Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Short Booknotes on Graphic Novels 18

Welcome to another set of short booknotes for graphic novels. These for the most part are quick reads for me, so it is easier to compile these reviews into one post every so often. This time around we have things from humor to biography to cheesy stuff. There is also one manga in this set.

Scott Adams, 14 Years of Loyal Service in a Fabric Covered Box: A Dilbert Book. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel, 2009. ISBN: 9780740773655

After having read Your New Job Title is "Accomplice," I just felt a need to read some more Dilbert. Lucky for me, the library's Overdrive offerings had another book, so I went ahead and checked it out. They also have a few in print, so I may be checking out those later. In this volume, Dilbert faces the tough recession. He gets laid off and then gets to work with other units like sales and collections. Will Dogbert be able to save him this time? Meanwhile, Wally shows Asok that experience can be evil, and the company goes through other severe budget cuts. Will they need a bailout, or will the company be bought out? These are some of the situations in this volume of Dilbert comics.You will laugh, be amused, and odds are good you will recognize something from your workplace in Dilbert's situations. For me, the title seemed a bit appropriate. I have been in places where it felt that after many years of loyalty, there was not much to show for it. Again, Dilbert does have much to say to the library world (but don't say that out loud).

Kazuki Ebine, Gandhi: A Manga Biography. New Delhi: Penguin, 2011.ISBN: 9780143120247.

This was a nice find at my local public library. It is a very easy read; I managed to read it during a lunch hour at work. Once you start, it moves pretty quickly. The art is simple, black, white, grey, but it is well suited for the story. Ebine makes an effort to show Gandhi as a human being, not just the Mahatma that everyone remembers. Yes, Gandhi did have some failures along the way, but he persevered. And even though we know how his life ends, we are still moved when it happens in the midst of his dream of a unified India not coming true (today we have India and Pakistan). Overall, a nice easy read, and I think a nice basic introduction to the man, his struggles and triumphs. Definitely a good selection for young readers.

Pete Von Sholly, Pete Von Sholly's Morbid. Milwaukie (OR): Dark Horse Comics, 2003. ISBN: 9781593070281.

This is a collection of B-horror style short stories. The stories are laid out using the "fumetti" technique (these works are often known as photonovels), bringing together live actors, sculpted models, and computer-generated effects to create stories that feel right out of a 1950s cinema, or more recently, one of SyFy's original movies. However, these are more fun than SyFy's schlock. There is a certain charm to these outlandish yet amusing at times tales. The tales in this collection run from horror to dark humor. There is even an adaptation (a very free adaptation) of a tale by H.P. Lovecraft. One of my favorite tales was "Out of Print," which I would describe as a nice tribute to books and reading. I also admit that I smiled at the ridiculous adventures of Captain Harry Hauser. Add some sea monsters and some hot girls in bikinis, and you've got some Velveeta-quality stories rendered in a great visual style. In the end, Von Sholly has made a good tribute to those old drive-in movies of horror and adventure, bringing them to new readers. Plus, the excellent graphic work certainly deserves a look. There is a second volume out, and I will be looking for it as well. I borrowed this one from my local public library.

QuinRose, Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Cat Waltz, Vol. 1. Los Angeles; Seven Seas Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781935934912.

This manga was a light and entertaining read. It is a different take on Alice in Wonderland, and it is a sequel to Alice in the Country of Hearts. While it does help if you have read the previous work, there is enough context and background, such as a character list, provided to help any readers like me who just picked up the series here. As this series starts, Alice, who chose to stay in Wonderland's Country of Hearts, finds herself transported suddenly to the Country of Clover. She thinks all the folks she knew back in the Country of Hearts are left behind or lost, but there is at least one guy who made it over. That is Boris, who we may know better as the Cheshire Cat. Here, Boris is a punk teen boy with cat ears, tail, and piercings. He is still quite the feline. He is in love with Alice, and he constantly hits on her. Does she like him too? Is she too vulnerable from feeling lonely to resist his charms? Meanwhile, others have an interest in Alice as well. For me, the interesting element in the series is seeing the various characters in a different light. The Mad Hatter is basically a mafia-type boss for example. If you are familiar with Lewis Carroll's work, you will probably appreciate this take on the tale. However, no prior knowledge of the classic is needed here. I know I will keep seeking out volumes in the series as well as the volumes of Alice in the Country of Hearts to catch up. This is rated for teens 16 and up.

Justin Aclin, The Smuggler's Code (Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Milwaukie (OR): Dark Horse Books, 2013. ISBN:  9781616551087.

Obi-Wan, along with Anakin and Asoka, are on a small vacation in a resort world when Obi-Wan spots a fugitive he has sworn to apprehend. He decides to go on his own to try to catch him in order to honor a vow he made to himself. In the process, he meets a local smuggler who seems to give him way more trouble than help. Fans of the television series will probably enjoy this comic. In fact, reading it feels pretty much like watching an episode. We get a short, tight story that is nicely wrapped at the end. The art is very cartoonish, a bit more so than in the television episodes, but it still works for a juvenile comic. Overall, a nice, light read for Star Wars fans, especially if you like the Clone Wars. (Disclosure note for this item: I received this work as an electronic edition from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review. So there, The Man has been appeased once more).


Pete Von Sholly said...

Thank you for the nice review of MORBID! I appreciate it.

Angel Rivera said...

Hello there Pete. I am always thrilled when an author I review stops by. Thank you, and keep on making them. Certainly looking to the next one.

Best, and keep on blogging.

Pete Von Sholly said...

IF you will forgive a shameless plug Morbid 2 Dead But Not Out and Pete Von Sholly's Extremely Weird Stories (which is really Morbid vol. 3) are out from Dark Horse. Again, thanks for the review- oh also maybe check out SPINECRAWLER from IDW, a graphic novel I did which has never been reviewed anywhere! Never could figure that out. Best regards, Pete

Angel Rivera said...

Pete: Hey a little plug is ok. Always looking for new stuff to read. I knew #2 was out. Was not aware there was also a #3. I will have to check them out.

Best, and keep on blogging.