Thursday, March 04, 2010

Copper - Reviewed

Jim and I were talking the other day and he mentioned that I don’t do many reviews for the site. Actually, it was more of a “WTF! How come you never do reviews?” Jim’s point was that I talk about all the indie books but I never review them. And, as much as it pains me to admit this, he’s right. So, I shall endeavor to review some indie books.

The first book I want to talk about is “Copper” written and drawn by Kazu Kibuishi, published by Graphix. With all the cold weather and snow we’re having, I needed to read something bright, cheery, and pure lightheated fun, which “Copper” was!

Copper is a collection of short stories and one page comics about a boy, Copper, and his dog, Fred. Copper is the eternal optimist, while Fred is more often than not, the voice of reason. Copper inhabits a brightly colored world full of cities in clouds, strange little Martians, and beautiful landscapes. Within this world, Copper often reflects upon life and enjoys the little moments. Whether it’s staying up late playing video games or trying to build his own airplace, Copper always has fun.

Copper is a book that falls into the all ages category but don’t let that stop you from reading it. Kibuishi manages to keep the stories simple enough for kids but deep enough for adults to enjoy. Sometimes the ‘moral’ of a story would be slightly heavy handed, but within two pages there would be a story that a child could visually love, but an adult would see deeper meaning in it. Copper is a little thin at 96 pages but that’s actually the perfect length for this material. I was able to settle in and read without having to make a long extended commitment.

In tone, the stories within Copper range from slightly moribund to complete silliness. In his introduction, Kibuishi stated that Copper was a reflection of his life at the time each story was written. Once, I knew that each story took on greater meaning. It was easy to see how a bad day could produce a slightly downer of a strip.

The art in Copper is great. The characters have a simplicity to them that’s very endearing. It’s great for both kids and adults alike. Because of the character designs, it’s really up to Kibuishi to maximize facial expressions and he does this perfectly. The other facet of this book that really drew me in was the various page designs. Kibuishi works very, very hard to utilize various page layouts. There are nine panel pages, there are six panels pages, and varying panel layouts. And, the panel experimentation isn’t limited to the single page stories. Kibuishi continues to push himself on the longer stories.

Finally, the book is wrapped up with a “How I do it” section by Kibuishi. He shows the reader exactly how Copper goes from pen & ink to finished product. I know how comics are made, but I always find these ‘behind the scenes’ sections interesting because each creator is different.

Copper is one of those rare books that is a perfect blend between adult comics and kiddie books. It’s like reading a Pixar movie because there’s enough for children and an equal number of ideas for adults too. So, if you’re looking for something light hearted and fun then this is the book for you.

You can visit Copper and read some stories here.
There a longer story here.

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