The Comic Queen

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Single-Panel Reviews: Jeffrey Brown, Cthulhu Tales, The Road to God Knows, Astro

Every Girl is the End of the World for Me
Top Shelf $8
By Jeffrey Brown
I’ll be straight with you right off the bat—I enjoy Jeffrey Brown’s work a lot. His style may be simply lined pen work, but he manages to say a lot with this style. It can be vulnerable, telling, forward—and many other emotions as need be. In this particular book, the reader follows Brown over a three-week period—Dec. 26 2003 through Jan. 15 2004—as he runs into the many women in his life. They may be friends, or ex’s, or co-workers, but they’re all important women in his life—for good or bad. It’s Brown’s usual relationship-based slice of life story, but his relationships are less damaged, and he’s more confident in this book. This makes for both stronger artwork and a good comic.
Bottom Line: B+

Cthulhu Tales
Boom! Studios $6.99
Writers: Michael Alan Nelson, Johanna Stokes, Andrew Cosby, John Rogers, Casey Grey, Keith Giffen; Artists: Andrew Ritchie, Filip Sablik, Ellia Heroux, Lee Carter, Andy Kuhn, Mark Badger, Ben Roman
This book is a collection of horror stories centered (to varying degrees) around the monster Cthulhu. I guess this genre just isn’t really down my alley—most of the book was just icky, grody with no real scare or unexpectedness, just gross for gross’s sake. For most of the stories, it seemed like either the art or the story were lacking. Really only the last story “The Oddly Amorous Phineas Flynn and the Troublesome Trouble He Got Himself In” by Giffen and Roman was both well written and well drawn. Like I said, I’m qualifying my opinion because I don’t have a natural affinity for horror, but overall I didn’t think this was a well-executed comic (please excuse the pun).
Bottom Line: C-

The Road to God Knows
By Eric “Von Allan” Julien
I recently got my hands on the first 35 pages of this graphic novel in progress. The story follows Marie as she deals with her mother’s schizophrenia and just goes about regular kid stuff—friends and hobbies. In particular, Marie’s best friend is Kelly, and Marie’s true love in life is pro wrestling. Marie acts a little young for her age, but I expect we’ll see her grow up as the story progresses—having to take care of yourself and your mom will do that to a person. The story is a little on the slow side at this point—character development is the focus for this first section of the book—but my main criticism, though not huge, is the dialogue. It doesn’t flow as naturally as maybe it could, so the characters “voices” aren’t clear. Again, these are pretty small criticisms and certainly the fact that I only have a portion of the book should be taken into account. On the other hand, I really like the art. Von Allan does a nice, stylized job on people, especially, and I like his varying page layouts. Overall, I think this sample shows great promise for a full-length finished book. I’m looking forward to it, in fact.
Bottom Line: the story so far, B

Astro
Image Comics $6.99
By Nils Hamm
What a beautiful book—quite incredible! I can’t imagine the work that must have gone into this mixed-media romp. Astro’s a little space dude who gets stranded on Earth, and along the way happens to find a place for himself in this world. Though the wordless comic tells an interesting adventure/journey story, the real joy of the comic is the art. Mostly painted, the colors are anywhere from vibrant to muted, and quite amazing.
Bottom Line: A-

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