Graphic Novels & Comic Books Book Reviews (page 9)

BATMAN: NO MAN'S LAND by Greg Rucka
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Jan. 11, 2000

"Rucka (Shooting at Midnight, 1999, etc.), canny suspense writer that he is, wrings so much from his high-colored cast you almost forget that they—re, well, comic strip characters."
A novelized version of the venerable comic strip almost makes it as a top-drawer thriller. Read full book review >
THAT SWEETEST WINE by Robert Cabot
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Oct. 29, 1999

"For all its extraordinary lack of specificity, Cabot's incantatory prose memorably captures the dramatic tragedy of living, and the precious, endangered whimper of redemption."
In his first fiction in nearly 30 years, Cabot (The Joshua Tree, 1970) offers an exemplary trio of novellas, each occupied with the theme of reconciliation to oneself and one's losses, presented in often stunning prose. Read full book review >

THE HEADLESS BUST by Edward Gorey
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"Calling this delightful tale its author's "Vision of Judgment" or Inferno would be like breaking a butterfly on a wheel—with which image, come to think of it, Gorey might do something ineffably sinister and entertaining."
A hilariously suave (previously unpublished) morality tale from the master of understated mayhem and apocalypse (The Unstrung Harp, p. 572, etc.). Read full book review >
MY NEW YORK DIARY by Julie Doucet
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"The hand-lettering, with some misspellings (French is the artist's first language), adds to the overall effect: spunky and smart, Doucet is the true voice of grrrrl power."
paper 1-896597-24-6 Among the younger generation of alternative comix artists, Doucet (best known for her comic book, Dirty Plotte) stands out for her engaging combination of a cartoonish style and frank realism; her postfeminist autobiographical tales are tough and self- effacing, bitchy and sweet, and all peopled with her rubbery characters with goofy oversized heads. Read full book review >
CRUDDY by Lynda Barry
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Sept. 7, 1999

"The author of Ernie Pook's Comeek and The Freddie Stories can get down and dirty with the best hard-edged writers like Larry Brown or Daniel Woodrell, all from the unlikely (and welcome) perspective of a young woman."
The only thing this gritty debut novel shares with Barry's work as a narrative cartoonist is its point of view: told by a 16- year-old girl, the bloody and violent story is tougher and uglier than any of the artist's previous work. Read full book review >

AFTER THE RAIN by Andre Juillard
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: March 1, 1999

"Only the final, wordy denouement detracts from this otherwise taut and sophisticated tale."
French comics artist Juillard, best known for his graphic novel, The Blue Notebook, here picks up a few characters from that work, and spins off a full-color narrative that's best when he relies strictly on wordless frames. Read full book review >
UNCLE SAM by Steve Darnall
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: March 1, 1999

"Among the most captivating examples of left-wing agitprop since the days of the Popular Front: Darnall and Ross's populist message comes draped in red, white, and true-blue."
This truly subversive graphic novel—more explicitly radical than anything else from DC Comics in recent memory—almost makes up for the years of muscular patriotism and jingoistic violence that have long defined most of the company's product. Read full book review >
YOU ARE HERE by Kyle Baker
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: Jan. 19, 1999

"Warts and all, though, this full-color production deserves attention for DC's effort to entertain adults for a change."
The author of Why I Hate Saturn, best known for his long-running strip "Bad Publicity" in New York magazine, attempts an "urban romantic comedy——but his disparate influences and preposterous plot suggest something altogether different. Read full book review >
THE CLEFT by Gahan Wilson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 13, 1998

"Read at your own peril."
Wilson (Everybody's Favorite Duck, 1988, etc.), the master cartoonist of the macabre, returns with 23 chuckles in the dark, plucked from Playboy, Omni, and elsewhere, covering the last 35 years or so. Read full book review >
SAMURAI CAT GOES TO HELL by Mark E. Rogers
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: June 15, 1998

"Check one: (a) hysterically funny, I loved it, (b) appallingly stupid, I hated it, or (c) unsuitable for life-forms with more than minimal cognitive abilities."
Fifth and (the publisher says) final outing for Rogers's indescribable comedy fantasy (Samurai Cat Goes to the Movies, 1994, etc.). Read full book review >
KINGDOM COME by Elliot S. Maggin
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: March 26, 1998

"Still, if it induces even a handful of readers to switch from comics to books with lots of words, it will have done its job."
Based on a popular 1996 DC Comics series by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, and now novelized by Maggin, author of two previous Superman novels: a sort of Twilight of the Superheroes, with the expected action painstakingly, and painfully, eked out with psychologizing, religion, and meaningless flourishes. Read full book review >
A JEW IN COMMUNIST PRAGUE by Vittorio Giardino
GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMIC BOOKS
Released: March 1, 1998

"Visually compelling and historically resonant, Giardino's full- color narrative is evolving into a masterwork of its kind."
 The second volume in Giardinos poignant graphic narrative of growing up under Communist rule in postwar Prague lives up to the clean elegance of its first (rev. 5/1/97). Read full book review >