the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘graphic novels’ Category

Doctor Who: The Forgotten (graphic novel),  by Tony Lee with artwork by Pia Guierra

published in Nov 2010, from IDW

where I got it: purchased new

why I read it:  simply couldn’t resist.





I either need to stop going to the comic shop, or just start signing my paychecks over to them.  And come on, could you say no to this? Do you really I could say no to this? didn’t think so!

Finding themselves in a strange museum and with no sign of the TARDIS, a fascinated Martha Jones wants to go exploring, but The Doctor finds he’s lost his memory. He knows who he is, knows what he is, but he can’t seem to remember anything before his current regeneration.  Even stranger, they find this is a museum dedicated to The Doctor himself! Along with the artifacts, keys, seals and stones is a room with images of all of the Doctor’s previous incarnations, and special items they carried – an umbrella, psychic paper, a cat brooch, sound familiar? Martha suggests he take a good look at the objects, perhaps it will help bring back his memories.

As Martha pushes The Doctor to remember everything he can as fast as possible, it quickly becomes apparent something much more sinister is going on.  The museum is crawling with Autons, spiders, Clockwork Men and video cameras. Someone is watching, and waiting.

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In continuation of my post from yesterday,  specifically my teary eyed pseudo love letter to a handsome, mysterious, and nameless gentleman (well, he has a name, I just don’t know what it is) who has left me forever, it thrills me to say

I found you Number Ten!!

at the comic shop!

Sometimes you just gotta blow your entire month’s entertainment budget at the comic shop. you just gotta. And I don’t know about you, but I think this is the perfect addition to my ongoing obsession. see?

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Speaking of Brian K Vaughan. . . 

A few years ago I read Michael Chabon’s award winning The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay, and I remember it being exactly that: amazing. If you’ve never read Chabon, do yourself a favor and pick this one up for some truly incredible reading. The novel follows the lives of cousins Sammy Clay and Joe Kavalier as they create a comic superhero that would take the 1940’s comics world by storm.

 A few years after the novel’s critical acclaim, Chabon began working with Brian K Vaughan and Darkhorse to develop a modernized comic book version of the adventures of The Escapists. 

Original printed as issues (which I managed to find #’s 3, 4, and 5 of), and now available as a completed graphic novel, Vaughan’s The Escapists is part sequel, part companion, and all homage to Chabon’s original novel. 

The six chapter story follows geeky high school graduate Max Roth, and his jock friend Denny Jones. Max’s father, who we never meet, owned the largest collection of The Escapist memorabilia in the country, and upon his death, the collection passed to Max. When Max’s mother passes away, he uses his inheritance to purchase the publishing rights to The Escapist character and universe, and  he Denny, along with the cute artist Case Weaver start working on their own comic book version. 

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 Graphic Novel November continues with something action packed, laugh out loud funny, and just plain bizarre. It’s like the 80’s are happening all over again!! 

One of the strangest movies ever to hit the silver screen in the 80’s, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension was a science fiction action comedy romance featuring a rock star surgeon (seriously, he had a rock band, and was a neurosurgeon. Often on the same day) battling aliens and saving the earth. I’d like to think if this movie was made today, mainstream audiences would be a little more accepting. The movie tanked, but to this day has a rabid cult following. And really, do Buckaroo Banzai fans come in any flavor other than rabid? 

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 A fter their guidance counselor father is brutally murdered by a deranged student, the Locke siblings Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move cross county with their mother from California to rural Massachusetts. The family mansion, known as Keyhouse, sits on the end of the island village of Lovecraft. The children explore their new home, and try to come to grips with their father’s death. 

Key house is full of magical doors. There is a door that makes you old, and one that makes you young. A door that changes your sex, and one that lets you teleport. But the doors are hidden, and some of them require a key. Bode finds a door that turns him into a ghost, and meets his echo in the wellhouse. Of course his older brother and sister don’t believe him. Everyone just thinks he’s acting out. His only friend is his echo, and she promises to be his friend, if he’ll help her with just a few little things.

Meanwhile, back in California, Sam Lesser, their father’s killer, escapes his mental hospital prison, and begins hitchhiking across country. He’s got a job to finish, and the means to do it. Someone has promised Sam eternal freedom, if he brings her two very specific keys, both of which are hidden somewhere in Keyhouse. 

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This is going to be a fairly unemotional article. I just typed an entire page of emotional, repressed memory stuff, and I’m sorry, but we just don’t know each other well enough for me to share that kind of stuff with you. Besides, this is supposed to be an article about a book, not about me, right? 

Maus is Art Spiegelman’s biography of his father, Vladek Spiegelman, a Holocaust survivor. It has a casual feel because interspersed with his father’s memories of Poland in the 1940’s is current conversations between Art and his father, and between Art and his stepmother, Mala, also a Holocaust survivor. As his father relates what happened in Poland, Art finds it difficult to reconcile the younger, risk-taking, scheming and braver Vladek with the father he knows, a stingy, cranky, racist old man who snaps at anyone who tries to help him.

