Moning, et al. – Fever Moon

Fever Moon, 1st ed. by Karen Marie Moning; adapted by David Lawrence; illustrated by Al Rio and Cliff Richards

Date read: 08-09 April 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover image of Fever moon by Moning, et al.

Hardback, viii, 184 pages

Published 2012 by Del Rey

Source: Deschutes Public Library LAWRENCE DAVID

I grabbed this off the shelf at the public library yesterday evening when we were early for librarian April Witteveen’s talk, “Manga: Japanese Comics Past and Present.” This event is part of this year’s A Novel Idea—Ruth Ozecki’s A Tale for the Time Being—events.

Image of Deschutes Public Library librarian April Witteveen starting her talk, “Manga: Japanese Comics Past and Present.”

Deschutes Public Library librarian April Witteveen starting her talk, “Manga: Japanese Comics Past and Present.”

April’s talk was quite good, by the way. I learned a fair bit about manga and I saw several interesting looking books, whether manga themselves or mange resources. And, no, Fever Moon is not manga [see 1st paragraph].

Contents:

  • Introduction by Karen Marie Moning
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Behind the Scenes of the Fever Series
  • Original Character Notes and Sketches

I began by reading the Introduction, the Behind the Scenes … and the Original Character Notes and Sketches. I did this because the graphic novel is an adaptation of a world created in five novels (more now), The Fever Series: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever. I know nothing of these books or this world, so I read all the “extra” material first and I believe it probably helped the graphic novel make more sense. That said, the story is reasonably well self-contained. The author has also written many books in The Highlander Series.

Fever Moon is set in Dublin, Ireland (as is the series, I believe). [The book took about an hour to read, maybe. Forty-five minutes? I’m not doing a half hour of research to write this.]

It involves Fae and a battle between the evil Fae and humans (in Dublin, anyway) where the wall separating the worlds has been dropped.

I enjoyed the story well enough and gave it 4 of 5 stars but I’m not going to track down the novels. They might be great but too many more ideas out there. That is, it did not grab me like Manifest Destiny.

It seems Del Rey asked Moning if she would like to do a graphic novel set in her world (Intro). She also got to pick her own artist; she chose Al Rio, who died before the book was finished. The artwork was finished by Cliff Richards. I did not notice any difference in style, although I am not entirely sure what “finished” fully fleshes out to. Nor is my visual literacy in the world of graphic novels all that refined.

I enjoyed it. Very quick read. Recommended for fans of The Fever Series, fans of Fae and human struggles. Fairly mature: sex, rape, desire.

This is the 46th book in my GN2015

Collins and Rayner – Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition (#1) by Max Allan Collins (writing) and Richard Piers Rayner (art)

Date read: 01-02 April 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image of Collins and Rayner's Road to Perdition

Paperback, 302 pages

Published 1998 by Paradox Press

Source: Deschutes Public Library (COLLINS MAX)

Gritty gangster noir in a memoir-ish vein. Capone, Nitti, Ness and many others, although not directly their story. Is the basis for the 2002 Tom Hanks movie.

Just learned that there are more of these. Five in Goodreads. And my public library has #1 (this one) and #5. Oh. And the 2002 Tom Hanks movies based on it. ::sigh:: Glad I thought I was done.

I enjoyed the story well enough and wouldn’t mind probing a bit further but there are also other stories out there. If they become available to me at some point I may get back to it. Otherwise, not enticed enough to work at getting them.

Recommended for fans of noir, gangsters, ’30s Chicago (and Midwest), and so on.

This is the 45th book in my GN2015

Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny. Volume 1, Flora & Fauna by Chris Dingess (writer), Matthew Roberts (penciler & inker), Owen Gieni (colorist), Pat Brosseau (letterer)
Date read: 01 April 2015
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image of Dingess, et al. - Manifest Destiny

Paperback, 1 volume unpaged
Published 2014 by Image Comics
“Originally published in single magazine format as Manifest Destiny #1-6.”–T.p. verso.
Source: Deschutes Public Library (DINGESS CHRIS)

I quite enjoyed this twisted take on the Lewis and Clark expedition. Sadly, it is currently underway, so I got into it a bit too soon to get it from the library quickly. May have to buy the next volume. And. Then. I’d have to wait for even more. ::sigh::

Just called my local comics shop, Pegasus Books, and they’ll make sure to get it if it isn’t actually there. Fair enough.

The story opens on 23 May 1804 on the Missouri River with the party hopefully a day or two away from La Charette. According to the Timeline of the Lewis and Clark Expedition they passed the village on 25 May. So this really is beginning at the beginning. I am not going to check the full-on historical accuracy but having lived in Sioux city, Iowa for two years I am well aware of Sergeant Floyd [Yeah, yeah. I don’t know why they’re always big phalluses either].

The story line in this collection of the first 6 issues only covers another 5 or 6 days. This could get quite interesting. It could also go on for quite a while. I guess this title, while I still enjoy it, will be my direct monetary contribution to the comics industry. Otherwise, I do get most of my graphic novels from the library or read them on the Internet, or both. So I’ll quit complaining.

