Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Oyster War by Ben Towle

Oyster War by Ben Towle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 168 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Oni Press
Source: Review copy from the publisher

An engaging seafaring tale full of pirates with a mix of sea monsters, ghosts, curses and selkies. Based in Chesapeake Bay it retains some historical elements which the author notes at the back of the book. The art style is very noticeably "Tin-Tin"-ish and suits the action-adventure mode well. A fun, light-hearted story of legend I'd say suitable for most ages but perhaps is a tinge violent (cartoon-sort) and doesn't have any child characters so may be best suited for Gr. 6+. I was particularly delighted as my favourite shapeshifter, the selkie, was featured. The Tin-Tin art and fantasy world reminded me a bit of "The Unsinkable Walker Bean" but that is a much better book though fans of one should appreciate the other.

March: Book One & Book Two by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin; illus Nate Powell

Book Two of this series was nominated for a Cybil this year so I decided to go ahead and read the first book as well.

March: Book One by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin; illus Nate Powell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

paperback, 128 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Local Library

March Trilogy: Book One

The true story of how the author, now a congressman, became involved in the civil rights movement. Starts briefly with his childhood then moves on to his late teens, early twenties and his being inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr to joining the non-violent movement. He witnesses the bus embargo and participates in the lunch counter sit-ins being arrested and sent to jail several times. The book is well-written and very interesting. I'm Canadian and don't really know too much detail about King, Jr.s actual methods of protest in action so found this very enlightening, especially the scenes where the members were taught non-violence and one person couldn't hack it and had to quit. It is entertaining but more historical and informative than getting involved in character development. Looking forward to the second book.

March: Book Two by John Lewis  & Andrew Aydin; illus Nate Powell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 189 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Local Library

March Trilogy: Book Two

Even more brilliant than Book One, and much longer, Book Two takes the reader beyond the sit-ins and onwards to the Freedom Riders who rode buses from Washington to New Orleans through the Deep South where integrated bus riding was not tolerated. Then the book enacts the story of 1963's March for Freedom. As a Canadian, I know of these events but the details are new to me and I was held enthralled with this vicious piece of American history. It's almost surreal to know this is 20th-century history of a modern country, a democratic country. I read with my mouth hanging open, that people could do this to each other while being televised. This is a past we must never forget; it is also one other groups who feel badly done to must never compare themselves to. The Civil Rights Movement of African-Americans and the abject racial hatred found in the Deep South is comparable to none. There has been nothing like this particular shame on this continent. A mesmerizing book, whose, in my opinion, only fault is showcasing Obama's inauguration speech randomly throughout. While nothing can weaken the power of book's topic, Obama's insertion only embarrasses his own weaknesses when shown alongside the great men, women, and children of that year. Powerful book.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge 

runs from Jan.1 - Dec. 31, 2016


Modern Age: read and review 12 books during the year (that's only 1 book a month)

Bronze Age: read and review 24 books during the year (Can you handle 2 books a month.)

Silver Age: read and review 52 books during the year (Are you up to a book a week!)

Golden Age: read and review 104 books during the year (Are you up to a 2 books a week!)

Sign Up

I will be doing Silver Age (52) again.

