Portia doesn't fit in at school - she reads above everyone else's level, she can't make friends, and she has trouble keeping her mind on class. Portia...morePortia doesn't fit in at school - she reads above everyone else's level, she can't make friends, and she has trouble keeping her mind on class. Portia, more than anything, is lonely. And then she finds Jellaby, a purple dragon creature with a sense of humor and a brave streak. She has problems keeping Jellaby a secret - Jason, Portia's classmate and carrot-lover, quickly discovers him. Both Jason and Portia work to find out where Jellaby came from and how to get him home, all the while hinting that there may be a connection between Jellaby and Portia's missing father.
I thought this was a terrific book, but I wanted more more more! I've heard that Kean Soo has said one of the inspirations was Calvin and Hobbes, and I did think a lot of the strip while I was reading it, but I spent a lot of time thinking of Susie rather than Calvin. I can't wait until the next book comes out, because this felt a little short.(less)
I'm still not quite sure what to make of Black Dossier. I'm happy to see more LoEG, and pleased that where the comic is interrupted with diaries, book...moreI'm still not quite sure what to make of Black Dossier. I'm happy to see more LoEG, and pleased that where the comic is interrupted with diaries, books, and travel guides, these are not the same somewhat-dull walls of text that rounded out volume two. The majority of them are fascinating and entertaining, and bring much more life to the League's history than vol. 2 did. My favorite was the recounting of how Mina got Nemo to agree to joining the League.
However, I'm missing the old league members (Nemo and Hyde seemed so much more interesting than Allan and sometimes even Mina). It also feels like we've missed out on so many amazing adventures, which we get to hear about secondhand through the diaries, comics, and book-segments. Moreover, I was not in love with the plot. Allan and Mina basically steal the Black Dossier, a series of documents that outline the history of the League and the generations who have served in it (before and after Mina's League). What follows is a long chase story that involves James Bond, Bulldog Drummond, and the remnants of an Orwellian government. For a series that can be so smart, this plot seemed rather blah - I felt like this was mostly an excuse to give us League history and less about Mina and Allan's latest adventure.
If you've read all of vol. 1 and 2, there are lots of references and visuals that you will get, and be pleased that you get them... just expect to spend a lot of time poring over the book. While this volume has skads of references to other literature and films, it's become just as much a self-referential piece. The artwork is, as always, amazing. And that brings me to another thing... expect lots of sex and nudity. But shouldn't you expect that from any work that includes a Tijuana Bible? Particularly an Orwell-inspired one? The 3-D section worked surprisingly well. (less)
When the Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are chased out of Boneville and into the desert, they think they’re done for. Even wor...moreWhen the Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are chased out of Boneville and into the desert, they think they’re done for. Even worse, a storm of locust separates the cousins, leaving them to wander alone through a strange valley. When winter falls (quite literally), Fone Bone meets up with Thorn, a beautiful young woman, and her grandmother, Rose. Only Gran’ma Rose suspects what the arrival of the Bone cousins means for her granddaughter. Fone Bone is guarded by a mysterious red dragon who has a history with Rose, and Phoney Bone is being hunted by a hooded figure that has the power to invade dreams. This epic fantasy, a mix of Tolkein and Looney Tunes-style characters, takes readers from the lush forests of the valley to the thrilling Great Cow Race between Gran’ma and The Mystery Cow to the echoing depths of Tanen Gard. Thirteen years worth of writing and drawing make up the compilation of Jeff Smith’s incredible work.
This edition of Bone compiles the nine books that make up the story arc. Without meaning to, readers will go from one book to another, long after they’ve promised themselves to turn the lights out and go to sleep. The artwork and story blend together perfectly, despite the mix of outrageously cartoonish characters such as the Bone cousins, and the realistic, if not sometimes caricatured people of the valley. The story often relies on humor, but there are touching, serious moments and tense storylines that keep you on the edge of your seat. The single volume will allow readers to see the scope of Smith’s story, from beginning to end. Don’t be discouraged by the heft of the book!(less)
**spoiler alert** Craig Thompson tells his own story in this graphic novel. As a youth, he grew up with heavily religious parents in a midwestern town...more**spoiler alert** Craig Thompson tells his own story in this graphic novel. As a youth, he grew up with heavily religious parents in a midwestern town. Thompson is a social outcast, with questions and thoughts that don’t fit in with his classmates or fellow worshippers. As he grows up, he separates himself from his artwork and daydreams, until he meets Raina at church camp. Raina inspires Crutcher in both his artwork and to become an adult. Their relationship blossoms on the page as Thompson embraces his artwork again. Gradually he comes to realize that he must move out of his stifling environment and beyond the constraints of his family’s religion and beliefs. Though the story line with Thompson and his brother takes a backseat to the romance with Raina, it is touching and Thompson ends with it.
