June 4, 2015

RELISH: My life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

In this unique graphic novel memoir the author revolves her memories around food, and includes various recipes for the reader to try. Lucy Knisley is candid about her adventures in different countries and time spent with family and friends.

RELISH was a fun read. The author, Lucy Knisley, shows how food brings both friends and family together. The author also includes recipes or extra information revolving around food at the end of each chapter that I made me very tempted to put the book down and try out for myself, particularly the chai tea in the beginning and the chocolate chip cookies! I found that the author’s down-to-earth tone and humor help move the book along at a pleasant pace.

February 4, 2014

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus by Mike Mignola

Hellboy: The Midnight Circus is the latest release in Mike Mignola's Hellboy series. 

This story takes us back to Hellboy's past, all the way back to when Hellboy was a disobedient child. Hellboy runs away from his home at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and quickly finds himself mixed up in a very creepy supernatural circus.  Demon monkeys and and an all consuming whale make an appearance, as well as talking lions!

This story combines elements of Pinocchio and Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  This tale is very short and sweet.  You feel the love the creators have for their characters and the story.  This is a carnival ride of a story, brief, fun, and just a little scary. 

November 20, 2013

Hickman's Manhattan Projects

 The Manhattan Projects by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Pitarra is a graphic novel that tells a bizarre and disturbing alternate reality history of the Manhattan Project. 

In Hickman's tale the mad geniuses  of the post-World War 2 era  have decided they want to conquer the planet and then the universe and then the alternate realities to our universe.  The American aligned scientists are depicted as amoral opportunists and the Nazi and Russian geniuses are depicted as hyperbolic sadists.  The bad guys here--the Illuminati of course--are depicted as sadistic narcissists.   Basically every character is a bastard and there is no one to "root" for.   All the characters are male.  The plot is people getting in and out of portals while murdering each other in bizarre ways.

If you want an a-historical spectacle of mindless violence starring abhorrent and unrelatable characters that are dumped into a ridiculous plot this book is for you.  

October 4, 2013

Beasts of Burden

Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson is a spooky treat.  It stars a rag tag pack of dogs from the suburbs who get caught up in increasingly scary supernatural adventures.   

The stories involve struggles against witchcraft, zombie-dogs, a wolf man, and more.  This is material any horror fan can sink their teeth into.  Dog lovers will enjoy the camaraderie between the pack members and expressiveness of the dogs, as well as the gentle character arcs.

One warning: This is a violent comic.  Don't be fooled by the lovely art and portrayals of our protagonists (my favorite is the miserable wise-acre pug!) on the cover.  The monsters are scary and gross the violence is grisly.

Halloween is coming and this is a great comic to enjoy the spirit of horror.

P.S.  There is a charming cat that is made a member of the pack, for you cat lovers out there. 

August 6, 2013

What's the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund?

The Official CBLDF Logo

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit group committed to protecting the first amendment rights of comic book artists, writers, and publishers. 

Over the years comic books have been accused of corrupting the bright young minds of the future.  Some people beleievd that Batman comics would cause homosexual tendencies in young men and that anti-social and anti-American ideology were being propagated by comics.   Solution?  Burn and ban comic books! 

Fortunately today we have the CBLDF to help fight the good fight against censorship and protect comic books from censorship.

Here's a link to the CBLDF site: http://cbldf.org/

Here's a link to an ACLU article on comic book burning in the 1950's: http://www.acluct.org/events/pastevents/oct1bannedbooksinmadison.htm

June 21, 2013

Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is a collection of stories created by the legendary cartoonist Don Rosa for the Disney Company. 

The stories here trace the path of Scrooge McDuck from a poor Scottish lad to a fabulously wealthy and established capitalist.  The stories are rooted in different parts of history and the illustrations are evocative of the times.  Scrooge starts off in Scotland and ends up a millionaire after undertaking adventures.

TThe landscapes and settings are remarkably detailed for a comic of its time.  The anthropomorphic 'toons have very expressive faces and body language which adds to the comedy of watching Scrooge overreact.  Much of the comedy is physical comedy which Don Rosa captures brilliantly.

Think of this as similar to Tin Tin but with more of a carnivalesque and exaggerated feel.  Recommended to fans of Tin Tin, adventure comics and those interested in canonical comics.

May 31, 2013

Abelard by Renaud Dillies and Regis Hautiere

 Abelard is a beautiful and melancholy tale about a young  duck named Abelard and his journey from his rural home to the United States.  Abelard is traveling to the US because he wants to use the newly invented flying-machines to capture the moon and present it as a gift to the woman he has fallen in love with.  Abelard's journey introduces the young man to a world that can be cynical, cruel, and confusing.  The tension comes from Abelard's worldview and how others react to it.  Abelard is like Candide, and part of his purity is the will to wish for one thing: the love of his woman. 

Many have derided this book for using "cute" art that doesn't fit the moods and brutal turns of the narrative.  Others have chafed at innocence and dreamy optimism of the main character Abelard.  I found the art to be incredibly expressive, especially the faces of the characters.  Pain, delight, surprise and many other ranges of emotion are expressed beautifully.  I dont believe Abelard is a cardboard cut out character.  Instead, Abelard is young man developing himself, and his simple uncomplicated hopes are instantly attacked as soon as he enters the wider world.  This story is more parable than grand story and it is near perfect for what it is.

I highly recommend this graphic novel for anyone interested in graphic novels.