Saturday, 6 December 2014

Comic Comfort Zone

My comic book and graphic novel comfort zone is surprisingly small. For superheroes, I tend to read X-Men related comics, mostly different versions of the universe such at X-Men Fairytales and Noir. But of course my favourites comic is Fables and any of its spin-offs. Fairest is the last spin-off standing. The stories are just so entertaining and its always exciting when new characters are introduced.

But, for this past month or so I have stepped out of that Fables comfort zone. I tried a new sci-fi series, an odd love story of sorts, a massive global warming warning and an old favourite that is actually none of the above. But in truth, they all have a sci-fi element.

SAGA by Brian K Vaughan 

This was recommended to me by my friend who said it reminded him of Star Wars and my brother in law who said it was so good he read it in a few hours. I knew the basic story and dived in.

It is indeed a Saga. The narrator is the young child that could possibly end a war between two species that has been raging for decades. A solider and a rebel, who escape across the galaxy to save their child. There are many creatures and species and different planets, none are Earth and from what I can tell none of the characters are human. What's brilliant is the story and dialogue. Apart from a few words here and there, if it weren't for the brilliant art work, the characters could be anyone from anywhere. At the centre its a simple story that expands to something amazing. I'm hooked.

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction

Don't judge the title. It's not at all what you think. The characters don't come across as a work of fiction, you can relate to them, apart from the science fiction type they can do. Suzie is a librarian, Jon is a PA. They both have the ability to stop time when they have sex. When they meet, they're not alone anymore. After they discover that they share this ability, they abuse it. For a good cause though, they decide to rob banks to save the library where Suzie works. Strange but brilliant idea. I'm waiting for the next book to be released.

Snow Piercer by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette

I actually read this some time ago when I though the film that was based on it was coming out. Its called Part 1 but feels like it didn't really need a Part 2. A terrifying view of a future that you really hope NEVER happens. After an environmental catastrophe, the world is thrown into an Ice Age and the last of the human race live on a train with 1001 carriages. It circles the globe, never stopping. The story covers class wars/system, religious cults, rebellion and dictatorship. It is also a journey film as the characters travel from the last carriage where poverty reigns to the front carriages where the 1st class passengers enjoy real food, hot baths, parties and luxuries, until they reach the front where the engine is. The film was good but for other reasons, the graphic novel which was only released in the UK very recently is a sweeping epic in a tight cramped space. The sequel is worth seeking out but for now this Part 1 was brilliant even though the artwork is not to my taste.

Grandville Noel by Bryan Talbot


This is not a new series to me but this Noel is the latest release. Grandville is a cross between Rupert Bear, Sherlock Holmes and Quentin Tarantino. This is the best description I have seen for this steam punk series. There are or were 5 planned stand alone books, each centred around a different genre. Grandville was a political conspiracy, Grandville Mon Amour followed themes of terrorism, Grandville Bete Noire was a science fiction story and Grandville Noel focuses on a religious conspiracy. The 5th book with have a gangster theme. The characters are anthropomorphic animals and humans or 'dough faces' as they are called are low class citizens. The main character is Detective Inspector Archie LeBrock, a badger who works for Scotland Yard. He is brought over to Grandville (Paris in our universe) after a series of events that take place in Britain. In this universe, Britain lost the war with Napoleon and was invaded. Britain fought for independence and won it 23 years before the start of the first book. The background history spills over into the stories sometimes as an important part. The book is like reading an adult version of Rupert Bear set in fictional France. The series is addictive and the animal characters are all very unique.

I'm glad I stepped out of the comfort zone and discovered a few new stories. I should be back on the prose too. Still getting through 'Don't Point That Thing At Me' by Kyril Bonfiglioli, slowly. Mortdecai is fabulous invention but it does take a while to get to the action. I'm hoping to finish the short book by January as that is when the film is released. I get distracted though, especially with all these comics lying around.

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