Graphic Novel “The New York Four”

The New York Four cover image
The New York Four cover image
Brian Wood (DMZ, DEMO) writes about something he knows pretty intimately, NYC. Add in accurate to life art from Ryan Kelly to the witty writing style and you’ve got a good novel.

Although I’m not sure Minx will survive as an imprint. Hopefully it does well with it’s target, I’m guessing, young(ish) female audience. Or someone! It looks like there’s a few gems in there that could work up to classics like La Perdida or Love & Rockets.

In any case our store follows along our protagonist through the foibles of starting up college at NYU on an true to life New York City -scape (although they don’t mention Dumpling Man on St. Marks. For shame.) and making new friends.

It’s a fairly clever and entertaining slice of life story, hopefully to be followed by more. Check it out.

Minx, New DC Imprint, Publishing non-Hero Graphic Novels

Looks like DC Comics has another non-spandex related imprint. It almost seems like a softer side of Vertigo, without the over-the-top-ness that line tends to engender. Focused more on drama and interesting social stories it’s line-up so far features quite a few top-rate authors.

Think Love & Rockets and you’ve got the right idea.

Needless to say, I approve. You can catch their current issues at your local bookstore and check out what they’ve got to offer at the website.

Shooting War by Anthony Lappé & Dan Goldman

Shooting War
Shooting War
War sucks. That’s pretty much what Jimmy Burns finds out in the graphic novel Shooting War. Jimmy was a video blogger who got his 15 minutes after being in the right place at the right time and live streaming the destruction of his apartment building by a bomber.

Newly homeless, he’s conned into parlaying that brief experience into a wider role in the field of journalism, traveling to the Iraqi front of 2011. As it turns out broadcasting from the front lines of a war-zone has little in common with railing against the evils of corporate eminent domain.

Throw in a over zealous military commander and a terrorist strong man actively making Jimmy’s life a little more interesting than it needs to be and you’ve got an intriguing plot. “Ripped from the headlines” as TV media likes to tout.

Featuring an interesting artist’s perspective, coming as it does through the lens of a camera, Dan Goldman throws up a view of Jimmy largely from a lens eye. It’s a rolling look at the atrocities of war, and the web comic left me wanting a bit more.

If you’d like to see if it’s to your tastes, check out the first half of the story up on Shooting War’s website. The print version with it’s extra 110 pages of content is available pretty much everywhere.

Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria’s “Life Sucks”

Cover of Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria's Life Sucks
Cover of Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria's Life Sucks
What if vampire’s were real? Not just some kind of blood sucking fiends of the night, but really real, needing to get a day job to eek by in an apartment. Or trying to impress the cutie that stops by the convenience mart?

That’s the premise of Jessica Abel and Gabe Soria’s Life Sucks, drawn by the talented Warren Pleece (notably contributed to ongoing series Hellblazer and The Invisibles). Vampire’s are here, they drink blood, avoid the day, and are taking our low pay night jobs.. mostly because of their resilience. We’re also treated to a light romp of a romance along the way.

Art in the series is reminiscent of Richard Moore in spots, although Pleece tends more toward lines than Moore’s more rounded look. It might be the emotive expressions that bring Boneyard to mind. In any case it’s smooth and lends a nice fluidity to the story, well matched to it’s tone and tenor.

Good stuff, give it a look!

Unintented Consequences of Auto Matching Algorithms

I don’t think people have much to fear from cheap auto-matching algorithms anytime soon.

For instance, Robert Frosts poem “Fire and Ice”, if the book cover it’s paired with is anything to judge by, is a story of a barbarian on a windswept plain surrounded by buxom scantly clad women. I don’t think I could actually come up with this funny a pairing.

R.A. Salvatore’s “The Ancient”

Book Cover - RA Salvator's The Ancient
Book Cover - RA Salvator's The Ancient
Having liked R.A. Salvatore’s last entry in this almost-series, namely The Highwayman, I thought I would pick up it’s chronological follow up, The Ancient.

Most of the story takes place in the northern reaches with the Church of Blessed Abelle, an institution founded on good intentions that it frequently only pays lip-service and the “Old God” worshiping cult of the Samhaists again playing a prominent role.

Coming on the heels of the events chronicled in Highwayman Bransen has set out to find out more about his mystic training and the book left for him by his father. Unsure on weather the training offered by the mystics responsible for his martial arts prowess and ability to harness power from Abellican stones he begins by diverting from his intended path, where our story begins to pick up.

While it’s not as gripping as the previous novel, Ancient does have some merits that make it worth a read. The characters and their surroundings are interesting and well thought out. The intrigue and interactions between church factions both within and without the politically gaining Abellican order remain a strong focal point for the story and the orders rise creates a interesting center-point for this chapter of Corona’s history.

If you like Salvatore’s other work or you’re looking for a solid swashbuckling read give The Ancient a look. Anyone unfamiliar with his work might want to check out The Highwayman first, as it gives this story a bit of context and otherwise lacking understanding of Bransen’s character.

WormWood: Bit of Graphic Novel Dimentia from Ben Templesmith

Wormwood the zombie riding a tentacle
Wormwood the zombie riding a tentacle
Never log onto your space from a HOPE convention and think “I really need to change the password on this right now at roughly 3 o’clock in the morning after a bit of drinking. You won’t remember it. I finally recovered the password, but it took long enough (as evidenced by the paucity of posts).

In any case, Ben Templesmith has been up to some hijinks, having come out with a now decent length series of graphic novels (and one would assume comic format releases) by the title of WormWood. A necrotic worm living in used corpses hedging a resistence against the Earth being destroyed.

Interesting stuff.

You’ll remember Mr Templesmith from the largely non-publishing series “Fell” (“Where did Warren Ellis’s Fell Go?“). This time he’s in full color, mostly single color washed out panels with his rough, smudgy-yet-detailed art style that seems to bring some life out of the object, especially objects as grotesque as this.

And the subject matter is fairly grotesque. Quite a bit of raunch to go around with a zombie inducing worm that drinks and hangs out at a strip club above a trans-dimensional gate. That’s run by immortal gate-keeping strippers. Frankly, if you think that’s funny the comic might be for you. You can check out some snippits of his art over at templesmith.com if you’ve yet to sample the work.

So, world saving zombies, drag queen leprechauns, and a sidekick made out of beer cans with no. Err. Nuts. What’s not to like?