Graphic Novel(s) Of The Month

It's another "three-fer" this month, since I'm too busy and worn out to do an in-depth review of one work, so you get three short ones! See, everyone wins! I get some of my day back and you get three very solid recommendations...

Fell: Limited Edition Hardcover (Image): One of Warren Ellis' best writing efforts to date. Ellis proves that he is a genre master and genre "tinkerer" here. What I think he does so skillfully is take a pretty tired genre (the cop/crime one) and infuse it with some horror elements, the combination of which transcends either original by itself. And for a little twist, the fact that the ideas are lifted from actual events only further underscores the disturbing realism of the "reality" he's creating. Throw on some inventive Ben Templesmith art (who really looks to be at the top of his game here) and you have not only an instant winner, but an instant classic. Grade A.

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Archaia Studios Press): Mouse Guard is one of the subtlest, yet boldest debuts in a long time. I say subtle, because superficially these look like relatively simple themes being toyed around with, survival, society, loyalty, etc. The story, on the surface, looks like a mish-mash of other pop culture influences. And artistically, some of the figures can ostensibly be quite simplistic in their representational forms. This is just a bunch of mice running around trying to preserve their hidden society... right? Wrong. Mouse Guard is bold. Yes, there are just a handful of themes. Yes, the art can be a bit stark. But, the strength of those themes, the elegance in the simplicity of those forms, and the unique world that's been created here, all stand straight up and punch you squarely between the eyes. Mouse Guard is like a shining beacon of pure thought, strong messaging, focused scripting, and skillful delivery. Grade A.

The Professor's Daughter (First Second): Not necessarily as "deep" or thoughtful as some of Joann Sfar's other work (namely, The Rabbi's Cat), but this work balances a wide-eyed innocence with some witty mischief. It's a whimsical story about life and love. Errrr, about the afterlife and undying love, anyway. Guibert's watercolors are extremely beautiful and worth the price of admission alone, they lend an airy light, almost dreamlike feel to the story that supports that balance of wonderment and fun. Grade A.


At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Mouse Guard. Are there any other Archaia books that you can recommend?

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

For sure!

I don't read all of ASP's offerings, but I can strongly suggest Okko: Cycle of Water (really unique take on the whole Manga/Ronin type vibe, *beautiful* art - think issue 2 or 3 of 4 is out, with a trade due out soon) and my personal favorite: The Killer, which is a deeply introspective study of a professional hitman, surprising and original.

Thanks for reading!


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