Saturday, February 13, 2010

More reviews


Funny animals? Ugh. Though Walt Kelly, Carl Barks and even Jack "King'' Kirby embraced and elevated the genre, it mostly left me cold — until now. Talbot's tightly plotted political thriller posits an alternate universe where France conquered England in the Napoleonic Wars, and the world is ruled by anthropomorphic animals, with a few hairless apes as servants and lackeys. Following his tour de force Alice in Sunderland, the grand master of British comics' recent projects have been a bit odd. Grandville is no exception, but this wildly heady blend of mystery, heroics, politics, religion and romance is more reminiscent of his classic Luther Arkwright series than anything he's done since. If you can get past — or embrace — his archetypical menagerie of well-drawn faux-bipeds, the story, with allegorical echoes of 9/11, is further evidence that Talbot blazes his own path and is always worth following.
The Year of Loving Dangerously 

In different alternate universes, normal-looking Rall, an award-winning writer and artist, is a stud-muffin, so irresistible that women at peace protests, pizza joints and other public places invariably invite him to share their beds. Just as well: Since he was tossed out of Columbia, Rall has no fixed abode and usually bunks down in supply closets or subways (and strange ladies' apartments). The story is true, apparently, and unfolded in the 1980s after a freak medical condition resulted in Rall's school expulsion for failure to take his final exams. Rall scripted but wisely left the illustrations to Spain's Callejo, who did a great job illuminating a story as bleak as the empty experiences it depicts.
The Escapists 
The Escapists. Brian K Vaughan, Eduardo Barreto, Philip Bond, Steve Rolston. Dark Horse. 160 pages.

Stories about comics can be dull affairs. Affection for the medium and its practitioners often distorts the image. Even the great Will Eisner's The Dreamer was somewhat whitewashed and sentimental.

Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay added mysticism and religion to the mix, but his love of the genre dominated. The series of comics spun off from his novel are a mixed bag, but this standalone story is wistful, evocative and powerful as it depicts the conflict and ambiguity of art, comics and real life. Vaughn's story has all the elements of a great comics tale with clearly drawn heroes and villains, but it also transcends the medium with its great heart and spirit.
— Richard Pachter
Originally published in The Miami Herald

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