Category Archives: Graphic Novels

Fiction or non-fiction stories depicted in part or whole by graphics. Includes comic books, graphic novels, compendiums and collections of art and works of art.

Best American Comics 2010

Coming in late September is the most recent edition of the Best American Comics series, this time guest edited by Neil Gaiman, writer extraordinaire of such excellent reads as Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett,) and the historic The Sandman comic, among others. The Best American Comics series is a long running series that showcases the editor’s picks for the most notable comics of the year, be they short stories, graphic novels, periodical so-called funnies. This year’s edition is notoriously eclectic.

The Best American Comics 2010
Edited by Neil Gaiman, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2010

Readers should be warned that if they are expecting a collection of complete works they will be disappointed. This collection showcases writers and artists by whetting the appetite through short stories and short to mid-length excerpts Most of the excerpts are available for purchase in their entirety if the reader is interested in completing the story.

The Good: The Lagoon excerpt was inexplicable and completely enthralling and enjoyable. The Alcoholic, a story about coming to terms after 9/11, was troubling and touching. Asterios Polyp was excellent, the art style and frequently jumping story left me wanting more. Lobster Run, an anime influenced relationship comic is too short! Norman Eight’s Left Arm is visually striking and the dialogue was unexpectedly fun. The excerpt from Scott Pilgrim v the Universe is noteworthy in that the source material looks so unlike (read “superior,”) the recently released movie.

The Bad: The shortness and randomness of the excerpts. The excerpt from Omega the Unknown, for instance, is only chapter 7 and as such I found myself completely at a loss for what was going on or why I should care. It was a poor decision by the editors, in my opinion, to lead off the book with that comic (and possibly with chapter 7.) If I were previewing this book at a local store I doubt I would have gone further. Cest N’est Pas Una Comic while admittedly a retrospective seemed dated and done before. Ditto The War on Fornication. American Elf (also dated, literally, as November 2007,) was uninteresting and unfunny. ACME Novelty Library looked great but some of the frames and text are so small that it is nearly impossible to read. Also, many of the indie comics reflected a completely liberal bias. In a collection of the so-called best American comics why were there no conservative-leaning artists? I don’t mind the liberal bent, but a more well rounded collection would have felt more representative of the “best.”

The only struggle I have with recommending this book to readers is in deciding who to recommend it to. It seems to me that true fans of indie comics will already be familiar with many if not most of these writers and artists so this book isn’t necessarily for them except as a part of their Best American Comics collection. I’m also not sure if this book is for those who enjoy mainstream comics either as there aren’t superheroes and the expected world saving scenarios and those readers may find themselves bored with the mundane art styles and story lines. In the end, I find myself recommending this book to only those who are interested but not familiar with indie comics but aren’t interested in paying for several collections that they may find that they do not enjoy. This is a perfect preview of what the indie comics world has to offer.

If you are that person, then I recommend this book wholeheartedly. If you are not, you may well find yourself scratching your head and wondering why you just spent $23.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com. Along with his contributions to BookGateway, he reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on current events and Christianity.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Originally Published at BuddyHollywood.com

The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

This book is about Erik Granger and the Dopple girls, Saskia and Sadie. Erik is the only boy at Dunstan’s a school for orphans. He is supposed to go go to sleep but defiantly stays up and stumbles upon burglars in a secret passage stealing special artifacts from Lord Gervez’s house, which is next door to Dunstan’s. In the morning as he serves breakfast to the girls he tells Sadie and Sakia about the burglars and informs them that the burglars are returning again that night to get the last of the artifacts. The Dopples and Erik sneak out after lights-out and watch the burglars. They hide but Saskia was too slow and didn’t know that the burglars were coming back down the tunnel and has to hide inside a sarcophagus that the burglars were stealing. The burglars do not know that Saskia is in it and they take the sarcophagus to their lair. Sadie and Erik follow Lord Gervez into his home through the tunnel and find out that someone named Indigo Moon made all the houses and connected them with tunnels that only he knew about. The tunnels were being used to rob all the homes on that street. A reporter for the Times (and secret detective) Dorcas Potts interviewed the gang the afternoon the day Saskia was kidnapped. Now the gang needs to work together to find Saskia and stop the burglars.

I liked this book because it had segments of the book in comic book and it looked cool because it helped you imagine what the characters in the book looked liked and what was going on in the book. Like when it did not tell you what type of car or school uniform it showed you in the comic book segments. I also liked the mystery part and adventure parts of the book because I like books that have a mix of thrill and a mysterious side. I think you will like the book.

The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

-Reviewed by Ariel Asher, 10 year old avid reader.

This book is about Erik Granger and the Dopple girls, Saskia and Sadie. Erik is the only boy at Dunstan’s a school for orphans. He is supposed to go go to sleep but defiantly stays up and stumbles upon burglars in a secret passage stealing special artifacts from Lord Gervez’s house, which is next door to Dunstan’s. In the morning as he serves breakfast to the girls he tells Sadie and Sakia about the burglars and informs them that the burglars are returning again that night to get the last of the artifacts. The Dopples and Erik sneak out after lights-out and watch the burglars. They hide but Saskia was too slow and didn’t know that the burglars were coming back down the tunnel and has to hide inside a sarcophagus that the burglars were stealing. The burglars do not know that Saskia is in it and they take the sarcophagus to their lair. Sadie and Erik follow Lord Gervez into his home through the tunnel and find out that someone named Indigo Moon made all the houses and connected them with tunnels that only he knew about. The tunnels were being used to rob all the homes on that street. A reporter for the Times (and secret detective) Dorcas Potts interviewed the gang the afternoon the day Saskia was kidnapped. Now the gang needs to work together to find Saskia and stop the burglars.

I liked this book because it had segments of the book in comic book and it looked cool because it helped you imagine what the characters in the book looked liked and what was going on in the book. Like when it did not tell you what type of car or school uniform it showed you in the comic book segments. I also liked the mystery part and adventure parts of the book because I like books that have a mix of thrill and a mysterious side. I think you will like the book.

The Dopple Ganger Chronicles: The Secret of Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

-Review by Scott Asher of AshertopiA.

I had previously started to read Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor but hadn’t gotten in too far before I set it aside so I wasn’t expecting much out of his new series. The quote on the back cover of the book calling G.P. Taylor, “The new C.S. Lewis” didn’t help either. Yet, sometimes out of nowhere there comes a revelation. When I opened The Secret of Indigo Moon, book two in The Dopple Ganger Chronicles I had one of those moments.

The story is standard fare for youth fiction. A young man and his twin friends live at a school for abandoned children and stumble upon a theft and decide to investigate. Enter their enemy from the first book, along with a soft-hearted henchman, and a cast of interesting if unoriginal characters and you have the ingredients for a story that any middle schooler would enjoy. But it wasn’t the story that was the revelation. It was the presentation.

Open the book and you immediately find yourself in an amazing world of line art, comic book pages, fantastic fonts and typeset pages. Illustrations give form to the characters that imagination can sometimes leaves incomplete. Huge two-page drawings, like the clock on page 2 and 3, cause the reader to switch between reading to interpreting (you have to tell the time yourself,) and then back to reading on page 4 then to comics on pages 5 and 6. The multimedia experience keeps the reader involved from the start. I loved it!

It seems that anyone can write a teen fantasy judging from the volume of new titles on any bookstore shelf. But something different can serve to get a teen who perhaps doesn’t read to become a reader or those give those who like to read something different. G.P. Taylor isn’t the new C.S. Lewis but he did come up with a great idea for a series of books.

This book was provided free of charge by the publisher as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. Visit Tyndale.com for more information on this book.