the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Michael Chabon’ Category

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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Because I just can’t get enough of this stuff, here are some other wonderful folks saying wonderful things about wonderful graphic novels and manga.   Celebrate GraphicNovelNovember by clicking on something that looks interesting.

Graphic Policy and Manga Maniac Cafe have good things to say about the new Superman graphic novel.

I’ve been meaning to get my hands on the first volume of Y The Last Man, and Wolfshowl over at Opinions of a Wolf thinks it’s pretty cool too.

Interested in learning about another culture? check out Heather’s review of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea over at Book Addiction, Boing Boing talking about Tonoharu, and Sarah talking about Persepolis at So Many Books, So Little Time. I dare you to get through both volumes of Persepolis without crying.

Tasty Manga reviews abound as well!

I read the first few chapters of Vampire Knight, and cheesy title aside, I loved it. Dark, funny, creepy, sexy, good stuff. I’m happy to see the critics at The Discrimnating Fangirl are enjoying it as well.

The ladies of CLAMP always deliver, so I was thrilled to learn Darkhorse is reprinting the original Cardcaptor Sakura. Thanks to Sean at A Suitable Case for Treatment for the news & review.   I garuntee Tsubasa will make much more sense after you read Cardcaptor.

House of Five Leaves also looks really cool.

And then there are the books about comic books. Well, there is the book about comic books, and that book is The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. Everytime I try to talk about this book I just turn into a blabbering blob of goo, so I’m gonna give it up to Book Bloggy Blogg and Vegetalian (now, with more Mac & Cheese!) to convince you to go read The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay right now.

in closing, if I haven’t blown up your To Be Read pile, I am doing something wrong.

When I first read Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. Successfully passed off as historical fiction, my brain kept telling me I was reading a sword and sorcery fantasy, just with chemisty substituted for sorcery. The illustrations featuring the tall slender Zelikman dressed all in black with long white hair and the plot lines focusing on revenge and violence put me in the mind of an Elric story. After letting the book percolate through my brain for a week or so, I’m concluding the weaknesses in the story can mostly be blamed on my slightly off interpretation.

In Chabon’s afterward, he says the working title of the book was “Jews with Swords”, which is pretty much what this book was, and the prime reason why I had to keep reminding myself it really is loose historical fiction. Taking place in and around the Khazar empire (think modern day Azerbaijan), and for about 100 years around 1000 AD the state religion of the Empire was Judaism. And just like other empires of the day, they were constantly fighting off invaders and neighbors. Put simply, the story follows two Jewish friends, Zelikman and Amram who are soldiers for hire, scholars by choice, and con men for fun and money.
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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.