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Genre: Graphic Novel

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Walking Dead – Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Walking Dead – Safety Behind Bars by Robert KirkmanSafety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman
Series: The Walking Dead,
Also in this series: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, Miles Behind Us
Published by Image Comics on 18 June 2005
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Graphic Novel
Pages: 136
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, Miles Behind Us

Place(s) Traveled To: Prison outside of Atlanta, Georgia

First Line(s): Please tell me that’s the LAST time we’re all going to have to pack into THAT thing.

I always walk into a new volume of The Walking Dead graphic novel with mixed emotions and Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman is no exception. Safety Behind Bars is the third volume of the series and brings our group of survivors to the prison which features in most of Season 3 of the show. As with previous installments its always weird to see characters as already part of the group and with different lives and stories to how I know them on the show. Tyrese for example with his daughter and her boyfriend and Hershel with younger daughters in addition to Maggie and Beth. Its strange seeing similar and yet different events unfold and its hard to mesh these two alternate worlds in my brain. I always try to separate the books from the show but its hard coming into the books second and knowing what I know from the show first.

Just like the show though there are lots of intense moments in Safety Behind Bars and some I could have done without. No one needs to see non-zombie heads getting chopped off…ick…and I can see why those scenes in particular didn’t make it onto the show. There is drama enough without it but just think of how crazy intense those would have been to film!!

Overall, I do like the visuals of the artwork in Safety Behind Bars though it seemed like the drawings of Glenn and Maggie changed drastically about half way through the book. I thought they were different people at first and was wondering where they came from until their names were used in the story. The graphic novel format makes Safety Behind Bars a quick read and I did enjoy it. I am just not as big a fan of the comics as I am of the show. Its just easier to fall in love with the realism of tv over the two-dimensional world of the comics.

irishdarkblue

.

 

three-stars
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: Walking Dead – Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Walking Dead – Miles Behind Us by Robert KirkmanMiles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman
Series: The Walking Dead,
Also in this series: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, Safety Behind Bars
Published by Image Comics on 24 November 2004
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Friendship, Graphic Novel, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Suspense
Pages: 136
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, Safety Behind Bars

Place(s) Traveled To: Atlanta, Georgia

First Line(s): Lori?

I have to admit that I started and stopped Miles Behind Us by Robert Kirkman several times before I actually sat down to read it. Part of that was due to the fact that it does a quick jump back in past and I kept getting confused thinking I’d already read that one. But then once I sat down and forced myself to read past the first few pages things went back to where things left off in Days Gone Byeand the story really picked up in pace. Though reading the comics after knowing what I do of the tv show still does hurt my brain a little.

After all I already know some of these characters and their fates although at the same time there are enough differences that I don’t really know them at all. In Miles Behind Us we go to the farm, which made up all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead but just one thin volume of the comic installment. Events happened really fast and as with the first book I really miss my pal Daryl. There was also a lot less suspense than in the show as Hershel and the others were more open about what was in the barn so that whole thing was a bit anti-climatic.

Despite all the difference though, and the early addition of some characters I did like this one better than the first comic installment. Even though the characters aren’t quite the same I am getting to know these versions of them a little better and coming to like them. No matter how much I want them to be their tv counterparts I do have to accept who they are as they were originally drawn.

The drawings in Miles Behind Us are simple black and white images done by Charlie Adlard but they do manage to convey a lot to the plot. They add some depth and emotion that might otherwise be missing. I don’t like the comics as much as the show but I will probably continue to keep reading it.

irishdarkblue
three-stars
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Review: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review4 Comments

Review: Saga by Brian K. VaughanSaga by Brian K. Vaughan
Series: Saga,
Published by Image Comics on 23 October 2012
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Cleave // Landfall // Space

First Line(s): This is how an idea becomes real.

Not long ago on Twitter I started to hear a lot of a graphic novel called Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. The talk was enough for me to place a hold on it at the library and as its a graphic novel it was a pretty quick read. I was excited for this one based on what people were saying but in the end I was left a little underwhelmed by it all. The artwork of Saga is pretty amazing and I loved what Staples did with the story. The colors were all so vivid and this crazy complex world was really brought to life. I loved the visuals of it and if it had been a traditional print story I’m not sure that the images of how the people and the various worlds they were on would have come across.

