CSI: Serial

CSI: Serial is a faithful adaptation of the hit TV show. Writer Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition) knows his crime stories. He’s also written CSI novels, which gives him a good familiarity with the characters. Artist Gabriel Rodriguez does an excellent job with likenesses. With many adaptations, the artist spends so much time trying to get the look just right that the art winds up stiff, as though it was copied from photos. That’s not the case here, which […]

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Salmon Doubts

In this low-key graphic novel, Adam Sacks follows a fish from birth to death. The fluid lines of Salmon Doubts are printed in a very dark blue, and the grey and light blue colors create an underwater feel. Most of the fish are happy just being part of the group, following their instincts and letting others make decisions. Henry doesn’t fit in; he’s something of a loner. Henry finds it hard to talk to the other fish, which disappoints him, […]

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Paul Has a Summer Job

After impulsively dropping out of school and working at a dead-end print shop apprenticeship, Paul is asked at the last minute to become a counsellor for a summer camp for underprivileged kids. He doesn’t like solitude, the woods, or kids, but he accepts anyway. Since Paul Has a Summer Job is a standard coming-of-age story, by the end of the summer he’s challenged himself to overcome his fears, become a mentor for the kids, been touched beyond words by a […]

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Sleeper: Out in the Cold

Sleeper: Out in the Cold reprints the first six issues of the critically acclaimed superhero noir series written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips. Holden has been sent deep undercover to infiltrate the organization of Tao, a genius who’s always five steps ahead. The problem is that John Lynch, the man who sent him under, is in a coma, and no one else knows about the secret. The book begins with Holden being sent to work with a […]

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Flight

This beautiful color anthology sums up its theme in its title, Flight. Most of these young cartoonists began doing comics online. As a result, readers may not be familiar with their names, but they will be impressed by their talents. A flip through the book reveals a wide variety of approaches, topics, and styles. Especially notable is the use of color, with subtle effects and impressive skill on display. The first story, by Enrico Casarosa, takes the title literally, ending […]

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Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty

This collection reprints the first five issues of the cop comic by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark. It’s a blend of Law & Order and CSI, complicated by being set in Batman’s city. Rucka and Brubaker have populated the cast with a variety of detectives, and Lark’s art is terrific at keeping the dialogue-heavy investigative scenes visually involving. He does a wonderful job with character expression as well. While investigating a kidnapping, two detectives encounter Mr. Freeze, who […]

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Romance Without Tears

Romance Without Tears sets out to collect love stories from the 1950s that feature “lively, independent… outrageous” girls who don’t spend all their time crying or pining away. The opening essay by compiler John Benson provides an overview of romance comics from their early days through their later over-reliance on the cover image of “the tear-stained face”. The comics reprinted here, originally published by Archer St. John, contrast with those types of stories. These attempt to portray realistic dating scenarios […]

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Three Days in Europe

I love romantic comedies. There are too few of them in comics (which is one reason I’ve been reading more manga, where the genre is more firmly established). When I saw the publicity for this screwball story, I was eager to try it, but I was disappointed. It’s not that Three Days in Europe is a bad story, although it’s got some problems (of which more later). The problem is all the false advertising, from the cover quotes to the […]

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