Tag Archives: graphic novel

Preview: Regular Show: Hydration OGN

Regular Show: Hydration OGN TP

Imprint: KaBOOM!

Writer: Rachel Connor
Artist: Allison Strejlau

Mordecai and Rigby star in their very first original graphic novel for REGULAR SHOW—it’s a long-form story that will be like watching one of their TV episodes. And we’re pretty excited about the team on this: Cartoon Network veteran Rachel Connor (Ed, Edd n Eddy) and Bravest Warriors artist Tessa Stone!

It’s another ridiculous adventure featuring the crazy antics of park employees Mordecai the blue jay and Rigby the raccoon as they try to beat the summer heat.

The summer is turning into a roast-fest and Mordecai and Rigby are desperate to find a way to cool down. But when a mystery pool suddenly appears and offers a chance to beat the heat, it’s only a matter of time before these two best bros find themselves in totally water-logged trouble.


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WARNING: Distressing S.O.S. footage received from Goliath prison vessel


Review: This One Summer

thisonesummer-coverRose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, have redefined the teen graphic novel with This One Summer. The story is heartbreaking, hopeful, and a vibrant view into girlhood and growing up. The honesty, in both the characters, and situations are a breath of fresh air. The story, and its presentation feels like a big budget coming-of-age story, just on the printed page. The situation, reactions, interactions, it all feels very really, and honest. Kids act like kids, and especially act their age, making it all the more relateable.

For as much innocence, and “child antics,” the adults aren’t shorted either. Their arcs are emotionally resonating, and very real, examining the difficulty of adulthood, and marriage. In one solid graphic novel, adults, teens, and children, go through emotional arcs, somewhat tied together, and all resonating together. It’s a gut punch, and one hell of a read.

The art too is fantastic, mixing in simple panels, multi page spreads, and images that break the panels, with a flow that’s beautiful to stare at. The narrative at times is almost poetic, blending together text and imagery. The art is as beautiful as the story it brings to life.

This is an all ages entry, especially perfect for tweenage girls, looking for something with characters they can relate to, but also looking for something a bit more adult at the same time. This One Summer, is the perfect read during the upcoming summer days.

Story and Art: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hellboy: House of the Living Dead (GN)

18136Yeah, yeah, so Mike Mignola and Richard Corben‘s graphic novel (though it’s only 56 pages, so novella?) Hellboy: House of the Living Dead is two years old, having been published back in 2011. But I swear there’s a good reason you’re seeing, and hopefully reading and commenting on, this review. First of all, I just got it in the mail from Amazon and read it as fast as I could, in probably about 30 minutes or less, because I just had to keep going. And secondly, with Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, Mignola’s next Hellboy graphic novel, just around the corner (November), it seems an apt time to reflect on the most recent novel-length graphic narrative of the ‘man’ with the Right Hand of Doom.

House of the Living Dead is a tribute to the classic Hollywood monster movies of the 1930s and 1940s. Mignola dedicates the book to Boris Karloff (the mad scientist in Frankenstein and sequels, 1931-1939), Glenn Strange (the monster in Karloff’s movies and others), John Carradine (the Count in sequels to Dracula starring Bela Lugosi), and Lon Chaney Jr. (“the always sad Wolf Man”). With this in mind, and Mignola’s apparent affection for “Mexican-wrestler-vs.-monster movies” (which he says he’s never seen, but likes the idea of), House of the Living Dead is both a wonderful nod to the roots of America’s popular non-literary addiction to the classic monsters that had their origin in European Gothic fiction of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as a glimpse into a dark period of Hellboy’s early years.

The narrative is as unique as any Hellboy tale, but probably a bit weirder than your average experience with comics and graphic novels. Mexico, 1956 (so Hellboy is 12 in our world, 312 in reality). Hellboy has become a champion luchador  (say, what?!), but even that wasn’t able to save his pal Esteban from being sired by vampires and turned into Camazotz, a hulking vampire-luchador whose visage reminds me of the Batman: Knightfall version of Bane, but which is actually a bat god of the K’iche’ Mayans (the word means “death bat”). After another successful fight, Hellboy is asked by a man to come fight a mad scientist’s champion or else a girl will be murdered. Well, Hellboy obliges…and the monster turns out to be a Mexican Frankenstein’s monster knock off. We learn that the scientist was desperate for his monster to fight Hellboy because a groups of hellion imps ordered him to–yeah, this definitely fits into recent continuity.

