In honor of the approaching Halloween, I’ve been reading some extremely good graphic novels, that seemed seasonally appropriate. Although possibly more thematic to a more traditional concept of All Hallow’s Eve than to the modern concept of Halloween, per se. This is a time when the barriers between the living and the dead are the weakest and who knows what could be roaming the streets… you’d better prepare to be scary, too, to fit in.
Anyway, the artwork for all three of these are just gorgeous, which can possibly go without mention, since I don’t read graphic novels if I don’t like the art. But still, the art is really gorgeous.
East of West
written by Jonathan Hickman
drawn by Nick Dragotta
This is a futuristic western based on an alternate past with a whole lot of mystical beings thrown in for good measure. I love it.
One of the main characters is Death. The three other horsemen of the apocalypse are also wandering around, and there’s some sort of evil prophesy that a scary number of the world leaders are fanatical believers of. No one is really good or nice in this, by they’re all really dedicated to their various (and generally conflicting) causes. And there’s something very appealing about competency, good or evil, and something fascinating about manipulative people attempting to manipulate each other.
The back sums it up well:
“We would tell you to pray. But it wouldn’t do any good. You have earned what is coming to you.”
Anna gave the first one of these to me for Christmas last year and then I bought the second one for myself last month, and the third one has just been released a couple of days ago but I haven’t gotten it yet. I’m still going to review this whole series as awesome.
written by Kelly Sue Deconnick
drawn by Emma Rios
This is another mystical western, although minus the science fiction aspect of East of West. Instead, the whole story has a surreal quality as it is structured as a fairytale told by a bunny (or rather the skeleton of one) to a butterfly (who might be part of death’s daughter) and there are stories within stories. I still need to read it again (probably a few more times) to really track down who all is who and what their intents are, but it’s fascinating. It’s also a complete story, which is nice. There are plenty of other characters who can be developed in the next volume, whenever it comes out (and that I’m looking forward to getting when it does), but the main plot arc following the girl in the vulture cloak is resolved at the end of this volume, and thus ends the story told by bunny to butterfly.
Peculia and the Groon Grove Vampires
by Richard Sala
This is a stand-alone single story, and a much quicker read than the others. The story-line is extremely straight-forward without any real surprises. The plot-line sort of reminds me of a Nancy Drew story, although with even fewer surprises. In that way, it seems like something for a fairly young reader.
On the other hand, a lot of characters die, some in relatively gruesome ways. The focus on the gruesome deaths is actually the opposite of gratuitous, though. They’re shown quickly and casually and it all comes across as fairly light. It reminds me of the some of the older Grimm’s fairytales where, say, children push witches into ovens and then go home to celebrate with their families. So, you know, maybe it is intended for youngish children, but cheerfully bloody-minded young children.
And me, too, because I liked it a lot.
The art is also interesting in the way it’s all in black and white, with the appearance of woodprints.
I got the third volume of East of West and it was EXCELLENT! Let the games begin! Mwahaha!