So last week Stephie regaled you with short reviews of the graphic novels she has read and I thought that I would do the same thing today. Short reviews that hopefully manage to express the flavour of the graphic novel in a concise, helpful manner (snerk). Anyway. On to the books read!
Edited by Chris Duffy, this volume presents, in glorious colour, the rhymes that will be familiar to you if you have grown up in North America or even England. Heck, I know most of them and I spent my formative years on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The artists include names such as Craig Thompson, Vera Bosgol and Dave Roman. The rhymes are pretty loyal to the “original” version textually but the artists subvert them with their art, exploiting the more ambiguous portions or adding something more that questions the logic of the rhyme. This gave the volumes a lot more substance and made them a delight to read as deciphering the message (or anti-message) became a pleasure.
Zombillenium, apart from being a wonderful word to say, is just one of the best graphic novels I have read. The art is brilliant (and this should totally have its own review but I’ll wait until Yash has read this and loves it enough to review it) and the story is funny. Set in a theme park called Zombillenium, the novel follows the life of a man who gets hit by a car, dies, turned into a werewolf and then a vampire and then gives signs of going berserk. Only he is saved from being put down by a witch who may or may not have been sired by the devil (that’s her on the cover). The novel won me over for the wit and the funny (the humans think the zombies/witches/mummy are other humans in disguise and well…they’re not) and the charm. de Pins made me care about the characters and want to read more. Not convinced? Here’s a video.
Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh is easily one of my favourite graphic novel series. It focalizes on Courtney who moves to a new town where her strange uncle lives and finds out that there is more to this world than what she had been led to believe. Courtney is a fun character and I enjoy watching her grow as she most surely does. The way the parents are treated is very interesting to me. There is a certain contempt in the way the novel portrays them and it makes me think. Courtney’s adventures with the arcane makes for some heartfelt stories and the art work is sheer brilliance.
The duology is about many things – art, friendship and staying true to yourself despite external pressures. Jane, a city kid, is involved in a terrorist attack and her parents pack her up and take her to a town they deem safe. There she meets three other girls named Janes and together they start an art club that often skates the periphery of legality. The novels deals with many things in bite sizes and while they are not my favourite, they are great ways to begin discussions about important things like terrorism, parental depression, art and other things. I would recommend this duology for tweens because though it deals with a number of heavy themes, it does so rather breezily which may be what is necessary.
The novel is rather whimsical in tone and is an interesting at how a girl who barely speaks to anyone in school, finds herself in the backseat of kids she goes to school with but hasn’t ever exchanged words with. This requires more than one reading to grasp and fully enjoy (at least for me) but it has a certain charm to it that makes it linger with you longer after the book has been returned to the library. I cannot really articulate the experience but urge you to try the novel out. You may be surprised.