One thing after another confronts Hellboy: the monster turns out to be a good guy, and goes to kill the scientist; the house (you know, “of the Living Dead“) burns down; zombies attack; Raul saves the girl he threatened, then turns into a wolf-man and shoots the girl; Hellboy knocks out the wolf-man, but the girl’s blood awoke a Mexican Dracula, which Hellboy kills in one fell swoop; vampire-witch-ghosts torment Hellboy and remind him of Esteban’s death (so they sired him…); and with his last breath wolf-man Raul uncovers a glowing crucifix and prays, killing al the vampires and lighting Hellboy on fire. Whew! If you think that was a roller coaster ride to read, then you’ve got a little taste of how fast paced and jam-packed with zany and sometimes purposely campy Hellboy: House of the Living Dead is. In short: it’s a must have graphic novel for anyone, even someone who’s never read Hellboy, though a few nuances might be lost.

Both Mignola and Corben strive to make the point that the most human characters in this work are the monsters, and that the humans are the ones who act like monsters. This is what draws me to Corben’s art, his ability to make humanity ugly because sometimes it deserves to be, and perhaps is one of the reasons he is acclaimed as the greatest graphic adapter of Edgar Allan Poe’s works–he truly understands how to interpret the Gothic message for a modern, comic-reading audience. This is why Corben and Mignola are such a perfect pairing. The reversal of the reader’s opinion of (hu)man and monster is mot an unusual take on what it means to be human in postmodern art and media, but certainly a unique one that achieves its end by drawing on the extremes of humanness and imbuing them in the monsters: alcoholism and depression (‘the bad’) vs. redemption and heroism (‘the good’). It’s these attributes that make Hellboy more of a man than the mad scientist or Raul, and the scientist’s Monster’s refusal to be, well, a monster, that makes him a paragon of virtue. They can be humans even when they struggle with their existence, while humans can’t even figure out health care reform or marriage equality.

Hellboy fans, horror fans, classic movie fans, wrestling fans…hell, anyone who has ever wondered what it means to be human: Hellboy: House of the Living Dead is for you.

image0001Story: Mike Mignola  Art: Richard Corben, Dave Stewart (Colorist)
Story: 9  Art: 9  Overall: 10  Recommendation: Buy

A Decade Ago, Eric Drooker Drew about a New York City in Physical and Moral Crisis with FLOOD!

Nicole is our newest contributor. She regularly writes at her own blog Ad Astra Per Aspera. The below is reposted from that site with permission.

Title: FLOOD! A Novel in Pictures
Author: Eric Drooker
Published: 2001, by Dark Horse Comics, Inc.
Bought this Copy: @ Hairy Tarantula Comics, Toronto
For More Info: Check out Eric Drooker’s Website

It’s been argued into a cliché that one is the product of their surroundings—and to say as much about Eric Drooker would be an acknowledgement that his artwork is as much about New York City as himself. Maybe more. The images he depicts in such stark contrast—whether it’s the linocut, scratchboard, or stencil art, all of which he’s known for—all present the same city, seemingly, at war with itself, constantly and eternally.

Eric Drooker was probably one of the first political artists that I discovered. I was 13-ish when Rage Against the Machine put out their single, The Ghost of Tom Joad, and the artwork of that album is Eric Drooker – from the graphic novel, FLOOD!, to be precise.

After that single came out, I looked for more of his stuff. Something in the pictures had a real distinct emotion and humanity behind it–I would say everything in his work had soul. I bought a book of posters and other “street art” by him (this was the late 90’s, back in the days before “guerrilla art/marketing” was a household term, and work by Bank$y wasn’t being bought for $1 million by the world’s rich and famous). Eric Drooker’s art centered around the issues that the people of the city—the city itself—struggled with: police brutality, poverty, affordable housing and tenants’ rights, the freedom to assemble, etc.

