Category Archives: Graphic Literature

Allan Heinberg’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

As our story opens, the Young Avengers are battling the Sons of the Serpent, a paramilitary group (read “militia”) devoted to racial and moral purity — their words, not mine — when Captain America, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel show … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Allan Heinberg’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

Allan Heinberg’s Young Avengers

After reading Civil War: Young Avengers & Runaways, I decided that Young Avengers was one series I definitely wanted to follow up on. It was worth it. The story starts with the “Sidekicks” story line, and a full-page frame of … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Allan Heinberg’s Young Avengers

Charles Vess’ The Book of Ballads

This review was originally published in 2004. Really cool things arrive here at Green Man for review, some so cool that they barely make it out of the wrappers before being snatched up by an eager staffer. Fortunately the revised … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Charles Vess’ The Book of Ballads

Youka Nitta’s Otodama 1: Voice from the Dead

BL manga legend Youka Nitta’s Otodama: Voice from the Dead, is not BL. It’s a crime thriller, and it’s a good one. Kaname Otonashi is a former police investigator who was known as “the Ears of the Police” — his … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Youka Nitta’s Otodama 1: Voice from the Dead

Jim Butcher’s Welcome to the Jungle

Jim Butcher has moved the Dresden Files into the realm of graphic novels with Welcome to the Jungle, a prequel of sorts to his series on the adventures of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only wizard for hire. It looks open and … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Jim Butcher’s Welcome to the Jungle

James Asmus’ Quantum and Woody! Vol. 1: The World’s Worst Superhero Team

I’ll be very honest here: James Asmus’ Quantum and Woody! had me at the cover. How can you beat “The World’s Worst Superhero Team”? (And yes, there’s a goat.) Derek Henderson is a physicist who has been working on some … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on James Asmus’ Quantum and Woody! Vol. 1: The World’s Worst Superhero Team

Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Jess Nevins’ Heroes and Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Who among us hasn’t, at one time or another, played the “What if….” game with characters, ideas or settings we’ve found particularly appealing? Maybe we spin out a colourful yarn in our head, or if we’re inspired enough, we put … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged | Comments Off on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Jess Nevins’ Heroes and Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

David Peterson’s Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Vols. 1-3

Given the popularity and critical acclaim of David Peterson’s Mouse Guard series (as witness our own very positive review of the first book, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152), it was almost inevitable that there would be spin-offs. And indeed, Peterson has … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on David Peterson’s Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard, Vols. 1-3

Justin Hall, ed., No Straight Lines

It’s tempting to say that comics underwent a radical transformation in the 1960s and ’70s. They didn’t. What did happen was that comics as a medium, with the rise of underground comics through the agency of R. Crumb and his … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Justin Hall, ed., No Straight Lines

Alex Woolfson’s Artifice

I’m not sure how I ran across mention of Alex Woolfson’s Artifice, but I did. It originated as a Web comic, and what I saw of it interested me enough that I bought the hard copy. Deacon is a prototype … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Alex Woolfson’s Artifice

Brian Vaughan’s The Escapist

The Escapist is an original comic creation springing from Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. And though it’s not at all necessary to have read that marvelous novel to enjoy The Escapists, readers should, because … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Brian Vaughan’s The Escapist

Warren Ellis & J. H. Williams III’s Desolation Jones

The long shadow of John Constantine lingers over the figure of Desolation Jones. But whereas Constantine is a spiky-haired Brit occult operative who abuses his odd network of friends while intimidating people into giving him answers by sheer force of … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Warren Ellis & J. H. Williams III’s Desolation Jones

A. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker’s Air: Letters from Lost Countries

Blythe is not your typical airline attendant. Sure, she’s blonde, pretty and personable, playing into every conceivable stereotype there is. But Blythe is much more than that. For starters, she’s acrophobic, surviving each flight only through the wonders of modern … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged | Comments Off on A. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker’s Air: Letters from Lost Countries

