Search

Graphic Novelty²

Month

October 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Featuring Zombies!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This month’s T5W topics center around Halloween, and when asked to pick my favorite type of scary creature, I knew zombies was it!

 

Revival is a favorite of mine, and I have written a lot of posts about it. In this now completed series, twenty three people inexplicably come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin. The “Revivers” are not your typical zombies looking for braaaiins. Instead they quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. The series is being developed into a movie through Shatterglass Films.

Deluxe Edition One

Deluxe Edition Two

Deluxe Edition Three

Deluxe Edition Four

The Walking Dead is the grand-daddy of all zombie series.  A fascinating premise, that is getting a bit long in the tooth now, but is still beloved by many. I list the three compendiums I have reviewed on my blog, but I have also been keeping up with the smaller volumes as they come out, and putting reviews up on my Goodreads account.

Compendium One (Volumes 1-8)

Compendium Two (Volumes 9-16)

Compendium Three (Volumes 17-24)

 

 

This book must be listened to on audio…it was beyond good. The story covers the history of the world wide war against zombies, and the narrative covers a reporter getting first hand accounts from survivors that tell about the beginning of the epidemic, the resistance, and the aftermath of the zombie catastrophe.  Some of the standout characters/stories were Todd Wainio, the Redker Plan, the North Korea speculation, the female Russian soldier, the pilot of the downed plane, and the family at the Manitoba campsite. A tiny criticism, is that I figured out every supposed surprise in the stories, and the connections between the world-wide characters strained credibility. The actors voicing the characters in the audio edition were perfect- Mark Hamill! Nathan Fillon! Denise Crosby! Jeri Ryan! Common! Alan Alda! I will definitely be listening to this story again and again.

Negan has been a prominent villain in the long running The Walking Dead series, and is a perverse mix of monster and savior. The question of how he became so twisted and his backstory during the zombie apocalypse is explained in this book that just came out the same week of Volume 28. My review of this book will be on Friday.

After is a strong collection of nineteen short stories about life “after” a catastrophic event. As with any compilation with various authors, some are stronger than others. One of the standouts was  After the Cure by Carrie Ryan. It  took the zombie story trope and subverted it. Vail is a teenager that was previously a zombie like creature but was given a cure to rehabilitate her. Society has a hard time accepting those rehabilitated people back into their communities, and the people themselves still feel some degree of hunger and a need to be back with their undead packs. Despite the melancholic nature of this story, there was a nugget of hope built into the end.

Who would have thought that zombies could be so appealing, but my reading list doesn’t lie!

-Nancy

Advertisements

Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 9

Working together, the Western and Arabian Fables, led by Prince Charming and Sinbad, have finally figured out a way to strike back against the Adversary and take back the Homelands. They’ve combined magic with Mundy technology, and the results are devastating to the Adversary and his forces. But the Adversary has one more trick up his sleeve, and he’s sure as hell not going down without a fight. Who will come out on top? And what kind of repercussions will this war have… on both Homeland and Fable territory?

As ever, there is much more packed into this volume than my short summary… I don’t want to give anything too important away =P The suspense of seeing how the war was going to turn out keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time – and even after, once the smoke clears and things start hitting the fan again. There were some issues drawn by other artists that I think missed the mark of the subject matter. Strange, because all others have been wonderful so far! Not a big deal, though. As always, I eagerly await the next volume.

– Kathleen

Willingham, Bill, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha, Niko Henrichon, Michael Allred, Peter Gross, and David Hahn. Fables (The Deluxe Edition): Vol. 9. 2014.

Hype or Like Friday: I’m A Scaredy-Cat…

It’s Friday the 13th today! And what better way to celebrate than with this writing prompt- Hype or Like Friday: I’m A Scaredy-Cat… list the top 13 books and films that scare you the most! You will quickly see I like my horror stories short and scary. I am a big fan of Stephen King, but typically only of his shorter work.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by various authors

Impressive collection of horror/fantasy/paranormal short stories that were all inspired by old movies or books. The inspiration of each story is listed at the end of each story, but the fun is in guessing before you know for sure.

