Graphic Novels, September 7, 2018 | Xpress Reviews

Andersen is a must; strongly recommended to fans of Block, Scudder, crime fiction; cutthroat business culture meets Quentin Tarantino; introducing concepts that feel hauntingly genuine; fans of the Beatles and their “Yellow Submarine” will be excited

Week ending September 7, 2018

redstarAndersen, Sarah. Herding Cats: A “Sarah’s Scribbles” Collection. Andrews McMeel. Mar. 2018. 112p. ISBN 9781449489786. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781449493325. COMICS
Andersen’s latest “Sarah’s Scribbles” collection is a scream. Simple art matches perfectly with the cartoonist’s style of humor, tackling topics such as misogyny, anxiety, careers, and cats. Her talent is in showing how easily many identify with the fears of the main character, how we associate our lives with hers but also laugh along with her at these experiences. For example, she illustrates how people will go gaga over a kitten but are unable to pick up a baby. Or how sometimes you just want to hide under the covers to avoid being seen by the monster “being social.” The humor is nonstop, and before you know it, you’ve read the whole book and are going back looking for favorites.
VERDICT A must read. Andersen’s appealing art as well as her remarkable ability to keep coming up with relatable (often unsettling) situations and make them funny will appeal to fans of the comic strips Cathy, Pearls Before Swine, and The Far Side.—Ryan Claringbole, Wisconsin Dept. of Pub. Instruction, Madison

Block, Lawrence (text) & John K. Snyder III (text & illus.) & Frank Cvetkovic (illus.). Eight Million Ways To Die: A Matthew Scudder Mystery. IDW. Jul. 2018. 144p. ISBN 9781613778845. $24.99. Rated: M. MYS/CRIME FICTION
Mystery Grand Master Block’s fictional private detective Matthew Scudder makes a belated sequential art debut in this adaptation of the titular 1982 prose novel. This fifth Scudder mystery provides adapter/illustrator Snyder (Grendel; Suicide Squad), with letterer Cvetkovic, plenty with which to work; as Block states in his foreword, there are three stories being told—Scudder’s investigation of the sudden murder of a prostitute who was leaving the sex trade, his battle against alcoholism, and the turmoil of New York during a particularly harsh period in the city’s history. As with much fine fiction, this work reads as a series of character studies that happen to have a plot. The dark, finely detailed illustrations will make readers swear they can taste the grit and grime of the New York streets. With profanity, violence, sexual content, and disturbing scenes; suitable for older teens and up.
VERDICT Hard-core Scudderites might wonder whether it was worth the wait or the effort, but Snyder undeniably succeeds in honoring both the source material and the medium. Strongly recommended to fans of Block, Scudder, crime fiction, and graphic novels for mature readers. [Previewed in Jody Osicki’s “Graphically Speaking,” LJ 6/15/18.]—J. Osicki, Saint John Free P.L., NB

Calero, Dennis (text & illus.) & John J. Hill (illus.). The Suit. Dark Horse. Aug. 2018. 96p. ISBN 9781506706320. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781506706337. Rated: M. CRIME FICTION
Calero (Assassin’s Creed: Templar) takes the notion that business can be war to a new level. The Suit is your average businessman, but he’s also an assassin used by his bosses to maximize their opportunities. He’s set up and about to be eliminated, but his enemies don’t know with whom they’re messing. Cherry-picking from movies well known (the higher-ups are dead ringers for Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy in Trading Places), with the main character more at home in a samurai flick than Rambo , and a 1980s vibe permeating throughout, the tale has an art style that is smooth and solidly conveys the action scenes, though there also seems to be a large focus on the characters’ eyes.
VERDICT Cutthroat business culture merges with Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill in this fun if violent look at corporate competition. For fans of the films Wall Street, American Psycho, and The Transporter.—Ryan Claringbole, Wisconsin Dept. of Pub. Instruction, Madison

redstarHawkins, Matt (text) & Raffaele Ienco & Troy Peteri (illus.). Stairway. Vol. 1. Top Cow: Image. Aug. 2018. 128p. ISBN 9781534308015. pap. $16.99. Rated: Teen+. SF/FANTASY
What if our “junk DNA” held a code that could unlock something never before seen? Trillionaire businessman Gregory Hopkins is on the brink of such a discovery, one that will change humanity permanently. Through the assistance of geneticist Dr. Vander, he’s found a way to build a sentient entity using the rare “R-code” existing in a mere 666 people on the planet. While the costs are high and the end result not without consequences, no obstacle will prevent Gregory from harvesting this newly discovered data. Taking readers on a thought-provoking journey through the mind of a genius with a Messiah complex willing to commit genocide for the sake of science, Hawkins (Warframe) pairs a thrilling and intelligent story with the beautiful, intense detail of Ienco’s (Mechanism) illustrations, making the horrors of this new reality vividly real.
VERDICT Introducing concepts that feel hauntingly genuine and have the potential to actualize, this first volume in a new series leaves readers eager for more. Highly recommended for anyone interested in science, the future, and the future of both.—Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY

Lennon, John & Paul McCartney (text) & Bill Morrison (text & illus.) & others (illus.). The Beatles Yellow Submarine. Titan Comics. Aug. 2018. 112p. ISBN 9781785863943. $29.99. MUSIC
The Fab Four climb back aboard the yellow submarine to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies in this celebration of George Dunning’s 1968 classic animated film’s 50th anniversary, faithfully adapted into the graphic form by Morrison (cofounder, Bongo Comics; editor, Mad magazine). While it’s not the same without the musical numbers, the characters fans love are still here, and the story plays out as most remember it, with music, love, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo winning the day over the fun-hating forces of the Blue Meanies. And if the story feels a little disjointed or nonsensical, that, too, is in keeping with the source material, as the narrative has always played second fiddle to the bright colors and iconic artwork. The hues here are even more dazzling and the images sharper, with subtle shading and highlighting giving them a bit more depth than the original. Overall, the psychedelic illustrations are glorious, with some resembling still frames from the film.
VERDICT Not for everyone, but fans of the Beatles and their “Yellow Submarine” will be excited to see this work on the shelf. [Previewed in Jody Osicki’s “Graphically Speaking,” LJ 6/15/18.]—Zach Berkley, Moline P.L., IL

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