Dan Brereton's artwork is gorgeous, but really it's the Nocturnals' world that sucks you into this book and all the subsequent Nocturnals comics. It'sDan Brereton's artwork is gorgeous, but really it's the Nocturnals' world that sucks you into this book and all the subsequent Nocturnals comics. It's basically a kind of forever Halloween; it's always night (not literally, but since the main characters operate at night, narratively it is) and there are a lot of monsters and weird creatures - some familiar and some new - populating the landscape. There are aliens and ghosts and sea monsters and mutants and vampires and zombies running around basically a pulp movie, blowing stuff up and looking cool while doing it. If you like Hellboy you'll probably like this. The artwork alone is worth a look, even if you aren't as into the action-based stories or are wishing for something with more character development. For me, the only sad thing about Nocturnals is that there's isn't a whole lot MORE of it - I got invested in these characters and their world so fast upon first read*, and their stories don't develop very far before the material runs out.
This volume, Black Planet, collects the first story arc and introduces all the main characters. The original series came out in maybe 1998? and this trade paperback has been out of print for a while, I think.
*I read these a long time ago, but recently I've been thinking of running a one-shot or short campaign of the RPG game in this world, so I decided to reread all the comics. ...more
Disclaimer: I'm adding every book I read this year to Goodreads in December.
I read this after watching the new animated movie released this year - whDisclaimer: I'm adding every book I read this year to Goodreads in December.
I read this after watching the new animated movie released this year - which I thought was pretty damn good. I had forgotten how great this graphic novel is.
From the era before everything ever was dark, and one of the progenitors of many of the now-overdone Batman tropes we know today (Batman is really as crazy as his villains, his existence brings out the crazier villains, etc.) The Killin Joke is a history lesson in the Batverse.
I also had forgotten it contains the Joker's origin story, and it's where Barbara Gordon's days as Batgirl meet a tragic end.
Basically, this slim volume is a must-read for any fan of Batman. ...more
I bought the first short trade paperback collection of the Crossing Midnight series because I had heard many good things about it, but it took me nearI bought the first short trade paperback collection of the Crossing Midnight series because I had heard many good things about it, but it took me nearly a year to actually finish the trade - which I think is saying a lot because it's comprised of only 5 issues, and I generally read single issues of comics in under two minutes – at least the first time through, anyway. There is something incredibly... dense, and a little hard to get into about these first issues, most likely due to the difficulty of simultaneously trying to set up realistic and interesting characters, to be respectful and faithful to the Japanese setting, and to start digging into the amazingly complicated Japanese folklore world, all while beginning to tell what will hopefully turn out to be an engrossing and entertaining story. But if you can manage to sink in, I suspect Crossing Midnight will be worth it.
Mike Carey, writer of the long-running Lucifer series, has always been a little hit-or-miss for me in some aspects, but he's an ambitious writer and while sometimes certain phrases falter or details ring false, his overarching plots and concepts are grandiose and moving in a way a la Sandman or Watchmen that I tend to love. I look forward to reading more of Crossing Midnight. While some issues will hopefully have really good moments, and other issues or story arcs may likely fall flat, the overall series definitely has the potential to be interesting and poignant and an exciting, fantastical story.
I would love to know what those more into Japanese culture, or who have read more Manga centered around Shinto beliefs and ancient animistic Japanese folklore think of this series, especially as it goes on and the plot threads began in this first arc develop further....more
Dreamtoons is a short trade paperback collection of four-panel daily comic strips drawn by Jesse Reklam. All of the strips are based on dreams submittDreamtoons is a short trade paperback collection of four-panel daily comic strips drawn by Jesse Reklam. All of the strips are based on dreams submitted to Reklam by readers. His strip started online and is now syndicated in several print newspapers.
It's a pretty neat idea, but in practice it gets old really fast. Some of the dreams are intriguing, others just plain boring. All of the dreams get the same four-panel setup, which is too bad when one of the dreams is really interesting and you just know there is more. Many of the dreams could really benefit from being expressed more thoroughly in the language of comics, rather than the limited conventions of newspaper cartooning. Also, some of the wonder of a really weird dream is lost somehow in its retelling by someone other than the dreamer.
The book is peppered with grey-tone pages containing large print quotations from various sources on the nature of dreams. That's actually the best part of the book.
While it's not a bad end table or bathroom book, I think I would much rather read these strips as strips. Sadly, there just really isn't that much to them....more
I've avoided reading anything by Jason for a long time because it just seemed way too hipster for me.
The anthropomorphic animal schtick reminded me oI've avoided reading anything by Jason for a long time because it just seemed way too hipster for me.
The anthropomorphic animal schtick reminded me of the best part of Maus too much and always seemed like a real rip-off of a gimmick, and an excuse to never have to learn to illustrate facial expressions. Also combined with the depressed characters and slice of life subject matter, on the surface, it looked like someone whose short stories weren't cutting it as literature, and who couldn't draw, combined the two into 'comics' to ride the hype of indie comics to a semblance of success. His panel comics in hip magazines were never funny, or interesting, or... anything. They just seemed like total wastes of space - like people thought somehow the bleakness itself was a statement on something important and not just a lack of good content.
However, I must admit, this was a lot better than I expected. Maybe that's not saying much because my expectations were so utterly low, but still.
First of all, it's a murder-mystery, which was a pleasant surprise. And however brief and lacking in detail, for about a.... 15-20 page 'book', it's a good one. Even with the depressing ending, I enjoyed the deeper sentiments of the story - the universal crappiness of break-ups, of seeing your ex again and realizing the things that were special to you just do not matter to them, and even how the weird "How many anecdotes do you have?" question comes back full circle at the end. I especially related to the mini-rant the main character has in the first few pages about how Dolly Parton wrote "I Will Always Love You" and Whitney Houston covered it, not the other way around.
Maybe turning a meh short story into a comic WAS a great idea after all. Paring it down to fit with illustrations is like a form of editing, no? I admit, I might be willing to give more of Jason a chance. ...more
Even though this is supposedly the last volume in the 'trilogy' of Loeb's that starts with "The Long Halloween" and continues in "Dark Victory" this vEven though this is supposedly the last volume in the 'trilogy' of Loeb's that starts with "The Long Halloween" and continues in "Dark Victory" this volume is actually a collection of three shorter Batman stories centered around Halloween. It's an okay collection but the stories are a little weak. ...more
This is one of the better Batman stories out there, and very worth checking out. The story continues in two more trades, Dark Victory and Haunted KnigThis is one of the better Batman stories out there, and very worth checking out. The story continues in two more trades, Dark Victory and Haunted Knight, but even if you only read this one that's fine; you won't really be left hanging. This plot is a great mix of classic detective batman with the newer super-villain type stories. The transitions allows for an interesting nascent examination of the setting of Gotham and the characters that reside there. Building off the Frank Miller reboot of Batman it really sets up much of hte newer, darker Batman of today. And it's a thrilling pot-boiler to read....more