Category Archives: Graphic Literature

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice’s Greek Street: Blood Calls for Blood

Greek Street: Blood Calls for Blood is the first compilation of the individual numbers of the comic series. It offers another retelling of the Greek myths, translated to the seamy underbelly of a contemporary city — in this case, London’s … Continue reading

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Alexander Irvine and Tomm Coker’s Daredevil Noir

One has come to expect tight, absorbing writing from Alexander Irvine, and one is not disappointed in the Daredevil installment of the Marvel Noir series. Daredevil is not one of those superheroes who’s been very much on my radar, so … Continue reading

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Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak’s Brundibar

Rebecca Scott penned this review. Pepicek (very small) and Aninku (his sister, even smaller) have a problem: their mother is very sick. The doctor told them to go to town to get milk, but how can two children who have no … Continue reading

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Gilbert Hernandez’s The Book of Ofelia and Jaime Hernandez’s  Ghost of Hoppers

Love & Rockets is the most eloquent statement that’s ever been done about growing up in [Latin American] culture. I’;ve never seen anything else in comics — I guess there might be something in literature — but in comics there’s … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman and Michael Zulli’s Creatures of the Night 

This slim hardback graphic novel contains two short stories by Neil Gaiman, both illustrated by a frequent collaborator of his, Michael Zulli. Previously released in plain text form in Smoke and Mirrors, “The Price” and “The Daughter of Owls” have been … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Kindly Ones

When Hippolyta Hall’s young son Daniel is kidnapped, she slips slowly into madness. Assuming that Dream has taken him, she goes searching for the goddesses who loaned her their name when she was a superhero: the Furies. These three ancient … Continue reading

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Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are

It happens every so often that I find myself asked to write a “review” of something that is so deeply imbedded in our culture and such an integral part of our collective experience that my first impulse is to run … Continue reading

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Aya Kanno’s Blank Slate

Aya Kanno’s Blank Slate is the sort of thing that turns up in manga from time to time — a grim story peopled by some frightening characters, all wrapped in gorgeous drawing. I will say, however, that I didn’t expect … Continue reading

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Kazuya Minekura’s Wild Adapter, Vols. 1-5

Kazuya Minekura is a well-known manga artist responsible for, among other things, Saiyuki and Araiso Private High School Student Council Executive Committee, which I have only seen in anime and which, believe it or not, is directly relevant to Wild … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish 

Robert Wiersema penned this review. who has spent any time with a child, or with a children’s book, will realize that a child’s sense of humour, and of reality, tends toward the gloriously demented. In the open, amorphous, formative state of … Continue reading

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Mike Mignola and Joshua Dysart’s B.P.R.D. 1946 

I must profusely thank the publicity department at Dark Horse for sending literary treats such as B.P.R.D. 1946 for us to review, as they make for a wonderful reading experience! Imagine that like Stross’ The Laundry universe where Bob Howard, our very … Continue reading

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Si Spencer and Dean Ormiston’s The Books of Magick: Life During Wartime: Book One

Life During Wartime represents a distinct break with The Books of Magic as it had been developed by Neil Gaiman and John Ney Rieber. Si Spencer, working with Gaiman, “updated” the characters and took them into a new set of … Continue reading

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John Ney Rieber’s The Books of Magic

John Ney Rieber, Gary Amaro, Peter Gross, The Books of Magic: Bindings (Vertigo, 1995) John Ney Rieber, Peter Gross, Peter Snejbjerg, Gary Amaro, Dick Giordiano, The Books of Magic: Summonings (Vertigo, 1996) John Ney Rieber, Peter Snejbjerg, Peter Gross, John … Continue reading

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Neil Gaiman’s The Books of Magic

Neil Gaiman’s The Books of Magic — the original story, not the series — began when DC Comics approached Gaiman about doing a series that would bring together the “magic” characters of the DC Universe. Gaiman created the character of … Continue reading

