Archive for September, 2010

September 14, 2010

Bone: Tall Tales, by Jeff Smith & Tom Sniegoski.

Little needs be said beyond:  “Look, it’s a new Bone book.”

If you know nothing about the Bone storyline, think: ‘Pogo meets Lord of the Rings’ and you’ll get a sense of both the epic scope of the adventure and the good-natured gentle humor and humanity of the series.   Everyday folks and forest critters go about their lives in a great big old dangerous world, until a great evil arises and threatens all.  A trio of small persons prove to have heroic import beyond their small stature (and despite a rapacious and cranky greed-headed immorality in the case of the irascible Phoney Bone).

This latest book is a side story of one-shot and throwaway tales.  The Ed Norton-esque Smiley Bone takes three lil’ Bone Scouts  on a camping trip accompanied by the rat creature Bartleby.  Smiley spins a few yarns at the campfire to keep them (and us entertained).

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September 1, 2010

The Unsinkable Walker Bean

by Aaron Renier and Alec Longstreth (colors).

An instant classic all-ages adventure story.    Admiral Bean lies on his deathbed, raving of dangers to all humanity from supernatural horrors lurking beneath the sea.    But who would believe the ravings of a sick old man?

Who?  Only his grandson Walker accepts him at his word.

The rollicking sea adventure that ensues follows this determined and imaginative youth in his mission to return a magical (and talking) skull-sized pearl to the lair of the monstrous Sea Witches from whence it was stolen.  If he cannot return it, his grandfather will surely die.

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September 1, 2010

All-Action Classics No. 3: The Odyssey

adapted by Tim Mucci; layouts by Ben Caldwell, Rick Lacy; color by Emanuel Tenderini.

Adaptations of classics are rarely high quality.  Often they read as vanity projects for the artist, showcasing vivid rendering skills and painterly sensibilities but lacking narrative drive.  They rarely take advantage of the kinetic momentum possible in panel-to-panel art.  The story takes a back seat to the static prettiness of the art itself.

Elsewhere  they may read as overly earnest if dumbed down distillations of  a larger more complex or nuanced work.    Here they tend to lack depth, like set dressing for a puppet show.  They read clearly as though  some publisher, distraught that kids aren’t really reading nowadays, thought it a good idea that we publish a book with more pictures and the like.   You know:   kids have no real attention span for anything else.   ‘We’ve got to get into this comics deal.  Kids are actually reading those.  Get me an artist who can do comic books’.

Adaptations that work are generally books with a plot that translates well to the medium.   Sequential art works great with action sequences, driving plot, witty dialogue, fantastic terrain and settings.  Like any other good comic.  ‘Who gives a rip if this is is a hoary old classic, the point is it’s a cracking good story!  I want to draw that! ‘

This attitude animates comic veterans Tim Mucci and Ben Caldwell’s excellent adaptation of the Greek classic Odyssey.

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