Thompson’s graphic novel has a plot that is powerful enough to stand on its own. However, the artwork really brings the story to life. The coming of age story is beautifully told and Thompson’s painful transitions are more evident through the medium. Thompson’s relationship with his brother does fade away for the majority of the story and, though he returns to it at the end, the reader misses the presence. We wonder what happened to change the relationship between the two boys. The depiction of the surrounding characters, from the hairy jocks to the devout teens, says more to the reader about Thompson and his life than he could spend an entire novel explaining. (less)
So this book gets mixed reviews, obviously. I'm a Sandman nut, and I really enjoyed it. Yes, it doesn't jive with most of the traditional volumes - bu...moreSo this book gets mixed reviews, obviously. I'm a Sandman nut, and I really enjoyed it. Yes, it doesn't jive with most of the traditional volumes - but it's also just as important to the storyline as any of the other books. So if you want to get the full impact of the Sandman storyline, read this book! It's considerably dark, like a fair amount of Sandman, and has some of that fun horror of the earlier volumes mixed in. Also, if you want to enjoy and understand the characters that show up in the Death spin offs, you gotta read A Game of You. I think it's an often misunderstood book - give it a chance.(less)
I know that this was one of those epic comic storylines of the 90s. And on its face, it's a good story - war is about to break out between the generat...moreI know that this was one of those epic comic storylines of the 90s. And on its face, it's a good story - war is about to break out between the generations of superhumans and everyone, super and regular, will suffer for it. Will the older generation of heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman abandon their morals to stop their children and grandchildren, who have little regard for human life? And on the other side, we have mortals like Batman (who is not aging well - but who ever expects Batman to age well?) and Lex Luthor and his most unfortunately named organization, the Mankind Liberation Front, or MLF. I swear, I could not read that abbreviation without thinking "MILF" and wondering if that had not crossed Mark Waid's mind. Anyways, these men seek to protect humanity, though for very different reasons. And then there's Captain Marvel/Billy Batson, caught in the middle of it all.
So yes, it's a good end-of-the-world story. But it just didn't appeal to me. The artwork is incredible. That's probably the biggest selling point for this story. But I felt like I was reading a "Who's Who" of DC heroes and villains, which became so dizzying that I couldn't keep characters straight and I really didn't care. In the back of the compilation, there's a chart of 105 of the heroes/villains, and many of their names end with the numbers 2 or 3. Despite the plethora of characters, the focus is mainly on Superman, with supporting roles from Wonder Woman and Batman. Several of the heroes I recognized (which didn't feel like many... go go Wesley Dodds) looked like they'd have interesting stories to tell and opinions to contribute... but they hardly utter a word. Which brings me to my biggest gripe - Captain Marvel/Billy is the character that this whole story hinges on. He is both mortal and superhuman. His mental state is less than whole, and he's the only person capable of matching Superman's powers. But he gets so little attention for such a pivotal character! Plus, I have a little trouble getting invested in a scene where the key word is Shazam. I guess it's just a sign of the times.(less)
This hefty little book only takes about an hour to read, and it's so worth it! Cyril Pedrosa's artwork is incredible. Each panel feels full of movemen...moreThis hefty little book only takes about an hour to read, and it's so worth it! Cyril Pedrosa's artwork is incredible. Each panel feels full of movement; it's easy for the images to come to life. The characters are cartoonish, yet they convey muscle and hair and sometimes just overall sliminess (for the "less morale" ones you meet along the way).
It's hard not to just talk about the art, but really, this is an awesome story. Young Joachim lives on a farm with his mother and father, leading a sweet and simple life (isn't that what farms are always like in books?). Then one night, Joachim sees three shadows on the hill, and everything changes. The three shadows continue to haunt the family, always lurking. When Joachim's mother realizes that this omen is something they must accept, the boy's father takes him and leaves in an effort to escape the shadows. We follow them on their journey
At the end of the story, we learn some of the background as to why Pedrosa wrote this book. It's a powerful story about enjoying what time we have with those we love, as well as the length a parent is willing to go to protect their child. (less)
Yay! I'm so glad the second Jellaby finally came out. Portia, Jason, and Jellaby come closer to finding out where Jellaby is from, while Portia gets a...moreYay! I'm so glad the second Jellaby finally came out. Portia, Jason, and Jellaby come closer to finding out where Jellaby is from, while Portia gets a chance *maybe* to confront her father, who has been missing for years but seems mysteriously connected to Jellaby's appearance. There's monsters, there's talking pigeons, and lots of carrots!
This was a fast-paced volume and it was over before I knew it. I really like how Soo shows Portia's strengths and weaknesses... she's so strong, but she's also a young girl who's missing her father and has trouble really keeping friends and letting them get close. Xolotl's story (read the book to find out more!) is also sad, and it leaves me with a lot of questions. I have to think there will be another volume, to reveal more about the masked figure, Jellaby's history, and Portia's father, but the way this was ended made me almost think that this was it. I really really really hope that's not the case! I would've also liked more Jason... because Jason is sweet and funny, and there's obviously something going on there with his connection to Xolotl.
So... more please!
On a tiny note, Kean Soo's note about the Food pavilion was hilarious. (less)
First, I am a Tori Amos fan. I grew up listening to her and she's always been one of my favorite artists. As someone who's also a Sandman nut and enjo...moreFirst, I am a Tori Amos fan. I grew up listening to her and she's always been one of my favorite artists. As someone who's also a Sandman nut and enjoyed Tori's appearances in those stories, I had some high expectations for this collection. And I did not like this book.
This felt too scattered. I don't think many of the stories were well-told... I would've rather that a few songs had been cherry-picked for this book, and then given more depth. It's all very pretty to look at, for the most part, and there are some good stories mixed in there. But they really begin to blur, even when I tried to space out reading the book. I didn't care about the majority of the stories, and several felt very conventional and basic (Precious Things, Beauty of Speed, or Siren for example). Some explore the stories within the songs, and others just go for surface meaning (Boo to Bouncing Off Clouds!). And others are just plain confusing (Toast, Sugar, Leather, Ribbons Undone).
Stories I liked were Take To The Sky, Little Amsterdam, The Waitress (this is a great example of a story that actually took some time to be told and it worked out for the better), Winter, Baker Baker, I Can't See New York, and Cornflake Cirl. Pandora's Aquarium was one of the funnier, more literal translations of a song and its goofiness worked.
And cheers for Paul Maybury's story for Crucify. A personal story with the song as background really worked... at least to me! (less)