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Diana Schutz and Tim Sale’s Grendel: Devil Child

Devil Child, written by Diana Schutz and drawn by Tim Sale, tells the story of Hunter Rose’s adopted child, Stacy Palumbo, and the birth of her daughter, Christine Spar, who became the next Grendel. The story is a narrative by … Continue reading

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Matt Wagner’s Batman/Grendel

Matt Wagner did two crossover series, the first a joint effort between Comico, his publisher at the time, and DC Comics, and the second between Dark Horse and DC, to bring together Grendel and Batman. In the first mini-series, originally … Continue reading

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Matt Wagner’s Grendel: Devil Quest

Matt Wagner’s Grendel has been a phenomenally successful series practically from its beginning in Comico’s Primer in 1982. Due to the vicissitudes of the comics industry, however, it’s been somewhat sporadic. Despite that, it has become successful enough, and important … Continue reading

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Matt Wagner’s Grendel: Devil by the Deed

Matt Wagner’s Grendel, as I’ve mentioned before, was in many ways revolutionary. In spite of the initial, mostly negative, reaction, it proved to be one of the milestones in the development of comics as a form. Some of the thematic … Continue reading

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Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, and Alberto Ponticelli’s Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: Volume 1: War of The Monsters / Volume 2: Secrets of The Dead

When DC created the first wave of what they called the “The New 52!”, they mined the more obscure corners of their character archives to find properties interesting enough to be worthy of their own title. Now I’ll admit that … Continue reading

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Matt Wagner’s Grendel Archives

Matt Wagner was one of a generation of writers and artists who essentially remade comics in the 1980s. This does not count R. Crumb and the others who opened comics up to new modes of expression (and content) in the … Continue reading

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Paul Dini, Dustin Nguyen, and Derek Fridolfs’ Batman: Streets of Gotham: Hush Money

Streets of Gotham: Hush Money is another installment in the Batman Reborn series (or should I call it a “universe”?), and another in which Tommy Elliott, the villain Hush and Bruce Wayne’s good friend and bitter enemy, plays a large … Continue reading

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Paul Dini and Carlos D’Anda’s Batman: Arkham City

Splashed across the bottom of the dust jacket to Arkham City is “The lead-in to the highly anticipated video game!” Let that be a warning. Batman and the Joker got into it in a big way a year ago, with … Continue reading

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Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’sTransmetropolitan: Back on the Street

Transmetropolitan is another of Warren Ellis’ spiky and superbly wrought stories that, in many important respects, turns comics on their head. Back on the Street incorporates the first three numbers in the series in the tale of Spider Jerusalem, journalist. Spider Jerusalem is … Continue reading

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Paul Dini and Guillem March’s Gotham City Sirens: Union

Gotham City Sirens is another installment of Batman Reborn and, like Batman and Robin, it seems to be marking time until something significant happens, somewhere. Catwoman is rescued from an encounter with Boneblaster, Gotham’s latest would-be crime star, by Poison … Continue reading

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Andy Diggle and Jock’s Green Arrow: Year One

To re-invent an ongoing character who has been in existence since 1941 is no small undertaking, although in the case of Green Arrow, a/k/a Ollie Queen, there was a lot of history to draw on — this is not the … Continue reading

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Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith, 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

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Warren Ellis’ Ignition City, Vol. 1

I promised myself, when I read Warren Ellis’ Planetary, that I was going to become more familiar with his work. Well, up popped the first volume of the collected Ignition City, and it’s just as good. Mary Raven, like all … Continue reading

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Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary

All Over the World and Other Stories (Wildstorm/DC, 2000) The Fourth Man (Wildstorm/DC, 2001) Leaving the 20th Century (Wildstorm/DC, 2004) Spacetime Archaeology (Wildstorm/DC, 2010) Crossing Worlds (Wildstorm/DC, 2004) Planetary is a comics series that ran from 1999 through 2009, with … Continue reading