Bill Willingham‘s Fables, The Deluxe Edition: Book One

As might be surmised from the subtitle to this collection, Vertigo has given Bill Willingham’s long-running series Fables the deluxe treatment, much as it has with other top series, such as Sandman, V for Vendetta and Death. This gorgeous volume … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Bill Willingham‘s Fables, The Deluxe Edition: Book One

Studio CLAMP’s Legal Drug, Vols. 1-3

Legal Drug is a series by CLAMP, with story by Ageha Ohkawa, illustrated by Tsubaki Nekoi, that, sadly to my mind, was dropped in 2003 when the magazine in which it was being serialized ceased publication. The first three volumes, … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Studio CLAMP’s Legal Drug, Vols. 1-3

Charles M. Schulz’s The Complete Peanuts: 1957 to 1958

In a recent interview, cartoonist (and the designer of the Complete Peanuts books) Seth described the appeal of Charles Schulz’s iconic comic strip. Schulz was a premier influence on me. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved Schulz. … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Charles M. Schulz’s The Complete Peanuts: 1957 to 1958

Jordan Mechner and A. B. Sina’s Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia presents us with another of the increasing number of spin-offs from gaming. It’s an intriguing story, sometimes filled with pathos, sometimes hair-raising, and always ambiguous. (And in case you were wondering, the plot of the graphic novel … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Jordan Mechner and A. B. Sina’s Prince of Persia

Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s Brain Camp

I think the best description I’ve seen of Brain Camp, written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, drawn by Faith Erin Hicks, is “creepy.” Camp Fielding is a parent’s dream: a summer camp dedicated to taking your young loser and … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged | Comments Off on Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s Brain Camp

Simon Oliver’s Hellblazer, Vol. 1: The Poison Truth

John Constantine is back in London, after suffering exile in New York — the result of a curse by a demon that caused remaining in London to infect Constantine with a possibly fatal disease. But, as usual, Constantine has found … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Simon Oliver’s Hellblazer, Vol. 1: The Poison Truth

J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell’s Danger Girl: The Ultimate Collection

Let’s face it; if you spent your life stealing stuff to make a living, wouldn’t it be tempting to chuck your “career” for a guaranteed gig with a group of save-the-world types? Especially if that group just saved your bacon? … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged | Comments Off on J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell’s Danger Girl: The Ultimate Collection

Momoko Tenzen’s Seven

Momoko Tenzen’s Seven is another one of those boys’ love manga that, like Kimi Shiruya, moves the genre boundaries outward, although unlike the latter — and most popular examples of the type — it is rather bleak, at least at … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Momoko Tenzen’s Seven

Satoru Ishihara’s Kimi Shiruya: Dost Thou Know?

A few general remarks on Japanese comics first, for those who are new to this area. Manga is the term for Japanese comics in general, within which the two major divisions are shoujo, or “manga for girls,” and shounen, “manga … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Satoru Ishihara’s Kimi Shiruya: Dost Thou Know?

Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s The Umbrella Academy: Dallas

Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba have come up with what is one of the most original “superhero” series I’ve seen: The Umbrella Academy. It’s a group, all young, who have powers of one sort or another, but don’t look for … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s The Umbrella Academy: Dallas

Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

Part steam punk, part superhero comic and all attitude, Umbrella Academy is the brainchild of rock front man Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance). The titular “academy” is actually a group of oddly powered kids, raised by an eccentric space alien … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba’s The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

David Wohl et al’s The Witchblade Compendium, Volume 1

Andrew Wheeler penned this review. Some stories are merely bad — dull, uninspired, or simply misformed. Others are bad in entertaining ways — bad movies, outsider art, and demented pulp fiction. Some stories are so horrible that it’s physically painful … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on David Wohl et al’s The Witchblade Compendium, Volume 1

David Wohl et al’s Tomb Raider Compendium

My, that was a great deal of truly fun reading! All fifty issues of the series, (1,248 pages!) including the covers for each individual issue, have been collected in a trade paper edition. Oh, did I mention the superb color? … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on David Wohl et al’s Tomb Raider Compendium