 

Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

Image result for everything's eventual king

King became too wordy for me a long time ago, so I now stick to his short stories for I feel he writes them very well. I liked how not all of them had horror or a supernatural element to them, but they all brought the characters to life. Some authors write a whole book and you still don’t have a fully fleshed out character, so I have always felt short story writers who can pull you in quickly are the best authors.  My favorites were Everything’s Eventual (listened to this on audio-Justin Long nailed it), Riding the Bullet and The Road Virus Heads North.

 

Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe, adapted by Gareth Hinds


Image result for poe stories and poems

When I wrote my discussion post on whether classic stories should be adapted into graphic novels, I deliberately left stories about Poe off. I love many of the macabre poems and short stories he wrote, and I had heard that this adaptation would be out soon. The illustrations here are evocative, and I will be reviewing this particular book in a few weeks.

 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Four very dark short stories with Big Driver and A Fair Marriage being my favorites. This was the book that truly gave me the most chills, as they were very realistic and grim.

 

Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez

One of the best graphic novel series I have ever read, Locke & Key starts with a family tragedy as the Locke family is terrorized by two students who have an ax to grind with the father, Rendell, who is a high school guidance counselor.  After the father’s murder, the shattered family leaves California and heads to Massachusetts to start over at the Locke family estate, where Rendell’s younger brother Duncan provides them sanctuary. But alas, more evil awaits them there. This supernatural thriller set in a small coastal town is a winner and is being developed for a series on Hulu.

 

Image result for night shift king

These early stories of King stories grab your attention, and wonderfully describe the characters and locale in just a few pages. Favorites were Jerusalem’s Lot, Strawberry Spring, Children of the Corn, and I Am the Doorway. That many of these short stories were adapted into movies say a lot about the strength of his writing.

 

As for the movies…

Alien– There is no place to escape in space! That alien is so freakin’ creepy.

The Ring– The urban legends are true! Don’t watch the video!

The Blair Witch Project– The first of the “lost footage” movies that was perfectly done and set the stage for a new genre.

Poltergeist– I watched this as a child and it freaked me out. Children in danger, killer clown toy, and a house built on a graveyard- this had everything to scare me!

Carrie– Religious fanaticism, telekinesis and mayhem at the prom!

The Silence of the Lambs– Cannibalism and mind games at their finest.

Arachnophobia– Spiders…nuff’ said.

Give these stories and movies a chance, and you’ll be sure to have a frightfully good time!

-Nancy

The Creeps

Have you ever had absurd but frightening fears that you can’t stop thinking about? If so, then this book is for you!

The Creeps written by Fran Krause is actually the second volume, following Deep Dark Fears, a  comic based on people’s quirky fears. The author takes user-submitted fears on his Tumblr website and illustrates them into this compilations.

These fears might seem laughable to others, but nevertheless result in anxiety and feel legitimate to the person worrying. As a person who sleepwalks and nightmares on a semi-regular basis, I know all about dreams feeling incredibly real, even though others around you try to convince you otherwise. Our deep dark fears are often connected to our sleep, when we are seemingly not in control of our bodies.

My irrational fear was when I was pregnant with my oldest son and my husband and I were camping with some friends and I had to use the outhouse, I worried excessively that the baby would drop out of me and fall into the abyss. I knew this was not probable, and a few months later when I did give birth and it took hours and was excruciatingly painful, it was proven to me that no babies just fall out. But I was in no mood to be laughing at my fear in those moments.

The artwork in this collection of ninety-seven comic strips is clean and reminds me of Noelle Stevenson’s artwork. While drawn to capture the essence of the situation, and not be hyper realistic, I sometimes felt distracted by the too simplistic rendering of details such as noses. The coloring is done with watercolors, so the pictures have an appealing lightly hued washed out look. The strips are often in a four panel configuration, but a nice bonus was two longer multi-page ghost stories that were done in black and white to great effect.