The story, on the other hand, was just plain odd. I get that there were warring peoples and star-crossed lovers but the back story of it all wasn’t explained very well. Not the history of the war or why the two planets hated each other so. And the whole thing was just a bunch of characters running around trying to hide while others ran around trying to chase them. The whole story surrounds this child who is born of the two warring races and so embodies both of them. Both sides want the child for various reasons, and its assumed that they both want her dead. And yet, as the story is narrated by said child looking back over events the plot just lacks the tension it would have had if her eventual fate was unknown.

The sexual undertones of this graphic novel were also a bit off putting for me as well. I know that graphic novels are typically a thing read by guys but enough girls read them too and yet they always seem to be filled with bare breasted women. Then there was the whole sex planet side story line that really didn’t fit in with the main plot. It all just seems to belittle women and their roles and makes it seem as though they can never be the hero of a story.

I have the second volume on order at the library but I am debating on if I want to read it or not. There just wasn’t enough wow factor in this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Middle Grade, Review1 Comment

Review: The Lost Boy by Greg RuthThe Lost Boy by Greg Ruth
Published by Graphix, Scholastic on 27 August 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Paranormal
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Crow’s Woods, America

First Line(s): Go to him.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth is a middle grade paranormal graphic novel  and as such it is an easy read. The images that accompany the story of Nate and Tabitha’s adventure are stunning and filled with so much detail. The book contains no color but as you get into the story you almost see what colors should be with all the images. The Lost Boy isn’t just Nate and Tabitha’s though, there is a story within a story as they find tapes belonging to a kid named Walter who disappeared years earlier. Then there is this whole secret fantastical world where animals talk and fight in this secret war and that’s where this whole story starts to fall off the rails for me.

There is just so much going on that the story just gets so convoluted and it was sometimes difficult to follow along what happened. There are the bugs and the button boy and Walter’s story in the past and Nate and Tabitha in the present and just so many other details that just made it all too much. So much so that I was often taken out of the story and just had a hard time sticking with it. The only things that kept me from marking The Lost Boy as a DNF were the drawings and the fact that it was so short.

Another aspect of this book that left me a little dissatisfied is that it appears to be a standalone book and yet the ending was so open. The main story ARC was closed out but there were just so many open threads. The ending wasn’t a cliff hanger, per say, but it wasn’t a clear cut closed ending either. There is definitely potential for The Lost Boy to be turned into a series. If it is I think I would be torn on if I wanted to pick it up or not. On one hand I am curious to see where all this might go and on the other its just so exhausting thinking about all the overdone storylines that it might contain.

irishdarkblue

 

three-stars
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead – Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: The Walking Dead – Days Gone Bye by Robert KirkmanThe Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
Series: The Walking Dead,
Also in this series: Miles Behind Us, Safety Behind Bars
Published by Image Comics on 26 September 2006
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Graphic Novel
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Miles Behind Us, Safety Behind Bars

Place(s) Traveled To: Atlanta, Georgia

First Line(s): This is not good.

I picked up The Walking Dead graphic novel after I’d blitzed through the first three seasons of the TV show and I kind of wish that I’d done this in reverse. I fell hard for the TV show, the characters and the story and I was jonsing for a fix as I waited for the new season to start. I though what better way to work through my addiction than to check out the the graphic novel it was based one. Now while I have heard that the graphic novel and the show take differing paths initially they are pretty similar. And its these similaries that made it a bit tough to get into the story as I knew what was coming.

There is a certain element of suspense to the show where you are always on the edge of your seat wondering what is around the next corner. Since the start of the graphic novel is fairly similar to the show there wasn’t as much suspense to the story. I already had all these preconceived notions on the characters and so its hard to like and care for someone that you know will die or turn into a douche.

