**spoiler alert** This long (almost 600 page) graphic novel features an ensemble cast of characters living in NYC. The art reminds me of Dave Sims, mi**spoiler alert** This long (almost 600 page) graphic novel features an ensemble cast of characters living in NYC. The art reminds me of Dave Sims, minus the talking aardvark. Box Office Poison is a page turner, with great dialogue and tons of jokes, but the best part of this graphic novel is the characters. We have a bookstore clerk, a historian, three cartoonists and an editor of a fashion magazine. These people were very real to me; by the end of the book I felt like they were friends, or at least people I knew. I identified with Sherman, the bookstore clerk; I worked at a bookstore for six fun-filled years, and certainly had my share of moronic questions.
My favorite character is the cartoonist, Irving Flavor. Irving is a cranky old bastard, but being old and impoverished can do that to a person. He’s been in the comics business for years and years and is thus a realist; Ed is the bright-eyed dreamer just starting out. I like their interplay. I think Irving does his best to help Ed out: he tells him straight out that the comics business is full of sharks, and even advises him to do that Night Stalker graphic novel. And Ed really puts it out there for Irving.
(SPOILER ALERT) My only quibble is the confrontation between Ed and Irving at the end. Ed has a right to be mad that Irving stole his character designs, but I don’t get the impression that’s what he’s angry about. He seems to think Irving “sold out,” and comes across as being totally self-righteous. Irving is right about that – Ed doesn’t have the right to treat him with such contempt. Irving knows he isn’t going to win a fight with ZOOM comics, so he takes what he feels he can get. And he’s working again, which is what he wanted, so good for him. Give the guy a break. Of course: the character design issue is a different matter. (END SPOILER ALERT)
End of rant. Anyway…the fates of the characters make sense, given what we know about them. The author resists the temptation to sprinkle the joy glitter at the end – not everyone gets (or even deserves) a happy ending. This is a wonderful graphic novel; highly recommended....more
As soon as I saw this graphic novel I knew I had to read it. I wasn't disappointed. Si-Joon has a recurring dream of being lost in the mountains as aAs soon as I saw this graphic novel I knew I had to read it. I wasn't disappointed. Si-Joon has a recurring dream of being lost in the mountains as a child, where he meets a woman wearing a tiara and pig mask. He agrees to marry her in exchange for some sweets. Eight years later, on the stroke of Si-Joon's 16th birthday, The Pig Bride returns to consummate the marriage. She is, of course, still wearing her tiara and pig mask. Si-Joon quite naturally thinks The Pig Bride an escaped lunatic, but she won't go away.
She and her female companion (a samurai) set up camp in Si-Joon's school, and soon The Pig Bride is everywhere: sleeping fully clothed in Si-Joon's bed; handing Si-Joon a towel when he gets out of the shower, sopping wet; sewing pictures of her face on all of Si-Joon's clothes to protect him from some nameless evil. About that nameless evil: it manifests as a snake woman who wants to kill Si-Joon. But never fear, The Pig Bride will use her magical powers to protect him!
Si-Joon has not yet gone insane, but it's still early in the series: plenty of time. I don't feel bad for him because he's a spoiled brat and The Pig Bride is a sweet, shy woman who happens to wear a pig mask, which she never takes off. BTW: I'm not sure why the Pig Bride wears a pig mask. They talk about a curse or something, but it doesn't really matter.
All you need to know is that The Pig Bride is romance as it should be....more
A Drifting Life is the best graphic novel I've read in a rather slow year (2009). This book is all about the creative process. Some interesting informA Drifting Life is the best graphic novel I've read in a rather slow year (2009). This book is all about the creative process. Some interesting information about Japanese history and the the history of manga, also. I am not a big manga fan, nor am I a huge fan of comic memoirs, but I loved this longish (800+ pages) book.
Great heist caper from Marvel. M*O*D*O*K (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) assembles eight grade-Z supervillains - including Nightshade, RocGreat heist caper from Marvel. M*O*D*O*K (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) assembles eight grade-Z supervillains - including Nightshade, Rocket Racer, Puma and Living Laser - to steal an alien artifact from a spaceship.
The MacGuffin in question is a glowing ball called the Infinicide. Problem is, SHIELD, AIM and the Mandarin (an Iron Man villain) also want it. Half of M*O*D*O*K's team betray him before the mission starts. Features likable characters (some of the villains act positively heroic) and a plot with lots of twists. ...more
I'm not even going to try to describe the plot of this graphic novel, which involves a talking pig, Excalibur, Morgan Le Fay, a giant hunt and HellboyI'm not even going to try to describe the plot of this graphic novel, which involves a talking pig, Excalibur, Morgan Le Fay, a giant hunt and Hellboy becoming the king of England. Hellboy has tons of continuity - you need an encyclopedia to keep track of all the characters - but none of it really matters. No comic does monsters beating the crap out of each other better....more
This semiautobiographical graphic novel is all about family. The first storyline recounts a vacation to a cabin in the woods; the second concerns theThis semiautobiographical graphic novel is all about family. The first storyline recounts a vacation to a cabin in the woods; the second concerns the travails of the author and his wife as they attempt to conceive (she has two miscarraiges). The main character, Paul, is free of the existential hate/self-pity common in graphic novel memoirs, where the protagonist is either a misunderstood misfit and/or an exotic bird in a world full of crows....more
Just read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise. Boy oh boy, did it rile me up. In a good way, of course. Let's just say I admire this graphic novJust read the first volume of Strangers in Paradise. Boy oh boy, did it rile me up. In a good way, of course. Let's just say I admire this graphic novel, but I'm not its intended audience. Loved the art. It put me in the mind of Berke Breathed's Bloom County. For some reason Francine's mother reminded me of Bill the Cat.
