Archives for: July 2010
My Baby Sister is an Alien!
Prime Baby by Gene Luen Yang
May's Review: Let's be honest here. With all the endless crying and screaming, white liquids with bits oozing from its mouths and noises and all kinds of unmentionable smells wafting from its diaper, how many of us honestly thought our baby sister/brother was actually an alien? In Thaddeus' case, he is absolutely convinced that his baby sister is simply that--an extraterrestrial life form. Unfortunately, no one believes him, including his parents who try to pacify him by giving him access to their credit card. So what happens when the aliens finally appear courtesy of his sister acting an inter-dimensional conduit? Will Thaddeus save the day or will he turn his back on everyone who ignored his warnings?
Read this cute graphic novel that was funny and upbeat. A nice change of pace from the usual flesh-hungry zombie novels that I have been reading of late.
Review: Is There Such a Thing as Intelligent Zombies?
Deadworld: Slaughterhouse by Gary Reed and Sami Makkonen
Summary: Many humans find themselves trapped in a world of the walking dead and the living who will do anything to survive. The promise of "Safe Haven" reveals a much darker and sinister purpose, when victims find themselves in a medical facility, a "Slaughterhouse," which will stop at nothing to combat the zombie plague, including using humans as guinea pigs. Survivors find that the greatest horror may not be the zombies, but their own kind.
May's Review: One of things that appealed to me about this graphic novel was the promise that these zombies were not the mindless stupid creatures we are accustomed to. Instead, these creatures are highly intelligent, cunning, and above all, very sadistic. In short, this graphic novel looked very promising.
However, I never quite got into the novel. I usually try to avoid jumping into a series midway through. Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I think fans of the saga got a lot more out of the story than I did. For one thing, I don't know the main characters as well so I really had difficulties trying to follow what had gone in the past and what some of them were doing now. It probably also didn't help that I wasn't a huge fan of the artwork. Many of the panels are shaded black or gray which sets the tone of the work but made it very difficult to distinguish some of the characters at crucial times. I get the point that in this storyline, no one is good or evil. Everyone has shades of "gray" but I think it would be helpful if the reader could at least figure out who was talking or being killed!
I might take another chance and revisit this series, but for now, I will have to content myself with getting caught up with Kirkman's zombie series The Walking Dead. As always, comments about this review are always appreciated.
Join author and graphic novelist James Davidge for a workshop on how to use fiction to address social issues. James is on tour to promote the "Driftwood Saga," a series of five novels about a girl who uses heartfelt magic to engage many modern concerns. He has also recently published two graphic novels, "The Duchess Ranch of Old John Ware" and "Mathemagick & Metaphysics." Bring writing materials (paper, pens, laptop) and be prepared to be engaged in the creation process.
Wednesday, July 28th, 7:00 PM, Central Library
Space is limited; pre-register by calling 777-6120.
Review: Exodus Noir
Exodus Noir by Matt Wagner
Summary: Weaving a mystery that jumps between the Spanish Inquisition and 1940s New York City, long-buried secrets come back to life as Madame Xanadu investigates a murder 500 years in the making.
May's Review: It's been awhile since I read the first volume of the Madame Xanadu series but I liked it so much that I knew I wanted to read the second volume as soon as it came out. Unfortunately real life intrudes and I almost forgot about it until I was poking around the library catalog last week. Thankfully, I got my hands on the second volume and read it right away.
Once again, Wagner's story does not disappoint. From beginning to end, both stories (one set in 1940s New York and the other set in Spain during the time of the Inquisition) were engaging, filled with interesting characters (including an appearance by Sandman Wesley Dodds and his love Dian Belmont), and plenty of action. What I liked most about this book than say, Batman Reborn, was how Wagner carefully balances the action and the suspense with "quiet" moments in the story. I enjoyed the panels where Xanadu is happy and content sharing a peasant's life with her friend and companion, mainly because it shows another dimension of Xanadu that could have been easily glossed over by another writer. A worthwhile read, especially if you enjoyed the first volume.
Remembering Harvey Pekar (1939-2010)
Comic book writer Harvey Pekar, best known for his autobiographical series American Splendor, passed away several days ago at the age of 70.
Pekar was found dead in his home in Cleveland, Ohio by his wife Joyce Brabner. No cause of death was cited by the coroner's office, but the artist had been suffering from prostate cancer.
Pekar chronicled his life in American Splendor, which was first published in 1976 and featured various artists including underground icon Robert Crumb. The series, which ran until 2008, was eventually adapted into a 2003 film, also titled American Splendor, starring Paul Giamatti.
To read more of Pekar's works, click on this link to get you to Pekar's works currently in the library's collection. For more information about the life and times of Pekar, check out Wikipedia's entry.
Review: Nylon Road
Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi
May's Review: Highly reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Nylon Road tells the story of a young woman's struggle of growing up in Iran and her eventual move to Switzerland as she tries to assimilate into her new homeland. What sets Parsua's story apart is that Parsua was once a wife and a mother in Iran before she moved, thereby adding additional layers of guilt and inner turmoil to her story and leaving the reader to wonder whether or not she will ever really come to terms with what she has had to give up to pursue her new life. A fascinating memoir that helps to shed more light on a part of world that some of us still don't understand in spite of the constant media attention directed towards the region.
Rather than recommend the obvious as a read-alike, I would suggest you read Jean-Philippe Stassen's Deogratias: a Tale of Rwanda , a fictional story about the beginning and aftermath of Rwanda genocide as seen in the eyes of a young boy. Powerful, compelling and ultimately gut-wrenching.
The Great Fables Crossover
J's Review: I love the Fables series by Bill Willingham, but I've never really read the spin off series Jack of Fables, and for no other reason than that I just never got around to it. Willingham has recently written a crossover event for the two series where Jack and the rest of the Fables meet up to confront a mutual enemy.
This one is another high quality story from Willingham, but unfortunately, I felt like I only really understood half of it. Without the background knowledge of the Jack of Fables series, I didn't understand half of what was going on. That said, things do happen in this book that will influence the future storyline of the Fables series, so it is worth a read.
Superman: Code Name Patriot
Check out this new Superman title!
Product Description: Superman has left earth and taken residence on the planet of New Krypton along with 100,000 Kryptonians freed from the bottle city of Kandor to prevent a war between Earth and New Krypton. Chaos erupts on New Krypton after a Kryptonian is shot and The Man of Steel will stop at nothing to find the culprit. When the shooter flees to Earth, it's up to Superman and Supergirl stop the assassin in time to prevent further hostilities between earth and New Krypton. Will their actions cause more harm than good and lead to a war of the worlds?
Batman Reborn by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Philip Tan et al.
May's Review:The original Batman, Bruce Wayne, is dead and his former protege, Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, has picked up the mantle. Bruce's long-lost son, Damian, is now the new Robin and two of them are now left to battle the criminals in Gotham City while trying to figure out how to live up to Bruce's legacy. In spite of the fantastic artwork, I really had a hard time getting into the story, which was often disjointed and at times, convoluted. Perhaps the most annoying aspect for me was how "loud" this book was. Every second or third panel had an explosion of some sort in it that only serve to highlight the artists' pyrotechnic drawing skills. The "quiet" time that was present in the story was few and far between. Personally, I would have liked a little more introspection from the main characters and perhaps even a brief discussion about why Dick and Damian are compelled to pick up Bruce's mantle.
Regardless of my review, Batman fans will want to read this graphic novel. As for me, I thought it was okay and will reserve judgment until the next book in the series to see if the storyline improves enough for me to recommend it.