Despite occasional action sequences and all the skin, readers will be yawning.

READ REVIEW

IN DEFENSE OF THE REALM

From the Campfire Classics series

An info-comic wrapped in a sketchy, overloaded plotline, this historical tale chronicles a fictional clash between the ancient Indus Valley kingdoms and an invading army of Akkadians.

Pausing for frequent but largely speculative infodumps about a civilization that remains almost entirely unknown, the author, an archeologist, sends the modern-sounding prince (“Oh! I so wish I was down there”) of a besieged city and his pedantic mentor on a tour. They go to neighboring Mohenjo-Daro and then Harappa, both to gather an army of allies and to marvel at the “very efficient system of regulations,” the public hot baths (“Another miracle of systematic construction”) and civic organization (“I have heard it is divided into three parts—a citadel and two large population centers”). Sharma leaves plenty of skin exposed as the buff, shirtless prince battles a leering traitor and then, with help from a bangle-laden dancing girl (who happens to resemble the prince’s lissome but warlike betrothed), contrives to ambush the Akkadian general. Still, readers are unlikely to care much about the characters, the setting or the clumsily expressed theme that “tact can win kingdoms without much loss of blood.” A closing spread of information about the mysterious Indus Valley ancients veers off into a discussion of the Rosetta Stone.

Despite occasional action sequences and all the skin, readers will be yawning. (Graphic info-novel. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 14, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-64-4

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MOBY DICK

In this slender graphic adaptation of Melville’s magnum opus, Ishmael, Queequeg and the rest of the uniformly burly, steely-eyed whalers are strong presences in Singh’s art—at least until their pale, gargantuan nemesis shows up to scatter them and their ship as flotsam across the waves. Ahab, craggy features slashed by a broad scar, is properly oracular, too: “Toward you I roll, you all-destroying but unconquering whale. From hell’s heart I stab at you.” You can practically hear Gregory Peck’s voice. The small but clear lettering in dialogue balloons and infrequent captions is easy to read, much of the language echoes that of the original and, if the plot is reduced to a bare sketch, the art, at least, punches up the tale’s melodrama and psychological tensions. Though an also-ran next to the versions of comics legends Will Eisner (2001) and Bill Sienkiewicz (1990), it’s absorbing enough—and the biographical introduction and closing pages on whaling ships and sperm whales provide a nice veneer of historical context. (Graphic fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: July 13, 2010

ISBN: 978-93-80028-22-4

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though classified as a graphic novelist, Delisle has claimed territory all his own as a graphic-travel memoirist.

BURMA CHRONICLES

Insightful, illuminating memoir of a year under a totalitarian regime.

In 2005-06, Delisle (Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China, 2006, etc.) accompanied his wife, who works as an administrator for Doctors Without Borders, to the country recognized by the United Nations as Myanmar. The United States and other democratic countries, however, still call it Burma, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the military junta that seized power in 1989. As in the illustrator’s previous adventures in China and North Korea (Pyongyang, 2005), the focus is less on politics and more on the lives of the people he encounters—though such lives are profoundly shaped by politics. He comes to accept checkpoints and censorship as routine, and he does his best to find a suitable home, survive with intermittent electricity and Internet access and take care of his toddler son Louis, whose charm transcends cultural borders. The author also fears malaria, bird flu and poisonous snakes, though the DWB medical community provides more comfort than much of the Burmese citizenry enjoys. Delisle writes and illustrates a children’s booklet on HIV, an important contribution to a country in which heroin and prostitution are rampant. As in previous volumes, his eye for everyday detail combined with droll, matter-of-fact narration humanizes his 14-month experience in a country that might seem traumatic, even intolerable, in other hands. “There were no demands and no uprisings either,” he writes. “Things are always very calm here, thanks to a regime that creates paralysis by fomenting fear on a daily basis.” The undercurrents of Buddhism throughout the book culminate in his visit to a temple, where his meditation proves transformative.

Though classified as a graphic novelist, Delisle has claimed territory all his own as a graphic-travel memoirist.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-897299-50-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more