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Books Read: 2007, #33-41 - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Books Read: 2007, #33-41 [Oct. 27th, 2007|04:09 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Books Read: August 2007

33. After reading a bunch of Niles & Templesmith stuff, I switched off to the hardcover of Castle Waiting by Linda Medley. That was a relief (much as I love Niles & T and their disgusting brains).
34. 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales contains "Dead Billy Dead" by Steve Niles (writer) and Kody Chamberlain (artist) and "Juarez or Lex Nova & The Case of the 400 Dead Mexican Girls" by Matt Fraction (writer) and Ben Templesmith (artist).
35. Crossing Midnight, volume one (plus loose issues) by Mike Carey (author) and Jim Fern (artist).
36. Glister, volume one, by Andi Watson.
37. Peter the Pirate Squid by Roman Dirge (writer) and Steven Daily (artist).

Re-read Dark Days (the first sequel to 30 Days of Night, before it was a franchise) after stealing it back from rmd.

38. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn.
39. 28 Days Later: The Aftermath by Steve Niles (author) and five artists (illustrating four stories).
40. Serenity: Those Ones Left Behind, by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews (writers), Will Conrad (artist), and by Laura Martin (color).
41. Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci (writer) and Jim Rugg (artist).

My thoughts:

33. Castle Waiting, volume 1, by Linda Medley, http://www.studiolio.com/. This is a hardcover collection of her on-again, off-again self-published series Castle Waiting. Most of the 'off' times were due to financial problems, so I'm all in favor of encouraging people to buy the collection!

I love this book. It's a fantasy book, but it takes many of the tropes and stereotypes of your standard fairy tale and shifts the focus. Instead of the prince and princess, who are only there to set up the scenario, the story is about the secondary characters, the quirkily heroic folks (human and human-like animals) who you really need to make a good and proper sanctuary work well. Because that's what the castle in the title is – a sanctuary for people who need it, or need to provide it. There's no royalty here. And no grand adventures. Most of the plotlines are small, dealing with a trip into town for supplies, handling thieves, escaping an abusive spouse, or learning how to get along with other people. But that's not to say they're simple. Just like real life, there are complications and disagreements and a bit of chaos in each subplot, without ever getting repetitive.

But the book has also got a sharp and clever sense of humor, a gently honest perspective on the various flaws that the characters have, and absolutely spectacular art. Super detailed, full of wonderful body language, expressions, clothing, architectural perfection, little things in corners… the works! Highly recommended and definitely worth the price.

34. 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales. This book contains two stories. The first, "Dead Billy Dead" was written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Kody Chamberlain. The second, "Juarez or Lex Nova & The Case of the 400 Dead Mexican Girls" was written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Ben Templesmith.

"Dead Billy Dead" is a pretty good story about turning into a vampire and how to handle it. It's sort of split into two parts – the first, involving Billy, his girlfriend, and a vampire-obsessed professor. The second involves one of the cops who's part of the first story. I liked it. It was an interesting take on the obsession.

"Juarez or Lex Nova & The Case of the 400 Dead Mexican Girls" is, to use a common phrase, seriously fucked up. It was hard to follow and I'm still not sure, at the end of the book, who exactly is dead, who survived, and what the vampiric status of each is. It has an interesting conceit, and the Zero clan was a fantastic job of Fraction channeling Niles. But I can't actually recommend it unless you're a 30 Days of Night fan.

35. Crossing Midnight, volume one (plus loose issues) by Mike Carey (author) and Jim Fern (artist). Books about other cultures written by people who are not OF that culture always make me nervous, but these guys freely admit that they're kind of making it up, based on Japanese fairy tales and culture. Which is kinda cool and very much in the vein of manga, which periodically grabs stuff like the Bible and treats it like another batch of fairy tales to be plumbed for good stuff. Anyway, it centers on a pair of twins, the girl (born just before midnight) and the boy (born just after) and how they handle the intrusion of the supernatural into their lives. It's a DC/Vertigo title, and only $10 for the first collection, which consists of issues #1-5. I enjoyed it. It's certainly looking at more of Japanese stories than just the kitsune and exploring more of Japanese culture than just otaku, which is refreshing. Recommended.

