April graphic novels:
Anne Freaks Vol 1 by Yua Kotegawa (175 pgs) 2006
An excellent example of the style of manga I enjoy, with clean lines, minimal chibi-ization, and a compelling storyline. It’s got all the essentials- a shadowy conspiracy, a beautiful assassin, and matricide. A strong beginning, volume 1 was enough for me to order the rest of the series.
The Grave Robber’s Daughterby Richard Sala (96 pgs) 2006
If Edward Gorey wrote gothic mysteries starring a foul-mouthed anti-Nancy Drew and laced with gratuitous violence, you’d have Richard Sala. This title features a town overtaken by zombie clowns. That’s right: not just zombies, not just clowns- this is a two-fer. As if clowns weren’t creepy enough.
Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery by Dave Roman & various illustrators (130 pgs) 2006
Somewhat interesting concept: young girl detective specializing in ghost assistance. Some interesting short stories, but I got the feeling I was plopped in the middle of a larger mythos with no explanation. The huge section of “diaries” at the end (which I skipped) didn’t help.
Boneyard Vol 5 by Richard Moore (40ish) 2007
Not quite as funny as I remember the rest of the series being. But anytime you set a comic in a graveyard, and add a talking skeleton, a sexy vampire, a couple of clueless gargoyles, and other assorted creepies- it’s all good fun.
The Living and the Dead by Jason (30ish) 2007
One of my favorite artists, Jason uses clean lines and anthropomorphized characters to tell darkly comic, nearly-wordless stories. This volume has all the trapping of classic noir, a hapless schlub pining after the femme fatale, until the zombies show up and start munching brains. Pure fun.
Oddly Normal Vol 1 by Otis Frampton (50ish) 2006
Boring! Basically a Saturday-morning-cartoon ripoff of Harry Potter, featuring bland art, bland characters, and bland plot.
Lineby Yua Kotegawa (167 pg) 2006
A stand-alone from the author of Anne Freaks. A girl answers a found cell phone and the voice on the other end warns her the someone is going to die if she doesn’t get there in time. And so begins a night of racing through the city trying to save strangers.
NYC Mech, vol 1: Let’s Electrify written by Ivan Brandon & Miles Gunter, art by Andy MacDonald (152 pgs) 2005
Okay, I get that robots are cool. I’m a huge fan of robots myself. But being slick for slickness’s sake doesn’t impress me. This is basically a NY where all the “people” (and animals for some reason) are robots. Cool idea. But I had a hard time getting into because there’s no “robot-ness” to their actions. I mean we’ve got robots having sex in bathroom stalls, shooting drugs, and knocking over a convenience store where the guy behind the counter has a comb-over and glasses. A comb-over?! Seemed a bit pointless to me.
Gear by Doug Tennapel (160 pgs) 2007
Tennapel has some good books- Tommysaurus Rex and especially Creature Tech. But some of his stuff, like Earthboy Jacobus is gibberish. Gear is somewhere in the middle. A race of cats is on a mission to capture a giant manga-ish guardian from the rival dog nation. Weirdness and afterlife weirdness ensues.
Past Lies written by Christina Weir and Nunzio Defilippis, art by Christopher Mitten
Cool little mystery. Dude hires a PI because he’s remembering a past life and wants to find out who murdered his past self. And whoever the killer was reeeeeally doesn’t want them to find out.
Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip- Book One by Tove Jansson (96 pgs) collected 2006, originally published 1954-60
I’m in love with the Moomin family! Little hippo-looking creatures (I guess they’re trolls) enjoy their quiet life and have simple little adventures. Truly enjoyable, it had me smiling throughout and laughing out loud. One of my new favorite author/artists.