (aside, that is, from putting the book down entirely from boredom).
As a child who is investigating the "haunted" happenings at a relative's new home, the reader is involved (through a second-person narrator) in the discovery through a limited series of choices. The most common choice throughout the story relies on whether or not the surrogate shares information with other characters, or remains silent. This is, clearly, entirely blasé when put into perspective of the so-called "horror" element of the tale.
Twice, I had read through the book not only to fail to uncover the cause of such "haunted" happenings (the discovery of an eviscerated rabbit inside the house, for instance, or unexplained voices eminating from the basement), but was left feeling entirely unsatisfied by the limited opportunities in which to "interact" with the storyline. The reader must "Turn to Page [x]" a total of seven times prior to being offered any imput, and variant upon which choice is made at this juncture (Should you unlock the door, or go for help?), a reader can slog through as many textual pasages before encountering another bona fide narrative option -- still with no guarantee that the story will be resolved in a satisfactory manner. After my own two "lengthy" read-throughs, the story came to an eventual end with no explanation as to the causes behind the milksop "horror" experienced by the main character.
This is the nature of "Choose Your Own Adventure," this arbitrary ending. But it should not have to be such a disappointing element after such an investment of time on behalf of the reader.
Excellent companion piece to the movie which can stand alone, but is more effective after a viewing of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." In fact, the movie magiExcellent companion piece to the movie which can stand alone, but is more effective after a viewing of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid." In fact, the movie magic and tricks described herein is highly enlightening to those on the outside, and creates a renewed interest in a simple movie....more
The primary element with Ego & Hubris is that the book’s concern, Michael Malice, is not a particularly likable character. True, he comes across asThe primary element with Ego & Hubris is that the book’s concern, Michael Malice, is not a particularly likable character. True, he comes across as exceptionally intelligent and completely attuned to his own professional desires. However, he also makes it clear that he does not respect those who are not whom he considers his intellectual peers. In fact, many of his anecdotes pertain to his overweening pride in browbeating teachers, professors, co-workers, etc. In other words, Malice purposefully dehumanizes himself, and makes it extremely difficult for readers to relate with him on any level. But that’s his shtick. Perhaps if Malice came across as a regular, sympathetic kind of person, no one would have thought his individual story to have any element unique enough to adapt into a graphic novel. Keeping this in mind, it becomes slightly easier to look past his exclamation of how it “would have been sweet” if the 2001 terrorist attacks had killed another sub-group of people (with whom he was personally annoyed). His statement regarding how a close cancer-stricken friend’s silent terror “didn’t trigger feelings of contempt within me” becomes a little more palatable in light of his keeping in character, if you will. The primary down falling of Ego & Hubris comes more from the manner in which Malice’s biography is told. While there are a number of involving stories regarding interpersonal conflict (wherein it becomes clear that The Establishment is pressing against Malice’s superior intellect – at least, as told from his own perspective), there are a number of other “Who gives a shit?” moments. People are introduced solely for the purpose of showcasing Malice’s involvement with various groups or individuals, yet add nothing to his character (the most gratuitous of which involves six pages devoted to his interactions with minor political figure Ann Stone). The story, culled down to its bare essence, provides the reader with very little to capture interest, let alone colour Malice’s character any more than the rest of the book. The book also suffers from literalism. When Malice’s narration delves into metaphor, artist Gary Dumm frequently draws upon this verbal play. As a result, the images often feel disjointed from the rest of the book (Malice as the proverbial “square-peg-in-the-round-hole” panel comes immediately to mind, as well as the image of “screwing” his co-workers, depicting business people with an enormous screw bolted through them, etc.). While this was likely at author Harvey Pekar’s direction, it would perhaps have enriched the realism of the story had such indulgences been kept more in check. As portrayed in this distilled tale of a life, I found it difficult to accept Michael Malice as a fully-rounded person. The stories told felt as if they were specially selected to paint a particular type of person. While I would not go so far as some of his teachers allegedly did (one of whom herein is quoted as having called him “evil”), I agree that the choice of title is apropos. ...more
An intellectual glimpse into video games, Extra Lives spends much of its focus on the contemporary game's ability to tell a cohesive narrative story.An intellectual glimpse into video games, Extra Lives spends much of its focus on the contemporary game's ability to tell a cohesive narrative story. Full of observations and insights to some of the industry's best-known releases (Grand Theft Auto IV, Resident Evil, et al), Bissell's writing frequently involves the personal relevence to the games he has played - and yet, never oversteps himself in doing so.
Beyond a doubt, the single most horrifying book I have yet to read.
The book delves into infamous murders and instances of cannibalism - for kids! ForgBeyond a doubt, the single most horrifying book I have yet to read.
The book delves into infamous murders and instances of cannibalism - for kids! Forget things that go bump in the night - this little book brings stories death and decay right into the minds of children (with articles about gangrene, the accidental swallowing of leeches, the entombment of a live child, etc.)... A reader's first impulse may be to gasp in horror at some of the fare being proffered for children, and perhaps have this followed with absolute indignancy - even anger, as was in my case.
...and then, it becomes obvious that the author had achieved exactly what he had set out to do - to formulate a compendium of truly horrible things for kids. So on that level, Herrera does attain his goal.
Herrera himself does nt present the material - he enlists the aid of a character named Horris, a gruesome/cutesy little fellow who munches on cockroaches, to narrate each horrible thing. Did you know what they put into hamburger? You may think so, but Horris does not hold back.
This book horrifies because it reveals many truths (although not entirely, as it turns out, with some puff-articles on the supernatural - treating elements of the paranormal as if they were unquestioningly true-to-life, despite later-known evidence to the contrary (as in the Amityville Horror section)). And also, because it almost mocks the children, goading them into thinking about horrible, horrible things living beneath the earth's crust, just as the child goes to bed. There are no monsters in the closet - there are giant worms digging through the muck, and parasites crawling along your forehead!
No child should ever read this book. But, should you happen upon a copy, pick it up and leave it lying around. Without a doubt, the book will be read completely, and many times over, by curious children all over. There is no child alive who could resist its tempting allure... ...more