36. Glister, volume one, by Andi Watson (who's a guy, despite the cute spelling). His website is http://www.andiwatson.biz/ (ta!) and his LJ is andiwatson. This is actually a regular book, coming out bimonthly or something? But the form factor is small graphic novel. Volume two just came out on 10/24/2007, but I haven't picked it up yet because I am spectacularly broke. Anyway! Super cute book about Glister, a nice girl who lives with her Dad and has strange, supernatural adventures. Here, in volume one, she handles a haunted tea pot with a persistent ghost. Well recommended.

37. Peter the Pirate Squid - technically, this is more of a one-shot comic than a book. But it is really REALLY fuckin' funny. Written by Roman Dirge and illustrated by Steven Daily (except the cover, which is pure Dirge), this is a goofy little one-shot book about a Pirate who's a squid. Or a squid who's a pirate, I'm not sure. There are a lot of bad jokes, poor taste, and a real adventure. Certainly an entertaining diversion. Recommended.

Re-read Dark Days (the first sequel to 30 Days of Night, before it was a franchise) after stealing it back from rmd. This is an interesting look at the fallout from living through supernatural events (which is one of my interests; I mean, what would you do if you suddenly found out that vampires were real?). Highly recommended, especially for a sequel.

38. Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn. This is number three in the "Kitty Norville series" of supernatural women who kick ass. I liked it quite a bit. The plot ends 3/4ths of the way through the book and then we finish off with character development and real-life consequences for the strange supernatural stuff that follows Kitty around, wherever she goes. That was interesting; unexpected, but not in a bad way. I liked it.

I TRULY appreciate the fact that Vaughn didn't create a formula and plug new characters and settings into it like a robot. Each book is pretty dramatically different. And, as Kitty helps a new werewolf cope with the infection and transformation, it provides an interesting perspective for her to review her past and appreciate where she is now. Well recommended.

39. 28 Days Later: The Aftermath by Steve Niles (author) and five artists (illustrating four stories). Stage 1: Dennis Calero, Stage 2: Diego Olmos and Ken Branch, Stage 3: Nat Jones, and Stage 4: Dennis Calero again. I love Steve Niles and would read pretty much anything by him, but this comic sucked. It was boring, added very little to the overall "28" story/franchise, and didn't really have anything left to show for the effort once the stories were over. What was the point again? Not recommended.

40. Serenity: Those Ones Left Behind, by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews (writers), Will Conrad (artist), and by Laura Martin (color). This is a slim little book, set between the end of Firefly and the events in Serenity.

Someone should tell Joss that you usually put the hardcover version out BEFORE the softcover. The hardcover just arrived in stores. It has the same content as the softcover, with at least one addition: a brief history of the 'verse that Joss apparently used to pitch the show originally. There might also be more art in the HC than the SC, I'm not sure. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet.

Anyway, the stuff is pretty lightweight. Joss could have told you this over coffee and it would've been cheaper and more fun. On the other hand, it's nice to know a few of the details about how things changed, mainly a bit about why Book and Inara left. Kinda, but not really recommended.

41. Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci (writer) and Jim Rugg (artist). Despite being from DC's new "Minx" line (ugh!), this is a damn fine little book. It was recommended to me by miss_chance, who had heard enough buzz to try it. Her recommendation got me over my anti-girly bias and I discovered that it's a truly lovely book.

Plain Janes is about a girl named Jane who decides to befriend other girls named Jane (who use different spellings for their names) in the 'out' clique and encourage them to make art. It's sweet. There's some backlash, which feels realistic, and a resolution that might be a little pat, but overall I enjoyed the message. And the transformation of Jane from a popular girl into an independent person is well-handled, as are the fears of her parents and her town. Well recommended.

Working in a comics shop has REALLY increased my comics reading quotient.