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Category Archives: Graphic novels

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (vol. 2) by Dusty Higgins & Van Jensen

“Come now, puppet, let’s settle this.”

Volume two opens with the realization that Master Cherry is dead and has become one of the vampires. However, he protects Pinocchio and an uneasy alliance with Cherry is formed as the gang from the Great Puppet Theater join the group to help. Only problem is Pinocchio is so full of hurt, loss and rage that he is one vampire stake away from exploding. When he finally does Cherry is truly dead and Fairy gave her life to cast her final spell-making Pinocchio human. How is he going to fight the vampires now?

I’m tired of vampires. There I said it. Whew. But, this series is such a quirky mixture of fairy tale mixed with evil vampires with a good dose of sarcastic wit and humor. I started reading because the premise made me laugh. I keep reading because the characters are engaging and sympathetic; the story sweet and the drawings are creatively full of life. 2010, 176 pages.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Long John Silver I – Lady Vivian Hastings by Xavier Dorison & Mathieu Lauffray

Set 20 years after Treasure Island, this French graphic novel focuses on Lady Vivian Hastings. Her long absent and despised husband has sent word through his brother that he has finally found the fabled city of Guyana Capac. He is to sell everything, including the manor, to fund the expedition. Lady Hastings has been far from saintly waiting for her husband’s return but in realizing her husband intends for her to live in a convent, she starts scheming with none other than Long John Silver to replace the crew with his men and secure her passage with the entourage. What could possibly go wrong with a ship full of people most concerned with their own skin?

This graphic novel is only 56 pages, but they are gorgeous pages that will slow down your read as you investigate all the intricate details of the art. The characters are vile and vicious but entirely engaging. Aren’t all good pirate stories full of such characters? The story played out in a cinematic fashion. Volume II is out this July with Volume III out in the fall. Dorison and Lauffray make an excellent collaboration. 2011, 56 pages.

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins

Here’s the premise: Pinocchio wasn’t always the best boy in the world but he loved Geppetto.  When Geppetto is killed by vampires…yes, vampires…Pinocchio seeks revenge.  Every time Pinocchio tells a lie his nose grows-into a perfect vampire stake with an endless supply.

Even without the vampires this is not your Disney Pinocchio. The authors are kind enough to provide a brief(and hilarious) overview of the original Pinocchio story in the beginning. Here, Pinocchio is accompanied by Master Cherry the carpenter, the Blue Fairy and yes, the cricket…sorta.  What I liked about the story was the darkness mixed with humor. The town is besieged and a battle is going on between good and evil but at the heart of it is a mash-up of a family brought together by loyalty and love for each other rather than blood. Sweet, compassionate and bust out laughing funny. Oh, and kinda gross here and there. The illustrations are all black and white with varying degrees of detail. 2009, 128 pages.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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A.D. : New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi with its strength and our government’s lackluster response is well documented. Instead of focusing on these staggering events, Neufeld brings to life, in graphic format, five stories from real folks in New Orleans that survived the storm and its aftermath. From Denise, who tells a very different tale of the NO Convention Center than the media to Abbas and Darnell who stayed behind to protect Abbas’ grocery store; each story tells a unique perspective on the storm of the century. The stories focus on the humanity and resiliency of a people who love the city they call home.

This was a somber read that builds the tension as the stories unfold. We all know the havoc Katrina wreaked in New Orleans but we may not have paid attention to the individual stories. The panels are colored minimally, usually with one or two colors with each day being portrayed by a different color. This minimal style lends to the emotional impact of the events unfolding and the characters will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. 2009, 193 pages

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Adventures of the Princess & Mr. Whiffle by Patrick Rothfuss

“This book would make Voldemort giggle.”

The Princess and her teddy bear live alone in a Marzipan castle and spend their days engaging in a variety of adventures that define what it means to be a kid. Pirate battles, riding ponies and even freaking out about the “thing” underneath the bed can fool the reader into believing this is a children’s book. Trust me, it isn’t. There are three endings depending on the mood of the reader.

This graphic novel was a surprise read on lunch break a few days ago and it still makes me chuckle in reflection. It has sweet moments and moments that make you cover your mouth and go, “oh no” as you giggle in dark delight.  My advice? Just go with it and enjoy!  2010, 68 pages.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Set to Sea by Drew Weing

I am both baffled and enchanted by this little graphic novel. Set to Sea is the story of gentle giant who is also a poet. Kicked out of the tavern for being unable to pay his bar tab, he wanders the streets staring longingly into bookstores and libraries as he tries to write the words in his heart. Unfortunately, the beer catches up and he falls asleep on the pier only to wake up on a ship headed to Hong Kong.  Oh, and then the pirates attack!

I could give you the whole plot line but you’d think I was mad. The drawings are deceptively simple and the text minimal. Instead, his story grows on you like any good fable, long after you’ve turned the last page.  We are all complicated creatures often moved into cathartic change by volatile events in life. Our gentle, poet giant is no exception.  2010, 144 pages.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Graphic novels

 

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Otomen by Aya Kanno

Otomen? What the heck is an otoman? That is the question that made me put a hold on this manga when I ordered it for the library. Otomen, for those who do not know, are men that enjoy girly things. They like to bake, clean, sew and play with sparkly things. They also enjoy reading shojo manga-which is manga geared towards girls. The twist is that despite all these tendencies, otomen are straight.

Asuka is a closet otoman. His father walked out on his family years ago saying he wanted to be a woman.  Asuka’s mother begged him to be a “manly” man so Asuka pushed his true self aside and became the most aloof, masculine and number one in the country in the martial art kendo. When he falls for Ryo-a girl who can’t cook or sew-his oto-tendencies become even harder to control because when you are in love-your true-self tries even harder to come shining through.

I enjoyed this story that mixes around the gender stereotypes we all hold. The main female character is written as a clueless, shojen male charcter and the main male character is what you would expect in a shojo female character. The author herself admits that she is not girly in nature and elaborates on her thought process throughout the book.  Fast paced, light storyline for the most part and a comedy of errors about being ok with who you were born to be. 2009, 200 pages.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2009 in Graphic novels

 

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