I re-read this 3 April to get a better feel for the story. I paid much better attention to the artwork this time and was richly rewarded. The detail is exquisite both aesthetically and also in the way it is used to tell the story.

The text on the back cover refers to “Captain Merriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark” but within the story they are both always referred to as “Captain,” if a title is used. Although York does refer to Clark as “Master.” The first is on page [7?] where Sergeant Parker bursts in and says, “Captain Lewis! Captain Clark! You need to see this!”

When Charbonneau and Sacagawea arrive Lewis states,” I’m Captain Lewis. And this is Captain Clark. You must be–” [?].

According the Lewis and Clark Expedition article it was Captain Lewis and Second Lieutenant Clark. Interesting. I wonder if they truly did just refer to him as “Captain.”

As for especially incredible images, see the flower picked by York [11?], the storyline of the large bird shot by Clark [4-5?] and the other places the bird then shows up. There are many, many other examples.

And just who, or what, is Sacagawea? And the baby?

This is the 44th book in my GN2015

Bollers, et al. – Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black

Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black (1st ed.) by Brandon Perlow, and Paul Mendoza (created by), Karl Bollers (writer), Rick Leonardi (artist chap. 1-4), Larry Stroman (artist – Epilogue)

Date read: 29 March 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cover image of Bollers, et al.,  Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black

Paperback, 1 volume

Published December 2013 by New Paradigm Studios

Source: Deschutes Public Library (PERLOW BRANDON)

I enjoyed this quite a bit but don’t have much to say about it. Two African-American men, Watson is an Afghan war vet and Holmes is a PI, investigate a missing girl and several newborns left in dumpsters around New York City.

Quick read. Recommended for fans of Holmes or of urban fiction/mysteries.

This is the 43rd book in my GN2015

Pedrosa – Three Shadows

Three Shadows (1st American ed.) by Cyril Pedrosa; translated by Edward Gauvin

Date read: 24-26 March 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover image of Pedrosa's Three Shadows

Paperback, 268 pages

Published April 2008 by First Second

Source: Deschutes Public Library (PEDROSA CYRIL)

This story is beautiful, haunting, and heartbreaking. It is a story of love, sacrifice and denial. Does it work in the end? That is for you to decide.

There may be (probably is) some larger moral here but I tend to miss those sometimes in these sorts of things. Then again, one often needs a couple reads of, say, a philosophical treatise to get its overarching point. And that’s OK.

Either way, whether or not I missed something—or only missed telling you—I quite enjoyed this quick read.

This is the 42nd book in my GN2015

Cruse – Stuck Rubber Baby

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse. Introduction by Tony Kushner
Date read: 14-15 March 2015
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Stuck RubberBaby by Cruse

Paperback, 216 pages
Published 1995 by Paradox Press
Source: Deschutes Public Library (CRUSE HOWARD)

A gay coming-of-age story (and more) set in the context of the civil rights movement in 1960s Alabama. I quite enjoyed it.

There is very little sex; it is not explicit. It is also balanced between heterosexual, or at least a heterosexual act, and gay sex. It shows sex as fraught and demonstrates a side of sex that is good for young adults to fully realize is wider than just them. And, if you demand a moral lesson (or simply, reality) then, yes, he does make her pregnant the first time. I am here to tell you it happens.

I think this would make an excellent suggestion for any young adult who is ready for it. It does a good job of showing how just going along is full acquiescence to the status quo, without being the slightest bit preachy. The bigotry of the 1960s US South and its various violent manifestations is on prominent display, as is the complexity of the various forms of resistance.

Which means it could be recommended for any adult. Well, it should be.

Excellent read.

This is the 41st book in my GN2015

Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius 12

Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius v. 12), by Phil Foglio (story, drawings), Kaja Foglio (story), & Cheyenne Wright (colors)

Date read: 13-14 March 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Foglio, et al. Girl Genius 12

Paperback, 192 pages

Published 2013 by Airship Entertainment

This material originally appeared November 2011 to December 2012 at www.girlgenius.net

Source: Own. Purchased at Pegasus Books, Bend, Oregon 11 March 2015

I absolutely love Girl Genius! I have this one on hold from the public library but its copy has gone missing so I finally broke down and bought this. I really prefer reading it in this format versus the PDFs of vol. 0-11 that I got via a Kickstarter or on the web as I usually do. That said, $25 for one print volume is a LOT of money. It’s beautiful and I prefer reading from the print but I read it for free on the web. For free! This being v. 12 would put this over $300 and still climbing if one wanted to pay retail for all of the 13 volumes so far. That is a bit much.

Last we left Agatha the Doom Bell had been rung. The Castle has recognized Agatha as the Heterodyne. The city is surrounded and under numerous and assorted attacks; the Castle is almost completely out of power from years of neglect and abuse. Dealing with all of this and trying to fuel the Castle is the gist of this volume.