Post here

1. Dad's Not All There Any More: A comic about dementia by Alex Demetris
2. Noragami: Stray God 7 by Adachitoka
3. Noragami: Stray God 8 by Adachitoka
4. Noragami: Stray God 9 by Adachitoka
5. Twin Star Exorcists: Onmyoji, Vol. 3: by Yoshiaki Sukeno
6. One-Punch Man, Vol. 4 by ONE
7. My Love Story!!, Vol. 7 by Kazune Kawahara
8. Your Lie in April 5 by Naoshi Arakawa
9. The Seven Deadly Sins 11 by Nakaba Suzuki
10. UQ Holder Vol. 6 by Ken Akamatsu
11. A Glance Backward by Pierre Paquet
12. Oddly Normal Vol. 1 by Otis Frampton
13. Oddly Normal Vol. 2 by Otis Frampton
14. The Flash, Vol. 7: Savage World by Robert Venditti
15. The Kurdles by Robert Goodin
16. Vinland Saga 7 by Makoto Yukimura
17. Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 of 6 by Amy Chu
18. Inuyashiki 2 by Hiroya Oku
19. Devil Survivor 2 by Satoru Matsuba
20. Chi's Sweet Home, Volume 12 by Kanata Konami
21. Apollo: The Brilliant One by George O'Connor
22. Sons of the Devil, Volume 1 by Brian Buccellato
23. Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen by Abby Denson
24. Noragami: Stray God 10 by Adachitoka
25. The Seven Deadly Sins 12 by Nakaba Suzuki
26. Mean Girls Club by Ryan Heshka
27. Fairy Tail Master's Edition, Vol. 1 by Hiro Mashima
28. New Suicide Squad, Vol. 2: Monsters by Sean Ryan
29. X-Men: Misfits by Raina Telgemeier & Dave Roman
30. Fairy Tail Ice Trail, Vol. 1 by Yuusuke Shirato
31. Fairy Girls, Vol. 01 by Boku
32. Stein's Gate, Volume 1 by Yomi Sarachi
33. The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughan
34. Night and the Enemy by Harlan Ellison
35. Last Man #4: The Show by Bastien Vivès
36. Ultraman, Vol. 3 by Eiichi Shimizu
37. My Hero Academia, Vol. 03 by Kohei Horikoshi
38. Sherlock Holmes: Crime Alleys by Sylvain Cordurié
39. QQ Sweeper, Vol. 2 by Kyousuke Motomi
40. Bunny vs. Monkey by Jamie Smart
41. Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 3 by Sui Ishida
42. Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 5 by Sui Ishida
43. Die Wergelder 1 by Hiroaki Samura
44. Livingstone 1 by Tomohiro Maekawa
45. One-Punch Man, Vol. 5 by ONE
46. Noragami: Stray God 11 by Adachitoka
47. Inuyashiki 3 by Hiroya Oku
48. School Judgment: Gakkyu Hotei, Vol. 1 by Nobuaki Enoki
49. Fairy Tail Blue Mistral 2 by Hiro Mashima
50. Devil Survivor 3 by Satoru Matsuba
51. Fate/Zero Volume 1 by Gen Urpbuchi
52. Giganto Maxia by Kentaro Miura
53. The Bronx Kill by Peter Milligan
54. Tegami Bachi, Vol. 17 by Hiroyuki Asada
55. Tegami Bachi, Vol. 18 by Hiroyuki Asada
56. Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition 2 by Hajime Isayama
57. Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
58. Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling by Tony Cliff
59. X-Files: Season 11, Volume 1 by Joe Harris
60. Goodnight Punpun Omnibus Vol. 1 by Inio Asano
61. Batman & Robin: Eternal, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
62. Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 1: Going Down by Ming Doyle & James Tyson IV
63. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 12 by Adachitoka
64. Martian Manhunter Vol. 1: The Epiphany by Rob Williams
65. Red Hood/Arsenal, Vol. 1: Open for Business by Scott Lobdell
66. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
67. School Judgment, Gakkyu Hotei: Vol. 2 by Nobuaki Enoki
68. UQ Holder 7 by Ken Akamatsu
69. Livingstone 2 by Tomohiro Maekawa
70. The Seven Deadly Sins 13 by Nakaba Suzuki
71. Your Lie in April 6 by Naoshi Arakawa
72. Real Account 1 by Okusho
73. Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth by Gene Luen Yang
74. The Rattler by Jason McNamara
75. Fluffy Strikes Back by Ashley Spires
76. My Love Story!!, Vol. 8 by Kazune Kawahara
77. Twin Star Exorcists: Onmyoji, Vol. 4 by Yoshiaki Sukeno
78. Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Hikami
79. Red's Planet #1: A World Away from Home by Eddie Pittman
80. Batman: Europa by Brian Azzarello
81. Danganronpa: The Animation, Volume 1 by Spike Chunsoft
82. Nichijou: My Ordinary Life, Vol. 1 by Keiichi Arawi
83. Your Lie In April 7 by Naoshi Arakawa
84. Fairy Tail Master's Edition, Vol. 2 by Hiro Mashima
85. Fairy Girls, Vol. 2 by Boku
86. Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series by Mark Verheiden
87. Tokyo ESP, Volume 1 by Hajime Segawa
88. Tokyo ESP, Volume 2 by Hajime Segawa
89. Tokyo ESP, Volume 3 by Hajime Segawa
90. Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume One by Grant Morrison
91. Hotel Strange #2 on the Sapphire's Trail by Katherine Ferrier
92. Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness by Reinhard Kleist
93. My Hero Academia, Vol. 4 by Kohei Horikoshi
94. One-Punch Man, Vol. 6 by ONE
95. Camp Midnight by Steven T. Seagle
96. The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman
97. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