In this story, Drooker depicts the epic story of a man struggling for a modest existence with only a handful of text. On most of his journey, he finds little more than bad options after he is laid off. From there, life in the city becomes a downward spiral; he seemingly bounces off of its edges as he falls, the rain pouring harder and harder in the streets. He wants work but can’t find anything that pays enough or is within his skill-set. He wants to feel comfort and love from another human being, but in the night only finds human beings more emotionally starved than himself.

The panel sequence that I find most powerful is when he finds his troubles compounding—bad news over and over and over again. The panels get smaller and smaller, the graphics more and more crude. It’s the perfect depiction of when a bad day just keeps piling up with unfortunate events, until you sit down and try to vent to a friend or in writing… and by then, so much garbage has piled up that it all feels petty.

FLOOD! sharpens the over-arching message that Drooker presents to us in all of his work depicting New York City:  It’s not just about one or another character and his or her stories–morality–or soul, as I mentioned earlier. Fundamentally, the “soul” in question appears to be the city itself. By the end of this story, you feel convinced of this idea that New York (and maybe all of our hometowns) have souls, and somewhere in the Heavens of the ether is a grand scale, precariously balancing all of the good (community, humanity, love, compassion, potlucks, free concerts in the park, dogs and cats, children playing in their neighborhood) with the bad (muggings, eviction notices, police violence, drug rings, gangs & crime syndicates, alienation, selfishness, and all that noise, noise, NOISE!). We wait in hoping that, should it ever be finally and resolutely judged, the number of good deeds will outweigh the bad.

… One can’t help but think about these things, especially when the streets of New York City really are a-flood. Even atheists and agnostics can’t avoid the mental exercise of imagining a natural disaster as an ethical and artistic expression of causality–from divine intervention, to karma, to some other simple form of poetic justice.

Preview – Xoc: The Journey of a Great White

Xoc: The Journey of a Great White

Writer/Artist: Matt Dembicki
Colorist: Evan Kheeling
Format: Hard Cover 6″x9″, Full Color
Page Count: 120
Price: $19.99
Genre: Adventure / Nature
Age Rating: All Ages
ISBN: 1-934964-85-9
Diamond Code: MAR121143
Release Date: July 25th, 2012

Xoc explores the ocean’s wonders through the eyes of a great white as it treks from the Farallon Islands off the coast of California to the warm waters of Hawaii some 2,300 miles away. Along its journey, the 17-foot shark encounters natural prey and predators—from skittish seals to brazen orcas—as well as man-made impediments that threaten not only the giant fish, but the balance of ocean’s ecology.

The Art Of War: A Graphic Novel – Official Trailer

Around the Tubes

I’m recovering from a midnight showing of the Avengers (expect a review later today).  Who else went and what did you think?

Around the Blogs:

The Huffington Post – Which Is Scarier: Terrorists or Superheroes?Another article on something we’ve been hitting over and over.

Bleeding Cool – Green Arrow TV Pilot Picked Up For Series This Autumn?Congrats.

Comics Alliance – Stan Lee on Michael Jackson’s Desire to Buy Marvel and Play Spider-ManNot sure about this.

Robot 6 – Stan Lee embroiled in legal battle for POW! EntertainmentStan Lee is to lawsuits as a child is to Pokemon, “gotta catch em all”

The Vancouver Sun – Camosun College starts comics, graphic novel programMore proof comics are legit!

Digital Spy – ‘Anomaly': World’s longest graphic novel announcedPretty cool and interesting but there has to be longer.


Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Earth 2 #1

Stargazer Volume Two in August Previews

Official Press Release

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (August 10, 2011) – “All ages” comics and graphic novels are stories that parents can hand to their children without worrying about what they’re reading. Unfortunately, the term “all-ages” also implies safe, dull stories that are not exciting or believable and feature characters that are not realistic. Von Allan, an Ottawa-based artist and graphic novelist, is challenging these ideas with his two part graphic novel series “Stargazer.” The concluding volume arrives in stores world-wide in October.

