Athos in America

Written and drawn by Jason

Peel: A graphic novel composed of six short stories.

This was a lovely collection. The stories all had different characters, but had similar tones and ideas, which made for a cohesive collection. This collection was on the angrier side of things. As usual, Jason did an amazing job at conveying lots of emotion through simple anthropomorphic drawings.

I found all of the stories, except the title story, to be very strong and rather intense. One story has amusing scene of Jason doing a reading, quoting passages from one of his excellent mostly silent books- Hey, Wait…. Another story, Athos in America, didn’t come off as very strong to me, however it was supposed to be a prequel to another of his books “The Last Musketeer”, which I have yet to read. As a note this is one of Jason’s wordier pieces, which may not be to some fans’ taste.

I would recommend this to anyone who has really enjoyed Jason’s previous work or wants an introduction to graphic novels.

Nibble: “Go out and get me a body! Someone young this time…not some old wreck!”

My Rating: 9 out of 10 flat flavorful apples

Jason’s Blog

Get the collection from Amazon

The Complete Persepolis

Written & Illustrated by Marjane Satrapi

Peel: This is an autobiographical graphic novel based on a girl growing up during the Islamic Revolution, and later going to high school in Vienna.

The first half of the book was much stronger than the second. The first half is examining the revolution through a child’s eyes, and the second is centered on her. The childlike drawings I found compelling in the first half, especially given the heavy subject matter. My expectations were rather high for this book because of all the hype, and I’m rather surprised now that it’s mentioned with Maus.

I expected to hear a little more about Tehran and less about her, especially as she aged, but the opposite occurred. The first half was a child trying to understand her country and contradictions, whereas the second half was her trying to find her identity. I found a brief wikipedia scan on Iran during the 70s to 90s helpful for context. It was interesting to think about how being related to the former rulers of Iran and being in a child in an upper-class liberal family may have shaped her reaction to the Islamic Revolution.

I had mixed feelings about the protagonist. In the beginning of the book, while she’s a child, she’s rather likable, intelligent, and outspoken. As she aged though I couldn’t help but wish she stood up for herself in a less disrespectful manner, but on the other hand the blatant honesty without giving a rosy hue to her past was very powerful. She does a rather awful self-absorbed thing towards the end of the book, and only seems to feel bad as her grandmother was disappointed in her. As much as I loved Satrapi’s honesty, it was rather hard for me to empathize with her after that.

Nibble: “At the age of six I was already sure I was the last prophet.”

I would highly recommend the first half of this as an interesting view of culture, violence, and revolution through a child’s eyes.

My Rating: 6 out of 10 black and white apples

Get the first half on Amazon ~ Get the full novel on Amazon

 

Green River Killer: A True Detective Story

Written by Jeff Jensen, Illustrated by Jonathan Case

The plot is based around trying to find the Green River Killer, and finding sufficient proof. The story is told from the detective’s point of view, and written by the detective’s son.

This graphic novel had quite the opening, rather dramatic and suspenseful, and it drew me in quickly. The rest of the novel was more psychological rather than action-based which heightened my interest without desensitizing me. The stark black and white artwork grew on me throughout the novel, and a lot of expression was packed into the amount of lines drawn. The understated art worked excellently with this novel, and kept it from going into the flashy gore zone. The examination and quasi obsession with the killer is fascinating, as the killer’s motivations remain largely a mystery. As the book is extremely readable and compelling, I finished it in one go this morning. I found the story all around interesting, perhaps more so as I’m from the East Coast, and hadn’t heard much about this serial killer. All of the main characters were complete, and gave the right emotional depth for this piece.

The only thing against this story, is I don’t think it would hold up to multiple reads. It also had many time jumps, for long and short amounts of time forwards and backwards, which took me out of the story as I tried to imagine an accurate timeline.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about the darker side of human nature.

Nibble: “When the Vietcong hear of my legend, they quiver in fear, then staple something.”

My Rating: 8 out of 10 dark red apples

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.