From A Library: Asterios Polyp

By David Mazzucchelli I recently joined City Library in London and it has been a treasure trove of new books that I wouldn’t normally get my hands on, and this has been one of them. This huge hardcover (344 pages – it was a heavy book to bring back from the centre of town) from 2009 is the first in what will be quite a selection of the impressive catalogue. This multi-award-winning book from Mazzucchelli (there’s a lovely quote on the back: ‘David Mazzucchelli has been making comics his whole life. This is his first graphic novel’) is a very […]

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From A Library – Wolverine: Old Man Logan

Wolverine #66–72 and Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven I haven’t purchased a Mark Millar comic book in ages – his overbearing hucksterism, his ‘film pitch as comic book’ approach, and his seeming dislike for people who read comic books make for an unpleasant taste in the mouth, metaphorically speaking. However, sometimes my lack of judgement gets the better of me, such as when I saw this book in the library and brought it home. Millar’s success is based on a mixture of easy-to-grasp concepts (which are not original but he promotes them as such), […]

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From A Library – Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron

Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula is a wonderful novel blending fiction and history, with characters appropriated from novels and films, into an alternative timeline (in which Dracula wasn’t killed but has become consort to Queen Victoria and brought vampires into English society) detective story about a Jack the Ripper killing vampire prostitutes. I enjoyed it, so I was glad that the book was republished recently, perhaps due to the recent popularity of vampire-related material, which has also led to the republishing of the other books in the series. Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron is the first sequel, set in 1918, […]

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From A Library – Trade Paperback Selection

House of Mystery: Room and Boredom (issues #1–5) by Matthew Sturges, Bill Willingham and Luca Rossi A young woman, Fig, an architect of sorts, is chased by a creepy couple and ends up escaping in to the House of Mystery, a strange house located at a supernatural crossroads between worlds. The house has many guests, but there are regulars: Harry the bartender, Cress the waitress, Ann the pirate bouncer, and Poet the poet. The rule of the house: you pay for food and lodgings by telling a story. This provides an avenue for other artists (and writer: Sturges is the main […]

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From A Library – Star Trek: Crew TPB

Star Trek: Crew #1–5 by John Byrne I did not know about the character known as ‘Number One’ in the Star Trek universe. Played by Majel Barrett in the original pilot episode, she was never referred to by name and was an intelligent, logical, calm first officer to Captain Pike. For various reasons (ranging from disapproval of the prominence of a women so high in command, to the executives at NBC being furious that a relatively unknown actress was playing such a major part just because she was having an affair with Gene Roddenberry), her character was discarded and her […]

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From A Library – The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1–7 by Peter David, Robin Furth, Jae Lee and Richard Isanove The appeal of this comic book is supposed to be Stephen King – the first adaptation of his work into comics, I believe – but the real attraction is the art of Jae Lee. It is the real reason to read this comic book – it’s a thing of beauty. Exquisitely rendered (with fantastic colouring by Isanove, which really elevates the art even more) and great storytelling that captures the world King has created: some sort of future Earth where war has ravaged […]

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From A Library: Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher

Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher #1–4 by Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov I don’t understand the current obsession with apocalyptic scenarios in pop culture (and comics in particular). I think it is very strange and and seems a bit macabre and depressing, but then I’m not a fan of the endlessly grim story (I don’t read The Walking Dead or Crossed, for example). The reason for trying this book was Parlov: his art is amazing. I talked about how much I loved it in Punisher: Valley Forge, Valley Forge when I ‘reviewed’ it, and I loved it in this collection. The […]

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From A Library – Conan: The Frost-Giant’s Daughter And Other Stories

Conan #0–6 and part of #7 by Kurt Busiek and Cary Nord Even though I’m a fan of genre stories, I’ve never read any Conan the Barbarian, which includes the original pulp stories and the respected comics by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith; I’ve only seen the Schwarzenegger films and didn’t really care for them. Therefore, I wasn’t particularly interested when Dark Horse acquired the rights to produce new Conan comics, even though it was written by Busiek. However, the presence of Busiek as writer meant that it was an easy call to try this collection when I saw it […]

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From A Library: Grandville

Script, art and book design by Bryan Talbot Even though I am European, I haven’t read a lot of what I consider European comics (specifically bande dessinée and Italian comics) – even though there is only a small stretch of water separating us, it’s not that easy to get your hands on them (except for Asterix and Tintin), and they’ve always seemed to be completely different to the sensibility of British comics (such as Eagle, 2000 AD or The Beano). Grandville seems to be a British version of those exotic European books, produced in their hundreds every year (on a […]

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From A Library – The Sandman: The Dream Hunters

By Neil Gaiman and P Craig Russell Neil Gaiman’s Sandman was a very important book in my development as a comic book fan, but I never really kept up with any of the spin-offs or extras that came out after the series itself ended. I read the last Gaiman-written Sandman stories (Endless Nights) via a book from the library, and I never even read the original prose novella (with illustrations by Yoshitaka Amano), or bothered to seek it out. I didn’t even know that the story had been adapted into a four-issue comic book series by P Craig Russell; when […]

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