Jim Henson's The Storyteller by various authors and artists
Jim Henson's The Storyteller was a TV show, but somehow I missed seeing it: This graphic novel version serves as my first introduction. It's such a wonderful graphic novel — and fitting for all ages — that I was curious to see if the TV show was supposed to be any good. Based on Amazon's reviews, it was a much-loved show mixing live-action and puppets, as I'm sure some of you out there know. I was also curious to know before I wrote this review if fans of the TV show would be likely to enjoy this adaptation, so I took a quick glimpse at the reviews for this book on Amazon (I don't usually like to read reviews of a book before I write on it): Based on my quick perusal, there was a positive response from those who loved the show and then read the graphic novel version. Basically, the response was along these lines: "I was apprehensive about reading this book since my expectations w... Read More
Jim Henson's The Storyteller by various authors and artists
Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Volume 1 illustrated by P. Craig Russell
Just recently I've been reading more comics and graphic novels for kids. As with many of the best young adult novels, the best comics for kids are also of interest to adults. The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde and Jim Henson's The Storyteller are two collections that certainly fall into this category. This week I'll review The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, and next week I will review Jim Henson's The Storyteller. I love fairy tales for a variety of reasons, all of which apply to these books: They tell us about the people who wrote them or the culture out of which they emerged. T... Read More
Olympus by Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Christian Ward (artist)
I am starting to be very impressed with this writer whose books I've just started reading. Nathan Edmondson caught my eye first with Who Is Jake Ellis?, for which I wrote a positive review earlier this year. But today — May 15th, 2013, the day I'm writing this review — marks the release of a 50+ page first issue of a new limited series: Dream Merchant. I read it today and was absolutely blown away by both the writing and the art. It’s a six-issue story, so I should be writing a review of it before the end of the year. That issue made me want to pick up his earlier four-issue graphic novel* Olympus. I'm glad I did. I just finished reading it in one sitting, and I'm sure I'll be rereading it again soon. It is so very different from Who Is Jake Ell... Read More
John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines by Mike Carey (writer) & Leonardo Manco (artist)
There are so many options available to the reader who wants to meet John Constantine for the first time. He was created by Alan Moore in his groundbreaking run on Swamp Thing (Moore's entry into American comics). Another good place to start is with Jamie Delano’s Hellblazer: Original Sins, the volume collecting the first issues of Constantine's solo title Hellblazer — the longest running title in the history of Vertigo, DC's line of comics with adult content and adult themes (both in terms of being explicit and being intellectually complex). Unfortunately, DC just recently canceled this title at issue #300 and has replaced i... Read More
Mister X: Condemned by Dean Motter (writer and artist)
The City of Dreams had become The City of Nightmares . . . was it too late to awaken it?
Mister X: Condemned makes for a perfect introduction to the critically acclaimed Mister X series that first appeared in 1984. Since that time, other writers and artists also have been allowed to play in this futuristic world that Motter created, but if you want an affordable, quick introduction written and drawn by Motter, then this book is the place to start before you shell out the bucks for the more expensive definitive edition of his work — Mister X: The Archives.
Mister X is a shadowy character who haunts the world of Radiant City, a dystopi... Read More
Animal Man, Volume 2: Origin of the Species and Animal Man, Volume 3: Deus Ex Machina by Grant Morrison (writer) and Chas Truog (artist) issues 10-26
These two volumes of Animal Man — Origin of the Species and Deus Ex Machina — complete the collection of Grant Morrison's run on this once-minor DC character. This 26-issue run marks Morrison's entry into American comics. The Scottish Morrison, along with Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, is one of the three writers from the UK who helped change American comics for the better in the 1980s and 1990s. Moore preceded them in his work on Swamp Thing and is probably the reason Karen Berger from DC was sent to find more talent abroad, but Morrison and Gaiman ... Read More
The Book of Lost Souls, Volume 1: Introductions All Around by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Colleen Doran (artist)
I am so pleased I picked The Book of Lost Souls up off the shelf at Oxford Comics in Atlanta, Georgia. Though I am familiar with the writer, J. Michael Straczynski (often referred to simply as JMS), I'd never heard of this book or its artist — Colleen Doran. But I was immediately grabbed by the title and cover image of a forlorn young man clutching a large, red book. In the center background is a large moon with the nighttime skyline of 19th-century London on the left and 20th-century New York on the right. I did judge this book by the cover, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the inside of the book was even better than was promised by the cover. In fact, this book made such an impression on me that I'm writing this re... Read More
Grendel: Archives and Grendel: Devil by the Deed by Matt Wagner (writer and artist)
Now that I’ve read Matt Wagner’s Grendel: Archives and Grendel: Devil by the Deed, I regret how long it took me to read any of his Grendel stories, a series of comics that have a thirty-year history (and counting). I kept reading about them here and there, but had no sense of what they were about. I assumed they had something to do with Beowulf, and — having spent a year of graduate school translating old English line-by-line — I am not a big enough fan of Beowulf to watch movies or read novels and comics inspired by Beowulf. I've even talked to quite a few people who have made it clear that th... Read More
Animal Man, Volume 1 (Issues 1-9) by Grant Morrison (writer), Chas Truog (artist, Issues 1-8) and Tom Grummett (artist, Issue 9)
The twenty-six issue run on Animal Man by Grant Morrison is one of the most important works in comics, but it must be understood in an historical and artistic context; otherwise, someone new to comics might just flip through it and see what looks like a slightly-dated comic with artwork that isn't currently as exciting and flashy and polished and colorful as newer comics. However, this twenty-five-year old comic is of higher quality than most of what is still put out on a monthly basis a quarter-of-a-century later. Most of the high quality comics being written today and aimed toward mature, intelligent audiences were made possible by and are a direct result of the risks Morrison took in writing the issues in this first volume of Animal M... Read More
Who is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Tonci Zonjic (artist)
Who is Jake Ellis? is an excellent thriller that defied my expectations for the wonderful reason that I had so much trouble figuring out what my expectations should be in the first place. In other words, the story is so unique, I couldn't see it fitting easily into any specific template. At first glance, it's merely a thriller of the James Bond variety, but the James Bond character doesn't actually seem to have any real skills of his own or seem to have any mission to accomplish other than not getting killed. Part of me wonders if the author is making a comment on the absurdity of life in general and our lack of preparation for it.