 As Vladek tells his son about growing up in Poland and meeting his wife Anja, Art learns things about his parents he never knew, and I learned things about the Holocaust that the bubbies and zaydies of my youth neglected to tell me.

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Ahhh,  Graphic Novel November, how do I love thee?  and thank you local library, for hooking me up with some new Graphic Novels!   I shall be back for more!

thanks to Opinions of a Wolf for getting me interested in Y: The Last Man, a graphic novel I’ve been hearing about since it first hit shelves and became a sleeper hit for Vertigo.

  An alluring premise – for some unexplainable reason, all the men on earth dropped dead, all at the same time. And not just humans, all male mammals dropped dead. All, except for 20-something Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. Science fiction fans have probably come across the single gender world or gendercide (I’m thinking of Frank Herbert’s The White Plague, for example) before, but it’s certainly not something you run into everyday.

 It’s been a few weeks since the event, and Yorick is making his way from Boston to Washington DC, where he hopes he’ll be able to reach his politician mother. Ideally, he hopes to make it to Australia to where his girlfriend is, and possibly find his sister as well. Wearing a gas mask and an oversized poncho, and keeping Ampersand in a pet carrier, Yorick is able to hide his identity from random women he runs into. 

If you were ever a 7th grade girl, then you know females can be just as angry, just as mean, and just as violent as men. Ovaries don’t automatically make us pacifists. Read the rest of this entry »

If there was an illustrated book of bedtime stories for grown ups, I image it would look something like 1001 Nights of Snowfall. A dozen or so illustrated stories of varying length, this graphic novel almost begs to be read out of order, depending on the type and length of story you want at bedtime.

The overarching story, told between the fairy tales is that the Fables are on their way to the New World, having been pushed out of Europe by the Adversary. Hoping for a military alliance, Snow White visits the world of Arabic Fables to speak with the Sultan. After weeks of being ignored, she finally wins an audience with him, to find she will be treated the same as his other brides – the Sultan plans wed her, bed her, and behead her in the morning. Snow, thinking fast, offers to tell the Sultan just one story before he cuts her head off, and he obliges. If you’re thinking Scheherezade, you’re on the right track.

 Written by Bill Willingham and illustrated by a handful of artists in almost a mosaic style, Snow White tells the Sultan of how her divorce from Prince Charming came to be, or frog princes and lost memories, of how the Big Bad Wolf came to be, of a beautiful woman who grew up to be a bitter and vengeful witch, and of how King Cole became the mayor of Fabletown, now being built in New Amsterdam.

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Serenity/Firefly aside, I don’t tend to go for graphic novels based on movies. But come on, it’s Star Wars! Han Solo was my first crush! The universe of “Clone Wars” stuff runs the gamut: there’s the Cartoon Network show, which is pretty much for children, and the Clone Wars comics and graphic novels put out by Dark Horse, which I think are more for teens or grown ups.

The Clone Wars comics by Dark Horse take place immediately after “Attack of the Clones” (Clones Wars: Adventures is something a little bit different), and stars characters known and new. You’ll notice right away the stunning artwork. Probably some of the best I’ve seen, to the point where if I even saw Jan Duuresma’s name on something, I’d be tempted to buy it no matter what it was. If you’re a Star Wars uberfan, this graphic novel is worth purchasing just for the artwork.

So the artwork is a major plus. And the last chapter is wonderful (more on this in a bit). but. . . . other than that, the graphic novel was just so-so. Too many characters that I didn’t know and wasn’t interested in, little side stories that I just didn’t care about, and Count Dooku being turned into the most super villian ever (don’t even get me started on the whole what’s the point of having an unbeatable bad guy?). Although where there is Dooku, there is Ventress, and I do dig her.

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It’s a good thing Superman wanted to be a nice guy, wanted to be a good guy, didn’t mind being famous, the center of attention. What if he’d just wanted to live a normal life?

If you had a superpower, would you use it for good, or for evil? Would you use it to help the world, or to help yourself? What if you tried to do the right thing and the world didn’t want your help?

In the late 1960’s, a fireball from space hit the rural Illinois town of Pederson. A flash, a bang, and every child born Pederson in the next nine months are special. Kept in Pederson and observed by government doctors, the children, known as “specials” developed different powers at different times. Flight, or mind reading, or super strength, or telekenesis, for example. Some developed fairly useless skills, and some never developed anything, but the government still watched. Everything started out so perfectly, and once upon a time everyone was friends. But children grow up, and friends drift apart, and super strength only makes you invulnerable against bullets, not corruption.

But this is not your standard superhero story. This is not about good vs evil, it’s not about saving the world. Well, it is about saving the world, a little bit, just not in the way you think. It’s a little bit X-Men mixed with a little bit of Heroes, mixed with a little bit of Highlander, with some of the best graphic novel writing in the business. J. Michael Straczynski’s Rising Stars just completely floored me.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.