Friday, October 31, 2014

Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bass Reeves by Joel Christian Gill

Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bass Reeves by Joel Christian Gill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wonderful biography of the black US Marshall, born a slave, who became the most successful lawman of the West and legend has it the stories of the Lone Ranger are based on him. The author's previous book, Strange Fruit, contains a mini-biography on Bass Reeves and this book takes the same story, expounds upon it and fills in more details. Bass led an adventurous life starting off as a slave, living several years with Natives, fighting for the North during the Civil War and finally becoming a US Marshall. An interesting concept used for this book, that I think is quite successful in conveying the racism of the time without using the degrading language is the using of pictographs. Whenever a black man is being referred to as, obviously the n-word, there is a little drawing of a racist blackface type head, also for Indians whenever they are being referred to as perhaps redskins or savages, there is a little drawing of the head of a chief in feathered headdress. For those of us who know the words that were used, the images bring them to mind, for the younger readers who haven't experienced these racist terms, the words aren't introduced and yet they know "bad" or mocking words are being used. An interesting, informative and exciting tale of a man not that well known to history. Looking forward to seeing who the next volume will be about.

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This One Summer by Jillian & Mariko Tamaki





This One Summer by Jillian & Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ugh. What to say? This story did nothing for me in fact, I didn't like it in parts and found it ho-hum the rest of the time. The art is amazing and is what kept me reading this over 300 page book. The entire book is done in blue and the graphics are splendid making for a beautiful presentation. But the story of two girls who know each other by spending the summer at the same cottages each and every summer since they were little is full of conflicts that go nowhere. I don't mind this kind of plot most of the time but I also didn't find the mother's behaviour realistic at all. And in general I found the story to be entirely so blatantly feminist and left wing that it really was unpalatable to me. Of course, there are plenty of the target audience and my opinion will be unpopular with them.

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Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood Legend by Patrick Shand


Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood Legend
by Patrick Shand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grimm Fairy Tales Universe: Robin Hood Vol. 3

Wonderful end to this trilogy and the best book of the three! The artwork is as we've come to expect simply beautiful. But by far Shand gives us some of his best work to date. A story with all the things you expect from Zenescope: magic, demons, sexyness, bodacious babes and violence this volume has surprisingly tender moments and a lot of pathos. I'm quite impressed with the ending. The beginning though was filled with shocks as readers of the previous books will find some unexpected character returns. And even though this trilogy is finished it is not the end as the last pages set the scene for Robyn's new ongoing series. Looking forward to that!

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The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang




The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this a lot. It was a fun romp. I'm a big fan of pulp comics from the 30s/40s, a fan of Asian-themed fiction and a fan of Gene Luen Yang so needless to say I was looking forward to this and expected to like it. It's written in the good old style of the pulp comics from that age and is the origin story of a real comic character "The Green Turtle" which ran for a total of five issues. It shows a favourable depiction of the Chinese for the first time during this period as this was a time when the extreme stereotypes had usually been portrayed. But because china was an ally in the war (the reason for this comic) a distinction is made between Chinese and Japanese with the "Japs" getting the stereotypical racist caricatures instead. Of course, lots of racial epithets are slung around for everyone including "mick" and "chink", for realism. Overall, a fun comic hero romp. What I particularly found fascinating was the author's note at the back telling what he has been able to find out about the original author of the series and his intentions (not much is known) and the rumours surrounding this comic. The piece de resistance is a scan of the very first original issue of "The Green Turtle" which was a hoot in itself. After I'm done this review I'm going to see if this series has been uploaded to one of those golden age comic websites; I'd love to read the whole thing!

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The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell




The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Graveyard Book

I 100% loved this! Having read the novel way back in 2008 it's impossible for me to say whether this deviates at all from the original but it certainly brings the fantastic story back to into my life! An incredible story that is so imaginative. It's a brilliant story and I just wonder what took them so long to adapt it to graphic novel form especially considering the authors. The only thing a little iffy here is that each chapter is illustrated by a different artist so there is some transition adjustment as characters will look slightly different and personally I liked some styles better than others, but overall they did a very good job of keeping consistent with one another and yet staying true to their own form. P. Craig Russell is so wonderful an artist though it certainly would have been brilliant had the entire book been done by him, just saying.

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Ernest & Rebecca #5: The School of Nonsense by Guillaume Bianco



The School of Nonsense by Guillaume Bianco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ernest & Rebecca (5)

This is the first Ernest & Rebecca book that I have read and I can see that probably decreased my enjoyment to a certain degree. First of all though, I loved the art; it is cute in a way I've come to expect from the French. I did like the story but found it quite confusing at first as it appears to be continuing on from a previous book. Remember I have no idea who these characters are and Ernest is gone for the first bit so it was difficult for me to get a feel for these characters. Also during the book an unseen character gets ill, while an asterisk refers us to book 3, and this becomes a theme. So not a good volume to start with but I will say that it has intrigued me. While being a fun, silly story it does also deal with some serious topics such as divorced parents, mother's fiance, teen angst and coming to terms with the idea that a grandparent isn't going to live forever. The book then ends with the scenario set for the next volume. I will probably give this series a go from the beginning to give it a proper read.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ash and the Army of Darkness by Steve Niles

Ash and the Army of Darkness by Steve Niles
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm a big Steve Niles fan but have not seen the movie this graphic is the sequel to. Honestly, it did nothing for me. Not having seen the movie did not hinder my understanding of the story or plot as there are plenty of mentions about things that happened in the past to pretty much get what the movie is all about. But this story is basically just cheesy and dumb. I like Niles' dark, horror stuff and this is not that. It does have a bit of blood and gore but is mostly camp and tongue in cheek (in a not-funny way). It ends abruptly and I won't be bothering with the sequel.

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