Monday, December 06, 2004

Graphic novel reviews... The Library's Big Score 

So, while I was in the library today, I decided to check out the graphic novel selection, something I hadn't done in a while. At the time, I'd read most of what I wanted to read, but they've gotten quite a lot of new stuff in lately. Just going through the teen section, there was plenty of stuff that looked interesting. Everything from various Catwoman novels and Moore's Supreme to Bone. Then I looked at the adult section and boy did that nearly give me a heart attack. When you go to a shelf and see Blankets, From Hell, and the Palomar hardcover staring at you, that's enough GN to hold anyone over for a good while! Not to mention The Metamorphosis, Quimby the Mouse, In the Shadow of No Towers, Persepolis, Luis Riel, etc. I opted for From Hell for now, since I enjoyed the movie...

Anyway, out of the 10+ GNs I ended up borrowing, I actually read three of them tonight. First up was The Complete Geisha. I have to say that this was a really enjoyable book. Something about androids lend themselves to daily life stories, I guess the possibilities normalcy with just enough of a twist. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (Yokohama Shopping Trip Log or Quiet Country Cafe) is one of my my favorite comics of all time, involving Alpha who runs a small cafe in the countryside. Geisha is like the urban version of this concept, with Jomi just wanting to paint for a living, but having to deal with the prejudices of being an android. She's a character who is hard not to like, with some definite spunk when necessary. I also can't help having flashbacks to Edna from the Incredibles when her freind Boychick appears. :)

Watson's style on this is great as well. Great flowing lines and design sense that all works very well in black and white. The small bits of Japanese culture are fun as well, done in (mostly) subtle ways like a cat named Neko. The art reflects some manga invluence as well, but the style is just as much old style western comic (Jack Hamm) and western animation as anything from the east. Stuff like this is what makes me know that fears of generic manga style overtaking everything are unfounded. We have way too much culture mishmash for anthing to stay one way for long.

Anyway, cheers to Watson for doing a great job on this, and I certainly wouldn't mind more short stories involving Jomi or other unrelated stories from the same world...

Next up was Bone I: Out from Boneville. I wanted to take a look at this before I plunked down for the giant single-volume bone book. After reading the first one, I think I'm definitely a go for getting it. Great artwork and the storyline and characters are a lot of fun so far. The Bones have a feel of something like the Ducks (Donald, Scrooge, etc), with a bit of an edge (though I'd guess some of the Duck comics have an edge to them at times themselves). The character designs themselves are great, with a quality similar to that in the original Grinch cartoon, with the heavy lids and mischevous grins. It seems like the setup for a normal fantasy quest type of thing, but it has enough imagination in it that who knows what exactly will happen next...

Lastly was one of the Catwoman GNs: Selina's Big Score. I have to say that this was a really enjoyable tale, and for someone like me who has very little real in-depth knowledge of superhero universes, this worked well since it was very self-contained. In fact, it was so self-contained and worked so well that way, that I couldn't help but actually be put off by the super-hero elements in it. It wasn't as jarring as it was in something like Books of Magic (Batman and Catwoman have no actual powers after all, so it fit with the down to earth tone), but it also seemed entirely unnecessary for anything but sales figures. I mean all the characters specific to this book were quickly realized without relying on any kind of continuity, and Selena's past and in fact all connections to the DC universe could probably be modified to be self-contained with something like 10 panels and a couple of paragraphs changing.

In any case, the art and writing were very good, and fit the tone of the story. This is just a good straight-forward noir heist tale, and is recommended to fans of the same. While I personally found the occational batman/catwoman more distracting than clever (in this case, I'd rather imagine Selena's full backstory and future myself, rather than the baggage of the DC universe), but it is really very much in the background, so don't let that put you off from giving it a try.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours? Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com