98. I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young
99. Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov
100. Superman: Earth One, Vol. 1 by J. Michael Straczynski
101. The Twilight Children by Gilbert Hernández
102. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 13 by Adachitoka
103. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 14 by Adachitoka
104. Ultraman, Vol. 4 by Eiichi Shimizu
105. Lou by Melissa Mendes
106. Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 6 by Sui Ishida
107. Far Out Fairy Tales: Five Full-Color Graphic Novels edited by Sean Tulien
108. FukuFuku: Kitten Tales Vol. 1 by Kanata Konami
109. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Omnibus by Mingming
110. Fatale, Vol. 1: Death Chases Me by Ed Brubaker
111. Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven by Brandon Easton
112. Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso
113. Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green
114. Real Account 2 by Okushou
115. Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines by Bob Gale
116. Klaw: The First Cycle by Antoine Ozanam
117. Death Follows by Cullen Bunn
118. Black Clover, Vol. 1 by Yūki Tabata
119. School Judgment, Vol. 3: Gakkyu Hotei by Nobuaki Enoki
120. Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 15 by Kiiro Yumi
121. Nichijou: an ordinary life, 2 by Keiichi Arawi
122. Superman: Earth One, Vol. 2 by J. Michael Straczynski
123. Superman: Earth One, Vol. 3 by J. Michael Straczynski
124. Deathstroke (New 52), Vol. 1: Legacy by Kyle Higgins
125. Resurrection Man (New 52), Vol. 1: Dead Again by Dan Abnett
126. Superman (New 52), Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow? by George Pérez
127. Planetes Omnibus, Volume 1 by Makoto Yukimura
128. Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 2 by Keiichi Hikami
129. Einstein by Corinne Maier
130. Planetes Omnibus, Volume 2 by Makoto Yukimura
131. Murder by Remote Control by Janwillem van de Wetering
132. Nobody Likes a Goblin by Ben Hatke
133. Fantasy Sports No. 1 by Sam Bosma
134. Wandering Star by Teri S. Wood
135. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 15 by Adachitoka
136. Poppy! and the Lost Lagoon by Matt Kindt
137. Goodnight Punpun Omnibus, Vol. 2 by Inio Asano
138. Tokyo ESP Omnibus, Volume 4 by Hajime Segawa
139. FCBD 2016 Nobrow Hilda/Akissi/Fantasy Sports by Nobrow Press
140. World War Two: Against The Rising Sun by Jason Quinn
141. Orpheus in the Underworld by Yvan Pommaux
142. Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori
143. The Dark #1: Boo Hag by Kelly Williams
144. Archer & Armstrong, Vol 2: Wrath of the Eternal Warrior by Fred Van Lente
145. Fairy Tail Ice Trail, Vol. 2 by Yuusuke Shirato
146. Inuyashiki, Vol. 4 by Hiroya Oku
147. Haikyu!!, Vol. 1 by Haruichi Furudate
148. Twin Star Exorcists: Onmyoji, Vol. 5 by Yoshiaki Sukeno
149. One-Punch Man, Vol. 7 by ONE
150. My Love Story!!, Vol. 9 by Kazune Kawahara
151. James Bond Vol. 1: VARGR by Warren Ellis
152. Hans Christian Andersen's The Red Shoes and Other Tales by Metaphrog
153. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
154. Mr Pants: It's Go Time! by Scott McCormick
155. Mr. Pants: Slacks, Camera, Action! by Scott McCormick
156. Mr Pants: Trick or Feet! by Scott McCormick
157. Sanjay and Craig: "Fight the Future with Flavor" by Eric Esquivel
158. Stormwatch, Vol. 1: The Dark Side by Paul Cornell
159. Alterna AnniverSERIES: Lilith Dark by Charles Dowd
160. Corktown #1 by Mario Candelaria
161. Grimm Fairy Tales: Inferno #1 - #5 by Ralph Tedesco
162. Ariol: Where's Petula? by Emmanuel Guibert
163. Ariol #7: Top Dog by Emmanuel Guibert
164. Ogres Awake! by James Sturm
165. Fantastic Butterflies by James Kochalka
166. Salmon Doubts by Adam Sacks
167. I.D. by Emma Ríos
168. The Dark Corridor: Complete Series by Rich Tommaso
169. Alice in Wonderland: Special Collector's Manga by Jun Abe
170. Disney Pixar Finding Nemo - Special Collector's Manga by Ryuichi Hoshino
171. Fantasy Sports 2: The Bandit of Barbel Bay by Sam Bosma
172. Last Man #5: The Order by Bastien Vivès
173. Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu
174. The Seven Deadly Sins 15 by Nakaba Suzuki
175. Your Lie in April 8 by Naoshi Arakawa
176. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. 1 by Osamu Takahashi
177. Everyone's Getting Married, Vol. 1 by Izumi Miyazono
178. QQ Sweeper, Vol. 3 by Kyousuke Motomi
179. Grifter (New 52), Vol. 1: Most Wanted by Nathan Edmondson
180. Demon Knights (New 52), Vol. 1: Seven Against the Dark by Paul Cornell
181. Freud by Corinne Maier
182. Tokyo ESP Volume 5 by Hajime Segawa
183. Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 7 by Sui Ishida
184. Geis: A Matter of Life and Death by Alexis Deacon
185. The Big Picture: Brendan and Erc in Exile, Volume 2 by Amadeus
