Categories: Reviews, JC's Reviews, May's Reviews, Other Staff's Reviews
Classic sci-fi gets graphic novel treatment
Ender's Game - Battle School
I enjoyed this for many reasons, nostalgia being one and for the simple reason Ender's Game is one of my favorite novels of all time (if you haven't read it, I would highly recommend that you do). This is a decent adaptation, but woefully abridged from the source material. There's so much left out it's only made me want to go back and re-read the novel.
The growing trend to adapt classic novels into this format is one I'm on board with -- it's like waiting for my favorite books to get made into movies. And like film adaptations, sometimes the graphic novel format works, and sometimes it doesn't. It works here ... to a point. For me though, there's just too much good stuff left out for it to really work -- especially for those who have not read the novel. It's those readers who will be short-changed the most.
Ender's Game - Command School
This is an okay adaptation, but leaves way too much out for my liking. You get all the spoilers with none of the richness, complexity and reward that comes with the unabridged novel. This adaptation will rob of you of that experience and ruin the novel, so if you haven't, do yourself a huge favor and please read the book first. The illustrations are a little too simplistic for my taste, and just don't adequately capture the conflicting emotions or white-knuckled tension.
Vampire Loves by Joann Sfar
From Publishers Weekly: Ferdinand is a vampire who lives in Lithuania, wears three-piece suits and receives regular visits from an adoptive "grandmother" witch who looks after his Siamese cat when he's off on trips to Paris. But none of this is any protection against the more mundane realities of being a newly single guy stuck forever in that period of new adulthood when hormones meet emotions and confusion results. Ferdinand's exploits, as detailed by award-winning French artist Sfar (Little Vampire Goes to School, The Rabbi's Cat), read like a classic slacker tale--when he isn't sleeping in his coffin, Ferdinand carries his favorite records around in a messenger bag. Ferdinand's adventures and companions are at once otherworldly and oddly familiar. A tree-man has a crush on Ferdinand's ex-girlfriend, Lani, a girl/plant who cheated on Ferdinand with his best friend. Ferdinand alternately longs for and is angry at Lani, finds himself the object of a teenage vampire crush and cruises bars in search of new love. Just when the troubled relationships begin to seem too commonplace, Sfar slips in a magical detail about a golem or a crying tree. As usual, Sfar's artwork is effortlessly charming, filled with classically stylish ink hatching and lettering, for a story that is funny and unpredictable.
**This was the best graphic novel I've read in a long time. I really enjoy Sfar's illustrations, there's a kind of charming unfinished-ness or quick sketch look about them that I love. I found myself cringing at Fedinands awkwardness and cheering when he had brushes with success. Really, that's all they were. Just brushes with success, it wouldn't be nearly as entertaining if he was some kind of macho vampire. He's quiet nerdiness is cute and appealing.
I also liked that it is the grown up version of Sfar's Little Vampire series for children.
Check out Little Vampire Goes to School by Joann Sfar in the catalogue.
Also have a look at Sfar's other novel The Professor's Daughter in this previous posting!
--The Library Technican
Go to the horror blog for a great write up about Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead series. And get in line for Made to Suffer, the latest title in the series that is on order in the catalogue!
Star Trek Manga!
Okay, so you know I like to read manga but did you also know that I'm a huge Star Trek fan? No surprise according to my colleagues who know that I own all 7 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD. Anyway, I was really happy to hear that there was a Star Trek manga series out there and our library has purchased the first 2 volumes!
Star Trek: Shinsei Shinsei, edited by Luis Reyes.
Undoubtedly my favorite of the two volumes at least in terms of the stories. The 5 stories listed in this manga include: the beginnings of the most notorious enemies in the Trek universe (Hint: It's not the Klingons or the Romulans!); a peace offering that goes awry; an attempt to cheat death by uploading the consciousness into a satellite; an all-out gender war on the Enterprise that leads to violence; and Kirk acting as a father figure to an rebellious and undisciplined teenager. Caution though: the illustrations vary greatly depending on the artist involved so it some ways, the drawings are distracting and mildly disappointing. But still, it was worthwhile to read especially the first story in the book. A must for any Trek fan!
Star Trek: Kakan ni Shinkou by Wil Wheaton et al.
My least favorite of the 2 volumes and contrary to GN Blogger's opinion, this has nothing to do with the fact that Wil Wheaton wrote one of the stories in this volume!
Compared to Shinsei Shinsei, I thought the stories were weaker and repetitive of episodes found on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Case in point, the story revolving around Uhura losing her communication skills due to an attack and learning how to adapt to her new status seemed too much like the episode where Troi temporarily lost her empathetic skills. Or how about when Kirk is brought to trial on charges for being a bad human? Can we say rip-off of Q and the trial that he put Picard's crew through in the first of the TNG series? The remaining three stories in the volume are decent, starting with a Vulcan going beserk; a spoiled princess who is hitching a ride with the Enterprise on her way to her wedding; and balancing the Prime Directive in the middle of a war zone. The illustrations are slightly better in this volume and with a a shade more humour, especially when the proverbial red-shirts gets injured (Note: there is no color but you can just tell if there was, the shirt color would be red!) For those reasons alone, I gave this volume a mild thumbs up.
But simply don't take my word for it. Check it out yourselves and let me know what you think. BTW, volume 3 will be released sometime next summer.
Reviewed by PHR Blogger
Annotated Northwest Passage
Murder, betrayal, warfare, loyalty, friendship, faith, and compassion. Throw in the untamed wilderness and you have a great thriller from start to finish. Did I mention you will also learn a little Canada history along the way?
The Annotated Northwest Passage by Scott Chantler is a historical epic set around 1755 in Rupert's Land, which included all of Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan and the northern parts of Ontario & Quebec. The story centers around the conflict at Fort Newcastle, an English fur trading post commanded by the the larger than life Charles Lord. Using stealth and the element of surprise, French mercenaries led by the villianous Guerin Montglave attack the fort and drive the legendary Lord and the survivors into the wilderness to plot their revenge.
Totally engrossing and action packed, I think many fans will enjoy reading this graphic novel. History lovers and teachers will also appreciate the annotations at the back of the book, where Chantler discusses various historical references and plot devices. But don't just take my word for it. Check it yourself and let us know what you think.
Note: Chantler is planning a second volume where he explores more of Lord's past. Keep checking back regularly for updates!
Posted by PHR Blogger
I'm a Zine Machine
Okay, so I'm not really a zine machine, but I like rhyming, so I went with it anyway.
The library has a collection of zines that is housed at the Central Library in the magazine collection. Zines are independently published works that deal with different topics (politics, poetry, life reflections, cooking - anything goes). The beauty of our collection is that you can sign out the zines on a three week loan, and they are in the catalogue, so you can browse them from home on your computer.
One zine that really stands out for me is called Tomatoes and Other Stories. It is a zine that is made up of short stories about relationships and life experiences told in comic form. I love the drawings, and anyone who has ever worked retail will relate to the first story.
||Why you should read Fun Home by Alison Bechdel: |
It was ranked Time Magazine's Best Book of the Year, and it will fill the void for a haunting, thoughtful memoir that was left after you had finished reading Blankets by Craig Thompson