Monday, April 21, 2008

Graphic Novel Monday

It rained all day yesterday and all day today. So, I'm starting with one of my favorite Beatles songs, which I think is very under appreciated:

It's off Let It Be.

Anyway, completely unrelated, let's talk about some Graphic Novels. Yes, I know it's Nonfiction Monday, but I don't have an unblogged nonfiction, so you know... yeah.

Laika Nick Abadzis

Laika was the first living creature we sent into space, if by "we" you mean "The Russians."

Such a cute little doggy, that looks something like a mini-Sassy, he was found as a stray and given to the Soviet Space Program. After the success of Sputnik, Khrushchev wanted to continue to ride the PR wave and do something amazing in time for the Revolution anniversary.

Because of the speed, the program cut a lot of corners, including figuring out how to bring Laika home. We've always been told he was euthanized while up there. The truth is, some systems failed, and do to extreme cabin heat and stress on the animal, Laika died within 4 hours.

This is the story, meticulously researched and beautifully told of the Soviet system, of the scientists, technicians, and politicians involved, and how one dog touched their lives and the effect he had.

Beautifully moving. I especially liked the panels that reflected Laika's thoughts, a dog looking for love who knew when the humans around him were happy or sad, without knowing why.

Good dog.

Water Baby Ross Campbell

This is Minx's March installment.

First off, Minx has a crappy, crappy website. This book isn't even listed! (update: this book isn't out yet, even though that's no excuse for it not to be on the website-- they really should have a list of upcoming titles) And ARCs are out for unpublished books, and sample pages are out, so why aren't they on the website, let alone have the sample pages up?! I thought we were marketing here people!

Chasing Ray had a fascinating and very insightful (especially if you read the comments) post about the problems with the Minx line last month

I think there's a very good point made that one of the reasons Minx isn't a runaway hit is because it hasn't figured out it's target audience. Specifically, these are graphic novels NOT for current comic readers, but for YA book readers. These are stories that appeal more to fans of straight up books rather than graphic novel fans.

I'm frustrated because I'm a big fan. I love the concept and I've really enjoyed most of the titles so far. I want to see it succeed, but DC Comics keeps dropping the ball. Librarians, start your handselling!


Brody's a major surfer girl whose leg gets eaten by a shark. A few months after the accident, her loser ex-boyfriend moves in on her couch. Ick. Eventually she decides, with her best friend, to drive his lame butt back up to New York where he's from...

For a volume in imprint aimed at teen girls, the characters all have big boobs and skimpy outfits. Yes, I realize surfers hang out in bathing suits, but string bikinis seem not-practical for surfing. But, I'm not a surfer, so what do I know? Well, I do know that I was worried about these poor girls falling out of their top when they were just hanging around the top. I can't imagine what a little surf would do to them.

Overall, I was a little underwhelmed. I thought it could have been so much more than it was... eh.

update: Look for it July 8

Burnout Rebecca Donner and Inaki Miranda

Danni's mom moved them to the Pacific Northwest after Danni's dad disappeared. Her mom's taken up with a lodge owner with some anger issues. Hank's son, Haskell, is mysterious, and kinda hott.

Here is a great book about families, boys, and balancing friends with boys. It's also about logging vs. not logging-- environmental concerns vs. economic ones. Donner does a great job of presenting both sides of the issue without it seeming crammed in or over-crowding the actual story. The book leans towards environmentalism but recogizes the murkiness of the waters. You're also not sure if Danni continues to be a minor eco-terrorist because she believes in the cause, or if it's because she believes in Haskell's hotness.

A strong title for the imprint. Look for it June 17.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I enjoyed Laika, too. Some professional review I read referred to it as overly sentimental...but anyone who can read about a dog sent to its death without being at least slightly moved...well they just suck.