The Comic Queen

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Single-Panel Review: Continuity, The Ticking, Maahvelous!, True Loves

Continuity GN
AiT/Planet Lar $12.95
Writer: Jason McNamara; Artist: Tony Talbert
Yeah, now that’s the stuff. What starts out looking like another testosterone-driven action comic settles into a trippy, mind-bending science fiction book. The book opens on a futuristic metropolis where a prescription drug “bus” is being hijacked. Things don’t go so well, and our protagonist, Alicia, finds refuge in a basement where the homeowner reluctantly listens to her unbelievable story. Suburban life wasn’t perfect for Alicia, she was 17 and living with a harsh stepmom and whipped dad. As bad as she thinks her life is at that moment, though, things quickly go down the shitter. You see, suddenly when Alicia sleeps, her dreams don’t just play out in her head, they change the world. And these aren’t peaceful dreams we’re talking about. Alicia runs away and that’s when her life and the book get triptacular. The comic itself is well executed, stories like this sometimes get out of the creators’ control and become confusing or start to unravel plotwise. This book holds your attention and keeps you guessing in a good way. The art matches the story perfectly, too; dark, sketchy, unsettling – that’s not just the art, that’s Alicia’s life in a nutshell.
Bottom Line: A-

The Ticking GN HC
Top Shelf $19.95
By Renee French
O.k., before I get to the guts of this GN, I want to comment on the design of the book itself. This is a beautiful book to hold in your hands. Hardcover and cloth bound, though it ups the price point, the physical design of the book is worth putting out for all to see. Anyway, to the content! The Ticking is a quiet book done nearly entirely in soft pencils about quiet, yet unsettled, lives. When Edison is born, he not only has a deformed visage, but his mother dies in childbirth. Partly out of the depression of his loss, partly out of shame, and partly out of protection, Edison’s father takes him away to raise him on an island. As Edison grows up, he isn’t ashamed of himself, however, and with his drawing talents, he decides (against his father’s will) to venture into the world. Sad, yet ultimately with hope, this is a beautiful book on many levels.
Bottom Line: B+

Maahvelous! Princess Puut and Dali Do Venice
Glitterati Incorporated $30
By Scott Chambliss
Decadent, over the top, and a visual buffet, are the best ways to describe this book. It’s really a children’s book for adults in a sense. Physically it’s an oversized board book, and storywise it’s got a simple yet whimsical nature with mixed-media art. Princess Puut’s celebrity star is waning, and she’s becoming dejected and questioning her existence. Then she has a dream in which she is called to travel to Venice to find the answers to her questions. Accompanied by her best friend Dali, Princess Puut goes on an adventure to find her destiny … and ultimately finds herself. It’s a fun book, and nearly indescribable.
Bottom Line: B

True Loves GN
New Reliable Press $12.99
Writer: Manien Botma; Artist: Jason Turner
This GN is a yarn about life and love in Vancouver, BC. Not a hint of sappiness is what makes this a surprisingly infectious read. The story follows True, a vintage clothing store owner, and Zander, who works at a grocery store and takes life as it comes. Though their friends are initially skeptical, fate takes its turn with the situation, and things turn out in the end. Don’t worry, I didn’t spoil anything for you – the real fun of the book is the humor, the characters, and the just all-round well-told story. Also, living just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Vancouver myself, it was fun to see many of the local sights I’ve seen in person. So, if you’ve been to Vancouver, there’s a little extra touch for you. Drawn in ink and mostly in panels, the art has a nice cartoon feel to it, then add to this the good details Turner puts into the book from the clothes to the land(and city)scapes, and you’ve got an accessible and enjoyable book.
Bottom Line: A


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