Friday, August 23, 2019

Short booknotes on graphic novels 25 plus an extra or two

This is another list of comics and graphic novels that I have read recently. These are mostly quick reads, so I am just doing some short review notes. Most of these came from the Madison County (KY) Public Library unless otherwise noted.

Lincoln Pierce, Big Nate: Great Minds Think Alike. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4494-36353.

In this volume, Nate's dad basically ruins Halloween by handing out soy nuts. Believe me, you do not want to have him for a dad. The plot with Mr. Ross the art teacher was pretty amusing. In the end, it was an amusing collection, some strips better than others. I liked it, but this is basically a volume to borrow.

3 out of 5 stars.

Kris Wilson,, Cyanide and Happiness: Stab Factory. Los Angeles, CA: Boom! Box, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-66886-769-1.

This is a collection from the webcomic. It features comics you probably saw online plus 30 strips new for the book. Honestly, it amazes me this comic survives. It tries to be subversive, edgy, and dark, but if this book is an indicator, most of the strips' humor just falls flat. As I read, I counted about five strips in the whole collection that could be considered humorous. The rest are just blah overall. They are not bad, but they are nothing to write home about.  Do note the book has an advisory that  it is for mature readers.  But to be honest, it's not really that edgy. As kids would say, it was mostly meh. Borrow it if you must, or just read the comic for free online if you have to.

Borrowed from Hutchins Library, Berea College.

2 out of 5 stars (barely).

Jim Davis, Garfield Cleans His Plate: His 60th Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 2015. ISBN: 978-0-345-52608-3.

By now, Davis is in his stride. Jon continues getting along with Liz, and Garfield is up to his usual antics. Some highlights in this book include Jon losing his cellphone (and liking it, a feeling I can relate to), Garfield watching the Laughing Baby Channel (now there is an idea for a television channel), and Jon calls a fortune teller. Overall, I liked it. Nice easy read.

3 out of 5 stars.

Jim Davis, Garfield Cooks Up Trouble: His 63rd Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-425-28562-6.

Though the title suggests this book might emphasize food and cookery humor, it is just another basic compilation of strips. It is a nice, easy read but no big deal. Highlights include Jon having a smart ass mobile phone assistant (think Siri), Garfield watching scary movies, and Garfield trying to convince Santa Claus he's been good.

3 out of 5 stars.

Jim Davis, Garfield Feeds His Face: His 64th Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-425-28567-1.

It was a nice and light read with some cute and amusing moments. Davis does strive to keep up with trends such as cellphone use. Otherwise, the book is not much different from others. I am enjoying Jon's interactions with Liz.

3 out of 5 stars.

Jim Davis, Garfield Eats and Runs: His 65th Book. New York: Ballantine Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-425-28572-5.

Another Garfield collection. Still amusing and entertaining though the humor can be a little inconsistent on this one. A nice easy read.

3 out of 5 stars. 

Greg Farshtey,, Night of the Nindroids (LEGO Ninjago #9). New York: Papercutz, 2014.

This is a nice little comic featuring the Ninjago ninjas from LEGO. In this issue, Zane, the droid ninja, is tempted to join the Nindroids. Will he betray his friends? The book has a few twists and turns. It's a good story, but it does not feel to be among the better ones in the series. The art is nice and very colorful. The volume also features a bonus story with Lloyd the green ninja. Fans will likely enjoy it. For me, it was a quick read. Unless your kids or you are fans, it is better to borrow this one. For libraries that already get LEGO books for children, this is likely a good option.

3 out of 5 stars.

Joel M. Hoffman, The Bible's Cutting Room Floor. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2014. ISBN:  9781250047960. 

A look at the many books and parts of what we know as the Bible that got left out, cut out, edited out over time for a variety of reasons, but often to enforce control and uniformity. Sure we know that Adam and Eve got kicked out of Eden, but did you know there are stories of what happened to them right afterwards? Also, there are way more psalms than the 150 you find in the Bible.  The book looks at various old texts that did not quite make it to answer a variety of questions. Like most scholarly books, it is fairly dry and not easy to read. I wanted to like this, and the topic seemed interesting, but it was a drag to read. Professor Hoffman does provide a good section of notes and bibliography for folks wanting to learn more. 2 out of 5 stars.

Tom Taylor, Star Wars: Darth Maul-- Death Sentence. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics, 2013. ISBN: 978-1-61655--077-6.

Darth Maul, after being rescued and restored from his almost lethal duel with Obi Wan Kenobi, is wreaking havoc with his brother Savage Oppress. When mining magnate Ja'Boag puts a bounty on their heads, they decide to target him. However, Ja'Boag has his own private army, and the Jedi are willing to help him.

The story is a quick read with a good amount of action. It takes place after the events of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It is entertaining and a light story overall. Fans will likely appreciate it. I liked it overall.  3 out of 5 stars.

Max Bemis,, Centipede. Volume 1: Game Over. Mt. Laurel, NJ; Dynamite Entertainment, 2018. ISBN:  9781524105860.

I do not have much to say about this book. It took me so long to post feedback because honestly I wanted to like this, and it was just a disappointment. I grew up on the classic Centipede game of the 80s, and this comic just does not do any justice to that. It starts out well, then it turns into a convoluted incoherent mess that one just does not know what or where to focus on. Overall, I usually like Dynamite Comics (often a lot), but this was not good. Oh well, I will wait for something better down the road. I do not recommend libraries adding this to their graphic novel collections (I am not adding it to ours).  1 out of 5 stars (barely). 

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