Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Library, Mega Edition

I'm getting a little out of order here, as I have several more individual posts for The Library, but I've been checking out so many books I'll be filling up the Sundays for months and months with just library books when I really have some things to put up on other books I have, be it singles or trades. So, this week we have a cluster of library books, in no particular order.

Sometimes when I get graphic novels at the library I'm just being lazy because I never got around to reading the novel. This is one of those occasions. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a 20th century classic but this is the 2009 graphic novel version. The art, by Tim Hamilton, is quite good. He's got a clear vision of the characters and the situations, transmitting the feeling of a sterile society lost in its own fear and ever present preparation for war. It's very much a product of the Cold War. By now I figure everyone knows the basic that firemen start fires rather than put them out, and that books are the primary object of burning. There's a lot more to the story, though. It's very much an assault on anti-intellectualism, particularly in the form of TV. The lack of intellectual stimulation leads to frequent suicides and re-education for those who can't succumb to the dumbed down society. It also leads to a nuclear war, which is a pretty extreme view of television, really. A fine piece of sci-fi hyperbole, really.

Cowboy Ninja Viking is the next on the parade. This was a pleasant piece. To some extent its a standard action piece, but it adds the spin of its protagonist being a schizophrenic. Took me a moment to realize that three voices were all in the same person. I don't think this is how multiple personality disorder works in the least, but it's a lot of fun in this context. The little symbols to the word and thought balloons that indicate which personality is conversing is an effective way of keeping straight who's who within the who. Especially when we get more of the triple personality players in the story. Not sure that I particularly like any of the characters, even our protagonist, but it's interesting. This is a continuing series so I may check out some future volumes to see if the creators can keep it going.

This is close to being the best of this group. From what I can tell, Grandville Mon Amour is the sequel to another book set in the same mileu. I've read some Bryan Talbot work before, mostly with what he's done with Vertigo's Fables, so this is my first read of work that's all his. I'm a sucker for alternate realities based on changes in somewhat distant historical events (like the world on a Star Trek episode where Rome still ruled in the 20th Century or Captain Confederacy). This one is a Victorian steam punk world without Victoria. France ruled England for a few centuries before being recently evicted in a rebellion. A maniacal one time hero of the rebellion escapes from prison, killing the warden and a lot of guards. He's hunted by a badger. Yep, we have anthropomorphic animals as our actors in this drama. Talbot's are very much human bodies with animal heads, rather than enlarged animals. It runs from London to Paris and back again. There's conspiracy and betrayal. There's heartbreak. And for some reason there's a really huge pistol on the cover. Anyway, a really good time.

The one book to knock Grandville out of being the best in this bunch is the Amazing Screw on Head and Other Curious Objects. This is entirely Mike Mignola work, including the art. Most of the Hellboy and BPRD I've read have been Mignola writing but others doing the art. Granted, their art has been very much in keepling with Mignola's style, but it's nice to have the master at work. These are short, stand alone stories that Mignola created for various projects or contributions. One's even a co-creation with his young daughter. They're all wonderfully funny and creepy. I think Dr Snap may be one of my favorite characters in the Mignola-verse, though this book contains as much of his appearances as are likely to be seen. I think I'm going to have to compile a list of all the stories (comics) that have Lincoln either as a master planner and head of a secret organization, a zombie, or some other sort of comic book irregularity. Like the Civil War wasn't enough the keep the man busy.

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