OK, let's get down to it. Every single male character in this volume is an asshole. Every. Single. One. Does Terry Moore hate men? I doubt it – he is a man, after all. I think it's more likely that he's a shrewd marketer who knows his audience. I admire his audacity: you've got to admire a guy who can make moving statements about feminine empowerment and draw great cheesecake at the same time and get away with it.
SIP is a graphic novel about sex, minus the sex (the first volume is, anyway). Instead we have the slow, richly deserved torment of the male characters. Let's talk about those male characters, shall we? Freddie and David, the scalp-taker and the teddy bear.
Freddie, first; he's the scalp-taker. Go to a used-car lot and he'll try to sell you a car. Go to a bar and he'll try to pick you up. He's an asshole, but at least he's up-front about it. In the interests of fairness I must also state that guys like Freddie get laid a lot. Moore nails him; the only thing he doesn't get right is that there's no way he would wait a year for sex. A real scalp-taker cuts ties and says bye-bye after two weeks.
David is the teddy bear. He's worst than Freddie, because he can’t take responsibility for his filthy sexual urges. Here’s a scoop: every man has filthy sexual urges. David neuters himself. He is the mascot, the little buddy, the pet. David is the type of character women like, because he’s harmless; men despise and pity him. Unfortunately for him, no woman will ever, ever find him attractive.
I give Katchoo credit; she tells David to go away. He doesn't, of course. David’s job is to read puerile poetry and tell Katchoo he loves her and be her designated punching bag while she works out her aggression. This is empowering, for Katchoo. In the spirit of abusive relationships David sits there and takes it. At one point he tells her he had it coming. I guess it’s Katchoo's pure soul; either that, or he likes being slapped in the face. Whatever; he stays.
The laundered Mob money storyline was a bit incoherent. It also put my Melodrama Meter off the charts. One of the characters ends up being related to another character, which - in the words of the Church Lady - is rather convenient.
Oh, and there's a wonderful fight scene between a female assassin and a fat guy. Yes, I know comic book violence is not realistic, but if you outweigh somebody by 100 pounds, all you need to do is sit on them and the fight is over. By the end of that one I was waiting for the ninjas to show up; maybe they will, in Volume 2....more
This creepy graphic novel series about exterminators and mutant cockroaches is very well done (influences include Kafka and William S. Burroughs) butThis creepy graphic novel series about exterminators and mutant cockroaches is very well done (influences include Kafka and William S. Burroughs) but not for the squeamish....more
Extremely well-done crime stories with a twist - the characters are given carte blanche to murder people who have wronged them. Some do, some don't. IExtremely well-done crime stories with a twist - the characters are given carte blanche to murder people who have wronged them. Some do, some don't. If you like hard boiled crime, this is a must-read....more
This is a great series. RASL is a dimension shifting art thief. He's chasing/being chased by a gun-toting, fedora-wearing lizard guy who is killing ofThis is a great series. RASL is a dimension shifting art thief. He's chasing/being chased by a gun-toting, fedora-wearing lizard guy who is killing off his girlfriends, one dimension at a time. RASL is a delightfully flawed protagonist whose hobbies include smoking, drinking himself senseless in bars and sleeping with his best friend's wife. But he's the best hero this story has.
This volume raises many questions, such as: what horrible things did the people in the Navy carrier see? Who is the mysterious old man who gave RASL Tesla's lost journals? And what's with that freaky little kid, anyway? ...more
This graphic novel is about a plague that kills every man on Earth, minus one. Yorick has just graduated from college, and he’s wondering what to do wThis graphic novel is about a plague that kills every man on Earth, minus one. Yorick has just graduated from college, and he’s wondering what to do with his life now that he’s all big and growed up. Before the plague hits, he’s in the process of digesting the fact that his English degree qualifies him to work at a bookstore (I majored in English, and speak from bitter experience). Yorick is proposing to his girlfriend over the phone when every man on Earth dies. Here are the possible causes of the plague:
1. The Amulet of Helene, a mystic item of great power, is shanghaied from its homeland. Every man on Earth is killed as reprisal. Source: The Book of Exodus, The Bible. 2. Dr. Mann creates a clone of herself. When she gives birth to said clone (a baby boy) it triggers a chain reaction that wipes out all men. 3. A biological weapon of mass destruction created by some government (take your pick) that is accidentally unleashed on the world. Source: The Stand. 4. Yorick is dreaming; making the entire story up (he is an English major); or hallucinating as he lies dying. Source: St. Elsewhere. 5. Yorick’s monkey is a test animal (note that it doesn’t like needles), rescued by animal rights activists from the lab where the virus was created. Because of the experiments the monkey is immune to the plague, and he passes that immunity on to Yorick (probably by biting him). 6. Yorick has godlike powers. When his girlfriend dumps him over the phone (we don’t hear the end of their conversation) he kills every male on the planet in a fit of pique. Source: The Twilight Zone.
Whatever. Yorick is the last guy on Earth, and he’s got Amazons and government agents running after him. He decides to go to Australia to find his girlfriend. Joining him are Agent 355, a mysterious government agent; and Dr. Mann, the doctor who created the clone. Great start to a series; highly recommended. ...more