“In Volume 2, I really wanted to play with people’s expectations of an all-ages comic, especially one with younger girls as the protagonists,” said Allan. “I think a lot of people take all-ages to mean safe or gentle. But graphic novels and comics are flexible and I don’t think a children’s comic has to be completely tame for it to qualify as ‘kid-friendly.’ The first volume of “Stargazer” was designed to read mostly like a traditional all-ages fantasy, but the story takes a scarier turn in the second volume. It’s psychologically darker and the main characters are pushed to deal with new and more difficult events. That’s comparable to real life, though, and I think adults sometimes forget what children can handle. And how they learn to cope with day-to-day reality and tough times. The best and most enduring stories have an edge to them…it mirrors life. And, let’s face it, kids also like to be a little scared.”

“I also wanted to write a kids’ story that an adult could enjoy,” Allan added. “Kids and adults have a lot in common when it comes to enjoying fairytale-like stories. There’s an escapism and a certain enjoyment of goosebumps and wonder. Some of the most successful books are the ones that adults and kids are both reading; the Harry Potter phenomenon, for example. It’s partially because kids and adults are reading these together but it’s also that books aimed at kids can be smart, exciting and suspenseful and they don’t need to be “dumbed down.” With all that in mind, I didn’t want to pull punches with “Stargazer.” I wanted to create a riveting story with strong characters that readers of all ages could believe in. Nothing is worse than a book that talks down to or patronizes a reader regardless of their age, and I think I avoided all of that with “Stargazer.”

In the first volume of “Stargazer,” three girls, Marni, Elora, and Sophie, found themselves transported to a strange world by an ancient artifact. Faced with being on their own and far from home, the friends must rely on each other and their wits to find a way home. Under unfamiliar stars, the three girls have the kind of adventures they could only have imagined before; they flee an unseen but terrifying monster, they make a new friend, they find a new ship, and they travel through the alien landscape to a distant tower, looking for help. In the concluding volume of “Stargazer,” the girls make more discoveries, overcome some frightening circumstances, and learn how strong friendship can be. When the monster from Volume 1 returns, the girls must unite to face their fears and fight for their lives.

“Stargazer Volume Two” has an ISBN of 978-09-781237-4-1, a suggested retail price of $14.95 US and is 110 pages in length. It will arrive in stores world-wide on October 12th, 2011. Multiple companies are distributing “Stargazer Volume Two,” including Diamond Comic Distributors (item code AUG111259), the Ingram Book Company, Follett Library Resources, and the Brodart Company.

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split most of his childhood between their two homes. Additional information about the graphic novel can be found at http://stargazer.vonallan.com

Around the Tubes – SDCC Lag

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I’ll admit, I’m still dragging me feet after the whirlwind that was San Diego Comic-Con, but I can’t let that slow me down.  We’ve got a huge announcement coming later today.  But, leaving that tease hanging out there, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Jason Thibeault.com – Comic Books as a Reflection of Social IssuesInteresting and worth the read.

Comicvine – Frank Darabont Steps Down From The Walking Dead TV Show As ShowrunnerPretty impressive this didn’t break during SDCC.

The Globe Mail – Vancouver artist, guitarist takes major step with graphic novel - The graphic novel sounds pretty interesting.

Con Coverage:

ICv2 – It’s Not Easy Picking Winners at Comic-Con

iO9 – The Biggest Winners and Losers of Comic-Con 2011

The Beat – SDCC12: No pre-reg for 2013

Around the Tubes Reviews:

Ely Standard – Ultimate Captain America

Bleeding Cool – Wednesday Comics Review: Captain America #1 And Project Superman #2

Complex – Review: The Joker Is Back! What Else Do You Need To Know?

Paste Magazine – Comic Book & Graphic Novel Round-Up (7/27/11)

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