186. Black Clover, Vol. 2 by Yūki Tabata
187. Haikyu!!, Vol. 2 by Haruichi Furudate
188. My Hero Academia, Vol. 5 by Kohei Horikoshi
189. Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi
190. The CHAIR by Peter Simeti
191. All My Ghosts by Jeremy Massie
192. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
193. Past Aways: Facedown in the Timestream by Matt Kindt
194. Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 3 by Keiichi Hikami
195. Adam Wreck And The Kalosian Space Pirates by Michael S. Bracco
196. Queen Emeraldas 1 by Leiji Matsumoto
197. Lilith Dark and the Beastie Tree by Charles C. Dowd
198. Noragami: Stray Stories, Vol. 1 by Adachitoka
199. Bad Machinery: The Case of the Lonely One by John Allison
200. 5 Sonic the Hedgehog Comics by Archie Comics
201. The Dark Horse Comics/DC: Superman by Chuck Dixon
202. Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Uncensored by John Wagner
203. Mister X: The Modern Age by Dean Motter
204. Bookhunter by Jason Shiga
205. Lucifer, Vol. 1: Cold Heaven by Holly Black
206. Trespasser #1 - #4 +Epilogue by Justin M. Ryan
207. Bee Sting by Matthew D Smith
208. American Terror: Confessions of a Human Smart Bomb, Vol One by Jeff McComsey
209. American Terror: Confessions of a Human Smart Bomb, Vol Two by Jeff McComsey
210. Blood for Stone by Kenton Daniels
211. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project Volume 2 by Osamu Takahashi
212. Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project Volume 3 by Osamu Takahashi
213. Noragami: Stray God, Vol. 16 by Adachitoka
214. Corktown #2 by Mario Candelaria
215. Real Account 3 by Okushou
216. UQ Holder 8 by Ken Akamatsu
217. The Courageous Princess Vol. 1: Beyond the Hundred Kingdoms by Rod Espinosa
218. The Courageous Princess Vol. 2: The Unremembered Lands by Rod Espinosa
219. The Courageous Princess Vol. 3: The Dragon Queen by Rod Espinosa
220. Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy by Doug Savage
221. Susanna Moodie: Roughing It in the Bush by Carol Shields
222. Secret Coders #2: Paths & Portals by Gene Luen Yang
223. Sweetness and Lightning 1 by Gido Amagakure
224. Fairy Tail Zero by Hiro Mashima
225. Friends Is Friends by Greg Cook
226. Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
227. Legion of Super-Heroes (New 52), Vol. 1: Hostile World by Paul Levitz
228. Legion Lost (New 52), Vol. 1: Run from Tomorrow by Fabian Nicieza
229. Titans Hunt (DC Rebirth) by Dan Abnett
230. Hilda and the Bird Parade by Luke Pearson
231. Batman/TMNT Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV
232. Haikyu!!, Vol. 3 by Haruichi Furudate
233. Dog Man by Dav Pilkey
234. The Deadbeat by Jeremy Massie
235. The Only Living Boy #1: Prisoner of the Patchwork Planet by David Gallaher
236. The Only Living Boy #2: Beyond Sea and Sky by David Gallaher
237. A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong, Vol 1: In the Bag by Rafer Roberts
238. Croak #1 by Cody Andrew Sousa
239. Mr. Crypt #1 by Troy Vevasis
240. Stone Cold: The Stone Man Mysteries, Book One by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple
241. The Shame Trilogy by Lovern Kindzierski
242. Clusterf@#k by Jon Parrish
243. Tokyo ESP, Volume 6 by Hajime Segawa
244. Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 8 by Sui Ishida
245. Cannons in the Clouds by Daniel Woolley & Anne Gresham
246. Superman, Volume 2: Return to Glory by Gene Luen Yang
247. Hilda and the Stone Forest by Luke Pearson
248. Danganronpa Volume 2 by Spike Chunsoft
249. Haikyu!!, Vol. 4 by Haruichi Furudate
250. Platinum End, Vol. 1 by Tsugumi Ohba
251. Black Clover, Vol. 3 by Yūki Tabata
252. Twin Star Exorcists, Vol. 6 by Yoshiaki Sukeno
253. My Love Story!!, Vol. 10 by Kazune Kawahara
254. Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 02 by John Wagner
255. Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter, Vol. 4 by Keiichi Hikami
256. Private Beach by David Hahn
257. The Sixth Gun Volume 1 Deluxe Edition by Cullen Bunn
258. Green Lantern: New Guardians (New 52), Vol. 1: The Ring Bearer by Tony Bedard
259. Red Lanterns (New 52), Vol. 1: Blood and Rage by Peter Milligan
260. Worry Doll by Matt Coyle
261. Snow White: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan
262. The Boys of Sheriff Street by Jerome Charyn
263. Anne of Green Bagels by Jon Buller & Susan Schade
264. Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash by Dave McKean
265. Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman
266. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton
267. Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 2 by Mizuho Kusanagi
268. Terminal City Deluxe Edition by Dean Motter
269. Will Eisner's the Spirit: Who Killed the Spirit? by Matt Wagner
270. Everyone's Getting Married, Vol. 2 by Izumi Miyazono