This was a charming book, and while it will make you laugh out loud several times, it will also make you feel better about your own idiosyncratic fears. Go ahead and share your own fears in the comments section!

-Nancy

Now who hasn’t worried that they have eaten a spider while sleeping?

 

 

Creeper alert!

 

This is why nightlights are necessary!

 

Ok, blogging friends…no one better die on me!

* I received this book from Blogging For Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Last JL Trailer!

YEEEEEEEE

Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince are rounding up more metahumans – superheroes – to save the world. Someone’s got to, now that Superman is gone, right? The world needs a hero like him… but why have one, when you can have five? =P

The thing I liked most was we finally got to see some more Cyborg. Most of his costume was likely done in post-production, so we haven’t seen much of him until this trailer. I like what I see!!! I do hope he plays a bigger role in the movie than has been shown in the trailers so far =D

Speaking of liking what I see… Jason Momoa as Aquaman… perfect casting, in my humble opinion ;D

Bruce’s face at 2:48 tho… being so done with Ezra Miller Barry… I feel you, Bruce. I feel you.

Justice League hits theaters November 17th! My fiance and I have the whole weekend blocked off for it and making Bob’s Burgers >:D

Yes, you read that right… my boyfriend is now my fiance! He proposed while we were in Amsterdam, after the concert. I was waiting to post to all social media until we were able to tell and celebrate with our families in person. We are so happy and excited to be entering a new chapter of our lives together ❤

– Kathleen

Nightwing (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Better than Batman

Dick Grayson is, well, Dick Grayson again. He’s finished with Spyral, he’s back from the (figurative) dead, and he’s got his secret identity back. There is one last bit of spy business he needs to take care of, though: the Parliament of Owls. They threatened Damian Wayne in order to get Dick to join them, and that is something Dick won’t stand for. He infiltrates their ranks once again, but this time they pair him with someone called Raptor. Though he’s a liar and a thief, Dick can’t help but feel like he can trust him. Almost like… like they have a connection. When the bond between them is revealed to be more than coincidence, can Dick continue to trust him? Can he even carry out this last spy mission without losing himself?

Well, the title got it right. The Rebirth Nightwing is way better than Rebirth Batman. The thing about Dick is, he’s got most of Batman’s characteristics and morals, but overall wrapped in a cheerier and (dare I say) more attractive package. Little hints are dropped as to Raptor’s secret identity throughout the book, leaving us readers hanging on the edge of our seats to see the mystery revealed. The art wasn’t as detailed and defined as I’d like, but the story was more than enough to keep me going.

– Kathleen

Seeley, Tim, Javier Fernandez, and Christ Sotomayor. Nightwing (Rebirth, Vol. 1): Better than Batman. 2017.

Savage Dragon: Baptism Of Fire

A few weeks back, I dipped my toe in 1990’s nostalgia and reviewed Wild C.A.T.S. an early Image comic line written by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi. Walt, a blogging friend for the aptly named blog Comic Reviews by Walt, encouraged me to read Savage Dragon. Since I like to take advice from my like-minded blogging friends (and don’t take a year to read and review a series that I recommended like Michael did on Locke & Key!) I picked up Baptism Of Fire, as Walt said it would be the best to start off with. Before I get started though, I encourage you to read Walt’s posts The 90’s Revisited: The Savage Dragon #1 and A Lengthy Stay in the 90’s: Savage Dragon, for his love of this comic will give you a better understanding on the series than my quick review on one volume.

