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Return of the Dapper Men
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Return of the Dapper Men

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  937 Ratings  ·  180 Reviews
Welcome to Anorev, a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world again. Now Ayden, t ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Archaia (first published October 27th 2010)
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Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
oh, great - one more thing that tim gunn is better at than me. tim gunn is unflappable and positive and patient and adorable and stylish, and apparently, quite good with anagrams.

he wrote the introduction to this book, which he likens to the works of lewis carroll, and says that to get the full experience out of this book, it would help to have a dictionary and some anagramming skills at the ready.

i read this seated on the floor behind someone's bike in the basement hallway of my workplace while
Michelle M
In a land stuck between the ticks of the clock, time stands still. Machines live on the surface and children work and play under the ground in a system that has no beginning and no end. Not until 314 Dapper Men float from the sky to set the world back amongst time.

Really lovely art and a whimsical story make this seem a modern clockwork fairy tale, with style.
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics
There's no question that Return of the Dapper Men is beautiful. The art is often stunning, in fact, and I'd highly recommend it for just the art alone. The writing, however, left me cold. It is, I think, overexplained, in a way that doesn't trust the lovely art to do its part of the storytelling. This is a children's book, so it may work on that level, but for me, I would have rather that the art be given more freedom to stand on its own in the narrative.
May 20, 2012 rated it liked it
I really wanted to enjoy this, I mean at it's center is a friendship between a curious boy and redheaded mute girl robot. Oh yeah, and time has stopped, there is no one over the age of 11, all kids live below ground, all robots live above ground and there is a giant mysterious clockwork angel floating over the town's harbor that is a mystery to everyone. Then 314 identically dressed dapper men float into town on umbrellas. The introduction (inexplicably written by celebrity stye maven Tim Gunn) ...more
This is a hard book to review. First, while it's obvious that the artwork is beautiful, it was hard to appreciate it fully when every page of the digital preview copy I received through Netgalley was imprinted with an extremely obtrusive watermark. I understand the desire to prevent piracy, but this huge, very obvious image distracted and detracted.

But that aside, I love the look of it. It's classic picture book wonder with a splash of comic book visual language, and solid underpinnings of fine
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
To anyone who ever fell down a rabbit hole, walked to the sidewalk's end, danced the wild rumpus, or followed the second star to the right, may you find adventure, wonder and little something form which dreams are made in these pages.

Return of the Dappermen is an artful tale of Anorev, a futuristic place where time has stopped. I like the magical quality to this work, but would have liked a little more clarity - but of course if we had all the answers, we wouldn't have the mystery. Here are som
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
As a big kid who prefers Young Adult books and comic books generally... As someone who still buys toys, for herself... etc. Well, it's not often that my mom pipes in to let me know I've made a made a mistake. No, not in making a purchase. Instead she wanted to let me know I had it sent to the wrong house. Mine. I clearly meant to send it to her house when I ordered this one. She took one look at the preview of this one and decided comics aren't all bad. Needless to say, she somehow magically doe ...more
Victoria Whipple
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the most gorgeously illustrated book I have seen in a long time, and it certainly stands out as one of my all time favorites as far as illustrations. The story itself is about a boy, Ayden and a robot girl named Zoe. They live in a land where time has stopped so that the children never age. The children live underground among machinery built by the robots who now live aboveground. Zoe and Ayden are the only two who seem to cross between the two worlds, though they are not always welcome ...more
Maddie O.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Anorev, lives two friends: Ayden, the human, and Zoe, the robot. They live above ground and most people who live above ground don’t get along with the people who live below. Above are the robots, who work so much they think it’s play and below are the humans who play so much they think it’s their work. One of the only things they have in common is they both don’t know what the idea of “time” is. But, when 314 dapper men “rain down” from the sky, everything changes. These men have taught Ayden ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2011
Return of the Dapper Men is a stunning book that will appeal to readers of all ages. (I fully intend to purchase a copy for my elementary school library.) Children, teens, and adults will find something to love in this enchanting tale.

Jim McCann's evocative words paired with Janet Lee's amazing visuals combine to create not only an astounding graphic novel but also a breathtaking work of art. The imagination is stimulated by this story, and, in my opinion, that is the mark of all great art and l
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I guess I'm an idiot (or I didn't want to sit and analyze every single sentence in this book for subtext), but this story just came across as pretentious faux philosophical dribble to me. It's like the author was deliberately trying to make every sentence a statement, and make it really "deep" and "meaningful." I skipped some of it because it just didn't seem to matter.

For me it was basically about the importance of time, and how precious it is, and how it shouldn't be wasted with trivial argume
I can't remember why this book was on my to-read list but I felt it was more than time to get it off which, perhaps put me in the wrong mindset to read it.

Ultimately it was all a bit nonsensical to me and I never really appreciated the story. The explanation of the artist's process at the end of this book is what bumps it to 2 stars for me, not kidding.
Benjamin Wilkins
In short, the art is incredible, but the story is weak. It is written in a style that at times crushes you with the weight of exposition, while nevertheless refusing to actually explain anything. It manages to be both vague and didactic.

But Janet Lee's art is really really good.
Bea Elwood
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Some things were quotable, some of the illustrations were beautiful, some of the ideas were conversational, but there was no punch, nothing really stands out and I'm only left with a desire for watch pieces and fine tailored suits...
Jan 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphicnovels
4.5 for the art.
3 - ish for the story, which was interesting and imaginative, but confusing at times.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Couldn't finish it. What started as some unique world-building devolved into absolutely inane dialogue and scenes that were pretty disjointed from one to the next. I felt like I was reading the "cool ideas" of a 12-year-old, which isn't always a bad thing, but dear god, please finesse your writing before seeking publication.
Chris Turner
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a fun story, but little going on under the surface. It's inspired by Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, but doesn't add much memorable to those great works. It's artwork is interesting, but the story could be stronger; it just ends too suddenly.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story doesn't quite live up to the beautiful illustrations, but this is still worth checking out.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I discovered Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s Return of the Dapper Men more than a year ago while browsing through the graphic novel section of Barnes & Noble. The cover alone was enough to capture my interest. I became more drawn to the story after imagining Johnny Depp as “41” if the book were ever turned into a movie.

The story takes place in a faraway land known as Anorev – a playful take on the name Verona – where humans and machines co-exist. Time stopped ticking and, with it, everything just
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been in a graphic novel loving mood lately, and so I decided to try out something new. Generally what I read is dark, gritty and realistic. So why not take a step back and read something a little more light and fun? When I saw the cover of Return of the Dapper Men I instantly knew it was something I would want to read. From the gorgeously illustrated characters, right down to the steampunk looking gears, I knew this would be something I would fall in love with.

As always, let's start with th
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it

I picked this book up because of the striking artwork. I found the soft look of marker combined with the cut paper and painted background technique to be unique and very pleasing to the eye.

The writing is okay, but feels forced - like somebody trying desperately to sound wise and clever. The story is simple - borderline simplistic, actually. Time has stopped and children and robots are no longer doing what they should be doing. You're pretty sure that by the end, time will start again and all w
Dani Peloquin
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
It is quite difficult to write a "children's" book that also appeals to adults. Being that the adults are the ones who will be stuck reading it over and over and over again, authors need to make their stories appealing to both audiences. Striking this balance can be anywhere from hard to impossible. However, the solution seems to be "The Return of the Dapper Men" which will have kid and grown up fans alike.

The plot is simple, as is typical of children's books, but it is philosophical so adults c
Norman Cook
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Eisner Awards honor comics' best and brightest, given as part of the annual San Diego Comic-Con. The Best Graphic Album category of the Eisners is the comics industry’s highest honor. This year, for the first time, there were two winners: Jim McCann and Janet Lee's Return of the Dapper Men (published by Archaia) and Dan Clowes's Wilson (published by Drawn & Quarterly).

Return of the Dapper Men is ostensibly a children’s book, but as with all classic children’s literature its appeal knows
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Beth
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art-photo, graphic
The "Return of the Dapper Men" is a gorgeous visual treat. The art-deco/steampunk influenced artwork by Janet Lee( is inspired and inspiring. It is a work of great beauty and heart that you will enjoy looking at over and over again.

That said, it rather breaks my heart to report that the storytelling in this book is not at all comparable to the illustrations. I found the writing to be clumsy and odd. The spiffy idea of a town stuck between a tick and a tock gets lost
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
4th&up. This is a fantastic and fantastical novel that demands the reader immerse themselves entirely in the vision it presents. McCann has created a world called Arorev, which owes more than a nod to the cryptic and zany imaginations of Lewis Carroll, but still feels fresh and unique in its own right. The heroes of the story are an inquisitive human boy named Ayden, his silent but loyal robot friend Zoe and the status-quo destroying yet inspiring stranger simply known as 41. The story empha ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it liked it
The return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann is a very detailed graphic novel with an interesting plot. It was different reading a more comic like book versus a chapter book due to the way the captions are laid out, and the graphics that go along with it. The Return of the Dapper Men takes place in the city of Anorev, where time is stopped. For years, the world has remained that way, with no knowledge of a day, an hour, a minute. The main character, Ayden, is the only one left to still ask questio ...more
Ottery StCatchpole
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Pretentious philosophical twaddle with beautiful artwork ... a train wreck of intense visual beauty but a travesty nonetheless.

Philosophical, a morality tale, etc. etc. Call it what you will (I still call it a travesty) it is a poorly written story wrapped in cliched phrases, ideas, and lacking any real heart. The artwork seems to be what every reviewer starts with and with good reason. It is a beautiful book to behold. Janet Lee is a master artist and what she has accomplished here visually, I
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a truly timeless tale of mystery and deep knowledge. Although it is VERY confusing and abrupt at some points, I couldn't put it down. It is the story of Ayden and Zoe, the last boy and robot to somewhat grasp a meaning of life. When Dapper Man 41 comes to show them their destiny they try to save Anorev and piece many of the small things together. One motif in this book id Time, and in the land of Anorev, Time has stopped completely. Nobody does anything- nobody grows older or wiser... T ...more
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally reviewed by me at

This graphic novel is honestly a piece of art. If you are interested in reading it, please do yourself a favor and read from a hard copy rather than an ereader. This way, you will get to appreciate the whole effect of the book's construction, from the slightly textured cover, to the endpapers, to the bonus artwork at the back of the book. And don't miss the introduction from, slightly oddly, Tim Gunn! I'm not one hundred percent
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Jim McCann is an award-winning writer of comic books, television, and theatre. He worked on several films and music videos before he was accepted into the ABC Daytime Writer Development Program. During that time he wrote for the popular ABC daytime drama One Life to Live. Upon moving to New York, he found a position at Marvel Comics, where he remained for six years, working in publicity and PR.

More about Jim McCann...

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“Something's about to end. Or start. I'm not sure. I just know we're not in the middle anymore. It's safer in the middle.” 12 likes
“Everything began with a single breath. A light wind that started a sway, and the sway started a turn, and the turn... The turn started everything.” 5 likes
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