Saturday, October 18, 2014

Read in September Part II

Okay, so I'm a little late with the rest of my September reads, which started here. Lots of good stuff, so let's get going...

Baby Bjornstrand (2014) Renee French (Koyama Press)

I met and spoke with French at SPX, bought this book, and plan to discuss it with Derek on an upcoming episode of The Comics Alternative Podcast. Stay tuned!   


Bookhunter (2007) Jason Shiga (Sparkplug)

Being a librarian, how can I not love a book about the Library Police tracking down a book thief? Bookhunter is a grand police procedural (with more than a few nods to Dragnet, CSI, Mission: Impossible and more) with plenty of Shiga's brilliant brand of humor. The book is even more compelling being set in 1973 when we still had the cherished card catalog as our best friend. Seek this one out. (That is, if you can; somebody probably stole it from your local library...)


The Mercenary Sea (2014) Kel Symons, Mathew Reynolds (Image)

Wow, an honest-to-goodness action/adventure story set in the South Seas in 1938. Jack Harper is the captain of the Venture, a former German U-Boat, a vessel filled with expats, mercenaries, treasure hunters, and who knows what else. The adventures begin when Jack learns that the Venture may be getting close to the famed lost island of Koji Ra. 

You could almost think of The Mercenary Sea as a low-tech version of The Massive, but without any (at least so far) science fiction elements. That comparison is just a starting point, however. The real attraction here is great storytelling, suspense, and the wonderful Mathew Reynolds artwork that can’t help inviting comparisons to the original Jonny Quest TV show. 


Celeste (2014) I.N.J. Culbard (SelfMadeHero)

Celeste follows three different stories, two of which (and maybe even all three) share a common element: the disappearance of humanity. Ray, sitting in L. A. traffic, gets a phone call about his wife when the caller drops off and everyone in the gridlock disappears. Two London tube train commuters suddenly realize that everyone around them has vanished. In Japan, a young man wanders into a forest looking to end his life, but instead encounters a mass of mythological creatures. 

Celeste is a beautifully illustrated book that demands multiple reads. I don’t even pretend to understand it all yet, but even from one reading, I can appreciate much of what Culbard is touching on with respect to relationships, fear, change, and more. 


Doctors (2014) Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)

This is only the second work I've read by Dash Shaw (the other being New School), but he's quickly becoming one of my favorite creators. Doctors is a story about science, relationships, life and death, the afterlife, and much, much more. Shaw's storytelling, pacing, and use of color make Doctors a many-layered work of depth that rewards through multiple reads.

Derek and I discussed Doctors on a recent podcast. If you’ve never read Shaw before, I encourage you to give Doctors a try.  


Vattu: The Name & the Mark (2013) Evan Dahm (Evan Dahm)

Evan Dahm's Vattu: The Name & the Mark is an atypical fantasy graphic novel in that it presents a story we can easily follow, yet takes its time in conveying information, not immediately answering questions we raise after only a few panels. You might think such an undertaking frustrating, but that's not the case. You can tell just from the cover that this is a quest story that involves fighting, survival and determination. We don't need any words for the cover and actually the graphic novel itself doesn't contain all that many words. Dahm does a wonderful job of showing rather than telling (Oh, how I wish all graphic novel creators understood this....) and the things he shows are spellbinding. 

Dahm just won the Ignatz Award for Best Online Comic at the 2014 SPX. You can read Vattu and his other work on Dahm's website.


Stumptown Vol. 2: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case (2013) Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth (Oni Press)

Reading any Greg Rucka book you can get your hands on is always a good idea, and since I enjoyed the first volume of Stumptown, I knew I’d want to pick up the further adventures of private detective Dex Parios. Matthew Southworth’s gritty artwork matches Rucka’s story perfectly as Dex attempts to track down rock star Mim Bracca’s missing guitar. 


Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor (NF 2014) Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly)

Review forthcoming at The Comics Alternative


Copra: Round One (2013/2014) Michel Fiffe

If you’re not reading Michel Fiffe’s Copra, get out there and order Copra: Round One right now. Round One collects the first six issues of Copra, the first three of which I’ve previously reviewed here. I’m tellin’ ya: Do. Not. Miss. This. 


The Complete Silencers (2005/2014) Fred Van Lente, Steve Ellis (Dark Horse)

Recently reviewed at The Comics Alternative


Aaaaaand.... I just realized there's at least four other graphic novels I read in September that I forgot to list here. Oh well, you'll see a Part III soon... 

I’d love to hear about what you enjoyed last month. Do tell.  

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