Despite knowing what’s to come I did enjoy The Walking Dead – Days Gone Bye graphic novel. I thought it was fast paced and I enjoyed the artwork. It was fun seeing how these images were mirrored on the TV cast like Carl’s paw print tee shirt and Glenn’s baseball hat. The Walking Dead – Days Gone Bye is a quick read and I read it in a very short time. It was nice revisting certain aspects of the TV show but it was hard to see the graphic representations of the characters as the ones of the TV show are so firmly ingrained in my head.

Right now I am debating on if I want to continue with the graphic novel series or not. As I said about I know that the show and the graphic novel do start to take separate paths. Though it is sad to know that one of my favorite characters on the show doesn’t appear in the novels at all. That and the fact that the first volume of Walking Dead didn’t wow me as much as the show have me hesitating. Perhaps during the next read-a-thon I’ll try out the next volume as graphic novels are always a nice when the eyelids are getting heavy.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Maus I by Art Spiegelman

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Maus I by Art SpiegelmanMaus I by Art Spiegelman
Series: Maus,
Published by Pantheon Books on 01 November 2011
Genres: Adult, Graphic Novel, Historical
Pages: 160
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Czechoslovakia (1935-1937) // Lubin, Poland (1940) // Oswiecim, Poland (1944) // Sosnowiec, Poland (1935-1944) //

First Line(s): It was summer, I remember.

Maus I by Art Spiegelman is one of those books that has always been just there off to the side waiting for me to read. Its a book that has been recommended to me dozens of times but one that I’ve always found hard to pick up. Any book that deals with the Holocaust is hard to pick up. And one where all the characters are drawn like mice just adds a bit of weirdness to it all. But it is also a perfect way to depict this story and I can’t imagine it any other way. Maus I is the start of the journey of Art Spiegelman’s parents. Its the story of how they met and fell in love. Its the story of how their idyllic world slowly changed and crumbled before their eyes as the Germans came into power. Its the story of the tough choices that had to be made and how somehow they found a way to survive.

Maus I is a quick read, made quicker as its a graphic novel and so pictures in stead of long descriptive paragraphs are used. As the old saying goes, a picture says a thousand words and this is the case with this story. As Maus I begins you know what is coming for the Vladek and Anja and you try not to care about them. Not because they are cruel people because you know that it will hurt more if you do. Yet despite what you tell yourself you fall for all the people that you meet in this story. Its impossible not to. Maus I is a simple story and Spiegelman tells it in a very straight forward way. He doesn’t go into long segues on the history of the time and that is both a blessing and a curse for the story. Because in order to truly appreciate some of what happens you need to have a basic understand of what was happening in Europe during WWII and the chain of events leading up to it.

When I checked Maus I out of the library I had also checked out its sequel, Maus II, which is the story of Vladek and Anja in the camps. I fully intended to jump from one volume to the next and read it all at once. However, when I finished Maus I I was unable to do that. I wasn’t ready to see just how bad tings might get for Vladek and Anja. I wasn’t ready to face just how horrible humans can be to other humans…even when these humans are pictured as cat and mice. For me, its hard to reflect back on this time knowing all that I know from the history books and from the few stories that my grandfather and his brothers have told of their time serving during the war. I used to love their stories when I was younger as they were never about the horrors that they might have witnessed. They always told these fun little antidotes like the time when my grandfather and great-uncle Jack bumped into each other unexpectedly in the Philippines. Both in different units doing different things for the Army and not expecting to see each other until they were sent back home. They have a picture of that day and it always makes me smile.

Holocaust stories also make me think of the stories that I heard about when I was visiting my family in Poland a few years back. These stories are more like that depicted in Maus I. They were invaded and suppressed by the Germans. The only real thing going for them was that they were not Jewish. They could have just sat back and toed the line and made it through the war unscathed. But they didn’t and they did what they could to help the Jews and spy on the Germans and they suffered consequences as a result. Yet they never gave up and kept doing what they thought was right. So, for me, when I read a story on the Holocaust story all these thoughts and emotions come swirling up inside and makes the stories all the more real.

Maus I is a good story and one that I think is important for others to read. And one day I will check Maus II out and manage to read that one because Holocaust stories are important to read and learn about. The further we get from when these events happened the more important it is to remember them. The more we remember the less likely we will be to repeat this horrors.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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