This book was scary enough that I needed to put it down and walk away. And then pick it back up again. Gah! I felt like I was back reading Scary StoriThis book was scary enough that I needed to put it down and walk away. And then pick it back up again. Gah! I felt like I was back reading Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark again... this book was going to keep me up at night, worrying about monsters under people's skin and wolves lurking outside and voices singing in the walls.
Carroll's storytelling is excellent - sparse, but terrifying, lyrical in a way that covers you in goosebumps. The art makes strong use of colors and lines. Pages are frequently done in heavy amounts of black, with washes of layered color. Reds and blues are bold and unsettling. Sometimes the drawing style reminded me of Edward Gorey, though softer and more fluid.
Definitely worth reading, particularly if you're into scary stories....more
It seems like things couldn't get any worse for Anya. She hates her family - the greasy food her mother makes, her church where no one bothered to leaIt seems like things couldn't get any worse for Anya. She hates her family - the greasy food her mother makes, her church where no one bothered to learn English, and the way her little brother gets away with everything. She's unpopular at school - maybe it's her body, or the remnants of her Russian accent, or that everyone thinks she hangs out with the one other Russian kid at school, a nerd named Dima. And Anya has no friends - no one to confide in or hang out with. So yeah, perhaps things couldn't get worse for Anya... until she storms off campus one day and falls down a well.
But somehow, at the bottom of that well, is the answer to all her problems! Well, sort of. There's a skeleton at the bottom of the well and attached to it is a ghost. Emily died ninety years ago and has been stuck in the well all those years. At first, Anya is terrified of her. But when Emily follows Anya to school and helps her cheat on tests and get noticed by her crush, well... maybe having an undead best friend is pretty awesome.
Except there's more to Emily's past than she's letting on. And pretty soon she's controlling more and more of Anya's life. Yeah, Anya was looking for a BFF, but Emily isn't kidding about the "Forever" part.
This book is amazing! The art is excellent - no stereotypical rail-thin girls with gravity-defying boobs. Brosgol represents lots of different body types and looks and Anya sports a chubby and pretty body. Her body image issues are worked out in the art and some of the storyline without ever being heavy-handed. The dialogue is spot-on. Anya's wit and sarcasm are perfect for a teenager and I never felt like Brosgol was trying to hard. And the story - I did quite the turn-about on how I felt about these characters as the story progressed. There's enough spookiness to appeal to fans of ghost stories, but I think this would be a story that's an easy sell to almost any reader....more
If you had told me that Creature Tech would combine a man's search for his faith in God, space eels, ghosts, aliens (including an alien Jesus!), demonIf you had told me that Creature Tech would combine a man's search for his faith in God, space eels, ghosts, aliens (including an alien Jesus!), demon cats, giant praying mantis heaven, romance, and a heavy dose of sass, I would've tell you that it's not possible. You just cannot fit that much stuff into one graphic novel and have it make any sense! Well, for the most part, Creature Tech makes sense and is a moving, fun exploration of Dr. Michael Ong's journey through life.
Dr. Ong is the lead researcher/director of Creature Tech, an institute dedicated to cataloging hundreds of crates of alien, paranormal, and just plain weird stuff. Think of the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Creature Tech exists in the tiny town of Turlock (ah, alliteration), a place full of hillbillies, church picnics, and museums devoted to the campy and mysterious. When Creature Tech opens a crate containing the "Shroud of Turlock," a vengeful ghost (are there ever other kinds?) named Jameson uses it to bring himself back from the dead, complete with his demon hand, and sets his plan in motion to resurrect the alien that killed him... a giant space eel! Yeah, see what I mean?
This book seems like it should be shaky. It's covering a fairly wild story mixing sci-fi and horror. To complicate matters even more, Dr. Ong struggles with his father, a pastor, and his own lack of faith. Science has become all-important to him, though what he sees at Creature Tech often defines explanation through science. Ong himself is transformed during the examination of the Shroud, when an alien destroys his heart and attaches itself to him. He and symbiote must work together and this unexpectedly brings up his lost faith.
I felt like this book could've been divided into a few volumes and really taken the time to explore some of the heavier issues TenNapel brings up. The one-liners spouted by Ong and Jameson are funny but lighten the mood too much. The artwork is excellent, particularly anything involving Blue, the praying mantis sidekick. While I don't think this is the greatest graphic novel of all time, it's one I would happily recommend....more
Phillipa takes off in the middle of her dad's wedding to pastel-loving Krystal, in order to head off to her summer job - being a nanny who "loves blacPhillipa takes off in the middle of her dad's wedding to pastel-loving Krystal, in order to head off to her summer job - being a nanny who "loves black" to ten-year-old twin girls at a luxurious but creepy spa in Maine. The spa has all the latest amenities, including a hot gardener named Geoff, a bossy, a ghost-obsessed business-women named Lady Buena Verde, an absent-minded father, and a prissy assistant, Laurie, who may or may not be dating Geoff. However, the twins and their new nanny are not to be seen or heard by guests, despite orders for Phillipa to make the twins have "fun" so that they can get over their mother's death. Phillipa is still grieving her own mother's death, but she's ready to take on the challenge.
So... sound kind of crappy? That's because it is! This is a relatively harmless fluff-book, but the writing is weak, the characters don't develop, the ending is abrupt, and a major plot-point - Phillipa getting over her mother's death - just gets dropped. She starts out still mourning her mother (and it's been several years since she died in a car wreck that it's hinted was caused by Phillipa's cat... WTH?) and hating the idea of having fun. But she throws herself into forcing the twins to have fun, like going to the arcade, swimming, or hanging out in the butterfly garden. A few ghosts appear in the story with absolutely no consequence, even after one of them tries to kill Phillipa. There are hints that Lady Buena Verde could help her contact these spirits, but absolutely nothing comes of it.
The romance complication between Geoff and Laurie is explained away in one sentence and he'll probably be visiting Phillipa after the summer, who I guess will be going back to her unhappy life with her dad and new stepmother. These are the classic YA adults who hardly care that their teenage daughter will be spending the summer in a strange mansion as a nanny, or that she takes off in the middle of their wedding, after throwing away her bridesmaid dress.
You'd think that maybe the positive of this book is that it's a light, quick read... and it is. But the language is so dated, I have a hard time imagining teens would want to read it. There are references to Dragnet in this... Dragnet! Which last aired in 1959. Very relevant to today's teens. There are just so many good books out there, there's not much a reason to waste your time on this. ...more
This book was just wonderful. I'm having such a difficult time finding things to say about it besides the fact that it was amazing. It's sweet withoutThis book was just wonderful. I'm having such a difficult time finding things to say about it besides the fact that it was amazing. It's sweet without ever being saccharine. There's hilarious moments (I loved the ghouls), sad and scary moments, and the ending is just right, leaving you hoping for another book *please please*. I have to agree with Leila, this book feels very similar to Sandman, but without some of the horror content. Adult themes lurk around the edges of the story - after all, this is about growing up - and there are plenty of frightening characters in and out of the graveyard (mostly out). The characters are all so full of life (forgive the pun) - all around, this book was amazing.
I have to say that the audio version of this is just brilliant. I listened to Neil Gaiman read Coraline, and he did a great job there - but this blows that reading out of the water. The characters, the accents, everything is so developed, you forget you're listening to just one person reading. Just listen to the chapter with the ghouls and Miss Lupescu and Bod's adventures through the ghoul gate... you'll be hooked! I know I'm going to have to check out the paper copy of the book, to peak at Dave McKean's illustrations, but I'm going to be recommending the audio version to everyone. ...more