The boys are back and in fine form; Jäger General Gkika is loosed from her “beer hall;” Franz “Hey! I said Rejoice!” That’s only the start of the fun. The other Jäger Generals and where is the missing one; where did Higgs get to after he and Zeetha showed up?

“Of course I’m distraught! They hurt my weasels!

“You’re one of those militant agnostics the Abbess warns us about, aren’t you?”

“Gadzooks! It seems even your own town doesn’t like you very much!”
“Verily M’Lord, he has been fried!”
“Oh, No- I feel great!

He he.

This is the 40th book in my GN2015

Bagge – Woman Rebel

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, First hardcover ed. by Peter Bagge

Date read:01-02 March 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Image of cover of Bagge's Woman Rebel

Hardback, 72+ pages

Published 2013 by Drawn + Quarterly

Source: Deschutes Public Library (BAGGE PETER)

Margaret Sanger was an American sex educator and nurse. She opened the first birth control clinic and, in effect, began Planned Parenthood. She is a fascinating person, to say the very least.

This title was interesting enough. There is a 2-page intro called, “On Peter Bagge and Margaret Sanger” by Tom Spurgeon (editor of The Comics Reporter), the graphic novel proper in 72 pages, followed by two pages on “Why Sanger?” by Peter Bagge, and 18 pages on “Who’s Who and What’s What,” which is actually the endnotes. Yep. No indication in the text that there was more context, and perhaps photos or other images, in the back. Grr.

Also, the text in the introductory and back matter is tiny. Grrr.

The author does do a good job of telling us where he took artistic license in the back matter. Clearly, other stories—as he points out—can and have been told.

Fast read. Positive but honest portrait of a complex woman. Mostly marked down for not alerting me to extra context and small type.

This is the 39th book in my GN2015

This is the 14th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

Merveille – Hello, Mr. Hulot

Hello, Mr. Hulot by David Merveille according to Jacques Tati

Date read: 23 February 2015

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cover of Merveille's Hello, Mr. Hulot

Hardback, 32 pages

English translation published 2013 by NorthSouth Books; first published in France under the title Hello Monsieur Hulot, 2010

Source: Deschutes Public Library (Picture Books MERVEILLE DAVID)

I learned about this adorable book from Unshelved in a review by Gene Ambaum himself. Same weekly installment in which I learned about A Most Imperfect Union.

Monsieur Hulot is a comedic character invented and acted by Jacques Tati for four movies made between 1953 and 1971. I have not seen them all but I know I have seen at least one and perhaps two. If you are unfamiliar with Monsieur Hulot then I suggest you check out one of the movies listed at the Wikipedia article linked above.

If you are familiar with (and like) Monsieur Hulot then I suggest you check out this book. It is quite simple and you can read it in minutes if that is your desire. You would be better rewarded by taking your time with each scene, though, and soaking in what is going on around Monsieur Hulot; whether or not he is aware that anything is going on.

This was the most fun I have had with a book in a long time. There are 22 “scenes,” perhaps “tableaus,” each consisting of two pages. The “set-up” is on the recto (righthand page) and then you turn the page to see the “punchline” on the verso (lefthand page.)

My favorites, for assorted reasons, are:

  • The Moon Walk
  • Globe Trotter
  • The Umbrella Corner
  • Chameleon
  • The Eternal Smile
  • The Crossing
  • Attention
  • A Tall Tale
  • A Butterfly Moment

I honestly do not remember there being any stinkers in the bunch. I think it could be great to read with kids but they might need some help with context. I mean, Neil Artmstrong’s footprints on the moon? Of course, I would really love to hear the stories an inventive three- to four-year old might tell based on the pictures.

There are no words, except for those on the occasional street sign or awning or a sound effect or two.

Highly recommended for story lovers of all ages. Especially those who appreciate whimsy, lightheartedness and kindness in their humor.

This is the 38th book in my GN2015

Stavans and Alcaraz – A Most Imperfect Union

A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States by Ilan Stavans and Lalo Alcaraz

Date read: 18-20 February 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Image of cover of Stavans and Alcaraz - A Most Imperfect Union

Hardback, xv, 269 pages

Published 2014 by Basic Books

Source: Deschutes Public Library (STAVANS ILAN)

I wanted so much more from this.

There is so much sarcasm here, at different levels, that it becomes an obstacle to knowing how to take much of it. The author, Stavans, jumps right in in the five-page Foreword. He doesn’t need to sell me on the “immigrant perspective”—I value such critiques—but he does on some of his stereotypes of Americans throughout the book. I agree in most cases, but I sometimes want a little support. Also, I despise broad-brush generalizations as a simplification device; or, for most any reason.

Sadly, though, I think they are mostly preaching to the choir. Anyone who truly needs this book will probably never read very far in it; that is, if they ever even pick it up.

Give it a try and see how you relate to it. I guess I wanted sharper, more pointed critique that was not simply stereotypes being thrown around.

This is the 37th book in my GN2015

This is the 11th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair