Thursday, March 24, 2011

Graphic novel reviews

I'm lucky to live in a city that has such a kick ass library with such a kick ass head librarian who's a big comic book nerd like I am and who oddly enough has consented to be my friend. He's been instrumental in getting great graphic novels in the hands of library patrons.

I recently read, no, actually, I devoured this graphic novel that he got in:

It's another piece of dystopian/apocalyptic literature that I have such a fondness for. It's about a hybrid mutant boy with deer antlers who just wants to be left alone so he can go back to the only home he's known but can't because he's part of, or perhaps the cause of, a worldwide epidemic that killed millions of people. His story is a harrowing tale and it's told and artistically rendered brilliantly by Jeff Lemire. His story telling is tight and compelling and his art has a touch of art brut/clunkiness that really lends itself to the story he's telling. I can't wait for the next one in this series.

This is the second of the 'Parker' books that Darwyn Cooke has turned into a graphic novel. And for my money, both of them are super swell.

Richard Stark was the pen name Donald Westlake used when he wanted to write gritty hard boiled crime novels that featured Parker, an anti hero who was a criminal but who was an ethical even if he was an amoral guy. These novels gave Westlake an outlet and a break from writing the humorous crime novels most of us grew to know and love. I freely acknowledge that all the crime novels of Westlake have been a huge influence on me and you can see that influence in my graphic novel Hip Deep, Mountain High.

Cooke boils down the stories and he tells them mainly through wordless panels. When he does write dialog, it's minimal and you only get enough to keep the story moving. If only more writers followed Mr. Cooke's lead (sigh). I love these graphic novels, they're like slinky jazz versions of graphic novels and when I read them I imagine a soundtrack of cool smoky jazz playing in the background as the characters go about their criminal business.

I can't recommend these graphic novels, and my local library, highly enough.


Kim Hambric said...

I MUST find the Parker books for the hubby. I believe he has every book that Westlake has ever written or sneezed in the vicinity of. Love that jazzy look. Thanks for letting us know that it's out there somewhere.

Ricky Shambles said...

That looks amazing! Must get. Been out of the loop for a while now, but I <3'd Vertigo long time in high school like a horny dog.

Now, If I could just get an illustrator for my own 126-page graphic novel script...