Come, come and hear of the strange and terrible tale of Miss Finch, an exacting woman befallen by mystery and abduction deep under the streets of London! New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivers another stunning hardcover graphic novel with longtime collaborator Michael Zulli (Creatures of the Night, The Sandman). This is the first comics adaptation of his popular story “The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch,” which saw print only in the U.K. edition of Gaiman’s award-winning work Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions and was recently interpreted for his Speaking in Tongues CD. The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch is a “mostly true story” that combines the author’s trademark magic realism with Zulli’s sumptuous paintings, and has been newly rewritten for this hardcover. Join a group of friends, with the stern Miss Finch in tow, as they enter musty caverns for a subterranean circus spectacle called “The Theatre of Night’s Dreaming.” Come inside, get out of the pounding rain, and witness this strange world of vampires, ringmasters, illusions and the Cabinet of Wishes Fulfill’d.
It’s hard to even know how to describe this graphic novel. It takes some of the cutest illustrations you’ve ever seen and turns them into something utterly chilling. A community of storybook-esque characters find themselves marooned in what appears to be a giant forest. The reader, of course, knows that the characters are actually tiny and have sprung from the head of young girl’s corpse. Because it’s that kind of story. Situations that would normally be adorable in a fairy tale setting wind up having unspeakable consequences and every turn of the page can yield either clever or maudlin humor. This juxtaposition makes for a totally engrossing experience than can really only be seen/read to be truly understood.
For all your physics-related emergencies, there’s only one entity to call: the FBP. Whether it’s just a localized loss of gravity or a full-blown bubble universe threatening to consume an entire city block, the FBP is there. Or they were until a mission goes horribly wrong and the political forces pushing for privatization get the perfect opportunity to discredit the FBP. Now, there are only a handful of dedicated agents left and the private industry is taking over. Adam Hardy has been dutifully serving FBP for years, but when he and his partner get caught up in a collapsing “bubbleverse”, Adam begins to realize that a conspiracy is at play and has been for years. Adam’s father died in a similar situation and the dots are now starting to connect for Adam.
This new comic series has a fantastic premise that is, by and large, well executed. The artwork is lovely and has a very organic feel to it, in spite of its somewhat unusual color palette. I didn’t really feel like I got to know Adam as a character very well, but there’s plenty of time for his character to develop. Adam’s new partner, Rosa, is a welcome addition to the otherwise predominantly male cast. FBP also gets bonus points for having not just one, but two POC main characters.
Good Dog marks the welcome return of alternative cartoonist Graham Chaffee, who, after his successful 2003 collection of short stories, The Most Important Thing and other Stories, took a detour to devote himself to the art of tattooing, before charging back with his new, beautifully conceived graphic novel. Ivan, who is plagued by terrible nightmares about chickens and rabbits, is a good dog–if only someone would notice. Readers accompany the stray as he navigates dog society, weathers pack politics, and surveys canine-human interactions. Good Dog’s story and pen-and-ink art are deceptively simple, but Chaffee uses the approachability of the subject matter as a device to explore topics such as independence, security, assimilation, loyalty, and violence. Preteen-and-up dog fanciers, especially, will warm to the well-meaning Ivan and his exploits with a motley assortment of Scotties, Bulldogs, and mutts. Chaffee combines illustrative gravitas with cartooning verve and creates a richly textured, dog’s-eye view of the world. The story is a rousing Jack Londonesque adventure as well as a moral parable.
What can you say about Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon that hasn’t been said before? She has long gorgeous red hair, she looks good in black, funny, caring, and has a utility belt. Batgirl is forced to battle Mirror a not very nice guy who uses mirrors to help win his battles. Barbara not only must battle Mirror but dark secrets from her past.
I enjoy reading the FABLE stories and spin that is put on them. These stories focus on strong female characters. Prince Charming is the focus and the writing of the character was blah. I was bored from the beginning.
I had no idea there was going to be a sequel to Smile. I love everything Raina Telgemeier writes and Sisters was no different. Sisters tells the story of Raina and her sister Amara’s rocky relationship. Before Amara is born, Raina can’t wait to have a sister. Once she arrives it is another story however. They are completely different and don’t really get along. They fight and squabble and are interested in different things. Things come to a head when the family takes a cross country car trip. As the oldest of three girls I could completely relate to Raina and Amara. You always love your sisters but you don’t always like them (especially during those tween/teen years). I thought the fights were pretty typical as was the instances where they were allies. Another winner from Telgemeier.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. It had mostly black and white illustrations so I can’t wait to see what it looks like in full color.
Ordinarily, I love anything in the Fables universe and the Fairest comics tend to be no exception. Until now. It’s not that the story arc is terrible, it’s just not that great. It’s also really tough to overlook the fact that the Fairest series was meant to shine a spotlight on the women of the Fables universe. Who takes center stage in this volume? Prince Charming. Yes, there is a female protagonist. Yes, she is capable of kicking butt. But it still reads like she’s there to be yet another love interest for Prince Charming. If this were Fables proper, this story arc might have worked all right, but in the context of Fairest, it’s almost insulting and definitely disappointing.
The election looms closer, Channon is back and Spider continues to be, well, Spider. This one feels more transitory than some of the other stories, but I do enjoy the world-building. The level of detail in this series is truly astonishing.
Spider is covering one of the biggest stories of his life- the upcoming presidential election. The only problem is that he’s having trouble keeping himself going. He’s got fame and fortune, but that’s what drove him to exile last time. So now he’s got a campaign to cover and both parties desperately want his support. This series continues to be both smart, scathing and hilarious.