Courtney Crumrin Vol. 7: Tales of a Warlock by Ted Naifeh

Courtney Crumrin: Tales of a Warlock by Ted Naifeh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 2015 by Oni Press
Source: received a review copy from the publisher

Courtney Crumrin (Vol. 7)

I was really shocked when I found out a 7th volume was out as I thought 6 was the final volume and it was, sort of. Tales of a Warlock can be looked at as more of a prequel than a continuation. This volume takes us back to the days when Uncle Aloysius is a young man and even then working against the rogues practicing dark witchcraft. Just as much of a treat as fans of Courtney could expect with a great story and fantastic art. A unique plot that takes fans back to Aloysius' secret past but this would also make a great starting point for new fans as it doesn't even introduce Courtney to the series yet. Fantastic addition to the series!

Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 40 pages
Published December 1st 2015 by Flying Eye Books
orig. first published 2010
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Hildafolk (#1)

I've read the last Hilda book but felt like I was missing something having not read the others so I've started at the beginning here with book 1. I'm so attracted to Pearson's art, so whimsical without being cute it has a certain edge to it. Hilda lives in a forest with her mum and is an artist and an adventurer. As she goes out in the woods today she meets a giant, a water spirit and a troll. It's the troll who brings her a special problem. My favourite though is the little wood man who keeps coming into their house uninvited and laying down in front of the fire. Deliciously odd and quirky.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Macbeth by Gareth Hinds

Macbeth by Gareth Hinds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 152 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by Candlewick Press

This is my third classic graphic novel adaptation by Hinds and I adore his work. I've done a little research on him and can't find any indications that he's studied or is an expert in classic/ancient literature. However, this is his works' specialty in graphic novels and his introductions and back matter notes on historical references, notes on his adaptations and page by page annotations on his choices show both a scholarly familiarity with the work and an intense research of the subject. I've mentioned before that Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare and this was a delight for me to read. Hinds keeps to Shakespearean language though he's often written it in prose to make it work better in his format. The art is fantastic as Hinds' work always is; he uses darkness and shadows effectively here. A beautiful piece of work, more "art" really. Would definitely enhance a high school student's experience who was studying the play but more so a great addition to any Shakespearean aficionado's collection.

Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon by Sylvain Cordurié

Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon by Sylvain Cordurié
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Dark Horse Comics

Sherlock Holmes

This takes place after "Vampires of London", referencing it but is not really necessary to have read that first. Holmes talks more openly about his acceptance of the paranormal throughout this comic and while I didn't buy into it in "Vampires", I was more comfortable with this new Holmes by now. This is a fun story and a mix between Indiana Jones and a Buffy plot-line than anything to be found in a real Sherlock story. Set just after the Reichenbach Falls episode, this is Holmes vs Moriarty vs the paranormal world with Queen Victoria working mysteriously behind the scenes. Outrageous camp in a "Hammer Films" horror way with great French comic book art. Fun as long as you like don't mind some cheese with your Holmes.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Graphic Novel by Benjamin Harper

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Graphic Novel by Benjamin Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 68 pages
Published August 1st 2015 by Stone Arch Books
Source: received a review copy from the publisher

Graphic Revolve

As usual with this series from Capstone, we have a fine adaptation of the original, especially for kids. At less than 70 pgs, plot elements are going to be culled here and there, however, I find Harper has done a good job of not only representing the original but deciding to shine a particular light on the theme of charity in his adaptation. The Marley sequence is good and told in detail, some graphics skimp on this part to tone down the scare but not Harper & Almara. As the three ghosts come visiting not every episode from the original book is given equal importance, but I felt here they took artistic licence to first shine on Scrooge's uncharitable nature and second show how he learns that the gift of charity brings self-happiness. Very well done! One thing I particularly enjoyed was the Ghost of Christmas Past was depicted as a little candle man with his face a flame of fire and a hat that would snuff out his light when Scrooge could no longer handle the light being shone on his past deeds. Nice introduction to the classic, conversely a fun new look at it in graphic format. You usually can't go wrong with Capstone's Graphic Resolve series.

Jack the Ripper by François Debois

Jack the Ripper by François Debois; illus Jean-Charles Poupard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 104 pages
Published December 22nd 2015 by Dark Horse Comics
first published in French January 1st 2012
Source: egalley via edelweiss

Absolutely loved this! A fun new twisted take on the Jack the Ripper case involving one of the original detectives, Frederick Abberline. A good portion of the story retells the actual Ripper story factually with some artistic license to fit the author's continued gothic tale of murder involving a secret science society dabbling in medical hypnosis to cure hysteria and other mental diagnoses with much more murderous and psychotic symptoms. After the action in Whitechapel, the truly fictional part moves on to Paris, France and even has a brief interlude in America. Real characters from the historic case have a part in this crime story making a fun historical crime thriller, such as Dr. William Gull, Police Commissioner Charles Warren, John Pizer and James Maybrick. This is not a serious treatise on the Ripper case but a very fun fictional whodunnit which I enjoyed very much. The art didn't quite wow me but was ok and certainly atmospheric.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 4 by Sui Ishida

Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 4 by Sui Ishida
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by VIZ
First pub Japan 2012
Source: egalley via edelweiss BUT I also pre-order the print copy via amazon

Tokyo Ghoul (4)

An intense plot and I'm loving this manga. Kaneki finds out a little more about the real truth of what happened to him the day he turned into a half-ghoul. But the main arc running through this volume involves a new ghoul character. He's a very good-looking guy, but the other ghouls call him a nuisance and his nickname is the "The Gourmet". He befriends Kaneki as they share a love of books, only Kaneki finds out some sinister stuff behind the reason for his nickname and this manga plays out quite the "ghoulish" scene. Loved it!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse (#1) A Brave is Brave by Greg Smith & Michael Tanner

A Brave is Brave by Greg Smith & Michael Tanner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 216 pages
Published July 8th 2015 by Oni Press
Source: review copy from the publisher

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse (#1)