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Craig Thompson’s Habibi

Craig Thompson’s Habibi is a sprawling tale (that’s 672 pages of sprawling) that relates the adventures of two lostlings, the girl verging on womanhood Dodola, and the much younger Zam, a boy who she finds lost in the desert. They … Continue reading

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Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s Daytripper

Daytripper, by Brazilian twins Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, is a series of stories and vignettes on the lives and deaths of Brás de Oliva Domingos, the son of a famous writer who hopes himself to be one day equally … Continue reading

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Andy Lanning, et al.: The Authority: Rule Britannia

The Authority: Rule Britannia is the second part of Wildstorm’s World’s End series. By this time, the world is pretty much of a mess: the Carrier is grounded in the city of London — now “Unlondon” — to which its … Continue reading

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Mike Carey, Peter Gross: The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity

Bill Willingham, in his introduction to The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, talks about the emergence of a new genre in comics: he calls it the LAF triumvirate, a “new wave” of literature-based fantasy, animal fantasy, and fairy-tale … Continue reading

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Tony Lee, Sam Hart, Artur Fujita: Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood

Anyone who has seen any of the film versions of the Robin Hood legend has a good take on the story as presented by Tony Lee in Outlaw: The Legend of Robin Hood, although Lee has given us a prelude, … Continue reading

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Gareth Hinds’ King Lear

Adapting the classics to graphic novel form is an undertaking that is, as they say, “fraught with peril.” I’ve seen excellent examples, such as Gareth Hinds’ Beowulf, and those that have turned out sort of — well, mediocre. (There’s an … Continue reading

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Gareth Hinds’s Beowulf

If you don’t know the story of Beowulf by now, I have no sympathy — as a freshman at university, I had to read it in Old English. This version, adapted by Gareth Hinds, uses the 1904 translation by A. … Continue reading

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Mike Carey and John Bolton’s The Sandman Presents: The Furies

Mike Carey’s The Furies, illustrated by John Bolton, is another spin off from Neil Gaiman’s series The Sandman, and captures that same blend of myth and everyday life that was such a striking feature of Gaiman’s work. The story in … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: All Hell’s A-Coming and Alamo

The final two volumes of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s epic Preacher, All Hell’s A-Coming and Alamo, bring us back to the Quest. In All Hell’s A-Coming, Jesse and Tulip (and Cassidy) are reunited. It hasn’t been an easy time … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: Salvation

Salvation gives us an intermezzo within the story of Jesse Custer’s search for God. In Jesse’s case, the search is literal: he has some things to say to the Almighty. But there are things, it seems, he must do along … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: Dixie Fried and War in the Sun

After the hiatus of Ancient History, the saga of Preacher continues with Dixie Fried and War in the Sun. The overall story line is still Jesse Custer’s search for God, with the express purpose of reading him the riot act … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis, Steve Pugh, Carlos Ezquerra, and Richard Case’s Preacher: Ancient History

And Preacher continues, although the fourth volume of the collected stories doesn’t really move forward. Ancient History is just that — backstory on some of the secondary characters. “Saint of Killers” gives us the origins of that archetypal character — … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: Until the End of the World and Proud Americans

Until the End of the World and Proud Americans are volumes two and three of the collected Preacher, the epic tour of an America that might be by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Together they encompass the Grail story line … Continue reading

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Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher: Gone to Texas

Preacher is one of those series that was always on my list of things to check out someday. I had a vague idea that it involved some guy walking around in a cowboy duster shooting things up. It’s not that, … Continue reading

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Ray Fawkes’ Gotham By Midnight

As you might have noticed in my review of the DC Showcase’s The Spectre animated short film, I find this DC character fascinating. So I was fascinating when I heard that DC had announced that this Gotham City based supernatural … Continue reading

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DC Showcase’s The Spectre

The animation, like those of the Green Arrow and Jonah Hex that I previously reviewed, is some of the best animated work these folks have done over the past twenty years. Here the Los Angeles setting makes the animators strive … Continue reading

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