Erik Larsen, the creator and author/illustrator deserves major kudos for developing a character that he designed in childhood, and making it the longest running American full-color comic book to feature a single author/illustrator. Larsen had drawn the Dragon into a few other issues for other comic companies before he became one of the founding members of Image Comics, and it was at that time in 1992 that he truly was able to give the Savage Dragon his own title. At the 20 year mark, Larsen took the time to pull together some of the first issues from the early 90’s and rearrange them chronologically and add a few more pages in, to make this compiled volume have a smoother narrative flow.

We first meet Dragon in a ball of fire, landing in the city of Chicago. He is found by  Lt. Frank Darling and brought to the hospital. Darling questions him about his origins, but the Dragon has amnesia about his prior life. His green skin, huge size, and finned head don’t raise that many extra questions, as Chicago is over run with super mutants that the current superheros are struggling to keep in check. Darling is able to convince Dragon to join the Chicago Police Department, and the Dragon proves to be a boon for the department, especially after the most powerful hero Super Patriot is seemingly out of action due to grievous injuries. Dragon is able to take down villain after villain, with epics names such as Bedrock, Overlord, Mako, Hellrazor and Inferno. And no storyline like this would be complete without the trope of the woman he cares for being in danger. We never do find out his origins in this volume, and the Dragon’s angst of always having to kill or be killed, sets up further story lines for the future.

These first issues of Savage Dragon were drawn with the usual 1990’s excesses. The Dragon is muscled beyond belief, the women are sex kittens and Image throws in the obligatory Youngbloods reference. There are quite a few self depreciating jokes throughout, as Larsen plays around with the hero vs villain genre. I adore the fonts used throughout in the sound effects such as  brakathroom, choom and skrakaboosh.  They were similar to one’s later used in Invincible, with fun interlocking oo’s.

This ‘director’s cut’ volume is a great debut to the Savage Dragon tale. While I don’t know if I’ll pick up future volumes, this was a wonderful introduction to one of Image’s best ongoing heroes, and I’m glad I took the time to read it. Thanks Walt!

-Nancy

Larsen, Erik. Savage Dragon: Baptism Of Fire. 2002.

Star Trek Discovery

Star Trek is back on the small screen!

Now, I can’t exactly say it’s back on television, because that wouldn’t exactly be the truth, now would it, CBS All Access? But I’ll get to THAT in a bit.

So, this post on Star Trek Discovery won’t necessarily be a straight forward review, and perhaps that’s for the best, since I have the habit of being spoilery at times. So strap on your seat belts, because I have some OPINIONS on this new series!

Now I do not mean to shock and offend my Star Wars friends, but I love Star Trek more. There, I said it! I adored the original trilogy of Star Wars as a child, for it was a cultural phenomenon. But it came and went, and it wouldn’t come back until 1999. In the meantime, Star Trek: The Next Generation became my geek cornerstone. If you knew me as a child and teen you knew I had my geekish tendencies, but I hid it pretty well. I had watched Star Trek: The Original Series on reruns and had enjoyed most of the movies, but when TNG came along, and I was IN LOVE. The series ran during some of my high school and college years, but it was in college that I became a super fan. My sorority sisters knew when the show was on, I took over the telly, and if they walked in during the show I would excitedly give them recaps and tell them who every character was. That they were so accepting of this, and would buy me Trek memorabilia, is one of the many reasons that I am friends with them to this day. (In fact a group of ten of us are having a ladies-only winery tour weekend later this month!)

What does this have to do with Discovery? Nothing and everything! Having also been a fan of the other Trek series (except Enterprise-hated it, let’s never mention it again), I have been eagerly anticipating this new series. With production delays, my wait became longer, and then I heard the show would be moved to a paid subscription platform on CBS All Access. So lets, get this part out of the way- I am pissed that I have to pay a monthly fee to watch this show. One episode to get the public watching, and then the show switched to a paid subscription. This is a classic bait and switch. F*** that. I am already ripped off by Comcast, so to have to pay extra to watch is unacceptable. I do not watch much television, and I don’t believe I watch a single other CBS show, so I am paying $10 a month just for Discovery. It better be worth my while!!