Joss Whedon’s Fray

I was, once uponn a time, one of a mere handful of people who had had no experience of the work of Joss Whedon. The others were, I’m sure, comfortably ensconced in caves in the Himalayas. (I’m a non-TV person. … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Joss Whedon’s Fray

John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad: Trial by Fire

I first ran across the work of John Ostrander in his collaboration with Gail Simone in Secret Six: Danse Macabre. I had my reservations, but now that I’ve read what may be considered the forerunner to that series, Suicide Squad: … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad: Trial by Fire

Hyouta Fujiyama’s Ordinary Crush, Vols. 1 & 2

Hyouta Fujiyama has become one of my favorite mangaka doing BL, mostly because of her strong, clean graphics and charming stories. (For some general remarks on BL, see my comments on Dash!.) In Ordinary Crush we have the core of … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Hyouta Fujiyama’s Ordinary Crush, Vols. 1 & 2

Isaku Natsume’s Dash!

Isaku Natsume’s Dash represents an excellent example of the genre in shoujo manga (“manga for girls”) known in Japan as BL (boys’ love), bishonen-ai or shonen-ai, or, as is generally the case in the West, yaoi (pronounced, if one is … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Isaku Natsume’s Dash!

Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone

Flesh and Bone is a prequel to The Surrogates, taking the story back fifteen years to the anti-surrogate riots of 2039. The incident that sparks the crisis is the beating death of a derelict by three teenagers who are using … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s The Surrogates: Flesh and Bone

Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s The Surrogates

Robert Venditti’s The Surrogates, drawn by Brett Weldele, is right up among the top graphic works I’ve run across recently. Set in a near-future megalopolis, it’s a fast-moving crime drama with a couple of unique twists. The central motivator in … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele’s The Surrogates

Stephen J. Brooks’ Alexander Asenby’s Great Adventure; Creatures of the Night

Stephen J. Brooks, a former federal agent, is a writer of children’s books, and two of his newest happened to cross my desk. I think it’s probably an open secret at this point that I enjoy children’s literature, with a … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Stephen J. Brooks’ Alexander Asenby’s Great Adventure; Creatures of the Night

Protected: Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume One: The Assassins’ Road and Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume Two: The Gateless Barrier

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Posted in Graphic Literature | Comments Off on Protected: Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume One: The Assassins’ Road and Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume Two: The Gateless Barrier

Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón’s Vlad the Impaler: The Man Who Was Dracula

The historical Vlad III, the Impaler, whose story this book purports to tell, was a voivode — “prince” — of Wallachia in the later fifteenth century. He is known mainly for his policy of independence from the Ottoman Empire, of … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón’s Vlad the Impaler: The Man Who Was Dracula

Antonio Prohias’ Spy vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook

Those of us who remember Mad magazine in the 1960s and ’70s also remember “Spy vs. Spy,” Antonio Prohias’ ongoing series about the Black Spy and the White Spy (and sometimes the Gray Spy, a female counterpart, as well) who … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Antonio Prohias’ Spy vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook

Peter Milligan’s John Constantine: Hellblazer India

I’ve read the entire three hundred issue run of Hellblazer in trade editions save some in the middle of the run that Vertigo, a unit of DC Comics, from reasons not terribly clear to anyone was not released in that … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Peter Milligan’s John Constantine: Hellblazer India

Keith Giffen’s Lobo: 100 Page Spectacular

Lobo is another of those DC characters with a somewhat checkered past. Introduced in 1983 as a hardened villain (with, in that incarnation, a short shelf life), he was resurrected in the early ’90s as one of a growing number … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Keith Giffen’s Lobo: 100 Page Spectacular

Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express: Twentieth Anniversary Edition 

Christopher White penned this review. Perhaps it’s the season, or the utter magic of Van Allsburg’s talents, whatever the reasons, the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of The Polar Express appears luxurious and incandescent. If you have (as we do) a beloved dog-eared copy that … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express: Twentieth Anniversary Edition 

Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Blackest Night/Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi’s Brightest Day, Vol. 1

Blackest Night and Brightest Day mark another DC “crossover event” in which pretty much everyone gets reinvented. These have become almost a requirement in superhero comics, I suspect because of the periodic necessity of reconciling the various universes occupied by … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Blackest Night/Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi’s Brightest Day, Vol. 1

Grant Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Batman has probably been rethought and retooled more than any other superhero, and The Return of Bruce Wayne, a six issue mini-series here collected in a hardback edition, gives us an extended reconstruction as Wayne works his way through history … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Grant Morrison’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Tony Bedard and Kevin VanHook’s Oracle: The Cure

You don’t really need tights and a cape to be a superhero. You don’t need super strength or mutant abilities. You don’t even have to have your body surgically or chemically altered. (Willingly or otherwise.) Mind, these things don’t hurt, … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Tony Bedard and Kevin VanHook’s Oracle: The Cure

Mike Mignola and John Bryne’s Hellboy: The Library Edition, Volume One

The volumes in this format, six as I write this look at the first one, look larger than they actually as they’re nine inches by twelve inches. The covers are black matte finish with gold lettering on them. Rather classy … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Mike Mignola and John Bryne’s Hellboy: The Library Edition, Volume One

Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Absolute Edition

I don’t own many of the Absolute Editions because a) they cost a lot, and b) there’s very few other graphic novels I believe warrant this approach such as the Absolute Edition of the Planetary series that was written by … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Absolute Edition

Jack Vance and Humayoun Ibrahim’s The Moon Moth

At risk of dating myself, I remember Jack Vance’s “The Moon Moth” from its first publication in Galaxy magazine. (I admit it — I was a science fiction geek, with subscriptions to Galaxy, Analog, and The Magazine of Fantasy and … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged | Comments Off on Jack Vance and Humayoun Ibrahim’s The Moon Moth

Futaro Yamada and Masaki Segawa’s Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, Vols. 1-5 (trans. David Ury)

Basilisk is Masaki Segawa’s manga adaptation of Futaro Yamada’s 1958 historical novel The Kouga Ninja Scrolls. It counts mostly as “historical fantasy,” and as rendered in the manga version, the story line is fairly spare while the “surround,” the visual … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Futaro Yamada and Masaki Segawa’s Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls, Vols. 1-5 (trans. David Ury)

Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 1: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories; The Barry Windsor-Smith Archive: Conan, Volume 1

Once upon a time there was a young English illustrator who wanted to draw comics. He wanted to draw comics badly enough that he came to America with little more than the clothes on his back and a sheaf of … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s The Chronicles of Conan, Vol. 1: The Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories; The Barry Windsor-Smith Archive: Conan, Volume 1

Roy Thomas, et al., The Chronicles of Kull, Volume 1: A King Comes Riding and Other Stories

Before there was Conan, there was Kull! At least, so we were reminded on any number of covers of comics featuring stories about Robert E. Howard’s Kull, the spiritual forerunner of Conan. Kull was arguably the most important of Howard’s … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Roy Thomas, et al., The Chronicles of Kull, Volume 1: A King Comes Riding and Other Stories

Bill Willingham’s Fables: Legends in Exile and Fables: Animal Farm 

Imagine, if you will, if the inhabitants of the fairytales you know so well — human and fantastical alike — were alive and well and living in New York. Such is the premise behind Bill Willingham’s Fables series for Vertigo Comics. The … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , | Comments Off on Bill Willingham’s Fables: Legends in Exile and Fables: Animal Farm 

Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice’s Greek Street: Cassandra Complex

I’m sure you’ve heard the song “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from Kiss Me, Kate. Well, in the case of Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice’s Greek Street, it should go “Brush Up Your Aeschylus.” And Sophocles. And Euripides. Because you’re going … Continue reading

Posted in Graphic Literature | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice’s Greek Street: Cassandra Complex