Splendid! I loved this. Have someone who isn't quite ready to take on "The Walking Dead"? This is the junior version. A true horror story for kids, light on the graphic scenes, mild on cuss words, but otherwise real-life teen talk and situations and not for the sensitive. I really enjoyed it! A scouting group goes out for a week's camp and comes back to find their town gone, trashed, to put it plainly the Zombie Apocalypse has arrived. It's a motley group of boys we start off with, none of them seeming to be protagonist material, but the rather scary-looking non-talking kid quickly comes out of the shadows and proves to be Johnny, a Native-American, who first shows some metal within the group. But before the story is over everyone has shown their strengths whether that be intellectual, physical or know-how. This is one group of kids zombies do not want to mess with and they have a leader who knows how to manage group dynamics. There is humour to lighten up the tension, but the book is not pure comedy by any means, character comes first and a typical zombie/virus plot comes second. This one is a keeper for my shelf and I'll be looking to see what's up with volume two right away.

Jim's Lion by Russell Hoban. illus Alexis Deacon

Jim's Lion by Russell Hoban. illus Alexis Deacon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 64 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Candlewick Press
with new illustrator and re-imagined as a graphic novel
orig. October 8th 2001
Source: my local library

I don't get this. Too many wordless graphic dream sequences. A child is sick in the hospital and overcomes his fear through an African dream "finder", an idea given to him by an African nurse. His finder turns out to be a lion, but whether it actually helps him or just gives him the strength to carry on is debatable. He's kind of scary and I don't get the ending or the point of the story really. Seems like it would be pretty terrifying for kids who would actually need the comfort of a book when in the hospital. Not impressed.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir by Colleen Frakes

Prison Island: A Graphic Memoir by Colleen Frakes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by Zest Books
Source: received a review copy from the publisher

This certainly sounded like it would make for a cool story. The author's real-life account of growing up on a penitentiary island. Unfortunately, I found it dull. The author chronicles a last-chance final-look trip her family makes when the prison & island were shut down and depopulated. The story flashes back to episodes from her childhood on the island and life as the child of migratory prison guard parents in general. Slight humour and a fairly interesting peek into an unusual lifestyle, but nothing dramatic or climactic happens. I became bored half way through and had to push myself to finish it. Wasn't really worth the effort.

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson

Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by GRAPHIX/Scholastic
Source: review copy via Scholastic Canada

Love! An absolute joy to read. Carried me along with glee from start to finish. Fantastic characters everyone; an odd quirky collection of misfits some of whom start off seeming as stereotypical types but each has something unexpected to show for themselves, endearing each one to me. I particularly loved Violet's relationship with her father. Many issues were touched upon, but none of them became a lesson, it was left up to the reader to make an association. I really appreciated this and found it admirable as I'm finding too many kids books being issue first with a story wrapped around the issue. The ending is fabulous. Not only is the book exciting and adventurous but it's also full of humour. I'd love to see PIXAR put this on the screen!!

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hardcover, 488 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by First Second
Source: review copy via the publisher

Wow! Utterly outstanding! A book about life and death using art as the medium through which the tale is told. Ultimately the story is about dying and death, something all humans must experience, and once one grasps this concept it will affect the living of one's life. An absolutely beautiful story. Personally, I had problems with its atheistic worldview but nonetheless appreciated the tale being told. The art is stunning and full of movement. The choice of sculpture as the representative art form was a wise one and McCloud really makes it work showing the embodiment of life in action through his drawings. Simply breath-taking.

Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High Schoool by Lisa Wilde

Yo, Miss: A Graphic Look At High Schoool by Lisa Wilde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 160 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Microcosm Publishing
Source: review copy via the publisher

This is the author's memoir of her first year of teaching English at an inner-city second chance charter high school in 1997. I'm a big proponent of all alternate schooling methods so, of course, found the topic very interesting. It's a good story and well-told. I really liked how the author brought in big subjects such as teen pregnancy, disabilities, gang members, a student on parole but never made an issue out of any of them. These were simply facts of the student's lives that the teachers/school worked with, not around, to make sure the students got an education. (I'm so sick of reading teen books which seem to be first and foremost about an ISSUE with a story woven around it.) A good job on the writing though I found about 2/3s of the way through my interest waning. The author makes clear early on some will graduate, but not all and I was getting tired with not much happening in the plot but repetition. The art is raw, hand drawn and lettered with a strange choice of changing the black and white drawings to ... maroon. This simply made the book hard on the eyes and hard to read, lowering the professionalism of the overall look. Good story, but could have been better with an edit and better final presentation.