- Posted by Johanna on July 22, 2008 at 6:19 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- PUBLISHER: AIT/Planet Lar
Following on from my two-year (2006-2007) roundup of AIT/Planet Lar graphic novels, here’s what they’ve released so far in 2008:
By Omaha Perez, March, $12.95 US
I am SO not the audience for this. I like Sherlock Holmes. I like his stories. (I especially like reading them in the context of the times.) I know he has plenty of quirks and habits that are easy to make fun of in these more “modern” times — the drug habit to fight boredom, the male roommate — but I still like his celebration of observation and deduction.
Something billed as a “vicious skewering” is thus not for me. Perez pushes the drug use so far as to make Holmes an out-of-his-mind addict and Watson a deluded suck-up. Some like the idea of taking the noted detective down a peg, but I put that down to feeling inferior in the face of superior intelligence.
Don’t mind me. Read this review instead.
Aces: Curse of the Red Baron
By Shannon Eric Denton, G.Willow Wilson, and Curtis Square-Briggs, July, $12.95 US
This looked more to my taste. I loved Wilson’s Cairo graphic novel, so I was curious about this fantasy historical adventure co-written with (and created by) Denton and illustrated by Square-Briggs. (At least part of it was previously printed in the new Negative Burn anthology.)
In World War I, an American infantryman and a British pilot both claim to have killed the Red Baron. After the requisite fisticuffs (this is men’s adventure fiction), they team up and go looking for treasure based on a map from his body. Aside from the quest for riches, there are also biplane battles, double crosses, spy missions, science fiction, and lots of buddy banter.
As always, publisher Larry Young has an eye for the smart tie-in, with publicity mentioning Indiana Jones, which has a similar flavor. Interesting he should mention a movie, though, since I would have enjoyed it more if it was a film (especially if the leads were handsome and clever). I have a hard time reading action on the printed page — it’s not what I search out in comics (which I think makes me weird). Plus, the airplane maneuvers would look better in a huge sky instead of a cramped panel.
The art is scratchy and sometimes murky, realistic for muddy wartime. At times, he goes overboard with the shadows, which can make it difficult to make out the backgrounds and period settings that make comics set in previous eras so interesting. At least you can tell what’s going on, and the lead characters resemble Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, great choices for likenesses.
The Black Diamond
By Larry Young and Jon Proctor, due in August, $19.95 US
The six-issue miniseries is collected with an introduction by Graeme McMillan (formerly of the Savage Critics, as I was, and currently writing for io9.com). Larry told me that I’d have a new appreciation for the book after reading the intro, and he was right. I hope they put it online, because I think it really helps sell the book, pointing out all its strengths and achievements. It made me feel like whatever I said was pointless, because Graeme had already covered it.
I didn’t realize, until I opened it, that this story was full-color, and what color it is. Rich neons distract me from characters talking to each other about how many types of plot there are and other meta-level concerns. People and their rides, that’s what this road movie is about, with a dentist having to drive the nation’s “most dangerous road” in an illegal car in order to rescue his kidnapped wife.
I couldn’t quite make out what was going on from the art — large panels make for interesting images but have little storytelling flow, and since the characters are showing off their dialogue instead of talking about what’s going on, there’s no help there. Sometimes stuff explodes, and the cars are lovingly detailed. It’s more design demos than comics, but really lovely to look at.