Archive for the ‘Graphic Novel Reviews’ Category

January Meeting

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Last night’s meeting was excellent. I’m working on a proper review, but let me just say that I am so happy that we read Fun Home by Alison Bechtel and Awkward and Definition by Ariel Schrag. The subject matter was captivating and it was great to be able to compare and contrast coming of age stories like this.

Personally, I LOVED Fun Home. I thought that both the writing and the art were brilliant and it really spoke to me as amazing literature and art.

More later…just thought you should know now.

Hearts & Flowers,

R

PS: GNBC will be at the Phoenix ComiCon all weekend. Look forward to seeing you there!

Queen and Country Voluume 1

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Queen and Country is a book I was really looking forward to reading, and not because I thought it was going to concern itself with Freddie Mercury singing Achy Breaky Heart.  That is a dream that will sadly go unfulfilled.  (Rest in peace, Mr. Mercury.  You brought us the Flash Gordon theme song, and the world is forever in your debt.)  No, I had heard many good things about the series, and that excited me.  Mostly because I yearn to kill sacred cows, and this seemed like a ripe opportunity for my usual shenanigans.

Grudgingly, I must admit that I liked Queen and Country.  I liked it in spite of its flaws.  I liked it in spite of the cartoony style that seemed so at odds with the content. I liked it even with the somewhat generic characters.  Something about it really worked for me.  Rucka is obviously very skilled at writing procedurals.  He wrote Gotham Central.  He wrote Whiteout.  He wrote Checkmate.  Someone pointed out that he wrote Wonder Woman, which threw off my line of thinking, until it was pointed out that Wonder Woman was working as a cop during the series.  I have no idea if this is true, as my interactions with the Wonder Woman character consist solely of light bondage fantasies, but I can easily see it happening.  It appears Rucka sticks with what he knows, and it works for him.

The characters in Queen and Country were somewhat generic, and they behaved in predictable ways.  The oh so troubled female lead carried on a series of emotionless sexual encounters.  The high level bosses had the usual adversarial relationship, with one cast in the role of crusading do-gooder and the other as his impediment.  The bond haired good guy wanted to protect the delicate female lead, as only he could understand how troubled she was.  Bureaucracy and rule of law prevented the team form doing what needed to be done, like warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition.  I might be confusing that last point with something else.  That said, I am about to cross the streams of geekdom and admit that it all reminded me a lot of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.  And I loves me some GitS:SAC.  I think a Hello Kitty died when I typed that.  Perhaps a Badtz Maru.

A small annoyance was trotting out the familiar trope that the female lead used a naked picture of herself to bypass security.  I found it somewhat diffuclt to accept that a massive counterintelligence agency would send an agent out in the field without top notch falsified documents.  Someone suggested that since she was injured and missed her extraction, that this was her last resort.  If that is the case, that means she had been carrying around naked pictures of herself for no specific reason.  That further begs the question… did the agency photoshop her head onto someone else’s body, or did they schedule a photo shoot.  I would think the British would be too uptight for that sort of thing to fly.  “Yes.  We just need you to step into this room, disrobe, and Mr. Smith will take some candids.  We will all be in the other room, and that mirror is by no means a two way.  Preposterous!  Now chop chop… and give us about five minutes.  Just… sexy it up.  And remember… don’t come in here.  For five minutes.”  Either way, I’m considering taking a few candids of my junk and keeping them in my wallet.  Apparently you never know when that sort of thing might come in handy.

Queen and Country gets an overall favorable review.  I plan to pick up a few more volumes and read through them, which is the primary goal of any serialized work.  Congratulation, Rucka.  You have you hooks in me.  Now let us see where this crazy ride goes.

Scalped Vol. 1 & 2 Review: GNBC Books of the Month

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

These books are what comics are about, especially Vertigo comics. Dashielle Bad Horse, is a man who has come back home to the reservation and he has a secret. With a group of interesting characters along with Bad Horse comes the Chief of the reservation Chief Red Crow. Read this wonderful wonderful series and you will find a world that is dangerous, strange, and exciting all at the same times. Prepared to feel like a fly on the wall of some of the roughest subjects in recent comic memory. Welcome to Scalped.

Mask of Tengu for graphicnovelbookclub.com

The Abandoned by Ross Campbell & Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks

Monday, April 14th, 2008

So these books were my choice, and I’m willing to stand up for that choice, if not necessarily the content therein.

I read The Abandoned by Ross Campbell first, because it was the book that got me started on the Zombie girl sort of tangent. I read it in one sitting. I was disappointed. The art was pretty dang spectacular. I was generally impressed by the unique shading and overall style of Ross Campbell. The art had been what drew me to the book, (that and Bonnie – thanks Bonnie!) and it did not let me down. Sadly, just about everything else did. Mr. Campbell may be a talented artist, but I was not into the writing at all. I wasn’t sure about the storyline (if you find it let me know), the character dialog, or most anything else. I was willing to let it go that it was set in the South, but did not seem “southern” at all. I was willing to give it a pass on some of the stereotypical character types were present. But by the time I finished giving everything (with the exception of the art) a pass, the book was over, nothing had happened, there had been no point, and I was chapped. Now, while this was mitigated by the most excellent zombie appearance (and published lyrics of) Bella Morte, it just wasn’t enough for me to really like it, let alone love it.


In the past I have talked about how much I dislike zombies in general. Vampires are definitely my monster of choice. Still, after
Shaun of the Dead, I have been trying to give zombies a chance. I read Walking Dead and hated that book. I just wasn’t buying it. But this, I thought had potential based on the fact that: it was an indy sort of writer, the art was very unique, and the main character was a teenage girl, not a chainsaw wielding manly man. I really felt disappointed by the lack of story here, because I had really been hoping for a real story, you know, one with a beginning, middle, and end. I didn’t get that with The Abandoned and that sucked to be totally honest.


On top of that, my hopes for the unique protagonist, an African-American teenage lesbian, were totally dashed upon the rocks because nothing the girl did or said felt genuine. I am a girl. “Rylie” did not read like a girl. This phenomenon is not one that is new to comics, and you would think that I would be used to it at this point, but I really keep holding out that eventually someone will get it right. So, as I finished
The Abandoned, I put it down, thinking, I wonder if this book would have been better if it had been written by a woman. Since Zombies Calling was next on my reading list I thought this would be a good test.


Zombies Calling originally began as a webcomic. As such, you can really see the transition of the characters and the development of Faith Erin Hicks as both an artist and a writer. Bad news first: the zombie book about a teenage girl was not better when written by a female. Good news: the book was overall much better. While the art was nowhere near the detail present in
The Abandoned, it was cute and I felt like it fit the story overall. The story! Yes, there was actually a story in this one! Now, it wasn’t the best story ever written, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Again, it was cute and I liked it. It did have some failings, though. Namely, it didn’t really wrap up all of the things that had been introduced over the course of the story. The list of “rules” sort of disappeared, and the bizarro professor who talked about the coffee, well, no one seemed to care that everyone was made into zombies. No big. Wait, what?


Depite falling into several rookie writer potholes, I was impressed by the dedication it took to create both
The Abandoned and Zombies Calling. Both were done as solo projects with a single creator handling the whole deal: art, writing, etc. In the end, I can’t really urge anyone that they have to go out and read these books right away, but I would definitely loan them out to someone that likes the zombie monsters to see what they think.

Ratings:

The Abandoned
Art: 4/5
Writing: 1/5
Overall: 2/5
Zombies Calling
Art: 2/5
Writing: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5


From: April 13th, 2008
By: rapunxelle