Friday, December 19, 2014

Ciudad by Ande Parks

Ciudad by Ande Parks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A violent, gritty tale of crime lords, kidnapping and mercenaries. The story was gripping and made for a fast read. I've enjoyed this author's previous work. However, I found the ending too happily summed up for such an otherwise grim plot. I can't say I'm particularly fond of the b/w rough, sketchy art style but it does suit the atmosphere. Pretty good.

View all my reviews

Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City by Pierre Christin

Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City by Pierre Christin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a horrid, horrible man! I knew nothing of Robert Moses but chose to read this book because I like graphic biographies and am much interested in architecture. I found out Moses was an urban developer who shaped New York in the early 20th century. He built Shea Stadium, the UN Headquarters, Lincoln Center and the New York Coliseum as well as many beaches, parkways, pools, playgrounds, tunnels, expressways, parks and bridges. But he was a tyrant of a man. He hated the bourgeois rich and didn't even consider the poor at all. Ripping down grand buildings and slums and tenements with equal vigour, displacing the poor, especially visible minorities, to make roads. He spoke for the middle class and yet thought them useless. This book portrays Robert Moses as a socialist of the worst kind, one who uses "the people" for his own power, under the guise of creating a utopia *for* the people. I'm not too keen on the art presented here which reminded me of sixties cartooning in non-fiction resources such as cookbooks and how-to texts. The book was not what I had expected, but it did prove interesting. I'm sure it would be most appreciated by New Yorkers or those who actually know who Robert Moses was.

View all my reviews

Bad Machinery Book 2: The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison



The Case of the Good Boy by John Allison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bad Machinery (Book 2)

Bad Machinery is a webcomic that is available online but has just now had it's third book published. This is the second in the series and the first one I've read. You can read this for free at the website but the books have a lot of added content, are wide, huge things to behold and very fine quality. The book starts with a page that tells you who the characters are (like in many manga) and then jumps right into the story which is a mixture of genres. Two groups of teens consisting of 3 girls and 3 boys live realistic, yet satirical, teen lives, they try to solve a mystery (toddlers are disappearing at an alarming rate) and a magic pencil has brought two fantastical creatures to town. Humour, fantasy, mystery, realism and a plot that goes into to the absurd while maintaining a sense of decorum makes for a fantastic read. The characters all have specific quirks but are also genuinely real. The humour is quirky, dry, tongue-in-cheek and often makes fun of itself. Since this is originally published in comic strip format there are lots of one liners and gags but also themes and plots that carry over the entire book and I presume the series as a whole.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Neurocomic by Dr. Hana Ros



Neurocomic by Dr. Hana Ros
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm really not sure how to describe this book because as it says near the end "...because nothing really happened if not inside [your brain]" The topic as a whole covers what happens inside the brain and the history of neuroscience. This is presented with a character who appears to be trapped inside a brain and is trying to find a way out, by the end he wants out of the brain and the discussion enters the realm of what can happen when one goes out of their brain/mind. Mind vs brain is explored and the end leaves us waxing philosophically. This is a deep subject and this amusing beginners intro shows the powerful format the graphic (or comic) presentation can be for educational purposes. As always from Nobrow, a high quality book as well.

View all my reviews

Tune, Book 2: Still Life by Derek Kirk Kim



Tune: Still Life by Derek Kirk Kim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tune (Book 2)

Fantastic! This is just as good as the first, maybe even better! Loved it! What a bizarre, out of this world story, but Andy Go is just such an ordinary down-to-earth guy that the story flows naturally and seems so normal until you realize just how absurd it really is. Parts of the story are just average 22 year-old slice-of-life guy stuff and then, well, Andy *is* imprisoned in an exhibit in a zoo on an alien planet. Dash is such a sweet, sincere character she's my favourite part. And what an ending! Can't wait for the next volume! A huge winner this series and a must read for older teens and up.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tune, Book 1: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim


Tune: Vanishing Point
by Derek Kirk Kim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tune (Book 1)

Oh my God! I love this! Tune really reminds me of Scott Pilgrim but sci-fi instead of fantasy and way better. What an amazing read; it has a bit of something for everyone. Starting off as a college student romantic comedy slice of life tale, an illustration student drops out to the dismay of his traditional Korean parents. He spends time with his art school friends, daydreams about the girl he likes and goes out for job interviews. This part is all a fun realistic story with a main character who is very likable and has a sex comedy vibe to it. But then while Andy finds out the girl of his dreams likes him back, and goes on his last job interview of the day, that's when the aliens turn up and the story becomes very intriguing. A must read!

View all my reviews

Dance Class #6: A Merry Olde Christmas by Béka

Dance Class #6: A Merry Olde Christmas by Béka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dance Class (6)

This was a pleasant surprise for me. I'm not exactly into girly-girl, princess type stories so a ballet themed series did not seem like it would be my cup of tea but I found this highly enjoyable, witty and well-written. I really enjoyed the presentation also. The first entire half of the book contains the titular story which has the girls travelling to England to participate in a musical that is very loosely based on Dickens' "Christmas Carol". The second half of the book is comprised of approx. 3-page random comic strips with an occasional returning sketch of a repeated attempt at a flash mob. These were humorous and amused me greatly. Girls who like dance will love this and boys also as there is always a boy participant in the dance group, which one of the girls will crush on. The cast is also diverse including (along with the boy dancer) African-Americans, a plump dancer, an obviously gay director, a single dad and divorced parents.

View all my reviews