So, is it worth my while? Yes (ish)!

I am three episodes in, and it is very promising. Discovery is a prequel to TOS, but it feels like anything but. I think prequels are always a dicey bet, no matter what the series. How do you show a time frame before the original, when technology IRL has advanced so much? I thought Star Wars did a good job visually with episodes I-III (but not so much with the storytelling) to match the original, but Star Trek doesn’t want to look as cheesy as the first set admittedly looked.  Ok…it’s a reimagining, I can live with that.

The narrative angle has changed for this series, as we follow a non-captain lead, Michael Burnham. The first episode starts out on the ship USS Shenzhou under Captain Georgiou, with Burnham as the First Officer. Burrnham is a human, but was raised on Vulcan with foster parents Amanda and Sarek, making Spock her foster brother. As the ship nears the outer limits of Federation territory, they run into the Klingons, who have not been seen in 100 years. Things do not go well, and Burnham makes a radical decision on the ship, partly fueled by her hatred of the Klingons, as they killed her parents when she was a child.

The first two episodes end up being a prequel of a prequel, for we do not meet Captain Lorca (♥♥) or the ship USS Discovery until episode three. The Klingons are obviously going to be the baddies of this series, as they have not entered into a peace treaty with the Federation yet as in the TNG era. Burnham is specifically brought onto the USS Discovery by Captain Lorca despite what she did on the USS Shenzhou (look at me- I avoided spoilers!) and a mysterious mission is under way.

The visuals are outstanding- film quality in fact, with a bit of an Alien movie vibe.. They have assembled an excellent cast with some big names. Jason Isaac is easy on the eyes, plus Michelle Yeoh is regal and my favorite Bond woman ever. Sonequa Martin Green is wearing the mantle of being the lead well, and the other characters are a solid crew.

But what I can not let go of is the new Klingon look. They made this alien species look so very different than the Worf-era look. You must understand- Worf from TNG is the perfect Klingon, and the series and movies since then have followed that template. In this series they are too extreme. While I like how the actors speak Klingon, with English subtitles, Discovery is pushing the envelope too far. They need to ground themselves in the universe most fans are familiar with and tweak it, not radically change it.

Another big variance is knowing Michael was raised with Spock. In a TOS movie Sybok, an older half brother was introduced, which many fans hated, so does Spock have even more siblings to be discovered? Why would the producers take a previous issue that fans had and add to it? I will try to be understanding of little inconsistencies, such as a Tribble on Captain Lorca’s desk (which should not have been discovered yet), because I aim in the future to look at the big picture, and not nitpick, thus ruining the experience for myself.

In conclusion, I am pleased with Star Trek Discovery. I just hope that it’s success doesn’t mean more networks will move to paid subscriptions for prestige projects.  Star Trek was created to show a united future, and making fans pay for it seems to go against that very notion.

Live long and prosper, my friends!

-Nancy

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 2)

Huge capsules are raining from the sky and crashing down upon the earth. If that weren’t strange enough, they’re filled with… creatures. Hideous, deadly creatures from the planet Mars. Once again, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen are called into service. They are split up: Captain Nemo, Mr. Griffin, and Mr. Hyde to defend the Thames River, and Mina and Mr. Quartermain to the countryside to find a Dr. Moreau who can give them a weapon against the invaders. When one of their number betrays them, however… can the League recover from their fractured numbers in time to save the world?

After the glowing review I gave the first volume, I’m hesitant to say I did not like this volume nearly as much. In fact, I hardly cared for it at all. The level of violence grew exponentially in this volume, and some of it was quite disturbing. I felt a little blindsided and I don’t think all of it was necessary. The writing is still excellent, as we learn a little more about some characters and their relationships here. The art was just as good as it was in the first volume. A great series, but if I’m in the mood for a reread, I’m sticking to the first volume.

– Kathleen

Moore, Alan, and Kevin O’Neill. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 2). 2004.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