The main character is Jon Moore, a CIA analyst who has not been trained for the field, yet the entire story takes place "in the fie... Read More
Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries adapted for comics by P. Craig Russell
P. Craig Russell's artwork is stunning in his adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries. And since the story has all the other-worldly hallmarks of a Neil Gaiman Sandman story, Russell really gets a chance to show off his talent as he bounces from the angelic Silver City to the cityscapes of our mundane world.
This graphic novel is based on what was originally a short story by Neil Gaiman (and eventually a radio drama in the spirit of The Shadow); I read the comic befo... Read More
Astonishing X-Men, Volume One: Gifted (Issues 1-6) and Astonishing X-Men, Volume 2: Dangerous (Issues 7-12) by Joss Whedon (writer) and John Cassaday (artist)
These two Astonishing X-Men trade collections by Joss Whedon — Gifted and Dangerous — make a great introduction either to superhero comics in general or to X-Men comics specifically. There are some goods reasons Joss Whedon was chosen to write and direct the latest Avengers movie, and one of them must be his incredible work on these twelve issues of Astonishing X-Men in 2004 and 2005. Joss Whedon, known for his excellent dialogue in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhou... Read More
Death, the Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman
Death, the Deluxe Edition, was published by Vertigo in 2012. It’s a handsome book, slightly outsized (7 ¼ by 11 inches), perfect bound with a hard cover, dust jacket and matte black endpapers. The cover has a collage look, filled with shades of black and shell-pink, with Death in profile. The spiral tattoo below her right eye is prominent, and her hair sweeps in a curve like a wing.
All the stories in Death, the Deluxe Edition were written by Neil Gaiman. This collection includes the following stories, most of which are reprints:
"The Sound of her Wings" -- artwork by Mike Dringerberg and Malcolm Jones III
"Façade" -- artwork by Colleen Doran, Malcolm Jones III and Todd Klein
"A Winter’s Tale" -- artwork by Jeffrey Jones and Jon J Muth Read More
Point of Impact by Jay Faerber (creator and writer) and Koray Kuranel (creator and artist)
Jay Faerber's Point of Impact, though not destined to become a great comic in the canon of graphic storytelling, is a perfect short story told in four issues, which is exactly what he tries to do. Sometimes one is in the mood for a large, sprawling epic, and other times, one just wants to read a poem or short story. You don't need any background information about superheroes, supervillains, or mutants. All you need to do is start reading, and once you see the first dead body, you're hooked, particularly if you are a fan of Law and Order, Harry Bosch novels, or other police procedurals: The spirit of Dragnet and the 87th Precinct lives on.
Jay Faerber came on my radar when I read the first issue of Read More
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia by Greg Rucka (writer) and J.G. Jones (artist)
I’m a card-carrying geek if there ever was one, but there are a few areas where my fannish education has been a little spotty, one of them being superhero comics. It’s not for lack of enjoying them when I do read them; it’s more that the reams of backstory and frequent reboots feel a little daunting. Then, this past Christmas, I found a copy of The Hiketeia among the presents from my boyfriend, along with a Post-It note that read, ‘I’ll turn you into a comic book geek yet!”
The Hiketeia was, by all measures, a gateway drug that was right up my alley. Greek mythology, powerful female characters, cool art, and a plot centering on conflicting vows? Sign me up!
Writer Greg Rucka introduces the eponymous Hiketeia, a ritual by which a supplicant throws himself or herself on someone els... Read More