Wow. I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately thanks to my local library. I think libraries are cool, especially when they stock as many graphic novels as mine does!
Blacksad: A Silent Hell – I’m a big fan of Blacksad, a comic centred around anthropomorphic animals (like Grandville and Maus). The stories concern a private Investigator, Blacksad (a black cat) along with his reporter sidekick ‘Weekly’ (a fox). In this particular story, Blacksad is in New Orleans taking up work for a dying record producer who specialises in Jazz. He is tasked with finding a singer who has gone missing leaving his pregnant wife in limbo. but as Blacksad starts digging deeper he finds that there’s more to the case than he first realised and some shady goings on not least involving his employer.
This was a marvellous tale, bringing alive the look and feel of New Orleans along with its musical and superstitous heritage. Juanjo Guarnido’s artwork is simply stunning, the crowd scenes in particular just take the breath away. And Juan Diaz Canales’ script is engaging and thrilling, drawing on American film noir with a great deal of love and respect.
A History of Violence – I’ve been meaning to check out this graphic novel by John Wagner (creator of Judge Dredd) for a while now, ever since watching the film adaption by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen. Well I thought the comic was excellent, it’s more dense than the film, which I thought benefitted from the short running time. And some changes; in the book the main character and the bad guys are depicted as Italian American. Whereas in the film they’re Irish American. It’s not a big change but nonetheless it was interesting. Also we have a backstory in the comic, looking at Joey/Tom’s past which was great, showing him growing up on the streets of New York alonside best friend Richie (who was changed to his brother in the film). If I had one criticism about the comic it would be the depiction of Tom’s wife; as soon as Tom breaks the news to her *spoiler* that he’s been lying to his family and he is not who they think he is, she takes it pretty well without making too big of a deal. But I thought the film version had a much better potrayal of the wife (played by the excellent Maria Bello) wherein she reacts the exact opposite. As for the artwork; Vince Locke is a talented artist, but his ‘scratchy’ style was a little distracting in places. Still, the bulk of the work was well done, giving it a feeling of unease and urgency. I really enjoyed this comic, its an engaging thriller with some shocking moments esp. toward the end – it’s totally different from the film and I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
Kick Ass 2 – the intro to the book (by Joe Carnaham) is pretty foul mouthed. He starts off by addressing the readers with “hey fuc*ers”, and end it with “coc*suckers”.
What an Ar*ehole!
The comic did have its moments, there was a lot of twists and turns with kicking, shooting, stabbings and beheadings and a rape scene which I thought was needless. We meet new characters on both sides, and the bad guy who’s changed his name from Red Mist to ‘Motherfu*ker’ has gone up a notch in his insaneness, laying waste to a suburb full of kids and parents, just to get to Kick-Ass. In the meantime Mindy (Hit-Girl) has promised Marcus that she will stop being a superhero after he discovers a stash of weapons in het room. I cannot deny Kick-Ass’ entertainment value (both in the comic and the films), but Millar does tend go overboard somewhat both in terms of the story and the dialogue, some of which is truly cringeworthy. John Romita Jr’s artwork though looks superb except for his depiction of Mindy – who looks like a bobblehead toy with her abnormally large head! His artwork has a more painted feel to it here, and frankly it looks marvellous. In fact, it reminded me a great deal of Richard Corben’s art.
I also started Dark Satanic Mills and Superior – another comic by Mark Millar, but more on those later.